When tragedy hits, life can have a funny way of putting things into perspective.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, amid a mess of displaced personal items, a miracle has emerged: 57 vintage love letters were discovered yesterday in the debris. Even more surprising is how they found their way to Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey — and that they're still legible.
It was a 14-year-old boy who stumbled upon the soggy notes as he sifted through remnants of belongings along the shore with his mother, Kathleen Chaney. The two headed home to dry the letters by the fireplace. "Well Darling, two weeks from today and we will be married," read one letter, dated 1948.
"They’re beautiful," said Chaney after reading the intimate missives sent by Dorothy Fallon to her boyfriend, Lynn Farham, during World War II, between 1942 and 1948. Chaney felt bound by responsibility to find the letters' rightful owner.
"I feel like Dorothy is my aunt as well," she said. And so the search began. Chaney turned to Craigslist to post an ad searching for the writer. But her solicitation went unanswered, so she knew she’d have to dig deeper. She paid a visit to the return address found on the letters, but still came up empty-handed. After a little research, Chaney found a website that reported of Lynn Farham's death in 1991 and posted a message on the site.
The message made its way to Fallon's niece, who contacted Chaney to tell her that Fallon, an Asbury Park resident, is now 91 and in poor health. Chaney promised to deliver the letters as soon as possible.
It's still unknown who exactly was keeping the letters, and how they managed to make their way from the Rumson area of New Jersey into Shrewsbury River, then into Sandy Hook Bay. But what we do know is that this romantic tale of lost-and-found love is one of very few silver linings on a cloud of devastation that descended on the east coast. Leave it to love.
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