Love this Job

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Clerks on an RPO enjoy each other’s company. Courtesy of the family of Stephen T. Whitehurst, Levittown, PA
“We just loved it. We were a small band of lucky people in that job like that. We got dirty, but we had to use our brains, and we were doing a job that meant a lot to people that never even knew we existed.” —Richard Jennings of Wakefield, Massachusetts

Railway Mail Clerks, above all, loved their jobs. They took great pride in their achievements and great pleasure in their success. The best way to understand their adoration of the job is to listen to them talk about it.

“But it was enjoyable. Most enjoyable job I ever did.” —Joseph Kitts of Christiansburg, Virginia

“Didn’t like about it? No, it was the best part of my career. I had 38 years, and I loved the Railway Postal Service.” —Daniel Moore of Grafton, West Virginia

The following are all excerpts from larger interviews that can be found in the Oral Histories section of this website:

Robert Freeman

Mr. Freeman worked for the Railway Mail Service starting in 1949 as a substitute clerk on the New York and Washington run. In addition, he worked at the Pennsylvania Terminal for a large portion of his career, and also made runs with the Highway Post Offices.

Robert Freeman:
But it was great, I really do miss… I had a wonderful camaraderie in the… I enjoyed my entire stay, it was really a sad time for me when the RMS was included in with the Post Office. We didn’t like that at all, we really liked our own way of working… we did command a lot of respect from the postal people, the postal employees would always say, oh there goes an RMS man.

Richard Harvey

Mr. Harvey started working for the Post Office, but soon put in for a Railway Mail Service. He subbed out of Washington, DC, and later got a regular appointment running from Washington to Florence, South Carolina.

Richard Harvey:
I loved it. If they were still running, I’d still be there [laughs]. And I’m 81 years old. No, I loved it, I always told people that it was like throwing a rabbit in a briar patch. That’s where I belonged [laughs]. I loved every bit of it. Most everybody did. We had a few that didn’t, but most everybody loved it. It was, like we used to say it was the Marine Corps of the Post Office. We were all proud to be there.

Richard Jennings

Mr. Jennings started in the Railway Mail Service as a substitute in 1946. Later that year he became a regular, running out of Boston. His main runs were on the Boston and Albany Railway Post Office, from 1950 to 1952, and Boston and New York Railway Post Office, from 1952 to 1970.

Richard Jennings:
I liked every aspect of it. It was a dirty job, but it was fascinating because it was handling letters that you know you were expediting that letter that was going from point A to point B and you were sorting it, and it got there that much faster, because maybe people like you were working terrible hours of the day and night. So, it was a job that got, the people just liked. They just loved. A lot of esprit de corps among our people. Out of 700,000 postal employees, there were only like 30,000 of us. So we got paid a little more money. Not much, a little bit more. Yeah, it was kinda, kind of a nice, a nice job, yeah.