Friday, August 27, 2010

Old letters

This summer I sorted through boxes of old letters, mostly from my mother. Some were very old, before my time, before she married my father and came to Danvers. Some were from Danvers (actually, Hathorne, the address we always used for postal service). A batch from the 1960's were written to me while I was away at college or off on a summer job.

I'm struck by the frequency of letters --sometimes several in one week-- and the evidence of excellent postal service.   The postmark on the lower envelope pictured here, for example, confirms that my mother did post the letter as she intended when she wrote inside,

   "I'll take this letter via horseback down to the corner store mailbox and hope it gets to you on Monday."  

   She dated her letter  "Sunday morning July 15, 1962"
   The postmark reads  "DANVERS  JUL 15  2 PM 1962 MASS."

On a Sunday?   For 4 cents?    I wonder which corner store she meant.

I don't have proof that I really received that letter on Monday, especially since I was working on an island 10 miles off the coast of New Hampshire, dependent on one boat a day bringing mail and supplies.  But it's clear that my mother and I sometime exchanged two or more letters in a week, so 1-day service was what we took for granted in those days.

You can read the published version of this post at My mother's letters and the Postal Service (Danvers Herald, September 2, 2010).


Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy-Your mention of your mother riding the letter to the corner store on horseback triggered a memory of her stopping in my parents' driveway to chat as she rode around. I would also see her riding the trails in the woods on the Nichols property as I roamed with my friends. My Dad's garden was a beneficiary of your mother's horse, as she would let my Dad "muck out" the paddock. We would back our old GMC pickup to the gate, clean up the paddock area, and spread it on the garden--we had prolific green beans!

I am trying to remember the name of one of her horses---was it Sherry, or something similar?

Paul Clay

Sandy said...

Hi Paul,
Yes, Sherry was the name of her horse. Good memory!
Thanks for writing. You've given me an idea for my next column...