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Quote of the Day - A good conscience is a continual Christmas. - Benjamin Franklin

It's A Wonderful Life: Paul For Postmaster

Regular readers know my Mom lives in South Harwich, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. She's a retired church secretary, and I've discovered, where my love of advocacy comes from.

Let me explain.

There's a very small post office near her home; some would even say postage stamp-sized. I've been there. It's so small, three people can't fit in it at the same time. The parking lot holds just a few cars.

It's definitely small-town America, a regular slice of apple pie.

My Mom's post office box (number 38), is on the bottom of the row of boxes. Most of the time, the lock doesn't work because it's so old, and she has a hard time bending down to open it. She's 72 (and she got after me last time I posted her age here, but it's one of those details that's important to the story. Sorry, Mom.) and she has a bad back.

When she walks in the door, the postal worker goes to her box, grabs the mail and hands it to her over the counter. Most of the times she doesn't even bring her key. Like I said, small-town America. And, as you've probably guessed, she's not the only one who gets treated this way. Paul Pimental, the postal worker, treats everyone the same. He even knows me when I come in, just based on seeing my name on the mail I send to my Mom.

If there was a pot-bellied stove and a cracker barrel in there, people would be sitting around talking about town events. Even so, there's almost always a conversation among the patrons while Paul dutifully goes about his work.

Have you got that picture in your mind?

In stark contrast to this idyllic life on the Cape, the big muckey-mucks at the Post Office headquarters decided to make some changes. They're the ones wearing the black hats.

They decided to appoint a new Postmaster. From the big city. They didn't even interview Paul for the position. Yep. Bypassed him. To add insult to injury, there was talk about moving Paul to another post office.

So, Paul said goodbye to my Mom the other day. She was heartbroken. Especially since this made the fourth time in eight years that the big muckey-mucks had installed a new postmaster, bypassing the local South Harwich postal worker again and again.

Side note here: my Mom is a force to be reckoned with.

Not surprisingly, she went home, got on the phone and tracked down the big muckey-muck that made this decision. She waited on hold, intermittently talking to various postal workers and getting transferred for an hour and forty-five minutes. She finally reached Bill Peterson, Manager of Post Office Operations, who she reports is not a big muckey-muck after all, but a very nice person.

She talked to Mr. Peterson for about 20 minutes, extolling Paul's virtues. She related some of the things that Paul does, how much everyone likes him, and how much he would be missed if he left. She also told him what a good job Paul does, and how well he handles the mail. She got Mr. Peterson's address.

Then she returned to the South Harwich Post Office and, you guessed it, posted Mr. Peterson's address and asked patrons to write in, supporting Paul for the Postmaster's position. She stayed around for awhile and talked to a lot of folks about writing to Mr. Peterson. People did, and are still writing in. Everyone really likes Paul.

Apparently, Mr. Peterson then called Paul, and because of the support of the townspeople, he's going to be interviewed for the position of Postmaster. Mr. Peterson commented to Paul about the supportive phone call he had gotten from my Mom.

Paul saw my Mom today and thanked her. He said that evening after receiving Mr. Peterson's call, he went home and in tears described to his wife how he felt about the rush of support from the community. He said, "Now I know how George Bailey felt in It's A Wonderful Life."

Tears welled up in my Mom's eyes, and I could hear it again in her voice when she related the story to me this morning on the telephone.

Oh, yes. Mr. Peterson's address (just in case you want to write in):

Bill Peterson, Manager of Post Office Operations
225 Liberty Street
Brockton, MA 02301

It is a wonderful life. Have a happy holiday season, and remember people like Paul.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on 12/21/2004 at 12:25 Comments (4)



Comments by J. Craig Williams from United States on Monday, December 27, 2004 at 16:30

See this related story about Cape Postmasters retiring.


Comments by Steph from United States on Monday, December 27, 2004 at 11:01

Thank you for sharing this story - I really enjoyed it!


Comments by David Giacalone from United States on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 19:03

How's a not-exactly-touch-typer kinda guy supposed to leave a Comment with tears in his eyes? Thanks for telling the tale of Mom & Paul.
By the way, you could have simply said your mom is "70ish." Also, Craig, you're getting too old to believe that 72 is old.


Comments by Chrysostomos from United States on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 16:54

Thanks for sharing this story! Very warm, and inspiring.
With humble bow,
Rd. Chrysostomos


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