We’ve all heard stories about people finding messages in bottles, but I’ll bet you’ve never heard about someone finding a message in an egg carton before.
Emerging from social media, a 92-year-old Iowa resident has had a 70-year dream fulfilled after a message she wrote on an egg at a packing plant in 1951 has finally been responded to.
Mary Foss and a few of the gals that worked at the Forest City Iowa plant decided to all sign eggs with their name and hometown on them and send them off all in different boxes that were going out that day.
The cartons were headed to the East Coast, and Mary, who had never been to New York City, hoped someone there would find it and become her pen pal. She sent out 4 or 5 such eggs to increase the odds of a serendipitous meeting over scrambled eggs, but as the year rolled on, the stunt became a memory to be shared at dinner and lunch parties.
“Whoever gets this egg, please write me,” Mary carefully wrote on several eggs with a pencil. She then added, “Miss Mary Foss, Forest City, Iowa” along with the date, April 2, 1951.
“We heard that egg story our entire lives,” Mary’s daughter Laurie Bascom told the Washington Post. “Our mom always thought it would have been fun to get a response.”
Unbeknownst to Mary, who married and became Mary Starn, one of her eggs had been found by a man named Miller Richardson, who kept it for decades in his home and watched it petrify amid his collection of antiques.
The second key figure in this story is John Amilfitano, a neighbor of Richardson’s who came across the egg one day while helping Richardson find something in his collection. Richardson explained its origin and then, before he died years later, gave it to Amalfitano who kept it in his china cabinet for 20 years.
The story first appeared on Facebook in a group called “Weird (and Wonderful) Secondhand Finds That Just Need To Be Shared,” where Amalfitano thought the curious egg would fit perfectly.
“Wonder if she might still be alive! Tried to locate her, but came up empty. 🥺 I keep the egg safe in a pretty, art deco, English, Egg cozy,” he wrote in a long post in the group along with photos of the egg.
Egg-citing story of Mary Foss Starn. An egg-cellent mystery cracked 72 years later. SEE PHOTOS #iowa #egg@SteveHartmanCBS @CBSNews @abcnews @NBCNews @GMA @TheTalkCBS @CBSThisMorning @katiecouric @globegazette @KIMTNews3 @ABC6NEWS @KWWL @kfxanews— duchovlet (@duchovlet) August 19, 2023
FB post https://t.co/ruEWuNeDCU pic.twitter.com/4Z9JX3Hmgj
The comment section exploded with curious minds wanting to solve the 72-year-old mystery, and within the day, it came across the screen of one of Mary Starn’s nieces, who in turn shared it with Starn’s daughter Jacque Ploeger.
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Calling Ploeger on the phone, he slowly began explaining the egg story—itself being so bizarre that he didn’t know what to expect even though he knew he may have tracked down the family of the egg author.
“In the background on the call, I heard this voice speak up,” he told the Post. “She said, ‘This is Mary Foss.’”
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Amalfitano said the brief conversation he shared with her was incredibly uplifting, and that he hopes to meet Starn, who herself says she finally found a pen pal from New York (Amalfitano lives on Staten Island), and that it only took 72 years.
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