Mail carrier retires after 31 years of deliveries

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By Calen McKinney



She didn't know there would be cake, donuts and pie.

"I'm sorry to leave such company, but I've got mail to sort," she says, after spending some time talking with her co-workers.

For the last 31 years, Phyllis Franklin has worked as a mail carrier at the United States Post Office in Campbellsville. But on Saturday, she delivered her last piece of mail.

Over the years, Franklin has delivered mail in snow, rain and mud, and seen her fair share of spiders, wasps and dogs, but says it's been worth it.

"But even after all that, it's still a good job," she said on Friday as she sorted her mail for the next to last time. "I am. I'm gonna miss it."

David Lane, postmaster, said Franklin has been an excellent employee.

"She's always at work," he said. "Her customers love her. She's an ideal employee."

Seeing Franklin leave her route will be tough, Lane said. Mike Green, a substitute carrier for 10 years, will soon become a full-time carrier, and the post office is hiring three substitute carriers to replace others who have retired.

Several post office employees have stayed at their duties for decades, Lane said.

"Well, it's a good job," he said. "If you like your job and enjoy it ... so many people stay for many years."

Franklin began working at the post office on June 23, 1983, as a substitute mail carrier. She started working full time on Nov. 12, 1984, on Route 10. The route covers from Stone Quarry Road to Fairview to Old Columbia Road, Blue Hole Road to Blue Ridge Road and back to Burdick School Road.

Originally from Campbellsville, but now living with her husband, Lynn, in Lebanon, Franklin began working at the post office after having several other jobs and at times staying home.

She said her husband originally applied for a carrier's job, but he got a speeding ticket and wasn't eligible.

"And I thought, 'I'm gonna apply.' And I got the job," she said.

Thirty-one years later, Franklin said, she never imagined she would be on the job this long.

"But I love it," she said.

Franklin said she decided to retire for several reasons, from spending time with her eight grandchildren to health concerns after having two strokes, open-heart surgery and cancer.

And, Franklin, 62, said the hot and cold weather gets harder to handle as a person gets older. "It affects you more," she said.

"So I've just figured it's time. Let some of these young ones take care of it."

After retiring, Franklin said, she will spend time gardening and quilting, being at home and attending family events on Saturdays, one of the five days she used to work every week. One of her grandsons is a basketball player at South Oldham High School.

"But granny's never got to watch him play," she said.

Throughout her 31 years, Franklin said she has dropped a few pieces of mail, fallen in the mud, gotten soaked in the rain and seen some interesting items in mailboxes.

One memorable moment, she said, was on a windy day. She dropped a piece of mail and had to bend down to get it. When she did, her pants split. She had to finish her shift anyway.

Another day, Franklin said, she believes someone was playing a prank and put fish guts inside a mailbox.

"I just laid the mail on top of it and went on," she said, with a laugh.

Though she said she knows it's time for her to retire, Franklin said that won't mean it was easy to leave her co-workers, who are like family.

"We have worked together for 30 years," she said. "I've seen a lot of postmasters and managers come and go. It takes a special kind of person to be a mail carrier."

Franklin said she takes good care of her customers, because that's how she would want to be treated.

"I spoil them. I have taken care of them," she said. "I make sure they get that package. Those pictures of the grandchildren."

Being a mail carrier is physically and mentally demanding, she said, from lifting boxes to knowing addresses and keeping mail in order.

Franklin began her last day on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. By about 10 a.m., she was out for delivery. And by 3:30 or 4 p.m., she was done.

As Franklin drops her mail into a box for one of the last times, she says, "It's gonna be so different. I've been doing this a long time."