Sunday, July 3, 2022

Canso post mistress retires after more than 45 years of service

  • January 26 2022
  • By Lois Ann Dort    

CANSO – When Theresa Casey graduated from high school, she couldn’t have imagined that her first job as a newly minted adult would be the job she would retire from 46 years later.

Casey’s last day on the job at the Canso Post Office was Jan. 18.

Looking back on a career the spanned more than four decades, Casey spoke with The Journal on Jan. 21 about her retirement and the evolution of Canada Post during her time behind the counter.

“I started at the post office doing casual when graduating from high school in June of ’76. I was offered a part-time position working 16 hours a week and knowing that a position was coming up down the road, I stayed,” Casey said of her introduction to work at the Canso Post Office.

From 16 hours, she soon moved to 24 and, “in June of ’84, I became the post mistress until my retirement at 46 years on Jan. 18, 2022,” said Casey.

The post office has seen many changes over those years, but one thing that hasn’t is the post office’s position as a focal point in the community.

“The old saying was the post office was always the social part of town. People came in and you had a chat with them, it was the gathering spot,” said Casey, adding, “People would stop and open their mail and you’re guaranteed a good chat, no doubt. It was socializing for sure, and I’ll miss that. That’s the part I’ll miss so much.”

The workflow, materials and technology changed a great deal over Casey’s career.

“I think of when I worked in ’76, how busy we were because we did everything by hand. It was all paper; log sheets, work sheets and everything. And you had your letter mail which was such a high volume. And one thing that stood out to me were the parcels; we used to have the Sears and Eaton’s catalogues … everybody in the community mailed and ordered from Sears. Christmastime was a big thing at the office.

“I think over the years with the Christmas cards – they were plentiful, and the parcels and you had to enter every one into a book and everything was cash on delivery. Oh, my golly, and everything was done by hand. It was [19]98 when we got our cash register which made our work a little better. And I guess our computer wasn’t in until 2004, which was wonderful. It was a big change, but a good thing. That was one thing that took a load off. Over the years everything changed, but it was for the good. It’s a great place to work,” said Casey.

And, while personal letters have fallen in volume with the advent of online shopping, the parcel service has grown — although now it often comes with an Amazon smile instead of a Sears label.

“Letter mail is down but I am still old fashioned, I would say; I love getting a letter from someone. Who doesn’t? I always tell my customers, ‘Write a letter more often.’ You know someone’s thinking of you and if you can brighten someone’s day, that’s awesome. They used to laugh at me when I would say that…Overall, the parcel rate is high now, everyone is online shopping, and it’s busy, keeps us going,” said Casey.

Less than a week into her retirement, Casey said the time off just feels like a long vacation. She’s not one to sit around, she said, and is looking forward to travelling, when that becomes a more feasible option, as COVID-19 and winter is putting a damper on that right now.

In the meantime, she hopes that winter activities such as minor hockey and curling will open up.

“Everything is pretty well at a standstill and hopefully that will change,” she said.

Right now, Casey said, she’s content to be at home but, “I will most certainly miss my co-workers.”