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Times Past: Giving tours a highlight of postal service career

  • “I would take them all over the building, showing them and telling them all about post office work. I think they all liked that, and went back to school educated and happy they had been in a post office. I enjoyed doing this, and many postmasters/supervisors wanted me to do it. It was a pleasure to reach out to the youth, regardless of age” — Robert Bitzer CONTRIBUTED PHOTO



Friday, February 09, 2018

One of my finest memories from working at the Greenfield Post Office was being a tour guide.

Classes of children, from kindergarten to 5th-/6th-grade, got to the post office by walking, bus or rides from parents or teachers. Among many cases, some parents came with them. This was an excursion for all of them, and most of them enjoyed it.

Each one of them would have a letter or card they had written and wanted to be sent out. The first place I would take all of them was the cancelation machine. They were all surrounding me to watch things happen. After each one got his or her card or letter back, I would take each child to the carriers and show them the cases where they sort the mail for their routes, and place the letter or card in the proper slot if so addressed. If an item was going out of Greenfield, I would take them to the outgoing case and place it in the right pigion bird hole. That’s what we called each hole or slot back then.

I would take them all over the building, showing them and telling them all about post office work. I think they all liked that, and went back to school educated and happy they had been in a post office. I enjoyed doing this, and many postmasters/supervisors wanted me to do it. It was a pleasure to reach out to the youth, regardless of age.

Near Valentine’s Day was a very busy time for all of us — sending out cards all over the country and world — which presented a wonderful opportunity to teach them what the business was like during busy season.

Greenfield has always had a good public school system, and the teachers that brought these kids to me were deserving of my thanks for doing so. The kids were always well-behaved and eager to learn and ask questions, that I tried to answer to the best of my knowledge, about running a post office.

I sincerely hope this practice of teaching kids about the post office is still being done. This memory is one I will always cherish, for it helped me think about the good days when a class was coming and I got to greet some wonderful children. I do miss that.

Robert Bitzer lives in Erving.