Mail mystery

After two years, five postcards have been returned to a World War II veteran’s surviving relatives. Image: The Greenville News

A South Carolina newspaper has solved a mystery surrounding five faded postcards from the World War II era.

The cards were addressed to James E. Estes, who served in the Army during the war.

The cards are postmarked between 1937 and 1945 and were sent from friends and other acquaintances. Each card has a green 1-cent stamp.

For two years, Andrew and Shana Houston tried to find relatives of Estes to return the lost cards. Shana inherited the cards from her grandparents, who were collectors.

The Houstons learned that Estes died in 1986. They couldn’t find out much more on their own, so they turned to The Greenville News, which spent several weeks piecing together the puzzle.

The newspaper reported its findings last week, noting that its reporters “combed through death records and military records, made dozens of ‘cold calls’ to people who might have clues about his background, and responded to countless messages from readers who offered their help.”

The newspaper learned much of Estes’ family has died, but with help from their readers, the postcards will now be returned to his surviving relatives.