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The envelope from 1938

As a keeper of some pretty old letters, passed down from a surrogate grandmother, Iowa King Cown, to my dad and then to me, I appreciate how satisfying it can be to find a welcome home for some of the items. I recently found a letter from 1962 written by our family doctor to Iowa. Dr. Baber died very young. I sent the letter to his daughter last week, a blast from her father's past.

Yesterday, my friend Annie Shiffer of Spokane Valley sent me an envelope postmarked April 21, 1938. It was addressed to her father, then 13. There was no letter inside. It didn't even need the full address to find its way to the young boy. Zip codes weren't invented yet, nor postal codes, their precursor. I love the elaborate Spokesman-Review return address and the boast that “nearly everybody within 200 miles of Spokane, Wash, reads The Spokesman-Review.” The building still looks much the same from the outside.

One dilemma of aging. We have collected so many artifacts from the past. Who and how do you share them? So today, I share this envelope that survived 74 years to be delivered today. It prompted a smile, and some ponderings. Thanks Annie!

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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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