What would you do if two 75-year-old letters showed up in your mailbox? In New Jersey resident Gary Katen’s case, he thought it was a prank.
Or at least, that’s what he believed at first. He’d been complaining about not receiving his mail to a friend, so when he got the first letter, he assumed his pal was messing with him — until he realized the letter was definitely real and very old.
“I open up the mailbox and I get this letter and I’m like, OK, first of all, this isn’t me,” Gary said. “It’s airmail and I then look closely and it’s dated May 4, 1946 is the postmark. Wow. 75 years ago!”
Apparently airmail cost exactly 8 cents in the 40s, because the envelope had two 1-cent stamps and a 6-cent stamp on it. When that letter was mailed, World War II had just ended and Harry Truman was president.
Once the second letter arrived, Gary knew he had to open them. While he had a hard time deciphering the handwriting, once he did, he was reading the words of a man who was on vacation in California with his wife, writing home to his in-laws in New Jersey.
Naturally, Gary wants to get these letters back to that family.
“We’d love to be able to meet the people that it was addressed to because they all sound like such a great family and to say, we got your mail,” Gary said.
As to how or why the letters ended up at his house so many years later, nobody really knows.
“What we typically find is that old mail pieces, like these, are found by someone and then deposited into one of our collection boxes,” U.S. Postal Service communications specialist Xavier Hernandez said in a statement. “In most cases, these incidents do not involve mail that has been lost in the network and later found.”
No matter how the letters got to Gary, they sure do make for a good story! Hopefully, he’ll even be able to track down the family the notes belong to.
Share this story with your friends and who knows? Maybe the letters’ rightful owners will see!
Want more good news?
Sign up for Smile, our free daily good news email with over 600,000 happy and optimistic subscribers!
Share to Give!
Every time you share an article, we donate to Smile Train to help provide life-changing cleft surgeries to children in need. Spread good news, change lives! Learn more here.
$14.76 raised today!
Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.