HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The story behind an old weathered and worn cook book is about where it’s been for nearly five decades — and how it got back home.
“I’m in a garage cleaning stuff out, just trying to get rid of stuff. I find this book, it’s overdue!” California resident Patrick Powers said.
He borrowed the “Hawaii Cooks” book 47 years ago from the Waikiki-Kapahulu Library. And returning it just slipped his mind.
Everything about the old book is retro from its cloth cover to the paper due slip tucked into a cardboard pocket, to the stamp that reads “Library of Hawaii.”
The book went with him when he moved to California and remained out of sight in a storage box.
When he found it last year he was faced with a decision of what to do.
"I decided, It's not my book. I need to return it to the library," he said.
Returning it was at the top of his list for his vacation this year to Hawaii.
He hand delivered the book to the library on Thursday, along with a letter explaining what happened. It started simply by saying, “Aloha. I have an overdue book.”
“I think it is terrific that he chose to remember us and to send the book back to us,” said Matthew Brown of the Hawaii State Public Library System District.
Powers expected a hefty fine but there was no penalty, just a surprised ‘thank you'.
"The librarian was so nice," he said.
Brown said in all his years he’s never heard an overdue book story like this one.
"Forty-seven years and he's still thinking about the library. Hats off to him. That's great!" he said.
Powers borrowed the book to learn to cook and he enjoyed a 35-year career in the hospitality industry.
“I don’t want to say this book caused it, but it’s one of those steps,” he said.
Since the book was a little damaged, Powers gave the library a newer copy he found on Amazon.
“If anyone’s a cook, go to the library. Check this book out. Return it though!” Powers said.
The old Hawaii Cooks book won’t go back into circulation, but the library will find a special place for it now that it’s back where it belongs.