It’s not perfect, but it is a treasure
The United States Postal Service and I go back a longways. My first memories of U.S. Mail are from 1951. I was three-years-old and we lived on a farm on the south side of the gravel road that was the Iowa-Minnesota state line.
Though we lived in Iowa our mailing address was Frost, Minnesota, which was the closest post office with rural delivery. At age three I did no mailing, of course, but I remember family talk about the unusual situation.
By 1952 we were living on a farm in central Iowa and my mother occasionally assigned me, by now a four-year-old, to go to our rural mailbox to fetch the mail.
In early 1953 we moved into town and received our mail in a lock box at the Post Office. Some time later, my mother taught me how to twist the dials to open our lockbox and again I was the family mail fetcher.
Somewhere in this time period I learned to write letters and began corresponding with cousins and grandmothers. I also began to respond to ads in comic books and looked forward to responses in the mailbox.
As a gullible young teen I responded to a comic book ad for a ventriloquism course. I sent the required 25-cents and a few weeks later was excited to find a response in the mailbox.
Though I was expecting more than a thin, single envelope, I excitedly opened it to find the entire ventriloquism course on one sheet of paper. Nearly 60 years have passed so please allow me to paraphrase the ventriloquism instructions: “Do not move your lips when you talk.”
That was the day I learned about “rip offs.”
As one gets older the amount of mail he or she receives increases. Soon enough the mail included bills and the mail box was no longer as exciting as it once was.
Then comes job-related mail and as one’s responsibilities increase so does the volume of mail. For much of my career the daily pile of mail seemed to take an inordinate amount of time but I tackled it responsibly.
By the time I retired, e-mail had replaced a lot of what we had begun to call “snail mail.”
After I retired in 2014 my daily mail volume began to increase. Demographically-specific mail lists are hot properties in the marketing world and apparently when you retire some organizations think you’re a hot prospect. My daily mail these days is primarily solicitations for donations, invitations to free meals followed by a sales presentation on investment services and offers of a free demonstration of new hearing aid technology, pre-arranged funeral services and life insurance for senior citizens to cover the cost of a funeral.
I’ve had my quarrels with the U.S. Postal Service over the years and issues continue to pop up from time-to-time. However, our nation’s Postal Service ties our vast nation together in a way nothing else can. And at a price that is a bargain.
I remember two-penny postcards and three-cent postage stamps. I also recognize that the federal minimum wage at that time was 75-cents an hour.
Today you can mail a first-class letter weighing one-ounce or less to a friend living as far away as Hawaii for just 55-cents. And it will be there in a matter of days.
On a recent Monday I mailed a package to my daughter in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The postage totaled $5.05. Now, I don’t lay out a “fiver” easily but I considered that to be a good deal. It was scheduled for delivery on the following Thursday.
Our Postal Service is not perfect. Nothing on this planet is perfect but the United States Postal Service is a national treasure.
Among the many victims of the current pandemic is the U.S. Postal Service. The resulting decline in mailings has put the Postal Service in a financial squeeze at a time when more Americans than ever are depending on post offices ̶ especially in underserved rural areas ̶ to deliver necessary supplies including medicine.
There’s talk in Washington, DC, these days about defunding the United States Postal Service. Stupidity runs rampant in Washington and this idea of eliminating the Postal Service takes the stupidity prize!