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End of the line

Employee to retire after 60 years on same route

Male letter carrier in uniform
Melrose Park, IL, Letter Carrier Garland Gralow plans to retire Aug. 29 after 60 years delivering mail on the same route.

Garland Gralow has seen a lot of changes during the past 60 years.

The Melrose Park, IL, letter carrier has had the same route since beginning his postal career in 1957.

The job is much different now.

“Everything is automated,” Gralow said. “You need to concentrate a lot more these days. There’s also a lot more packages.”

Gralow, who delivers mail by cart on his 4-mile route, has been eligible to retire since 1988. He plans to finally step down Aug. 29, which is earning him lots of local news coverage.

“They say, ‘You must enjoy your job,’” he said. “I say, ‘For 60 years, you have to enjoy it.’”

Gralow looks forward to spending more time with his wife of 59 years and their family, but as his final work day draws near, he’s also getting nostalgic.

He still remembers weighing two job offers when he got out of the Army: a factory position that offered an hourly wage of $1.55 and the postal job, which paid 50 cents more an hour.

“I went to the Post Office and talked to them. They called on a Friday to see if I could come to work that Saturday,” he recalled.

The letter carrier is respected by his co-workers, who often turn to him for advice. He likes to show them the ropes and offer helpful hints.

For example, Gralow encourages newcomers to bank their sick leave, recalling how saved leave allowed him to take extended time off for heart surgery in the 1980s.

“Just because you have a cough doesn’t mean you can’t come to work,” he said.

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