Saturday, October 03, 2009
Update: Ochopee, FL
After stopping by the Ochopee (O-chop-ee), FL post office the first time, it was closed so I had to return. Last week I did. Actually I returned twice because I had missed the mail carrier the first time and I wanted photos of him also. I had read a small write-up on this post office but I received a ton of information after speaking with Nanette Watson, the postmaster.
She only lives two miles away from the post office so that's not a bad commute. She's worked there for seven years. The building is approximately 8 feet by 7 feet and has been used since 1953 when a fire destroyed the general store in Ochopee which was home to the previous post office. Yes, that building has been the Ochopee post office since 1953.
"I almost see more German tourists than American," she stated. Apparently this post office is on all the travel shows and guides in Germany. She also said many people will drive by and hit the brakes prior to putting the car in reverse to stop by the place. "I've seen many accidents, luckily none have been too serious," she explained.
On my last post, I wrote that 2-3 people inside would be crowded. Two to three people inside WOULD be crowded, but customers don't actually go inside. The front doors slide open and there's a counter right behind those sliding doors where Nanette helps customers.
Leroy Fish is the contract mail carrier. His wife actually started as the carrier about 40 years ago. Leroy retired from his previous job and took over as mail carrier for the post office due to a medical condition his wife had. So between the two of them, they've been delivering the 138-mile mail route for the last 40 years.
What is the future of this tiny shipping shack? "We serve a lot of people and cost very little money to operate," Nanette said. With the florescent bulb, air conditioner, computer (laptop) and other small electrical devices, Nanette estimates the monthly electric bill at around $20 dollars.