On Aug. 13, 1983, Margaret Mead of Davis mailed a letter from Davis to acquaintances in the state of Washington. The letter, for reasons unknown, never reached its destination.
Last week, the letter, still bearing its 20-cent stamp, was returned for the first time to Mead’s old home on College Park in Davis.
Thanks to a lucky series of coincidences, John Eisele, a general contractor who lives across the street from Mead’s old home, was able to make connections and give the letter to Mead’s 82-year-old son, John, who lives in Placerville. (Margaret Mead died several years after the letter was mailed.)
“The stars just aligned,” Eisele said of the chain of events that unfolded.
It began before the letter was returned, when Eisele’s roofer, who lives in Placerville, mentioned to Eisele that his neighbor John Mead used to live in Davis, on College Park.
Shortly afterward, Eisele’s neighbors across the street received the 28-year-old letter, addressed from Margaret Mead.
“I said, well that’s funny, my roofer just told me about a John Mead who lived in Placerville,” Eisele said.
Eisele phoned his roofer and told him about the letter and the odd coincidence.
“I told him the letter looked like maybe it was important, so he went and told his neighbor, who said his mother did know some people up in Washington,” Eisele said.
John Mead said he was “very surprised” to receive the letter.
“I opened it up, and there were all kinds of pictures in it, supposed to go back to Washington,” Mead said. “It was really something.”
Mead is storing the letter to show his brother, who will be visiting this summer.
— Reach Chloe Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org