Sunday, October 7, 2012

Signed, Sealed and Delivered

I was sending someone some mailing labels today that I wanted filled out and returned and as I put a stamp on the return envelope I was enclosing, I had a little trip down memory boulevard.

When we were little, we watched afternoon cartoons sometimes on channel WLVI 56 which was really channel 9 in our house.  Tom and Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, Mighty Mouse, Casper.  No, I didn't grow up in the 1940s,  but these were all that were available on channel 9 in the 80s.  Something tells me WLVI wasn't a high rolling station.

Anyoldcartoon.  Eventually, there was Jem (the music sensation), He-Man (by the powers of Grayskull) and She-Ra (Princess of Power) and a slew of other cartoons I hated in the late 80s.  GI Joe (the real American hero) was probably in there too.

Always though, they had "uncle Dale" who would announce things in between cartoons and say happy birthday to kids.  I was always mystified that on our  birthdays, the all-knowing Uncle Dale never said happy birthday to us.  I wasn't sad really, just confused.  And eventually, when I realized that the channel came from Boston, I just figured he didn't wish us happy birthday because we weren't cool enough to live in Boston.

Someone, probably  not Uncle Dale because it's not his voice in my head, would also do commercials for things you could send away for.  They were always in New York, New York, which seemed to so trite given there was a song, and they always required that you send a self-addressed, stamped envelope.  It was free, but you had to send in the envelope.

I cannot tell you the number of years I spent puzzled by this.  I wrote letters to people when I was pretty young, like maybe 2nd or 3rd grade, so I knew about the need for a stamp and where to put it (a very important lesson learned after I 'helped' my mother stamp nearly 100 envelopes and just stuck the stamp on whichever corner I felt like). 

I couldn't understand why they always made sure to tell you to put a stamp on it.   I knew the mailman wouldn't deliver it without a stamp.  Did we all learn that?

But the part the mystified me the most was the need to self address it.  I remember asking my mother what self-addressed meant, but I gave her no context.  I walked into the living room and asked her.  Since I always ask questions out of the  blue, she said "It means you wrote it yourself" and that was that.  So I went back to watching tv wondering how they would know if I let someone else address the envelope for me.  Did they want it to be in a child's handwriting?  Would an adult's handwriting disqualify it?  If I let my sister or a friend address it and it was childlike, would they still know it wasn't me?  What if I was having an especially neat handwriting day (don't you remember having those a time or two and being so pleased with yourself?) and it didn't look lik a 9 year old wrote it? 

And the biggest question of all, how would they know?????

I can't even remember what you would get if you sent in a self addressed, stamped envelope.  A poster?  Stickers?  Recipes?  VD?  Does anyone know ?  Did any of you ever send one to NY, NY and get something back that was worth the price of 2 stamps?  Is there anyone out there that remembers hearing that phrase "send a self addressed, stamped envelope" and wondering how they would know if you self addressed it?

I'm not sure why I never tried it.  I really wanted whatever it was they were sending back in the self addressed, stamped envelope from New York, NY.  I don't know if I was too scared that they wouldn't believe I had done it myself or if I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. 

I do know that I did NOT know that it meant sending TWO envelopes.  If I  had done it, I would have sent one envelope, with a stamp, that I had addressed myself and I would have received nothing back because I didn't include the second self addressed, stamped envelope.  They never said that.  If they had said 'be sure to include a self addressed, stamped envelope' I would have had a better understanding, I think.

As I write this, I wonder if I actually did try it and received nothing and then asked my mother what self-addressed meant.  And when she said it meant that I had to do it myself, I probably walked away thinking 'but I DID write it myself' and continued to think those omnicient tv people were watching my every move.  They knew what I was up to.

Uncle Dale has still never said happy birthday to me and I'm sure he knows it's coming up soon!

Linking up with these funny ladies.


  1. I remember watching (what was the name of the show w/ the chuckle patch?) and hoping the two women on it would say my name b/c at the end (I think) they would say bye to kids by name. They never did say my name.

    P.S. I'm glad there are others out there who like to see children act like children. Too bad there aren't that many of us.

  2. I work in a law office. We send out a large number of self addressed, stamped envelopes. I had one client who always sent back what ever document that we had sent her in a different envelope. She finally asked us why we send an envelope if we wanted her to address it her self. She told us she kept them and put labels over our address and sent them to other people. I watched several show that gave birthday greetings or called kids names and I always wondered why my name was never called. My friend Sue's name got called, so did Bob, and Fred and Kathy and Patty, but never Rennata. I finally figured out that it was just the common names, so they fit the most kids. A little of the shine went off the magic when that happened.

  3. The two envelope thing confused me too! I always wanted to send away for Sea Monkeys, but never got up the nerve. I must have known deep down that I wouldn't be pleased with what I got.

  4. I do remember all those wonderful cartoons. I was never much into She-ra or GI Joe or even Gem, Woody Woodpecker, Tom and Jerry, Mighty Mouse, and Casper, you betcha!! I always wondered about the self addressed stamped envelopes too. If it was supposed to be free, they should have provided postage, don't you think? Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.



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