Dear, Carrie –
Sarasota sure is a different place than it was when you were Postmistress. Today I was dropping off postcards to my local USPS branch, and I was reminded how much we owe to people like you. The USPS is at risk right now, and I am scared we will lose this essential service you worked for 31 years to uphold – never taking a single vacation during your entire term.
When you were first Postmaster, mail was delivered three times a week by steamer boat from Tampa, then by horse from Bradentown. I can’t believe how hard you worked then – getting the mail from the train as late as 10:00 p.m. But you would ensure that the mail was delivered so that business owners could respond back by the next mail pickup — which was sometimes as early as 6:00 a.m. When you were authorized to issue money orders in 1894, you dedicated yourself to the service of Sarasotans, signing both first and the 100,000th money order issued in the town…and all the ones in between.
Communication was so important to you, that in addition to your duties as Postmaster, you were also responsible for answering Sarasota’s first telephone, which was installed in 1900. When a call came in, you walked blocks of sandy foot trails to deliver the message. 120 years later, we all walk around with incredible, instant-communication devices in our pockets, forgetting that people like you had to work hard to simply say, “you’ve got a call”.
I think it’s sad you only retired because you aged out of taking the civil service exam – which you insisted all your staff be able to pass. I’ve read many sentiments in the newspaper from local leaders upon the announcement of your retirement, and I echo what The Sarasota Times wrote of you, “When the history of Sarasota is written, there is no person who will stand out more prominently in its pioneer days than this dearly loved woman who has been a mother to everyone in sorrow or distress.”
Thank you, Carrie. Thank you for inspiring me to stand up for what I believe in. This month, I will have sent 200 postcards (which cost 35¢ to a piece to mail now!) to support the USPS. I’ve sent many postcards my elected officials to save this essential federal service you dedicated much of your life to and believed in with all your heart. Every time I drop off a stack of postcards into one of the iconic blue boxes, I think of you and hope you are proud.
With love and postage,