In our early years, we would send out a little green covered booklet each fall to everyone on our mailing list. In these greenies, I chatted about what was happening at the farm, and then my kids decorated all the pages.
I hate fake kid drawings like the ones always used on TV shows. A real kid’s drawing has a different and most wonderful feeling entirely. I was so lucky to have little people there to draw flowers, cats, dogs, owls, fairies, elves, gnomes, princesses and angels.
Back then, 5,000 of the greenies would get the job done. When the greenies arrived back from a local mom and pop printer, we would print out our mailing list in zip code order. Then we would sort the greenies into zip code bundles.
Some staff loved the sorting. William, even as a tiny child, wanted in on the job as somehow it made complete sense to his brain. Lynn Tidman, our long time label writer, loathed the whole process. She was from Bermuda where her childhood address had been as simple as, “Lynn Weaver, Paget, Bermuda.” Nonetheless, Lynn and everyone else would stick a mailing label on each greenie, then I would hand them another zip code sorted label group that I had cut out from the sheets of mailing labels.
This PROPER ZIP CODE SORTING was both required to do a bulk mailing and also saved us on postage. I was encouraged frequently by the postmaster general to attend “Sorting Workshops.” This sounded like as much fun as cleaning the grout in the shower, so I did not attend. Instead we leaned on my skills with the scissors.
My cut out groups of labels made up several different kinds of bundles. Two categories of bundles got us the biggest postal discount. When there were ten or more greenies going to the exact same zip code this kind of bundle would get a little D sticker. For bundles of ten or more with the same first three zip code numbers it was a lime green 3. These were the most fun to bundle, the least expensive to mail and also revealed to us where our GHF friends clustered.
Sometimes we would not know we had an enormous group of GHF friends from the same geographic area until we saw all the D’s and 3’s. We would be in awe that we had so many friends in far off places like North Myrtle Beach, SC 29597 or Sante Fe, NM 87501 or Boulder, CO 80301.
Most of the address labels were not in big zip code clusters and would have to be sorted in a rather time intensive way. Our post mistress would give me a list of regional post office distribution centers and the zip codes which each center was responsible for. These centers are called ADCs, short for Area Distribution Centers. Bundling by ADCs was harder to do because the zip codes for centers often jumped all over the place and our computer just spit out the mailing labels in numerical order. Perhaps if I had attended a sorting workshop I would have gotten a better zip code program. I will never know.
To give an example of the complexity of sorting by ADCs, our local ADC receives mail for zip codes beginning with 035-037, 050-054,056-059. To prepare greenies for mailing to our ADC I would have to hunt around all the mailing list sheets for all the mailing labels that fit this category and cut them into sections and paper clip them all together. Then happy staff like Lynn would apply the labels to the newsletters and bundle them appropriately.
Many ADC had considerably more bizarre collections of zip codes and so the paper clipped mailing labels would have a lot of pieces. These bundles would get a big fat A short for ADC when they were assembled together. We would also give ourselves A’s for a job well done.
After several days of sticking mailing labels on greenies and bundling CORRECTLY LYNN, we would get excited about very random things like the wonder of our postal forefathers choosing 01776 for Sudbury, MA or 10000 for NY, NY and 20000 for Wash. DC.
Since zip codes go east to west, so did we, and we would know we were close to the end of our mailing journey when we got to Honolulu, HI 96818 and Anchorage, AK 99501. Among other things, we would learn once and for all that AK was Alaska not Arkansas. We had blown through Arkansas DAYS before.
By the time we hit Alaska, our office would be piled to the ceiling with CORRECTLY SORTED, THANK YOU VERY MUCH LYNN bundles tucked into mailing sleeves. There was a certain satisfaction to filling the hundreds of mailing sleeves the post office supplied us with.
When we took the mailing to the post office it would take several trips in our truck to bring in all the sleeves. Since people in our village think we are up in the hills growing wacky tobbacky and dancing around in flowing gowns, there were always a lot of surprised faces at the post office when we dropped off the mailing. You could almost hear folks say to themselves, “What the heck, they actually DO something up there.”
I would have to give the postmistress the tally of how many newsletters we were mailing and exactly what kind of bundles we had made. She would have to weigh the whole mailing to check that I was giving her accurate numbers. It always felt like a party when the numbers jived. Once we actually brought champagne to celebrate with our postmistress!
I didn’t see the end of the greenies until it was upon us. Our mailing list got too large (it is more than 35,000 strong now), Ben’s ONLY conversation with me was about the need for me to start blogging and my other children no longer wanted to draw fairy pictures for me.
I still miss the mailings though. We had a fun time getting them to you. Well, every one had fun except Lynn.
The kids seemed to even know the names of the Green Hope Farm gnomes.
Emily loved frogs so they were well represented.
Here someone had fun illustrating a piece on holes.
Will got into the illustrating business when he was very young!
Lots of Angel art, of course!
Emily loved owls as well as frogs.
Elves apparently like ice cream as much as Sheehan children.
Here’s one perfectly expressing how Essences shine!
This was the time we got fancy and put a stamped postcard in with the mailing asking if people wanted to stay on our mailing list. Only problem? We didn’t ask people to tell us their name and address so we got hundreds of cards back saying “Yes I want to stay on the mailing list” but we didn’t know who the cards were from!
Lots of cats
Should have known the greenies days were numbered when someone drew a dog on the computer!