On Saturday, I found I needed a couple of items. Both were produced in China. I placed my order on Saturday evening, and they showed up yesterday by noon.

In the ’70s, my mother would have all of our gifts for her parents wrapped and boxed and ready to ship by early November. We would go to the Greyhound bus depot to ship them to Wisconsin from wherever we were in the country. In general, we could get packages by the Post Office in a couple of weeks.

In the ’60s, you could send a letter to a mail order location and “allow four to six weeks for delivery”.

Earlier, it took longer. The time it took to transport goods was much longer than people think.

We had stage coaches and riders to carry packages and mail before then.

But if you needed to move goods, the way to do it was by sea.

As a sailor, you would sign aboard. The ship would load with goods. The ship would sail to its destination. There it would put in for repairs. You could sign aboard for the return trip or stay.

In the ’70s, I read Two Years Before the Mast. It tells one such story. From the time Richard Dana left Boston in 1934 to California, it was two years before he returned. He published his memoir in 1840, describing his voyages.

Whenever I hear this song, I am taken back to that voyage in my mind’s eye. Fighting to keep a ship afloat in foul weather.

Or the NSFW version:

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By awa

6 thoughts on “Tuesday Tune”
    1. Every time I read about a tall ship in a storm — say, around Cape Horn — I’m reminded of a video at the Ironsides museum in Boston. It shows a short movie made in the 1920s, I think, from the mast top of a ship going through a storm at Cape Horn. If I remember right, the movie is shown in front of you as you stand on the footropes of a mockup of a yard. In the mockup you’re only a foot off the ground and not moving — but you try to imagine being 50 feet or more above deck or water, moving around the sky like crazy as the ship rolls in the storm.

  1. I learned recently that shipping from China is so quick and cheap to allow for buying cheap trinkets with low or no shipping cost because China is subsidized as a developing country in some world shipping program, meaning we the USA and other developed nations are paying that shipping cost.

  2. LOL! In the sailing days a LOT of “sailors” really didn’t have any choice in the matter. They were shanghaied or forced aboard a ship by a variety of means for a variety of reasons, sometimes as a form of judicial punishment.
    They weren’t allowed to leave the ship when in port and they were essentially slaves. It was NOT the romantic life many think it was.

    1. The British Navy did that (which was a major cause of the War of 1812) but I don’t know that it was all that widespread otherwise.

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