Man Receives Congratulatory Letter 50 Years After Graduating College
Robert Fink got a telegram on January 2 congratulating him on his graduation, but it was sent 50 years ago.
Ben and Lillian Fischman sent Fink, 71, a telegram through Western Union when he graduated from the University of Michigan in 1969, as reported by The Washington Post.
At first, Fink thought it was a scam, but he was surprised when the telegram arrived at his psychology practice in the Detroit area.
The sentimental note read: “Sorry we cannot be there to applaud when you get your diploma but our hearts and best wishes are with you. Love Dr. and Mrs. Fischman.”
The telegram was sent on May 2, 1969. However, Fink never received it since he moved out of his apartment the day before.
In December 2018, Fink got an email from Christina Zaske, who claimed that she found the telegram inside of an old filing cabinet now owned by Ann Arbor-based digital marketing agency ICON Interactive.
Zaske saw Fink’s name on the telegram and used the internet to find him. At first, Fink thought it was a scam, but he was surprised when the telegram arrived at his psychology practice in the Detroit area.
The telegram was likely left at his old apartment in 1969. It was never forwarded because his landlord didn't have a new address for him.
“The irony of it is, I’ve only received one telegram in my life and I received it 50 years after it was sent," said Fink.
Fink never got the opportunity to thank the Fischmans, who have since died. He said that the telegram has brought back memories.
“I referred to it as the long arm of the past reaching out to me,” Fink said. “I found I kind of enjoyed the — how can I put it? — the stimulation of remembering myself at a much younger age and remembering the people who were important to me."
“I think as one gets older, one in general becomes more reflective of one’s life. Part of being a clinical psychologist is understanding that a great deal of self-reflection is very much how one grows and learns and continues to stay vital and fresh,” he added.
Fink is now a clinical psychologist and professor of counseling at Oakland University in Rochester, a Detroit suburb that’s about 45 miles northeast of Ann Arbor.