Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lost Mail

This weekend, Friday especially, was cold payback for the temporary summer we experienced last month. Even sunny skies today didn't make the air that warm. But it will warm up again soon, so essentially what we're feeling is a normal April. Except we're seeing May in terms of greenery.

On Saturday I received Ed's postcard from Kenya (see last Wednesday), which arrived after the one from Uganda, even though he says it was mailed earlier. Odd time we live in, when you can communicate electronically to tell someone the specifics of a paper communication that's still en route.

But at least Ed's Kenya card did not disappear down the international mail memory hole. When I was in college, a friend of mine took an early summer trip to the Soviet Union. Thirty years later I'm still waiting for the postcard she said she sent me from there. Afterwards she told me that about half of them got through. I thought of her in Russia a decade later when mailing cards in St. Petersburg, but as far as I know, all of those made their trips successfully (unfortunately I didn't have her address at that point, or I would have sent her a card).

While mulling on the subject of missing mail, I followed a whim and Googled "Titanic mail," and sure enough an article published 20 years ago by the National Postal Museum came up: "Titanic's Mail," it's called. Oddly enough. From it I learned that 7 million pieces of mail, including about $150,000 in postal money orders (in fat, 1912 dollars), went down with the ship, along with five postal clerks, who apparently spent their last hours trying to bring mail sacks out the bowels of the ship. Now there's a story that no big-budget boy-meets-girl-boy-freezes-in-the-north-Altantic movie is going to tell.

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