As the days in our current office location dwindle down, The Weekly Newspapers decided to pay tribute to our favorite mailman, “Columbus John” Schaefer from where else but (you, you guessed it) Ohio!
While working a desk job with the U.S. Postal Service, John caught site of a colorful flyer hanging in the break room that enticed him to “Work in Paradise.” After making the move to Lake Worth for a new position, he decided that mainland Florida was not quite the paradise he’d envisioned. He returned to Ohio only briefly before loading his belongings in his truck and making an exploratory trip to the Florida Keys.
“Six years ago, I drove down for a short trip just to see if I might want to transfer down here,” he remembered. “My mind was made up by the time I got to Islamorada.”
Born in Zanesville, Ohio – also the birthplace of famed adventure novelist Zane Grey – John is one half of a set of twins as well as brother to eight other siblings. For the most part a good kid, he remembers running through the local creek with this brothers and showing up for dinner wet and covered in mud.
“I enjoyed getting into just about anything I could, and of course, that really annoyed my mother,” he laughed.
Coming home after the street lights turned on was probably one of the worst things he ever did as a kid, though he admits that frequent wrestling matches with his twin brother often escalated beyond playful scrapping.
He remembered one incident in elementary school when an opposing classmate threw a punch at his twin. Not so much as to defend him but rather his territory, John remembered going after the other kid and saying, “Hey, I’m the only one who gets to hit him!”
As a teenager at Zanesville High, John was active in the theatre and played saxophone in his high school band.
“I was in to pretty much anything besides studying,” he chuckled.
His first leap into the world of employment was what he called a “pepperoni quality control tester” at Domino’s Pizza.
John graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Physics. He accepted a position with the post office to support his family while he and his wife both completed graduate courses. His life took a different path and instead of becoming a Physics teacher, John continued through the ranks of government employment.
Like many in the Keys, John works multiple jobs to make ends meet and stay out of trouble.
When he’s not delivering mail, smiles and laugh or two to customers along his route, John also works at Sombrero Country Club in multiple capacities. Added to that list is his job as “trash can taker-outer” for nearly a dozen rental units on Key Colony Beach.
Though his spare time is pretty limited, John said he recently got involved with the Marathon Community Theatre to overcome a long fear of public speaking.
“I was involved with the theatre in high school, but that fear really took root when I was in grad school,” he admitted.
Before taking an afternoon dip on his day off at Chappy’s ocean side pool, John enjoys a Fried Dolphin Sandwich with a side of French Fries at Sparky’s Landing. He and his girlfriend, Kathryn Rummery, are the proud parents of a white golden doodle named Shadow who was rescued from an area puppy mill last year as well as a newly adopted kitty.
He admitted that after treating his mother to a trip to the Utah mountains for her 89th birthday, the next chapter in his life may involve mountains, but for now, he’s perfectly happy at home in paradise.
Hey John, our readers want to know…
Q: What’s the best part of being a ‘local’?
A: Friends with boats; water, water everywhere and lots of beer to drink.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
A: Delivering mail to The Weekly, of course!
Just before he heads to Chicago for his stepdaughter’s wedding, Columbus John delivers his last bundle of mail to The Weekly Newspapers headquarters.
“Columbus John” Schaefer’s daily visits are without a doubt one of the highlights of working at The Weekly Newspapers.
This guy’s a Buckeye’s fan through and through… check out his phone!
Local U-Haul dealer Gary Cooper eagerly awaits John’s delivery each day.