La Jolla Mailman – Jack MacPherson Postal Worker

Jack was a mailman in La Jolla for 17 years.

Jack was a mailman in La Jolla for 17 years.

Born and raised in La Jolla and with a great personality, it seemed logical he would become a mailman.  Everyone on Jack’s La Jolla mail route knew him.

He used to love Christmas – his tips weren’t a few bucks or coins, but  6-packs and/or cases of beer.  Many would asked him in for a beer or invite him to their Christmas parties. He was well-liked and knew everyone by their first and last name, their kids and even the dogs’ name. He was always talking to everyone and sharing stories.


  1. Jamie Nay says:

    Mr. Excitement

    Mac was an exciting guy. And wherever he lived, the excitement would follow suit. Some of the buzz was caused by the animals that followed him…literally. Mac liked ribs. When he was through eating, he either took the ribs to the dogs on his route. Or he’d just throw him behind whatever house he was living in…”For the critters”. On Agate Street, I told him it was a drag to throw garbage out in the alley…sure to draw ants and rats. Didn’t deter him. One night, Greg McElhanney’s dog, Brown Dog, came tearing through the apartment complex. Followed by Greg. “Some idiot keeps throwing rib bones out in the alley. “…RIP Mac…throwing the rib bones to the critters everywhere…

  2. Booperama says:

    Well…this year is a Presidential election and Republican candidate Mitt Romney has a home at Windansea.

    This is not the first time a Presidential candidate called La Jolla home. In 1964, Barry Goldwater was in residence. The election was Lyndon Johnson vs. Barry Goldwater. And Jack was dating his daughter, Peggy.

    I asked Jack what he thought about Barry Goldwater. “What a bitchen guy. He always called me Jackson and always offered me a beer.”

    From the horse’s mouth…

  3. Hutch. Letter carrier Route 5…Play del Sur, Gravillas…knew more about rock and roll than Jack…from Boston…worshipped Mac…Viet Nam Vet 82nd Airborne. Harold Hutchinson from Boston. Belated RIP…1947-2007. Died 6 weeks after Mac. Mac loved his Boston accent…esp when he would talk about the “achies…sugar sugar”. Postal Blues…

  4. Dan Dameron says:

    A very similar panic went thru my system on a faraway Sunday in Christchurch, New Zealand. They don’t have legal beer sales on Sunday. Fortunately I had been hooking with some Aussies on Saturday. They found me forlorn on the street in front of the Warner’s Hotel and we went from one tavern back door to another until we eventually found another drunk who sold us all the beer we needed for double the regular price. It was worth every cent. With Aussies leading the way the consumption pace is Jack Worthy.

  5. Turtle…Good one. I saw the same look on Jack’s face when we hit New mexico on a Sunday morning in 1988…no beer sales on Sunday.

  6. When Mac hid our easter eggs on Sunday morning at The West End, we would have to find our personalized egg BEFORE we could enjoy a libation..I saw alot of people with frantic looks those easter mornings

  7. Eggs…

    Jack ate a lot of eggs. People used to wonder how he stayed so healthy, considering the amount of beer he drank…but he ate a couple of hard boiled eggs every day, threw in some chicken hearts and cottage cheese…topped off with Tabasco Sauce and red hot chili flakes…maybe some Spam and buttermilk for a snack. He cooked a lot of eggs over the years…and his bathroom had a definite beer and egg aroma. One of his ex-girlfriends once remarked, “How can that terrible stench come out of those cute little buns?”. And he did have cute little buns…even to the end, his backside rivaled any jockey at Del Mar.

    1. Track bike. To say Jack bicycled is an understatement. I once asked him when he started bicycling, he replied “I never stopped,”. His photo album showed photos of Jack winning races at age 11. Bill Uncapher asked him to lead the La Jolla 1/2 Marathon…which he did for many years. He competed in the Tecate Ensenada Race until 1986, when he fell off his bike going 65 MPH. He never mentioned it, but that was the last race.

    His bike collection included a black Masi (his pride and joy), a track bike, several balloon tires, a unicycle and a mini bike, designed for the circus. Bob Chestnut painted several of his bikes. Bob worked at La Jolla Auto Body and was the best in the business. Bob also kept the Porsche for a year at his place in Jamul…he took the whole thing apart. Repaired the rust damage and then applied 20 coats of gorgeous, cherry red paint. What a beautiful job.

    1980s. Jack was on his track bike in Pt. Loma and bought a flat of eggs. Track bikes are used for racing and have no brakes. He and Claire Teyssier used to race at Balboa Park. Did he love Claire…one of his best memories was being able to ride with the young, beautiful bicycle champion.

    Anyways…he bought a flat of eggs, forgetting he had no brakes. And that’s how he rode…all the way to La Jolla – Flat of eggs balanced on one hand, one hand on the bike…arriving casuality free – Jack, the bike and the eggs.

    Easter Eggs. Jack loved to dye Easter Eggs. A week before Easter, he’d buy hundreds of eggs and start the process. In his later years, he’d make an egg for all his bar customers…write their names in his distinctive scrawl. He’d throw in a few salty words that probably wouldn’t be used for the younger set.

    One year, I was a nanny to a La Jolla angel. He used to call her ‘Little Squeak’. He made the Angel a dyed quail egg and wrote ‘Little Squeak’ on it. Mine said ‘Big Squeak’, as he said my voice tended to grate…

    July 1988. Jack dyed Easter Eggs all year long. Not just in the Spring. He was still in the Post Office. One morning, he was in the break room, eating 2 green, hard boiled eggs. A young, female carrier (Big Red Prather’s niece, actually) came in and winced. “Are those Easter eggs? It’s July!”

    To say Jack loved practical jokes, is putting it mildly. He lived for moments such as this…he had his next victim.

    “Yeah…”. “You shouldn’t be eating Easter Eggs in July! You could get sick!!!”. “Well…I just found this under the couch. I thought it tasted a little dusty,”. He didn’t bother to tell her that the EE had been made a few days prior….

    Fat Cats. There is an classic, old bar in Long Beach, called Joe Jost’s. The bar is known for their old fashioned tavern ambience…old pool chairs and tables. If you’re ever up in L.A., stop by. They are also known for their pickled eggs.

    1970s. Jack and some of his friends (I think Searat, Hammer) used to bicycle to Long Beach to ear pickled eggs at Joe Jost’s. FROM LA JOLLA.

    The midpoint was Newport Beach, where John Sarrett’s stepfather, San Diego Congressman Bob Wilson, lived. They’d stop by Bob and Shirley Wilson’s place and mix it up with the fatcats, who had stopped by to chew the political fat of the 1970s. The La Jolla boys had beer…the fatcats had martinis.

    The Wilsons were also responsible for including Jack at the christening and launching ceremony of the submarine, USS La Jolla, on August 11, 1979. He always kept a memorable plaque of this special day on his dresser.

    Anyways, after a few beers with the fatcats, it was time to push north…to Long Beach, to Joe Jost’s, for a couple of cold ones and of course, the pickled eggs.

    How to get home? Hop on AMTRAK…stash the bikes…and head to the club car.

    All in a day’s play…….

  8. Mac Meda Christmas Stories…

    Pearl Harbor Christmas. Jill woke up first. Sunday morning. Early December. Hawaii 1941. She was reading the funny papers when the noise began. Dr. Macpherson went out to the front yard, expecting to see the scheduled dynamiting of the Naval Hospital. Instead, he saw something else.

    “My God, it’s here!!!”.

    Japanese planes overhead. Planes so close you could see the pilot’s faces. The rumored bombing was there.

    The family found refuge in a nearby gardening shed. Shrapnel hit Jill’s ear. Jack was so young, he had to be carried.

    A car was rounded up. Jack, Jill and Mrs. Macpherson drove to Honolulu with another Naval family. “Here’s your Christmas present, in case I never see you again,” Dr. Mac said and tossed a small box at her, containing a diamond ring.

    Dr. Macpherson then went to the hospital and operated for 3 days and 3 nights straight. He was later recognized for his work on burn patients. Bodies were piled up behind the hospital.

    The ride to Honolulu was complete pandemonium. Jack remembers a ball rolling down the sidewalk and exploding, causing 3 cars to ignite in flames.

    They survived. A few weeks later, sailors rounded up a Christmas tree that had come through the attack. Even in wartime Hawaii, Christmas went on…

    Jack never returned to Hawwaii. He never was part of La Jolla’s Mead Hall – a group that included friends Pat Curren, Allan Nelson and Billy Graham. Before the bombing, Dr. Macpherson had been asked to join a Honolulu practice. After Pearl Harbor, it was ‘California, here I come…Right back where I started from,”. Hawaii was a death wish. Aloha over and out.

    La Jolla years. When he was a kid, they would sing Christmas carols with their neighbors, the McNairs, who lived on Monte Vista. Apparently, the McNairs had a real old-fashioned tree, complete with lighted candles. In Jack’s words, “We would stand around the tree with fire extinguishers,” in case the tree went up.

    Christmas day was spent with the Macpherson, McColl and Wallace clans – a tradition Jack’s grandfather started in the 1890s, in Akron, New York. The families have continued this tradition here in California, which puts it at 100 years plus.
    At one reunion in the late 70s, he noticed the McColl cousins were hitting the 6’4″ mark (his family was 5’6″ range) and had to ask, “What did you guys eat?”.

    One Christmas in 1954, his mom heard their mailbox clink. She went out to check it out. All she saw was a ‘guy with a hair cap’ walking away…he had left a Christmas card…sans stamp…in the mailbox. It was Ronald Patterson…long hair and all…delivering Christmas cards in person.

    Christmas Post Office.

    Jack had a zany sense of humor. Maybe it was being raised in a medical family (his mom once remarked, “We’re a family of ghouls” and his parents idea of a hot date was to do an autopsy together)…but Jack liked to decorate his Christmas trees in unusual ways…there was the year he did it in Nazi ornaments. The year he and his friends did a tree in Lucky Lager bottles and hung it from the ceiling. The year he sawed off all the limbs, except for the top branch and the bottom branch…and the year he did a tree in medical supply equipment, sprayed red, to simulate blood. Even West End bartender, Rob Roberts, used to call him “a sick puppy” or “a teenager with old skin”.

    One postal customer gave him a fruitcake as a Christmas tip. He was pretty disgusted. “Fruitcake for Mac?”. I think the fruitcake ended up as a doorstop for the men’s locker room.

    Right before I met Mac, I was talking to a fellow carrier saying how much time it took to deliver mail in La Jolla. No one was ever home…you had to write pink slips for the packages, etc. etc. And the guy looked at me and said, “Oh you do all that?”. And I said yes…it was the law. And the guy laughed and said “I deliver packages the Jack Macpherson way…I aim for the front door and hope it hits the porch,”. Oh.

    I guess Pell Mel and Jack used to deliver Christmas packages this way…they would set the vehicle in neutral and let it drive by itself and work out of the back…tossing packages to the Bon Air and Gravilla front doors…Merry Christmas Mac Meda style.

    Vista de la Playa Christmas.

  9. This GREAT photo of Mac was taken in 1978, when he was still young, gorgeous and medalicious. It was part of a La Jolla Locals calendar for 1979. Mac was July. The calendar was put together by Clara Jo Brown and another lady (name??).

    Mac’s postal years: April 1, 1956-January 31, 1991. He was on Route 6 for 30 years. He really resisted changed. He once said, “I’ve seen them from the womb to the tomb,”.

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