I Fired My Sister Today

mr zip

I Fired My Sister Today

Yes, I did. Fired her. She deserved it, too.

There I was, working away in one of the stories I service, calmly putting out the newest greeting cards, minding my own business. The quiet ‘ding’ on my phone informed me I had a new text message. I pulled my phone from my pocket and saw a message from my sister.

BTW. You are older than zip codes. They started in the early 60’s.

Now really, Susan Elizabeth! Was that necessary? Did you really need to text me just to tell me I’m old?

Of course, after my ‘Gee. THANKS!’ reply where I pretended to be offended and in a bit of a huff, I had to retort back and remind her that she’s right behind me.

A little later, as I was chuckling to myself, I had to turn around and text my mom and report that I’d fired my sister, and why. (Reporting…tattle-taleing…same difference.)

Mom replied:

Yes, don’t you remember? We still lived at 740.

740 is our street address when we lived in Glendora. We moved from there in 1969, when I was 11. The funny thing is, at that age I wasn’t sending a lot of letters. (A lot as in…none.) But to this day, I still remember Glendora’s zip code. 91740. Maybe because it had our house address in the zip.

But, I didn’t remember zip codes starting then. It seems that zip codes have always been around. (Even though, being a lover and collector of vintage post cards I know that this isn’t so.) Naturally I had to come home and Google some information about when zip codes came into being.

Darn. Don’t you just hate it when you have to admit that your younger sister is right? Again? This is the second time in the past two weeks. Enough already. I don’t really care for the taste of crow.

But right she was about the zip codes.

In 1943, the earliest zip code began as postal zones. The volume of mail was increasing, having approximately 20 million pieces per year being sent, sorted, and delivered. With so many young men going into the service, the post office was also staffed with many new, inexperienced postal clerks who were having trouble sorting the mail. The zone system was initiated with a one or two digit number being placed between the city and the state.

Between 1943 and 1962, the mail volume doubled. On July 1, 1963, the post office introduced the Zone Improvement Plan Code, now referred to as ZIP Codes. The new five digit codes corresponded to different zones. The entire country was divided into coded delivery areas, with the first two to three numbers designating the state.

Of course, this system soon became outdated too, and to improve efficiency, the ‘ZIP + four’ system was implemented. Fortunately we don’t have to include the + four digit appendage. This brain has enough trouble remembering my own current zip code – without the extra four digits. However, I think that 91740 – the zip code of my birth – will be permanently engraved in my memory, even though I don’t remember its inception.

My mom reported in a later text, that she recalls the new system very well. She says it was a pain. She remembers having to contact all the people she wrote to, to get their new-fangled zip code. And back in those days, it was a phone call – on the party line – or a handwritten letter. No quick text to find out. No hopping on the computer for a quick Google search.

The new-fangled system didn’t interrupt my world. I had bigger worries at that time. I started kindergarten two months after that. While my mom’s world was adapting to the new mail regulations, my world was adapting to its own changes. I had to go to…(shudder)…school. I had to learn how to socialize with other children. (That one didn’t go very well.) I had to learn my numbers and letters and start learning to read. (That one went better and I haven’t put down a book since.)

And if I ever forget that I’m older than ZIP Codes…never fear. I have a younger sister that will remind me. Yes, she’s still on the payroll. I still claim her as my sister. I never fired her.

After all – I have Google in my world now. I can easily find out what she’s older than! I see a few paybacks coming in her future.

zip code

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March 2019
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