The Yosemite postmaster retires after more than 40 years (and a whole lot of mail)
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Instead of getting chased by rowdy dogs, John Reynolds had his pick between bears, coyotes and plenty of other creatures (not actually, but imagine!)
Who is he? John Reynolds was the postmaster for Yosemite National Park in California, serving over 40 years in the Yosemite and El Portal Post Offices. This week, he retired from the position.
Listen to NPR's interview with Reynolds by hitting the play button at the top.
A local legend. You might not know many people from this part of the U.S. but John's impact was widely felt in his community.
Family friend and Yosemite local, Micole Mccarthy, shared this story with us:
"I was 17 years old and was really feeling the isolation that can come with growing up in such a remote area. So for me, one of the bright spots of that summer was the release of J.K. Rowling's final installment of the Harry Potter book series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." I had preordered the book online and didn't realize that the release and corresponding delivery date of the book was on a Saturday.
Our post office was typically closed for package pick ups. I only realized it a couple of days before and I was completely devastated. So imagine my surprise when I woke up on Saturday morning to a call from John, telling me he was opening the post office for a couple of hours, so the handful of locals who'd ordered the book could come in and get their copies the same day that everyone else in the U.S. was getting theirs as well. I was so excited I jumped out of bed and immediately ran down to the post office. He said he knew how important this day was to some of us and he was happy to do it."
What does he have to say about himself?
"Some of my first memories as a clerk, working with the postmaster, is going down to a spot on Highway 140, which is the main entrance coming into the park. There was a rockslide. And we wanted to get the mail in and without delay. So the mail truck drove up the closest road to the rockslide. And we bucket brigaded across the rocks. I mean, handing the bags [of mail]. We were jumping across the rocks.
That's what I took pride in. Mother Nature, and overcoming, and trying to get mail into the park because people count on their mail. People look to the post office and their mail as a normalization.
When Mother Nature does kick in, it stresses people out and gives a great anxiety. The Post Office and having their mail gives the sense that I've learned over the years, a sense of anchor, a sense of normalcy.
So I think that's the biggest pride that I took in my job, is doing that, getting the mail in such an isolated place."
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