A Public Journal on a North Carolina Beach

I loved this little item from the Lumina News:

The legendary mailbox at the north end of Wrightsville Beach found a new home after Hurricane Irene. Twice.
First installed beside a north end dune in 2003 by Bernie and Sidney Nykanen, the couple inscribed the phrase: “Leave a Note” on the mailbox door. Inside was a journal and a pen. Since then, more than 100 journals have been filled with messages from passersby, ranging from cheerful vacation notes to anguished prayers. The Nykanens have renourished the notebooks as needed, and replaced the mailbox itself twice….

The mailbox had to be relocated after the storm, which caused some controversy. Some local residents wanted to make sure people walking to it wouldn’t disturb the fragile eco-system of the dunes, but in the end, an acceptable location was found, and the Nykanens continue to maintain the journal inside:

“We have really enjoyed being the tenders of the mailbox. I love living vicariously through other people’s writings. And it’s nice that people … are actually putting pens to paper in the old-fashioned way of communicating. To me that’s everything,” said Nykanen. “I’m just a romantic at heart.”

I’d love to try something like this… but I think it works better on a beach than it would in New York City. You might get some interesting notes here, but the journal would probably be stolen before you had a chance to read them!

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4 Responses to “A Public Journal on a North Carolina Beach”

  1. I would love to try this around here with the five colleges in the area, but I doubt I’d get the reception. All i’d probably hear is that writing journals deforests the Amazon, or some hippie stuff like that. I’m so glad the hurricane didn’t displace this wonderful writing experiment. Now I want to go visit my cousin so I can track down this mailbox.

  2. What a wonderful idea! I hope to go to NC on vacation soon, I’ll try to make it to this mailbox and journal if I’m in the area.

  3. There is a restuarant in Savannah that has notebooks at every table for anyone to write in. I was very entertained by that which was great since the service was really slow! This mailbox idea is great, but you are right-would not work just anywhere.

  4. Jen: Give’em a notebook with paper made out of sugar or bananas or hemp or something, that’ll get’em interested! 🙂

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