-Fred Stock

            Most of the country in which we live is modern, up to date, and operates under the technological standards of the day. Years ago, the U.S. postal people invented a clear and simple system of locating accurately any address within the United States . Similar systems are in place in Canada , the United Kingdom , many others. The authorities many decades earlier had put in place a simple system of “house numbers” which allow us to drive up a street and find the odd numbers on one side, the even numbers on the other. It makes life organized and tidy. Here in Riverside County , we also use a grid system which allows us to find the general location in the county. Start at the north border of Riverside County , and head south on your map. Each roadway that happens to land on a section line can be marked with an even number if its an even mile, and half mile streets are odd numbers. The mile markers from the top down will run Avenue Two, Avenue Four etc. They will be exactly one mile apart and run precisely east and west. If they have odd numbers, they are one half mile between two even numbered streets. Very simple. Very tidy. So if we have an address like 34500 Main Street , we can find that address on main street half way between Avenue 34 and Avenue 35. Excellent! But note that this paragraph started with the word MOST.

            In my business, I ship things to many places everyday. Came across a strange one recently worth noting.  The delivery information for a client had his name, and the address went something like this; c/o Harrishill Herring Hut, Next to the Post Office, SC Highway 28, Harrishill SC 29000 .  I typed the address as it had been given me, into the Postal System prepaid label program on my computer. The system burped! “Not a valid address; try again!” Checked for typos. None! Looked carefully for a street address. None provided. Went to the business zip code lookup and typed the Herring Hut in. There was the address. “SC Highway 28, next to post office!” but no house number. Went to Yahoo Yellow Pages and searched the entire town of Harrishill for business addresses. There were six. All were on SC  Highway 28. None had a house number! Found a telephone number for the Herring Hut. Left a message for the client. He called the next morning. “Hey Richard; what’s the house number of the restaurant – postal service won’t accept the address without a house number.” “Sorry, Fred, we don’t have those here!” What? Nope! OK-now what? Typed the zip code into the Post Office town look-up system, It gave me a whole page of addresses, ALL on Highway 28, and each section had a street address WITH street numbers. But nothing I could cross to “next to the post office”!  Solution? I looked at the long list and randomly picked a street address on highway 28 and typed it in. Bingo! System took the address. Printed the label and sent the package. Two days later it was delivered to the client. The label had a pencil mark over the street number with a question mark, but it was delivered anyway! Apparently the postal carrier didn’t know what the house number was, but he knew the Herring Hut – heck, it was right next door to the post office, after all!

            Reminds me of an old story about a little town where the General Store was finally granted a postal code, the owner made postmaster. First day the shingle was up, a traveling salesman dropped off an important letter. Sometime later the man was passing through the same town, stopped to see the “postmaster”. “I dropped off a letter here about three months ago, and it never got to the addressee. Can you tell me what might have happened? The postmaster dug around in the bag and came up with the letter. “Here it is!” My lawd, man why is it still here?”  “Well, hell, son, the bag ain’t even half full yet!”  fhs