Saturday, 28 November 2015

It will cost a dollar to post a letter

from next year. The cost is rising from 70c to a dollar then - and it will also take longer for letters to reach us. 
Australia Post says this is because most people use their phones (and the text messages which go with it), email and the like to communicate.
Perhaps they do. 
I think it is a rather sad commentary on society. I remember letters.
When I was a mere kitten there was one delivery a day in the country town I lived in but there were two deliveries a day in the city. 
The postman rode a bike and he blew a whistle at your house if there was something in the letter box. 
My maternal grandparents had an old metal letter box in the fence.  You opened it by flipping the lid at the top. Nana, as we called her, would hurry out to get it. Most of her mail was bills or circulars or the recipes she collected (and never used) from a cooking programme on television. Occasionally there would be a letter from a friend who lived in Broken Hill or her cousin in Western Australia. Once a year my grandfather would get a card from his brother who lived in London. There were also my mother's weekly letters home.
My paternal grandparents had a larger wooden letter box that opened at the back. If we were there Grandma would send us out to get the letters. She was never in a hurry to get them - or so it seemed to us.  There was almost always at least one letter from one of her many brothers and sisters, from my grandfather's many brothers and sisters or his cousins in Scotland and from other people they knew. Both my grandparents wrote letters to their siblings on a regular basis. While their mothers were alive they had written to them at least once a week.
My mother wrote letters to her mother and, while we were away at school and university, she wrote to us. We were expected to respond - and we did. The letters were never that long but they kept us up with the family news.
The Senior Cat now uses the phone to keep in touch with Brother Cat and Junior Cat (my youngest sister). Middle Cat lives in the adjacent suburb so he sees her as well as phoning her. It's not quite the same as  getting a letter though. You can't read the phone conversation again. You can't check on what was written there. You need to remember things - or write them down as you hear them. The Senior Cat forgets to tell me things - or, more likely, assumes he has told me. 
And the postman comes past on a little motor bike. He doesn't blow a  whistle. He only comes once a day. We don't get those sort of letters from relatives any more. My friends email me. The mail is bills and newsletters, the occasional circular, and...well books. 
Yes, that's the reason we need the postman. He delivers the books we buy. 
He commented on this once. On a very hot day I had left a message stuck to the letter box saying, "Cold water available if you need it."
He came in to get his water bottle refilled - and brought the mail with him.
"You're the book people," he said. 
He waves to me when I am out and about. And he knows he can ask us to refill his water bottle if he needs more.
I would be sorry to see him go altogether. 

No comments: