Catherine “Cathy” Wilson veered between elation and nostalgia at a party for her Saturday, July 28, as she contemplated her last day as postmaster of the tiny San Simeon branch and the final day of her postal career that spanned 42 years.
That final day was Tuesday, July 31, also the final day when the San Simeon post office would have its own postmaster. The branch now is manned by employees of the Cambria post office. D’anna Hernandez of Atascadero took the reins in San Simeon Wednesday, Aug. 1.
That’s just one of the changes ahead, according to Wilson and Cambria Postmaster Brian Machado. Within the next year, he expects the U.S. Postal Service will being holding townhall meetings to discuss the future of the San Simeon branch, a process which could start with a reduction in the number of hours the office is open.
He also is looking to fill a couple of part-time jobs, he said Monday, July 30, including one postal support employee (clerk) and a janitor.
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Meanwhile, more than 100 people came to reminisce at Wilson’s retirement party July 28, wishing her well and enjoying the company, food and drink, plus music by Jill Knight, Scott Wright and Eric Williams.
Among party goers was Sharon “Sherri” Vieth, Wilson’s postmaster predecessor in San Simeon. Vieth and Wilson represent two decades of leadership at the postal branch that serves about 460 residents, plus visitors and regulars from Hearst Castle, Hearst Ranch, Cambria and points north. Vieth retired in January 2004.
The tiny customer-service branch, tucked into a back corner of the historic Sebastian’s General Store& Cafe, has 173 post office boxes, and offers stamps and mailing supplies and services. Rural deliveries in the area are handled by the Cambria post office.
Wilson’s postal career began in 1970 in Amityville, N.Y., and progressed to a couple of other New York branches until she moved to California. After a work hiatus, she returned to post offices in Oxnard and Pt. Hueneme before transferring to Cambria as a clerk in 1995.
She enjoyed her work there, too, but “I’m happy to have spent the last eight and a half years of my career in this office,” she said of San Simeon, “mostly because of the people.”
But she’s not going anywhere. She’ll continue living in Cambria, is a member of the Auxiliary for American Legion Post No. 432 (her son Jonathan Wilson is in the Marines) and will be checking her mail in the post office box she used to fill from the other side of the wall, in San Simeon.