FORT KENT, Maine — In 1977 the first Apple II computer went on sale, Quebec adopted French as its official language, Jimmy Carter took office as president, inflation was running at 6.5 percent, a gallon of gas cost 65 cents and the price of a stamp was 13 cents.

In July of that year, Barbara Moore bought one of those 13-cent stamps and mailed a postcard to her parents, Jim and Peggy Moore, in Fort Kent.

Her mother was thrilled recently to get the card with its brief note about the wonderful time her daughter was having — 31 years ago in Bar Harbor.

It took the card, with its picture-perfect sunbathers on the front, three decades to travel the 250 miles from the coast to the St. John Valley.

“When I got it I thought, ‘What the heck is she doing in Bar Harbor? She lives in California,’” Moore said.

Now a lawyer in Sacramento, Calif., Barbara Moore three decades ago was working as a camp counselor at Camp Matoaka in Oakland.

“Hi Guys, This is where I went yesterday,” Barbara Moore wrote on the back of the card bearing a photo of a sunny day at Sand Beach. “Had a good time, will call you tonight. Love, Barbara. P.S. It is soooo hot!”

The first thing the elder Moore did after receiving the belated summer greeting was hop into her car and drive straight to the Fort Kent post office.

“[Postmaster] Rudy [St. Peter] kept shaking his head,” Moore said. “The other post office employees gathered all around and they kept shaking their heads.”

St. Peter told Moore there is no way to tell where the postcard spent the last 33 years or why it took so long to be delivered.

“I heard of a letter from Europe to someone here that took three years to get here,” Moore said. “That’s nothing compared to 33 years.”

Moore said her daughter at first did not believe the story of the wayward postcard.

“I told her I had it right in front of me and read it to her,” Moore said. “She just laughed and laughed.”

The postcard’s arrival, albeit delayed decades, reinforced Moore’s confidence in the postal system.

“The mail does get through,” she said with a laugh.

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.