I don’t live anywhere near my nieces and nephews. In fact, the closest ones live three hours away. Some are more than six. Since I don’t always see them as often as I would like, I sometimes send them a card or letter in the mail.
When I was a kid, letters were the only way we could “talk” to family and friends from far away without actually talking to them on the phone. Now, there is texting, email and all sorts of cyber (which means technology and computer based) ways to stay in touch. But, that doesn’t mean we should stop sending letters. There is something exciting and magical about ripping open an envelope and trying to read a letter in someone else’s handwriting.
FUN FACTS ABOUT MAIL
- Ancient letter writers used cloth, animal skin and leaves to wrap up messages for people. Some cultures even enclosed messages in clay pots. These packages were then carried by a messenger from the sender to the recipient. Depending on how far apart the people lived, it could take months or even years for the message to get where it was supposed to go.
- In 1837, the first adhesive stamps were created in England by schoolmaster, Rowland Hill. Everyone thought stamps were so awesome, they started sending letters by the gobs. Because he changed the European postal service for the better, Mr. Hill was eventually knighted. So, does that make him Sir Hill?
- The Pony Express opened in America in 1860. It was like one giant relay race with the carriers riding as fast as they could on horse from one stop to the next and handing over packages to the next rider. The 2,000 mile journey across the country used many different men and horses to keep the news fresh and fast. It took about ten days to get from one side of the United States to the other and was very dangerous.
- The Pony Express, which lasted only 19 months, was never part of the United States Postal Service (USPS). But, that didn’t stop the Albany, New York, Post Office from having an unofficial animal mascot. His name was Owney, a stray mutt who liked to sleep on the mailbags. He sometimes traveled with the mail on rail cars across the state and the country, and even took a trip overseas in 1895.
What kinds of things do you get in the mail? Would you rather get a text message or a letter? Why?
Curious minds want to know.
- If you’d like to learn more cool stuff about the USPS, click here to visit their website.
- If you’d like to check out the Pony Express, click here to visit their website.
- If you’d like to get a letter from someone, send one of your own first.