Saturday, March 31, 2012

Interview with a Chicago Mail carrier

Hello! Remember, almost a year ago, when I did an interview with John "the mailman" in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?  Since then, he and I have become great friends, and exchanged lots of mail.  If you missed his interview, you can read it here.

 I have been wanting to find new mail carriers to interview, and especially a woman. As it turns out, one of our talented blog friends is a mail carrier in Chicago, who happily answered my questions! And, she has some great answers!

She is also an amazing art quilter, fiber artist, and photographer.
 Stop by her blog, Threadstory, and learn more about Karen's artistic side.

Karen's all ready for her day!

Here goes!! Let's meet Karen.....another fabulous mail carrier, working the zip 60656-60706, Chicago, Illinois.

How long have you been a mail carrier and what did you do before this?
I have been a letter carrier for 23 years. Right before this I worked in a photo lab.

What's the most interesting or unusual thing you've delivered
That's a hard one. There have been the coconuts from Hawaii, beach balls, baby bottles with shower invitations, A tire, And once a beautifully wrapped hockey stick. But nothing comes to mind as having been really unusual.
( And those items were not in boxes--I asked! I'd love to get a loose coconut!)

What's the nicest thing someone on your route has done for you?
People are amazing. They hand out cold water during the hot summer days. Offer umbrellas when it rains ( I have to say no to that as I just do not have enough hands! ) Gifts of gloves,scarfs, and pocket hand warmer packets. Once I was given a teddy bear in a postal uniform as thanks for all I do. The best days are the ones when you see someone excited and smiling because you just gave them the best letter or package ever!

What do you hate to deliver?
Mail that has been mangled by the machinery! The damaged pieces or magazines just make it look as if we don't care. Believe me, we care!

Do you have a favorite stamp that the USPS has issued?
The series of stamps with forest plants and animals from some years back. And of course the Gees Bend quilts!
Here's one of Gee's Bend quilt stamps

Have you ever been bitten by a dog (or person)?
Dog - yes. Bit me on the toe of my shoe and missed my toe thankfully. And once by a gargoyle...yes you read that right. A gargoyle. On a porch of a residence there was a big ceramic pot that had decorative gargoyles with gaping mouths full of fang like teeth poised along the upper edge. It had been near the mailbox and when I turned to go back down the steps I bumped into it and one of the gargoyles fangs jabbed my leg cutting me. Not deeply but a two inch gash and tore the slacks as well.

Anything about your uniform mail carriers wish they could change?
I would love to see them do away with polyester...

Has anything embarrassing ever happened on the job?
Of course! The slips and falls on snowy days where one pops back up and hopes no one saw.... Any time I make a miss-delivery ( only human after all ). But nothing that would make it to you-tube!!

And lastly, I always love to ask people this; What is something we can't tell by looking at you?
People have no idea that I am a fiber artist or that photography is something I have done for years. At work I am the 'mail lady' and while many of the people know me by my first name, that is just about all they do know about me. The conversations are usually short and consist of things like the weather and big headline news. They tell me of families and bits of their lives. For some people I may be the only person they talk with for days. I am always happy to listen for the few minutes it takes to make a better day for them. Many of the people on my route are elderly and I - as well as my co-workers - tend to watch out for them. Paying attention to mail not being taken out of the box etc. People have been saved by a carrier seeing that and notifying authorities so they can check on them if no one responds to the door bell. The people are the best part of this job.

Thank you so much Karen for answering my questions and letting us into the world of another mail carrier! Your answers made me laugh out loud at times! All the best and wishing you a long Spring!


Karen Christensen said...

Thank you Katie!

paula said...

loved this :) i've known karen for years now thru art blogs, fun to read this different side of her!

Nellie's Needles said...

I, too, know Karen as an artist in fiber and a fantastic photographer who happens to deliver mail. We've been cyber friends for quite a while and actually met for an afternoon a few years ago. For those few hours we only talked art and a bit about family. I'm glad to know a bit more of Karen through this delightful interview.

craftattack said...

Great interview! She seems to be a good lady. The postmen and women all work so hard by all sorts of weathers and do a marvellous job! Valerie

MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Katie. This is such a lovely interview. I follow Karen's blog and had no idea about her professional life. Now here's where the world gets smaller. Nellie has met Karen and I hope to meet Nellie this week while I'm visiting in Knoxville, TN! Thanks for a great post.

Dosfishes at Sparkle Days Studios said...

Great interview Katie, thanks for sharing Karen with us! I am off to check out her blog. xox Corrine

Emma said...

Really interesting reading your interview. You probably know I work in a supermarket part time & if anyone I know sees me at a craft fair they are so surprised & say 'I didn't know you did this!' I'm off tto read about the other side of Karen.

Lisa said...

Bravo! wonderful interview.. and by one we all take for granted .. thank you!

Barbara said...

Fun, Katie, our eyes to something new! I also llove the Gees Bend stamps!

Jill Eudaly said...

fun post!! will stop her blog.

Papillon Bleu said...

Dear Katie,
Thank you for you visits and nice comments.

Your post made me smile! I think I should interview my postman one day too!

John the Mailman said...

And here I thought all those rumors about the Chicago gargoyles were just urban myths! Oh dear.
It was nice to read more about the human side of us letter carriers, Katie. Thanks for posting (even though dear hard-working Karen is probably a Bears fan.....). Do you know any window associates for a future interview? I'd love to read one of those.
My best to you always,
John the Mailman

Linda Stokes said...

Interesting story - will check out Karen's blog too.
Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. Linda