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 century ago this month the world’s very air that is first service began
Passed under the counter and into my hand was a typical example of a mode of communication which includes all but vanished. By way 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 round the border, extra thin blue writing paper and multitude of stamps and post marks that constitutes an air mail letter. Dr. Richard Saundry, editor associated with British Air Mail Society Journal, believes that we’re vulnerable to losing something both romantic and powerful.
“I think it’s very regrettable that nobody appears to use air mail any more”, he tells me. “We live in a tremendously lazy age now the other happens to be lost. There’s a thrill that is huge excitement, and a kind of romance in receiving an air mail letter through the other side of the world on your own door mat. The net just can’t replace that.”
A hundred years ago this month the world’s very air that is first service began. Flying from Allahabad, near Delhi, only seven years following the Wright brothers made their first forays into 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 published by Motilal Nehru, father of the first president of independent India.
The united kingdom wasn’t far behind because of the first air mail flight lifting off from Hendon to Windsor later that year. Today the speed that these pioneers succeeded in reaching to get letters around the world is seldom beaten. Richard during the fresh 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 having to pay reasonably limited to a courier company that is private.
As a young child I thought there was clearly nothing more exciting than getting occasional letters from 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 several years of apartheid. It seemed almost like getting a letter that is personal an esteemed foreign correspondent additionally the gravitas of receiving these letters was so great that, twenty years on, I still possess them. I still receive news from her, but these days it is by e-mail, the tone is scrappy and, during my hastily returned missives, an enormous amount of effort and attempt at phrasing and sentence structure is missing.
“Getting an air mail letter was so much a lot better than a phone call”, admits Kate Hunter, a retired ward sister in Nottingham, whose husband had a lengthy career into the oil industry.
“He was away for months on end through the 1970’s and I also always found the phone that is rushed he could occasionally make in my experience really unsatisfying”, she recalled to me.
“What I really loved were the times when an air mail letter from Kuwait or Dubai would slide through the letter box. It had been only on paper that my better half was really in a position to express his feelings, let me know just how much he was missing me and present me a truer that is much of what he was going right on through. There’s an honesty to a tactile hand written letter that you simply can’t get in a phone call or an e-mail. I would personally like to have the letter, flake out on the see this website sofa with a cup of tea and just lose myself in the handwriting for a while. Even though the letters could take ages to reach, I somehow felt closer to him whilst holding an air mail letter than I ever did whenever we spoke in the phone.”
With my personal air mail envelopes at your fingertips, i got to my home to realise I’d made a serious error. I needed to publish, but to whom? I experienced e-mail addresses for my buddies based everywhere from Montevideo to Monaco but i discovered i did son’t have just one address that is postal any one of them anymore. Just what exactly did i really do? No choice was had by me other than to e-mail my buddies 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 residing in a lazy age. One hundred years from now, will our descendents have any idea about the allure of a letter of love, heartache or politics that includes travelled throughout the world by plane?