How a postcard arrived at its P.E.I. destination 20 years later

A postcard from Ontario addressed to an Island woman has made its way to her after more than 20 years.

‘It kind of makes you wonder where it's been for the past 20 years’

Jeff Perry found the 20-year-old postcard in his mailbox last week. (Jeff Perry/Facebook)

A postcard addressed to an Island woman has made its way to her after more than 20 years.

Jeff Perry was cleaning out the mail from one of his rental properties in Summerside, P.E.I., last week when a postcard caught his eye. It was dated April 28, 2000, and addressed to a home in Kensington, P.E.I., about 20 kilometres away.

"It was mixed in with a bunch of other mail from previous owners of the home, some junk mail et cetera, which I usually go clean out weekly as no one lives in the home," Perry said.

"I usually sort out the mail versus junk mail and throw it out, but this time around I found this postcard that was dated 20 years back to a lady which wasn't anywhere near the home, as it was in Summerside, and she was in Kensington, so I thought I would take it on myself."

Determined to find her

Perry posted the postcard to Facebook and asked if anyone knew a Sue Smith in the Kensington area, and it didn't take long before he received a response.

Susanne Smith, pictured here with her Caissie grandchildren in 2009, told CBC she was happy to finally receive the postcard. (Submitted by Sandra Callbeck)

"Someone inboxed me on Facebook knowing her whereabouts and the number," he said. "Upon calling that number, she was indeed at the residence, so I said I have a postcard that was to be mailed to her 20 years ago and obviously didn't make it," he said.

The sender of the postcard was Christine Caissie. She sent the postcard to her mother, Susanne Smith, during a trip to Ottawa with her family in 2000. They stayed at a cottage in Calabogie, Ont., and went to Ottawa for the day to tour around. 

Caissie, who lives in Ontario, was very surprised to hear about the postcard resurfacing this week.

"I just know that my mom likes to get postcards from different places so I thought it would be fun just to mail it to her," she said. "I never asked her if she received it, so I guess I never realized it didn't show up."

She said it was really funny to have the memory of the trip come back in this way. 

"It just seems like there's so many different things that don't quite add up," she said. "It kind of makes you wonder where it's been for the past 20 years.

"It just seems quite strange that it ever resurfaced and that it ever made its way back to my mom's."

The postcard was addressed to a residence in Kensington, but never delivered. Smith lived here for more than 30 years. (Submitted by Sandra Callbeck)

Caissie said she's very thankful to Perry for his efforts. 

"It's very, very kind of him to do that after all those years. You know I'm not sure most people would have bothered," she said.

For Perry, reuniting the postcard with its recipient seemed like the right thing to do.

"I know if the shoe was on the other foot and it occurred to me, I would appreciate someone returning it too."

'I'm baffled over it'

As for how this happened, even Canada Post says it's not sure.

"The item was processed on May 1, 2000, at our plant in the London, Ontario region," said Canada Post officials in an email to CBC.

"Like letter mail, postcards are not tracked, and we do not have any information on the item's travel points to Prince Edward Island. Unfortunately ... we can only speculate at this point as to what may have happened."

"I think perhaps it was stuck at the post office, kind of shuffled around here and there. Perhaps it was sent in the mail, perhaps returned … I'm not sure how that would have ended up in my mailbox or any mailboxes," Perry said.

"Really, I'm baffled over it myself."

The postcard was made out to Smith and her late partner Bob. (Submitted by Sandra Callbeck)

Perry personally delivered the postcard to the community care home where Smith now lives on Friday, but was not able to hand it off to her in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Smith moved to the care home in December after more than 30 years in the home the postcard was addressed to.

She received the postcard from the nurses on Sunday and told CBC she is happy to have it.

More from CBC P.E.I.

About the Author

Nicola MacLeod is a reporter with CBC in P.E.I.


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