Five years ago, The Courier ran a story about Eric Amero and the 45 years he had been delivering the mail in Plympton. This year on, Oct. 16, he celebrated 50 years on the job. Below is the article from 2006 with a few notes.
Eric Amero was clearing about $10 a month on the Plympton mail route in 1961.
He had been cutting pulp in the woods when he decided to bid on the contract and he was down in New Hampshire picking apples with a truckload of local men when he got the call he had won.
He came home and decided he needed a new car.
He was 22 and nothing caught his eye like the brand new 1961 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia convertible from Parsons Motors in Middleton.
He paid $2,600 for the sporty little German number and his payments were $90 a month. Amero remembers paying 38 cents a gallon – three dollars would fill his car for the week.
His pay on the mail route was $112 a month.
As of Oct. 16 this year, Amero has been delivering the mail round Plympton for 45 years. [Ed. Note: make that 50.]
“I must have liked it,” he says. “I didn’t think I did. It’s sort of a hobby. It gets me away from the garage for a couple hours.”
Amero also started working as a mechanic in Plympton for Vaughn Warner around the same time for $100 a month.
In 1968 he bought the business but he says it was the mail route that changed his life.
“I’d probably be dead if I didn’t have this job. I used to drink a lot before I got this job but when you get a job like this, you have to grow up. You’ve got a job to do and you can’t do it drunk.”
He says it’s the social side of the mail route that appeals to him most.
“You hear lots of stories and stuff and I kinda like that. I like to talk to the people and hear what’s going on and when they see me, they want to talk and get information from me.”
Amero can’t remember ever missing a day of work on account of sickness in 45 years.
[In 2010, his 49thyear on the route, he did miss three months for a heart operation.]
One morning he was taking a tire off a school bus and another fellow was helping by yanking on the tire iron, when the tire iron slipped.
“It shoved my nose right across under my eye,” he says. “My glasses were sitting down in the cut on my nose and I remember the doctor saying, ’How can you stand having
those glasses in there?’”
In Digby they told him he’d have to go to Yarmouth to get his nose reset. He didn’t realize they meant for him to go straight to Yarmouth and he didn’t show up there until after he’d delivered the mail.
“They was some mad. I broke my nose at nine in the morning and I didn’t get to Yarmouth until three. That fella that knocks you out, he had to sit there all day waiting for me.”
Eileen Hallet was the postmaster in Weymouth when he started and he remembers her coming down to Plympton to swear him in.
“Not this post office,” he says. “It was a little shack – 18’x 20’, cold as hell in the winter.”
Back then he had 112 houses on his route, now there are 157. [More or less still the same in 2011.]
“Seems there’s more houses with less people in them.”
Amero says the biggest change is all the paperwork he has to fill out and the rules about how much service he can provide.
He used to take parcels round and honk for people to come down and pick them up. If they weren’t home, he’d take it back the next day and try again. Now he leaves a card if it doesn’t fit in the box.
“And I sold stamps for 30 years but that was illegal. I didn’t know you had to have a licence.
“People used to leave letters or cards in the box with the money for the stamps. It took a while to stick on all those stamps at Christmas.”
But he says there was a lot more mail then, “when people could afford to mail stuff.”
Letters, he remembers, were five cents and cards two cents. Today a letter is 51 and tax.
Of course there is a lot more junk mail today, he says and these days he never knows when the mail truck will come.
One old lady, gone now, used to tell him she could set her clock by his deliveries. But today he says he has a different dinner hour every day. His wife’s sister, Myrna Amero, lives about a third of the way along the route and she calls her sister to let her know when to have his dinner ready.
Amero took his first vacation last year. In years past he had retired to a trailer back in the woods for hunting season but even then he drove out every day to take the mail before going back in the woods.
Last year he bought a new trailer and he got a new idea.
“I must have thought I was getting older. I guess I was thinking if I didn’t take some time off now, I’d never do it.”
This year he took three weeks off. [In 2011 he didn’t take any vacation.]
“I guess that’s what you’re supposed to do. As far as I can figure out.”
Amero says Canada Post recently told him he can drive the route as long as he can drive the route.
“I don’t like to be idle. I gotta keep moving. People need exercise. Weekends just about kill me, especially if it is raining and I’ve got to stay in the house.
“I’d like to go five more years and if I feel as good then as I feel now, I’ll go another five.
“I never dreamed 45 years could go by that fast. It went before I knew it.”
[Five years later, Amero says he’d like to try another ten and if he feels as good then, as he does now, he’ll try another ten. Amero is 72. Canada Post has no mandatory retirement age for the rural route mail delivery people.]