Sometimes mail came general delivery

DEL MAR — A long time ago, 75 years or so, during the depression some folks could not afford to rent a mailbox so they used general delivery.
Of course you didn’t want your friends to know you were using general delivery so you always said you were on the waiting list to rent the next available box.
Mae Kibler was the postmaster and it seemed she always took forever to rifle through the pile of general delivery letters. There were no automated stamp dispensers so you stood in line to purchase them. Post cards were a penny and that included postage.
At 2:30 p.m. sharp every afternoon Kenny Fitzhugh, who operated the Union 76 gas station at the corner of 14th Street and Highway 101, came into the post office to pick up sacks of mail to take to the Santa Fe train station. He was the designated carrier authorized to transport mail in his sedan, rain or shine. On Sundays and holidays when the post office was closed, folks could deposit their mail in a slot on the side of the mail car of passing trains when it stopped in Del Mar.
Even in those days there was fast mail service. For an additional dime mail moved faster and home delivery was provided. Special delivery stamps were double the size of the regular ones. They showed a picture of a mail carrier on a motorcycle. This was a stretch. Transportation was by car or bicycle. Nevertheless, it was visual evidence in the neighborhood that very important mail was being delivered. Usually a past due bill.
A plus for general delivery recipients was that they did not receive correspondence marked “occupant” or “valued resident.”


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