A story about the US Postal Service in the 1970s

When I was in elementary school from 3rd to 5th grade we lived in Albuquerque New Mexico.  It was very nice.

Our neighborhood was a grid.  It was 40 streets.  The streets were named 1st – 40th.  Every street was identical.  The 40th street was the highest elevation and 1st was the lowest.  Riding bikes and skate boards was a lot of fun we would walk to the top of the neighborhood and ride down 40 windy streets.

I lived on third street, towards the middle of the street.  There were probably 30 houses on each street.  So about 1200 homes.  From the nearby mountain it looked like a little green grid surrounded by brown desert.

The postman would start on the outside edge at 1st street and work his way up to 40th street.  Once he got to 40th street he would turn his way into the neighborhood and work his way though.  He would go home by home until he finished back at 1st street again.

Back then the way we got a lot of neat things is by ordering items from the back of comic books.  You would cut the little label out.  Fill the label out.  Get a check from mom.  Get a stamp.  Put the stamped envelope in the mail.  If you did everything right in 10-14 days you would get a cool item back.  If you did something wrong you would get nothing back or maybe the envelope and check back.

It was always stressful and exciting to wait for items to come back in the mail.

So we would see the mail man at first street at 7:30 AM and then at 3:00 PM we would see that mail man working his way towards our house.

Sometimes we would order things from our friends homes on 40th street just so we wouldn’t have to bear the stress of waiting all day for the Post Man to get to our house.

A few times I remember catching the postman at 1st Street and us kids would BEG him to see if our item had come and to give it to us at 7:30AM instead of after 3:00 PM. We were very cute and very convincing and he was kind…

The kindly postman would show us the complicated stacks and layers and he would say something like it’s in there some where.  He would tell us how he spent two hours setting the stacks up so there wouldn’t be any mistakes and so everyone would get their important mail.

I learned at a very young age that the Postal System is an amazing accomplishment.  It depends on everything being set up perfectly.  You can’t disturb the system or everyone gets screwed… I also learned that the people on 40th Street had a lot of power.  If we ordered something on the same day a lot of times they would have played with the toy all day long before we got our hands on our toy.  It would ruin the toy for us.  We pretty much quit playing with them… Friendships never work out between 40th street kids and 3rd street kids there was just too big of a cultural divide…


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