(September 1, 2014) Like most modern folk, I sometimes communicate via text, Facebook, email and other digital methods.
However, lately I have been reminded about how important the good ol’ fashioned United States Postal Service is.
TAKE A LETTER, MAYRENE: I received a very nice letter from Solano County board of education Trustee Mayrene Bates, thanking me for my recent article about her longtime friend, Gary Falati. She was the librarian at Grange Intermediate when I was there in the 1970s and sold Marvel comics at lunch. I was a faithful customer. I have received letters from her before and she always includes a cartoon from a tear-off calendar that makes it special.
POLITICAL PLANES: I absolutely love getting political mailers! The glossy, expensive card stock is perfect for making paper airplanes that I fold, ignite, and then hurl (unread) into my recycle bin.
OLD NEWS: Marlene Vaughan used to live in my neighborhood in the late 1970s and she recently mailed me the March 9, 1981, issue of The Joint Union, Armijo’s then school newspaper. The issue included a short story I wrote called “Strange Love.” It was an O. Henry rip-off about two lovers having a spat. At the end, readers discover that (spoiler alert) the characters are actually mountain gorillas in a zoo.
The real gem in the issue, however, was a wrap-up of the Armijo varsity basketball season. We were horrible that year, but won our final game with a delicious 66-56 victory over cross-town rivals Fairfield High. The story about the game is extremely slanted for a sports article – “the Indians then dogged the Falcons” – so I probably wrote it.
EUCLID: Since 2004 my family has sent monthly monetary contributions through Compassion International to a kid named Euclid Mboya. He is roughly the same age as my daughter, 17, and lives in Kenya. I periodically get letters from him and I have one that I need to respond to. I hand-write the letters and they are then translated, as his are to me. Euclid’s circumstances remind me to be grateful for the cushy life I have in this country.
BULKY NEWSLETTER: I am the newsletter editor for the Armijo Alumni Association and recently completed my fifth issue since taking over last year. Co-founder/secretary Nanciann Gregg has been sending them out bulk mail since the first newsletter in 1992 (which she wrote). I went with Nanciann to the post office in Fairfield to see the entire process and it is tedious. My job of writing the newsletter is way easier in comparison.
An added bonus was having my Class of 1982 classmate Sylvia Selden be our clerk. Postcard to self: It’s probably not a good idea to mention to postal workers that we are doing everything we can to get our membership to receive our newsletter through electronic means to save money.
OAKLAND RAIDERS GET CARDED: I did a story recently on Fairfield crafter extraordinaire Sharon Lim and she mailed me an interactive greeting card she made with a Raider Nation theme as thanks. It was blank so I could send it to someone, but instead, after the customary ceremony, I placed it carefully in my Raider shrine.
TUNES: Look, I get that the U.S. Postal Service is losing money hand over fist because of the decline in letters being mailed, but we need to keep them around. I mean, what about music? The Brothers Johnson didn’t sing “Strawberry Text 23!” Stevie Wonder’s classic “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” will have future generations scratching their heads! And if someone re-records The Marvelette’s classic 1961 hit and changes it to “Please Mr. Mailer Daemon,” I will shriek.
SUGGESTIONS: Some ideas to help the postal service: (1) Letter carriers need to lose the Angus Young AC/DC shorts – long pants look more professional. (2) Sell personalized wax seals – people love nostalgia and it is so Middle Ages. (3) Nostalgia has limits – perhaps it’s time to do truth in advertising and update the unofficial letter carrier motto adapted from something Herodotus wrote in 503 B.C: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Just remove the word “swift.”
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade by sending a letter to the Daily Republic at 1250 Texas St., Fairfield, CA 94533.