National Geographic : 2004 Jul
"I never had aswing growing up. Before you die, you should really have afew things you never had growing up." -SUNSHINE BRIGUGLIO Glascock, who cruise around on a BMW motorcycle with a sidecar. Or the all-male Literary Club and Choral Society, where the name Jim Beam can be heard more often at the weekly meetings than that of Hemingway, who seems to be revered more for his drinking prowess than his literary genius. "I love the sense of community here," says Annette Alversa, who moved from Long Island several years ago when her postman husband retired after 35 years. "I used to say, 'I'm never going to live down there with all those old people.' I woke up one day, and I was one of those old people." Unlike Annette, and unlike most women in Nalcrest, Grace Porter did not come here as a spouse. When Porter became a letter carrier in the late 1960s, she was a rarity and is now among the first wave of female retirees. After 27 years of walking up to five miles a day along a Kansas City mail route, Porter moved here in 1999 to put her feet up in a warmer climate. "After I retired, I swore I'd never walk again, says Porter, "but I walk every morning at 5:45." The post office remains a regular stop for Porter and fellow retirees. By the time the tiny storefront opens at 10 a.m., a small group has already gathered in the town center around the bronze statue of Richard Quinn, a president of the 115 year-old union. While they appreciate Bob and Edie Raymond, the couple who work behind the small window four hours each day, no one envies them what surely must be the most thankless job in America-processing mail for hundreds of people who are certain they could do it better. O WEBSITE EXCLUSIVE Find more 33856 images along with field notes and resources at nationalgeographic.com/magazine/0407. Tell us why we should cover YOUR FAVORITE ZIP CODE at nationalgeographic.com/magazine/zipcode/0407. "It's a peaceful place to swing your cares away," says Sunshine Briguglio (above), who enjoys her solitude in a shaded grove. Nancy Sell (below) swims her aches away at a dally aquarobics class at the Nalcrest pool. "Down here everybody accepts everybody else," Briguglilo says. "It's relaxed."