Friday, April 24, 2009

My Life as a Post Mistress

I have the rare privilege of working in a time capsule. I work very part time (normally 3 hours a week- Saturday mornings only) as a PMR (Post Master Replacement) at my local post office, just a block from my house. I often walk to work. The front lobby is all modern business and even the back room, you see just past the open window, looks mostly up to date. But there are timeless treasures hidden among the modernizations. I have the joy of collecting mail from the outside box secured with ancient padlocks that require an equally ancient flat key to open (my favorite key).
When the sales window is slow, I explore in the storage room- often to get acquainted with where certain supplies are squirreled away, but also to revisit the past- when a typewriter was used to fill out forms and twine was used to secure brown paper wrapped packages. Balls of string are still stored in a drab green metal cabinet along with a rubber stamp holder that I secretly think would make a wonderful steam punk Christmas tree. There are also lots of ancient, wooden handled rubber stamps, brittle with age; their once important impressions now long past useful, to anyone that is, accept a collage artist. ;)



Some things I wish I could take home, like the "Giant" Apsco pencil sharpener that has the dial that lets you sharpen any size pencil -even those jumbo pre-school pencils! The paint spatters on its metal casing and probable dull blades do not detract from its mystical abilities to transport me to another time when getting up from a school desk to sharpen a dull pencil was a welcomed break from book work. And the smell of a newly sharpened pencil? Heavenly! In the present, with everything written in permanent ink or documented on computer, the Giant is relegated to perpetual storage.
Finally, there are the lovely, yellowed ledgers and other documents, still stored in a filing cabinet, forgotten by past Post Masters and never discovered by the current Post Mistress. Book keeping from the 1950s kept because no one has had the courage to throw out "government property", yet also no one has bothered to find out if the Smithsonian is needing to fill gaps in its small town Post Office collection. Hee hee! One ledger is even burnt on 3 sides, showing evidence of surviving Corder's Main Street fire in 1956.
WHY is all of this still kept? It just kills me to be so close to an altered artists' gold mine and not be able to touch it. Well, I can touch it, hold it, admire it. But then I have to put it back.
I thank God I work here. He knew it would feed my spirit.
And how can I not be inspired?




9 comments:

Anna said...

great post girl! I love the photography and seeing the great treasures .... how cool! You should leave a note on it.... saying if they are ever are going to throw it out ... to ask you first :) you never know xo, anna

Linda said...

I agree with Anna! Put your name on things...kind of like going to your mother-in-law's house and putting your name on the bottom of things you want when she's gone! Right?

beth said...

I would suggest to the person in charge that you would be more than happy to clean that area out for free...no need to pay you for your time....and see what they say !!!...and if they say SURE...well then, that'd be the mother load !

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Wonderful post, next best thing to being in the back room with you. I too think it's worth mentioning that if they ever plan to clear out, please don't throw any of it away....be still my heart! Post offices and airports have their own mystique I find, the possibilities of travel to far off places and all that. Thanks for sharing this with us, very cool!

Margaret said...

blimey! pick me up off the floor... what a wonderful treasure trove you're in the midst of, surely it must need a clear out sometime soon. Still laughing at Linda's comment...

Donna said...

I Still have the old pencil sharpener at the shop! It has the dial for childrens pencils!! Hubby's parents had it when they opened the shop in 1954...
I'd love snooping around in there!!hughugs

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

Loved this post!! I wish I worked at the Post Office a couple of days a week. It would be so cool.
I love your thoughts..
xoxo Nita

Ashlyn said...

I used to use a pencil sharpener like that at Grandma Doris's. I'm sure she still has it. She doesn't part with anything! But you better believe I've got my name on it! That and her cookbooks ;)

Hugs, Ashlyn

Tumble Fish Studio said...

It is funny that you wrote about this. I am just getting ready to visit my dad in Mountain Grove, MO - do you know where that is? I live in CA near Pasadena, but I have been going to Mtn. Grove all of my life to visit grandparents and eventually my parents when they retired there. I often pick up the mail downtown, "on the square" (a foreign concept out here) no less, for my dad when I am visiting and I have often thought what I wouldn't give to go up the stairs or behind the counter to hunt for treasures. It is a very, very old stone building right out of an Andy Hardy movie.

I love that you shared the pictures and your imagination about all of the treasures you find there. A delicious post!