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56 Surprise Postcards … 56th Birthday!

March 3, 2014

Every year, Fred Liederbach and his five kids give their mom, Kathy a birthday gift of something in the quantity of her age. This February 27th, she turned 56 so she expected something in the the quantity of 56, but she didn’t know what.

Message from Kathy Liederbach: "...All of you at the National Park of American Samoa are champs for enthusiastically joining in the fun. Thanks for the postcard from your beautiful island and for all the warm wishes that traveled so far to reach me! We've really enjoyed looking through the brochures you sent as well..."

Message from Kathy Liederbach:
“…All of you at the National Park of American Samoa are champs for enthusiastically joining in the fun. Thanks for the postcard from your beautiful island and for all the warm wishes that traveled so far to reach me! We’ve really enjoyed looking through the brochures you sent as well…”

Read more about the story, the surprise, and emotions shared by her husband Fred!

“… Kathy is a school teacher and she works about 10 miles north of our town of Petoskey. The secret P.O. box in the tiny village of Oden is in between her school and our town, so I had arranged to have Kathy’s friend, who she carpools with, pull into the Oden post office on their way home after school. It was a bright sunny day, but crisp and cold, probably about 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

The secret P.O. box

The secret P.O. box

Our 10 year old daughter, Sarah, and I were waiting at the post office when Kathy and her friend arrived, and we went out into the parking lot when we saw them. We handed Kathy the keys to the box and told her to go inside and walk straight ahead. I had taped a cartoon from the Frank and Ernest comic strip on the box – Frank and Ernest shaped as the numbers 5 and 6. That made it easy for Kathy to find box 56!

Well, she opened the box and, needless to say, was surprised to find a huge pile of postcards addressed to her. The first several she looked at had different states’ names on them, and puzzled, Kathy commented that there aren’t 56 states. She started counting and when she found the Washington DC card she counted it too, so I stopped her and asked if DC is a state. She said no, and I suggested she start a separate pile. Soon she found the America Samoa card followed by the other territories, and when she had finished she understood why there were 56 postcards: 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia!

More than any other emotion, Kathy seemed fascinated. She hadn’t read the notes so she wasn’t as touched as she would be later, and she wasn’t completely surprised – she knew we’d have something in store. But she was fascinated – she wondered how Sarah and I, and our older children, could have arranged all that. I explained how the American Samoa card was probably the trickiest because I didn’t know anyone from there, and how helpful the goods folks at the National Park of American Samoa had been. There are some very touching notes in the collection from our older kids and their friends, extended family members, and dear old friends. So it’s hard to pick a favorite postcard, but the American Samoa card is definitely one of our favorites. The wonderful, festive picture on the front and the fun notes from the staff on the back make it a real treasure for us.”

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