Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Zip a Dee Doo Dah

Can you believe it?  It is July again.  Seems only, oh, a year ago that it was July.

And what is it with Zippy?  Well, and I know you will want to celebrate this major advancement in communications, the Zip Code system was introduced by the United States Postal Service on July 1, 1963.

I can remember a day in which the Post Office would deliver your mail if it was addressed to the right town (okay, if the town were not really big).  Now they will not deliver your mail if the street number is one digit off the correct one.  I can also remember when the carrier walked his route twice a day to see that your mail was delivered in a timely manner.

The Service makes rules even they cannot follow.  I have a post office box, by choice-- I also have a valid street address.  One of the rules, posted prominently, is that the clerk is prohibited from handing mail across the counter, "don't forget your key."  Now stick with me.  If you were to address a package to me, the size of which would preclude its being stuffed into my p.o box, the mail clerk will put a little orange note into my box, which I am to take to the clerk, who in turn will hand me the package over the counter.  See what I am saying here?

Well, I guess I see the world through jaundiced eyes, and I am easily amused.  I am so fortunate.

Oh, yes.  I can also remember when a first-class letter could be mailed for three cents, and a postcard cost a penny.  But then, you did know that I am pretty old.

(Also, I know the guy's name is Mr. Zip, but you will excuse me if I continue to refer to him as "Zippy.")


Vee said...

Has it really been that long? When zip codes came into being, I was living where we had a PO box and the local USPS establishment was manned by friendly personnel.

It's interesting that businesses have now taken ownership of zip codes and ask customers to provide them as a part of transactions.

vanilla said...

Vee, the days of our lives are swifter than, er, ah, a 60mbps download.

Sharkbytes said...

I remember when we got that little postcard in the mail explaining how it would work. I too remember the 3 cent stamp (purple with Liberty on it, I think) and penny postcards. Half the stuff from my insurance company has East instead of West on it, and I don't get it (grrr), yet Google can't seem to tell the difference and insists I live east of town although I've corrected it three times. The PO WAS a friendly place, back then

Sharkbytes said...

Hey, I wrote an essay in 1993, The Pup and the Post Office. I've not yet been able to sell it. But it's all about this, before our town built one of those stupid square brick and glass buildings.

Jim Grey said...

A family story says that when my grandparents were first married, and grandpa was a telephone lineman, he would send Grandma a postcard in the morning saying what he wanted for dinner, and it would be delivered in the afternoon, and she would have that dinner on the table when he came home.

And now they want to discontinue Saturday service and maybe Tuesday too.

But really: would we miss it? I don't think I would. I get 75% advertising mail, 15% bills, and 10% small packages and cards/letters. All of this could easily wait one day to be delivered with no loss of quality of life for me.

Grace said...

I remember two digit mail codes - my address was Queens Village, 29, NY and that changed to Queens Village, NY 11429.

I remember back in 1966 I had to mail something to my boss's home and the address was simply his name and town and state...don't remember if it needed a zip code - probably. But I was impressed at the time that no house number was needed (He lived in Connecticut).

I like getting mail but we rarely get any other than junk - we check our mail box every other day, often just as an afterthought if we are passing through the lobby of our building.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, not a fan of steel-and-glass modern, eh? I remember a 3 cent purple with Jefferson in right profile, and a 3 cent purple with American Eagle "Win the War." There were others as well.

Jim, I like your grandparents story!

If I drop a letter in the slot this morning, it leaves town at five p.m., rides to Indy, (Greenwood, I think), and if I am lucky it will be delivered to local addressee at nine tomorrow morning. Or maybe the next day. Oops, no dinner tonight.

For me, M W F delivery would be adequate. But I'd miss my daily bike ride to the P.O.

vanilla said...

Grace, my address in the day of two-digit zones was 63 W. Dravus, Seattle 99, Wash. It would now be Seattle, WN 98119.

A very high percentage of the stuff I remove from my P.O. box goes directly into the waste bin by the exit.

Secondary Roads said...

I remember those stamps well.

Isn't your little guy one of the Do-Dah brothers?

vanilla said...

Chuck, well, I've heard of the Dooby brothers. The little guy's image was on the first postcard mailed to customers at inception of Zip code service.