Riding the Train
BMT Q Car Number 1612C (1908, rebuilt 1938), New York Transit Museum

Riding the Train

BMT Q Car Number 1612C (1908, rebuilt 1938), New York Transit Museum Riding the train is one of the great joys for my three-year old grandson.   Specifically, he likes to ride the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) F train, although the G train might do in a pinch.  The F train runs from Jamaica, Queens to Coney Island, Brooklyn, and my grandson is familiar with every Brooklyn stop.  As he pushes his toy trains across the table or floor, he mimics the automated train voice that intones, “Stand clear of the closing doors, please.” …

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The Art of the Stamp
EllsworthKelly2019-Block10-v2

The Art of the Stamp

EllsworthKelly2019-Block10-v2 For those of us who write and mail letters, consider the art of the stamp.  Gone are the days of simply buying a roll of one hundred flag stamps.  Today, there are many options of Forever First Class stamps to coordinate with the mood or theme of your letter or note. Perhaps you are a lover of modern art.  If so, you will enjoy the recent issue of stamps highlighting the abstract art of Ellsworth Kelley.  A set of 20 of the new stamps feature ten beautiful paintings. “Ellsworth Kelly honed his artistic voice as…

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More About Stamps
Birds in Winter. Image courtesy of USPS

More About Stamps

  Stamps have been in the news recently. The surfacing of a rare inverted Jenny stamp, a dispute over the use of an image of the Statue of Liberty, and new releases of novel, innovative and popular stamp motifs have all received media attention in recent months. New stamps, now on sale at post offices or online through USPS.com, include four new holiday stamps as well as re-releases of past popular images; a World War I commemorative stamp; Hot Wheels; Birds in Winter; Dragons; the much anticipated John Lennon stamp; and others. John Lennon The John…

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What’s New at the Post Office
John Lennon stamp will be releases on Sept. 7

What’s New at the Post Office

Services, facilities and politics are evolving at the USPS.  So, what’s new at the post office? One service I tried out this year and have found very helpful is Informed Delivery.  Launched in the spring of 2017, Informed Delivery provides the postal customer with a daily email, which includes photocopies of the letter sized pieces to be delivered in that day’s mail, as well as notification of anticipated packages. Given the massive quantities of junk mail that the average customer receives, this service is valuable in anticipating important letters and documents. If you haven’t yet signed…

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USPS Releases Mister Rogers Forever Stamp
Mister Rogers Forever Stamp

USPS Releases Mister Rogers Forever Stamp

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, as the mother of young children, Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS was my hero. Mister Rogers taught children his wise and fulfilling lessons about the world and their own self worth, while also serving as a role model for parents. Many of the oft-repeated aphorisms of Mister Rogers have remained with me throughout my adult life. If I have not always practiced them, it is not because I do not believe them. Who cannot see the intrinsic value of being told, “There is no person in…

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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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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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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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Dead Letter Office

The dead letter office is no more. First established in 1825 to deal with illegible handwriting, damaged or separated items, incorrectly addressed mail and more, 55 regional dead letter offices, or mail recovery centers, existed at one time to decipher the mysteries of misplaced mail. These dead letter offices operated for nearly 190 years, with postal service staff serving as mail detectives to reunite people with their mail. One such center, the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia, still performs this function today, but times have changed, and not only in name.  While the mail detectives…

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The Missing Postmarks

When did the postmark on our letters go missing? By postmark, I refer to the round circle that once included the date, time of receipt and location of the post office. Generally, the circle was stamped to the left of the cancellation, those wavy or straight lines that partially cover the stamp(s) to indicate that the stamp has been used. I was reminded of this absence recently by the marketing efforts of a certain coffee company promoting a new first edition blend, using a version of the classic circle. Although our first class, stamped mail still…

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