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Showing posts from February, 2011

Ode to My Mailman

My mailman retired today, his last day of work delivering and sorting mail at the Inwood branch of the Post Office in upper Manhattan, a small squat non-descript brown brick building on Vermilyea Avenue with its own bureaucratic idiosyncrasies on the inside.
Pepe endured us all for 32 years, delivering mail into our small mailboxes with alarming regularity. Mail was tucked into our boxes with a little tap. Every envelope, postcard and catalog would be handed to us one by one or placed on top of the radiator in a pile and given out with a flourish while we waited. He wore his black hair in a small ponytail, climbing the steps to the building with his mail cart and the three steps to the mailboxes on the left and right sides of the elevator. He left packages with the super and, when thieves searching for credit cards and checks broke into building mailboxes, he was the one who suggested using a post office box.  He knew all of the old ladies by name, the helpful Mrs. Ullman, Mrs. Bernstei…