KAMIAH — In just about every small town across America there is one person whom absolutely everybody knows. In Kamiah, that person is Marjorie “Marty” Wilkins, who has been the lead clerk at the post office longer than many people can remember. It has, in fact, been just two months shy of 30 years.
During that time Marty has met, and become friends with, just about everybody in the area.
Marty can tell you off the top of her head the mailing address of just about everybody in Kamiah and the surrounding area. She knows her postal patrons so well that she often remembers their birthdays, their aches and pains, the highlights of their lives, what they do for a living and where their offspring are going to college.
So it really was no surprise last week that when her impending retirement was announced, word around town spread quickly.
On the appointed day, Sept. 30, the lobby of the post office was festooned with streamers and balloons, the counters were laden with punch and well-wishers came into the lobby carrying flowers and cards. It seemed that the whole town wanted to get the chance to thank Marty and to say goodbye. But Marty is not going anywhere. We will continue to see her around town
going about her daily business at the drug store, grocery and even the post office – but as a customer.
“I think that 30 years behind the counter is enough; it is time for me to go,” said Wilkins. “It has been fun, and memorable.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know all the people who live here; they’ve become my friends.”
We’ve become Wilkins’ friends, as well. It would have been difficult not to.
As lead clerk, Marty spent much of her time at the counter helping the public with their mailing needs and always greeting them with a pleasant hello and a beautiful smile. Then as she tended to your postal business, she would always ask how you were, what you were up to, and how your day was going. In short, it was run-of-the mill small talk to keep you engaged as she handled your business. But it was small talk with a difference. You immediately knew that Marty was sincere in her inquiries and that she genuinely cared about every customer who walked up to the counter.
As much as Wilkins is loved by the townsfolk, she is also loved and respected by her coworkers. They appreciate her mentoring skills and incredible knowledge.
“It has been a memorable learning experience,” said postal clerk Diane Cochrell, who has worked with Wilkins for the past five years. “She taught me a lot. We had a great time working together. The camaraderie and joking made every day just fly by.” Clerk June Delgado has worked with Wilkins for just the past couple of years and agrees entirely.
“Boy, did Marty ever have an impact on me,” said Delgado. “I am losing a mentor and a friend.” So what does our newly retired postal clerk plan on doing with her time now that she is unemployed?
“Well, for the next few weeks I plan to be busy in my garden,” said Wilkins.
“I plan to be out working in my yard until the snow flies. Then, we plan to visit with all the grandkids and go up to our cabin for awhile. This winter, I hope to sort and organize all our photos. After that, I’ll think of something to keep busy.”