Message From Beyond (Brooklyn, Actually!) Inspires Author’s Letter-Writing Fervor

Sequel idea: Clarence The Angel comes back
to earth to help George Bailey with his autograph
collection. Movie title?
It’s A Wonderful Hobby Life

I may own the most inspiring “Return to Sender” envelope of all time.

In fact, I feel more like an American Idol winner than someone who sent a wrongly-addressed letter.

I tried searching an address for Sal Durante, the 19-year-old fan who caught historic homer #61 from Roger Maris in 1961.

The same-named person I found lived in Brooklyn.

Naturally, the recipient of the envelope was entitled to open what I sent. In my SASE, I received my two-page letter and the outer envelope. On it was a handwritten message:

You’ve got
the wrong
‘Sal Durante’
Last I heard, the
right guy lived
in Staten Island, NY!

Good luck!

This wasn’t two wasted stamps at all. Instead, because regular inner voices Obi Wan Kenobi, Jiminy Cricket and angel Clarence Oddbody seemed busy, I heard from an uplifting voice in Brooklyn.

This stranger read my letter, then decided to cheer me on. He believes enough in my hobby to want me to succeed.

Sure enough, another search engine confirmed that a “Sal Durante” of the correct age lives in Staten Island.

I got the original letter re-sent to the proper guy.

However, I’m going to drop a postcard of thanks to the other Mr. Durante. I’m keeping that envelope to remind me of one lesson:

People are good.

Coming Tuesday: Pitcher Jim Strickland looks back.

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