The long-awaited nurse’s cap and graduation brochure
from my mother’s 1937 registered nurses’ graduation
had finally arrived. But wait! The size was odd.
Perhaps my sister had downsized and included an
electric keyboard without telling me? What
had my sister sent me? I finally dialed
her phone in Washington state and asked
about the contents. Her answer did not surprise.
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
I sent photos. Still mystified, both of us laughed.
I suggested the mailing labels might have
been switched at the store. My label said the
weight was 1 lb. which it clearly was not.
My husband guessed it to be about 30 pounds.
Dimensions of the box: 7″X16″by 40″ indicated
it might contain a very heavy nurse’s cap for
a giant perhaps! I mentioned someone may
have left the big box at the store where it, too,
was incorrectly labeled. My sister phoned the store asking
what had happened to our mother’s nursing cap.
The person at the store apologized and said an irate
customer had phoned earlier demanding to know why
this shoe-size box had been mailed instead of the
equipment he had dropped off, presumably to
be used for a new trade show on the East Coast?
Still irate, the customer in New Jersey wondered
if this was a joke. Our initial laughter
turned to anger at what had happened.
The heirloom was destined for our daughter who
is a Registered Nurse just like her grandmother.
How does one place a value on a family heirloom?
Given an 800 number to call, I was told to
take the box to the store and pay for its return.
Excuse me? That can’t be correct. My
sister was livid with the answer I was provided.
She phoned the company again asking
for a new return label. A few phone calls
later, we were assured the nurse’s cap was
on its way back to Washington State from New Jersey.
The manager was in hot water with company
headquarters for this mix-up. On a Monday,
I lugged the unwieldy, heavy box for the return
trip back to Washington and then to New Jersey.
Company rules. Having mailed boxes from
this store to New York, I observed too many people and
employees overworked and distracted. What happened,
although understandable, was mind-boggling. The odyssey
commenced mid-January and ended six weeks later.
The precious family heirloom is still
in mint condition in its own box
safely returned to my sister who
has decided to hold on to it for now.
This time a tragedy has been averted. The painful
incident gives one pause about mailing packages.
Miracles do happen, however, and there was a happy ending.
Thank you, Mom, for making our miracle happen!