PLACERVILLE, Calif. (CBS13) — An envelope lost in the mail for nearly three decades was finally returned to its sender's family, giving them an unexpected treasure trove of family mementos.
John Mead said he's still amazed by the discovery of pictures of his family's past that were in an envelope that's been on quite a journey.
"I was really shocked, because it's been a long time coming back," John said.
John's mother sent the pictures and letter from her former house in Davis on August 13, 1983, according to the postmark.
Just a few weeks ago, the envelope was given back to the Mead family with a 20-cent postage stamp and all.
The letter was addressed to his mother's cousins in Washington State, and turned out to be a basic correspondence, but the real prize were the pictures that he's never seen. John's mother died shortly after the letter was sent off.
The story of how the letter found it's way to the Mead household in Placerville is another strange tale.
Davis resident John Eisele lives across the street from the old Mead house, and when he visited the family that lives there now, they handed him the old letter.
"They said, 'This lady doesn't live here any more, but did you use to know her?'" Eisele said.
Eisele didn't remember the Meads, but he recalled a conversation with his roofer who just happened to mention he knew one of the Mead's sons, John.
John said he plans to circulate the letter and pictures throughout his family and then try to track down the original recipients.
Why did the letter spend 28 years in limbo in the first place? The post office wrote a note on the envelope claiming the letter had been damaged, but John said it appeared to be in perfect condition.
Photo caption: A photo in a letter lost in the mail for 28 years. (CBS Sacramento)