Thirty years of memories
This week my column is dedicated to a very special person, Mary Wayland, who retired Aug. 31.
Mary started out working at the Aileen factory in 1975, spending 18 years there. In 1989 she began working part time for the US Postal Service, left the plant for good in 1993, going full time with USPS in 1996.
Mary said “to add it all up, she was part time for seven years and full time for 23 years.”
One customer on her mail route said Mary was a dedicated and hard working, honest and reliable person. Another said they will miss talking to her when she would put mail in her box.
Jan Maket called Mary “Optimistic! Hardworking! Competent! Resilient! Determined! Inspirational! All of these describe Mary Wayland, our Amissville mail carrier for many years. No one deserves to enjoy retirement more. I have rarely seen Mary without a smile on her face. Whether she was delivering mail in snow, rain, heat or (yes, even) gloom of night.”
Mary always completed her appointed rounds, putting those on her mail route first. Even following personal struggles and losses, she took pride in the job she had to do.
“I once remember finding Mary on the side of Battle Mountain Road one cold, wet day. Her mail truck was stuck up to its axles in mud. I stopped to ask what I could do, but by then she had already laid out her tire chains, by herself. She sent me on my way, telling me not to worry because she had called the post office and ‘Landon is on his way! I’m fine!’ she said, smiling broadly. That’s Mary. We all can learn a lot from her.”
I talked to Elizabeth Streagler from Amissville and she said Mary was an excellent mail carrier, a good person. “Sorry she had to retire, and will be missed so much.”
Mary has worked under several post masters and mistresses: Steve Dunn, Blair Lear, Norma Furr, Cherie Cable, Lita Strickler, Linda Lawler, Linda Goldsmith, Sherrie VanBuren and Nicole Mack. Mary said she enjoyed working with them all. Her last boss was Emma Lawson.
Sherrie Van Buren said these words about Mary: “At the core of the USPS are its postal carriers, the men and women who run up and down porch steps, dodge unfriendly animals, and brave inclement weather to make sure your personal mail arrives on time. I've worked for the postal service for 34 years and have worked with a lot of different personalities.
“The delivery of the mail is one of the hardest jobs. I had the pleasure to work with Mary Wayland and I would say she's the best of the best. She takes pride in her work, she came in on time and went straight to work, sorting her mail and making sure everything was just right to service her customers that day.
“Mary has been on her route there in Amissville for so long that each and everyone of her customers were like family to her, as she was to them. They all watched out for her because they knew she watched out for them. She was the type that cared, the type that would take an extra minute to figure out where a letter or a package went, when someone had missed addressed it. She really is a legend to her customers and to the ones of us that had the pleasure of working with her, she was such a positive part of our day, her sunny disposition was contagious and spread throughout the post office. She was definitely an asset to our company, and she will be greatly missed for sure.
“Whatever her next adventure is in life we all wish her the best retirement ever. She will truly be forever missed in the postal world.”
On her last day the Amissville Post Office was decorated by Emma Lawson and they threw Mary a celebration. Balloons and ribbons adorned the room, there was food and pizza, the whole nine yards. She received beautiful flowers, money, a bracelet, and was presented the agency’s Service Award certificate.
Mary is the mother of three children: Mike and Eddie Wayland, deceased, her beloved husband, Tommy also deceased, and finally Brian, who lives with his mom. Mary has had her ups and downs, but it did not stop her from mail rounds, always accomplished with a smile on her face. Mary is blessed with four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She has lived in Washington and Flint Hill her entire life.
Brian, her son, is happy for Mary: It was time for her to retire, he said, “she went beyond her job in getting the mail out. It was time for her to take a rest.”
Her favorite pastimes are listening to country and rock music and caring for her flower gardens. She says she will miss her many customers she visited with “at the mailbox” over the years.
It’s not for certain yet who will take over Mary’s route, but they will have some big shoes to fill.
Says Mary: “To all of you who have been a part of or touched my life in any way because of my job, I thank you and I will miss you. My best to all of you!
“I loved everything about my job.”
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