The new Waxahachie postmaster, Claudia James, says she’s “postal, but in a good way.”

She’s postal because she loves the post office and has been with it for the past 24 years – she collects post office memorabilia and even named her pet cat “Mr. Zip” after a cartoon character in mid-1960s post office advertisements that was used to promote zip codes.

“I got him off of death row when he was only about 12 weeks old,” she said. “They were going to euthanize him, but he was just reaching out to me with his little paws – so I said I would take him. Mr. Zip is about 5 years old today and the move from South Carolina to here has been a little traumatic for him.”

She said she’s fallen in love with Waxahachie since her arrival.

“I just love this town – I tell all my friends that I’m in ‘Heaven, 75165,’ ” she said with a grin. “I send brochures that I got from the chamber to them and I circle my home and the post office and on it I write, ‘1.82 mile commute – priceless.’ ”

Even though she’s only been on the job in Waxahachie since Sept. 6, James said she’s been greeted by traditional Texas hospitality.

“Everybody here is so friendly – even the people with complaints have been friendly,” she said.

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Ind., and the eldest of six children, James has worked in virtually every place a postal worker could work through the years, starting out in Goose Creek, S.C., as a clerk-carrier and moving into management in 1997. The post office has taken her to such hamlets as Rougemont, Carrboro and Apex, N.C., and she worked as a station manager in the capital city of Raleigh.

She did a stint in Bremerton, Wash., before returning to Summerville, S.C.

She explained why she had her sites set on Texas for the past four years.

“I’m here because I wanted to live closer to my sister in Fort Worth and I just happened to land the postmaster job in the coolest city in Texas,” she said. “My dad said that you can do anything you put your mind to – that was his legacy to us girls – I put my mind to work, planned and executed some career moves to be closer to my sister and her wonderful Texas family. And I’m here. I am truly blessed.”

She admits to becoming hooked on Friday night football and she will attend Fort Worth’s Southwest High School games to watch her niece march in the band.

James’ father, who passed away 10 years ago, was a construction project manager; her mother is a lawyer.

“All my sisters and brothers are spread out throughout the country – I have sisters in Boston, Fort Myers, Fla., and Fort Worth and my brothers are in Wisconsin and Indiana,” she said.

During her down time, in addition to her newfound love for Texas’ Friday night football, James enjoys immersing herself in home improvement projects and refinishing furniture. And, when her schedule permits, she loves to play bridge and is looking for a venue in town where that can happen.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.