HOUSTON – Bonnie Sappington stamped her last stamp Thursday as a postman.
Sappington retired after 33 years with the U.S. Postal Service, having worked the windows at both Houston and Houlka most of her career.
“I’ve always liked working the window,” said Sappington. “You meet people and help them with postage to get a letter or package to a special place or person, or you handle a problem they have with the mail.”
And while millions of pieces of mail are dropped in slots or picked up by postmen on a route every day, the window is where the post office and the public meet face to face.
“You also get to see the same people day after day,” said Sappington. “I’ve gotten to know those people through the years and they are my friends.”
Sappington said every postal worker learns early in their career to respect the mail. She said whether it is a birthday card or bill, a personal note or a business check, it all demands the same attention.
“That card, or letter or business is important to someone,” said Sappington. “I don’t think people realize how hard we work to get the mail – regardless of what it is – to the place it is supposed to go as quickly as possible.”
Sappington said she started her career as a clerk at the Houlka Post Office. Her job moved her to Houston more years ago than she cares to remember. She still lives in Houlka.
“Houlka is where I learned to work the window and sort mail,” said Sappington. “It’s also where I found out all postal workers are like family.”
Sappington said the U.S. Postal Service has changed a lot in 33 years with much more automation and much quicker mail. She pointed out the U.S. Postal Service is one of the few government agencies that is run like a business.
“Everything is so much faster and they want you to do more and do it quicker,” she explained. “Getting the mail out and to the routes and house where it is supposed to go is a lot of hard work. There are also lots of rules and regulations you have to learn and follow every day.”
Sappington said the part of her daily job she will miss the most is watching the truck pull up to the Houston dock every morning.
“You never know how much mail you will have, what that mail will be or where it will be going,” said Sappington. “It was a surprise every day and I will miss it.”
She said her co-workers are probably what she will miss most.
“I’m looking forward to spending time with my grand-baby,” said Sappington said with a smile. “I will miss the people I work with and the customers.”
Sappington urged her friends and co-workers to stay in touch. Better yet, send her a letter.