Rural post office in limbo due to USPS problems

CANYON, Calif.

Beyond the suburb of Orinda, through the redwoods to a place the urban world does not penetrate, is community identified mostly by its post office -- the one known for hardly ever having a line.

Postmaster Elena Tyrrell says she never gets lonely, in fact 'lonely' should be the last word to describe Tyrrell. Post Office 94516 in Canyon serves about 194 residents. In a community with no door to door deliveries, everybody picks up their mail there.

Tyrrell knows all the names, the addresses, the quirks and the family histories.

What she doesn't know is how budget cutbacks by the postal service will affect her.

One possibility is that the postal service may cut back hours and replace Tyrrell with a part time person. That doesn't please her or the locals.

"I love seeing my neighbors every day; I love delivering the mail to them," Tyrrell said.

Three generations ago, Tyrrell's grandparents ran the general store and post office in the very same spot, passing down a standard of service that has outlasted its time. To the people of Canyon, 94516 isn't just a building, 94516 is the person.

"She's a friend and neighbor; everyone relies on her," Canyon resident Jennie Bloomfield said.

There's not as much mail as there used to be, but enough to keep her busy. So if you want to mail something, she'll take care of it. For now, at least.

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