Thursday, April 25, 2013

Broken Doll.. Should have packed..

With the find of the "Singing Mailmen of Miami" I have started recording and cleaning the audio tracks.  The recording was done in 1961.  This is pre zip code days.  They are talking about properly "zoning" your mail.

Enjoy the following 30 second spot.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's beginning to look alot like...

Well, we had a visit from Fire Marshall Bill today.  He walked into one of our storage rooms and said "WELL LET ME SHOW YA SOMETHIN!"  Those boxes are to close to the ceiling.  What's in them? We all looked at each other and said "I dunno."  Let's find out shall we.

What it turned out to be was a HUGE stash of old vinyl records from one of our classic/album rock stations. Within all of those boxes. I found a few boxes of Christmas music.  Andy Williams was apparently very popular.

But the biggest fond for me was this.

That's right.  The Signing Mailmen of Miami.  Reminding us to Mail early and have a Merry Christmas.

From the USPS Postal Museum website.

The Singing Mailmen of Miami
In the 1950s and 60s, a group of postal workers from the Miami Branch area joined together as the Singing Mailmen of Miami and were later adopted as a voice of the Post Office Department. Twenty-five letter carriers and clerks organized in 1954 as a non-profit nondenominational glee club.(1) A letter to a local Miami newspaper stated “We are not a fanatic group, but this we do believe: where others have failed, music has opened the box heaviest doors and left peace, good will, and understanding”.(2) This letter emphasizes the Singing Mailmen of Miami’s main intent: good will, a desire for which brought together the group of diverse postal workers (thirteen letter carriers, five clerks, two supers). Each performance was completed by a performance by the “JCP Trio,” composed of a Jew, a Catholic, and a Protestant who would remind the audience of the importance of brotherhood.
At their beginning the group was purely for the enjoyment of each other’s company and the chance to sing. But as time passed, they began to sing at post office events, local events, and nursing homes. By 1960 they had garnered national interest and the Post Office Department adopted them as their official spokes-group. Their fame continued to grow as they released an album entitled “Neither Snow Nor Rain,” the money from which came their funds for the ZIP Code tour.
They even became popular enough to be featured on the prime-time television program “Sing Along with Mitch” where they sang their theme song, “Men with the US Mail.”  They were also the only organization at the time to be granted special permission by the Postmaster General to perform in their uniforms, which they declared as “a great honor”.(3) Other notable performances were at the White House, the U.S. Congress, and for Florida Governor Ferris Bryant.
In 1961, they made a trip to various radio stations around the United States to promote the “Shop and Mail Early” campaign during the Christmas season. Their itinerary was vast; they visited Menasha, WI; Galveston, TX; Hagerstown, MD; Santa Fe, NM; Terre Haute, IN; and Jamesville, WI. The next year they recorded a song for the same purpose:
(set to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Christmas stamps, Christmas stamps, making our debut.
We’ll brighten up your Christmas cards and speed them on to you.
Don’t delay; mail today. It’s later than you think.
We’ll put them through for all of you, quicker than a wink.(4)
Later in 1963 they made a similar goodwill tour up and down the East Coast to promote the use of the ZIP Code. They traveled in a large bus loaded with a piano, their luggage—and hundreds of coconuts to pass out at each performance to represent Mr. ZIP. They played for twenty-one audiences in twelve different cities, again armed with a song:
(set to the theme of ZIppity Do Da)
Welcome to the ZIP Code
Use it today
Send your mail out
The five-digit way
For speedier handling
To lighten the load
Your return address
Should have the ZIP Code(5)
The Singing Mailmen were never paid for their local Florida appearances or for their trips for the Post Office Department. Instead, they raised money for charities or used the funds to make their goodwill tours and share their music with others. They even each used annual leave for their trips. One member put it well: “There was a lot of camaraderie—we all stuck together and looked after one another’s well-being. We also brought joy to a lot of people. It was a great pleasure to see the smiles on their faces”.(6)
Most of the members retired by 1970 and the chorus disbanded, though nine did reunite again in 1985 for a local television reunion concert in Miami. In 1989, a writer for the Miami Herald found Sidney Barshak, then seventy-one years old, and previous member of the Singing Mailmen of Miami and the J in the JCP Trio.(7) He did not know if any other members were still alive, as had contact slowly faded over the years. But he still remembered those times very fondly saying “I don’t like to toot my own horn, but when the lights came down, the spotlight came on, the curtain opened, there we were. We had some great times”.(8)

Now here is the fun part.  I work in a place where we actually have record players and some nice equipment to record things.  I will be digitizing the album for delivery to my readers for the Christmas/Holiday season.  So when the time comes.  I will be doing something fun with this.

So is anyone interested.  An inquiring mind wants to know.


Friday, April 19, 2013

It's coming.. Sometime soon..

I am in the process of getting a store ready. 

I need YOUR input. YES..  YOU.  I know what I like and what I would like to see in a single point of purchase kind of place. 

Please note.  This is going to be interesting and it's going to take some time. 

As of right now I have opened accounts with some great suppliers.

Field Notes Brand
Exaclair (Rhodia, Clairfontaine, G.Lalo, J. Herbin and Quo Vadis)  Not sure about Rhodia as they are available everywhere, but would like to hear from you folks.
Orange Art (Original Crown Mill, Le Typographe, Arpa)
Cats Life Press (Rubber Stamps)
BlueQ (some really cool bags)

Now here are some of the ones I'm working on

Sweet Bella (MT masking tape, Ontwerpduo Writing paper, Life Co (writing paper/notebooks) and antica cartotecnica
Doane Paper (notebooks and pads)
1canoe2 (Beautiful letterpress products)

Do you have some favorite products you like to use? Do you prefer nice stationery (original crown mill, G. Lalo)  I will be carrying note cards, letter sets as well as pads and envelopes separately.

I am not sure about pens as there are so many wonderful places to acquire these already.  Jet pens and Goulet Pens just to name a few.

So with this in mind, I am shooting for a mid year launch.  If all things go well and inventory can be had in time. 

Look for changes coming and thanks for hanging around


Monday, April 15, 2013

Field Notes - America the Beautiful Winners

Before we get to the fine folks that are receiving the packs of notebooks there is a little housekeeping to do.  We have the remainder of the entrants.  I waited until the mail came in today before heading over to for the drawing.

There were 12 entries in all.

First for round 2 of the incoming is from Penny up in the great white north.

up next  there were 2 from Tammy.  REALLY like the stamps you guys have sent in.


From the land of the guy in a REALLY BIG pair of spanx.

And a place where they advertise FREE ICE WATER..  No really free.  No need to purchase an Icee or burrito or nothin.  FREE..

Don't forget Flipper.

And the last person to get in on the giveaway is John - he's new :)  Last piece of mail that came in today.   There isn't anything like seeing a bunch of ladies on a booze run.

so now that we are finished with the entries.  Let's get down to who gets the goodies.

Randall Harris

John Nix

Aimee Soloway

Joan Clarke

That's it.  I'll be sending these out this week.  Hope you all enjoy them.  This is Field Notes first go round on 4 color printing.  I have an account with these folks now so I will be doing these with the colors releases (4 times a year).


Friday, April 12, 2013

Girl Scout Help

I am in need of some assistance.  My daughters daisy troop (and brownies) would like to find a group of kids to do some writing to for their pen-pal patches.

Do you know of anyone that would like to participate with a group of under 10 girls?

I am working with the troop leaders to come up with some designs for postcards for their troop and have the girls decorate/color/write on to make them their own.

So here is a chance to get a group of little ones into the snail mail world.

So if anyone has some suggestions, please email me istillwrite1 (at) gmail (dot) com.



OOooo.. Almost forgot.  I will be posting some more incoming for the giveaway tomorrow.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ooo. Ooo.. Ooo.. SHOW and Tell time..

So here is the first batch of entrants into the Field Notes "America the Beautiful" giveaway.

Some of you were pretty clever (bonus points) in more or less REALLY covering the bases (see travel again..  running the bases..)

Do we remember what this was for?  Hmmm.. anyone.. anyone at all.. Bueller..  You tall kid in the back.

Umm..  notebooks??  Give that man a bathroom pass!!  Yup  you are sending me little pieces of card stock imbued with pictures of traveling site (sight) seeing thingies for some of these..

These are some of my notebooks.  The ones for this round are in the lower right corner.

Don't think he'll make it doc.

See this is where it got fun.  Notice the stamps. follow the theme :)  This is from Aimee.

From Tami in,  hmmm I wonder..

From Mr. Harris who recently returned from a trip.

From Rusty, another double tap. In this case she sent a follow up to notify me she has received her FN subscription and let her entry go to another.  We'll see.  (she can't make me so there :p)

and finally from Mr. O'Brien who had an interesting take on the entry and earned him some points.

When I got this letter, I got it when I saw it.  and thought promptly of the church scene from the Blues Brothers. THE BAND!!, the band?, THE BAND!!

Remember I am giving away 4 sets of books. So keep sending - close for the giveaway is next Monday  (TAX DAY)

Derrick Dodson, 6325 Matterhorn Drive, Sacramento, Ca 95842

Till next time..