Mail That Falls from Trees

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Coconuts that are shipped in packages are one thing. But a coconut that is the mail piece itself is not a common sight. In 1944 Ray Boudet, a member of the 99th Naval Construction Battalion, Company A, was stationed in the Pacific Theater when he decided to send his wife a coconut.

The coconut found its way to Marie Boudet’s mailbox with 37-cents in postage having paid for the trip on a tag Ray wired onto it. The return address indicates that it was sent by naval ship, care of the San Francisco fleet post office.

On the back of the coconut Ray carved his name and Marie’s in a heart, pierced with an arrow. The front of the coconut bears Marie’s Springfield, Massachusetts, address. When she donated the coconut to the Smithsonian she enclosed a note stating that “this coconut has lasted a long time, luckily our marriage has also lasted as long. We married in 1942 when we were both 19 years old. . . . My husband and I have been one of the lucky couples. He returned safely from the war and we have been married now for 53 years.”