On the road…again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Detecting The Vile In Greenbackville
No, this chronicle is not an exposé about sinister happenings perpetrated by vile residents in the sleepy little fishing village of Greenbackville, Virginia. Our fair hamlet of a mere 192 residents (2010 Census) is not found on most maps because it does not appear on the radar of cities and towns, or of place names of note. The gazetteers who compile such data usually start with a minimum number, and we are probably well below that minimum, whatever it is. It does appear, however, as a census-designated place, but you would have to zoom in very close on a Google Earth satellite photo to attain the gratification that comes with knowing that we do exist. Just count the houses for yourself and you would agree that our hamlet is so little that it may not justify having a US Post Office that services more people from out of town than it does those who live within the “city” limits.
The US Postal Service first recognized Greenbackville back in 1874, perhaps one reason why postal services are still offered, but the days when oysters, crabs, and clams were shipped by rail to Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York are now in the remote past.
Our nearby bedroom community of approximately 1200 part-time and full-time residents is outside of town, but we inhabitants of Captain’s Cove have Greenbackville as our official mailing address. Thus, there is a point to be made regarding the spelling of that address. Friends and relatives have occasionally asked if we really did live in a town named Greenbackvile. About half of our correspondence comes with mailing labels that show the misspelled computer generated name of Greenbackvile, rather than Greenbackville.
We were always curious about why that improperly spelled address continues to persist. And it was not a case of us sharing the incorrect spelling; we have tried to get it corrected, but to no avail. Computers don’t seem to take to timely advice. If a key punch operator puts it in as Greenbackvile, it seems to stay that way for months and even years. Stale mail addressed to the former owner of our house is also addressed incorrectly as Greenbackvile; so it is not just us.
If it were not for the fact that Footloose Forester tried unsuccessfully for eleven years to have his erstwhile California bank change his mailing address, he might not make such an issue about a minor misspelling. What concerns him more is that when you get official correspondence with important messages that may or may not have legal ramifications, the authorities tend to side with the institutions that show an address that is different than the one you are claiming. That, also, has happened before. You initially provide the mailing address but getting it changed as an official correction is harder than it should be. It should not take years, but sometimes it does.
The mailing labels come unsolicited, but half of them have the wrong address
That brings us back to the vile in Greenbackvile. Just today, when Footloose Forester checked the on-line computer record of his application for a Virginia Fisherman Identification card, he discovered that although he typed in Greenbackville as our residence address, the PDF file that got printed out says that we live in Greenbackvile, Virginia. No mistake about it; if you compare your own input with the printed output coming out from Richmond where the Virginia offices are located, you will note that the spellings are different. Until the software routine in Richmond is corrected, we will always have something to laugh about when the dozens of pre-printed label packets and solicitations in our mailbox are addressed to the vile residents of Greenbackvile, Virginia. As is too common, mailing lists are frequently shared with commercial entities who are all too happy to perpetuate the mistake. These days we get literally hundreds of return address mailing labels that show our address in Greenbackvile, Virginia. The one shown below is too obvious to miss.
Publishers Clearinghouse is a big player, but always spells it wrong
If we are diligent and patient enough, we are capable of discovering larger truths that we were not actively seeking. Today in early May 2016 the Footloose Forester confirmed that at least three other residents of Captain's Cove receive mail addressed to them in Greenbackvile, VA. One woman who has lived here since last October has gotten Greenbackvile mail since her first day; an old timer who has been here over six years showed me his envelopes, several of which had the incorrect spelling; another four-year resident had the inconspicuous error; and the author of this little ditty is going on four years with no let up on incorrectly addressed mail that has commercial, governmental, and company origins.
UPDATE: 26 November 2016
Of course, there are those living here that deny having at least some of their mail come to them with the misspelled mailing address. The Footloose Forester challenged one woman by betting a quarter that the stack of junk mail she was holding had at least one item of bulk mail has was improperly addressed. My bet was a quarter, and she said that she would bet her life on it (that she didn't have any). Good thing that she didn't take that bet; she gets the same kinds of junk mail that we do. Finally, after a few more residents were challenged to take a close look at their very own mailing addresses, the Footloose Forester has decided to let the matter rest. Every single one of them had at least some mail addressed to them in Greenbackvile. As for the lady who bet her life on not having any at all, methinks that she owes the Footloose Forester a quarter.