Memoire Blog - Marin Memoires (1970's)Condition #1: I am easily star-struck. And then I get shy, and I can’t say anything. Or I say too much, or say stupid things.

Condition #2: I’ve always thought of postal workers as celebrities.  Especially post-masters.

I think it’s because, when I was 7, I met the first woman I ever knew who held an official position of power. She was the post-mistress in the town of Hathaway Pines, CA (Pop. 100 / Alt: 5,280).  She also had a wooden leg, which added to her celebrity and gave her an excuse to always wear pants. Which made her even more of a celebrity.

Although it just occurs to me, that, since I never saw her wooden leg, that might have been a convenient excuse someone gave me as to why she never wore skirts.  Or I might have made the wooden leg up myself as a plausible explanation for how she dressed.

But for the moment, let’s just say she had a wooden leg, OK? I think it was her left leg. And she was the all-powerful postmistress, bringer of MAIL.

After we left Hathaway Pines, we moved to places where the mail just came and went mysteriously on its own. Years and years of appearing-and-disappearing mail.

Until I moved to Pt. Reyes Station (94956) in 1971 or ‘72, where George Gallagher was the postmaster.  At the time, we always had to ask for our mail.  I can’t remember why.  That’s just the way it was. We’d go to the post office, wait in line, get up to the window and ask for our mail.

Although, now that I think of it … we might not have had to wait in line.  I might have always just forgotten my key.

In any case, that’s how I got my mail.

Normally, I tried not to waste too much of George’s time because he was a celebrity.  But one day a new postage stamp appeared, with George Gershwin on it.  George Gershwin was, at that time, my greatest hero.  I wanted to be George Gershwin.  So I rushed to the post office, stood in line, and held out the stamp to George Gallagher.


“George,” I said, “Look at this! Gershwin on a postage stamp! This is amazing.  It’s incredible.  I want to be on a postage stamp. How can I make that happen?

“Well,” George said, taking his time “I guess the first thing you’d need to do is die.”

Only dead people can be on postage stamps?”


“Oh,” I said.

So, that’s something to look forward to.


Eventually I moved away, went off to school, and further off to Boston (02140), but I would come back to Pt. Reyes to visit.  And one time, as I was driving down the hill into town I saw George Gallagher in his own garden!  THE George Gallagher … the POST MASTER!

I didn’t stop, even though I was thrilled to see him – because I had no idea what to say.  Because he was a celebrity.

And so I drove on.

And that’s the part that hurts.  Because the next time I went to Pt. Reyes, George Gallagher had died.

Which makes me think … as I write this .. that I wish I could see him on a postage stamp.

I recently learned that you no longer have to die to get onto a postage stamp. They changed the rules in 2011.  I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ll soon be able to personalize your postage stamps with your own image.  So move over, Gershwin!

Now … I wonder if there’s a way to retroactively get Fred Astaire to dance at one of my concerts …

I’m performing Sat. Jun. 22nd, 2013 at the Pt. Reyes Dance Palace – where I gave my first-ever solo concert nearly 4 decades ago — right down the street from George Gallagher’s garden … and down the other street from the post office.

And Wed. June 26 at the Museum of Making Music (MOMM) in Carlsbad, CA (near San Diego).

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