December 10, 2011
Obviously, some post offices must be closed. The US Postal Service is bleeding money while most of us communicate through our computers, fax machines or private delivery services. Consolidating is a hard decision when it affects postal employees during already hard times. I’ve heard neighbors grumble why not cut down the number of days the mail is delivered? For rural folks like us, the Post Office is regarded as a necessity. House to house delivery was just a wish when I first moved to Calaveras County. In some remote areas it is yet the case and continues to serve as a friendly neighborhood meeting place. You can’t just shout “Howdy” to your neighbor as you drive by when neighbor’s driveway might be a half mile long on two dirt ruts. It is the place for a community bulletin board when you inform your neighbors there has been a death in the family, or you impart other less important information. Giving up such a chunk of history will be hard.
From a purely selfish point of view, I’m hating the idea of closing post offices because I’m a stamp collector. It was a lesson in history growing up, inexpensive, and engaging at one time. The above two post marks reflect local history from two different communities that most people could care less about. But, what’s in a stamp? The small towns of Centerville, Irvington, Niles, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs became Fremont in 1956. The post mark reflects the change from each community. I wish I’d gotten a transfer mark from each town. The Calcopex post mark honors the former community of White Pines which consolidated with Arnold many years earlier. Local folks identify themselves as being from White Pines and wanted their heritage honored and remembered. They applied to the U.S. Postal Service and permission was granted.
I started my collection in 1946. And it was a thrill if a neighbor gave me a post mark from far away places, like Norwich, Connecticut, or Tuscumbia, Alabama. It was enough to make me dream of faraway places. Along with the stamps I collected history on post marks. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.) You notice abbreviations were CONN. and CALIF. No zip codes. Stamps are pretty boring to young people who have the world at their fingers in their computers. I still like to send away for Christmas Post Marks in exoticaly named places like Bethlehem, IN, Antler, ND,Chestnut,Ill, Snow,OK, and Angels Camp, CA. Yipes! Just 9 miles down the road. I don’t oppose the closings, but I will miss the post marks. I’m saddened to watch this small part of history disappear.