The Lost Week

Funny thing happened on the way to Portugal.
Funny thing happened on the way to Portugal.

Last week was a wash for writing, so I’m sending you all a true story about the US Post Office’s quirk when it came to sending mail to Portugal. It did not happen often, but enough to be memorable.

On several occasions our mail from the USA was delayed. It was our primary mode of communicating back in the 80’s. No easily available email or Skype.Two or three times the US Postal service looked at Portugal address and then proceeded to send it to Poland. It was puzzling, but plausible that a harassed Post Office clerk might have accidentally sent it to Poland. The really puzzling misdirected piece of mail took a side trip to Panama before being forwarded to us in Portugal.

Do you have any idea of how that might have happened? Has any of your mail been off on walkabout before it arrived at your mailbox?

20 thoughts on “The Lost Week

    1. Oh, well, we were still on the edge of the information era and since it arrived in the end, we were okay. I thought it was funny and imagined that they had been mailed by a PO employee who had been out drinking and smoking weed over the weekend.


  1. Yes, I can see how that happened…POrtugal, POland, PAnama… Someone got lazy and only looked at the first letter or two of the country. 🙂 I don’t like the post office, but I think UPS is even lazier! Yikes! 😀


  2. I was in Poland in the mid nineties and had a postcard to mail home. I came across a mailbox that was kind of out in the middle of nowhere and my thought was what luck! A mailbox!

    I beat that postcard home by about six months.

    The lesson? A mailbox in the middle of nowhere in Poland is not good luck. It is an extremely low-level priority.


  3. Oh that is funny, and doesn’t surprise me. I loved seeing the air mail envelope, as we were so familiar with these when my dad was stationed over seas, awaiting our following. Somtimes for several months. And we would get these envelopes with my dad’s handwritten news. Amazing how things are now, isn’t it?!


  4. I had a mini-conflict with a postal clerk who refused to accept an address to England on a customs declaration form despite the fact the person to whom I was mailing the package gives her address as in England.

    I finally got it out of her that their computer system needed to have the address as United Kingdom, even though any blinking retard with at least a minimal knowledge of geography knows England is part of the UK. She had to be clued in. (She apparently is one of those blinking retards.)

    So, of course, since I was dealing with a bureaucrat, I changed the address to UK so the world didn’t collapse into a black hole and all those people in the line behind me didn’t get to mail their packages.

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  5. I always enjoy your stories.

    I havent had anything like this happened, but a mail coming to me from another country to here (USA) got held in customs for quite a while, longer than usual, but it arrived nevertheless.

    Looking forward to teading more of your stories 😉


  6. In the late 80’s-now, a letter to or from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, took three days between Amsterdam and Alliance, NE, yet a letter to Seattle from Alliance took five days…!


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