Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ka-Pop in the news

This is an article from Ka-pop's (Grandpa) local paper. Ka-pop and Oma were out over Finn's second birthday, along with Auntie Joyce and Ka-su (GrammaSue), and he cleaned out our garage, which was no small task. We're already thinking about what's next for him here in Minnesota... So, congratulations, Ka-Pop!

Going out in style: A longtime letter carrier bids his job goodbye after 28 years
by mpilon
EASTHAMPTON - For a few hours Wednesday morning, James E. McCauley was the spiffiest postal carrier in the county.

McCauley, 66, arrived by bicycle at the Easthampton Post Office on Northampton Street wearing a white dinner jacket and black tie over his standard-issue uniform of light blue, collared shirt, dark blue shorts and hat.

McCauley didn't wear the jacket to deliver mail Wednesday, where he was graced by perfect 70 degree weather as he chatted with the residents on his route - people who live in Florence, but receive their mail through the Easthampton office.

"I could have worn it," McCauley said. "But it would have been a little warm."

It was a regal way for McCauley to arrive for his final day at the office after 28 years on the job. The Louise Avenue resident said he wanted to leave a lasting impression on his colleagues.

"I'm going to miss being an influence on the people I work with," McCauley said.

McCauley speaks with a flourish and said he can be prone to pontificating at work. But he said his wish is to impart the value of the job to his colleagues.

"What they're doing has real value in the community," McCauley said. "I've always felt it was an honor and a privilege."

McCauley wrote about his experiences for Postal Record magazine for about 20 years. The magazine is published by the National Association of Letter Carriers.

But rather than writing about contractual or management matters, McCauley said he instead tried to stress the importance of "making the best of the job."

"What I tried to do is say 'rise above it,'" McCauley said. "We still have an amazingly positive job experience."

Counting blessings

McCauley has walked enough miles to cover the distance around the Earth's equator in his time as a postal carrier. He had knee replacement surgery on both knees three years ago and has since had to walk less on his route.

But McCauley said the active nature of his job has been a blessing.

"The physical aspects of this job have been a tremendous benefit to me," he said.

And then there are the human relationships. Postal carriers interact with hundreds of people each day.

McCauley said he finds that people are reassured by the sight of the mailman arriving.

"It represents, I think, a consistency over time," he said.

And those brief interactions each day can turn into friendships.

Corticelli Avenue resident Keith Graham spotted McCauley Wednesday and came outside with his camera to snap a few pictures of the man he said has brought "great energy" to his neighborhood over the past three years.

"He's just a great guy and we're going to miss him here," Graham said.

Asked what was the best piece of mail McCauley had delivered to him, Graham said that McCauley brought a family photo album earlier this week from Graham's mother, who lives in Montana. There was no other mail that day, he said, not even junk mail.

Graham said his 5-year-old son, Jasper, is particularly fond of McCauley. When Jasper heard last week that McCauley was retiring, he and a group of day school friends covered the mail truck with flowers they had picked.

"I drove off as far as I could with the flowers blowing off the truck," McCauley recalled. "It was a sight."

A daily hope

Postal carriers get to play a part in something that McCauley calls the "mail magic moment."

"You go out and open that mailbox every day hoping for something of value," he said. "Ninety-nine out of 100 times that hope is dashed because all you get is some junk mail or a bill. But that hope is still there."

It's not just a people job. McCauley said he has treasured his relationship with the slowly changing geography of Easthampton.

McCauley spent 25 years delivering mail in the city, which he said he has seen change for the better over that time.

"It's such a dramatic and positive change," he said.

He recalled delivering mail on Main Street in the middle of a heavy snowstorm around 15 years ago.

He had just passed Brewster Avenue and looked up to realize that there was not a sound to be heard and no cars in sight. He walked into the middle of Main Street, lay on his back, and made a snow angel.

"It was a totally silent day," he said. "I just looked both ways and said 'This is spectacular.'"

McCauley is married and has a grown son and daughter. His retirement plans so far are to ride his bicycle, read up on medical research and work around the house.

Matt Pilon can be reached at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This guy sounds absolutely rad! If there were ever an opportunity, I would nominate him for Postmaster General, the tasks of which he would accomplish with great aplomb!
Carry On!