For six and a half hours most days, Lynette Dion has walked, beginning on South Street near the state crime lab, making her way from Saint Rose Street into the neighborhoods north of the Forest Hills rail station.
There are 37 postal routes in Jamaica Plain. This one has belonged to Dion for the last 26 years.
“Sometimes, you’re put somewhere for a reason,” Dion said recently.
On Friday, she walked the route for the last time, delivering mail and saying goodbyes to a most unusual workplace.
A park ranger who was recently stabbed in Boston Common stopped to chat about his surgery, and when Dion broke the news, he said the neighborhood “wouldn’t be the same” without her. A Hampstead Lane family described her as their “second mother.” Countless dogs greeted her breathlessly, and she gave them treats, as she had for years.
Navigating mounds of snow nearly as tall as her 5-foot frame, Dion recalled the day she was walking along South Street and saw her own car, a Honda sedan, being stolen. The thief drove it right by her.
On Hampstead Road, a lonely woman in her 80s had long greeted her every day with a small Ziploc bag of Cheez-Its. One day the woman didn’t come out and Dion alerted neighbors who had a key to her home. She was found dead.
Dion even adopted a family of stray cats living in a parking lot, naming them Archie, Bailey, Kitty Carlisle, and Timothy and after feeding them for months, brought them to her Stoughton home.
Falling snow melted on her gray hair as Dion, 61, steered her three-wheeled cart through the streets Friday. The mail always gets delivered. Well, almost always, unless a driving ban or a blizzard takes hold.
Though she did not wear a pedometer and would not venture a guess, Dion has probably taken millions of steps in this corner of the city. She said she will return for visits, and possibly part-time work as a dog walker.
“This is my second home,” she said.
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