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Telegrams...Stop

Western Union is still packed for money orders, still helping with taxes. But telegrams?

"In the eight years that I've been here, for telegrams, we may handled, maybe, three or four at the most," said Francisca Mata with the Western Union on Texas Avenue in Bryan. "I think we handled two going overseas, and that was to a military place."

But technology has surpassed the need for the once-quickest messaging system.

"With e-mails and telephones the way they are, it's just a time factor," said Shirley Schulz, also of Western Union. "Probably about 10 years ago, it was real popular by sending love notes on Valentines Day, wishing Happy Anniversary."

Go no further than the Bush Library to find some historic telegrams. There's a few correspondences with the former president. And in the trains exhibit, you find a notice concerning John Kennedy's death. You'll even find some people at the library with stories to tell.

"We had friends that lived out of town, and they were going to come to our wedding," said Beverly Spencer, "but decided at the last minute, because of some reason, they wouldn't. So they sent us a telegram to tell us they wouldn't be there, but after all, they did show up."

And so many telegrams have shown up in the last century in a half. What's the message they'll leave in the history books? Once, it was the way to get the word out...stop. Now, it's the stuff of legends...stop.

The first words sent by telegram were those of Samuel Morse, who sent the Biblical quote, "What hath God wrought?"


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