Sunday, August 21, 2011

DayTripping with my Sister Lauren, Chapter 1: Going Postal

Last month, I spent three fun-filled days with my sister Lauren. An  adventure in our own backyard awaited us. The first place, the big city of freeways and skyscrapers,  Los Angeles.  Living about 50 minutes east of me, Lauren arrived to take me along on a day trip that turned out slightly different than we originally planned.  Less than an hours drive from my house heading further west, we set out.  The weather, in the low 80's,
So. Cal. perfection as if I had asked for it. (Maybe I did!).  Navigating the city, no techno-GPS in view, we drove along as if we were regular city-folk, never once lost or nervous.  With my camera in hand, Lauren graciously double parked and circled around, allowing me the pleasure of  snapping shots of interesting buildings  and historical sites, well aware of my blog-photography interest.  So for you So. Cal readers, I hope to enlighten you on some history and trivia and for all you readers outside this state, a pleasurable travel blog. 

Our first stop, Philippe's, Home of the Original Beef Dip Sandwich.  You may be hungry to read here, but get in line now, and wait for Chapter 2.  This restaurant is located at 1001 N. Alameda St.  Across the street though, a post office.  This is what I will blog about first.
Los Angeles Terminal Annex, U.S. Post Office

Located at 900 N. Alameda, the Spanish Colonial Mission-style structure, built in 1940, delivers a feeling of yesteryear with a growing population.  With all the modern mechanics of its time, sorting and processing over 2 million pieces of mail per day and employing over 1600 public servants, this facility remained open 24 hours. In 1950, another expansion took place, adding more square footage to process the increasing demands of a big city.  In 1985, a new honor stamped into history, a spot in the National Register of Historical Places. In 1989, a new L.A. general post office opened, the volume then at 14 million. 

A first-class letter, 4¢ to mail in 1940
Scandal, murder, mayhem, drugs and city-wide chaos, all the things writers love to sink their teeth into, echo through the halls of the building. The year I was born, 1954, two postal  employees, nabbed for apparently bookmaking, probably did not bet on getting delivered to jail.   (Maybe they were ahead of their time and self-publishing?).  Rumors abound that many more took part in these secret back room dealings.  (Got to watch out for those aspiring writers, hehee).

An 8 1/2 hour power outage in 1985, believed sparked from a voltage line in the basement, curtailed the mail for one day.  (Neither snow, nor sleet...but power?  yes, it did). 

Hollywood is everywhere in L.A.  Do you remember seeing the movie Dear God starring Greg Kinnear?  Kinnear's character plays a con-man who receives a judgment of community service. Sent to the post office, he is mandated to the task of sorting and reading through the "dead-letter" file; letters that are undeliverable because the addresses do not exist.  He finds many letters from children writing God, asking for things not for themselves, but for their family.  Filmed on location here and directed by Gary Marshall, we watch  Kinnear's dishonest heart  re-shape when he begins to answer these letters himself with tangible means.  Soon, he involves his fellow workers and transformation happens as Kinnear finds meaningful purpose for his life. 

Although we are not saved by works, doing good things for others is pleasing to God and certainly helps us too. 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good
Romans 12:21
 One more delivery to make: 

  I found this on-line, author unknown, but I am guessing he or she delivers the snail mail we still receive; the birthday card from Grandma with X's and O's and  $5.00 safely tucked away, the report cards, and college acceptance letters,birth announcements and refund checks. Send someone a card this week, hand it to your mail person for delivery, thanking him/her for a job well done! 

A Postman's Prayer

 God our father -- may everything we do be "first class." Imprint your own loving "zip code" upon our hearts in that we may never go astray.
Provide in your gracious providence
"special handling" for those of us who are "fragile" and keep us in one piece.
We have been
"signed, sealed, stamped, and delivered" in your image and likeness, and we beg you to keep us in your care as we go about our "appointed rounds."
And when our days draw to a close
and we are marked "Return to Sender," be there to greet us at heaven's door so that nobody may ever say, "unknown at this address." Amen.


  1. I'm lucky enough to be the first to read this blog and learn about the Los Angeles Post Office. I love the title and the day tripping along with your sister. Reading the final prayer, author unknown, helps me to keep trying on every day!
    Great post, Linda

  2. Interesting! I can't wait to read about the rest of your trip.

  3. This POST really DELIVERED. I was ENVELOPED from the beginning. It's the SORT of story I love to read, packaged up with plenty of ZIP. I give it my STAMP of approval, please POST and SEND me more!