In a scene reminiscent of Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best, but adapted to 21st century society, the grateful denizens of East Meadow's Mail Route #30 sent off their longtime carrier into retirement with good wishes, gifts and a party organized by a few community leaders.
What do you do when your beloved mail carrier retires after thirty years in the same East Meadow neighborhood? You get dozens of people from that neighborhood together and throw her a surprise party. It all started with a simple Facebook post at the end of November, in which I asked, "Our well-loved mail carrier, Kim Hollar, is retiring one month from today . . . What shall we do to send her off properly?" I thought it would be appropriate to involve our civic association, an organization that was very vibrant in those "Mayberry" days of East Meadow.
Lois Quinn, Vice President of the Wenwood Oaks Civic Association, suggested having a party. After a few days of throwing out ideas, WOCA President Susan Marks, booked Domenico's of Levittown and contacted Hollar to tell her that a "few" people wanted to take her to dinner. Fliers were printed and distributed to 250 homes along her route. The prix-fixe dinner was attended by over 40 guests, largely from Wenwood Oaks, a development of over 100 homes off North Jerusalem Road that includes Woodland Middle School. At the party, Town Councilman Dennis Dunne and State Assemblyman John Mikulin presented Hollar with citations. Dunne remarked that he had never seen anybody go out of their way before to honor their mail carrier with a retirement party.
Kim Hollar first began delivering mail in 1986 and took over her current route in 1992 after the previous mailman, Billy Hanson, was injured after falling in an abandoned septic tank under a homeowner's front lawn. (Sewers had been installed in the early 1980s.) She became a staple of the neighborhood.
Through the years, Hollar went above and beyond the call of duty to deliver unprecedented service to the residents of the Wenwood Oaks area. Aside from picking up and delivering all sorts of mail, she served other vital functions, which seemed to include community watch officer (Hollar knew when residents were on vacation or away for the season and made sure to hold their mail or have it forwarded to temporary destinations), dog whisperer (all locals know what Kim kept in her pocket!), feline friend (my cat loved Hollar so much that we found her lounging in the mail truck one day), and guidance counselor (who didn't stop to talk to Hollar when you needed someone to listen?). Hollar even turned off an outside faucet when the pipe burst one winter, saving thousands of dollars in flooding damage.
A post about the event on Todd Weinstein's "Nice Things that Happen in East Meadow" social media page garnered 200 likes and many personal stories of Hollar over the years, even from people who didn't live on her route. Lori Rand-Marder wrote, "[Hollar] was more than an excellent mail carrier. She is an incredible person who took interest in all her homes." Randye Lackner Tone commented about the great community in which we live, where people "still have a heart."
Hollar, after reading page after page of praise, responded that, "Everyone keeps showing their appreciation for me but what they don't understand is the huge part they have played in my life. I have no doubt that without their love and friendship I never would have made it all these years. They are what have kept me going. I had the privilege of meeting their extended families and watching their children grow up. I was always kept in the loop and included in everything as if I lived right there among them."
We wish Hollar much joy in her well-earned retirement!
© Scott Eckers
Dr. Scott Eckers is the author of East Meadow in Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series. He serves on the East Meadow Board of Education. Scott is also an entertainer and recording artist.