Mail strom

Gather round kiddies, Old Uncle Ben is going to regale you with another one of his endless tales of the good old days. Please turn off your cell phones and pagers.

When the folks suburbanized in the early 50s, there was a cluster of mailboxes in a mid-intersection island at the bottom of the street. The old man hammered a mailbox to a post after carefully inscribing our identity on its galvanized exterior.

Twice a day, that’s right! — twice a day, the mailman would come by and pick up and deliver. We knew him well enough to leave him a bottle of booze on Christmas, and you could send something off in the morning and get a response in the afternoon! It was like email!

You could write on the envelope “John Smith, Town” and the post office would deliver it! I have a letter in my files that has a note from the postmaster on the front apologizing for late delivery of a letter, written and mailed the day before!

This is making my lumbago flare up.

Today, I might get some mail. I am convinced the ever-changing array of mail carriers that work this street wait until enough mail has piled up for my address before bothering to make the 10-foot walk to the door. When they do make the trek, there is never a thing of any value awaiting me. Several slick invitations to save money I don’t have on things I don’t need, bills and some letters for someone else entirely at another address entirely.

Some youngsters may suggest that the author of this screed is a bit of a fuddy-duddy. I am well aware that 99% of all mail-related transactions and communications have been replaced by modern technology. I bought a book of “forever” stamps a couple of years ago and it is taking me “forever” to use them up. I might send out one envelope a month these days.

The real problem is for future historians, wanting to write biographies and describe our current world: all of it, our letters, our photos, our bills, our bank accounts are stored on untested electronic files. Subject to crashing and deleting and destroying with the mere spark of static electricity.

We should all be grateful for newspapers, like this one, for creating a place to collect ideas and correspondence. Set your browser to

Your check is in the mail.

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