b'SOMA resident Marilyn Schnaars re-members being on the receiving end. We used to sit on and swing from the lamp posts and wait for the mailman to come. We didnt have anything bet-ter to do. You spent your time on the lamp post. It was a gay old time. But whenhedidntbringyouanything, boy, you didnt like that. Ourpostmastersandclerksknew us by name, even asking for updates about our distant kin. Handling a let-ter or package was a personal transac- South Orange Postmaster John Cordeli-tion, far from the inconvenient queueone has been with the Post Office for 17 of today. years.But it doesnt have to be. A visit to either SOMA post office these daysyou may overhear someone calling her can offer us a taste of the general storeSunshine, and she is certainly worthy or the tavern a century and a half inof that nickname inside the post office the past.walls. She loves movies such as Pretty According to one patron, interac- Woman and doing jigsaw puzzles, and tionswithMaplewoodpostmastershes partial to stamps with flowers on RobynnBurnsaresomissedbyhisthem. During our social pause, she daughter (due to the social distancinghas noticed an upswing in parcels and order) that she has made a Postmasterlettersperhaps a sign of people want-Robynn Lego figure at home. In Southing to connect.Orange,postmasterJohnCordelioneBothpostmastersemphasizetheir stopped what he was doing to take afondness for our community. Robynn trip back to the safe to fetch some freshconsidershercoworkersfamily,and Tyrannosaurus Rex stamps for a patronfinds it a joy to come to work and see when the window stock had depleted.her friendly customers. John acknowl-The mundane isnt a time-waster whenedgesthatsomepeopleareinfora we take a minute and actually engage;quick transaction and others long for itcanaffordarefreshingvignetteofa kind listening ear. When asked what congeniality instead.they would do if a live bear walked into PostmasterJohnisfromHack- thepostoffice,Johnrepliedthathe ensack,NJ.Hesbeeninthepostalwould evacuate and call 911. Robynn servicefor17years.Beforelastyearadmitted she would probably scream. hewasstationedinBlairstown,theBoth would like to assure the public site of the movie Friday the 13th. Ap- that if the bear had a letter to mail, propriately, he likes horror films (alsothey would happily assist.comedy). He hunts and fishes, rides aTake a minute to write a letter to motorcycle,andlovestospendtimeafriendacrossthecountry.Tellher with family. He listens to classics onabout our two little towns. Look at the the way to and from work and buys hisstamps in the display and pick out just coffee locally. Hes fond of the Purplethe right one. Now that you know a lit- HeartandTranscontinentalRail- tle about them, stop rushing and have road stamps. According to John, thea visit with the folks in the line and at oddest counter experience hes had isthe counter. Theyre your people.helping a lady ship a set of false teethAnd if youre wondering what hap-overseas to her husband after he leftpens to a letter once it has been slipped without them. His weirdest receipt: Athrough the slot, John says that it is de-shipment of live bees and ducks for alivered by the most magical mail car-local customer. rier fairies, while Robynn employs a Postmaster Robynn is from Brook- flock of carrier pigeons. They can tell lyn, NY. Shes a 23-year veteran of theyou a little more about each the next Mosquito Shield of North Central NJ postalservice.Shemakeshercoffeetime you have a visit. PO Box 432 South Orange, NJ 07079 | (973) 986-0821 |andherlunchathomemostoftheLinda Beck lives in South Orange and is info@mosquitoshieldncnj.com time and listens to gospel on the waythe person ahead of you chatting up the to and from work. Outside of work,window clerk.28/ matters magazine / summer 2020'