Herald JournalHerald Journal, Jan. 13, 2003

Janice Kieser retires from post office after nearly 23 years

By Julie Yurek

Janice Kieser watched local businesses and the City of Winsted grow, all from her window at the Winsted Post Office.

Kieser retired Dec. 27 after working 22 years and eight months at the post office.

"It was a wonderful experience at the post office," Kieser said. "I really enjoyed everyone at the office and all the people that I met through the years working there."

The first item on Kieser's agenda is to spend more time with her grandchildren and put pictures in photo albums, she said.

She is also working on various household chores, such as filing and organizing closets, she said.

"Up until now it's felt like a vacation, with the holidays," she said. "Today (Jan. 6) is the first day it's hit home."

Kieser and her husband, Joe, of Winsted, are now both retired, which means a trip to the south in their RV may be planned for the future, she said. The couple is looking forward to golfing, fishing, and camping.

Kieser worked for four different postmasters in the nearly 23 years she work at the post office.

Her duties were distribution of the mail and window clerk. She also trained new post office employees in on the window and the machines for four years, she said.

She went to classes on how to train workers, she said. The employees would be from post offices around the area.

Kieser was also the officer in charge (OIC) approximately three times.

Being the OIC meant she had to do all the duties that were required of the postmaster, which meant more responsibility and paper work.

Kieser would be the OIC while the postmaster was on a special assignment (and was returning to the office) or if a new postmaster was being hired.

The longest time she was the OIC was five months, she said. The second time was about three months, and the shortest time was about two months.

Kieser saw the growth of Winsted first-hand. When she started at the office in 1980, there were 350 boxes rented out, she said. Now, there are more than 850 boxes rented.

The city's one route has also increased in size, she said, with the many developments that have sprung up.

Kieser is amazed at how many businesses have expanded in size, she said. "When these businesses first started, I never imagined they'd become so large."

Kieser was also able to see the growth of Winsted's youth.

"I watched a lot of kids grow up. I could pick out adults that I had seen as children when they came with their parents," she said.

During Kieser's time at the post office, computers began making a impact at the office.

The first computer systems the office had were not as good as they are now, she said.

"Before computers, everything was manual and the first computers weren't like they are now. Today everything is centralized," she said.

The Winsted Post Office no longer has to do bookkeeping. Everything that is entered into the computer goes to the main office in the Twin Cities and the Winsted office prints a copy for its records, Kieser said.

"Computers tell us so much now. It can tell us the weight of a package, zoning, and the ZIP code of city if we type in the name," she said.

As of right now, Kieser does not plan on getting another job, but that could change she said.

"I may work a few days a week somewhere. I'd like to keep up with computers," she said.

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