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Library Book Returned To Michigan School From Dubai By Alumna Cyntha Gonzalez 33 Years Late

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Cyntha Gonzalez returned a library book to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. 33 years after she graduated. Historic yearbook photo courtesy of the Academy of the Sacred Heart.
Cyntha Gonzalez returned a library book to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. 33 years after she graduated. Historic yearbook photo courtesy of the Academy of the Sacred Heart.

When teachers returned to a Michigan school after summer vacation Friday, they were greeted with a surprising package, and a reminder of the positive impact they have on their students.

The morning mail at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic school in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, included a package from 7,000 miles away. Director of Enrichment Agostino Visocchi was immediately perplexed.

When it was opened, he discovered a thin book titled T.S. Eliot by Leonard Unger that he first thought might be a donation of a rare item. But he also found a handwritten note, which read:

I graduated from ASH in 1980. I live now in Dubai, of the U.A.E. In a radical decluttering of my belongings, I came across the enclosed. Please accept my sincere apologies for the 33-year tardy return!

Wishing you and the very wonderful educational institution ASH is, the very best,

Cyntha Gonzalez

Class of 1980.

library book

"An '80 alum mailing us a book back about T.S. Eliot? It made us feel good knowing our alums still care so much about doing the right thing," Visocchi told The Huffington Post. "We're a mission-based school, priding ourselves on creating leaders of conscience. Knowing this woman's conscience was bothering her because she had a 65 cent book..."

"It was just a great moment, a nice lighthearted moment to start off the day," he said.

Visocchi said Gonzalez lives in Dubai and works as a human relations coach, trainer and writer.

And the future of the slim volume? Though the library system has been updated since Gonzalez's years, Visocchi said it's destined to get a new catalog number and return to the shelves soon. Hopefully, it will captivate a new crop of students for slightly less than 33 years at a time.

Though three decades sounds like an extraordinarily long time to hold onto a library book, it's nowhere near the longest.

Last month, an Ohio library not only received "The Real Book About Snakes" 41 years after its 1972 due date, but $299.30 to cover overdue fees at 2 cents a day, as well as an apology. The anonymous sender wrote, "Sorry I've kept this book so long but I'm a really slow reader!"

And earlier this month, a book found its way back to the Kentucky library it belonged to after more than 100 years.

Photos by Tara Cuckovich and Nicole Pielecha.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misspelled Cyntha Gonzalez's name. The Huffington Post regrets the error.

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