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Mr. Postman, a Beloved Mail Carrier

Laura Hinds reflects on growing up in Danvers. This week she remembers a beloved mail carrier.

When I was very little girl, I think about five years old, our mail carrier was a source of amazement for me. "Larry the mailman,” real name Ralph Lawrence Bergman, always had a smile on his face as he walked the length of Braman Street.

Larry would stop and chat with whoever was around, and never seemed bothered about time, yet he always made his deliveries as close to the same time of day as possible. I didn’t really understand how the postal system worked, and it seemed to me that he must be some sort of magician who could pull letters and other envelopes (a.k.a. bills) out of this sack day after day, and I never knew what might come.

There was a woman my mother knew who traveled a lot and she always saved postage stamps from other countries and would mail them to me. I got my very own mail at such a young age! I am sorry that I cannot remember her name, and frankly, surprised that I remember Larry’s full name.

Back in those days, the Post Office wasn’t in financial trouble.  I don’t think I ever saw any postal inspector following Larry and timing him as I’ve seen done in recent years. I do believe we even got mail twice a day back in the 1960’s. I know that I always looked forward to seeing Larry and often followed him up and down our street while he did his route. He even knew every cat and every dog in the neighborhood.

Larry was a genuinely nice man. Someone who I can still picture as he was, even hear his voice, and laughter in my memory banks. Everybody loved Larry.

Years later, when we moved to Danversport, we had a mail carrier who was much younger than Larry was and he sure was a dreamboat. I think I had my very first crush on him. Yet can I remember his name? No, I can only remember that I gave him some gaudy child’s necklace with a big purple smiley face on it as a sign of my eight year old affection for him.

I do recall, however, one piece of advice this dreamboat gave me. He told me “marry the first time for money and the second time for love.” Why he told a little kid that, I’ll never know, but he did. In hindsight, I wonder if he was having financial or marital woes.

I also know that if Larry ever told me anything, it would have been to smile, laugh, and enjoy life as it comes. There is a reason I remember Larry’s name and not the dreamboats: Larry genuinely loved life, enjoyed his job, and passed that spirit on to all who crossed his path.

I knew before I wrote this article that he must be gone by now. Sure enough, I found information about his death in 2002. While I am sorry for his passing, I am deeply grateful to have memories of this nice man who was a friend to all, and always wore a smile.

This link will take you to more information about Ralph Lawrence Bergman and his family.

Keith Bergman October 15, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Thanks for posting this story about Dad. I've posted a photo.
Laura Hinds October 15, 2011 at 12:38 PM
It was my pleasure to sit and remember Larry, and to write about him. That picture is wonderful! Thank you! I let your brother know about it on FB but was unable to leave a message for you, Keith, so I'm glad you saw it. Your dad was such a nice man and he made quite an impression on me all those years ago.
Azanna October 15, 2011 at 01:23 PM
A lovely tribute and a sweet memory. It really makes me pine for days gone by!
SueEllen Donahoe October 15, 2011 at 01:40 PM
All the kids in the Braman St neighbor hood loved Larry and looked forward to his visits every day. He was the quintessential postman.
Val Peterson March 13, 2012 at 09:56 AM
The story about Larry the mailman caught my attention. As I was reading the article it suddenly occured to me. I know Larry the mailman, he delivered mail in my neighborhood also! Finding myself going down memory lane, I recall a very fond memory. When I was eight years old a new girl moved into our neighborhood. My older sister introduced me to her. Soon the new girl and myself became friends. She was a year younger than me, yet she was so much smarter than me. She was a lot of fun and had an amazing sunny perspective. I liked her Mom too! My new friend was an only child and I had five siblings. At home it could be difficult trying to get some extra attention, since there were five others who also need attention. My friends Mom freely and lovingly gave me extra TLC. She made me feel good about myself.Her Mom would take us places. I remember her Mom taking us to Salem Willows which was so much fun. Another memory was going to the grocery store, which was just as much fun as the Willows. My favorite memory is the time her mother cooked us pancakes for dinner and sang "Mama's little......pancakes....!" while she cooked for us. My friend didn't live on Braman Street for very long and moved away. But I never forgot Laurie Liscomb or her mother. Laura(Liscomb) Hinds, thanks for writing the story about Larry the mailman and thanks for the very warm memories. Valerie Peterson
Laura Hinds March 16, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Thank you so much for sharing those memories Valerie! I don't remember Mom singing the pancakes song, but it sure is nice to hear that you do. I remember you and your sister Julie (with the long red hair), and of course Greta who was my age. What lovely sentiments you expressed here, and I appreciate it very, very much. I think I may even have some pictures of me with the Peterson girls. I'll look. I am sorry that I don't remember your other sisters names..just you and Julie and Greta, and I am also sorry for the loss of Greta.

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