Monday, February 04, 2008

Billy Boy

In the Atlanta Post Office when I worked there were 8000 employees. I think about half of them worked at the mail distributing facility, The Federal Annex, in Atlanta. And that is where most of us time keepers worked.

In the basement was where the parcels were primarily distributed. The big conveyor belt was about 30 feet from the elevator doors. I remember the many times I got on or off the elevator and saw the same people at the conveyor belt throwing parcels to into canvas tubs or gurneys.

It seems like always a certain goofy looking character was standing there throwing parcels and always smiling as he talked to his co-workers. He was a tall guy, probably in his mid 40s, with a pot belly and buck teeth. He reminded me of the Disney cartoon character Goofy.

Once I was waiting at the elevator with Chuck, a co-worker of mine, who used to work in that area and seemed to know everybody. I mentioned the Goofy looking guy, how happy he looked and Chuck said that was Billy so and so, and they called him “Billy Boy”.

I mentioned that I saw him in the break room several times and he was always reading a paperback western novel. Chuck didn’t know Billy Boy liked western novels.

As we rode up to our office on the elevator Chuck told me Billy Boy was single and lived with his mother and they had strange past time: They looked daily in the Atlanta Journal or Constitution at the obituaries and decided what stranger’s wake to visit next.

They paid their respects to at least two families a week, sometimes more, considering holidays and annual leave days. Here is the clincher: Either Billy Boy or his mother would pull out their small camera and snap a picture of the deceased.

They had a photo album of dead people lying in caskets with flowers around them.

I wonder why some young lady didn’t come along and grab Billy Boy up?

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Blogger kenju said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:03 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

How macabre! I cannot believe anyone would do that! No wonder no one snapped him up.....LOL

7:03 AM  
Blogger ET said...

This mother and son relationship reminds me of the book and movie "The Loved Ones" by Terry Southern.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Oh that is so weird. I got goosebumps from reading that.

12:45 PM  
Blogger ET said...

Billy Boy will return in a day or so with a true life Postal adventure.

1:17 PM  
Blogger deborah wilson said...



I had an Aunt that would go to funerals all the time - people she didn't even know. It use to creep me out.

I wrote a poem about it, "Scott". Of course I turned it around a little (Scott instead of my Aunt) but the point is still the same and very true. Maybe I'll post it tomorrow.

"Scott" is part of my weird people collection.

I think some people are just weird like that (billy boy and my Aunt). At one time, strange customs ruled the day, it was considered the proper thing to do, to take pictures of the dead.

Has anyone seen the display at Kennesaw Mountain Information Center about 'mourning'?

10:02 AM  
Blogger ET said...

I posted sometime in 2007 (I think) a picture of my mother-in-law's dead brother in his casket. I think she has two or three more pictures of siblings' remains who died young.

I drop by the Kennesaw Museum two or three a year, just to see if they have anything new, and no I haven't seen the display about mourning - I'll have to check that out.

11:19 AM  
Blogger deborah wilson said...


I think every family has them-type-of-photos.

If the mourning display is no longer there, let me know. I took pics of it and can post them. But it was so long that I had to do it in sections, so it would be better appreciated by looking at the whole display.


12:54 PM  
Blogger ET said...

It may take a while when I find myself in that area not pushing to be someplace at a certain time.... but, I'll get there.

2:11 PM  

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