My Voice

About the author

Dorothy ‘Dory’ Fleshman lives in La Grande.

My Voice columns reflect the views of the author only. My Voice columns should be 500-700 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships. We edit submissions for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We reject those published elsewhere. Send columns to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande, Ore., 97850, fax them to 541-963-7804 or email them to .

Every business gets its share of criticisms, but recently the sharp eyes of Mark at the local post office saw that a greeting card was delivered to the correct person, and I would like to share it with you.

The card arrived in my mailbox March 19, addressed to Eleanor Umbershaw. I always check the addressee’s name to be sure it is meant for myself and turn the occasional misaddressed back to the clerk behind the counter.

I was in a hurry because of a passenger waiting for me in my car, but I took time to turn in the card, saying that it was my mailbox number but not my name. The name seemed somewhat familiar but I couldn’t place her in any of the organizations to which I belonged.

“This is addressed ‘in care of’ you,” the clerk told me pushing the card back to me as he read it aloud.

Somehow my old eyes had skipped over that second line, reading only Eleanor’s name and my box number. While this is a bit embarrassing for me to admit, it is part of the story and must be told to give credit to the clerk who watches out for little old befuddled ladies like me. I wanted to reward the alert clerk who had come to my aid so later I gave him a bag of gold...nine pieces it was...(chocolate, of course) and that was high praise.

Now, convinced and with the card in hand, I joined my waiting friend in my car and discussed the mysterious arrival with her.

There was no return address label...just that it came with a Portland postmark. So how could I deliver the card to the correct person without more information. Who was Eleanor Umbershaw?

The name seemed so familiar, but I still couldn’t place her. Maybe the subject matter would help, so I opened the envelope and discovered it was a birthday card for March 19. Who did I know with that particular birth date? It wasn’t My birthday but there had to be a connection. Why wasn’t it signed? And, why had the card come to me to deliver?

Slowly dawn came to my sleepy brain.

Eleanor Umbershaw was the main character in my latest fiction novel ‘The House at the Edge of the Woods’ and March 19 was given as her birthdate. In the book she had spent it alone and lonely.

The clever and good-humored reader must have decided that Eleanor wouldn’t be forgotten this year. Or, my receptive reader had caught the essence of the fictional individual’s loneliness. What better praise from reader to author. And, what a humorous bright spot in one’s day from sender to receiver to postal clerk to myself to share with a friend and now to share with all my friends in The Observer’s readership.

To my friends in reader-land, be sure to send a card or note to someone you know who would appreciate being remembered. Share a smile. The post office will help but do sign your name.