1930s: Lillian Renard Tells Us What It Was Like Working At The Moss Beach Post Office

[Photo: Lillian Renard at Half Moon Bay Joe’s Restaurant]

A Typical Day working at the Moss Beach Post Office in the 1930s

Story by Lillian Renard

When I graduated from the Half Moon Bay High School in 1931, I was offered a job at the Moss Beach Post Office by R. Guy Smith, the Postmaster.

I was glad to get the job as there weren’t many jobs available in this small town. Picking peas and wiring and bunching strawflowers were a few of them.

The mail arrived by truck at the Post Office n the morning and was sent out in the afternoon. I distributed the mail to the mailboxes, sold stamps and money orders and weighed packages to be mailed. Also sold the daily papers that came on the mail truck.

I soon found that not only did I work in the Post Office but the Postmaster was also a Telephone Company Agent. There was a Telephone Switchboard at one end of the Office. Automated Dialing had not been installed yet on the Coastside. . So besides being a Post Office Clerk I was also a Telephone Operator.

I soon found that I was a Jack of all Trades. There was a branch of the County Library in the side room where books were available to be borrowed. To this very day my niece, Elaine Teixeira gripes that I wouldn’t let her take out certain books.

The Postmaster was also an electrician who did electric wiring so there were electric items and some hardware there to be sold. There was usually an electric refrigerator and or a radio to be sold also. I actually sold a refrigerator once but didn’t get a commission. I guess that wasn’t done at that time. When the radio didn’t sell the Postmaster gave it to me for Christmas and I was glad to get it. That more than made up for the lack of commission.

The Telephone Switchboard was another story. There were local lines and party lines but only 2 Long Distance Lines . One party line had 7 parties on it so when some one was using it too long and another person wanted to use it an argument would start and “Get Off The Line” and more would be heard.

During the World War II years I moved to San Francisco to work at Southern Pacific. When the war ended, my fiance returned from the Pacific area. He had been gone for 4 years, 4 months and 4 days. We were married Dec. 9, 1945.
A little silent video called ” Lunch with Aunt Lil and Elaine M. Teixeira at Joe’s Half Moon Bay. Burt is in it, too. Also, Bev Cunha Ashcraft and her friend were lunching behind us. Coincidentally, Elaine Teixeira and Bev Cunha Ashcraft went to school together in Half Moon Bay.