Thursday, 25 January 2018

What was 'Air Mail' Grandad?



I can't remember when I last used this stamp; no doubt the very day before Air Mail was abandoned.

I still have my collection of useless old-fashioned rubber stamps, as well as the red and black ink pads that accompany them. My 'Private and Confidential', 'First Class', 'Ex Libris', and Personal Monogram stamps now lie at the back of a rarely opened drawer; memories of a bygone age. 

Even letters themselves are gradually becoming rare; soon to become as rare as telegrams or faxes. Mail now flies around in cyber space, and arrives 'free' in a nano-second; unlike an expensive 'first class' stamped paper letter.

                                  Résultat de recherche d'images pour "airmail letter"

I can hardly remember when I last bought one of these thin blue lightweight air mail letters (aerogrammes?), that always seemed so exotic. They were very exciting to receive, but you had to be careful opening them; or they'd fall into four pieces.

It might be fun to reminisce about old fashioned letter writing and sending, but, frankly, thank goodness for Email. 

No trees were felled in the writing of this page.




48 comments:

  1. I have a large collection of stamps from my childhood, I thought my grandchildren would be interested in it but I was wrong.

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    1. I collected stamps from the age of about 8. Some time back I tried to sell my 'extensive' collection, and was told they were worthless.

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  2. And you had to write really really small to put everything you wanted to say onto those aerogrammes or end up writing sideways along the edges and hope it didn't get covered by the glued flaps
    Not long agoI saw some tissue paper thin airmail notepaper along with the envelopes (complete with the coloured border) in a local op shop (charity shop). The woman behind the counter had no idea what it was!

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    1. When I was at school, people who received aerogrammes were always looked upon rather jealously; there was kudos in an aerogramme.

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  3. I didn't know airmail was defunct - I still carefully stick blue airmail stickers on envelopes being posted abroad!

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    1. You may be right.... I'd just presumed.

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  4. I was astonished on a trip back to NZ a few years ago to find that the PO was more or less a bookshop now and a place to pay certain bills. Our PO here took a few years but it is exactly the same. Once I used to go there a couple of times a week. It's been months now since I stepped inside.
    Still got a postman though. To deliver the bills

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    1. Post Offices are closing the world over. They are used mostly now for withdrawing Old Age Pensions, and Dole money.

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    2. And by people who sell stuff on Ebay who come out of hiding at 4pm with stacks of small parcels/jiffy bags to post.

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  5. Cro, you can still send a “Telegram” letter...
    (1) you email the P.O. with your information/letter and pay the fee online
    (2)they print it out and deliver it within 24hrs
    I wonder how frequently the service is used??
    And how romantic-stop-Not-stop-Gone are the days when a letter was delivered fast-stop-Two hours was the average for a telegram-stop-Special riders-stop-etcetera-stop-Lapré
    And even that service wasn’t as good as the Victorian era when your full, handwritten letter, posted before noon, was delivered that afternoon.... almost the speed of an email!!!

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    1. I can't imagine why anyone would send a Telegram these days with Email being so easily accessible. As for Victorian mail, I'm amazed any posties could read the addresses; their handwriting was very beautiful, but also illegible.

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    2. Does a young lad in a red uniform deliver it on a small motorbike?

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    3. And salute as you give him thruppence.

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    4. There are still people who have no internet.... I’ve two aunts in their mid-90s.... one has no internet access or knowledge and is now deaf....
      the other is internet savvy and has a Facebook account, does her ‘weekly’ on line.
      But I would need to use the “Telegram” system to contact the first in a “hurry” as the quickest mail gets from here to the UK is three days!!

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  6. It is the old sea-mail that is defunct leaving all mail now going by air although it seems to take forever to get there.

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    1. That's what I'd imagined; everything goes by air. No more Banana Boats with their holds filled with sacks of letters.

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  7. Coincidentally I have an airmail letter to post to the US this morning, a tax exemption form I send each year, and I have put an airmail sticker on it. The girl in the local post office told me last year that they are still in use and gave me half a sheet. I also write to Morris in Mexico and always put an airmail sticker on the envelope, but no aerogrammes. She emails back.

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    1. But doesn't everything go by Air Mail? It might be more fun to write 'Sea Mail' on it, just to see what happens.

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    2. I only feel comfortable in posting overseas if I still use an airmail sticker. The post office staff do not disagree with me so I carry on and if they still have the stickers I assume they are still considered current usage.

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  8. I used to send blueys to my son in law when he was stationed in Afghanistan, that was about 17 years ago.

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    1. They were nice, weren't they. Great things to receive.

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  9. I used to have pen pals and it was always exciting to receive and airmail letter from them. We now correspond through email. It's not so exciting. I still send birthday and christmas cards via air mail but even that is being taken over by ecards.

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    1. I'm afraid I'm an Emailer 100%. I have even opted to receive all my 'official' mail by Email.

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  10. I still write from Australia to my sister in Wales every week on an 'aerogramme' (though I call it an 'air letter form'). They used to be available at a discount for 5, but I now buy them singly from the same Post Office every time to encourage them to keep them in stock for me; I do know some POs that never have any.

    When I first came to Australia back in '75, my sister and I could effect our exchange of letters within a fortnight. Now they sometimes take as long as 3 weeks on the way. We are currently writing the address in capital letters, in case it was postal workers' inability to read handwriting that was causing the delay. And we label them 'A'and 'B' in alternate weeks to help keep trackof which we are respoding to. My sister used up her stash of 'blues' (as we call them) so now has to send a 'proper' letter - previously reserved for special occasions when a card or similar was being enclosed.

    She has a computer for word processing of minutes of community council meetings and the like, but no internet connection so no email. Phone calls are reserved for Christmas and birthdays.

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    1. I am very surprised to read that aerogrammes are still available; I'd imagined they'd died out years ago. I certainly haven't received one for well over 40 years.

      I didn't know there were parts of Wales where they have no internet.

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  11. I still put airmail blu stickers and a stamp, but the last time I went to post a letter to Australia they said the did not have stamped and stamped the value on the top right corner - disappointing because, like Yael, I also collect stamps and it's nice to receive an envelope with stamps on it. Our post office work like banks now.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I have several pre-stamp envelopes in my collection. I find them as interesting as the later stamped ones.

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  12. I've just been reading all my blue airmail letters I sent home in 1980 when I was working on a kibbutz and travelling around Greece and her islands before meandering home through Italy and France. When I worked on Wine & Spirit magazine in 1983 I communicated with my overseas clients by telex. I remember the excitement when the fax machine arrived and one could add the accents and now of course everything is conducted by email. What's next I wonder.

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    1. Telex was a bit of a pain. Fax was fun because you could send drawings (which I did often). Maybe 'Thought Mail' will be the next Big Thing.

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    2. As a "telex" operator in the early 80's I can attest to the pain of typing messages. My typing is much better now and I can remember having to do a lot of backspacing which I think used "x's" to "erase" the errors. I felt sorry for the recipients!

      Jo in Auckland, NZ

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  13. Things from the past. I email except for cards. I was doing a clean up and found an American Express travellers cheque in the back of a drawer. The clerk at the bank(who was in his twenties) didn't know what it was.

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    1. They have been replaced by plastic. A good thing, methinks.

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  14. I used to love writing and receiving letters. A written letter was a beautiful thing. As a matter of fact, up until last year and my need to purge, my husband and I had kept the hundred or so letters that we exchanged with each other before we married. Now, though, I struggle to write notes at Christmas and definitely prefer email to keep up with others.

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    1. Email is one of the GOOD things of the present age. I would be lost if it suddenly disappeared.

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  15. We still get Prioritaire stickers with our airmail stamps. A Prioritaire letter to the UK can be there in 3 days. The basic rate for a postcard to UK is 80 cents. I think that's pretty good. In the other direction it's much more expensive.

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    1. I presumed that all my mail was 'Prioritaire'; let them dare say otherwise!

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  16. I am letter and card friendly. Nothing better than to see a card in the mail to put a smile on your face.
    I do like the quickness of email for a catch up but for heartfelt notes mail is the best. I have gone paperless for bills and notices.
    What I don't understand is when people say I saved a tree by not sending a card while holding a paper cup of coffee with extra paper cozi to keep fingers from being hot. I wonder how many trees are cut so people can have 1 to 4 coffees a day plus the wasted napkins that people grab with no thought.to how many ? One (or more) coffee in a paper cup 5 days a week is a whole lot of trees.
    I have a fabulous thermos for coffee from home and a reusable cup for store coffee.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

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    1. I find it ridiculous when people talk about 'no tree was harmed, etc', which is why I joked about it. Humans will soon need a third or fourth hand. They walk around with phone, bottle of water, coffee cup, and some form of bag. I walk around with hands empty!

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    2. So true.... I was talking about a friend of a friend I met at a lunch. He was a joke and very smug.

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  17. Brought back fond memories though Cro.

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    1. I seem to be out of touch. I thought more had disappeared than actually has.

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  18. The comments are as interesting as the post itself. I like the word 'blueys'. I wonder if they are still available.

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    1. In Australia, yes, though they are an endangered species.

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    2. Maybe they'll make a comeback.

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  19. Canada Post eliminate airletters.

    I used to have a stash from my former husband. Most of our courtship was done via air mail. Followed up by him calling once a month on pay day. How many 5DM he dropped in a phone box in Germany, I don't know. And it was always sad to hear, I'm on my last coin!

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    1. I meant to say eliminated airletters/aerogrammes.

      Young people look with disbelieve when you tell them that long distance calls were few and far between due to $$$

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    2. When I was small the phone was used in 'emergencies' only, and even then you spoke as quickly as possible.

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  20. emails are convenient...but I make a point of letter writing as well.
    My father always said,if you don't know what to write,just send a card..soon enough you'll be running out of room! and to boot,you have something worth keeping....

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