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Man Searches For Original Recipient Of Letter That Arrived To His Home 75 Years Late

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Gary Katen and the 75 year old letters

The United States Postal Service isn't exactly known for its reliability but this really take the cake!

USPS has come under fire in recent years, over its cost and lack of efficiency — not to mention the allegations of mail-in ballot fraund in the last election — but in spite of their scandals, the service can at least say they always pull through, even if they're 75 years late.

This week, a man named Gary Katen found an unlikely submission to his mailbox.

The man received a letter at his New Jersey home that was 75 years late.

Katen described the moment that he found the letter, “I open up the mailbox and I get this letter and I’m like, ok, first of all, this isn't me. It's airmail and I then look closely and it's dated May 4th, 1946 is the postmark. Wow. 75 years ago!”

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Katen was surprised to see the old letter but he explained that he thought that it was just a part of some joke, “75 years ago I said, ok, so it's got to be a friend of mine goofing on me because I’ve been complaining about not getting my mail.”

As Katen looked the letter over he saw that it had two one-cent stamps and postage for airmail attached to it and the letter must have looked and felt old as well.

A short while later, a second letter from the same time period arrived.

It’s rude and sometimes illegal to go through someone else’s mail, we can all agree that this is a bit of an exceptional situation.

Katen hadn’t initially opened the letter, but after the second letter arrived he opened them to try and figure out what was going on.

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What Katen found was that the letters seemed to be from a husband to his inlaws describing a trip that he was on in California.

Katen has resolved to try and find the family that the letters were originally addressed to 75 years ago.

Visiting his nearby postal office, searching through records, Katen is doing everything that he can to try and find the family that the letters belong to.

Katen has said of his quest to deliver the world's most delayed mail, “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.”

A spokesperson for the USPS responded to inquiry as to how the letters could have been so delayed by saying, “What we typically find is that old mail pieces, like these, are found by someone and then deposited into one of our collection boxes."

"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.”

As of now, both how the letters became so delayed and who they were originally addressed to remains a mystery.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.