When Brenda Belfield left the Farnham Post Office Friday afternoon she had finished a 38 year career with the postal service. Thirty-eight years is a long time but when her mother and aunt’s 20-year postal service careers are considered, that’s going on 90 years of women in her family taking care of the mail, mostly in Farnham where Belfield was born and raised.
The house across the road was my grandparents,” she said. “My son lives in the house I was born and raised in.” It’s in Farnham, as well.
Belfield started working with the post office as a substitute mail carrier on a Warsaw route. The regular carrier was her uncle, but, when one came open, she opted for a clerk’s position in the post office because she “didn’t want to drive.” She stayed at the Warsaw Post office until five years ago when the Farnham clerkship became available.
She was able to get the job and through Friday, ran the office herself.
Belfield noted that being the clerk of an office such as Farnham’s is a better job than being a clerk in a larger office. In the bigger offices, the clerks’ hours vary but in offices such as Farnham the hours are set.
Over the years, Belfield has seen changes in mail patterns. There aren’t as many personal letters as there used to be, she said, but in a rural area such as Farnham there are more of them than at more urban offices. “The customers are older and still send thank you letters and the like.”
Surprisingly, the volume of packages has grown exponentially. “Oh, my gosh,” Belfield said. “There are 16 times the packages.” Online shopping is responsible for a lot of it.
Friday afternoon, the post office was decorated with flowers, balloons and handmade signs wishing Belfield a happy retirement. “Happy retirement, Grandma” one in front of the service window read. Customers came in just to thank Belfield and wish her luck.
One of the best things about her job has been that “you meet so many nice people…most people are so courteous and kind.”
Belfield said there was no official retirement celebration planned although her children wanted to take her out to dinner. “Doing what I like to do. That’s going to be my celebration,” she said.
Brenda Belfield and her family have worked in the postal service for 90 years in total.