The American Philatelic Research Library regularly lends up to five books by mail to APS members wherever the U.S. Postal Service can reach them. This standard five-week loan by mail allows for time in transit. If seven weeks go by and the books have not been returned, we take the first steps to get them back.
On March 3, I emailed an overdue reminder to a 27-year member of the APS to whom we had sent the two volumes of Intercontinental Airmails 55 days before. I was not prepared for his reply:
“What a coincidence! The books arrived YESTERDAY. I am constantly amazed (dismayed?) at how long it takes for surface mail to get here from the Mainland.”
Seven weeks and five days in transit? It was my turn to be amazed. No wonder he’s interested in Intercontinental Airmails!
Then I noted the last line in his address: Saipan, MP 96950
For those of you unfamiliar, as I was, with that obscure postal abbreviation, “MP” means the Northern Marianas Islands. Military history buffs will recall Saipan as the scene of a Pacific battle ― now there’s an oxymoron on which no one ever remarks ― in the summer of 1944. » Continue reading “Not a Small World, After All”