Wednesday, February 6, 2013

“Everybody's trusted friend”

[Life, April 2, 1956. Illustration by William A. Smith. Click for a larger view.]

The text, if you’d rather not squint:

He is everybody’s trusted friend . . .

Most of the time you see him coming up the walk in a blue-gray suit with a leather bag slung over his shoulder. But you may remember him also in army fatigues or navy blues, when his familiar cry of “Mail!” was the most welcome sound in all the world. And there was a time when he wore a buckskin jerkin and rode fast ponies over dangerous trails few others dared to travel.

You call him the Postman or Mailman . . . and every day he is waited for and watched for by millions of people whose hearts beat faster when they see him coming.

He is the link that unites scattered families, the bearer of precious letters from absent sons and daughters. He is a bringer of hopes and joys and Yuletide spirit. He is the eternal consolation of separated lovers.

Once the bearer of dispatches was the exclusive emissary of kings and princes and powerful lords. In America he is everybody’s ambassador . . . and everybody’s trusted friend.

He stands for something pretty big. A kind of integrity so sure and unquestioned that you take it for granted as one of the verities of life. He comes like day and night — in rain or sleet or snow — when the pavements are cold enough to numb his feet or hot enough to fry an egg. Today there are 130,000 Postmen serving our needs, and to every one of them your sealed letters are “top secret.”

Without the Postman all of us would live in a lonelier world.
Reader, do you know your mail carrier’s full name?

Related reading
All mail posts (Pinboard)

[We know our carrier’s name: how else could we write a check for him at Christmas?]

comments: 6

Whit said...

1956 130, 000

According to the Department of Labor, in 2008 there were 316,000 Postal Service Mail Carriers employed.

You would think with automation and less people living in rural commities there would be less mail carriers.

Michael Leddy said...

U. S. population, 1956: approximately 168 million. 2008: approximately 304 million. That would help to account for the difference.

zzi said...

1950 population: 151,132,000
Farmers made up 12.2% of labor force

1980, 1990 population: 227,020,000 and 246,081,000
Farmers made up 3.4% and 2.6% of labor force

Maybe we're not eating as much and getting more mail!

Adair said...

In a single week...MUZAK ceases to exist and the Post Offices announces the end of Saturday delivery. American life is getting poorer.

Adair said...

I meant "the Post Office." Sorry for the typo!

Michael Leddy said...

I missed the Muzak news. Thanks, Adair.

Using Mac’s Dictation service, I find myself missing more and more typos. No need to apologize for that one. :)