July 17, 2022 – Sunday
Every now and then I like to share #RandomTamaraStories here on the website. This is mostly for my kids’ amusement, and for documenting my personal history for my family — but since I have this public space to share things, and since some of my readers find these vignettes interesting as well, I share them here. Click this link to see the other “Random Tamara Stories” here on the Lead Safe Mama website.
My buddy, Kermit
When I was going to college in New York City I was a big letter writer — my favorite “toy” was the professional electric typewriter that my mother had given me as a gift for high school graduation!
I realized (pretty quickly) that sending mail and packages to students in the dorms was unreliable, and delivery was often delayed. I also realized that my address would be changing each summer and each new college year (and possibly even each semester, if there was a change in my college housing for any reason) — so my already practical-solutions-minded 17-year-old-self thought it prudent at the time to secure a P.O. Box, in order to have a consistent address for work-related communications and other important communications during my time at college!
I went to school part of the time near Times Square (at NYU’s Circle-In-The-Square acting studios), and part of the time at or near Tisch HQ (721 Broadway) and I also babysat [my primary source of income in college] in SOHO…so the Prince Street Station Post Office – [which I learned, on my most recent trip to New York City, no longer exists, BTW!] – located on Green Street in SOHO – was the most convenient post office — as I was already walking by it 4 to 6 days a week, between school and work (one of my main babysitting gigs was nearby on Spring Street – see image above.)
When I signed up for my P.O. Box, I was assigned the address “P.O. Box 44, Prince Street Station, New York“. To my amazement, my new P.O. box immediately began receiving mail — with fan mail addressed to Kermit-The-Frog (THE Kermit-The-Frog)! Many days there would be no mail for me, but there WOULD be mail for Kermit! This was fan mail from all over the country and, in fact, all over the world.
I didn’t save any of it – I didn’t know what to do with it really – I think I opened a couple of the letters and saw they were fan mail for a frog, and discarded them. Of course, in retrospect I should have saved them…but trying to find the “person” to whom they were addressed (to forward them to “him”) seemed a bit ridiculous, since I knew for a fact that Kermit-The-Frog was not a real entity, and would therefore not be able to read his fan mail.
I was curious, however, as to why I was receiving Kermit’s fan mail — but since this was before the Internet was really a thing (c. 1987/88/89), I didn’t have an easy means – nor the time – to do a bunch of sleuthing in an effort to figure out this very strange puzzle. It was not until later that I learned that Kermit Love (one of the original creators of the Muppets, who coincidentally shared a first name with “Mr. The-Frog”) was the person who previously had my P.O. Box # (Number 44 at Prince Street Station)!
Kermit Love, while mythical in stature to some, was – of course – a real person — and it made a whole lot more sense that the address had previously belonged to Kermit Love than to Kermit–The-Frog.
Apparently back in the day [again — before The Internet] someone out in the world must have found out that P.O. Box 44 belonged to someone named “Kermit”, who was associated with the muppets – but they were apparently not familiar with the fact that Kermit Love was a person, so they assumed the “Kermit” associated with the P.O. Box was “Kermit-The-Frog“! This “fact” must have been published somewhere at some time prior to September of 1987 — possibly in a magazine article, perhaps, targeted at Muppets fans? or Sesame Street fans?
…And thus, all those folks were earnestly sending their Kermit-The-Frog fan mail (erroneously) to yours truly, Tamara Budgett, an acting student at New York University!
And that’s the short (and maybe not that-interesting) story of how it was that for awhile back in college, I used to get Kermit-The-Frog’s fan mail!
Random Take-away / Parenting Advice:
When your kids move away from home, make sure to suggest they get a P.O. Box at the local post office, so they have a consistent mailing address for important things throughout their college years. [I have gotten local P.O. boxes for each of my older sons (as a gift) when they each started college!] …And – who knows – perhaps some mysterious mail might show up there — and they will have an intriguing puzzle of their own to solve, too!