Pat Harkin told the Newport News Daily Press he has been meaning to get the book, "QB VII" by Leon Uris, back to the library for quite a few years. But he would forget to pack it when he returned to Williamsburg for homecoming.
The book, a World War II courtroom drama, moved with Harkin, who now lives in Alexandria, Va., to Chicago, New York and Texas, often remaining boxed up until its next move. Over the years, the dust jacket went missing but the paper slip libraries used to track checkouts before the computer era remained.
"I almost hate to give it up at this point," Harkin said. "I would rediscover this book every few years when I would go through boxes. I always thought I was sort of lucky to still have that connection."
The library forgave Harkin the $35 late fee -- that's what they are now capped at after accumulating at 10 cents a day -- but he made a contribution of an undisclosed sum.