Guess the late fees on this 1949 overdue copy of ‘Gone with the Wind’

Posted at 6:53 PM, Dec 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-04 18:53:51-05

DIXMONT, Maine -- A homeowner in Maine got quite the surprise when he found a long overdue library book in his basement.

You won't believe when--and where--it was taken out.

Wayne Hachey's father Richard passed away last year in Dixmont, Maine.

"He passed away here at home last August 25th,” said Wayne.

This fall Wayne and girlfriend Kim Peble tackled the massive project of cleaning out the basement.

"We were going through it and there were old books there and we found that one book-gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell, copyright 1946," said Hachey.

Inside the stamp showed John Rogers High School, in Spokane, Washington. In the back was the library card that showed the book last checked out January 4, 1949.

Over the decades, the book had somehow made it from coast to coast.

"I said it'd be kind of neat to return the book after 65 years,” Wayne said.

So he wrote a letter to the school. "Pretty much told them I found the book and the library card was still in it."

"The card just said her name and the time it was checked out,” Kim said.

"It also said the late fee would be two cents a day. I said I’d be willing to send the book back as long as you don't charge me the 470 dollar late fee,” Wayne added.

Sure enough, they heard back from the school's principal.

"She said it'd be curious to find out where that book has been for 65 years--from Washington all the way to Maine,” Wayne said.

"..And then she said P.S., we'll waive the fee."

Do you have any thoughts on how it got here?

"Oh my dad was 24 years in the Marine Corps and he was stationed in Fallbrook, California so he might have picked it up there at a yard sale, rummage sale or something,” Wayne said.

And it turns out that's not the only overdue book in this house.

"Connecticut and this one I believe is Amsterdam, Nova, Scotia."

"We'll probably look up and see if we can send some of the others back,” Wayne said. “One is from Bangor Public Library so we don't have to go far."

As for this book, the school says they'll be putting it on display.

And what have Wayne and Kim learned from all of this?

“Things can travel,” Kim said.

"Yeah, a lot of time in between them, a lot of years,” said Wayne.