Letter From NJ to Ore. Woman Takes 22-Year Route

LA GRANDE, Ore. (AP) - An Oregon woman finally received an invitation to her nephew's high school graduation in New Jersey, but she may be a little late - it was in 1987.

Theresa Schlossarek, of La Grande, found the invitation last week in her mailbox. The envelope, which had been opened, was postmarked June 2, 1987, from Toms River, N.J., where her brother, Hermann Ilnseher, lives.

Ilnseher said the lack of response from his sister was noticed but dismissed.

"We just thought that she lived so far away, she couldn't come," Ilnseher said. "She usually would send money, though, so we did joke about that later on, that maybe she could send some and add interest for the years passed."

Peter Hass, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service's Portland district, called the delay "very unusual and very unfortunate."

Hass said the envelope could have been stuck in machinery or misrouted and delivered to the wrong address, which would explain why it arrived opened. But he said no matter the age of the mail, "if it's postmarked, we're obliged to deliver it."

Schlossarek's nephew, Michael Ilnseher, now an assistant principal at an Atlanta-area high school, said he didn't remember his aunt not receiving an invitation.

"I never realized something could be lost for 22 years like that," he said.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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