THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Man, 89, comes clean, returns book after 76 years

December 23, 2010

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MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich.—Mark McKee is lucky a Michigan library isn't charging him a late fee for returning a book 76 years late.

In 1934, the 13-year-old McKee checked out "A Dog of Flanders" by English author Marie Louise de la Ramee from the Mount Clemens Public Library.

Recently, McKee, now 89, said he discovered the book and mailed it to the library.

"I was entranced by the book and kept it with my prized possessions, intending to return it forthwith," McKee wrote in an accompanying letter. "Thus began a 76-year odyssey of missed opportunity and intention."

McKee, who is a former publisher of The Macomb Daily, said he found the book among his possessions and wanted to do the right thing.

"My conscience took over," wrote McKee, who is now a winter resident in Chandler, Ariz.

Library Director Donald Worrell Jr. said he was thrilled to get the package from McKee.

"He spent a great amount of time in here," Worrell said. "He was very supportive. He was very generous to the library."

In his letter, McKee said he estimated the fine on a book overdue for 76 years could total thousands of dollars.

But Worrell said McKee doesn't have to worry, there won't be a fine.

"We figure the story is better than the money," Worrell said.

Instead, Worrell said he plans to put the book and letter on display at the library and to send a fresh copy of the book to McKee.

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