Modern Stories Along the Anza Trail

Paula: Postmaster

Listen to an interview with Paula:

Interview Text

Interviewer: You’re the postmistress here in Jacumba. And your name?

Paula: Paula Whisnat. I see the post office in a small town as ………Many people will tell me it’s like the hub. So people will come here to me, and they’ll ask me because they just think I’m in the know. Sometimes I am, and sometimes I’m not. Um, so I try to connect them with anything that they might need. Often times, though, it’s completely not, unrelated to postal, they might need a plumber. They might need an electrician. Do I know anybody? So, then I will hook them up with whoever does those things in town. Their heater went out. Their propane went out. So, they’ll ask me, and I hook ‘em up with whoever they can … whoever can help them.

Interviewer: I’m looking around the post office, and I see some things that are posted that really aren’t about the post office, but it’s like one is, I guess, for the memorial service that’s coming up next week.

Paula: Um hmm.

Interviewer: And, I think that’s one of the nice things about this, you know, this kind of …

Paula: It’s community.

Paula: Yeah. Where, it seems to wind up being a communal hub. Um hmm, a family community… slash community.

Interviewer: How have you seen the community change since you’ve been here?

Paula: People ask me that. They ask, ‘Has it changed much?’, and interestingly, really, what I can tell you is that people come, and people go. And people come, and people go. So, I cannot tell you that there has been any drastic change, one way or the other, because really, the drastic change came before we moved here. When old Highway 80 was no longer the main access to go east… And we weren’t here then. Because then the freeway was already in place and the town was bypassed. So, when we came, that had already gone. That had already happened. So, this is the only way I’ve ever known it. Everybody has a little space here. And everyone does something different. Ok? So this is my little place.

Interviewer: Oh…

Paula: Jacumba’s a great little place, very unique, very interesting, because of the diversity that exists.

Interviewer: Yeah, and also … the ‘live and let live’.

Paula: Um hmm.

Interviewer: It’s very sort of uh … well … uh, very tolerant of allowing people to be whoever they are.

Paula: Absolutely, and I like that, too.

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