There is an interview with Martha Williamson where she discusses how real letters are important because you can hold them in your hands and see the person’s handwriting, or in Martha’s case the hole in the paper made by one of the keys on her dad’s typewriter, prompted me to look for letters that I could hold. I found a real letter that Dad wrote to the postal museum during a historical celebration of railway history. Dad, who was almost 90, wrote the letter in shaky handwriting describing what life was like for railway mail clerks. I typed it for him and kept the original—the written letter that he labored over and that I can now hold in my hands.
Two of his anecdotes may be interesting to our Postables.
The first incident could definitely fall into the business of the Dead Letter Office. Before Dad sorted mail on the KCS, he made the run from Kansas City to Denison, Texas on the MKT railroad, probably in the early ‘40s—think World War II. He writes:
"One thing out of the ordinary happened. We were stopped at Chouteau, Oklahoma by flood waters ahead of us and we stayed there about 3 days before we continued on to Denison. A RPO (Railway Post office) car ahead of us had derailed and fell on its side and we handled water damaged letters for about a month..."
The second incident may not be directly connected to the DLO but is a daring tale of true love, a high speed chase through the dark of night---and VV’s dentures. Here is VV’s description:
"I was working on the night train that was due into Siloam about 10 PM. This night I was a little late getting up and had to rush to get over to the depot, and I had left without my (new) dentures. So I told Ethel, my wife, when we got to the station to rush home and get my dentures and meet us at Watts, OK and get my teeth to me.
Well Watts was only about five miles and by the time she got home and got them she didn’t make it in time. Most wives would have said, “To heck with it. VV will just have to take meals through a straw.” But not Ethel. She got back on the highway and headed for the next town, which was Westville, OK. She arrived at the station in Westville only to see the train whisk by at probably 50 miles an hour.
But did Ethel give up? No, not yet. She knew that the next station, Stillwell, was twenty miles and it was the county seat so the train would stop there. She figured she could outrun the train for twenty miles. So she straightened herself, got back on the highway and set sail for Stillwell. So just before we were ready to depart, Ethel rushed up to the mail car and handed me my teeth. Mission accomplished! Just one more incident that confirmed my knowledge that I had captured a prize when I married Ethel back in 1933 in the middle of the Great Depression."
Going the extra mile in the “dead of night”? Perhaps Ethel would have qualified for the “Dark of Night” award!
#Postables on Twitter and Postables Hallmark’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered Fan Group on Facebook connect us as friends and family so we feel like we are not the only ones who have this crazy addiction to SSD. We can share and disagree (ahem--#BluePlaidSuit) and just have a fun time. I smile every time I see a twitter interaction pop up--and that’s a lot of smiles. I never thought that I would love tweeting or that I would be tweeting with Postables on the other side of the country or the other side of the world! Thank you Hallmark, Martha Williamson and the entire cast and crew of Signed, Sealed, Delivered!
The Living Letters series continues as long as there are stories (or even praise reports) to share, and I'm always looking for submissions. If you would like to contribute something about how Signed, Sealed, Delivered has impacted your life (or even your wardrobe) that you'd be willing to share here on A&D, feel free to email me. Keep the good going and submit yours today!