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Pair have exchanged same card since 1968

LYNNFIELD – Forty years ago, Lynnfield resident John “Jack” Moynihan sent his co-worker a Christmas card. It wasn’t anything special – just one of those holiday cards that come in packages of 25 with an extra envelope or two in case you make a mistake writing the address.But Moynihan, 22-years-old at the time, didn’t mail this card before or even on Christmas. He waited until the end of January.”You’ve got to know my husband,” laughs his wife Hilda, 62. “He’s always late. This was expected.”Well, the late delivery didn’t exactly go over too well with his quick-witted coworker and friend, Rosina Manzella.”She said to me, ‘Not only is it late, it’s just a Courier and Ives card,'” recalled Jack, now 62-years-old. “She said, ‘OK, you’re so cheap that I’m going to send you this card (next year).'”And she did, not realizing at the time what a long-lasting, “tongue-in-cheek” tradition she was starting. The two have been mailing each other the same, small Christmas card back and forth every year since 1968.”We don’t just sign it, we draw a little picture,” said Hilda. The card has seen everything from candles and sleighs to Christmas trees and jingle bells. With years of signatures and drawings from their children and former spouses, there aren’t many blank spaces left.”I don’t think we have room to put one more year on it,” said 83-year-old Manzella of Swampscott.”I added another page,” said Hilda. “Every little inch of that card, on the inside, the back, everything is covered.”Remarkably, the card’s in good shape, other than a reinforced crease (Scotch tape did the trick). It’s never been lost in the Christmas shuffle at the U.S. Post Office either.”We’ve never lost it because it’s never been in my control,” said Jack through a barrel of laughter. “Rosie (Manzella) would never allow that.”Manzella keeps the joke-of-a-card safe and sound in the sleeve of her Christmas address book, which is kept in the confines her kitchen cabinet. If anything were to happen to it, both families would be devastated.”Our daughter is still in college, and she looks forward to it every year to see what Rosie’s written,” said Hilda.”We’ve just had a lot of fun doing it,” said Jack. “I mean, every time you see it you have to start laughing.”The Moynihans haven’t decided what they’re going to draw on the card this year, but it’s sure to be something fun and new.”I haven’t given it a lot of thought, but now that we’re talking about it, I guess it’s time to,” said Jack.What he does know, with the help of his wife, is that the card will in fact get to Rosie before Christmas, not after.

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