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United States/Covers & Postmarks : A Cover With A Story

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
13 Apr 2016
11:16:34pm

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Just an old airmail cover with postage due stamps to most, and a larger "uncollectable" card sized envelope as well. Many would just crop the stamps off and toss the remains. Ah, but this cover tells a family story!

I was looking for something else in one of my cover drawers this evening and the blue airmail stamp was sticking out. I then saw the postage dues, so I pulled it out. I recently sorted out my airmail and postage due stamps into a stock book and thought I'd like to collect these types of stamps on cover. Then it got my attention!

The cover was mailed from my family home of Jersey City, NJ by my grandmother. This would be my mother's mother. The address of the home they lived in until her death is handwritten on the reverse side. A single airmail stamp cancelled appropriately in Jersey City, NJ on November 3, 1960

My father was in the US Army and he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. He was a Lieutenant and this was his assignment right before he was sent to Viet Nam in 1962. The cover is addressed to my mother in the US Army hospital at Ft Riley. The occasion of my mother's stay was the birth of my younger sister on November 1st.

This card was forwarded from the hospital to our family home in Manhattan, Kansas after my mother had left the hospital. It didn't arrive into a happy home. My mother was sent home without her baby. My sister was born premature and my parents were told that she wouldn't make it. My sister was in the hospital struggling for her life as this cover passed through the building on November 5th. Gifts and baby supplies were returned my parents awaited her death. Only a miracle happened! She survived! And she lives today!

I was two at the time so I wasn't aware of all that was going on. I heard it all later on from my parents, who are gone now. This cover also shows the family address at the time, which I didn't know. So I took a Google Earth street tour and went for a look at the house and the neighborhood. Of course it was all new to me, but the house didn't look much different than it must've in 1960. There was the driveway it shared with the house next door. I knew that detail because my mother told the story a thousand times how I was set out in the driveway in my wading pool and the neighbor came bounding up the driveway without looking and hit the pool.

So this cover gets a place of honor in my "Cool Things" album. Others might have tossed it but it's a real keeper for me!

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TuskenRaider
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14 Apr 2016
08:13:12am
re: A Cover With A Story

Thanks for the wonderful story about your cover. Stamps do tell much more than just postal history.

Just lurkin'....
TuskenRaider

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ikeyPikey
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14 Apr 2016
10:15:14am
re: A Cover With A Story

Q/ Does part of the story include why there was 7c postage due?

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
14 Apr 2016
08:19:25pm

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re: A Cover With A Story

Quote:

"Q/ Does part of the story include why there was 7c postage due?"



It probably was charged because the card envelope was oversized or heavy. I cannot comment on heavy since the contents are long gone. Or maybe because it was forwarded, deserving a full 7 cents for forwarding it a few miles?? Any ideas why?

It's interesting that the envelope has survived. I also noticed the card was mailed on November 3, and received all the way in Kansas by November 5, according to the handwritten notation. Very military!

It took someone 2 days (the same amount of time it took to get from NJ to KS) to get it back to the Ft Riley post office. I'd assume that the postage due was put on by the Manhattan, Kansas post office and the card was delivered maybe a day or two later. There are no back stamps.



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Bobstamp
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14 Apr 2016
09:00:20pm
re: A Cover With A Story

Tom said,

Quote:

"My father was in the US Army and he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. He was a Lieutenant and this was his assignment right before he was sent to Viet Nam in 1962."



As a Vietnam veteran, I'm always interested in how the war affected other families. American military involvement in Vietnam's in 1962 was limited to military aid, including the posting of thousands of American army advisors. Tom, was your dad an advisor? I'd be interested in learning about his experiences (as an advisor or in some other capacity), if you'd care to comment.

About preemies: My first job in the navy was working in the delivery room and nursery at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, which was the headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Second World War. We had a few preemies born during that time; the earliest/smallest one was a baby girl, born three months premature and weighing 14 ounces. I don't think any of us thought she would survive. She stopped breathing several time during her first night, but we had a 24-hour watch on her and each time got her breathing again by (gently) holding her ankles and flexing her legs against her abdomen. Her skin was translucent; her abdominal organs were clearly visible. We had to feed her through a nasal tube. I could rest her head on the tips of my fingers; her feet would barely reach my past the bend of my wrist. She was discharged as a healthy five-pound baby about four months or so later.

Bob


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CapeStampMan
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Mike
14 Apr 2016
11:09:42pm
re: A Cover With A Story

That was an exciting find and a great story Tom, thanks for sharing it with us. It really is a small world out there.

We also had a preemie born about 3 months early and weighing in at only 12 ounces and like your sister, was not given much chance for survival, since they really didn't know what to do for preemies then. She was born in KUMC in Kansas City in June of 1963 and stayed in the hospital for six long months, obviously growing at a very slow rate. We finally took her home at Christmas, when she finally reached 5 pounds. My wife kept her dressed in doll clothes and she slept in a dresser drawer, with the drawer open of course. Now she is a very healthy 52 years old and there is no way you would ever guess she was once a 12 ounce preemie.
Mike

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