- Associated Press - Sunday, July 17, 2011

CALIFORNIA, Pa. — Much has happened in the 53 years since Vonnie sent Clark the letter, wondering why he hadn’t called before going back to college.

They married later that year. He graduated. They had four children.

They divorced, and he changed his name.

At last, the letter is wending its way to Clark - that is, Muhammad Siddeeq - who awaits its arrival with mixed emotions.

“I’m curious, but I’m not sure I’d put it under the category of ‘looking forward to it,’ ” Mr. Siddeeq told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The letter, bearing four 1-cent stamps postmarked February 1958 and addressed to Clark C. Moore, arrived in the mailroom at California University of Pennsylvania last week. School officials checked their files but couldn’t figure out who Clark Moore was.

Friends and family still lived in the area and saw media reports about the letter. They called Mr. Siddeeq, now 74 and living in Indianapolis, who had changed his name after converting to Islam.

“I never dreamed of anything like this,” Mr. Siddeeq told the Washington Observer-Reporter.

The letter, its stamps turned upside down as sign of love, arrived at California University of Pennsylvania on July 8, tucked inside some magazines. It had been slit open, but the two-page letter from a love-struck Pittsburgh girl was still inside, addressed to her beau at what was then California State Teachers College. It was signed, “Love Forever, Vonnie.”

The couple divorced after eight years of marriage and don’t talk much now, Mr. Siddeeq said. He got remarried and taught math and science in the Indianapolis public school system.

The Tribune-Review reached Vonnie at her daughter’s home in Atlanta. She declined to discuss the letter and was upset that it had become public.

But Mr. Siddeeq recalled the frequent letters fondly.

“Back then, we wrote at least once or twice a week, sometimes three times,” he told the Tribune-Review. “That was before email. It would perk your whole day up to get back to your room and find a letter.”

The letter, he told the Observer-Reporter, is “just a testament of the sincerity, interest and innocence of that time.”