Directly behind the Old Town Hall, there used to be a big old fire station with an imposing tower. Each December in the 1950s, Santa's Mailbox was set up on Barnard Street next to the fire station. A sign said it was for letters to Santa. The firefighters who created Santa's Mailbox rigged it with a microphone and speaker, and watched through a firehouse window. As each child dropped in his or her letter to Santa, a fireman would say something like, "Ho Ho Ho, have you been good this year?" The reactions from the kids must have been precious, but surely not every reaction was pure joy | after all, it was a talking mailbox. Some little kids must have wondered why someone lived in there. My cousin who reminded me of the mailbox says she was both a little frightened and a little excited. From the twinkle in her eye, I could tell she loved the memory.

| Bill Dalton

Do you have a memory of Santa's Mailbox? Do you have another favorite holiday memory to share? Send your memories to 33 Chestnut St., Andover, MA 01810 or e-mail Items must be received by Dec. 16.

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