Recently Doris Alman received a postcard inside a plain white envelope. The postcard was sent from her mother and father, vacationing in Flagstaff, Arizona, to her grandmother in Audobon, Iowa. It had been mailed on Sept. 24, 1968. The envelope that held the postcard had a one-line return address: Lost Postcard Rescue Department. It had been mailed recently from Brooklyn, New York.
Doris Alman says she has no idea who could have mailed the old postcard to her. Whoever it was did some good research, because Alman no longer has the last name as her parents.
The U.S. Post Office says that there is no such thing as a "Lost Postcard Rescue Department" associated with the postal service. Nor was the envelope the postcard was sent in an official Postal Department letter. (If it were, it would have been stamped with a Postal Department stamp.)
So apparently there's a random prankster out there sending old, non-delivered postcards back to people. The Globe Gazette reports
Douglas Wick of Hedemarken Collectibles in Bismarck, N.D., deals in postal history, including postcards.
“It isn’t uncommon at all to find postcards,” he said. “They tend to get saved a lot more frequently than things you receive in an envelope. Postcards get saved because of the picture.”
Wick, who has operated his postal history business for 20 years, said he hasn’t heard of the Lost Postcard Rescue Department either.
“It isn’t likely a private business simply because there is an expense involved in sending the envelope,” said Wick. “To me this sounds like some kind of weird practical joke.”
Alman says she doesn’t know anyone who would have access to the card.
And she doesn’t know anyone who has been to Brooklyn lately to drop it in a mailbox.
“It’s just very puzzling to me,” Alman said with a grin. “I’ve actually laid awake nights wondering who could have sent it to me.”