Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Pollee Ann and Mr. Zip

Did you ever have a Pollyanna? A secret pal back in the days when mail traveled only in paper envelopes with postage?

As I was going through one of my Boxes under the Bed, I found this quaint gem sent to me at college in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. The charming card is signed Pollee Ann, obviously a reference to the main character in the children’s book series Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter, who finds the glad in everything. Though she was tragically orphaned and sent to live in the home of her gruff Aunt Polly, 11-year-old Pollyanna has come to represent eternal optimism as she spreads cheer, sometimes secretly, all around town.

1962_0314_St Patrick Card

My secret pal spells her name “Pollee Ann,” an interesting sobriquet for Pollyanna. And the card reached me in spite of the fact there is no street address or zip code, not introduced into the postal system until 1963. The term ZIP, an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, was chosen to suggest that “mail travels more efficiently, and therefore more quickly (zipping along), when senders use the code in the postal address.”

Image: Wikipedia
Image: Wikipedia

Have a Zippy St. Patrick’s Day!

Killarney Shamrock_modified_02

Some celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by baking/eating cupcakes or cookies with green icing or wearing a shamrock pin. How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Is there Irish in your heritage?

Coming next: The Nook, a Different Definition


40 thoughts on “Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Pollee Ann and Mr. Zip

  1. I just reread Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery last summer and was struck by how similar the two books/characters, Pollyanna and Anne… are. They started a popular genre back in the day of writing works where young girls are the heroines. I do not have Irish in my heritage but I do have Scotch. My mother’s family immigrated from Scotland to Scotch Settlement, New Brunswick. LM Montgomery was from Prince Edward Island not far from there. I’m kind of answering your question by coming in through the side door. Happy St. Patrick’s week to you, Marian.


    1. I like entrances by the side-door, Georgette, especially you are the first commenter today. Little House on the Prairie also comes to mind, and further back, Alcott’s Little Women. How interesting that you can trace your ancestry on a path from Scotland to the brave new world.


  2. How sweet that you received a St. Patrick’s Day card from Pollee Ann! Did you ever find out who she was?
    I don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but if you, enjoy that green food! 🙂


    1. I’m certain I found out who she was, but I don’t remember now. It had to be someone from my church: I suspect Miriam Hess.

      My elementary teacher/aunt always made a big deal about any holiday. Looking back, it seems odd that a Mennonite teacher in a predominately German-Swiss community would be so bowled over by St. Patrick’s Day. (Yes, one year she had us wear green bowler hats.) She just couldn’t suppress her love of beauty, color, and pageantry of any kind.

      No, I don’t particularly like green icing – ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved the Pollyanna books when I was growing up. I loved her positive attitude. We took a walk along a marina the other day and found a boat called Pollyanna! Neither of us are Irish, but we will enjoy the festivities here in Spain as there are many Irish people living in this part of the coast. Wish I could include a picture on here of the boat. Perhaps I can email it to you.


    1. Yes, there is a whole genre of wholesome books extolling spunky girls with wholesome character. Little House on the Prairie comes to mind here and earlier, Alcott’s Little Women.

      I am sure you are reveling in all the bright color and sounds of Spain. Thanks for sending the photo – and thanks for commenting too, Darlene.


  4. Love your keepsake card complete with the envelope and postmark, in light of no zip code! Secret friends were a lot of fun–haven’t participated in that kind of thing for many years! This year our pastoral care team has planned a little party for residents of the Presbyterian retirement community who go to our church (which is quite a few) so I had the fun of picking out decorations and party favors on the church’s dime.) One planner said to make sure not to slight the “orange” (Protestant) part of the Irish flag so I bought orange beads too. For what that’s worth!!


    1. Your church is fortunate to have you on the planning committee. And you know these seniors will love the orange and green decor – and the opportunity to socialize. Thanks for your educating us about the flag of Ireland; I had no clue there was a panel of orange with the white and green: Flag of Ireland

      India has the same colors on its flag with the stripes displaying horizontally rather than vertically like the Irish flag.


  5. Good morning Marian
    You never cease to amaze me. I’ve always heard the term Pollyanna and participated in it at work on different occasions but never knew the story behind it. I have to find the books for my grandchildren after I have read them lol. Here in Chicago today we have a parade. I no longer run to it but my children still do. Nikko is home on spring break and left last night to the city to celebrate with friends. The girls are going to meet up with him at the parade. Two of my grandchildren are going camp for the weekend. Waiting for Pablo and Imani to wake up to go out. I feel like a child right now waiting.
    Have a nice day/. Gloria


  6. I love holidays. I always wore green on St Patrick’s Day but only so I wouldn’t get pinched! I do have Irish in my roots. My great-grandparents on my dad’s side came from Ireland. 🙂


      1. Yes, Archer is an Irish name or Scottish. I was referring to my dad’s family. My great-grandparents, William and Jane (Ramsey) Williamson came from Ireland. They buried their first baby in Belfast, Ireland.


  7. Marian — This post brought back fond memories of having a secret pal, too! And it makes me remember how much I enjoy receiving real, honest-to-goodness, handwritten letters. Extremely few and far between these days.

    You’ll have to wait until Tuesday for the answer to your question, “How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?”

    As to “Is there Irish in your heritage?” — waaaaaaaaaay back in the day, the ancient people known as Picts were what today are known as Irish and Scottish; they share a heritage. As my folks (Scottish) would say, the only difference is in the last names: the Irish are Mc’s and the Scottish are Mac’s (not always, but a good majority of the time)…


  8. At school, teachers brought in a pot luck lunch to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day during a professional development day. There were plenty of green cupcakes and Irish-themed food.

    On Tuesday, Dave and I will have the recipe I featured about St. Patrick’s Day – mustard roasted chicken, carrots and spring cabbage. Have a happy day, Marian. 😉


    1. Here in Jacksonville where there is a hefty Irish-American population, the grocery stories are touting specials on an “Irish” menu of corned beef and cabbage. Also, Irish Shepherd’s pie is another stand-by. Somehow I don’t like green in my food unless it’s of the naturally green vegetable variety.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I just glanced at Geogette’s reply (I never read replies until after I have written mine because I don’t want to be influenced by anyone else )but Geogette’ mentioned ‘Anne of Greengables ‘ . I loved Anne ‘ with an e’ so much but I’ve never read any Pollyanna …must give them a go
    My grandmother was Irish ,but I have no idea about my family before her , be interesting to find out .
    I don’t normally celebrate St Patrick ‘s Day ,other than a glass of the ‘black stuff ‘, but this year I might make an exception.
    Where I used to live in Birmingham there was always a Celebration on St Patrick’s Day Birmingham had a large Irish community.
    Happy St Patrick’s Day to you and yours 😀


    1. I always look forward to your “take” on the topic. You know we have a Birmingham here in the state of Alabama – lots of family names of Irish origin there too. Happy St. Pat’s Day!


  10. There’s a lot of Irish in my heritage and I married an Irishman! And we’ll celebrate with someone yummy! (I used to colour my milk green but Little Guy thinks that’s gross. I should do it again)! 🙂


    1. As you may know, I live in a neighborhood with Irish street names – Leprechaun Court, Emerald Island Circle, and so on. There are a few Irish families here, and we did have a community social two years ago with a green theme. I have 1-2 shamrock pins, but have never dyed milk green. I agree with Little Guy – it probably looks gross.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Many Americans go wild over St. Patrick’s Day, even those that don’t have an Irish heritage. It’s deeply embedded in our culture and their are parties, parades, and special observances all over the country. Any excuse to celebrate! I don’t think I have a drop of Irish (or English) blood for that matter. My ancestors emigrated from Switzerland and Germany in the 1730s.

      We have Shauns and Seans here, but I don’t hear the name Declan very often. I always enjoy your comments here, Marie.


  11. Loved this thank you Marian! Pollee Ann – perfectly whimsical.
    Interesting re ZIP standing for what it does. No Irish on our side … Scots yes … and the top of the day to you …


    1. I’m so glad you like the topics, Susan. Though we are hemispheres apart, we have much in common, including a language we share with Scots, Irish, Welsh – and English, of course!


  12. Marian , it sounds like we have the same background.

    I have a pen pal named Monica and she lives in Zurich. She is a niece of my mother’s cousin Elsa , cousin being quite removed. We were set up back when I was 14 so that she could practice her English and I , my German. We still write, though of course by email now.

    We have Secret Sisters at church…We are to pray for and encourage her throughout the year. We have a mailroom at church where everyone has a slot to slip in notes, treats etc.


  13. How fortunate you have a Swiss friend with whom you can sharpen language skills. One of my former students has a friend in France, and every Friday they speak French together. (If you don’t use it, you lose it!)

    Yes, our pen pals, and Pollee Ann’s turned into Secret Sisters. I hope you keep up this tradition at church – a personal note of encouragement goes a long way to batting down the blues. Thanks for commenting here, Athanasia.


  14. What a lovely story Marian, and surprising that you still had that letter. I am a mutt, mixed heritage of Irish, Scottish, Russian. Lol, it makes for one heck of a temper. I hope you enjoyed St. Patty’s Day. 🙂


    1. And that temper (I’m going by what you say here!) has given you courage and resolve like no other.

      My nod to St. Party’s Day this year was a leprechaun wreath on my front door. I even forgot to wear green, but no one pinched me!

      Liked by 1 person

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