As luck would have it, we got a second chance on that misdirected Christmas card back in 2008 after all.
We returned to town on December 30th that year and checked our mail. Only after we had hiked home and started opening our Christmas cards did I see that the stack included the very same card we’d sent away on December 13th! Michelle pointed out that I had neglected to mark out the Post Office bar codes at the bottom of the envelope. We had checked the mail at least once between the 13th and the 30th, so we know the card left town, then “boomeranged” back to our mailbox!
Luckily, we had to go to town again the next morning. Aly and I went out and took photos of her holding the card in front of our view and the town welcome sign. We then handed it to our Postal clerk, who saw to it that it was mailed properly this time. He pointed out that the code directed it to our Zip Code, but a different mailbox. The intended recipient’s “plus 4” is the same as our box number. That and Aly’s name name being close to the first name of the recipient were the only similarities.
We wrote a letter explaining how far the card had come, and sent it to the sender and recipient, along with copies of the photos the next time we went to town.
This card, sent from Sanford, Maine, was supposed to reach Glendora, New Jersey, 333 miles away. Instead, it traveled 2870 miles to Alaska! Ignoring all the extra travel it must have experienced, it logged at least 5,770 miles to reach Glendora from Sanford, more than 17 times the distance it should have gone!
The sender of the card sent a short, sweet letter that arrived toward the end of January 2009. He was amazed at how far the card had traveled, thanked us for the photos and for being so determined to forward the card on, and told us a little bit about his life. He said the recipient of the card never mentioned that the card was late.
We noticed he used the Alaska stamp from the recent “State flags” set of First Class stamps to mail his letter to us. Nice touch!