COME JOIN US!


The annual Trivia in the Afternoon event will be held at Royale Orleans, 2801 Telegraph Road on Sunday, March 19, 2017. Why not plan to get a group together, round up some good munchies and snacks and join the fun! It is a great way to spend a winter afternoon with friends/family and also benefit McKinley. Complete details will follow in the newsletter, but meanwhile, circle March 19 on your calendar so you don’t forget!


SAVE THE DATE!


The annual Fall Goldbug Alumni Dance will be held on Friday night, September 15, 2017.It will be at Andre's on Telegraph Road and will be in the larger room that it was in last year. Everyone agreed that the larger room provided more room for dancing and for visiting, too! More information will be on the website and in the newsletter when we get a little closer to that date but you can mark September 15 on your calendar for a good time!


GOLF TOURNAMENT

It looks as if the golf tournaments are a thing of the past. The alumni committee who originally sponsored it each year “aged out” of being able to put on this tournament. Although several teachers at McKinley volunteered to take it over, the parent groups who were going to be a big part of it, change continually and there has to be continuity to put on a good tournament. If anything changes in regard to having a golf tournament, it will be reported here and in the newsletter.

DO YOU REMEMBER?

Ration books in World War II … I do! The United States rationed many foods and other items, such as gasoline, because so much of its harvest and production went to our armed forces. Rationing began in 1942 with sugar and vehicle tires – then expanded to more foodstuffs and gasoline. By the Spring of 1943, the Office of Price Administration allotted points to each item on a long list of meats, cooking fats, dairy products, canned and frozen fruit and vegetables. Even baby food was included. Generally, fresh produce and baked goods were excluded.

Sirloin steak was nine points per pound; a can of pineapple was 24 points, a can of soup was six points and sauerkraut four points. People were limited to about two pounds of meat per week. I can remember going to the butcher shop for my Mom and standing in line to get salt pork, because we heard they had gotten a shipment in. Families obtained coupon books from government agencies and used the coupons when shopping. Blue coupons were for canned foods and red ones were for meat. Families could use roughly 50 points for each household member per month.


There was little public grumbling … there was a war on. Almost everyone knew someone who was in harm’s way, protecting our country. Families juggled points in planning meals and planted “victory gardens” to supplement store-bought food items. Nationwide gasoline rationing began on December 1, 1942. Drivers received gasoline stamps according to their needs. Vacation trips were out. Farmers, some defense workers and newspaper carriers got more. A typical “nonessential” motorist was allowed enough fuel for about 3,000 miles per year.

Victory over Japan ended the rationing of gasoline. Food rationing ended a few months later, although some shortages persisted as our country continued sending food to Europe to prevent famine. (Some of this article is from the writing of Tim O’Neil of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.)


CHRISTMAS CARDS?

Did you send out Christmas cards via regular mail this year? This is a tradition that is sadly, slowly disappearing from our society. Instead, Christmas wishes are sent via the internet, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Yet, it is so great to receive actual cards!

In 1930, with Christmas approaching and the Depression in full swing, the downtown Post Office asked for 1200 temporary workers to keep up with the crush of holiday mail. More than 4800 people applied for the jobs. The following year, a line of applicants formed at 5 a.m. outside the hiring office in the old federal Custom House at Third and Olive Streets. The Post Office wanted 2300 extras to help its 2500 regular clerks and mail carriers. More than 800 showed up the first morning. The pay was good … 65 cents an hour (almost $9 a day) even though the job only lasted three weeks. The Post Office officials said they gave preference to unemployed heads of households and they had plenty to choose from.

Temporary workers were needed every year to handle the mountains of Christmas letters and packages. The sorting was done by hand. After sorting, the mail went into canvas sacks and then was put onto push carts and hauled to trucks and railroad cars. Some of you may remember that “back in the day” you could just put the street address on your mail and then on the next line, just put “City” and the Post Office knew it was for St. Louis. Later it was necessary to add a zip code, but it was only a two digit code… we lived on Park Avenue and our code was “04” before zip codes became five digits.


Back in the 30’s the local newspapers published lists of deadlines for mailing packages to different cities if you wanted your mail or package to arrive by Christmas day. They also reported the number of letters/packages processed by the Post Office. And most years, they published photographs of the piles of packages. In 1933, the Post Office handled 14 million pieces of mail during the last week before Christmas. Total mail volume climbed throughout the Depression and so did hiring by the Post Office. In 1939, the Post Office was looking to hire 3700 temporary workers to assist the full-time staff of 3000. They received 4400 applications for those jobs.

Things changed during World War II. Some 650 postal employees left for the military. Enlistments cut into the temporary work force as well. Labor shortages and the volume of parcels destined for bases overseas forced the Post Office to move up the mailing deadlines … October 15 for soldiers and November 1 for sailors and marines. The deadline was December 10 for domestic delivery which was a week earlier than pre-war deadlines. Postal clerks had to reject any military-bound packages that weighed more than six pounds … the most frequent overweight item? Radios.

After the end of the war there was a steady growth in mailing, especially during the boom years of the 1950’s. Many of us will remember that we often received two mail deliveries a day during the Christmas mailing season because of the high volume. In 1946, the St. Louis Post Office handled 42.5 million pieces of mail from December 1 to December 24. In 1960, it handled 81.5 million pieces during the same three-week period. Automation reduced the need for so many Christmas temporary workers. The Post Office hired 3900 in 1940, but only 1200 in 1968.

Increased automation, competition from shipping companies and the Internet have cut into Postal Service volume. In 2012, the St. Louis operation handled 30 million pieces of mail from December 1 to December 24. The daily peak was 2.6 million. In 2013, the Postal Service only hired 160 temporary holiday workers.

Goldbug Luncheon...

The next McKinley Goldbug luncheon will be Wednesday, October 18th, 2017. It is necessary to make a reservation to attend the great gathering of Goldbugs. To learn more about the McKinley Luncheons, including directions to the Royale Orleans Banquet Center, please click on the Luncheons menu option above. To print the required reservation form, please click on the photo to the right.