I bet Queen Victoria wouldn't whine about stamp prices

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Today is Victoria Day -- in Canada, at least. We don't celebrate it here, and her picture isn't likely to show up on any of our postage stamps.

Hey, who brought up stamps? Somebody did, so now that we're on the subject, we might as well mention that the price to mail a letter just went up to 44 cents (I know that only because it's been in the news).

Before that, I had no clue what a stamp cost, so when I wanted to mail a bill recently, I searched through our stamp envelope at home for something that would reveal the price. I found all denominations and designs of stamps, including Christmas stamps.

Most were labeled 37 cents or 41 cents. I decided to err on the side of caution and stick two stamps to the envelope; surely it wouldn't cost more than 78 cents to post an envelope to Cincinnati.

I didn't use the Christmas stamps; you never know when they might come in handy.

One Christmas past, for instance, I set aside one of the cards we were mailing out. I kept it, along with its affixed holiday stamp, until summer, when I mailed it to a co-worker.

A few days later at the office, he said, "Glynn, I got a Christmas card from you."

"Yes, Brooks, we mailed out a bunch of them last December. I'm glad you enjoyed it," I said.

"No, I mean, I just got your card in the mail. Today."

"The postal service is not that slow," I replied, and walked back to my desk. I never got around to telling him what I had done.

The recent increase in stamp prices upset a lot of people, but then, those whiners get upset every time postage goes up -- four or five times a year. Or seven.

Not me. I've watched a lot of old movies in my time, so I know that our U.S. mail goes through a lot to get from sender to receiver.

If I remember correctly, it is stuffed into canvas bags and hauled on stagecoaches through unsettled territories at constant risk from Indian raids, bandits, dust storms, flash floods, runaway horses and broken wheels.

Faced with all those perils, the postal service is a miracle worker to charge us only 44 cents. That would have been a bargain even in the Victorian era.

That was a long era, too. From her 18th year to her death, she ruled 631/2 years, a record for the throne that still stands.

By the way, it is said her decision to wear a white gown at her 1840 wedding started a trend that is still going strong today.

Here's something else I learned when looking up Victoria. The first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black in 1840, bore the likeness of the young queen.

Happy Victoria Day.

Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.


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