David used to run the post office in the village before it closed recently due to the Royal Mail’s cutbacks. When we first moved here in 1991 he ran it with the help of his wife Ann and Ann’s parents. Ann’s mother Caroline and her husband John would serve sweets and stationery on one side of the post office, and David would deal with all post office matters behind a security desk on the other side. When their two children were in school, Ann would help her husband. All six of them lived ‘over the shop’ so to speak in the same house, where their front room had been turned into the shop floor.
Villagers would enjoy the relaxed atmosphere inside the post office and often stand chatting for quite a while. We would often invite David and Ann’s eldest daughter Lisa over to our house to play with our boys. Lisa would also attend any birthday parties I arranged for our sons.
Soon after having her third child, Ann, then about 35, began to lose weight. When I used to go into the post office she was no longer there and I assumed she was in the house with the toddler. However, it was Dot who informed me that Ann was suffering with stomach cancer and that nothing could be done for her. At the age of only 36 Ann died leaving a devastated David to bring up 3 children. Caroline and John were also heartbroken, as Ann had been their only child. However, they rallied round and still worked in the shop and helped to look after the children.
Fast forward another 15 years or so. David never remarried and still ran the post office with the help of his in-laws who were now elderly and becoming infirm. Lisa was about 20 years old and driving herself about and enjoying life.
One morning as I went out for a walk I saw that the main road into the village was closed. I asked my neighbour what was going on, as he always seemed to know everything that was happening in the village. He told me that Lisa’s car had crashed into a tree, killing her on impact. Poor David and his in-laws now had to cope with a second death in the family. A few years after this Caroline and then John became sick and died.
Nowadays David runs a different post office a few miles away. His son married and left home, and now it’s just David and his youngest daughter who live in the old post office. He smiles and waves every time he sees me, but I can’t help feeling sorry for him. He’s a lovely bloke. I just hope that his remaining son and daughter eventually produce a clutch of grandchildren for him to fuss over and love.