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1950's mail scam of sorts, but funny.

Elaina

One Too Many
I was going through some of Ruth's stuff today, and I ran across something that cracked me up.

The letter is so old and spidery I can barely read it.

Ruthie,

I thought you might enjoy this. Send a pair to three people on this list, add your name and your recipients names back to the bottom list and wait to get earrings from all over the United States! I recieved some from Kansas a few days ago. (some more that age has ate)

(About 10 addresses follow)

They don't have to be expensive (10 cents or under). (another paragraph age has ate).

(and what I think is the name of Ollie, Olivia, Olga...I know she had a sister that was named something like that, so I assume it came from her.)

Postmarked 1951 from North Carolina. In the box this was in is 4 pairs of the most gosh darn ugly earrings I have ever seen, and about 27 letters from all over the US that is a part of it.

Makes you wonder if these are so ugly, what she got that was kind of neat. I've heard of this before and usually they sent it to friends they knew who sent it to friends, and sometimes got quite big. The last letter that included earrings was from 1984.
 

BonnieJean

Practically Family
Messages
519
Location
east of Wichita
Elaina,
I didn't realize that chain letters went that far back. What an interesting collection, ugly earrings or not. Unfortunately, chain letters are illegal according to the U.S. Postal service and I'm surprised that the "chain" continued to 1984. I always wondered if people actually got the stuff the letter claimed you would get.

The "chain letter" hasn't quite died as now I'll occasionally get a "chain email", the principal is similar, but usually the only thing that a person gets with that is either good luck or bad luck--I think they play on people's guilt.
 

Elaina

One Too Many
I know that, but I don't know if these fall into that, or if it's something like what I do on a sewing thing: we send an apron to the top person on a list, put them at the end and send it forward. You're likely to get 4-6 a year. Friends and friends of friends stuff, and on this, whoever sent it knew Ruth.
 

Maj.Nick Danger

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,469
Location
Behind the 8 ball,..
I've seen the same basic thing.

Only with 5 dollar bills instead of ear rings. The same set up where you add your name at the bottom of the list, remove the one on top, and mail a 5 dollar bill to everyone on the list. Then the theory is, that the recipients, and everyone they mail it to, mail you a 5 dollar bill,...and so on. :rolleyes:
 

BonnieJean

Practically Family
Messages
519
Location
east of Wichita
My local postmaster told me that even if its not money that changes hands that its still considered a chain letter. I never understood this logic because over the years I've gotten my share of chain letters that asked you to send a children's book, seeds, and other stuff. I don't do chain letters because I'm too lazy to take the time to write and send the stuff out. So don't add me to a chain letter because at my end, I always end up breaking it.

I think it still goes on, because of the sheer volume of mail that moves each day. What are the inspectors going to do? Inspect each and every package/letter? I don't think so. That's why the practice continues today.

Elaina, have you had any chain letters recently? And what did you have to do/or get?

Now if only someone started a chain letter to pass along seamed stockings!...:)
 

ShrinkingViolet

A-List Customer
Messages
420
Location
Denmark
I've heard that here in Denmark during WW2 housewives would send crocheted squares to each other via chain letters and hope to eventually end up with enough squares to make a blanket!
 

Elaina

One Too Many
Other then the usual, send a dollar schemes, I have one with 12 friends we've done for 10 years where we all send 10 bucks to one person every month so once a year everyone gets $110. The only stipulation is, you must send $10 and it must be there between the first and last. If they don't do it, the person who didn't get it from them doesn't send it on their month (I think in 10 years we've had 4 times someone didn't send anything). Whoever has it in December draws names and figures out what month goes where, last year I was May, this year I'm October. We're all semi-stay at home mom's, and it's a little extra to spend on you for anything you want. (Rules are it HAS to be spent on you, you can't use it on bills, kids, spouses, or necessities, although if in a pinch, no one would really care.) It started because some of us were in a financial spot we couldn't afford haircuts, much less anything stupid like perfume or clothing.


Then I have an apron thing I do where we have (I think) 6 lists going around and everyone's name is on all of them (there is about 56 folks on it) that we rotate. I got list 4 the other day (someone couldn't get it done, she suffered a stroke) and I got list 2 last month (where I was on it). I'm the 5th on on the 4th list, and haven't seen some of them in a while. We get the letter with an apron, move the names (yours goes to the end, and you send it to the next person) and send an apron out within a few weeks. Not very stressful, just something fun. And you never know when you're getting something in the mail. No obligation, no nothing. If you can't do it, there's about 10 of us to contact so we can keep it going. You may get 3 in one month, or one apron all year (and you only send out when you get an apron, so it stays fair). Rules are you have to send an apron out in 30 days. I have an extra one here all the time to send, and they're everything from really fancy ones to plain old workhorses. My main cleaning apron is a 1920's repro I got from this list, and I have a couple hostess aprons that are from 50's patterns as well. The only rules are: must be able to be washed in a washer, must be able to be worn (we have some fluffy women) and you must make it, it can't be bought.
 

BonnieJean

Practically Family
Messages
519
Location
east of Wichita
I've heard that here in Denmark during WW2 housewives would send crocheted squares to each other via chain letters and hope to eventually end up with enough squares to make a blanket!

ShrinkingViolet, That's neat. I'd almost go for that, but I'm going to have to learn how to crochet first! ;)
 

Elle

New in Town
Messages
25
Location
Los Angeles, California
I teach jr. high girls at a youth group and received a letter like this from one of them. Only, they were using socks, um, I think they called it The Funky Sock Society.

It was fun because you expected ugly.
 

LizzieMaine

Bartender
Messages
31,507
Location
Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
Chain letters were a huge fad in the mid-'30s, and you'll find a lot of references to them in the pop culture of that era: my favorite has to be a radio program that featured an extended storyline about a "Farm Relief" chain letter -- "just send a hog to the name at the start of the list...."
 

BonnieJean

Practically Family
Messages
519
Location
east of Wichita
Lizzie,
I was raised and live in the heartland of farm country, but how would someone ship a hog? That is so hilarious! Thanks for shedding new light on chain letters. It just goes to show what's old is new again...but I haven't received any hog chain letters lately. lol
 

Adelaidey

One of the Regulars
Messages
211
Location
Chicago, IL
Elle said:
I teach jr. high girls at a youth group and received a letter like this from one of them. Only, they were using socks, um, I think they called it The Funky Sock Society.

It was fun because you expected ugly.


Hahaha, quite the coincidence, I just recieved a "Funky Sock Exchange" letter from a friend of mine... which is why I started reading this thread in the first place. I still don't know if I want to respond to it... did you? Have you actually recieved anything back?
 

Kim_B

Practically Family
Messages
820
Location
NW Indiana
I have a friend who thinks it's a hoot to send chain letters about once every three months. The last one I received from her was about a lottery ticket...you get the letter which contains a lottery ticket, and then you either choose to participate by scratching it off and sending other people a ticket (who ever is listed on the back of the letter...something like 10 people) the thinking is you'll get 10 tickets back from the other people. If you don't participate you send the letter back to the person it came from and you'll be labeled a fuddy-duddy for not participating! lol

Another one I received was a recipe exchange...you get a letter with 5 address labels enclosed and send 5 letters to people you know, with the hopes they will send their recipe to the person on the address label. I actually participated in this one, since it came from my MIL and I didn't want her to get mad at me for throwing it away! No one else participated though, so it was no fun.

I imagine it was a good way for friends to stay in touch and to have something to do back in the day.
 

ShooShooBaby

One Too Many
Messages
1,149
Location
portland, oregon
i haven't done a chain letter since high school, but i can remember two that i did then. one was a (new, obviously) panty exchange. i think i got one pair back, which was fine since i sent out one!

the other was more odd - it involved some amazingly good cinnamonish bread and starter dough, or something. anyone else seen this one?
 

Elaina

One Too Many
Amish bread is what it's called in my neck of the woods, SSB. I used to do it, but I had more starter then friends, and I'm the only one that likes it. I do have the starter (from an amish friend) if I do want to do it again, and I'm pretty sure she's sent me the recipe before in the odd assortment of things she's sent over the years (odd friendship).

I also belong to a sourdough thing. I don't consider it a chain letter, since people mail me and ask for my starter, and I've gotten some starters from San Fransico, Tibet and Russia (go out and capture your own wild yeasties type of thing) and to be honest, Texas yeast beasties aren't as good as what I've gotten.
 

ShooShooBaby

One Too Many
Messages
1,149
Location
portland, oregon
hmm. it definitely could have been called "amish bread". i'm remembering it involved squishing daily in the ziploc bag it came in for a certain period of time.

the sourdough thing sounds interesting! i've never made my own bread. i'm a bit helpless in the kitchen!
 

TaxiGirl

New in Town
Messages
26
Location
Binghamton NY
ShooShooBaby said:
hmm. it definitely could have been called "amish bread". i'm remembering it involved squishing daily in the ziploc bag it came in for a certain period of time.

I got some of it as Amish Friendship bread quite a long time ago. Good stuff.
 

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