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Home  >  Topics  >  Bizarre Beat

January 16, 2007
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Retired S.C. chief gets postcard postmarked in 1949

The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C.- A retired police chief who made a career out of solving crimes is puzzled by his latest case, a postcard dated nearly 60 years ago that recently showed up in his mailbox.

Ned Hethington said a plain white envelope containing a faded postcard of an old water wheel from the mountains of North Carolina arrived at his home Dec. 12.

There was no note and no explanation.

The card was addressed to Mrs. M.K. Hethington on King Street. A one-cent stamp was on the back, along with a postmark from Hendersonville, N.C., dated June 28, 1949.

"Dear Granny," the card read. "It is very hot up here. I thought this picture would cool you off by looking at it. Please write. Miss you. Aunt Olie Orr is going to take me around to see all the mountain. How is everyone. Margie."

Hethington, who spent more than 30 years in law enforcement, decided to investigate.

He searched his family tree and learned "Mrs. M.K." was his great-aunt, May King Hethington, who died in 1972. He later determined the sender was Margery Gilreath, a second cousin who died in 1985. She apparently sent the card while visiting another relative.

But all of the information he discovered still doesn't explain how it ended up at his home in West Ashley, several miles from its original destination.

The envelope the card arrived in was postmarked in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Dec. 9. The return address is an e-mail account held by someone using the moniker "lost.postcards." Hethington has e-mailed the account several times but hasn't received a reply.

"Someone paid 39 cents to send it to me, but why didn't they put a note in there?" Hethington said. "I'd just love to know who it was and where it's been all this time."






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