“Hurry! Hurry! Time to go!” I yelled, as I herded my three oldest children through the front door. I swung my bag onto my shoulder, scooped up the baby and grabbed the stroller, before slamming the door shut. Four children had been fed, washed and dressed. I grinned. I'd done it. We were off to town and it wasn't even lunch time. This was going to be a good day.

But where was the van key?

“There it is, Mum!” shouted seven year old Duncan, pointing back through the kitchen window. The van key was lying on the table, together with the house keys. They were locked in. We were locked out.

We were newcomers to our village, but I'd remembered seeing a phone box outside the post office, which was only a short walk away. Perhaps I could call my husband Andy. Would he come and rescue us?

Twenty minutes later, I squeezed into the phone box with the two youngest children, and left the older ones outside, watching the people posting letters through the slot in the post office wall. Soon I was explaining my predicament to Andy, who replied, “Can’t you call a locksmith?”

I was about to say, "Couldn't you come home?" but instead yelled, "Got to go!” I slammed the phone back on the hook, and shot out of the phone box.

“What did you do? How did you manage that?”

One of Duncan’s arms had disappeared inside the rectangular posting slot in the post office wall. He was leaning at an odd angle. “I can’t get my arm out!” His right arm was well and truly locked inside the box.

Why did you put your arm in there?” I cried, my voice getting higher and louder.

“I wanted to see if I could touch the letters,” sobbed Duncan.

“You can’t touch other people’s mail. People will think you are trying to steal the letters!”

I looked around. Was anyone watching? What was I to do? Duncan’s arm couldn’t stay inside the post box forever. I decided to go into the post office and beg for help.

“Stay there!” I ordered Duncan, as I disappeared into the building with the other three children.

“My son’s got his arm stuck in the post box,” I confessed to the postmaster. He didn’t waste words. He headed straight outside to have a look. The next moment he was on the phone to the rescue squad.

“They’re coming at once,” he reassured me. “They'll soon have your son free.”

Minutes later, we could hear a siren blaring its way to the village. A huge rescue truck screeched to a halt outside the post office. Another vehicle was hot on its tail. Oh no! The local TV news crew were following along behind, hoping for a good story. I could just see it:

Caught in the Act: Irresponsible Mother Encourages Son to Steal the Mail.

A crowd of people was gathering as the rescue man assessed the situation.“We’ll soon get your arm free, matey,” he smiled. “I’ve got a cutter somewhere in my truck." Duncan gulped. "Metal cutter, not arm cutter," he quickly added. "Now don’t go away.”

A ferret-faced reporter jumped out of the TV news car and thrust his microphone in front of Duncan's face: “Why did you put your arm in the post box?”

“I wanted to see if I could touch the letters.”

“Did your mother let you put your arm in the box? What? She wasn't with you? You were all alone? Unsupervised?"

Duncan sniffed and nodded.

“Why did you want to touch the letters? Did you want to take them? Were you stealing them?”

“Out of the way! Metal cutters coming through!” ordered the rescue man, breaking up the interview. We all stood to one side as he attacked the post box with his huge steel cutters. Crunch! Crunch! Would we have to pay for a new box? I didn't care. My son was free.

The news reporter had one more question for Duncan, “Would you like to say anything to your rescuer?”

Duncan shook his head. "Not really," came the reply.

"We'd like to say thank you, wouldn't we, Duncan?" I shot my son a dagger look,and smiled at our rescuer, and prayed the reporter would go away... I was feeling rather worn out.

Our rescue hero grinned and said, “You're welcome! Never rescued anyone from a post box before. This will make a great story.”

It was a great story, wasn't it?

All right… I confess…  I lied. That’s not the way it happened at all. The post master didn’t call the rescue squad. The local news team didn’t arrive on the scene. That story only happened in my imagination, as I stood outside the post office, wondering how on earth we were going to get Duncan’s arm free.

This is what really happened…

I went into the post office. The post master was standing behind the counter and I said to him, “I’m really sorry. I don’t know what possessed my son… He’s got his arm stuck in the post box, and I don’t know what to do.”

The postmaster went outside to assess the situation. “No problem,” he said. “See those screws? If I remove them, the metal plate will come away from the box. Then we should be able to get your son’s arm free.”

The postmaster took charge. I gratefully stood to one side, while he rescued my son. Moments later, he said, “All free!" He smiled and added, "Don’t go putting your arm into any more post boxes.” Duncan solemnly assured him that his post box investigating days were over.

Once the drama had dissolved, I remembered Andy. I headed back to the phone box. “Sorry I had to hang up on you earlier. Duncan got his arm stuck in the post box. It’s a long story. You called the locksmith? You’re coming home? Oh, you are the best husband in the world!”

An hour or so later, Andy and the locksmith arrived at our house at the same time. Two minutes later, we were back inside our home. Of course, Andy wanted to hear the full story.

“You wanted to see if you could touch the letters?” he asked Duncan. “And could you?”

“No,” said Duncan, his face dropping. All that and his fingers hadn't even touched a single envelope.

Isn’t it good to know that once you pop a letter into an Australia Post mailbox it's safe? No one can twist their arm through the slot and steal it. Not even a 7 year old boy. 

I really must go and thank Australia Post.

Image:Antique Style Key by Stars Go Blue, CC BY-ND 2.0

Post a Comment

  1. We were totally laughing here!!

  2. Wow ... it's nice to know that Australia Post are keeping the mail safe, I suppose. And that their employees are so handy with a screwdriver!

    1. Kellie,

      I guess I gave Australia Post a free compliment. I don't know if I should have done that after their recent announcement to put up postage costs! Oh well... The ending just happened. It wasn't planned.

  3. I was sitting on the edge of my chair. I had no idea you were, um.... lying! I guess the post TITLE should have given me some clue, huh? Terrific as always! Just today I was thinking about where we are in the alphabet, because I hate for your alphebetical posts to end. What about a series going through the numbers... maybe as high as you can count :)?

    That's not asking too much..... is it?

    1. Nancy,

      That was a long story. I wondered if everyone would give up before getting to the end! I didn't lie about everything. Only the news crew and the rescue squad, and that did happen in my imagination... Funny what can go through our minds in a short space of time.

      I'm nearly halfway through the alphabet. Still 14 stories to go. 14? Wow! That's still a lot to write. Actually, I have 5 posts in draft form so that's not too bad. Bob Blogosphere is in my Q post. That's the next one I am going to write. I'm looking forward to writing about him!

      Numbers? I will do a series on numbers if you will join me!

      Thank you for always making me feel so good.

  4. Thank you for the laugh Sue and thank you Duncan for giving your mum something to write about. Precious memory!

    1. Lisa,

      That was such a stressful day! I never imagined I'd be writing about it all these years later. I suppose it made a good story. I just couldn't believe Duncan had put his arm in that box. Boys get themselves into all kinds of scrapes! I bet your girls have never done anything like that.

  5. You're funny! Duncan has always been a thinker, hasn't he? Isn't it funny to think of the phone boxes, now?!

    I used to lock myself out, a lot. Luckily, we had a window with a broken lock so I could climb the wall to get back in. Even luckier, I wasn't seen by anyone who wanted to take advantage of our obvious lack of security!

    God bless, Sue:-)

    1. Vicky,

      I agree that Duncan is a thinker but I'm just wondering why he didn't think about the possibility of getting stuck! This really is an old story. Life has changed so much in such a short time. Phone boxes had doors when Duncan was 7, and we didn't have mobile phones. The post box is still the same though!

      Breaking into your own home always feels strange and sort of illegal. Can you imagine being seen and arrested for doing that? That would make a good story!

      God bless!

  6. Oh, I can so relate to dramas like that going on inside your heads when such things happen. And I'm glad to know that my children are not the only ones prone to put arms and legs where they do not belong and getting stuck. One of my sons once got caught between a bus stop and a dust bin that was placed almost as high up as his head. He was as he puts it "just climbing" and we solved the problem by untying the shoelace and freeing first foot then shoe, and he limped for many days afterwards. I think your Duncan and my Minimax are like minds.

    1. Uglemor,

      Our imaginations go wild when we are in the middle of a drama. We can see all the (unlikely) possibilities in an instant!

      I like your bus stop and dust bin story. I'm glad you managed to rescue Minimax without calling the rescue squad. Kids are just so adventurous and inquisitive. Life is never boring when there are boys around!

  7. Sue, this was so funny. You must have been so worried the. And without even being able to have the comforting thought all of those years ago that "Hey, this will make a great blog post." At least now you're able to look back and laugh. Sounds like quite a day. Glad all ended well. : )

    1. Stephanie,

      I was very worried at the time. We'd only just moved into the village and knew no one. I wondered what everyone would think of us. I worried how I'd extract Duncan from the post box. Would we get back into our house?... It didn't turn out to be the good day I'd envisaged!

      You are quite right about not having the comfort of knowing I'd write the incident up as a blog post. No internet and blogs in those days. Now everything is blog post material, and we usually laugh afterwards at all our dramas and say, "I'll write a story about that!"

      Thanks for reading my story!

  8. LOL, Sue. My friend keeps telling me "you don't want a boy" but I do! Think of all the stories I can't write. Guess I'll read your stories for now.

    1. Anabelle,

      Boys are a real blessing, despite being full on. They really are (in my experience) very different to girls. Maybe you'll have some great boy stories in the future to share!

      Thank you for your comment!

  9. Replies
    1. Colleen,

      I know you have boys. I wonder if you have similar stories to tell. Thank you for reading my post!

  10. This is a great story, Sue :) I'm glad it really happened the second way not the first (for your sake...lol)!

    1. Mary,

      I'm so glad it happened the second way too, but I bet Duncan would have preferred the rescue truck to have come blaring down the street on a mission to save him! Can you imagine the TV story that could have come out of such an incident? We live in an area where news must be in short supply because the local paper is always looking for things to photograph and write about. I have lost count of the times my children have had their photos in the paper... all for good reasons. I guess if Duncan had been trapped for too long he just might have ended up in the news after all!

  11. Sue, another hilarious read! I really thought you might have been describing a nightmare you'd had! I have lots to catch up on here...and 14 more to come? Yay! You are so funny...xo

    1. Patricia,

      I would have been very relieved if I'd suddenly woken up in bed, to find all the drama was just a nightmare! But no, it was real and I had to deal with it. You think you can make it through another 14 posts? You are a true friend!

  12. I'm a member of the A-Z team just checking in. Glad to see that everything is going smoothly for you during the Challenge! :)

    1. DL Hammons,

      Yes, everything is going smoothly. I'm enjoying the challenge! Thank you for visiting my blog and checking how I'm going.


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