Heroic Postal Carriers

Modern day heroes, including heroic postal carriers, have a way of emerging during catastrophic times. Ordinary men and women, going about the daily business of life and work, step up to the plate to perform heroic acts during the most trying of events. This fall has presented many life changing challenges, as well as opportunities for such heroism. Hurricanes and floods battered and inundated Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and beyond. Earthquakes in central and southern Mexico shattered buildings and lives. Closer to home, in the San Francisco Bay Area, wildfires are…

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Royal Mail Delivers Your Letters – and Packages, Too!
Letterbox pillar, St. Ives

Royal Mail Delivers Your Letters – and Packages, Too!

My recent visit to the United Kingdom would not have been complete without checking out the Royal Mail. Picturesque letterboxes led me to believe that a sweet, old-fashioned post office would be just around the corner, but that turned out not to be the case. The post office in St. Ives (Cambridgeshire) is co-located in the back of WHSmith, which is, in this location, a news and sundry store. One can purchase any one of three daily newspapers, a bottle of water, an umbrella, a Cadbury’s (now owned by Hershey) chocolate bar and various other snacks…

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Banner Year for Stamps
Protect Pollinators stamps

Banner Year for Stamps

If you like to put something pretty, creative or unique on your envelopes, this has been a banner year for stamps. From the transformative Total Solar Eclipse stamp to the newly released Protect Pollinators or Sharks Forever stamps, the U.S. Postal Service has a Forever stamp for you. My personal preferences for stamps include nature, animals, art, and literature. Fortunately, many of stamps issued this year, or yet to be issued in 2017, fit in at least one of these categories, and often more than one. Following four years of drought in California, our yard was…

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Profile: Bud Bresnahan, Postal Inspector
Rincon Center July 2017 photo by Murray Schneider

Profile: Bud Bresnahan, Postal Inspector

Francis Gerald (“Bud”) Bresnahan grew up in Pacifica, California, son of a postal inspector.  His father, also Bud (Francis X.) Bresnahan, started work for the U.S. Postal Service shortly after he returned from his wartime service in the Marine Corps in 1946. Working for the post office was an excellent post-war job.  As a high school graduate, Bud (Francis X.) worked in the shipyards until he enlisted in 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  He was stationed near Quanico Marine base, Virginia, and later, Tientsin, China.  In 1943 he married his sweetheart, Charlotte, in Washington,…

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UPS Tragedy Strikes Close to Home

(Three United Parcel Service (UPS) drivers were shot and killed on June 14 at the UPS distribution center in San Francisco, CA, a tragedy perpetrated by a disgruntled driver, who then turned the gun on himself). by Murray Schneider Mike Lefiti was a bear of a man and a cub of a boy. Tragically killed on June 14, a victim of a senseless and inexplicable shooting at the UPS Distribution Center on Potrero Hill, Big Mike, as I called him when he was a 46-year old-adult and a16-year-old teenager, was my UPS driver and my American…

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A Trip to the National Postal Museum
Historic postal rail car, National Postal Museum

A Trip to the National Postal Museum

A recent trip to Washington D.C. provided me with the opportunity to revisit the National Postal Museum.   One of the Smithsonian’s treasured institutions, the National Postal Museum, conveniently located next to Union Station, is free and open daily to the public. It is a treasure for children and families, philatelists, and anyone who is interested in U.S. history and the role of the post office in the development of the country. It is through the National Postal Museum that I learned the story of Owney, the scruffy dog from Albany, New York who became infatuated with…

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Off the Grid

Increasingly, my reading and research are dependent on electrical power and our cable infrastructure. I check my devices, a smart phone, tablet and laptop, regularly to catch up on email and social media, and to see what is happening in the news. I often wonder how we managed before the Internet, when things were off the grid. When our country was first settled, mail service was spotty and intermittent. The methods of delivery improved only because the British wanted to keep tabs on the colonies, and, most importantly, to collect taxes. Back then, people warmed themselves…

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Cherish Your Valentines
Window display Patrick and Company February 2017

Cherish Your Valentines

Love is in bloom again as we approach Valentine’s Day.  Paper hearts and romantic cards are flourishing in all manner of stores - card shops, stationery stores, office supply, grocery, art, and drug stores; wherever, in fact, greeting cards are sold. So, get out your valentines, heart stamps and red pens and be ready to write some notes and lick some envelopes. Many people consider Valentine’s Day a modern day plot by card-makers, card shops, and other retailers to make more money. The cynics rue yet another symbol of commercialization. But a store-bought card is not…

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Magical Mailboxes

It’s here again already - National Letter Writing Day is Sunday, Oct. 9. And what a pleasure it is when a real letter arrives in the mailbox. A letter separate and distinct from the usual junk mail that flows through the mail stream, which is now exponentially increased by the proliferation of election-related ads and flyers. Decades past, if one had a mailbox at the post office, the front of the box might have been made of glass, especially if the post office was very old. These mailboxes often included a combination lock, though usually a…

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Love Letters from Wisconsin Lumber Camps

By Catherine Roberts Life in the Wisconsin lumber camps in the 1920s, revealed through letters written to my Aunt Lois from 1924 – 1925, was not easy. The letters, preserved for nearly a century in a Milady of Quality Chocolate Covered Brazil Nuts box, tell a story about the everyday news and concerns of this long-ago way of life Aunt Lois, of course, was young and pretty, but not all of the letters addressed to her are love letters. One letter, postmarked January 14, 1924, is from a lumber camp outside Hannibal, Wisconsin. My aunt must…

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