Lost and Found—A Shedd Postcard’s Odyssey
In 1957, Scott McMurry’s parents visited Shedd during a business trip to Chicago and sent a picture postcard of the aquarium to their teen-aged son back in Decatur, Georgia. His mother wrote, “We’ll probably be home before this gets there!”
Truer words have seldom been written.
The postcard went missing for 55 years. A few days ago, the card was finally delivered to Mr. McMurry, who today lives in Virginia, thanks to the perseverance of a Florida woman who had recently—and inexplicably—received it in the mail and the U.S. Postal Service, which not only honored the two-cent stamp but sent an official to personally deliver the missive.
Now, Mr. McMurry, 71, is planning a trip to Chicago, courtesy of Shedd Aquarium, so he and his family can see what his parents saw on that long-ago visit.
And a whole lot more.
According to the caption on the back of the now-vintage postcard, Shedd boasted a collection of 10,000 animals representing 250 species. Mr. McMurry will be able to visit with an additional 22,500 animals and 1,250 more species than his folks saw. And he’ll certainly spend more time at the aquarium, with “new” exhibits including Amazon Rising, the Abbott Oceanarium and Wild Reef. Even Shedd’s trademark Caribbean Reef exhibit was 14 years in the offing. Instead of gazing at schooling reef fishes, his parents would have peered over an ornate brass railing into a 40-foot-diameter tropical pool sunken in the rotunda floor.
As he arranged the aquarium visit with Andrea Smalec, Shedd’s director of communications and public relations, Mr. McMurry mentioned that he is especially interested in freshwater animals and their habitats and is considering getting a home aquarium. “The timing is strangely wonderful,” Andrea said.
Mr. McMurry’s previous experiences in Chicago were limited to changing planes at O’Hare. This time, he and his family will be the guests of Swissôtel Chicago, one of Shedd’s longtime hospitality partners.
Good things come to those who wait, even when they don’t know they’re waiting.
Posted by Karen Furnweger, web editor