Accounts vary as to where the 53-cents' worth of postage were affixed. Some say the stamps were pasted to a little suitcase sent along with preschooler May the day her parents mailed her to her grandmother. Others say they were glued to a tag attached to her coat, along with her granny's address.
May's parents, it seems, had discovered that it was cheaper to send her care of the U.S. mail than to pay the full fare the railroad demanded for children traveling alone. After all, at 48 1/2 pounds, May fell within the parcel post's 50-pound weight limit, and back in 1914 it was not, technically speaking, against the law to ship a child---as it would have been had they tried to send a live pig or a piece of Limburger cheese, since postal regulations barred most live animals, as well as articles that could be termed smelly. Baby chicks, however, were welcome, and that was how the postmaster decided to classify little May.
Off she went, tagged, stamped, and by all accounts perfectly content. She was driven to the train station, handed over to the baggage clerk, and on arrival , was taken directly to the post office and then to her grandmother, who pronounced the whole operation "as smooth as buttermilk." None the worse for wear, May lived to the ripe old age of 78 and died of natural causes.
Reader's Digest, "Keeping In Touch", Discovering America's Past, 1993, p 359.
Big event in a small town
6 days ago