In two touching separate stories, over 100 World War II-era love letters are being preserved after being found water-logged after Hurricane Sandy swept through the area last month.
In the first story, a woman and her teenage son were walking along a beach trail in Atlantic Highlands the day after Superstorm Sandy passed through the area. The pair noticed a box of letters tied with a pink ribbon, reported ABC News
Kathleen Chaney, and her 14-year-old son Patrick, decided to bring the box home and dry the contents out, according to NBC News New York
. NBC reported the mother and son dried the letters out "one by one in front of the fireplace in their powerless home."
The duo counted 57 letters, all written by a woman named Dorothy Fallon to her boyfriend, Lynn Farnham, through the years 1942 to 1948. Fallon was living in New Jersey and Farnham was in Vermont. The pair reportedly were married in 1948, which is about the time the dates on the letters ended.
Once identities were learned, Chaney decided they should be returned to its owners. She tried the return address in Rumson, N.J., but learned that house was no longer in existence.
"I wanted to return them to whoever they belonged to," said Kathleen Chaney. "They're beautiful. She obviously adored him."
Chaney then turned to the Internet, trying Craiglist and findagrave.com. On the latter site, she found a listing for Lynn Farnham, who had died over 10 years ago. She left a post and was soon contacted by a family member who is a niece of the couple.
"It's magical. This can't be real," said
Shelly Farnham-Hilber. Farnham-Hilber said Lynn served in WWII and was at Pearl Harbor.
The niece, living in Virginia, told Chaney that Dorothy, now 91 and living in Asbury Park, New Jersey, was in "frail health".
Media reports say Chaney plans to mail the letters to Dorothy Fallon Farnham.
No one knows how the letters ended up in the water or who had been in possession of them at the time Sandy hit the N.J. coast since no relatives live in the region. Speculation is the letters were in Rumson somewhere and floated down a river to the location where Chaney and her son stumbled upon them.
In related news, another family is attempting to preserve a set of World War II-era letters that were found and salvaged after a basement flooded. Through these letters a teenage girl is getting to know her grandfather for the first time since he had a stroke many years ago and cannot speak. Her grandfather, Major Robert O. Keller, served in World War II.
"My kids haven't really heard their grandfather talk," said Georgette Keller told the Riverhead Patch
. "These letters have given him back his voice."
15-year-old Nina is carefully drying each letter.
"People fawn over movies like 'Dear John' and 'The Notebook' because they're so beautiful, but they don't know that stories like those actually exist in real life, between an octegenarian couple who are still living together after 67 years of marriage," Nina said.