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By Mary Fan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 10, 1997

Note from the past arrives at Yuma Hall

Mail time at Yuma Hall yesterday brought a letter for Selma Rabinowitz from her sister Elma.

"Since I am not using Davie's Parker Pen for my chem. test, I shall write a letter," Elma wrote.

The letter was 54 years old.

Molecular and cellular biology sophomore Ryan Chirnomas noticed the Oct. 24, 1943 postmark. He showed the letter to resident assistant and education junior Allison Liewer, who was sorting the mail.

Before opening the letter, the students called the Cortaro Post Office seeking authorization to do so. An official at the Cortaro branch OK'd the opening, and Liewer read the letter before a small audience of Yuma Hall residents.

The greeting of "Dearest Selma," struck mathematics junior Todd Cadwallader.

"I thought it was a love letter," he said.

Chirnomas noticed the two, 3 cent "Win the War" stamps.

"I was hoping it would be about the war," he said.

The letter talked of family and school.

"It's useless trying to determine the difference between a direct replacement and a double replacement when I don't even know a single replacement," Elma wrote.

"After 54 years nothing has changed. It's the same kind of letter any of us would get," said Frank Pecka, architecture freshman.

"It was touching, sentimental and sweet," Liewer said. "It was so sad that she never got the letter."

Agent 4412, Joanne, of the U.S. Postal Service, said the letter might have been delayed because it was stuck or lost behind an old machine or letter box and only recently was discovered.

"If we find it, we have to deliver it," she said.

Joanne said she could not give her last name because that would be against Postal Service regulations.

The letter was addressed to University of Arizona, Yuma Hall, PO 4427, Tucson, AZ. The post office box was in the Student Union, where student mail was sent in 1943.

The letter was postmarked from Far Rockaway, N.Y.

Yuma Hall government is looking for Selma Rabinowitz over the Internet. If she is not found the letter will go into the Hall Scrapbook.

Photo editor Katherine K. Gardiner contributed to this story.

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