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.