Let me take this opportunity to introduce our local versions of Google and what used to be the telephone book. If these two ladies don’t know where you can be found, you can’t be. Unless, of course, you have moved into the region within the last 24 hours. In that case Jenny, pictured on the left, or Ashley will have been alerted to your arrival before the last piece of furniture has left the moving van. In other words, these two are the eyes and ears of the peninsula. And both are leaving the post office. Breaks my heart.
They both have worked in every post office: Boothbay, Southport, Boothbay Harbor, Trevett, East Boothbay and West Boothbay Harbor. As if that weren’t sufficient, they both grew up here and are related in some way to many year rounders.
Before Jenny signed up with the local postal service she earned a degree in culinary arts at New Hampshire College after which she cooked at Fisherman’s Wharf and Tammy’s Kitchen which replaced Mr. Shea’s operation at the end of Route 27. She was an ed tech at Southport school and a firefighter and EMT in Boothbay. When she signed on with the post office she worked as a PTF which means “Part time Flexible Clerk.” Basically, that meant that she went wherever needed to fill in. She has worked with the post office for 21 years, 16 of which were with Ashley, who, by the way, will be taking a position as postmaster in Wiscasset by the time the lead type for this article cools. Our loss, their gain.
Jenny grew up in East Boothbay in the vicinity of Lincoln Street. Her childhood buddies included the Wilson boys, and the Siroises. Her great-grandfather was Claude Rice of the famous Rice Brothers boatyard. Her folks ran one of my favorite photo places, “Boothbay Marine” at the end of School Street in East Boothbay. She counts the Holbrooks, Alleys and Lewis families, too, as major players throughout her growing up years. Many of our legendary fishing folk, especially the Monheganers, will recall repairs made at the East Boothbay shop. Jenny got to know them all.
Jenny met her husband Matt Sledge while a part timer at the Southport post office. Matt was working at Boothbay Region Boatyard at the time (now a Hodgdon facility). He lived elsewhere but found it convenient to pick up his mail, when he did, at the Southport office. Jenny collected his mail in a box for Matt to retrieve whenever he remembered to stop by.
Jenny will finish up her postal duties on May 13. She plans to help Matt with his boatbuilding business (Samoset Boatworks), do some gardening with her sister Sandy at “New Leaf Gardening,” and spend more time with children Meg and William, both of whom will be entering high school. Jenny’s oldest, Zach, works locally with Taylor Lewis who has a prosperous tree care and removal business, Lewis Tree Management.
It’s a good move for Jenny who has battled knee and leg problems since her childhood. The longstanding hours at the P.O., on hard flooring, have been a challenge. She has had some major surgeries over the years with the prospects of more in the future. I believe it’s fair to say that she is at peace with her decision but will miss her contact with customers and co-workers.
For anyone who has ever visited the Harbor post office you will never forget Jenny’s pleasant and helpful enthusiasm while juggling phone calls, computer glitches and customer service. She always managed a smile even when personal complications may have tugged at her attention.
Fair winds Lady Jen. See you at Hannaford. Be sure to update your forwarding address for all your adoring postal customers – no expiration date. You will be missed.