The young woman behind the desk inside my local post office looked bewildered. “I think we’ve got some somewhere”, she mumbled before returning with a pile of dusty envelopes. “Nobody really asks of these any more,” she admitted.
A hundred years ago this month the world’s very first air mail service began
Passed under the counter and into my hand was a typical example of a mode of communication that features all but vanished. Compliment of Skype, texts and e-mails, there’s little need anymore when it comes to small pale blue envelopes aided by the diagonal red and blue stripes across the border, extra thin blue writing paper and multitude of stamps and post marks that constitutes an air mail letter. Dr. Richard Saundry, editor for the British Air Mail Society Journal, believes that we’re at risk of losing something both romantic and powerful.
“I think it’s very regrettable that nobody generally seems to use air mail any more”, he informs me. “We are now living in a tremendously lazy age now the other happens to be lost. There’s a huge thrill and excitement, and a type of romance in receiving an air mail letter through the other side around the globe in your door mat. The online world just can’t replace that.”
A century ago this month the world’s very air that is first service began. Flying from Allahabad, near Delhi, only seven years after the Wright brothers made their first forays in to the air, the plane, flown by a pilot that is french Henri Pequet, travelled 15 miles to Naini. Up to speed were six and a half thousand letters including one compiled by Motilal Nehru, father associated with the president that is first of India.
Great britain wasn’t far behind using the first air mail flight lifting off from Hendon to Windsor later that year. The speed that these pioneers succeeded in reaching to get letters across the world is seldom beaten today. Richard in the Air Mail Society told me of a letter he possesses which was sent from Buenos Aires to China in 1938. The letter found its way to 13 days- a feat that would be hard to match now without paying reasonably limited to a courier company that is private.
As a kid I thought there was nothing more exciting than getting letters great site that are occasional my aunt in South Africa. Covered in strange stamps and smudged post marks, the letter that is creased contain pages of dense hand writing describing life in Cape Town when you look at the latter years of apartheid. It seemed almost like getting a personal letter from an esteemed foreign correspondent plus the gravitas of receiving these letters was so great that, 20 years on, I still possess them. I still receive news it’s by e-mail, the tone is scrappy and, in my hastily returned missives, a huge degree of effort and attempt at phrasing and sentence structure is missing from her, but these days.
“Getting an air mail letter was a great deal better than a phone call”, admits Kate Hunter, a ward that is retired in Nottingham, whose husband had a long career within the oil industry.
“He was away for months at a time during the 1970’s and I always found the phone that is rushed he could occasionally make if you ask me really unsatisfying”, she recalled in my experience.
“What i must say i loved were the days when an air mail letter from Kuwait or Dubai would slide through the letter box. It was only on paper that my hubby was really able to express his feelings, tell me exactly how much he was missing me and provide me a much truer idea of what he had been dealing with. There’s an honesty to a tactile hand written letter which you can’t get in a phone call or an e-mail. I would want to have the letter, curl up regarding the sofa with a cup of tea and just lose myself in the handwriting for some time. Although the letters might take ages to reach, I somehow felt closer to him whilst holding an air mail letter we spoke regarding the phone. than I ever did when”
With my very own air mail envelopes at hand, i got to my home to realise I’d made a serious error. I needed to publish, but to whom? I had e-mail addresses for my friends based everywhere from Montevideo to Monaco but i came across i did son’t have just one address that is postal any one of them anymore. What exactly did i really do? No choice was had by me except that to e-mail my friends asking for their address.
Five days later, and I also still haven’t got around to writing anything- preferring to have a chat that is‘Skype. Maybe Richard was right about us surviving in a lazy age. One hundred years from now, will our descendents have any basic idea about the allure of a letter of love, heartache or politics that includes travelled around the globe by plane?