The Robbinsdale schools high school graduate who recently returned a library book she signed out nearly a half-century ago has revealed more to the story than just where the overdue item had been all this time.
Sandy Smith returned the book two weeks ago to its rightful place, the Cooper High School library, with a signed note identifying herself as a 1971 Cooper grad.
“Sorry this return took almost 49 years,” she wrote in neat cursive, her signature below.
And while Smith did attend Cooper as Sandy Zieba and in May 1970 signed out the literary critique “Poetry and the Age,” she was moved to Armstrong during her senior year soon after the new school opened, and is a Falcon graduate, not a Hawk.
Smith explained that she signed the note with the long-overdue book as a Cooper grad because that’s what she’s always just considered herself to be, given how nearly all of her high school days were spent in those classrooms and hallways.
Her identity was hidden from view when Cooper Principal Frank Herman posted a tweet on Feb. 13 about the book’s return, which included a photo of the item and Smith’s note. However, Herman covered up her signature out of deference to her privacy.
“This former Cooper student brought it back after Almost 49 years,” he wrote at the time. “Guess we can take it off our fine list.”
Herman said last week that staff tried to figure out what the fine would have been after all this time “but could not find any records of how much fines were. However, given the cost of inflation, I am sure we could buy a whole classroom set by now.”
Smith caught wind of news coverage of the book’s return through a Cooper alumni Facebook post.
“I started just laughing, oh my gosh,” Smith said last week.
Now, as for when Smith first stumbled upon the book, she said it happened after she moved in 2010 to Florida and began splitting time between the Twin Cities and the Sunshine State.
She was later going through some of her mother’s things to prepare her for her move to Florida as well, and there it was.
Every so often for years afterward, she said, “I would run across it, and well, you just can’t get rid of things like that.”
So off it went in the mail to Cooper High School, her alma mater — well, in her heart, anyway.