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Chaim came bounding up the front stairs, peyos flying and laughter tumbling from his lips. Oh, the rebbi’s face! The shrieks! It had all been worth I — even though they’d sent him home from cheder, again. He flung open the front door and then stopped, clapping a hand over his mouth. Zeide. Tiptoeing into the kitchen, he giggled to himself. But I have to be quiet, he thought. Zeide might be napping.
You’ve got mail! If you’re like me, you love getting letters. I’m constantly checking the mailbox to see what surprises it has in store for me that day. Apparently, many people feel the same way, because all over the world there are people who are “pen palling” — that is corresponding with a friend by mail. Some pen pals are people who never met each other or who live far away from one another. What’s it like to be friends by mail?
You probably don’t even notice it anymore. Or ever think about it. But those numbers after the number, street name, city name, and the state name weren’t always there. We’re talking about the ZIP code, of course. What’s the story behind that original five-digit combo, more recently nine digits?