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Happy Thanksgiving

November 28, 2013

I had some unexpected time off in October, while Congress debated and filibustered.  I started a project I called “Furlough Mail” which had the advantages of giving me something to do, depleting a trove of vintage postcards looking for places to go, and supporting the struggling United States Postal Service.  Oh, and friends who responded to the Facebook post also received something other than bills and window replacement coupons in their mailboxes!

I’ve seen articles in respected publications about the state of letter writing in the world today.  Is it a lost art?  Is it making a comeback?  I can tell you that one thing that hasn’t changed is the smile prompted when receiving a piece of mail with a person you know at the other end.  It creates a connection.  You hold it in your hands, perhaps more than once, and are pleased that the person remembered you and you are reminded of the past, times you once had.  Even if you print out an email, it never really accomplishes all that.

In the early part of the 20th century, my grandfather’s cousins made sure that he would have some mail of his own, a smile, a memory of their last visit.  They’d send a glimpse of the great big world to the small boy living on a country mill.  He saved them all.

I’m sharing this one from 1909 with you — Uncle Sam sitting down to tuck in to a Thanksgiving turkey.  (I guess that’s before the idea of pardoning turkeys at the White House came along….)

Uncle sam has thanksgiving

Postmark: Camden, NJ Nov 25, 1909, addressed to Master Paul White, Greenlane, Pa. R.D. No. 2. His cousin wrote: “With love and all best wishes from all to all, your loving cousin Violet

What was going on in 1909?  Taft was president.  British explorer Ernest Shackleton reached the South Pole, while later in the year Robert Peary and Matthew Henson reached the North Pole.  Workers started pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.  And to mail this postcard from Camden, New Jersey, to rural Greenlane, Pennsylvania, Cousin Violet licked a one cent stamp featuring Benjamin Franklin’s profile and placed it on the back of the card.

This year, I’m still thankful for the thing and people I outlined in this post — “I’d like to give thanks, and you should, too”

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