Whitehall’s rural mail carrier, David Senecal, has a new hobby online: Uncommon mailboxes.
“It’s just one of those things to do. You know I’m driving around all the time,” he said. “I don’t have that many great ones on my route, but every time we go to New Hampshire or Maine for hiking, we’ve got our eyes open for stuff like that.”
Senecal started the Uncommon Mailboxes group on Facebook not only as a hobby, but because he loves his job. When he’s able to get a day off, he and his girlfriend Amy Hildreth are usually planning a hike either in the Adirondacks or New England. It just so happens that Senecal prefers backroads to find some interesting mailboxes.
“I like the backroads and I get off of the main highways whenever I can,” he said. “I’ll take off Amy’s GPS lady on her phone. That’s what she uses to find her way around and I just kind of, she’ll tell me to make a right-hand turn and I’ll say, ‘no way in hell’ and I’ll go the other way,” he laughed.
The Facebook page has 38 members where everyone is able to post photos of uncommon mailboxes that they see in their travels. Some of the boxes on the page include a school bus, a repurposed motorcycle and the classic Blue’s Clues mailbox. Senecal has a deeper meaning for his love of the Blue’s Clues box.
“My daughter Allison used to love Blue’s Clues, we watched it all the time when we were on the farm and I bought one for her at a store when she was a little kid, then that one disappeared or broke, so I went online just to see, because I was working at the Post Office, and thought it would be so cute to have one of these Blue’s Clues mailboxes,” he said.
Senecal has traveled and seen plenty of mailboxes in his time and mentioned that one of his personal favorites is the “garbage box.” The box is composed of a metal trash can that has been either welded or bolted down on the mail post.
“You know, a lot of people complain about their mail because we are delivering a lot more business mail, you know, pretty standard junk mail that people don’t like too much, and it seems like we’re delivering a lot more of that. It just seems to fit the paradigm of junk mail going directly from the mailman into the garbage can,” he chuckled.
As for Senecal’s rural mail route, he loves delivering to a box that has been made to look like a house set on top of a well. The mailbox gets as detailed as having shingles on the roof.
“I really appreciate when people put effort into it. Like the wishing well kind of, the well house, that’s on my mail route and I just love it,” he said. “They put a lot of effort into that to actually put it together.”
Senecal compared this hobby of his to when he and his family would take long vacations in their Vista Cruiser. During the car ride, they would often play games such as I spy or the alphabet game. They would often keep their eyes open, and they were on the lookout during their rides. Now, he’s looking for the next interesting, eye-catching and, of course, uncommon mailbox.
“It’s just a great hobby,” Senecal said. “We all have little things that we love to do.”