ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Lynnfield postal worker Anthony Rauseo, 79, stands on his last day of work.
By THOMAS GRILLO
LYNN — Anthony Rauseo has delivered his last piece of mail.
After more than a half century, the 79-year-old postal worker, who has spent his career in Lynnfield, handed in his blue uniform.
“I’ve held almost every job at the post office from janitor to part-time supervisor,” said the Lynn native. “The only job I didn’t do was selling stamps at customer service.”
After leaving the U.S. Air Force in 1960 as John F. Kennedy prepared to move into the White House, he landed a job in the Lynnfield Post Office.
His first paycheck was $138 after taxes for two weeks work. He quickly learned his way around.
“I’ve delivered mail to every residence in town with the exception of a few new streets that were built in the last 10 years,” he said. “I’ve had one customer for as long as I’ve been here. He moved a few times, but he was always on my route.”
Rauseo was one of more than 620,000 employees who delivered 154 billion pieces of mail last year, according to the most recent data available.
Michael Powers, district manager, said Rauseo was a stellar employee whose customers became his friends.
“If all my workers were like Tony, I would be all set,” he said.
One of the advantages of having such an experienced employee, Powers said, is they can train new hires.
“Tony guided the new carriers and I could count on him,” he said.
While there were opportunities to join management, Rauseo said the job he loves best was being a carrier.
Over the years, he has received gifts at the holidays from hats and coats to sweet treats. But the best gift of all, he said, was the love from his longtime customers.
Still, he’s seen his share of dogs and snow storms and has experienced sub-freezing temperatures.
Luckily, in five decades, he’s never been bitten.
“I was chased by a German Shepard once and he pinned me to the corner of a house,” he said. “About three minutes later, the owner came out. I’ve had a few incidents like that, but they’ve never broken the skin. If I saw a dog, I didn’t deliver the mail.”
When he first joined the U.S. Postal Service, carriers spent hours sorting letters before dawn. Today, he said, the job is much more efficient and machines do most of the work.
When asked what he would have done if the local post office wasn’t hiring when he applied, Rauseo said, “I would have worked at my father’s auto body shop, but I guess this is what I was meant to do.”
Rauseo is not sure how he will spend his days. He’s thought about maybe getting a part-time job.
“My options are wide open,” he said. “I have to do something, but I haven’t figured out what that is. For now, I’ll just relax.”
Thomas Grillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.