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Examiner
  • Diane Mack: Toying with an idea as old as parcel post

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  • Nancy Pope, historian and curator from the Smithsonian National Postal Museum wrote the following:
    “On February 19, 1914, May Pierstorff, just short of her 6th birthday, was ‘mailed’ from her parents' home in Grangeville, Idaho, to her grandparents' house about 73 miles away for just 53-cents worth of stamps. May's parents were taking advantage of parcel post service, which began just the year before. In the early years of this service, customers and postal officials were still getting used to how the service could be used. But mailing children?
    “Amazingly enough May wasn't the only child entrusted to parcel post service. But before images of babies bouncing around in mailbags start appearing in your head, the children whose families entrusted them to the Post Office Department were ‘mailed’ by traveling with trusted postal workers (in May's case, a relative who worked on the Railway Mail trains).
    “The first child ‘mailed’ in the U.S. was an unnamed boy in Batavia, Ohio, in mid January 1913. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Glen Este, Ohio, was carried by Rural Free Delivery carrier Vernon Little to its grandmother, Mrs. Louis Beague about a mile away. The boy's parents paid 15-cents for the stamps and even insured their son for $50.”
    The article goes on to report that shortly thereafter, Postmaster General Burleson issued directions to the nation's postmasters that all human beings were barred from the mails. Of course, some continued to test the water.
    One month after the “no-humans” announcement, rural carrier B.H. Knepper in Maryland carried a 14-pound baby from grandma's house in Clear Spring to the mom's home in Indian Springs, 12 miles away. A newspaper reported that the baby slept through the entire trip.
    Oh this is too much fun, mailing humans. I wonder if anyone ever tried to mail a dog.
    Mailmen used to run from dogs. Can you imagine a mailman catching the dog, which was in your mailbox, then, sending Fido on to Arizona? What fun!
    Our postman really has to stay on everyone who lives on our street. Too many people park in front of our very small mail boxes.
    Let's think about this. What size mailbox would you need, in order to mail a 65 pound Dallin, 35 pound Allister, 32 pound Ava, and 18 pound Elliott?
    It's sad enough, with the recent three cent postage increase, raising stamps to a 49 cent high. What would it cost to ship my 10 pound newest grandbaby?
    I'm running with this one.
    So I called Hy-Vee and spoke to the mail lady. I gave her the box size (14-by-12-by-12-inches), weight, and ZIP code.
    I did not mention that she would need feedings, diaper changes and some individual attention on an hourly basis. I didn't think I would need to, since there were no signs, stating you can't mail a newborn.
    Page 2 of 2 - So here you have it. For Idahoan Ashley to mail sweet little 10-pound Lauren to grandma's house in Missouri, at the priority rate, she would cost $26.90.
    Lauren could also travel parcel post at $18.07. An over-night delivery charge would cost $73.20, but could take two days, with Ashley's remote Idaho ZIP code.
    With the economy, gas, bus, train, and air fare being so high, wouldn't that be exciting?
    I'm calling my state legislator. If he doesn't respond, I'll just drop the grandkids at his office.
    He will call me then.
    Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at jacksoncountyfamilyweek@yahoo.com or visit www.jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.
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