Beloved mail carrier retires, celebrated with proclamation

| June 27, 2019 | 1 Comment
CARL MITCHELL has delivered letters and packages to the neighborhood with a smile for 39 years.

July 3, 2019, the day neighborhood mail carrier Carl Mitchell goes on retirement, will be the end of an era in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the Larchmont Chronicle.

The mail carrier has been delivering cheer and goodwill along with the mail to residents and businesses around Larchmont since 1980.

1975: Year of distinction

It all began in 1975, a year of distinction: the Helsinki Accords were signed in Finland and Charlie Chaplin was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, but it was also the year the George C. Page Museum opened, Dorothy Chandler was named a “Woman of Larchmont” and Wilshire Chamber of Commerce declared (then named) Larchmont Chronicle publishers Dawne Goodwin and Jane Gilman “Citizen of the Year.” Most important of all — for this story at least — it was the year that Carl Mitchell applied for a job at the U.S. Post Office (USPS).

He was hired as a part-time temporary employee for the holiday season sorting Christmas mail. The “powers that be” liked him enough to bring him back the next summer, and then again for the next holiday season. By then, of course, they wanted Mitchell around full time, officially hiring him as a regular employee on July 7, 1977.

It took a few years for him to arrive on Larchmont, but by 1980, Carl Mitchell was fully ensconced in our “neck of the woods.”

He said he was one of the substitutes for the route for the prior mail carrier, Scotty. And when Scotty retired, Mitchell stepped in. He loved the neighborhood and the community.

“Nobody else wanted the route because there was too much to carry,” remembers Mitchell.

Connection

I asked him what he liked about his route in Larchmont. His immediate reply was, “It’s the connection I have here — this,” he waved his hand between the two of us as I followed him around.

For years I have had Mitchell as a mail carrier both at home and at work, so I knew what he was referring to, such as the times when he’d tell me, “You have a letter from your mother in there,” or “I think that check you were waiting for finally came in.”

As I shadowed him around the building at 606 N. Larchmont Blvd. (home of the Chronicle office) one afternoon, in every office, faces lit up as soon as Mitchell came through the door. More than one claimed that they always got the best packages and mail when Mitchell delivered his post.

Bob Merlis, whose business “Merlis for Hire” has been in this same building for years, also has had the pleasure of Mitchell delivering his mail both at home and at work.

“Carl’s fantastic!” said Merlis. “He’s so friendly and engaged and he really cares about the people on his route. He makes Larchmont feel like a small town.”

Milestones

Since 1980, even as the volume of mail has decreased and Mitchell’s route has changed, he has made his mark on the neighborhood. Some of the milestones in his service include playing Cupid to Kevin Perry of Yousen Plumbing and Catherine Gall, bookkeeper at Maidenberg CPA in 2012. As reported in the Larchmont Chronicle (January 2015), two years after Mitchell introduced the couple to each other, they were married; Mitchell and his daughter Siedah attended the wedding.

In 2016, Mitchell was inducted into the National Million Mile club for driving one million accident-free miles for the USPS, says Evelina Ramirez from the USPS Corporate Communications office. “He is the ‘go-to guy’ in his station,” says Ramirez, and he is known for his encouragement to co-workers and excellent customer service.

That same year, an article in the “LA Weekly” by Christina McDowell (formerly of Larchmont) told the story of how Mitchell, born and raised on the Central Avenue corridor, a historical landmark for jazz, grew up watching his father, Big Carl, a bartender who also owned the local barbershop. Mitchell’s father was known for knowing and being friendly with everyone, and that spirit of interaction obviously transferred itself to Carl Jr.

That spirit was honored in June by a proclamation from the City of Los Angeles and Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office (the district where Mitchell resides) in recognition of his service to the community.

Going forward

Retirement plans for Mitchell include the quintessential “honey do” list of home improvements, but he’s also keeping his options open.

Because of McDowell’s article, he was recently contacted by pocket.watch, the company that produces “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate,” a show that airs on Nickelodeon, for a preliminary screening as part of the casting process for the show.

But Mitchell also plans to schedule downtime into his retirement, so he can enjoy time with friends and family.

Carl Mitchell has watched whole families grow up on his route. Some of them, like the Arquettes, are famous, and others just regular folk. He’s watched some of us grow from young to not so young, and from old to older. He’s contributed to the small-town friendly feel of Larchmont over the past 39 years, and he will be greatly missed.

BELOVED mail carrier will be greatly missed.

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Category: People

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  1. Yvonne Cazier says:

    We also had a wonderful mailman on McCadden Pl. years ago who was like Carl. He really cared about the delivery of one’s mail.
    Unfortunately, he is now replaced by a hurried fellow at times and a very nice one, Jose , on regular days and a woman who shoves everything into the mail slot and thus on the floor! Oh! Well!

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