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Patty Callum recognized for service to Manteo

The Town of Manteo Board of Commissioners recognized Patty Callum (also known as Post Office Patty) at their May meeting for her “time, talent, and efforts to make our community a better place in which to live.”

Callum was presented with a proclamation recognizing her as an honorary citizen of the Town of Manteo.

“Congratulations to Patty Callum for her remarkable and outstanding 38 years of service to the Town of Manteo and Dare County!” stated an announcement from the town.

Callum is shown with Mayor Bobby Owens and commissioner Darrell Collins.

At the presentation, Callum read the following:

A Fond Farewell from Post Office Patty

Wow! 38 years! Where did the time go?

Call it fate, divine intervention, or just plain luck, I will forever be grateful for having made a left at the bakery some many years ago and found myself in downtown Manteo. I was on my way to California in a VW bug, 2 golden retrievers, and a cat. I came to visit some friends and they convinced me that if I got homesick, Manteo was so much closer to Jersey than California. I am so glad I took their advice.

I found Manteo so quaint, so charming, and full of fun. I fell instantly in love with the area. Another bit of luck, after much prodding from John Garrison, found me getting hired at the Manteo Post Office. It was such a blessing in disguise.

I can’t tell you that I loved my job at first. It kind of grew on me. This job isn’t for everyone and some folks would find it mundane, but I relished in it because of the people.

Oh, the people… over the course of some 38 years, our lives became entwined, our families became entwined. We have shared the laughter and celebrations of birthdays, weddings, and baby news. I loved all the shouted greetings from everyone as they came in the door. We have shared the anxiety of the doctor’s appointments, the few moments of conversation each day with the lonely, and alas the tears. The tears from the news of one of my tribe that alas, they were moving on to greener pastures or just to be closer to family. The worst is the news of losing their loved ones which in turn became my loved ones and sometimes the grief was unpalatable for us both.

I can say truly that they have left a legacy of not being forgotten. NO matter who comes after, Ms. Estelle Tillet will always be Box 2, Ms. Bonner, Box 157, Squirrely Green 237, Upshur Evans 381. Mr. Ruffin 1357. The list goes on.

I have always felt that the Post Office was like the face of Manteo. We have been the tourist bureau, direction coordinator, restaurant critic, and just a friendly place to drop a post card off. We have been very connected throughout my career there.

Somewhere in my career I was given the moniker of Post Office Patty. Guess from who? Courthouse Dottie! She and I got a kick out of the fact that half the folks didn’t know our last names!

Of course, I didn’t do this job by myself. I have had the honor of working with some incredible people. We started out as Postmasters or co-workers but have developed life-long friendships that still bears witness today. Each one is just as deserving of this honor. I feel like this is my Oscar!

I am truly humbled by this recognition and am going to sorely miss seeing each of you regularly. It will be an adjustment but… I knew this day would one day come and I put it off for about 5 years.

I want to especially thank my family who supported me all through the years even when I missed the baseball games, school events, and other events because of my work schedule and for all the help stuffing the Walmarts and Kmarts! I would also like to give a special Thank You to Warren and Kathy Martin for making this happen. I was going to try and slink out the back door like G.G. I have one more personal thank you and that is to my partner in crime, Jerry Saulnier. He has to live with me and God help him on some days when the wine runs out!

This small, quaint, little Town of Manteo has enriched my life beyond measure and I am forever grateful for it making a girl feel welcomed and loved all these years. Manteo IS my hometown.

Everyone asks what I will be doing next. I don’t know. I am a bit anxious from being institutionalized but I am fond of adventures and flying by the seat of my pants, so I am looking forward to seeing where the wild, blue yonder takes me. Maybe I will write a book about all the postal stories. One thing I do know… First thing…. I am officially shutting off the alarm clock!

Be well and I will see you all around Town.

Love to you all.

Fondly,

Post Office Patty

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