Mail Delivery in the 1950’s
Since I was a little girl, the way our mail is delivered has changed radically. When I was small, we had a mailman who walked down each street on his route from house to house with a big bag on his shoulder, rain or shine. Our mailman just happened to go to our church and his daughter was one of my friends all the way through high school. We are still Facebook friends.
In those days, mail delivery was more relaxed, even though our mail was delivered twice a day. People would chat with their mailman. People would give him a treat at Christmas time. Sometimes he would even be invited in for coffee. Everyone was glad to see the mailman come because back in the 1950’s we got mail we could get excited about. We got personal handwritten letters from people we cared about and junk mail was rare. We also got the magazines we subscribed to and each one meant hours of happy reading, new recipe and garden ideas, and even short stories.
People who lived in single family houses had mail delivered through a slot in their front door or in a mailbox at the curb in front of their house. We had a slot in the door. Mail continued to be delivered to each house I lived in until I moved here in 2014.
How We Get Our Mail Now in the City
As you can see above, even though we live in a single family home, we now live in a neighborhood with clumps of mailboxes on stands for each block or two. Our mail doesn’t come to us. We need to go to our mail. Exceptions can be made for those who are housebound if they put a collection box on their porch for the mail person to deposit the mail in. The mail person drives a mail truck to the neighborhood boxes, opens the back of the box, and puts the mail in the slots through the back. Each person gets his mail from a locked box with a key.
Packages are delivered to the larger boxes at the bottom. Those that won’t fit are still delivered to one’s porch. When the mail person needs to leave a package, she puts a key in the mailbox and indicates which of the larger boxes it is in. Then one gets the key along with regular mail, gets the package from the larger mailbox, and leaves the key in the door. Sometimes, as in the photo above, the door stays open. Most new neighborhoods now use this system to deliver mail.
How We Get Mail in our Rural Home
When we moved to our first home in this county, it was on fourteen acres. Since I had a business and often got small packages, my mailman helped me install a very large mailbox that would hold the higher volume of mail I got. He did it out of the kindness of his heart. It was not part of his job, but he knew we weren’t physically up to doing it. I bought the mailbox and he installed it. See it in the photo below.
Unfortunately, although this mailbox holds a lot, it doesn’t lock. It’s very close to the major highway we live on, and our house is clear at the top of the hill our driveway leads to. As you can see, it’s a bit risky. We have important financial mail delivered to our locked box in the city.
I no longer get excited about getting mail like I used to. These days there is almost no personal mail. Since the Internet became available to me, I communicate mostly online with my friends. I read blogs and have no need for the magazines I used to love so much. I miss the days when the mailman’s visit was the highlight of my day.
How do you get your mail? Do you look forward to it? Has the way you get your mail changed since your childhood?