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Postcard back in hands of Charlottetown woman who mailed it 49 years ago

Carol Maclauchlan sits in her Charlottetown home while admiring a postcard she sent to her parents 49 years ago that was recently returned to her.
Carol Maclauchlan sits in her Charlottetown home while admiring a postcard she sent to her parents 49 years ago that was recently returned to her. - Katie Smith

All it took was a Facebook message to bring Carol Maclauchlan back to a time of peace, love and rock and roll.

It was 1969, when a then 20-something Maclauchlan was on the third year of her North American adventures, having hitchhiked across Canada and down the West Coast of the United States, along Route 101.

During a hike in the woods one day among the Douglas firs, Maclaluchlan took a break to write her parents a postcard to let them know she was well. She was, after all, in California — far away from her Charlottetown home.

Soon after, the traveller made her way back to P.E.I., where she gave up her wanderlust lifestyle, became “very ordinary”, got married and raised two sons.

Her past was all but a distant memory, until earlier this week.

Nearly half a decade after she wrote the postcard to her parents, Maclauchlan received a Facebook message on June 10 from a woman asking her if she was the person who sent this particular postcard – and attached an image. Sure enough, she was.

As it turns out, the poster’s now ex-husband, Sandy MacMillan, was restoring a home 20 years ago on Upper Prince Street, the former residence of Maclauclan’s parents.

Judging by the six-cent stamp on the back, MacMillan could tell the card was old, so he decided to hold on to it.

“I don’t know, I’m weird,” he said laughing when asked why he kept it all these years. “When I found it, I knew it was pretty old, and it was personal for whoever wrote it.”

While the postcard has been out of Maclauchlan’s life all these years, it’s played an ongoing role in MacMillan’s.

Over the years when he’d move or go looking through drawers, MacMillan said the postcard would suddenly turn up.

When it appeared again a few months ago, MacMillan decided to find the original sender.

Unsure how to best navigate social media, he tasked his ex-wife to help him, and left the card with her for a couple of months.

Last week he paid her a visit, and sure enough, there it was.

“And I thought, ‘oh, there’s that postcard again, for the hundredth time’,” MacMillan said. “Seriously, every time I’d put it away, I’d see it’s right there again. I don’t even know what I’m doing with this card, but I kept saving it and putting it away.”

Within a day, they found Maclauchlan and met up with her to return the card.

“When we met, I felt good for her to get that after that amount of time,” MacMillan said.

Maclauchlan said she’s grateful for this piece of her past to be returned to her.

“When I found this card, it was really good — it’s like I went full circle. It brought me right back to where I wrote that postcard,” she told The Guardian from her West Royalty residence. “I have no memorabilia left from all those years I travelled, so I’ll frame this.”

And as for MacMillan?

“I can move one now,” he laughed.

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