GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

June 10, 2013

Letter: Rockport Post Office and accessibility

To the editor:

While enjoying long walks with my two dogs, or the happiness of movement, exercise and swimming, I never thought for an instant of being unable to do so anymore.

I often saw people in wheelchairs, or using a walker without giving it another thought. Yet little by little, with age, I was losing control of my body. Soon the sentence came: you are handicapped and will need a wheelchair or scooter.

To give up all the things I loved to do, including driving, was hard to accept. So I chose to drive a scooter. Then I discovered the impact it would have on my life. Reality came when I could not access most buildings and realized how dangerous sidewalks could be to someone driving a scooter along uneven pavement, or the danger of cars backing out of driveways. In time, I became frightened to use the scooter.

At the Rockport Post Office, even using the ramp, I was surprised by how narrow it was. I needed someone to open the door for me. It was impossible to enter the Post Office, either by wheelchair or scooter.

When I asked the postmaster, Mr. Robert Kerrigan, about the possibility of small adjustments, such as electric button access or removing the wooden panel obstructing wheelchair entrance, he seemed annoyed and told me that there was no demand for it in Rockport; that not enough handicapped people had asked for such things.

When I asked about soldiers coming home wounded, he shrugged it off. He then invited me to call ahead when I planned to visit the post office, and he would amiably open a back door to get me in.

I would like to see every door open for all handicapped people. The elderly with walkers, or anyone who needs it, deserves it.

If you live in Rockport, are handicapped, and plan on visiting the post office, please call Mr. Kerrigan Jr., at 978-546-2667 to open the back door for you.

JACQUELINE S. MALLEN

Rockport

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