James Nunemaker can name the exact day he got his start working for the U.S. Postal Service. It was Oct. 3, 1970, at the office in Hicksville, he says.
“It started as a temporary [job] , but then I just ended up staying,” Mr. Nunemaker said.
More than 40 years later, the longtime Southold postal worker is retiring Thursday, taking with him decades of lasting memories gathered while working behind the windows of post offices across Long Island.
A Bethpage native, Mr. Nunemaker transferred across Nassau and Suffolk counties before arriving at the Southold post office 23 years ago, he said.
He moved out to the North Fork and has been living in Southold ever since.
Mr. Nunemaker said he became close with the customers who came in each week to check their mail. Old customers and longtime friends have been visiting the post office all week to congratulate him.
“There are a lot of customers I’m going to miss,” he said.
Every time he could help them, he would, Mr. Nunemaker’s coworkers said.
About five years ago, a woman rushed in just before closing time with a letter from her husband, who was applying to be a Southold cop. The letter had to be delivered that day, or her husband would be disqualified from consideration for the job.
“If that letter hadn’t gotten there, he would’ve lost his chance at being a Southold cop,” Mr. Nunemaker said. Thanks to his help, the letter was delivered on time.
“He’s a really good worker,” said Southold postmaster Marie Giordani. “I’m going to miss him.”
Mr. Nunemaker said he’s going to take a bit of time to relax before figuring out what the future holds for him.
In the meantime, he’ll stop in to the Southold post office from time to time to check his mail and say hello to his old coworkers. But this time, it’ll be from the other side of the counter.
“It’s like a different way of life now,” he said.