Reminiscences of Mr. Zip
Come walk the route with me, and experience the day by day life of your friendly city letter carrier. See the joys and admiration, the love, affection, and acts of kindness and appreciation of which so often is shown by and for the postman. Read of his hobbies, his habits, and of his trauma from a dreadful disease which was with him for the last twenty-five years, and into retirement. Excerpts Before my retirement, there were many times I thought it would be nice to put some of my experiences into book form. But as time went by, I decided to let it rest and perhaps get back to it another day. After being away from my job for seventeen years, I still dream, vivid dreams about it, so why not tell others so they too might benefit by reading of the good times I had. This is the true story of the experiences, the joy, and the sorrow of a city letter carrier in a mid-western city in the United States. Here-in he tells of his thirty-one years as a letter carrier, a two year period of which was on trial supervision, and sixteen years of retirement. Come walk with me and enjoy a first hand experience of meeting and greeting my patrons. See for yourselves just how a public servant can mean so much to hundreds of wonderful people. I will give you many illustrations showing how my patrons and I were indebted to each other through the years. I hired in at the Post Office in 1956, but it wasn't until the sixties that I had the route that I would like to describe in these excerps. Our bags of mail that we got ready early in the morning had been taken to the various storage boxes on the route by the parcel post carriers, where we would deliver. This route was twelve blocks, or a mile from South to North, and two blocks from East to West. There were three storage boxes and I wish to tell you about this one block I carried out of the last box. There was a corner store and confectionary, adjacent to my storage box, which was near the half-way point of the route. One morning when I reached that location, it was raining cats and dogs, so I ducked inside the store to get out of the rain. The regular employee, in her seventies said, Get out of here with your raincoat dripping all that water on my clean floor. I left, and needless to say, she and I didn't hit it off too well after that. The store was quite popular in it's time, complete with soda fountain, cigars, cigarettes, patent medicines, and a bus stop out front. The owner and I got along fine, and I've heard he kept that one employee or shack-up around for many years. Even the people of the neighborhood called her an old grouch. So many times my patrons would throw what I called useful items away, or even put them out for the trash man. Such was the case at the second house down the block. The person had passed away, and the furnishings were being divided up among the heirs. There were many useful collectables put out for the trash man to pick up along the curb. I was the first trash man, and did I make a haul. Such things as clay marbles, one saphire marble, political campaign buttons, Japanesse souvenir fans, went right into my grip. It was apparent they didn't realize the value. The aroma that pierced the air coming from the fourth house in the block would indicate that a wonderful cook lived there. The first sample I had of the cooking of this Georgia Southern Belle who was married to an Italian fellow, about twenty years her senior was during the Holidays. She gave me a piece of her home made fruit cake, along with two bourbon balls. The cake had been wrapped with a cloth soaked in wine, so after I ate that piece of cake and the candy, I was feeling a little high. Her husband was an avid hunter, and had a pair of beagles, but they were always getting lost when I took him out hunting . Once he asked me if I had one of those Crossman air pistols. I said, No, but I know where I can get one for you to use. What do you want it for? He said, There's a fat fox squirrel walking these electric wires, and I want it for supper some night. I said, O.K., but don't get caught using it in the city. He said, I know. Well, a couple of weeks later, he got his squirrel, because it told about it right in the newspaper! A lady across the street had seen him, and reported it to the police. He had a hard time living with his wife after that little episode for quite a while. Once while a substitute was on the route, he waded through a freshly painted porch to make a delivery, and the man of the house was a little upset. He called down to the office and told the boss that he had left some tracks. Well, he said, It felt a little slippery! The house across the street had been sitting empty for quite a while, and then another carrier had told me there was a family moving into it, and the lady of the house was a bit on the warm side. This family soon became some of my favorite patrons, and although the lady may have been warm to a couple of other carriers, she showed little indication to me. There was an instance however that maybe she did have another motive, but I passed it by. She met me one morning on the front steps and said in her hill billy dialect, You'al come here, I wanna show you something. She took me right upstairs into a bedroom and pointed to a window. She said, Did you hear them sirens? I said, Yes. Well, that's where my little boy jumped out of the window! I said, Did he get hurt? She said, No, but he will sure get a whooping when his Daddy gets home. Their little daughter was probably around eleven, and always on the nice days in the Summer, had a Kool-aide stand set up on the sidewalk out front. She said I was her favorite customer, and didn't charge me the usual five cents, however she knew I was good for a small tip. There was another time, as I was approaching with the daily mail, from quite a ways away, I saw her two sons sitting at a card table down on their front sidewalk. When I got closer I noticed that on the table were about twenty different small tools with little notes attached. Screw drivers -5 cents, or pliers- 25 cents, hammers - 50 cents, etc. I thought they had arranged their sale items real nicely, but knew I'd better ring the doorbell. When she answered the door, I asked her if she knew what her boys were doing. She looked, and said, Oh My God! Those are my husband's tools! I said, I thought so! Behind that house and in an alley, lived another favorite of mine, and she was a widow lady. She had a Boarding House for several men, and the neighborhood gossip was that they all were her boy-friends. I'm sure they were all close to seventy years old, so who knows! One of the guys was an old friend of mine, and was an avid mushroom hunter. Once he asked me, Mr. Zip, You enter and display fruit and vegetables at the fair, Don't you? I said, Yes. Then he told me that during the war, he had been a baker at one of the bakeries downtown, and made a real good loaf of bread. Would you enter a loaf of bread at the fair next year if I made one for you? I said, Sure. So, the next year came, he had one ready, and by golly, if it didn't win first prize. Of course, being entered on my name, it was in the local paper and everyone on the route wanted to know my secret receipe! In this short story, you, the reader have seen only a very few of my own personal experiences of trying to be one of Uncle Sam's respected courriers. There are thousands out there like me just waiting to be heard from, and I hope this book will get them all fired up to telling their own stories. Catalogue Information
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