Breaking news: an orca was calved on Bainbridge Island last week in the Point White area!
Several lucky residents were on hand to witness the rare event. Homeowner John Green, artist
Travis Forman and baby Mai are doing great. A constant flow of well-wishers has stopped by
each day since last Tuesday to meet Mai and take photos.
This wondrous event was the result of a true friend of the Fabulous Mailbox movement saying,
“I can’t be your friend and not have a cool mailbox!” He commissioned driftwood artist Travis
Forman to create something special which reflects his love of the Puget Sound, it’s marine life
and suited his waterfront home. Travis has crated driftwood yard art for many Bainbridge Island
residents including the driftwood giraffe down the street, but this was his first mailbox.
A tour of John’s home subtly reveals his affection for wildlife and found objects – a large piece
of driftwood resembling a fish is mounted to the entryway wall, an eagle crafted from a piece of
found wood sits on a pedestal and starfish and sea life décor accent the guest bedrooms. Other
fish art can be found in his yard.
Baby Mai is named after John’s letter carrier. Mai has delivered the neighborhood mail for
many years and was there to help comfort John last year when his wife passed away. “She
came in and gave me a hug, it meant a lot,” he says. John also relays that it’s not uncommon for
Mai to leave little notes in the mailbox like, “no mail today!” On the day the Orca mailbox was
installed John left Mai a card inside to let her know it was her namesake.
In a 2018 study, Orcas were found to be gregarious and social, ranking high in humanlike traits
such as friendliness cheerfulness and affection. In a 2022 study, John Green ranked in the high
upper range in those same characteristics, and it would seem so does his letter carrier Mai. A
rank correlational coefficient which likely (even if, subconsciously) factored into his having
selected an Orca for his mailbox design – kindred spirits!
Denise Stoughton is currently writing a gift book highlighting the curiously creative mailboxes of Bainbridge Island and the stories behind them. Traversing the island in her white VW Beetle in search of the island’s most interesting mailboxes, she’s become known as “The Mailbox Lady” and has even been mistaken for a mail thief. Arbiter of all things postal, when she learned of the famous Kindred Spirit Mailbox of Bird Island, NC she enlisted the help of the Bainbridge Island Park and Recreation District to install a Kindred Spirit Mailbox in upper Fort Ward Park. Stoughton says her quirky mailbox obsession has brought her closer to the community and is “crazy fun”. Follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook and to purchase mailbox related gift items visit https://www.uniquelybainbridge.com/shop.