CEDAR CITY — A Cedar City woman recently received a postcard in the mail from London, England, which wouldn’t normally be exceptional, but in this case, the card arrived more than 50 years after it was originally mailed.
The postcard, which reads “Greetings from London” alongside photos of Trafalgar Square and other famous landmarks on its picture side, bears a message addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Bud Baccus of Los Alamitos, California, on the reverse. It’s postmarked Aug. 26, 1968.
“Where has it been for 53 years?” Betsy Bender, the Baccuses’ daughter, wondered aloud as she recounted how she mysteriously received the long-lost card in the mail at her Cedar City address earlier this week.
Bender explained that when her mother, Verna Baccus, had died at age 91 a couple months ago in July, she’d arranged for her mother’s mail to be forwarded to her in Cedar City.
Bender said she had spent her mother’s final days with her reminiscing about the past.
“The day before she died, she was just laying there, and I talked to her about all the travels we had done, how much fun we had and all the different things that we had done.”
More recently, Bender said her thoughts had turned to her mother, and she found herself carrying on a conversation with her again.
She told Cedar City News that she recalled thinking, “Mom, I don’t even know if this is possible, but I hear people say this all the time: ‘Send me a sign if you’re okay.’ You know, whatever. And then that card showed up.”
Bender says she’s not sure whether there’s anything supernatural behind it or if it was just a coincidence. Either way, she said, the mystery of the card’s whereabouts lingers in her mind.
“It’s been somewhere for 53 years,” she said. “I’d love to hear its story.”
After posting a photo and description of the postcard on Facebook earlier this week, Bender said her post received dozens of comments. Some speculated that the new owners of her mother’s previous home could have found the postcard and dropped it in the mail, but one commenter replied purporting to be the new owner.
“We didn’t do that,” the person said. “I did not find that. This is a legit story.”
Bender also said that as she and her sister had cleaned out their mother’s house in recent months, neither had any recollection of seeing the postcard.
“Neither one of us threw this away or made that connection,” she said. “We were going through all kinds of stuff.”
Bender noted that the original author and sender of the card was none other than her grandmother Marie Baccus, her father’s mother, who’d penned it during a trip she’d taken around the world that year.
The message on the card is the usual postcard fare, describing their arrival and getting settled in the hotel and being hungry; however, the writer does exclaim, “Wow, this is some city unlike anything you ever dreamed of.” Then she goes on to list some key places they’d already visited, including the queen’s home, the Thames River and London Bridge.
Bender said her parents were divorced in November 1968, just a few months after the card addressed to them was sent.
“If my mom would have gotten this, she probably would have thrown it away because she didn’t care for my dad right then,” she said.
Kimberlie Ray, postmaster of the Cedar City Post Office, said she wasn’t aware of the unusual delivery until she was shown a photo of the front and back of the card by Cedar City News.
Ray said it’s unlikely the mail carrier noticed anything unusual, since postcards and other pieces of mail with a yellow forwarding address sticker are a routine occurrence.
Not even the decades-old postmark nor the 5-penny stamp apparently attracted any undue attention during the mail-handling process.
U.S. Postal Service spokesman Rod Spurgeon said that although it is possible for a piece of mail to go missing for awhile by falling underneath or behind a piece of equipment, that’s usually not the case.
“What we typically find is that old mail pieces like this are found by someone and then deposited into one of our collection boxes,” Spurgeon told Cedar City News. “Old letters and postcards can also be purchased at flea markets, antique shops and even online, and they are re-entered into our system. In most cases like this, these incidents do not involve mail that had been lost in our network and later found.”
Bender, who moved to Cedar City with her husband, Randy, about a year ago, says that to her, it ultimately doesn’t matter how it happened.
“Somebody said, ‘Oh, it probably got blown out of the trash, and somebody probably picked it up and put it in a mailbox,” Bender said. “Then you have those people who are saying, “It’s a sign.’”
Regardless of the circumstance, she said it’s “pretty cool that it made it.”
“No matter how it happened, it happened. I don’t really care how it got here, but the fact that it got to me is just amazing.”
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