From the Collegian archives: Oh The Life of a Postman


On a completely unrelated note, Kenyon used to have a polo team! via the December 10, 1935 issue

From time to time, the Collegian will write about those Gambier residents who are not affiliated with the college, but interact with students and faculty every day. Let me take you back to 1963, with this profile of then Gambier Postmaster Dell Hathaway. This profile is an honest, and at times humorous, look into the job of a faithful public servant who served students and faculty daily. The piece is from the March 1, 1963 edition of the Collegian, read the whole issue here and read on for the profile.


“Postage due, 4 cents”

What Kenyon student has not seen one of these curt notices ominously placed in the division’s or the dorm’s mailbox with he name “D.M. Hathaway” scrawled across the bottom?

Insufficient postage is but one of many headaches which daily confront Gambier Postmaster Dell M. Hathaway in his attempt to provide residents of Gambier and students with friendly and efficient postal service.

HATHAWAY and his mail service have been an integral part of the life of every student and townsfolk for the last 25 years. “I joined the Post Office on December 1, 1937,” he related “and for 11 years served as a clerk. I was then made acting Postmaster and later permanently appointed to that position.” Hathaway revealed that he originally settled in Gambier in 1928, and at that time taught junior high school.

The emperor of the Gambier mails disclosed that his most frustrated moments are caused by misdirected mail. “Students move from one place to another and fail to notify the Post Office where they should get their mail. Freshman want their mail at Norton or Lewis, then its their fraternity, then they want a box.”

As it turns out, most of Hathaway’s problems in this respect are caused by the College Office. “They are usually the ones who cause the trouble,” the grey but hardy Postmaster mused. “Most of the misdirected mail comes from the College Office. They will often send mail to the same address years after the occupant moves.”

Another postal problem is that of lost mail box keys. “They’re losing them all the time. But we are getting combination boxes which will do away with that.”

When quizzed about lost mail, Hathaway replied, “There is a certain amount, but little more than would be expected of an operation of our size. Fraternities could help the problem, however. They are supposed to have regular fellows pick up the mail, but often fellows who come in to get their own mail want to pick up mail for the rest. I don’t think that should be allowed to happen. Only the one who is supposed to should pick up the mail. This precaution will limit responsibility to one person, and is a protection to the fraternity.”

POSTAL SERVICE under the direction of Hathaway has been regular and dependable. The temporary halt in service caused by the heavy snow storm earlier this year was the first time in many years that it was impossible for the mail to reach Gambier.

The Postmaster regards Kenyon highly, and, after commenting on its excellent faculty, inoned, “if I had my life to live over again I would get my degree from Kenyon. It’s a fine college and has more prestige than many of the big schools.”

Hathaway, who never fails to offer a bright “thank you” to those he serves, responsibly processes mail for over 2,000 residents of Knox County, and is a fine example of a dedicated public servant.





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