The National Weather Service and horticultural experts say this balmy weather is perfectly normal. They must not have lived here very long.
Mailman of 40 winters doesn't belittle this one
By Marilyn Druby, Tri-City Herald reporter
Published on February 2, 1969
Rural mail carriers used Model T Fords and most letters carried one and two-cent stamps.
Those were the old days in the 1920s and 30s recalled by Floyd Halstead, 70, who retired Friday from the Richland Post office after more than 40 years in mail service.
Before coming to Richland in 1945, he worked in Oregon, Arizona and Idaho, but most of the time he served as carrier and assistant postmaster at the small towns of St. John and Waverly, both near Spokane.
I suppose the worst winter I ever saw was 1937 in Waverly. The snow drifts were 15 feet high and it was 30 below zero for two weeks," Halstead recalled. "The train didn't come in from Spokane for five days when it finally did, there was just mountains of mail."
He worked at Waverly during the depression years of the 1930s, and remembers fighting his way through snowstorms in Model T. Fords, "pretty good cars in those days," he added.
"One experience I'll never forget was in 1934 when I was a rural carrier. A hard electrical storm came up at Fairfield, near Waverly, and a cloudburst followed that brought the water up over the running boards on my car," Halstead said.
"Fence posts and other debris washed onto the road and utility poles were split right down the center by lightning. I sure was lucky -- my car just kept going."
He also remembers the time he had to fix a flat tire on the job in below zero weather. "It was 15 below. I thought I'd never get it done," he added.
But the winter of 1969 in Richland isn't anything to sneer at.
"This is the worst I've ever seen it here," Halstead commented. "At least up north they're used to hard winters and have equipment to handle the snow."
Since coming to the Richland Post Office in 1945 he has been a window clerk, but fondly recalls the townspeople of predominantly German origin who would give special treats to the postmen, particularly at Christmas.
Also remembered were the visits of political leaders of the 1920s and 30s through the Spokane area, President Warren G. Harding and Franklin D. Roosevelt and even "Big Jim Farley." Then there was the time of the chain letter craze in the early 1930s when depression-hit farmers of the area saw the opportunity for big money by sending lists of names to friends to have each one send a dime to the first name on the list and then send on more letters to more friends.
"Those were the days when a dime was as big as a dollar and for the first two weeks the mail load was bigger than Christmas. Every family was sending 10 to 15 letters a day to try to get all those dimes in return, before chain letters were finally declared illegal," he said.
Halstead and his wife, Ada, who live at 510 Goethals Drive, Richland, plan to do some camping and traveling in the summertime, including a trip around the U.S. to see their 9 children and 30 grandchildren.
"You've got to have an interest in things," he said, referring to thoughts of a long life. "Good friends and good health are some of the greatest assets anyone could have."
Although he has reached the mandatory retirement age with the post office department, he says after some weeks of rest and visiting the children and grandchildren, he may be back to work at some other job.
"I really look ahead with enthusiasm to retirement so I can do some of the things I've wanted to do for a long time," he added.
Halstead expects extensive changes in postal operations in the future, with much more mechanization for faster service, and possibly a single postage rate for all classes of mail.
But when the changes come, the 45-year veteran of postal service will be on the other side of the counter.