Two letters arrive at New Jersey home 75 years after being mailed

Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A New Jersey man said he was left perplexed when a pair of letters arrived at his home that had been mailed to his address 75 years earlier.

Gary Katen said the first letter that arrived at his Hackensack home was postmarked May 4, 1946, and bore two 1-cent stamps and a 6-cent stamp.


"Wow, 75 years ago," Katen recalled to WNYW-TV.

Katen said the mystery deepened a few weeks later when a second letter arrived. He said both letters appear to be correspondence between a man and his New Jersey in-laws. The letter's author described a trip to California with his wife.

Katen said he was unable to find any answers at his local post office, and a search of local property records to find the owners of his home in the 1940s hit a dead end when it turned out some public records were destroyed by a fire several years ago.

Katen said he is still hoping to find family members of the letter's author.

"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,'" Katen said.


United States Postal Service spokesman Xavier Hernandez offered one possible explanation for the late arrival of the letters.

"What we typically find is that old mail pieces, like these, are found by someone and then deposited into one of our collection boxes," he said.

"Old letters and postcards can also be purchased at flea markets, antique shops, and even be purchased online, then they are re-entered into the system. In most cases, these incidents do not involve mail that has been lost in the network and later found," Hernandez said.

Susan Nordin of Duluth, Minn., was faced with a similar mystery in late 2021 when a letter arrived at her home that had been mailed 68 years earlier. The letter, addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Ed Nelson, announced the birth of a baby named Jimmy.

Nordin was able to enlist the help of local historians on Facebook and was able to return the letter to Connie Anderholm, the Nelsons' granddaughter. She said her brother, Jim, was the baby announced in the letter.

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