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Bills, bills! Ah, what's this?

OK, Hermann Ilnseher thought, so his sister didn't come to his son Michael's high school graduation. But it wasn't like her not to at least send a check. She didn't, though, and now he knows why. Theresa Schlossarek didn't learn that she was invited to watch her nephew pick up his diploma until a couple of weeks ago, when the envelope arrived in her mailbox – far too late to attend. It was postmarked June 2, 1987. Yes, almost 22 years ago, when a first-class stamp cost exactly half of its face value today. The Postal Service could only speculate on the reason for the delay. Perhaps, a spokesman said, the envelope became caught in a piece of machinery somewhere between the Ilnseher home in Toms River, N.J., and Theresa's in La Grande, Ore. Or maybe it had been misrouted, delivered to the wrong address, and opened by someone else, which might explain why the envelope was unsealed when it finally reached the intended recipient. All that aside, the spokesman said the service regrets the lengthy delay, explaining that a letter mailed from one coast to the other should take no longer than three days to be delivered. "Very unusual," he said. "Very unfortunate." After all this time, Theresa told the La Grande Observer she's planning to frame the invitation as a memento. Her brother said the incident is "one of those things that always happens to someone else" and it hasn't shaken his faith in the mail system. As for Michael Ilnseher, if you're wondering whatever happened to him after graduation, well, he's back in high school – literally ... as an assistant principal in metropolitan Atlanta.

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