At Age 73, PA Mailman Says 'Retirement Is Not For Everyone'
It took a few jobs before Charles Bartholomew found the one he would be doing for the last 50 years.
"I even tried being a milkman once," the Pottsville man said Thursday before starting his mail route.
Bartholomew, 73, settled on working for the U.S. Postal Service 50 years ago. He spent about 48 of those years as a mail carrier for the Pottsville Post Office.
"The people on my route are like an extended family," he said. "They show a lot of kindness and I'm grateful for that. They always remember to have a nice word for you."
After hearing about a job opening with the postal service, Bartholomew started his career unloading trucks from 3 to 7 a.m. and returning later in the day to complete his shift.
"It's tough enough to get a job with a high school diploma," he said. "It's almost impossible to get a good paying job without one."
He still delivers mail along his 10-mile route every morning. He walks more than half that distance.
"He's been a great worker for all the years I have known him," Pottsville Postmaster Jared Diehl said. "It's a great achievement to have a prolonged career like that. He has really been an asset to the organization."
Diehl said Bartholomew recently received the Two Million Mile award. That award is given to a mail carrier who drove that distance in his career without being involved in an accident.
He said the post office has many employees with more than 30 years under their belt, but 50 is a rare achievement.
"Being a carrier out there and getting to know your customers and getting to be friends with them is a big thing," Diehl said. "They are a friendly face they recognize. He's been able to do this for so long, his body is well conditioned to be doing it."
Of course, walking most of that distance every day for 50 years does carry the risk of injury, especially in the winter. Bartholomew said he has had injuries to his ankles and ribs.
"But it comes with the job. The sun doesn't shine every day," he said.
Bartholomew praised the Pottsville Post Office for its management and fair treatment of its employees. When it comes to retirement, he hasn't even considered it.
"I quit retirement with death. I don't want to have anything to do with either one of them," he said. "Retirement is not for everyone."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.