By DAVID GREEN
“I’ve been meaning to sit down and count them,” she said last Thursday on the day before her retirement. “At least a dozen of them have come and gone.”
Bonnie was hired by Oliver “Cy” Stahl in 1970 to work as a part-time mail sorter on Saturdays. Gradually, more and more hours were added and eventually she began working at the counter.
She served as the Officer in Charge at Clayton in 1979 and took the same position in Morenci after Ruth Baird left and then again during other breaks between postmasters.
She’s also served as a substitute carrier for Morenci’s two city routes, and she got a brief taste of that life again over the summer.
“I filled in a couple of months ago and I didn’t really like it,” she said.
Walking the city with mail is something for a younger person, she decided.
She never did serve as a rural carrier, except the one day a carrier’s car broke down and Bonnie was chosen to drive the route—but only as a chauffeur. The regular carrier still handled the delivery.
“There were some ups and down,” she said, “but it’s been a good career.”
She’s seen several changes over the decades, particularly in the move to computer based administrative record-keeping. It was 13 years ago that the old scale for weighing packages was moved over to a shelf at the side and the new computerized scales went into service.
That made work easier, but she doesn’t see that all the changes are for the better. For example, a new phone system is planned that connects all the post offices by an 800 number. Calls won’t go to the local office and Bonnie sees a loss of personal contact coming.
For her, it’s the personal contact that gives the job its appeal.
“I watched generations grow,” she said. “I know which kids belong to who and I’ve kept contact with a lot of old friends. I will miss the people.”
Instead, she’s going to turn her attention to home projects that she’s put off and she’s also going to put some emphasis on quilt making.
Eventually, she figures it will be time to head back out into the working world with a part-time job. After all, her husband, Merlin, isn’t yet ready to retire and she knows she’s still going to wake up early every workday morning.– Nov. 5, 2003