A garden for John Wessinger
by Jan Schlain
On the Saturday before Mother's Day, letter carrier Ozzie Williams parked his truck by the triangle where Oakland, Tappan, and South University come together, picked up a shovel, and joined the crowd of people planting flowers. Lehlani Wessinger had organized the planting in memory of her late husband, John, a longtime landlord in the area.
"I'm also a campus landlord and a real estate broker for about twenty years," said John Wade, on his hands and knees, planting lamiums. "I have the utmost respect for John Wessinger and found him a person of wonderful character." Besides the flowers, Lehlani had donated a cherry tree and a memorial bench. "I'm trying to get some other landlords involved in this idea, to make it a showcase," she explained. She'd even brought along handouts with adopt-a-park forms on the back.
"This will be the nicest median in the city," promised John's son, Nick, who's managed the properties since his father's death two years ago.
many now middle-aged or older, reminisced about living in Wessinger's student apartments--with their wallpapered walls, linoleum floors, and very small kitchens--before kids, before spouses, before they had homes of their own.
"When I first came [to the campus mail route] in '87, John took me in," Williams recalled. "I could call him up and say, 'Hey, this box is full, can you help me out?' And he helped me out.
"I miss him. I come and sit on this bench, and I talk to him," the letter carrier said. Then he put down the shovel and headed back to his truck to finish his route.
[Originally published in June, 2012.]
On June 18, 2012, Art wrote:
1st paragraph: "by the triangle where Oakland, Tappan, and South University come together"
I think the writer meant to write: East University...........
Someone should do a story on Ozzie the mailman. Just saying.
Like the web site.
On June 18, 2012, John Hilton wrote:
Thanks for the correction, Art--Jan had it right, but I stupidly typed "South" when editing.
Chris Hippler told Ozzie's story back in 2009--just type "Ozzie Williams" into the search line at upper right, then click on "articles."