’Round Town

Deb Hodgdon

Wed, 06/12/2024 - 7:15am

How often, on our walk to pick up the mail, do we think about the means of delivery? The person who delivers? The people who sort? The people who load? For the most part, I think, we just take for granted that, if there is mail, it will come. In the dead of winter, the heat of summer, when it’s pouring down rain or blowing a gale. If there is mail, it will come.

Well, soon, the mail that Deb Hodgdon delivers on her 40-plus mile route, 30-year career and over 300,000 mile road trip, will come to an end. Deb is retiring. For many on her route through Boothbay, this will be a significant event. For all who have worked with Deb over the years, this is very significant. The group of people in the mail service, who she praises generously for years of help and support, will miss her. She is grateful for the tireless team who manages the ever increasing volume of mail. UPS and Amazon  have added huge quantities of packages, which, by the way, included the delivery of mountains of toilet paper during the pandemic! The pile of “freight” arriving daily for delivery sometimes requires multiple trips out to customers – vehicles can only hold so much toilet paper!

When we made our first series of area postcards (circa 1980), I snagged a photograph of Red Hodgdon returning home from lobstering, off the shore of Sawyer’s Island – his yellow slickers and distinguished Novi boat, fixed in time. I stopped in to see Red before printing the postcard to be sure it was OK with him. He gave me his blessing and in the course of chatting I discovered that he worked as a pipe fitter out of a local in Bangor, I believe. I had worked with a gang of pipe fitters and boilermakers on an outage job at a Pennsylvania coal-fired power plant on the Susquehanna River. My crew worked for an outfit in Chicago but they all came from West Virginia – a pretty rugged group who traveled the country together building and fixing.

Shortly after Red and I chatted, I was invited to make a family photo at the Hodgdon home on Hodgdon Island. Among my subjects, as it turned out, was Jon Hodgdon, who is, and has been, Deb’s husband of 45 years. My family photo, I believe, may predate their marriage. Jon has followed in Red’s footsteps both as a pipe fitter and a lobster chaser. 

Deb started her delivery service in 1994 under postmaster Cheryl Perry. The position was for a Rural Carrier Associate. The great Bobbie Reed was the regular at that time. Over the years, Deb has used her own Ford Escort, Subaru and Jeep Liberty for mail delivery, with the help of a center console cushion. She now drives an LLV (long life vehicle) provided by the postal service. Her “starter” route encompassed all of Boothbay, Trevett, and some of Boothbay Harbor.  

One interesting recollection from her years of travel happened when her Escort slid off the road after a snowstorm. Jack Waite and a couple friends literally picked up her car and put it back on the road. Never a dull moment driving with the window down!  

Deb will do more gardening, knitting and some embroidery along with a little more house repair,  painting, and grandchildren sports watching. A dream is to travel across the country to see the west coast, which should create a little less physical stress. Imagine the number of twists and turns and reaches in the course of a delivery day. Deb may not miss that!

Have fun Deb. A lot of people will be missing you, but I’m sure they will all think of you as they walk to the mailbox and remember your smiling face. You can always go for a ride along Back Narrows if you miss the route!