Bill Saegert has been walking a postal route for 35 years, many of those in the Rosedale neighborhood. When this magazine is published on June 1, he’ll be celebrating retirement, hanging up his mail pouch the same day. Bill delivers to a little over 400 houses and businesses every day and says he knows 90 percent of them on a personal basis. He’s got a quick, dry sense of humor and it’s clear he loves to move around. After 30 minutes with us in a coffee shop, his heel steadily bounced on the floor in anticipation of moving onto his next delivery.
I grew up on a farm in Giddings. Dad raised seven boys — I’m the seventh son — and one girl. Four of my brothers have also been mail carriers.
Then and Now
When I started, I had curly blonde hair; now it’s gray. It cost 22 cents in 1981 to mail a letter, now it’s 49.
Best part of the job?
My favorite part of being a postman is being outside.
Strangest things delivered?
Some people have mailed coconuts from Hawaii. They put a label on it — a quirky postcard. You can tell when coffee is being delivered, but not much else. I’ve delivered chickens. They were sitting next to me crowing while I was doing our route.
The walking route has worked for me. I never have to go to the gym. Someone said to me [on his retirement], “What gym will you be joining?”
Extra stamps not required for friendships
A lot of people on my route have my cell phone number. You become part of their family. I’ve had a guy invite me to go to Alaska with him. I borrowed a barbecue pit from someone on my route for a church fundraiser. They’ve sent graduation gifts to my kids. It’s pretty neat when someone thinks so much of you they want to send a gift to your kids.
Do dogs really have an affinity for postmen?
No, they’ll go after the UPS driver or the meter reader, too.
Favorite route memory
Upper Crust Bakery. You are part of the culture. They have this table where people meet and I get involved in their conversations. It used to be a bicycle shop.
About his sixth sense
When you deliver the mail as many times a year as I do, you know when everyone’s birthday is. You wish them happy birthday and they say, “How did you know?” Well, you got three birthday cards in the mail today.
Do you know your mailman?
Yes, I know my mailman. No comment.
And after you retire?
I have already had so many people on my route say, “Let’s go golfing, let’s go motorcycle riding!”
My wife told me when I retire I have to find another job. I told her, ‘Okay, I’ll go ahead and be a comedian.’ She said, ‘Okay, you’re funny all right, but not that funny.’”
There’s one lady on my route, she’s 93 this year. I remember when I started this route, she had just retired. She was so sad. She said, ‘I’m going to miss you coming by my house every day.’ I said, ‘Don’t tell my wife.’”
I’ve had four people already who say they want to have parties or take me out to dinner. I’m going to deliver everyone a letter on my final day. It’s pretty emotional.
I’m a very lucky postman.