News people don't usually like to become a part of the news. But what happened to me was so unusual that I had to tell the story.
It's common to sometimes get mail from the person who lived in your house before you did. But when I opened my mailbox Wednesday, I found a letter not only addressed to a previous resident, but mailed in 1977.
There was the initial postmark in Ridgecrest, California, and another this week in Jackson, Miss., along with a 13-cent stamp.
I began investigating and this is what I learned.
My wife and I are the fourth owners of this house, The Trussells were the first. They built it in the 1940s. Al Trussell died in 1977, the year this letter was sent. His wife Mona moved out a couple of years later.
Our next door neighbors remember the Trussells fondly.
"I remember they owned Queen City Bait Shop on the corner of 14th and 23rd Avenue, for years," said Ken Peninger. "Had a real good business. They were good neighbors."
A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service says it's unlikely the latter was lost the entire time, but was probably delivered to the wrong house all those years ago.
Then it was likely found later when that location was being cleaned and then dropped back in the mail. Because it had that 1977 postmark, the post office went ahead and delivered it.
I did manage to catch up with the daughter of Mrs. Trussell, Debbie Hunter. We plan to meet soon for her to get the letter. But in the meantime, she gave me permission to open it.
It's a deed to a burial plot at Magnolia Cemetery dating all the way back to 1919, signed by F.A. Hulett.