No one loves a mystery more than I do. So when this letter showed up in my post box I was baffled and thrilled–also, angry that the United States Post Office botched its delivery so badly. Here’s why:
1) The only two parts of this address that are mine are “2790” and “California”. The name, street, even the city! Even the zip code are all wrong. How, the hell did this end up at my house?
The envelope flap was not sealed so I opened it and found a condolence card. If ever there was a card that needed to be delivered it was this one. “Our hearts, Our thoughts, Our sympathy…”
“We will always remember M’s sense of humor, Her laughter, Her thoughtfulness and kindness!
“The world was a better place because of her! We regret so much your loss. We dearly loved her!”
The post office doesn’t lose your bills, the endless reams of ads, the unwanted paper detritus of our lives, but this it loses.
Maybe, it’s best this letter landed in my box. I am, in so many ways, the finder of lost things, lost trinkets, lost animals, lost souls, and now, lost mail. I am the keeper, the fixer, the finder of homes for each and all that stumbles through my path. (I named my shop Dahlila, Found after all.)
So, here I am trying to figure out where this letter belongs, but not only is this address not mine, this address: 2790 West Locust Avenue, Frisco, California, 95711 does not exist at all.
1) 95711 isn’t a zip code, anywhere.
2) No one has rightly refered to San Fransisco as “Frisco” in decades. (One Hal R. Hobbs, Los Angeles resident, filing for divorce before the honorable Judge Morgan was nearly sentenced to “internment as the enemy” for constantly referring to San Fransisco as such in his courtroom.)
3) There is no West Locust Avenue in San Francisco.
Nothing about this address is right. So where does it belong? I decided to think like a much older person–okay, not even that much older did it. I thought the zip code 95711 might be inverted. So I flipped a few numbers around and got San Jose, Just an hour south of the city. Hm? Possibly, but there’s no West Locust Avenue there either. Then I thought what if my eyes were bad and I was reading this out of my old address book. I tried 95111, 95117, both San Jose again.
I looked again. What if it doesn’t say Frisco, but “Fresco”. There is no Fresco, but ah, there is Fresno. I typed in Fresno and low-and-behold their zip code is 93711!
So, …”Fresco, California, 95711″ is really “Fresno, California 93711.” All I need to verify now is that this woman actually lives at this address, then I’ll fix it and mail it onward. Also, there’s a return address. I will write to this kind woman from Savannah, GA and tell her my story of her letter and wish her my best.