Guidry retires after 46 years of service
By Howell Dennis
MORSE – If anyone wants an idea how long Chester Guidry served as Morse’s postmaster, consider this:
“I was here before they had zip codes,” he smiled. “Also, our phone number was 619 back then.”
That’s right. Just three digits.
This past January, Guidry retired after serving as postmaster in Morse for 46 years. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t miss his job.
“There’s a part of me that hated retiring,” he said. “I had such wonderful people working for me that the job itself was pretty easy.”
Guidry grew up working on a rice farm. One day, after a very hard day at work, he arrived home covered in mud and sweat. At his house that day was former postmaster C.M. Hunt who gave him some good news.
“He looked at how dirty I was and told me to get ready for a vacation,” Guidry laughed.
These days the postmaster position is earned by promotion. In Guidry’s day, it was an appointed position.
He was recommended for the position by former Acadia Parish Sheriff Elton Arceneaux to Ville Platte congressman T.A. Thompson. Thompson subsequently recommended him to Senators Russell Long and Allen Ellender. He was appointed postmaster by President John F. Kennedy and Postmaster General John Edward Day on April 2, 1963.
Before he was officially designated postmaster, Guidry had served as interim postmaster since June 30, 1961. A few days after gaining that position he had an important date to attend.
“I got married on July 4, 1961,” he said. “That was the only day I was scheduled off was the Fourth of July holiday.”
Guidry and his wife, Juanita, raised three children Scott, Cheryl, and Kurt. Guidry is especially proud of the fact that all three went on to be college graduates.
After 46 years, Guidry obviously has seen plenty of change during his tenure.
“Oh yeah, there were no computers back then,” he said. “That’s a wild concept to people these days.”
It seems the idea of retirement is still something that Guidry is trying to get used to.
“It feels like I’ve always been married to the post office,” he said. “I guess the strong feelings I have for it come from my love for people of Morse.”
As for the present, Guidry’s plans are fairly simple.
“I’ve never had a honeymoon or a real vacation,” he said. “I plan on doing some traveling.”
Does anyone deserve it more?