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Man finds 70-year-old unopened love letters from Army veteran in a toolbox: 'It's like poetry'

"People just don't write things like that nowadays, it's almost like poetry."

Man finds 70-year-old unopened love letters from Army veteran in a toolbox: 'It's like poetry'
Cover Image Source: YouTube | @FOX17WXMI

In the digital age, taking countless selfies with your loved ones and sending quick texts over chats might have become the norm, but nothing is quite as romantic as handwritten love letters. Letters have been the medium to connect people living away from one another for ages and there were times when these letters never reached the people they were written for. A Michigan man named Rick Trojanowski stumbled upon a love letter upon opening a toolbox that was over half a century old.

Representational Image Source: Pexels | cottonbro studio
Representational Image Source: Pexels | Cottonbro Studio

According to WCSC, an Army veteran penned the letters to the love of his life, but it seems they didn't manage to reach the one it was addressed to. "It's almost like a true love story. People just don't write things like that nowadays, it's almost like poetry," Trojanowski told the outlet. He had brought that particular toolbox at a farm auction in 2017, but he discovered the letter a couple of years after making the purchase. The love letter, written 70 years ago, was addressed to a particular Mary Lee Cribbs in Grand Rapids from Corporal Irvin Fleming.

"1953. Wow. So, it's pretty old. San Francisco, California," Trojanowski said about the letter. "And this is where Irvin was actually stationed, evidently." The letter is a clear example that the pair were separated by distance as Fleming served in the military. "Haven't written you a letter in such a long time," Trojanowski read from the letter. "And the letter goes on and on." The letter also reveals that Fleming failed to hear from Cribbs for five months after the pair disagreed on something.



 

Fleming wrote the letter full of his apologies and admitting his love to Cribbs. "'Mary, I need you so very much and I know that I'll always love you.' Kind of read through it; kind of a love letter and things and that and it was just kind of really interesting," Trojanowski said. Fleming mentioned that his time in the Army was going slow because he did not hear anything from Cribbs and wrote that he would be the happiest when he returned home after seven months.

He also asks Cribbs through the letter to marry him once he returns and that wasn't his first time proposing her. "I did try to do a little research through Facebook, to try to locate some of the people in that involved with it," Trojanowski remarked, but so far, his search has not been fruitful. But he hopes that the story will reach the right people after it was extensively covered by various news outlets. "I really don't have any use for it and if we can find the people it belongs to or the kids, I think it'd be really neat for them," Trojanowski concluded.



 

As these folks continue their search for the people associated with the letter, Chelsey Brown, a genealogist based in New York, managed to utilize her expertise in family-history research to locate a descendant of 1940s-era married couple Claude and Marie Borgal Smythe, who wrote some love letters between 1943 and 1944. They were found in the walls of Carol Bohlin's childhood house in Staten Island, New York, by a homeowner who was remodeling it in 1995.



 

After seeing Brown on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," the homeowner asked for assistance delivering the letters to the family. Brown reconnected with Bohlin's son months later. Bohlin, who now lives in Tinmouth, Vermont, said, "I recognize my dad's handwriting. It's been so long since I saw it and so long since I heard his voice." According to her, the family resided in the Staten Island house from around 1947 to when Claude Smythe passed away in 1974. Her mom passed away in 1961.

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