Three posts ago, I shared pictures of the box that contained the postcards and letters that Dotty sent home during her 1929 road trip, so obviously you know that the box contained at least those postcards and letters. If you looked closely at the picture of the open box, you saw at least newspaper clippings, but those I’ll get to in future posts, so today I can tell you about a letter in the box that is not from Dotty.
Dotty’s step-mom Lou sent this letter from Bridgeport on November 4, 1929 to Houston, Texas care of general delivery in the hopes that Dotty would pick up the letter during her stay in Houston. On November 18, the letter was returned to Lou because Dotty didn’t pick up the letter.
The whole idea of General Delivery mail is so interesting to me, it still is possible today, but you need to know the ZIP Code for the area’s main post office. Sending a postcard to Houston today via General Delivery wouldn’t work if you just wrote Houston, Texas on the envelope today, like Lou did in 1929. There are 47 post offices in Houston (minus no more than a few located in “North Houston” and “South Houston”) today. So today, with a known ZIP Code, you’d need to add 9999 as the 4 digit extension to help signify general delivery and get it to the area’s main post office. There the mail would be held for 30 days. Some of you may know how it works, but it was news to me, and you can bet that I will so be wanting to get some General Delivery mail when I retrace the path of the 1929 road trip.
This letter intrigues me because in it, Lou asked Dotty if she had been getting the other letters that had been sent to her, but this is the only piece of mail not from Dotty in the box. It seems to suggest that it got saved because it got returned and ended up with all of the mail that Dotty sent home. It makes me wonder two things: Did Dotty get the other letters that her family back in Bridgeport, CT sent her? Why didn’t Dotty keep those (or did she, just somewhere else)? I would think that she did get those letters because had she not, it would seem that at least a couple other letters from home would have been returned and kept with the others. I posit that maybe these letters were not kept because they didn’t chronicle an exciting trip but were reminders of the routines of Dotty’s family members, routines that Dotty knew well and thus did not feel compelled to save them.
I really wish she had though. It would have been wonderful to see how Dotty’s family responded to some of the things she wrote to them.
So why didn’t Dotty get this letter? She was still in Arizona, sending a postcard from the Coolidge Dam on the same day that this letter was destined to be returned to Bridgeport.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned as I continue to reveal other items that were in the box with Dotty’s postcards and letters.