FARMINGTON — The address may not exist anymore but the mail got through after 64 years.
A postcard sent from Winthrop in the fall of 1946 to a freshman at Farmington State Teacher's College was delivered Monday.
It was the dorm room number and the 1-cent postage that caused Andrea Butterfield, a University of Maine at Farmington mailroom employee, to notice the postmarked date of 1946, she said.
Purington Hall, a UMF dorm, no longer has a Room 15, Butterfield said. That drew her eye to the postage amount and then on to the stamped date listing only the year and Winthrop, Maine, she said.
It came with the mail from the Farmington Post Office a few weeks back but where it has been for the past 64-years is a mystery.
The photo wasn't faded; neither was the ink
The postcard in mint condition with a photo of the Catholic Church in Winthrop on the front was addressed to a "Miss Ruth Webber, Purington Hall, Room 15, Farmington, Maine."
Butterfield doubted it had seen daylight over all those years. It wasn't worn or faded, neither was the ink on the handwritten message signed by "Gert and Charlie."
The card was finally delivered to that former freshman, Ruth Webber McGary, Monday while she was on campus to meet with this year's recipient of a scholarship bearing her name, one she established 10 years ago, she said.
Now 83, she remembered the couple but wondered what she might have done that resulted in the thank-you message written on the card as Butterfield read the card to her.
After graduating from high school and during the summer of 1946, Webber worked with Charlie at an Augusta department store, D.W. Adams, and also played slide trombone three nights a week in a Swing Band started by Charlie and Gert. Their last name was Payne but McGary couldn't remember the spelling.
She raised enough money to cover her first semester at the Farmington college where she majored in home economics, she said. After that, she worked, waiting on tables, serving as a lab assistant and babysitting for local families to fund her schooling and graduated in 1950.
Employees at the Farmington Post Office may not have noticed the date on the card, Butterfield said. As first-class mail, she knew she needed to try to deliver it even though she wondered how to find an address after 64-years, she said. UMF's Alumni Office supplied the information needed. McGary was notified of the card at the time but it was held to be hand delivered Monday.
McGary now lives in Manchester and winters in Florida. "She taught school for many years before staying home to raise her two children. She earned a master's degree in adult education from USM in 1979 and was employed by Central Maine Power as a home economist and later as a research and development coordinator. In 1997, she wrote a cookbook entitled, 'Healthy Homestyle,' which was published by the American Diabetes Association," according to a UMF release.
Ten years ago she was approaching her 50th wedding anniversary and her 50th college graduation anniversary. Her daughter was fighting cancer and no one felt like celebrating, she said. Instead she established a yearly scholarship for a student at UMF who is majoring in education, has a high grade-point average, is from Maine and is preferably the first generation of their family to attend college and one who financially needs it, she said.
"I was describing myself," she added, recounting her own efforts to gain a college education. A believer in living frugally and giving back, McGary quoted a motto she has lived by, "use it up, wear it out, make it do or go without."