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ORANGE COUNTY NEWSWATCH / A SPECIAL REPORT: MAIL

August 15, 1994|Ken Ellingwood

BUSY PLACE: Does it seem like you get a lot of mail? Orange County homes and businesses get an average of six to seven pieces of mail every day, says the Postal Service. And that ranks in the top 10 postal districts nationally. "It's somewhat a function of demographics," explains Santa Ana plant manager Bob Gillis, citing the county's relative affluence and frequent mailings by retailers. . . . Overall, the Santa Ana mail center, which processes 8 million pieces of mail a day countywide, ranks third among U.S. post offices in number of local deliveries.

NIXON STAMP: Former Presidents generally don't show up on stamps until after death--on their next birthday. So will Jan. 9 bring a Richard Nixon stamp? "There will be a Nixon stamp," said Postal Service stamp specialist Monica Hand. "What we don't know yet is when." . . . The problem: a 3-cent price hike for first-class stamps is pending and might render a new stamp obsolete. So where will it be issued on the first day? There's often jockeying over where such stamps are first issued, but bet on birthplace Yorba Linda. Postal officials haven't picked a location, but they say they'll listen first to Nixon's family.

POLLUTION: One of the few stamps ever unveiled in Orange County was also Nixon's doing. In the aftermath of the first Earth Day, the Postal Service on Oct. 28, 1970, launched four new anti-pollution stamps. The 6-cent stamps, unveiled in San Clemente, then the site of the Western White House, exhorted the public to save the nation's water, air and cities. More than 2 million were printed for first-day use.

MAIL HUNT: If you don't like post office window service nowadays, consider the plight of San Juan Capistrano residents a century ago. The postmaster, William McLaughlin, could barely read. So customers at the post office--a grocery where the El Adobe de Capistrano Restaurant stands now--had to pick through a soapbox to find their mail. . . . At a time when most people wrote in script, McLaughlin had a ready excuse, says Orange County historian Jim Sleeper. "He claimed he could read only 'coarse print.' "

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