Longtime customers recall their encounters with Avy Avenue postal worker Bob Delvishio

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on October 4, 2015

Bob Delvishio, aka Bob No. 1, was honored last week at a retirement party attended by, of course, Bob No. 2 (Bob Emperador), as well as many of his long-time postal customers. They came to honor the man whose unique sense of humor they’d come to appreciate over the past 15 years when visiting the Avy Avenue post office in Menlo Park.

Two of those customers, Menlo Park-based artist Mitchell Johnson, and his chef/author wife Donia Bijan, shared their thoughts with InMenlo.

Writes Mitchell: “I saw a lot of Bob over the years as I mailed thousands of catalogs and books from the Avy post office. Bob’s humor always made my day, and plenty of people came from far away to buy stamps and mail packages at Avy so they could see Bob One and Bob Two and have a laugh as they stood in line.

“Dozens of people stopped by the retirement party. Plenty of Mom’s had babies in their arms when they bought stamps from Bob years ago and those same Mom’s now send their kids college care packages at Avy. Bob will be missed, especially by those Mom’s.”

Writes Donia: “For me, nothing marks the passage of time more acutely than seeing a toddler at his mother’s knee standing in line at our local Avy post office. My eyes are drawn to this small person who exclaims and points at everything with wonder, whose shoes light up when he hops, who is as engaged with everything and everyone in this small room, as his mother is distracted. ‘There once was a boy who came here just like you,’ I want to say.

“I used to have a P.O. box at the Avy post office in Menlo Park. Twice a week I went there with my son when he was three, then four, to pick up mail. My box was on a lower tier, just above his height and he learned to turn the tiny key to open the tiny door to a tiny tunnel. What treasures lay within?

“Then, one day, there was a voice and a rustle inside. A squeaky hello with a Philly accent greeted him. Who are you? I’m the mail mouse. What are you doing? I’m filling the boxes. Do you live in there? Nah, I just work here, I’m the only one small enough for the job. Can I see you again? Sure, you can visit anytime!

“After that our routine visits became folklore; gifts were exchanged, parts of a sandwich were offered, rhymes and knock-knock jokes were swapped, and each time, the mail mouse endured a windfall of questions. Oh, the variety of it, and the spirited way the mouse replied!

“Who did we know, other than Bob, who saw what we saw, the then and the now — our neighborhood children from the time they were carried in slings to the day their parents brought in care packages to ship to faraway colleges? I expected to do the same someday — to hand over parcels to the mail mouse who once knew my wee boy.

“Alas, Bob retired. Whoever fills his shoes better hone that Philly accent!”

Photo by Mitchell Johnson

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