After 25 years, Ella Johnson has hung up her mailbag.
Back in 1987, she started working at the Tidioute Post Office as a clerk/carrier. She transferred to Warren Post Office in 1993 and became clerk there in 1998.
Another transfer to Pittsfield in 2002 landed her a postmaster job. Things came full circle when she returned to Tidioute in 2006 to become postmaster there.
On July 31, Johnson retired. The office will be in the hands of Bonnie Mickelson, who will serve as officer in charge.
A number of different aspects appealed to Johnson about the job. One was the ability to work her way up the ranks.
"A lot of companies are like that, but the Postal Service encourages it," Johnson said.
Also, she enjoyed working with the public. Whether working the window or making deliveries, Johnson was always meeting people.
To break into the business, Johnson had to take a civil service test. One of her friends already worked for the Postal Service and encouraged her to do so as well.
It wasn't easy, Johnson said, as it took her seven years before she was hired. For anyone else who wants a similar job, she suggests they just keep trying.
"You have to make the call," Johnson said. "They're not going to call you."
That emphasis on self-reliance continues during employment. If you want to work in other places, Johnson said, you have to promote yourself.
While working in smaller offices, Johnson got the opportunity to learn about the entire operation. Sometimes she would work the window, help carry mail or dispatch carriers.
"In a bigger office, if you work the window then you work the window," Johnson said. "If you carry mail, you carry mail."
Although not allowed to talk about plans by the Postal Service to close rural offices, Johnson did say they won't be closing any smaller offices. Also, she foresees a lot of changes coming up and she's sad she's going to miss them.