In 1944, if I remember right, I’d hurry back to my dorm between classes to see what had arrived in the morning mail. So there must have been an afternoon mail also – and this in wartime with the whole country mobilized, zero unemployment and a tremendous labor shortage.
An envelope like this one, with its triumphant FREE! Instead of a stamp, saved the just-drafted 18-year-old soldier three cents. That’s not to be sneezed at, actually. I had a part-time job, that year, for 43 cents an hour, minimum wage. Figure it for yourself – the 3-cent stamp was a lot more expensive than today’s 45-cent stamp as a fraction of current minimum wages.
In 1944, of course, soldiers did not make minimum wage. Maybe the figure had been raised by then, but at the start of the war I remember the words of a song about the Army that boasted “Twenty-One Dollars a Day! – Once a Month.”
Do today’s soldiers get to frank envelopes for free postage? Or – never mind – do today’s soldiers even know what an envelope is?