The news that the Post Office will end Saturday delivery in August was not unexpected. If my mail is any indication — I can’t recall the last time I received an actual “letter” — mailmen may soon go the way of milkmen.
Both professions were once important — even crucial — parts of Westport life.
I am fascinated by a story I once heard about the postal service here. Back in the day, it seems, mail was delivered twice a day — every day. This was before most people had telephones. So post cards — picked up, sorted, delivered, replied to, etc. — were a primary means of communication.
I vaguely recall, as a child, that mail was delivered twice a day in the week or two before Christmas.
I do have vivid memories of our mailman (“postal carrier,” to use today’s term).
He was George Powers — “Nooky,” as he was universally known. A star athlete at Staples in the 1930s, and a World War II veteran, he served High Point Road with professional care, and personal attention to detail.
He took pride in punctuality, and knowing every home on his route. But he also found time to deliver packages to doorsteps, not mailboxes; to look in on whoever was ailing; even check on homes when owners were away.
Nooky Powers was more than a post office employee. He was my father’s friend.
Nowadays, I’m not sure how many people know their mailmen. Routes routinely shift; streets are clogged; carriers probably have many more stops than before, and I’m sure they’re not treated with the respect and courtesy that once was the norm.
The factors leading to the end of Saturday mail delivery are many and complex. But perhaps the fact that most of us no longer have a Nooky Powers in our lives has something to do with it.