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42 years as Mr. Postman

by on April 14, 2010 7:00 AM

There are 24 hours in a day, but sometimes those hours fly by. Just like that, my 24 years as an employee of the United State Post Office have also flown by.

Wait a minute, Mr. Postman. How is that possible?

I transposed the numbers, and I have actually been a part of the USPS for 42 years this month.

After completing my computer science degree in 1967, most of the job offers I had were far away from home. I was a homebody, so that work just didn't work for me. Instead, I stayed at home with Mom and Dad and worked various odd jobs until early in 1968, when my father suggested that I take the test to see if I could work for the Post Office.

Two months later, in March of 1968 I received an invitation letter to interview at the State College Post Office. So there I was, in 1968 (if you add those numbers together (1+9+6+8), you get 24) with long hair, but I didn't care. I drove up to State College from my hometown of Lock Haven in my 1964 Buick Special (peaches and cream color) to interview. I actually didn't even know where the Post Office was located. I still remember asking for directions at a Gulf Gas Station on South Atherton Street, which is now where a Pizza Hut resides. Well, a couple of weeks later, I received an offer letter, requesting me to report to work, starting April 1. (And yes, I did think it was a joke!)

For the first eight years I worked the night shift, which was 3 to 11:30 p.m, six days a week. I didn't mind these hours because just as I returned home to Lock Haven, 17745 (please note that Lock Haven's zip code also adds up to, you guessed it, 24.) was perfect timing because my friends were just heading out on the town!

The beginning of my ninth year with the Post Office, I was promoted to the regular shift with a five-day, 40-hour work week. This year was also special to me because it was the year I got married to my beautiful bride, Katie, and moved to State College (no luck with this zipcode).

In this year I moved to the window clerk position at the downtown State College Post Office. Every so often I was lucky enough to be called upon to "back up" the University Park Post Office. The first time I went up to "UP" (University Park) I felt that I had died and gone to heaven. I knew that this is where I wanted to be everyday. Thirty-four years later, I can honestly and genuinely say that I wouldn't mind spending my next 34 years, 24 hours a day "UP" here.

Throughout my years here at the Park Post Office, I really have noticed that this office has taken on a personality of its own, one that I cherish because I think it and I are sometimes one in the same. Bottom line: We treat all of our customers with a great sense of respect. We love hosting the students, faculty, staff and visitors whether they are sending a package or seeking an interview. (The most common question asked at my window: "How much is a stamp these days?" Currently my response is: "Forty-four cents, two cents more than the number of years that I've worked here."

And if you want to hear specifically about those/my two cents, the most commonly asked question during an interview is, "What is the funniest thing that ever happened at the Post Office?" In the early 1990s, the Post Office put out the Elvis Presley stamp. I was informed that I was only going to be getting about 700 of these stamps, and knowing that I worked on a savvy college campus I knew I was going to sellout of these stamps real quick.

So I asked a favor from one of my favorite customers, he was a student and football player here at the time. I gave him enough money to purchase a whole pack, which was 2,000, of the new Presley stamp. Upon his arrival at that Post Office, the CDT was there, covering the new release of this stamp and because of his crazy amount that he had just purchased the reporter asked him why he had just bought so many of these stamps. He simply replied that he was a big Elvis fan!I ended up selling out of the additional stamps within 24 hours of his special delivery purchase!

To this day, no one knew that he was working for me and the University Park Post Office. After all, if you count the letters in the University Park Post Office, you will get 24 letters. That's 24 hours in a day, 42 years at this job, infinite memories and unforgettable patrons.

Oh, and to my favorite visitor to the post office, my wife, is celebrating her 24th or 42nd or ??? birthday this week. Happy Birthday, Katie!



Mike (The Mailman) Herr gives his stamp of approval to all visitors Monday through Friday at the University Park post office in the ground floor of McAllister Building, adjacent to the HUB. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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