This 90-year-old postal worker has wise words on how to live a good, long life
Dwight Eisenhower was president. Rosa Parks had refused to give up a seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus. The Brooklyn Dodgers won their first (and only) World Series. And Chuck Berry released his first-ever single, "," for Chess Records.
Leroy Brown was just about to start his career with the United States Postal Service. His first day: Dec. 31, 1955.
He's still going strong, working in the Los Angeles International Service Center, a USPS processing center. The 90-year-old is in his 70th year of service to the federal government, including a two-year stint in the U.S. Army.
"I was lucky," said Brown during an interview with ÎÛÓ£ÌÒÊÓÆµ. "I went into the Army after Korea and before Vietnam. I was conscripted by the Army, but I had the luxury of serving mostly on an air base."
After his time in the Army, the Louisiana native came back to Los Angeles, where he attended trade school, and found jobs were scarce. The U.S. Postal Service was hiring, though. He applied, got hired and never left.
Brown started as a clerk and has worked in sorting, special delivery and other capacities throughout his career. He's popular with his co-workers, who call him "Pops" or "Dad" or "Grandpa." During the interview with ÎÛÓ£ÌÒÊÓÆµ, his phone pinged from time to time, calls from co-workers about and the upcoming holiday season.
"I'm not very good at texting," Brown said, apologizing for the interruptions. His co-workers come to him for advice, talk to him about their lives and careers. His job allows him to get to know people of different ages, from different backgrounds, with their own individual character traits and problems: "They give me good insight."
'Moving around like Superman'; 'lifting things like the Hulk'
Brown's not exactly taking it easy on the job, either, said his co-worker Roshonda Gabouret. She finds motivation in watching Brown "moving around like Superman and lifting things like the Incredible Hulk."
"He has that natural energy that would brighten anyoneâ€™s day," Gabouret said. "I am so glad I met this amazing person in my life journey."
Asked about the media attention, Brown said he's received calls from people far and wide, including now-retired former colleagues and others he's befriended over the years.
"It's nice to get the respect from everybody," he said. "I'm the senior person around here, you know."
"Mr. Brown has been so humble," said Natashi Garvins, who's with the USPS' Los Angeles media relations department. "I think it's a way of paying respect to his tenacity and ability to do this for as long as he has."
Wise words on how to live a good, long life
The father of two daughters (one lives in Georgia, the other in Texas) and one son who lives nearby, Brown still drives, though he's not a fan of Los Angeles' notorious freeway traffic. He loves watching sports on TV in his spare time, and he is a fan of the Dodgers ("They let me down two years in a row," he said), as well as the Rams and Chiefs, thanks to his sister, who lives in Kansas City.
Brown credits taking care of himself, eating healthy and staying active âˆ’ and employed full time âˆ’ for his continued vitality. Asked what advice he gives others, he kept it simple: "Take care of your body, be careful what you put into it. Don't try to be your own doctor, listen to your doctor. Live a good life and treat everyone like you want to be treated."
Retirement doesn't seem to be in the nonagenarian's plans. He's healthy, he's active, he loves being around other people and, well, he's not really sure what he'd do anyway.
"I don't want to turn into a couch potato," Brown said. "I don't just want to sit around in one place."
Contact Phaedra Trethan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X (formerly Twitter) @wordsbyphaedra.