Two local postal workers say farewell to Truckee post office
Richard Coit comes from a long line of postal workers.
His father delivered mail for 40 years in Southern California, starting in the mid-1920s, and his grandfather rode a horse and buggy mailwagon through the cold streets of Holyoke, Mass., for more than 41 years.
Even beside his father’s and grandfather’s achievements, Coit’s 26 years working in Truckee’s post office is something of a landmark in town. Perhaps more of a landmark now that he is retiring
Coit, who checks in mail at the window and takes care of the paperwork in the Deerfield Drive office, is leaving behind customers who have known him for many or most of those 26 years.
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of really nice people because of the post office,” Coit said. “I met a lot of good friends and saw a lot of nice kids grow up.”
Sitting in his office, Coit, 64, rattles off the names of Olympic and championship skiers that he has seen grow up in the area, and they’re not just names to him – they are friends.
In fact, Coit knows the name of just about everybody who comes through the office, except for some of the second homeowners.
The post office that Coit is leaving bears little resemblance to the office at which he was hired, just as Truckee today looks nothing like it did in 1969 when Coit moved here. Then, the town had a population of roughly 3,000, and the single, small post office was as much of a social gathering spot as a place to pick up or drop off mail.
“The post office was a meeting place. You could get your news in the hallways,” he said. “There was no automation; we did everything by hand.”
Coit also doubled as a part-time third- and fourth-grade teacher, showing the children how to address, stamp and send mail during special classes.
Coit’s absence from the office will be hard to replace, said Postmaster Caroline Cutler, especially since it comes at the same time that Clerk Gary Colquhoun decided to take an option for early retirement.
“Their skills and their attitudes cannot be replaced,” Cutler said. “I have to let them go, but I dread this.”
Colquhoun, a 31-year postal veteran, was a great addition to the Truckee office when he moved to town as a transfer from San Mateo three years ago. The U.S. Postal Service, like many other Truckee employers, is having a harder and harder time finding hirees who can afford to live in town.
“It’s difficult to get people to transfer here because they cannot afford to live here,” Cutler said.
Truckee’s post offices balances between a nationwide downturn in letter mailing, due to increased Internet messaging and commerce, and a town-wide development expansion. While across the nation, the U.S. Postal Service is offering early retirement options, Truckee’s office has submitted a tentative proposal for a new office and new kiosks.
Both Coit and Colquhoun intend to explore their hobbies after retirement, which for Colquhoun means riding his Harley-Davidson, taking out his vintage wood boat and skiing, and for Coit means traveling, photography, hiking and golf.
“Everything that I want to do is right here,” Colquhoun said. “I’ll be taking advantage of everything that this place has to offer.”
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