Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 3, 2019
Longtime Penobscot mail carrier retires
Marie Leclerc stands next to the jeep she delivered the mail from to the people of Penobscot for just about two decades. Leclerc retired on Christmas Eve, December 24.
by Monique Labbe
When Marie Leclerc of Penobscot woke up on December 26, it was the first time in 19 years she did not have to climb into her United States Post Office jeep and deliver the mail to the people of Penobscot.
“I got to sleep in until 7:30 a.m.; I didn’t have to rush out the door; it was great,” said Leclerc while sitting at her dining room table in her home on Front Ridge Road.
Leclerc started delivering the mail in Penobscot part-time in 1999, and in 2010 became a full-time employee and the sole delivery person in town. She was responsible for making sure each and every package, envelope and other piece of mail made it to the correct mailbox on a daily basis. While carrying and delivering the mail was the primary part of her job description, there were other, equally important facets to the job Leclerc said many people never knew about.
“We’re sort of the eyes and ears of the community,” said Leclerc. “There was an older woman once who didn’t come pick up her mail for a couple days, so I went over and checked on her and made sure she was all right. That’s something we do often as mail carriers.”
Leclerc performed her share of unofficial well-being checks over the year, but she said the people in the community returned the favor to her on days when the weather made delivering the mail difficult or slow going.
“If I was a little late with the mail, people would some times come out looking for me to make sure I was OK,” said Leclerc. “That happened on a few occasions.”
Seeing the people of Penobscot on a daily basis is the thing Leclerc said she will miss the most as she begins the next chapter of her life. Her route, and the people she delivered mail to, were “the best in the state of Maine,” she said.
“Some times they would leave little chocolates in the mailbox, or if they had just made some muffins they would tell me to come get one. They were just so thoughtful, such wonderful people,” she said.
Leclerc’s husband Roland, who owns Peninsula Electric and AC, is also starting to transition into retirement, and the couple has exciting plans to travel the world in 2019.
“We’re going to Florida next week, and in April we are taking a nine-day trip to Italy,” said Leclerc. “It’s been one of our dream trips for a long time. We aren’t wealthy, but we have saved so hard to be able to go have some fun.”
The couple also plans to take a cross-country trip via camper this summer, ending in Alaska.
In addition to the travel plans, Leclerc said she is also enjoying the simpler parts of her retirement.
“I can stay up past 9 p.m. to watch TV, I can go have lunch with my husband, which is something we never really got to do. I miss the people, but that has been really nice.”
Leclerc’s last day on the job was December 24.