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The U.S. Postal Service is delivering more than mail these days to one little North Wheeling girl.
Vivienne Slack, a Wheeling Country Day School student, has struck up a “penship” with her mail carrier, Larry Lapinsky.
She notices him from her school desk, which is set up in the front room of their North Main Street home.
Because schools are closed, all three Slack children, Henry, 8, Vivienne, 10, and Victor, 12, participate in online Zoom classes. They are spaced out throughout the house, mom Heather Slack explained. That cuts down on distractions.
Vivienne’s first letter to Larry said, “You’re awesome.” He replied, writing, “Thank you very much, Larry” at the bottom of her letter.
Her second note was a little longer, more of an introduction. Larry replied that it was “nice to know people appreciate what you do.”
And then Vivienne was gone for a couple of days, staying at her dad’s house. Her next note offered an apology, “Sorry I couldn’t write for a couple of days, but I just wanted to say, you writing back to me makes me feel happy.”
Larry replied that Vivi’s writing “brightens my day.”
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Vivi also asked what Larry’s favorite color is … he responded that he is “colorblind.”
Vivi is the one at the house who grabs the mail every day, Heather said, noting that her daughter really enjoys the exchange with Larry.
Last Friday, he left a pack of M&Ms for Vivienne, with their exchange. This letter discussed Vivi’s chalk drawing she made for Larry on the sidewalk in front of their home.
Lapinsky is retired from the U.S. Army and has been a mail carrier for about five years, noted Jill Walters, strategic communications specialist for the USPS Western Pennsylvania District.
“The humbleness of [Larry] is heartwarming. … We are so proud of him, so proud of all our workers,” Walters said. Larry is just one of about 630,000 postal workers in the U.S., she pointed out. “Everyone is equally important. .. And we just keep going.
“A lot of people see the mail carrier come each day, and they think, ‘We’ve got this,'” Walters said. “The simple thank yous and the outpouring of appreciation from the community are overwhelming.”
It’s the little things these days, in the midst of COVID-19. Appreciating those around us. Making connections. Learning new things.
And Vivienne and Larry certainly are pushing the envelope.
• Having spent nearly 38 years as reporter, bureau chief, lifestyles editor and managing editor at The Times Leader, and design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Phyllis Sigal now serves as Weelunk’s managing editor. She lives in Wheeling with her husband Bruce Wheeler. Along with their two children, son-in-law and two grandchildren, food, wine, travel, theater and music are close to their hearts.