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Postcard mailed in 1943 finally arrives

11:36 PM, Nov 23, 2012   |    comments
Sisters Madie, left, and Hannah Podgorny of Elmira, hold a postcard intended for two other sisters -- Pauline and Theresa Leisenring -- who once lived in their Bridgman Street home. (Photo: Jennifer Kingsley, (Elmira, N.Y.) Star-Gazette)
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By Jennifer Kingsley, (Elmira, N.Y.) Star-Gazette

ELMIRA, N.Y. -- A postcard sent to two Elmira sisters nearly seven decades ago arrived last week at the intended address, but it ended up in the hands of two different sisters.

The postcard, sent July 4, 1943, from Rockford, Ill., was intended for Pauline and Theresa Leisenring, who once lived in the home along Bridgman Street in Elmira.

It was sent by their parents, who were visiting their brother at the Medical Center Barracks at Camp Grant, an Army post in Rockford during World War II.

Last week, the postcard arrived at the home of Adam and Laura Rundell.

"It was delivered in mint condition. We were so shocked," Laura Rundell said. "It's a treasure that just showed up in the mailbox with our address on it."

"We hear about things like this happening every once in a while," said Karen Mazurkiewicz, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service in Buffalo. "Generally, if old mail pieces are uncovered in a postal facility, they are put in the mail with information about where the items are found."

Sometimes, letters or postcards are found in an old mailbag or behind machinery.

"Since we didn't have much big machinery in 1943, my guess is a non-postal individual found it and put it in the mail," Mazurkiewicz said. "As long as there is a deliverable address, the Postal Service will deliver it."

Theresa and Pauline Leisenring may never have known about the postcard. Theresa died in 1954 and Pauline in 1962, according to records at nearby Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira.

Adam Rundell bought the two-story, Craftsman-style Bridgman Street home in 2008. The only time he'd seen the Leisenring name was on an old deed.

The couple find it interesting that, once again, two young girls occupy the home. This time, it's their daughters, Hannah and Madie Podgorny.

Hannah, a seventh-grader at Ernie Davis Middle School, plans to make the postcard the centerpiece of one of her history projects.

The family did a little research and were able to locate cousins of the Leisenring family.

"We offered the postcard to them," Adam Rundell said. "They seemed interested but so far haven't picked it up."

If the Leisenring family doesn't want the postcard, that's OK, Laura Rundell said.

"It finally made it to this house," she said. "We'll find a place for it in our home."

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