Case of the mystery letter


A letter arrived in my post-box the other day.

A handwritten letter.

Allow me to say from the outset how unusual that is.

The only things I normally get to pull from this brick-encased substitute trash receptacle, besides bills, are fast food discount vouchers I never use, real estate company invitations for free house market evaluations I have no intention of taking up and overly enthusiastic solicitations to have my roof inspected, which, without exception, are always the first to be propelled into the actual trash bin.

On the outside of the envelope was written my street address in small, neat, adult cursive script. A blue pen was used  but there was no name included for who the letter was addressed to. My curiosity began to build like a cat fixated upon its prey. Once inside my house, I placed my bag and belongings on the kitchen bench and launched straight into eagerly tearing open the white envelope.

Within a few lines of reading, I realised that I was not the intended recipient of this letter.

The opening sentence read – “Thank you for visiting this weekend!”Letter 2

After a few more sentences, I began to awake to the fact that what I held in my hands was a letter written by a prisoner to a friend or relative on the ‘outside’. Somehow, this very personal correspondence had, by some means, landed in my letterbox. On closer inspection, I realised the front address label included the correct number of our house but an incorrect street name (but one that began with the same first letter as our street).

I should make known at this point that my family and I live exactly 8.6 km’s (I know ’cause I googled it) from not one, not two, but three prisons – two Government-run and one privately managed; so make that a cluster of prisons… sorry, ‘correctional institutions’. Our adjoining suburb (the one next to ours) called Inala, is also home to the state’s largest ex-prisoner population.

My point in making known this information is to help explain why a mail mistake like this in a locality such as ours probably had a higher likelihood of happening.

The letter included the following paragraph (transcribed as written) –

“I did some checking and the only thing I’m able to receive through the mail are letters and photos (no alcohol, jp’d and signed for minors), and in March and September, underwear to the value of $150 with receipts. Anything we may want (ie. books. movies etc.) has to be purchased through the centre. Movies sent through the post is taken and deposited by the officers. So letters it is!

How precious and prized the written word must  become under such captive circumstances. As good karma would decree, the letter has since been forwarded to the correct address.



9 thoughts on “Case of the mystery letter

  1. Very intriguing, Glen, but I must say that the actual letter was a little bit of a let down. I’m not sure what I expected, but my imagination was getting a little carried away. Thanks for sharing the stats. It’s makes me feel so good about my choice in a suburb.




  2. Agreed Geoff regarding content of the letter, although I think this speaks to the mundanity of daily life behind prison walls and how things we take for granted on the outside can become much sought after items when you’re a resident of ‘the big house’.

    For the suburb thing, as a person who I know had their house broken into last year with a sizeable haul taken, you of all people are only too aware of the underbelly that lurks in our midst amongst this fine green-leafed locality of ours. As you’re aware, my wife works for QLD POLICE and she tells me the coppers name for Forest Lake is ‘Forest Break’.

    Nuff said.


  3. I was at a coffee shop on Thursday Island this week writing a letter long hand to an old friend.Didn’t I get some strange looks and puzzled comments from people I knew. Sadly these days hand written letters are the preserve of literate retirees and it seems prisoners!


  4. So which one are you Bryan – the ‘literate retiree’ or the ‘prisoner’ (of your own thoughts)?
    Okay, third category offered to break the deadlock – ‘millionaire sharetrader’!


  5. Pingback: 150 Reasons to Smile | Scenic Writer's Shack

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