Friday November 21, 2014

Surprise, you’ve got mail


The contents of a letter mailed 50 years ago, but never received, surprised Rose Marchinko.

Last month, Rose Marchinko of Yorkton received an odd call from her husband Herb’s cousin Louie Zawislak, who lives in Mikado.

“You’ve got mail,” Louie said.

“Why would I have mail at your place?” Rose asked. What was it? Who was it from? But Louie wasn’t offering up any details. She would have to find out the next time she and Herb visited the small town just east of Canora where Herb grew up.

The mystery deepened when they eventually got around to visiting a few days later and Louie handed over a yellowed and slightly soiled envelope simply addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Herb Machinko, Mikado, Sask. The return address was equally cryptic: Box 35, Rama, Sask. Rose left Rama when she was 16; she had no idea who it could have been from.

The envelope featured a five-cent stamp with a very young Queen Elizabeth II and was date-stamped DE21 64.

It was a long lost Christmas card and letter from her friend Vi Scogen. Inside the card was $12, a $10 bill and a $2 bill.

“I hope you don’t mind me sending this to Mikado because I didn’t know if you moved in Yorkton or not, anyway, here’s something that might come in handy,” Vi wrote.

The couple had recently been married in October 1964 (Vi had been a bridesmaid) and had indeed moved to Yorkton where Rose had taken up her career in teaching. Vi was teaching in Tadmore.

“Unfortunately, Mother forgot to give it to us, it got put into a cupboard and 50 years later the people that now own the house were throwing out the kitchen cupboards and found the letter and that’s how we discovered the letter 50 years later,” Rose explained.

“I was just shocked, so when I got home, I knew my friend Vi was now living in Sturgis, so I quickly phoned her,” Rose recounted. “I said, ‘You won’t believe this story.’ So I told her the story and she said to me, “I wondered why all those years you never thanked me.”

They had a good laugh about it.

“I said, ‘how come you mailed it from Rama when you were teaching in Tadmore?’ She said, ‘Oh, I went home for Christmas and my folks lived in Rama and I thought I would just use their box number in case it never got to you’,” Rose recounted.

“In case it never got to me,” she exclaimed. “It got to me 50 years later!”

Vi suggested Rose could go buy herself lunch. Of course, what would have been a pretty generous gift from a single teacher in 1964 (about $92 today), would not cover lunch in most places nowadays. Rose has another idea, anyway. She is going to get the whole package framed as a reminder of a wonderful, albeit belated, surprise.



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