I knew it was coming.
For twenty-four years, my mother was the postmaster of the fourth-class post office in Elizaville, Kentucky, the crossroads town where I grew up. During much of her tenure and throughout her retirement there was periodic talk about shutting down small rural post offices. Yesterday’s Ledger-Independent in Maysville published that Elizaville is on the current target list, and I doubt that it will escape.
It will be one more step in the town’s steady decline over the past half-century.
The elementary school I attended, in a brick building that had housed the private Willow Dell Academy in the late nineteenth century, closed the year I was in the sixth grade.
There were two general stores, one of which had been run by my paternal grandfather. They had been busy when Kentucky 32 was a main road to Lexington, but the traffic went to U.S. 68 and the customers went to the supermarkets in the county seat. Both have closed, and one has been torn down.
The Presbyterian Church, which split with the congregation in Flemingsburg over the slavery question in the 1850s, dwindled to two members, my mother and her oldest friend, before it was finally closed and sold to a buyer whose first act was to remove and sell the stained-glass windows.
The Christian Church (Disciples) appears to be thriving, the former gas station continues as a repair shop, and Price Bros. Funeral Home, through which my parents and grandparents passed on their way to the grave, is a going concern.
There’s a cemetery too, and I’m now at the point of knowing more of its residents than the living ones.
Oddly, I think there may be more people living there than the hundred or so of my childhood. It has become, in effect, a bedroom community.
And now, with the impending loss of its post office, which was a last nexus, its identity as a community grows even more tenuous.