It all started in September of 1970 when Dawson County local Charles Alexander received a 35-cent birthday card from his cousin Madelyn Weldon.
The front of the card said “Happy birthday to a good looking relative”, and the inside read “Save this card. You can send it to me on my birthday!”
Alexander knew that Weldon’s birthday was coming up in December, so he did exactly what the card said, he saved it and sent it back to his cousin for her birthday, adding his own handwritten inscription below hers.
A year later, Alexander was surprised to see the same card appear in his mailbox yet again.
Since then, the cousins have sent the card back and forth for each other’s birthdays every year for the last 50 years, and this December will mark the 100th trip the card has made through the mail between Alexander’s home in Dawson County and Weldon’s home in Darlington, Pa.
Alexander said that he’s been impressed over the years that neither he, Weldon or the post office have lost track of the card.
“What amazed me is that the mail carriers haven’t lost it and we haven’t lost it,” Alexander said. “I only had to keep track of it for a couple of months and I said ‘no, she’ll never keep track of this thing for 9 or 10 months’, but she managed to hold onto it and it just kept going back and forth.”
Alexander’s wife Delia said the card is its own sort of time capsule, and that each year the whole family enjoys looking back through 50 years’ worth of inscriptions.
“It’s kind of like a history trail cause every year it’s signed from the family,” Delia Alexander said. “Madelyn has a daughter and we have two children so it would be signed from “Madelyn, Raymond and Tammy” or their dog “Madelyn, Raymond and Buddy”; and as the years passed on the children left the home so we could see the pattern of life how we all started out as bigger families and as we’ve aged now it’s back to the four of us again.”
“The Card” is famous among Alexander’s family and friends, and everyone who comes over around his birthday always asks to see it.
“I display birthday cards on our mantle, and everybody that walks into the house says ‘I gotta go see The Card’,” Delia Alexander said. “It’s just one of those quirky things in life that’s so cute.”
While the card itself is getting old and tattered, every year Alexander and Weldon still both add a new inscription to it.
“We ran out of space on both sides and on the back so we taped an answer in there and started writing on that too,” Alexander said. “And now the insert is getting pretty full so we’ll probably eventually have to add another insert!”