Good-natured banter fills the sorting room of the Barnum Post Office each morning as the three rural mail carriers and the manager sort the mail and get it ready to deliver.
The mail carriers, Tracy Matuseski, Karla Hofford and Holly Gamst, know each other very well. They grew up together as siblings in the same house.
Sarah Sedlander is the manager of the post office and helps the trio get on with their day.
“I look forward to coming to work every day,” said Gamst. “It’s not everyone that gets to work with family every day.”
But Gamst knows what it is like to work with family from previous experience.
“Karla (Hofford) and I worked at Gamper’s for 20 years,” she said. “But it was different to work with in-laws (Greg and Vicki Gamst owned Gamper’s at the time). I guess we’re pretty lucky.”
Hofford is a veteran of delivering mail in Barnum. Matuseski just came to Barnum in March. All three still live in Moose Lake, where they grew up. Their parents were David and Helen Matuseski. Helen still lives in that community.
There were nine children in the family. Matuseski is the oldest, Hofford is the next oldest and Gamst is the youngest of the mail carriers.
“One sister lives in Japan, two sisters live in Forest Lake and the rest live around here,” Matuseski explained.
“I started part-time in Moose Lake as a substitute mail carrier,” said Hofford. “I came here in 1999 as a full-time mail carrier.”
Matuseski said he started as a substitute mail carrier in 1984 and took over a full-time route in 1991. He delivered mail in Moose Lake all of those years.
“I worked under quite a few postmasters,” he said. “I am thinking about retiring in a couple of years.”
There are three routes in Barnum. Hofford has Route 1, the Blackhoof-Sandy Lake area; Matuseski has Route 2 to the Mahtowa area; and Gamst has Route 3, an auxiliary route in and near Barnum.
Source: Moose Lake Star Gazette