By Martha Jacob
“I feel like I’m the local bartender, without the alcohol.” Those are the words said by Ripley Postmaster, Catherine Pfeffer, as she described her many years she has worked for the post office. But after 30 years with the post office Pfeffer will retire as postmaster on June 30.
She began her career in 1985 when she became a clerk at the Georgetown post office.
“I was pretty excited about getting that first job in Georgetown,” Pfeffer said, “but I was only there for about 4 months when I got really lucky, because the postmaster here at Ripley was retiring so I came here as a clerk. That was in 1986. In 1998 I was named postmaster in Higginsport for two years before being transferred to Mayslick Kentucky. From there I went to Manchester.
“Finally I came here to Ripley and became postmaster. It’s been quite a ride the last 30 years and I’ve always loved what I do. I live here in Ripley and I love this community.”
When asked why she is retiring at this point she simply said, she listened to her gut feeling and she just knew it was time. “I never really thought I would want to retire and leave my job,” she said, “But once I hit that 30 year mark I knew it was time to move on.”
Pfeffer talked about her many years and experiences she has had as postmaster and said that getting to know people, their sad times, their good times and sharing stories with them has been one of the most rewarding parts of her job.
“I know almost everyone in this community,” she said with a smile, “I know their names, I know about their lives and I care about them. I’ve watched their families grow up. That’s why I say I feel like a bartender, without the alcohol. These people are my friends.
“I’ve actually learned a lot about people in the community by the mail they get. But like Vegas, what happens in the post office, stays in the post office.”
Pfeffer said that one of the things that a lot of people don’t realize about the post office is all the unusual things that come through it, like chickens, ducks, fish and snakes.
“I remember when I was working at the Manchester office we use to get a lot of roosters,” she said, “They were usually on their way to West Virginia and I always found that interesting.”
Pfeffer said one of the worst parts of her job was caused because the post office is directly associated with the federal government and if the price of a stamp went up by a penny, people would treat her and her staff like it was their fault, and they were personally taking that extra penny for themselves.
“I’ve always been proud to serve as a postal employee and I feel like my staff, and every post office staff deserves a thank-you, once in a while for doing their jobs,” Pfeffer said. “As for me, it has been my pleasure, my privilege to serve Ripley as its post- master.”