For Jim Weir, the post office really delivered
The United States Post Office has played an important role in Jim Weir's life.
The postal service kept him employed for much of his life, for one thing. Weir spent 35 years working for the government, starting as a substitute carrier and eventually working his way up to management.
But that's not the important part.
The post office also helped Weir find the woman with whom he would spend nearly 60 years. With whom he would raise two children. The love of his life.
Weir grew up on a farm in Windom. He attended country school and Windom High School. He did his chores and kept himself entertained with the kinds of fun and games kids found for fun those days. The highlight of his week was a trip to Joe's Hamburger Stand for a burger and a bottle of pop.
Then one day he met a girl. Margaret was the niece of Weir's pastor and she was in town visiting from Iowa. He was taken with her, and when she returned home he began to write her letters.
"I just liked her," Weir said. "She was my kind of girl."
Weir kept writing, and when the girl returned the next year, they started dating. She didn't move from Iowa, though, so for the first few years their relationship was almost conducted almost entirely by letter. Every few months, he would drive south or she would drive north and they would spend some time together, but it was never enough.
"It wasn't any fun, that's for sure," said Weir, who since 2003 has lived in Farmington's Trinity Terrace senior apartments. "We wrote letters and sometimes called. In those days you didn't make long-distance phone calls."
Somewhere in there, Weir served what he described as the world's shortest military service. He was drafted into the Navy in 1946. He went to boot camp in San Diego, but by the time he was ready to deploy the war was over.
"Japan surrendered when they found out I was ready to go," he said.
Eventually, Weir decided he'd had enough. He bought a ring and proposed. Margaret said yes, and once they were married she finally moved to Minnesota. They were married Aug. 3, 1948. They had two children, a son and a daughter, and they continued to live in Windom until Weir had a chance to take over as assistant postmaster in Worthington.
They moved to Farmington because their children wanted them closer, and with one in Eagan and the other in Faribault Farmington seemed like a good compromise.
A few years ago, Margaret started to get sick. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Eventually, she moved out of the couple's apartment and into the attached nursing home. Weir walked down to visit her -- down a flight of stairs and a few hallways -- several times each day until she died three years ago. They had been married 59 years.
Weir is still in his apartment. He's still active. He goes to church on Sundays and plays Bingo on Mondays. And every morning he gets up early and delivers papers to the apartments in the complex.
Apparently when the post office has such a big part of your life, making deliveries is a hard habit to break.