Lockport’s post office: A blessing to our community | Opinion

I read through my mail every morning at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. I can count on it being reliably delivered about the same time no matter what the weather, rain, wind, snow, by Mitch our friendly carrier. He waves and has a cheery “hello!” whenever you see him.

The other morning I found a curious looking letter in my mailbox addressed to Grandma and Grandpa in smeared gold marker. It was a letter from my young grandson who wrote a letter to his grandparents all on his own and he addressed it with a gold marker to make it extra special for us. The little guy is left-handed and the lettering smeared and blotted somewhat as he printed on the envelope to the point that it was almost impossible to understand. I noticed that there were no postal machine markings or bar codes on the envelope. Yet somehow that golden lettered envelope arrived here from many states away. What a surprise! And it was so nice to read our grandson’s letter. We have reread it several times enjoying it a little more each time; a real keeper, especially the envelope.

The envelope made me wonder just how anyone at the post office could have figured out who the letter was addressed to. How did they do that? Very grateful and curious, I stopped by the post office and spoke to Robin at the counter about the mystery letter. She said that the mail carriers and sorters like Mitch and Dave are diligent in trying to interpret difficult-to-read envelopes. Bob Kubala, an administrator there, said that handwriting on some envelopes is a real challenge at times and unfortunately those few letters that cannot be deciphered end up in the dead letter box. Bob added that it is a rare occurrence for the Lockport post office. They eventually figure it out.

In my grandson’s case, the letter with gold lettering was passed around the post office to several carriers hoping that someone would notice a clue to where it was supposed to go. Eventually Mitch, the mail carrier for my area, recognized what looked like our last name and so the mystery of the golden lettered envelope was solved in true Sherlock Holmes fashion! Great detective work by the determined, sharp-eyed folks at our local post office! I thanked them all for their perseverance and eye for detail. And thanks to their efforts, we have a charming letter from our grandson plus a gold lettered envelope that now has an interesting story attached to it.

But my meeting with Robin and Bob did not end there. Bob told me another interesting fact about our Lockport post office that is not well known – at least until now.

Bob explained that every year, around the Christmas season, our post office provides a decorated Christmas writing table and kid space all supplied with paper, envelopes, pens, markers and pencils for kids to write letters to Santa. There is even a special decorated mailbox just for letters to Santa! I remember seeing that setup in our post office for the kids and it reminded me very much of a charming Norman Rockwell Christmas season painting of a small town post office. What a nice, special attraction just for the kids.

And then Bob told me the rest of this amazing story: The Christmas and Santa mail setup is very popular with the children and many letters are written to Santa. What happens next is the amazing part of the story. Unbelievably, every single letter written by children is read and answered personally by our postmaster, Bob Costa! Think about the time and dedication it takes to do that. What a hometown hero! Mr. Costa is a great example of a kindly person with a big heart for children. Truly a quiet knight in our midst.

Lockport is truly blessed to have such a wonderful postmaster and post office staff who are so kind and dedicated. A big thank you to you all!

Good news like this is so refreshing and nice to pass on.

Earle Holt resides in Lockport.

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