By Jeanne Sager
FREMONT CENTER April 13, 2004 Forget the snow, sleet and rain the postman wont be coming through Fremont Center for much longer.
Postmistress Ida Rosenberger was looking forward to her retirement after 31 years of serving the public in her small town.
But two days after she left office, Rosenberger received a letter that tore her heart out.
The letter, dated March 31 (the day of Rosenbergers retirement), stated that the postal service has decided to terminate its lease for the current post office, located in Rosenbergers home on County Route 93.
She was shocked.
They were waiting for me to retire, Rosenberger surmised.
There has been a post office in Fremont Center since the town was founded in 1852.
The office has been in her home for the past 16 years.
Ninety-five townspeople have boxes rented in the office, and another 14 folks receive rural delivery.
Thats a lot of people who are going to be displaced on May 31 people who are totally unaware of the impending post office closure.
According to Rosenberger, letters havent yet been mailed out to patrons warning them of the closure.
The postal system hasnt even informed the officer in charge who has been filling in since Rosenberger retired.
Theres still a help wanted notice for Fremont Center hanging in other local post offices.
Rosenberger doesnt know whats going to happen.
Shes made phone calls to everyone she can think of the district manager of the postal system, her supervisor, even Congressman Maurice Hinchey.
So far, she isnt getting any answers.
And shes worried about the people in her town.
Rosenberger is proud of the work she did in Fremont Center.
At the time of her retirement, she was filled with a number of emotions.
Happiness for a chance to move forward, sadness at leaving something that had been such a large part of my life for so long, and satisfaction that the post office would continue to provide a much-needed service to the people of this area, Rosenberger noted.
Now she doesnt know what will happen to the elderly people of her town who are unsure about driving and feel comfortable making a short trip to the Fremont Center Post Office.
She doesnt know what will happen to the old man who drives his tractor into her driveway every week to pick up his money orders he doesnt have a car, a checking account or even a phone; he depends on the post office being right up the street.
Rosenberger is also concerned about the businesspeople and the Town of Fremont offices they have a post office box right up the street right now.
They will suddenly have to take extra time out of their busy schedules in order to accomplish tasks they are currently able to take care of in a relatively simple manner, Rosenberger said.
Its certainly a focal point for our business, said Town of Fremont Supervisor Jim Greier. We do all our town mailing there, all our tax bills, assessors mail . . .
What exactly does the US Postal Service propose to provide service to these people? Rosenberger asks.
At the root of her worry is the future what this will mean for Fremont Center, a small hamlet where the post office is certainly the center of gossip, the center of life.
Once we lose a Zip code, we lose our identity as a town, as anything, Greier noted.
Look at Mileses, Rosenberger said. The hamlets post office closed several years ago.
Now you cant find Mileses anywhere, she said.
You can look it up in the huge Zip code books in the post office, but you cant find it.
Wed hate to see it close, Greier noted. Were doing everything we can to try to keep it open.
Whatever we can do, it will be a plus.
According to Postal Service spokesperson Tony Musso, no decision has actually been made.
The main concern is the restroom for the post office the bathroom is actually located in Rosenbergers home, not in the office.
We have come up with a contingency if they have to come to it and I stress if because they have not made a decision yet, Musso responded. The 120 post office boxes would be moved up to Obernburg.
Rosenberger is still worried.
She is asking everyone in town to write a letter to their Congressman, to Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and anyone else they think can help.
In the past, other communities have fought against bureaucrats at the postal service who have tried to take away their post office, Rosenberger said.
They have found that it is imperative to inform the public about the planned action and begin a letter-writing and phone campaign to let their representatives at the state and federal level know about the terrible injustice of such actions, she continued.