Love above

Ned Dannenberg and his wife received quite a surprise when they began a home renovation project last fall.

A worker removing insulation from the Memphis, TN, couple’s attic stumbled across a bundle of more than 20 letters wrapped in twine.

“We were amazed that something that old was still in the house,” Dannenberg said.

The letters, the earliest of which dated to 1917, were written from a man named James Hill Foster, an Army officer-in-training during World War I, to a young woman named Anna Bunch, who lived in the home.

The letters were too fragile to handle, so Dannenberg contacted his mother, Katherine Singley, who preserves works in museums and private collections.

Using special tools, the century-old letters were separated by date and placed in plastic sleeves, allowing the family to learn more about the wartime courtship.

“[Foster] talked about his time on the road and in military camps,” Dannenberg said. “There was also patriotic content because of the war, and him telling Anna how great she was and how much he missed her.”

After WMC-TV, the NBC station in Memphis, aired a news report about the letters last month, members of Bunch’s family saw the story and contacted Dannenberg, who arranged a meeting to return the correspondence.

The discovery was “mind-blowing,” according to Louanne Kirkpatrick, Bunch’s great-niece, who lives in Memphis.

“We speculate she was trying to keep them out of reach of other family members living in the home and forgot they were there as the years went by,” she said.

Bunch eventually married Foster, who died in 1964. Bunch died almost three decades later at age 92.

Dannenberg said the discovery of the love letters speaks to the “enduring quality of mail. They’re still legible and they’re still here.”

Best ‘Day’ ever

A beloved children’s story that was honored with a 2017 stamp release has topped the New York Public Library’s list of its all-time most popular books.

To mark its 125th anniversary this year, the library compiled a list of the 10 books checked out most frequently in its history.

The No. 1 spot belongs to “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats.

The story of a young boy’s exploration of his neighborhood after the season’s first snowfall, “The Snowy Day” was the first mainstream children’s book to feature an African American protagonist.

The Caldecott Medal-winning book has been borrowed from the library more than 485,500 times since it was published in 1962.

To mark the groundbreaking work’s 55th anniversary, the Postal Service honored “The Snowy Day” with a booklet of 20 stamps.

Five other children’s works that have been depicted on USPS stamps also made the library’s list:The Cat in the Hatby Dr. Seuss, Where the Wild Things Areby Maurice Sendak, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stoneby J.K. Rowling and The Very Hungry Caterpillarby Eric Carle.

The stamps inspired by “The Snowy Day” are still available on usps.com, along with framed artwork and notecards.

Big little stamp

Only USPS could squeeze a place called Big Bend onto a postage stamp.

The new Priority Mail stamp featuring the West Texas region was celebrated this month at a special dedication ceremony where local community leaders and others praised the stamp’s image of the famed Santa Elena Canyon.

“This stamp beautifully depicts … one of Big Bend National Park’s most iconic landmarks,” Bob Krumenaker, the park’s superintendent, told attendees.

The ceremony, held inside the park’s visitor’s center, featured remarks from Krumenaker and local postal leaders who expressed their pride in having Big Bend appear on a stamp.

“From this day forward, this lovely new stamp … will travel on Priority Mail shipments to millions of households and businesses throughout the country,” said Adrienne Marshall, marketing manager for the Postal Service’s Rio Grande District.

Big Bend, which derives its name from the “turn” the region takes along the Rio Grande River, is one of the largest landscapes in the American Southwest. The area includes the 1,250-square-mile Big Bend National Park, which is bigger than Rhode Island.

The Priority Mail stamp featuring Big Bend showcases a digital illustration by Dan Cosgrove and is available at Post Offices nationwide and usps.com.

In addition to celebrating the stamp, the Jan. 18 ceremony allowed the community to show its appreciation for local postal workers.

Said Krumenaker: “We … greatly appreciate the everyday partnership with the Big Bend National Park Post Office, which adds greatly to this remote community.”

Newsworthy

The stamp honoring acclaimed journalist Gwen Ifill — the 43rd entry in the Black Heritage series — will be released Thursday, Jan. 30.

Ifill was among the first African Americans to hold prominent positions in both broadcast and print journalism. She was known for her nonpartisan and in-depth reporting, as well as her personal warmth and authoritative professional presence.

Ifill worked at The Baltimore Evening Sun, The Washington Post and The New York Times, where she was a White House correspondent.

In 1994, she joined NBC News, where she covered politics in the Washington, DC, bureau. Five years later, she moved to PBS and became managing editor of “Washington Week” — the first woman and first African American to moderate a national broadcast television news analysis show.

In 2013, Ifill and Judy Woodruff became the first two-woman anchor team on a national broadcast nightly news program when they became hosts of “PBS NewsHour.”

During her career, Ifill covered seven presidential campaigns and in 2004, she became the first African American woman to moderate a vice presidential debate.

She won multiple awards and received several posthumous honors following her death in 2016.

The Gwen Ifill stamp features a photograph taken in 2008 by Robert Severi.

Derry Noyes, a USPS art director, designed the stamp, which will be available in panes of 20 at Post Offices and usps.com.

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

Scanning snapshot. The Postal Service’s national scanning score slipped during the week ending Jan. 24, although several districts improved their standings.

The national score was 97.7 percent, down from 97.75 percent one week earlier. The top-ranked area was Western (98 percent), while the top-ranked district was Dakotas (99.1 percent).

Six districts improved their scores: eighth-ranked Greater South Carolina (98.26 percent, up 0.09 percent from one week earlier), No. 12 Seattle (98.21 percent, up 0.03 percent), No. 31 Portland (97.86 percent, up 0.31 percent), No. 39 South Jersey (97.69 percent, up 0.14 percent), No. 41 Suncoast (97.63 percent, up 0.05 percent) and No. 56 Chicago (97.2 percent, up 0.1 percent).

USPS has 67 districts.

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps the organization deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.”

EPCRA reporting. Postal Service facilities that store certain quantities of hazardous chemicals must complete and submit the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), Tier II Form, by March 1 each year.

Reporting requirements apply to any location that stores threshold quantities of EPCRA-regulated chemicals. Regulated chemicals used by USPS include sulfuric acid in lead-acid batteries, gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, ice melt and anti-skid products.

The Sustainability Blue page has additional reporting instructions.

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