In 1951, the television industry premiered the iconic comedy “I Love Lucy,” the publishing industry debuted the literary classic, “The Catcher in the Rye,” and the sports industry saw the New York Giants win the National League Pennant on Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” It’s also the year the mailing industry hired Los Angeles District Mail Handler Willie Clemmons.
When Clemmons was hired, he began working at the old Los Angeles Terminal Annex, where he remembers loading and unloading trains for letters and parcels. “I remember those sacks of mail like it was yesterday; they were very heavy and had long strings with locks on them. Back in those days, everything was done by hand,” Clemmons said.
“We also had mail that was brought to us by helicopter. It was a different time.” “But before I was hired, I was drafted into World War II. I didn’t see any action because I was sent to Germany. After I was discharged and in the Army Reserves, I was contacted by the Postal Service about the test I had previously taken, so when I completed my tour of duty I immediately started working for USPS.”
After the Post Office department sold the Terminal Annex, Clemmons began working at the LA P&DC located on Central and Gage. As a Mail Handler, Clemmons spends most of his time facing mail entering machines and repairing mail that gets torn or ripped.
Clemmons is now 86 years old and plans to say farewell to the Postal Service next year. “I don’t have any specific plans, but I do plan to stay active. I have three daughters and eight grandchildren, so I’ll be busy,” he said. “I truly miss my wife who passed away in 2010. We were married for 59 years, but my family will keep me occupied.”
“I will miss the Postal Service because I love to do a job well done. I pride myself in returning parcels and letters to people who are expecting them. I’ve had a great career with great co-workers.”
Clemmons is so well-liked by his co-workers that they recently threw him a party celebrating his 61 years of service. “I talk to everybody all the time and I always try to be positive, so I think that’s why they threw me the party,” Clemmons said. “The only thing I really wanted was my 30-year pin. I have all my other pins, but I never got that one. By the time I reached 30 years, the pin program hadn’t started, I think. So at the party, I was happy to receive my pin from the Postmaster. I cherish it along with my time at the Postal Service.”