From towel dropping to dog bites, 40-year postal worker has seen it all

Published 12:14 am Friday, December 20, 2019

GROVES — Anyone who has been to the Groves post office most likely knows the name and face of Rose Papizan. The long time resident worker has poured copious amounts of blood, sweat, love and laughter into her nearly 40-year career.

Now, at 64 years old, Papizan announced that she would retire on April 3.

The Baton Rouge, La., native came to Groves in September 1980, starting her one and only job at the Groves Post Office at age 25.

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“I just finished getting a real estate degree with a bunch of friends in the 1980s, but the market was bad at the time, so we all decided to take the post test,” Papizan said. “I got the best score, so they called me the next day and offered me a job as a clerk and carrier.”

Papizan has been employed at the small post office since she was a young adult, taking leave of her position for only a short while after initially being hired.

“When I was first hired they told me I was only going to be a carrier for a little bit, but after three months my position didn’t change,” she said. “So I went into the office and I quit. They called me back later and told me that they had an inside and outside job for me. I went back in and became a window clerk, where I have been for the last 40 years.”

In her nearly 40-year tenure, bouncing between a bicycle mail carrier, a clerk and letter sorter, Papizan said she has seen it all.

“I’ve had men take their clothes off and dance in the window,” she said. “I’ve had people drop their towels signing for packages. I’ve had dog bites and just about everything you can think of.

“I’ve also seen how the postal industry has changed. They don’t sort letters anymore and the mail volume has dropped at least 80 percent from the way it used to be. Our main money source is the parcels. It’s changed so much.”

Although Papizan has walked miles delivering mail to houses, she said her absolute favorite position is being up front with the public.

“It’s a wonderful job to be in the window, because I love all the customers and I get to know most of them by name,” she said. “They come in and talk to me about their children and their lives. They remember my birthday and will bring me flowers just because I was kind to them.”

Papizan’s favorite part of her illustrious career has been watching the local children grow up and become ambitious young adults.

“The most fun I have had is seeing the kids grow up and see them have bright futures,” she said. “They used to call me the sucker lady and now they come back and tell me that they made it.

“It’s all about getting involved with your customers on a personal level because you never know what they go through. It only takes a few minutes to listen but makes a world of difference.”

Papizan’s job has put her two sons, Jay and Josh Duncan, through college, has provided her with the ability to travel and spend time at home, but the physicality has taken a toll on her health and well being.

“A lot was provided for me in so many ways and it’s sad to leave something that has given me so much happiness, laughter and security,” she said. “I love my job. If I could physically do it for 10 more years, I would.

“It is just time to go now. My health has made the decision for me. I will miss it and I will miss these customers immensely.”

Papizan said she will be taking advantage of her retirement by traveling the globe, going fishing, gardening and spending time with her family.