This clerk had a big—and cramped—job ahead of him, sorting the mail.
“I had to study exams. For each state I, oh I put up examinations so I could sort mail and I knew every post office in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. I even studied Texas sometimes, so yes, I had to study and put up exams, in other words, so I had to learn how, what post office, how you’d reach the mail, you’d reach different places.”
—Ernest Kruis of Altoona, Pennsylvania
Clerks worked runs that could last five or more days. They often left for a run at nightfall, worked all night long and slept only when they were “up” on their mail. So much time away from home sometimes put a strain on clerks’ families who had to adjust to an unusual schedule. Many women relied on other family members to help care for their children while they worked. When the clerks came home, however, they often spent all of their time off with their children. Susan Leidy, daughter of Kenneth Leidy who ran New York to Pittsburgh, remembers that on his off days he was with her and her sister 24 hours a day. When he went away, they always knew he would be back soon.