Many who grew up with snail mail ready to let go
- Article by: JOHN ROGERS
- Associated Press
- February 7, 2013 - 3:41 PM
SEAL BEACH, Calif. - The death of Saturday mail delivery would seem to have the biggest impact in places such as Leisure World, where residents — many in their 80s and 90s — grew up with the mailbox as their connection to the rest of the world.
But many people just don't care in the Southern California community where life slowly revolves around golf, card games and splashing in a heated pool.
Now there's email for letter-writing and Facebook for keeping in touch with friends and relatives. And there's snail mail for ... Well, for what, really?
"All we get anymore are bills," laughed Leisure World resident Albert Rodriguez, 83, a retired bus driver whose wife Gladys quickly corrected him.
"We also get junk mail," she added with a smile as she pushed the couple's groceries in a cart.
Some older people might remember the days of waiting anxiously for the Sears catalog or "Saturday Evening Post" to land in their mailbox. But those days died long before the U.S. Postal Service announcement this week that it plans to kill Saturday deliveries except for packages.
Many of the 9,000 people who live at Leisure World, a seaside village in the suburbs of Los Angeles, have no problem with forgoing bills until Monday.
Sure, the change might require putting checks in the mail a bit sooner to pay those bills, but that shouldn't be a problem for a generation brought up to pay its debts on time.
"I've never lived paycheck-to-paycheck," said 86-year-old Yehuda Keller. "I wasn't raised that way."
Still, he said he will miss thumbing through Saturday's mail just a little because it's something he has always done. His wife actually enjoys sorting through junk mail to look for bargains.
In days gone by, waiting for the mail was a happy ritual for many, especially when they were expecting a new catalog touting the latest fashions.
"Oh my God, my grandma depended on those," said 77-year-old Lynette Waltner, adding the Lane Bryant catalog was the favorite of her grandmother.
These days the catalog of just about every venerable clothier is online.
Like many seniors, Waltner still pays her bills by snail mail because she doesn't trust online transactions. She doesn't email much either, and she's decided Facebook is a big waste of time.
But the idea of waiting around on a Saturday to see if an important letter might actually arrive? Forget about it.
"I'd rather play golf," Lautner laughed as she climbed back into her pickup truck after a round of golf and quick stop at a store.
Someone who will miss Saturday mail is 86-year-old Dorothy Havlik of South Bend, Ind.
For 30 years she's been writing letters to her son and daughter and mailing them every Saturday.
She and her husband, Robert, have email, and he is big on Facebook. The couple even pays a lot of bills online. But the Saturday letters to the kids began when they left for college, and Havlik says she let out a sigh of regret when she heard deliveries were being eliminated.
Still, she's well aware of the financial troubles of the Postal Service, and says it's well worth the sacrifice if the change will help keep her local post office open and mail coming right to the door on days it snows.
As for her Saturday mailing ritual:
"I'll probably have to switch it to Fridays," she said.
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