Wishing Trump’s Assault on the Postal Service Were Fictional

Blondie

Post offices are on the minds of many people these days as Trump and other Republicans try to decimate the United States Postal Service.

Why the decimation attempt, which includes opposing any desperately needed pandemic aid for the USPS and recently appointing a postmaster general who’s an unqualified Trump lackey/Trump donor who owns stock in private competitors of the USPS? The reason is that the USPS would of course be crucial in delivering ballots for this fall’s election, and mail voting favors Democrats for reasons such as increased turnout.

Also, Trump and his fellow racist/misogynist/anti-union Republicans hate the fact that the USPS provides good unionized jobs to employees who include many people of color and women.

Anyway, I thought I’d pay tribute to post offices by mentioning authors, fictional characters, books, and more with a connection to those all-important stamp sites/letter locales.

For instance, William Faulkner (1897-1962) was a poor-performing postmaster at the University of Mississippi from 1922 to 1924, and poet/novelist Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was a letter carrier and later a mail clerk in mid-century Los Angeles before turning more definitively to writing. His first novel: Post Office.

Across “the pond,” English novelist Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) spent decades working for his country’s postal service, even as he wrote his many books.

Rita Mae Brown’s mysteries include the character Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen, who runs a small-town post office while doing amateur detective work with some animal friends.

A real-life American mail carrier (for a while) with a literary connection was Henry Crowder, a jazz musician most remembered for the relationship he and heiress/poet/editor/political activist Nancy Cunard had for several years in Europe. Crowder assisted Cunard on various publishing projects, and helped inspire her famous 800-plus-page Negro: An Anthology that included the work of Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and many others. Cunard dedicated the 1934 book to Crowder. (Henry later married May Frances “Frankie” Turner, Eleanor Roosevelt’s seamstress at the White House.)

I’ll cheat here a bit and also mention Mr. Beasley, the hapless mail carrier who often gets knocked over by the rushing-to-work Dagwood in the Chic Young-created, 90-year-old “Blondie” comic strip — which of course has been gathered in various book collections. (See the image atop this blog post — sort of a metaphor for what Trump is trying to do to the USPS.)

Oh heck, crusty Mr. Wilson of Hank Ketcham’s “Dennis the Menace” comic was also a mail carrier — albeit retired.

And I loved Reba the mail carrier in the Pee-wee’s Playhouse children’s TV show that was really kind of for adults, too. Reba was played by S. Epatha Merkerson, an excellent actress raised by a single mother who worked for the…USPS!

Any literature/post-office connections you’d like to mention? Or you could just comment on the awful, incompetent, never-reads-a-book Trump and the fellow Republicans who allow him to get away with countless cruel words and actions.

My literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the 2003-started, award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com. The latest piece — which discusses, among other things, a 150-year-old bus company suspending operations because of the pandemic — is here.

148 thoughts on “Wishing Trump’s Assault on the Postal Service Were Fictional

  1. My first exposure to your blog starts off in a gang-busters style is a truly a Sunday morning awakening (your hair the non-colour of mine tells me you understand the lingo) writing about a very frightening subject. Not so much about Trump the idiot, but the financial power that backs and supports him. Maybe the world’s present hellish fortunes will turn for the better come November, fingers crossed beg I…

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    • Thanks so much for the kind words and comment, Jean-Jacques! I’ve been enjoying your blog, too (great poetry!) — as well as your comments under various posts by podcaster/blogger extraordinaire Rebecca Budd.

      Great point that as scary as Trump is, the right-wing political, corporate, and media power behind him makes him as destructive as he is. If a significant segment of that power pulled away, he’d be much less effective. Of course, his powerful supporters may not always like his cruelty and crudity, but he’s giving them what they want: virulent racism, lower taxes for the rich, far-right judges, etc.

      Fingers also crossed for November that Trump won’t win (with the help of cheating, voter suppression, propaganda, etc.).

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  2. Hi Dave … great idea to share what’s going on with the PO over there! Hope you guys tell that idiot where to go in the next vote …

    Nice to meet you … and I’m a fan of HP owl mail, just not received any yet 🙂

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    • Thank you, calmkate! I share your wish that Trump gets voted out. If the election were fair and not rigged by various forms of Republican cheating and the Electoral College, I think Trump would lose in a landslide. As it stands, it might be relatively close.

      Ha — your line about “Harry Potter” owl mail! 🙂 Many of us wish the same. Hogwarts sure looks nicer than “Muggle” schools, albeit somewhat dangerous…

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  3. There may be but few postal workers in novels, but what they deliver is so intrinsic to the history of the novel that an entire category has been devoted to it: the epistolary, the form of “Pamela” by Samuel Richardson, one of our earliest novels in English.

    Beyond, the outright epistolary, think about how many plots turn on the sending and/or receiving of letters. I’m guessing about a zillion, but I’m no numbers guy.

    And rare stamps have figured in a few suspense and murder mystery plots. Sadly, it’s only filmic examples that come to mind: “Charade” (Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau) and one of the episodes of the British series “Father Brown.”

    A personal note: When I lived in DC, my girlfriend was the daughter of an Assistant Postmaster General under Nixon. She gave me what her father was given by his boss: a bronze medallion of the man, about 3 inches in diameter, with the presidential seal on the back. I still have it in a tin box on my dresser, where it can do no harm.

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    • So true, jhNY, that what post offices handle — letters — are intrinsic to many novels and are the very content of some. Ha! A zillion examples sounds about right. 🙂

      I also can’t think of a novel with stamps as an important part of the plot, though I do have a memory of a character who sold a stamp collection for some money to get a start in life. Drawing a blank on which novel.

      Wow — great recollection/anecdote about that bronze medallion! Actually, Nixon is looking a little less worse these days compared to Trump…

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      • On that…our previous mail woman worked so hard, plus carried a cookie box so she could give it away to every dog , who knew when she came. Pomchi would wait for her.

        The current gentleman also works so hard his name is Aaron, a war veteran, works hard…( told me his life story), two marriages, with a personal life like everyone.
        I see him walk in busy streets, perhaps park his car somewhere and walk.from house to house.

        And now trump is messing around with them from his little domain.

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  4. James M Cain wrote The Postman Always Rings Twice, and explained his choice of title, according to wikipedia in this way:

    “In the preface to Double Indemnity, Cain wrote that the title of The Postman Always Rings Twice came from a discussion he had with the screenwriter Vincent Lawrence. According to Cain, Lawrence spoke of the anxiety he felt when waiting for the postman to bring him news on a submitted manuscript, noting that he would know when the postman had finally arrived because he always rang twice. In his biography of Cain, Roy Hoopes recounted the conversation between Cain and Lawrence, noting that Lawrence did not say merely that the postman always rang twice but also that he was sometimes so anxious waiting for the postman that he would go into his backyard to avoid hearing his ring. The tactic inevitably failed, Lawrence continued, because if the postman’s first ring was not noticed, his second one, even from the backyard, would be.

    As a result of the conversation, Cain decided upon that phrase as a title for his novel. Upon discussing it further, the two men agreed such a phrase was metaphorically suited to Frank’s situation at the end of the novel. With the “postman” being God or fate, the “delivery” meant for Frank was his own death as just retribution for murdering Nick. Frank had missed the first “ring” when he initially got away with that killing. However, the postman rang again and this time the ring was heard; Frank is wrongly convicted of having murdered Cora and then sentenced to die. The theme of an inescapable fate is further underscored by the Greek’s escape from death in the lovers’ first murder attempt, only to be done in by their second one.”

    And it’s a good thing he provided this explanation, as there isn’t a postman to be seen or heard even once in the novel!

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  5. Dave Rabindranath Tagore`s Postmaster is the only short story that comes to my mind.

    But going back to your previous topic, finally being book-less I received ” Camino Wind ” by John Grisham.
    Have not read a single page, but did go back to NYT on this..

    “And Grisham, who is drawn to big issues but generally keeps politics out of his writing, uses the phrase “pull a Trump” to describe dodging liability by filing for bankruptcy. Come to think of it, “Camino Winds” is right for this moment after all.”

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  6. Fear of Fomites ? Some political leaders, anything’s possible.

    Letters are dangerous, cause so much trouble, even in fiction.,
    but how could Holnes have operated without the superb late 19th C Royal Mail ?

    Here in the far from United Kingdom, local post offices became early covid casualties. Luckily, post Brexit, DPD, DHL & co carried on as normal.

    Postbote Pat still delivers all over Europe, in children’s bookshops, but did Trollope make enough use of his day job experience ?

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    • Thank you, catonthedovrefell! I really enjoyed the way you wrote your comment, complete with some alliteration.

      To address one of your points, I believe Trollope made good use of his postal-service experience — most notably gathering information and inspiration from all the traveling he did for the job.

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  7. Sorry, but I can’t come up with any major post office or mail carrier references in literature. However, I’d like to take this opportunity to reinforce what others have been saying about applying for a mail-in ballot as soon as they are available in your state/county, completing that ballot as soon as you get it, and then mailing it back immediately. Or preferably, hand-deliver it to your county election office — at least this is how it worked in the PA primary and I assume it will be the same for the general, with drop-off boxes at different locations and then a website to check track if and when it is actually counted. The most important thing this year is to VOTE!

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    • I hit the “post comment” button by mistake…I meant to add that since the door has been opened for political commentary, I’d like to add that I’m absolutely thrilled with Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate! I think this is the best possible ticket to win the election and remove the increasingly deranged lunatic that is in the White House. I am truly frightened by what will happen to this country if he either somehow should win or if he refuses to leave office. That’s why I hope Biden-Harris will win both the popular and electoral votes by as wide a margin as possible!

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      • Political commentary is always welcome, Kat Lit. 🙂

        I have some mixed feelings about Kamala Harris. She was a rather conservative district attorney in San Francisco and a rather conservative attorney general of California — embracing “law and order,” and almost never holding the police responsible for misconduct against African-American citizens. One reason she received little black support when running for president. Though she’s a person of color, her record as DA and AG was sort of the antithesis of Black Lives Matter — which I’m very much for.

        That said, I wasn’t expecting Biden to pick a progressive veep, and he and Harris are of course infinitely better than the depraved Trump and “pious” Pence. Four more years of Trump would be a catastrophe.

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        • So I read through her entire Wikipedia entry on the time she spent as DA, AG, and Senator in California, and I must say I didn’t see anything that troubled me to any great extent. I’m actually even more impressed with her than I was before. Most of the negative reaction I’ve read has just focused on her having been a “prosecutor” and that she’s “tough” on crime, neither of which are considered by me to be dirty words. I’ll only quote the following: “In 2014, Harris introduced OpenJustice, a first-in-the-nation criminal justice data initiative designed with professor Steven Raphael making available statewide data on arrest rates, deaths in law enforcement custody, arrest-related deaths, and law enforcement deaths. Subsequent improvements to the platform revealed data pertaining to clearance rates and racial disparities in the criminal justice system.”

          Yes, she is tough, especially seen when grilling Trump picks, such as Barr and Kavanaugh, in her role as a Senate member of the Judiciary Committee. (I think everyone is looking forward to her debate with Pence!) I’m a fervent support of BLM and believe she is as well, having marched with protesters after the horrific death of George Floyd. And as a student of history, it was so exciting to witness the daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother, both immigrants to this country, becoming a truly historic VP pick. I read and felt the joy in the faces of Afro-American and South-Asian activists, educators, politicians, and journalists who spoke on the air last night and this morning. I hope all the BLM members feel the same pride in this selection and translate that into votes.

          Dave, I know you were (and are) a progressive supporter of Bernie, but he lost mainly because of the black vote, and although there is much to admire, it’s my belief that the country is just not ready for his brand of democratic socialism. We Dems must be united against the dangers of Trump and his minions. Peace 🙂

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          • Thank you for the follow-up comment, Kat Lit!

            From a story in The New York Times, which tends to support centrist Democrats like Kamala Harris:

            “As attorney general, she rarely prosecuted police officers who killed civilians, though by the time she left that office, she had opened some reviews of police departments. She was also criticized for refusing to allow advanced DNA testing that might have exonerated Kevin Cooper, a Black man on death row, and for defending some convictions against allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.”

            I understand she and Biden are much better than Trump and Pence, but, as someone who had a child die, I put myself in the place of parents of innocent black people killed by police. Instead of having those parents’ backs, Kamala Harris supported the (white) police. Heartbreaking. Didn’t seem very Black Lives Matter-friendly.

            Yes, she has moved somewhat leftward re BLM and other things after many Democratic voters moved somewhat leftward first. Hope it’s genuine, but seems opportunistic; will she revert back if she’s elected veep or, later, president?

            Anyway, again, I understand that preferring her and Biden over Trump is a no-brainer. And she is indeed great at grilling people on the witness stand. But it doesn’t mean I have to be thrilled with Harris and has-a-history-of-being-center/right Biden. It’s more a hold one’s nose thing for me.

            Bernie Sanders did indeed lose the older black vote, while winning the younger black (and Latino) vote. Bodes well for the future. 🙂

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        • Bebe here Dave..

          I think Biden made the best possible choice.
          Yes Warren is progressive but Biden is almost 78 and Warren is in her 70s. That wouldn’t be a wise decision.

          I am not going to be picky considering who’s the President now. That is the reason prominent Republicans are workings against trump with Lincoln Project.
          We are in a dangerous situation, trump needs to go away.for good.
          As you know Sanders is supporting Biden and going to speak up. So is OH previous governor .

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    • Thank you, timesmightidont! That’s an excellent point; Trollope’s output WAS amazing. He must have not gotten a lot of sleep. I heard he did some writing while on trains for that postal-work travel, but he certainly couldn’t write when on horseback.

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  8. Hi Dave,

    Not exactly literature, but I did once read in a book that Australia’s first postmaster was an ex convict. I don’t know why that makes me so happy, but it does. I suppose if someone who stole something, and was consequently sent so far from home (maybe for the rest of his life) could turn his life around to have such an important and historic job, then there’s hope for everyone. Of course, with the white population of Australia back then, the government probably couldn’t be too choosy about who they hired!

    I must say, I love my local Post Office. It’s a tiny little shop and they overfill it with such loveliness that every time I walk in there, I feel like I’ve been transported back to the 1950s. Of course, I wasn’t even born then, but all nostalgia seems to come from the ‘50s. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been waiting since the 1950s to be served, but there are so many little treats to look at (and sometimes impulsively buy) and the service is always so friendly that I don’t mind waiting.

    Sorry, I can’t offer anything in the world of fiction. I’d like to amend your heading though and say “Wishing Trump were Fictional!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Wishing Trump were Fictional!” — love that title edit! 🙂 🙂 Thank you, Susan!

      So interesting that Australia’s first postmaster was an ex-convict. I guess the country had a lot of (white) ex-convicts back then sent over from England and such. Wilkie Collins’ novel “A Rogue’s Life” starred one such person.

      Your local post office sounds wonderful (despite the slow service you mention)! Great that it’s unique and not cookie-cutter. I have a post office branch two blocks from my apartment that used to have a different look; the guy who staffed the counter had a live bird and various other touches. But the higher-ups told him he couldn’t do that anymore. Now it’s the usual boring-looking place. A shame.

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      • Given its status as end-point for the incorrigible, I’d imagine Australia’s first Just-About-Anything-Except-Warden was a convict. But perhaps its early non-Aboriginal population was more diverse than I know.

        An aside: Australian Aborigines have populated the Land Down Under for 60,000 years, and managed to do that without polluting anyplace or depleting anything either. Also, without prisons, wardens or a military. Of course, not everybody is willing to live on grubs and roots and fruit in season and whatever else they could gather in walkabouts.

        60,000 years! The longest continuous culture on this earth! And yet, apart from a few ocher paintings under cliff overhangs, and a trail here and there, they’ve left no marks on the land.

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        • jhNY, convicts definitely made up a large part of Australia’s white population. But I think most positions of power went to the British who were prepared to come here. Convicts mostly did their time and then built homes and farmed the land. I’m always impressed when I stop to contemplate the sheer tenacity of Australia’s indigenous population. The white fellas who first came here were nearly wiped out on numerous occasions just because they didn’t know how to live off the land. And getting supplies from Europe was a tad more difficult than calling Pizza Hut. There was such knowledge and experience that the British could have called on, but instead chose to exterminate as much of the population as they could so that they could call the continent uninhabited. Such a waste that much of white Australia still chooses to ignore the Aboriginal population

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          • So well said, Susan. Much of history is incredibly depressing — mass murder, imperialism, colonialism… And, as you say, if the (white) conquerers arrived with a spirit of cooperation, things could have been so much better — not only for the indigenous people, but for the newcomers. Of course, it would often have been better if the newcomers hadn’t arrived at all.

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          • In the earliest days of the colony, were convicts still literally imprisoned after they arrived? Were their sentences reduced for having made the journey or did they have to serve out their original sentences?

            It would have been wise for the British newcomers to have learned whatever they could have from the Aborigines about surviving in their new surroundings, yes, but that would have required seeing value in them and their ways. Of course, I write from the US, and cannot point to my own country as any beacon of better understanding or history in our treatment of those who came before us, and of course, those we brought here to work as slaves.

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            • There were definitely gaols built in early white Australia, but I think they were mostly for convicts committing new crimes in Australia. Sentences were 7 or 14 years but I think convicts had to fund their own transport back to Britain so a lot stayed. Plus the government was literally giving land away (as Dave pointed out, it wasn’t their land to give but these are minor details).

              If you’re interested in white settlement of Australia, I recommend having a look at Robert Hughes’ The Fatal Shore. It was eye opening for me to learn how trivial a lot of the crimes were. And Hughes is more than a little controversial in suggesting that Britain wanted to plant a flag here for more political and tactical reasons than simply relocating their prisoners.

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              • Thank you for all that information, Susan. History is so fascinating, and depressing. When I read a nonfiction book again, I should consider the Robert Hughes one you mentioned. It sounds like a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about (the white settlement of) Australia. And I’m not surprised in the least that Great Britain had all kinds of motives for planting its flag in Australia.

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  9. Oh this is a good one, I’m actually having trouble coming up with post stories in any of my recent reads! Although to cheer myself up in these trying times, I’ve been re-reading Anne of Green Gables (the whole series) and I do always enjoy those two ladies that work at the post office in Avonlea (Mrs. Sloan and I can’t remember the other… Harris??). I also enjoyed your mention of Dennis the Menace haha those always made me laugh. Then of course I might mention the owl postal service in Harry Potter – maybe we should employ that for the election! 🙂 Unless it’s the Weasly owl he does seem to get mixed up so much hahaha. And as for these rife political times, I think I’ve reached the point about which FDR once said – “when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

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    • Thank you, M.B.!

      So nice that you’re rereading the “Anne” books; I had forgotten there were a couple of post-office supporting characters. L.M. Montgomery was a magnificent writer.

      And those owls were VERY appealing in the “Harry Potter” series. Love your suggestion that they handle the U.S. election! Each owl has a left wing and a right wing… 🙂

      Great FDR quote!

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  10. Dave, thanks for weighing in in behalf of the USPS. “I’m Shocked .. but not surprised”

    Postal notes: A great aunt was the postmistress in my home town, ~ ’40 – ’51. The hometown: Appleton MN, “why Zip Codes were invented — to distinguish us from the one over in Wisconsin”. They were activated right when I “came East” for school, and corresponding home, more than one letter arrived in Appleton, MN with a stamped on message “Mis-sent to Appleton, Wisconsin”. some old mail sorter in Chicago, I guess.

    posted as “An Early Zipcode” on My Idea Warehouse: https://applemcg.github.io

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    • Thank you, literaturepoliticsfamilylife! Nice that your great aunt was a Minnesota postal person for 11 years! And interesting that those two Appletons sometimes got confused.

      It seems like zip codes have been around forever, but I came up with 1963 when I googled the year they became official.

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      • Yes, the national zip code came into being in 1963, but here in NYC we had postal codes for districts and our zipcodes retained them in their latter digits: 10025, my zipcode, began life as a mere 25.

        I am old enough to remember my regret when the backs of pennies no longer featured wheatstraw. And when my telephone number began with a TE for ‘Temple’. And when a bakelite telephone receiver made a handy murder weapon. But i digress.

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        • Interesting, jhNY! I saw old letters from my mother (when cleaning out her Florida condo in 2018) with the two-number code from when she lived in The Bronx as a child and young woman.

          I also remember (still have some) those old pennies, and telephone numbers starting with two letters. I never killed anyone with a phone, but have killed some time on the phone…

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  11. ‘Irene March : [to the Postman] You’re a godsend. A savior!
    The Postman : No, I’m… I’m just the Postman.’
    And obvi expendable in the era of the cretins. Okay…on lighter, not singing dirges in the dark notes, though I can hear your voices from here, I can’t think of many books with postmen in them. I have read The Postman Always Rings Twice but alas that was a metaphor. But my kids loved good old Postman Pat, the books and the TV series. He was dependable, reliable, drove the country roads, delivering the mail regardless of fallen trees and crashed trains, AND had a cat called Jess. Then they gave him a makeover for today’s kids and killed it. The lines at the start are from that Costner Film, the Postman. At the time we thought it was hysterical and went ‘DUH, Kevin, you don’t say,’ when he did that speech about how once there was a postman on every street. Not so sure now though about the hysterical or the every street bit.

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    • Thank you, Shehanne! Loved the opening dialogue in your comment. 🙂 (I never saw that Costner film.) Some things are hilarious even when not necessarily meant to be.

      I thought of “The Postman Always Rings Twice” when writing the post — didn’t realize the title was totally rather than partly a metaphor — but alas I haven’t read that novel yet. And great mention of the “Postman Pat” books and British animated series, which I hadn’t been familiar with and just read about on Wikipedia after seeing your vivid description. Glad there was a cat in there. 🙂

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      • Yeah there was a cat. My girls had a knitted one and a Postman Pat they used to hang on a regular basis with the curtain ties, by heaving them over the stair rail so parents coming in to collect their kids from the piano lessons would get a face full. Looking back I’m surprised they sent their kids…. Postman Rings is a great hard boiled school of fiction story. We did see that Costner film once and as I said we all thought it was hysterical but see now what you’re talking about ???

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  12. never-reads-a-book Trump, LOL! Great post, as usual. I’m wrecking my brain for some Russian examples, but all I can come up with is the travel by post horses. That was the fastest way to travel larger distances in the 19th C, as you could change horses at every post station, and not loose time for your own horses to eat and rest. And there is a story by Pushkin called ‘The Postmaster’ (also translated as ‘The Stationmaster’) whose pretty daughter is abducted. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/55219/55219-h/55219-h.htm#THE_POSTMASTER

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    • Thank you, Elisabeth!

      Trump never reading a book is almost literally true, from everything I’ve…read. He’s so incurious and averse to reading that important information has to be conveyed to him verbally or via VERY condensed reports (one paragraph in many cases). I hope he can read “start” or “stop” on the nuclear button. 😦

      Traveling by post horses in the 19th century is a great and relevant mention! And I just added Pushkin’s “The Postmaster” to the stories I’ll read today — along with the ones by Tagore and Welty mentioned elsewhere in this comments section. I look forward to it! (It sounds downbeat, but of course many of the best stories are.)

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      • There seems to be no end to the ignorance and stupidity of Trump! And I hope too that at least he can distinguish the nuclear buttons and that he keeps his fingers well away from them!
        You have some nice stories to read, enjoy! 📚😊

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    • Thank you, Becky!

      Yes, Trump is indeed horrible. He’s done or tried to do so many destructive things that it makes it hard to focus on fighting any specific one of them. Which is a big reason why there hasn’t been even more outrage over his attempts to undermine or end the Postal Service — though there has been plenty of outrage.

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      • Part of the problem: the USPS is an uncomfortable public/private hybrid, more autonomous than it was once, and less susceptible to control or oversight by Congress. Since its beginnings, it has been a place to put political patrons on top, and as management is there for having pleased party and/or president from the start, they can depended upon to do what’s best for the folks who put them there. Still, before its semi-privatization in the ’70’s (I think), it would have been political suicide and unthinkable to fool around with delivery times and all the rest of the shenanigans going on today. But then again, that was way back when people wrote letters on paper, paid all bills by mail, sent cards, etc. I still do those things, but few do.

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        • True that there are more alternatives to postal mail these days, but of course the Postal Service is still a very necessary institution. Trump is not only messing with an election that will have a strong mail-ballot element, but also messing with such things as delivery of medicines, which may be slowed. 😦 He really is an ogre.

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          • Agreed!

            I try in my small way to support the USPS. I am invested to the tune of $80 in stamps, and will buy a few books more next time I make a trip there. I think if a great many people would do the same, some of the fiscal problems might be reduced– but not the big one: forcing the USPS to fund the retirements of future employees, years before they’ve been hired. No other entity, public or private, has been forced to fund retirement pensions in this way, and it costs billions! Before the GOP passed the law that made the policy, the USPS was profitable.

            I guess electing people whose bedrock belief is that no good can come from government institutions has its drawbacks.

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            • We’ve bought extra stamps, too!

              Yes, that Bush 2-era legislation forcing the USPS to pre-fund retirees’ health care for 75 years in the future was a deliberate hammer blow courtesy of Republicans in Congress. Disgusting.

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  13. “IL Postino” a beautiful Italian film from 1994 came to mind. The Postman. Massimo Troisi starred and co wrote a love story that is memorable. He was gravely I’ll during the filming,heart was weak,he waited for surgery to complete film but died before its release. It’s well worth watching particularly as it was his last film. I plan to watch again this summer.

    As far as Rump, I feel he knows he will lose the election in November so why not try to sabotage the P.O.,a critical, valued institution integral to our government since 1792 that hasn’t asked the federal government for a dime,till now.

    Yes,the P.O. has been bleeding cash for years pension costs,people sending snail rather than regular mail,etc., but the ridiculous thought of not funding just shows what an out of touch,abysmal, malicious, vile man the divider in chief is.

    Good riddance in November, leave NY and live your last years in Maralago. 🤬

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    • Thank you, Michele! Sounds like a marvelous film, with a sad story surrounding its making.

      Yes, Trump is so scared of losing this November that he’s trying almost everything to avoid that. A desperate, thoroughly corrupt man who knows he has to cheat to have any chance of winning.

      I hope Trump lives his last years in prison rather than Mar-a-Lago, but that might be too much to long for. Rich white male criminals rarely get jail time.

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      • Think Maralago as his prison like Citizen Kane. Rump loses his mind ,perhaps ends up in the dark,obsessed with germs,like Howard Hughes.

        Was fortunate to see a performance by S. Epertha Merkerson in “Come Back Little Sheba” at The Manhattan Theatre Club many years ago.She was wonderful.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I enjoyed the television series Lark Rise to Candleford based on Flora Thompson’s novel trilogy. Dorcas was as conscientious as she was curious 🙂 And as you and Rebecca mentioned, the owl letter and package delivery system in the Harry Potter series is most amusing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Mary Jo! Sounds like an excellent novel trilogy and screen adaptation (just googled them), and one description I saw used the term “19th-century postmistress.”

      And, yes, those owls in the “Harry Potter” books were amusing, and appealing. Interesting how the wizards in J.K. Rowling’s series used some old-fashioned “technology” amid wielding their amazing powers. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  15. Interesting topic once again, I read a short story by Ravindranath Tagore “ The Postmaster”. A young city lad who is recruited as a poster master in a remote village during colonial times. Like many of Tagore’s works it depicted the lush and uncharted countryside along with the human dilemmas. As always I felt really sad after reading it, like Tagore’s other works.
    As far as Trump, he is spreading lot of negativity, he has brought to surface the racism and misogyny. For the time being I decided to leave America and work in Dubai. I do have a green card not sure whether to surrender it or come back, still undecided, but I do have great respect for Americans. I learnt a lot during my stay and do miss a good hamburger time to time. Luckily where I stay ryt now in Dubai we do have Five Guys, Shake Shack, Texas Roadhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings 🤪.
    Thanks for your stimulating literary discussions Dave, I get so busy with full time job, traveling and a toddler that I really don’t get to think about literature. The world of literature is so beautiful, helped me to connect with different cultures and people.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Tanya!

      That sounds like a really good story by Tagore. Excellent description of it by you. What an incredible writer Tagore was. (I’ve read more of his poetry than his prose at this point.)

      Trump has indeed brought racism and misogyny to the surface. It was always there, but Trump’s sordid example has given racists and misogynists permission to be totally out there with their bigotry and intolerance.

      I can totally understand avoiding the U.S. at this time. Obviously many, many wonderful people, but “the bad guys” have been calling a lot of the shots since Trump took office in early 2017.

      You have a REALLY busy life. Glad my blog and the commenters here can put your mind on literature for a brief time.

      Much truth in your comment’s last line.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “The best lack all the conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity. “
        W. B Yeats

        I guess these immortal lines by Yeats describe the present scenario best. Tagore has written vast range of novels and short stories. His take on characters is more humane and modern than Tolstoy ( both are my favorite). I used to read a lot at one point of time now due to tight schedules and deadlines I don’t get time. But surprisingly memory has its own way, one can recall a character or a story even after it being out of mind for long.
        Democrats need to pull themselves together and get hold of new faces and better candidates, I feel they need to let go of status quo’s. They can’t win with same faces over decades… Clintons Pelosy, Biden…. it’s their weak point I feel. There seems to be lot of banter about lofty ideals but I feel they need to put something substantial and concrete for the common masses . With Mom and Pop shops closing down, small scale business dwindling , factory towns turning into wastelands, people need more action than rhetorics.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That amazing Yeats line does say a LOT, Tanya, and remains incredibly relevant today.

          Yes, some Democrats have been around much too long — and are way too cautious for the times. Democrats I admire include a number of progressive newcomers, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who are not beholden to corporate interests.

          Of course, the Republicans are a total horror show. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is bright and has great future, I wanted to like Kamla Harris but she always somehow seemed angry , I admire Tulsi Gabbard.
            Republicans need one thing; face masks!!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Totally agree about AOC! I’d like to see her as President one day.

              My issues with Kamala Harris include her being a Republican-like “tough on crime” attorney general in California and her backtracking on Medicare for All after supporting it.

              And, YES, too many Republicans are not wearing face masks. Insane how Trump and the GOP turned a simple health measure into a culture war. 😦

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          • In honor of our troubled end-times, I’m developing a new dance: The Bethlehem Slouch. So far, all I’ve got is an angled amble as I footdrag toward disaster. Still, it just might catch on!

            Liked by 1 person

        • Tanya,
          we Democrats did get hold of lots of new faces and not only candidates, but better legislators. The greatest crop of women, young and of color were elected in ’18. For this reason, I supported, and still do Ilhan Omar, more or less my home district as representative of the greatest class. I understand there are now more than 250 women running for national office. and while it’s important to change faces, it’s as important and a lot more difficult to change attitudes. i’m both proud and saddened that the earth-changing moment, the death of George Floyd happened in my home state. You might want to read Stacey Abrams’ “Our Time is Now” to learn of “something substantial and concrete for the common masses”. She has a quite concrete plan of action to broaden the franchise to the marginalized.
          ~ Marty McGowan

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          • Marty, I was thrilled that Ilhan Omar won her Democratic primary yesterday! And that several other progressives have defeated “establishment” Democrats in congressional races. 🙂

            Like

  16. During the summer months between my Grade 11 & 12 grades, I worked in a post office in a small mining town in Northern Manitoba. The mail would be delivered by train or plane. There were no roads to our town when my family lived there. I would arrive at the post office in the early hours of morning and unload the huge bags of packages, letters, postcards etc. on a massive table. Then there was sorting, and slotting and putting the mail into the proper mail boxes. There was no home delivery. Everyone congregated at the post office to pick up the mail, chat, meet up with friends. What I had always thought was an easy job turned out to be complex. Mail protocols are complex and had to be followed carefully. Putting a letter or package into the wrong mailbox was a serious situation. I admire all who work to deliver our mail. They bring the world to us. The books that came mind was Harry Potter. At Hogwarts, owls live in the Oilers in the West Tower and deliver mail to students once a day, with urgent messages being delivered immediately.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Eleanor Roosevelt’s seamstress, S. Epatha Merkerson’s mother, and Henry Crowder’s Cunard connection, are all wonderfully woven into your literary tribute to the Post Office. Prior to reading this fascinating article, the only literary connection to the Post Office I had was the hilarious book by Charles Bukowski. You’ve cracked the limits of my postal information, not to mention that it’s another bit of proof that donald trump cannot appreciate the letter of the law.

    Liked by 2 people

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