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"Seemed like kind of a one-gust storm," Bob Hunley offers. Cassy keeps a jar of red licorice sticks on the post office counter (5 cents apiece), right next to a jar for residents to leave their contribution for the annual community fund, to help with village upkeep. Steve and Cassy Peavey share the sweet familiarity of two people who've known each other nearly their whole lives. Steve and Cassy also fished commercially together for many years, and raised their two sons in Meyers Chuck. BLOCK: No mail for Dave Perry - doesn't matter, a visit to the post office is a chance to shake off your solitude, see your neighbors, sit by the woodstove and chat. "Seemed like we had one good gust there yesterday afternoon and then it just kinda fizzled out after that." You can settle in by the crackling wood stove with a cup of coffee and one of the cookies or cinnamon rolls that Cassy will have baked that morning. She has just one rule at the post office: Please, no talking about politics. They laugh easily, call each other "babe", and often finish each other's sentences. " He grew up in Meyers Chuck, and he and Cassy moved back here as newlyweds 56 years ago, when she was just 18. "I'll tell ya, this was a great place to raise kids," Cassy says. BLOCK: And up they go, up the ramp from the dock and into the tiny post office which is perched on pilings on the rocks. UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: It's my outboard that's given up, the Yamaha, the two-stroke '75. And as we chat over tea and Cassy's cinnamon rolls, the stories come rolling out about the old days when Meyers Chuck was a busy fishing town filled with characters who had marvelous nicknames. BLOCK: We've walked up to the Peavey's cozy home just a few steps up a path from the post office. Cassy Peavey, 74, is the postmistress of Meyers Chuck, and Steve, 79, is her husband. BOB HUNLEY: Seemed like kind of a one-gust storm, you know? BLOCK: Cassy's one rule at the post office - please, no talking about politics. The Peaveys have heard the mail plane approach, and are waiting for us on the dock. There's a couple of guys that are pretty touchy about people using their cup. It seemed like it had one good gust there yesterday afternoon then just kind of fizzled out after that. And so if the post office were to close, people would have to go by boat to get their mail over in Thorne Bay, 11 miles across Clarence Strait. And I had noticed this name on a map - Meyers Chuck, just a little dot on the coast. Today, Meyers Chuck is getting about 90 pounds of mail and groceries.
Together, Cassy and Steve haul the bags and boxes up the ramp from the dock and into the tiny post office, which is perched on pilings on the rocks. GARY NIELSEN: There are about like 6 foot seas out there right now. And it's hard for you to climb up on the dock, well, Steve or Cassy will bring your mail down to you.
The Peaveys have a little windmill that spins out on the dock; others have solar panels. Cassy is 74, wearing jeans and a red and black plaid jacket.
Water is piped down from a lake about a mile away via a water line built by the townspeople themselves in the '80s. In its heyday back in the 1930s, more than 100 people lived in Meyers Chuck, and the town was thriving, with a store, a barbershop, bakery, and bar.
And you'd have to stand in line to make your phone call. MIKE MEYER: Hotfoot it down the trail to whomever's house it was, tell them to call so-and-so. The townspeople built the waterline themselves back in the '80s. PEAVEY: One is about a mile of pipeline that comes down by the creek and then forked out to all the houses, which is pretty darn nice.
She'd love to spend more time with her kids and grandkids. PEAVEY: I talked about retiring but have kind of changed my mind because I was told if I closed the post office, it would never open again. The exploratory well was the first in the Chukchi in 24 years.