WWII-Era Love Letters Washed Up by Hurricane Sandy Remind Us About Romance

love letter envelope sealedWhenever there’s a natural disaster -- and we sure have had plenty in recent memory -- a heartwarming story or two always manage to emerge and, if only for the amount of time it takes to share them over email or social media, make us say “awww” and feel all smiley. So here goes: a boy walking with his mom spotted a box that washed up on the shore along a beach trail in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, the day after Hurricane Sandy. Inside were 57 WWII-era love letters tied with a ribbon, exchanged between lovebirds Dorothy Fallon and Lynn Farnham from 1942–1948, right up to the week before they got married. Isn't that is just too precious? 


Wait, you look confused. You know ... love letters. Come on, you remember those. They came in the mail? With a stamp? Oh, the feel of crisp paper, the contrast of black ink, the scrawl of individualized penmanship, maybe even a spritz of perfume or cologne to let your beloved get a whiff of your intoxicating scent when you’re all showered and fresh (and very unlike the exotic mix of Caress, baby formula, and computer duster you’ll smell of later on down the line).

Technology has paved the way for Petraeus-style, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am email trysts. And that certainly has its place, if not splashed across the headlines of every major online outlet worth its page views on the Internet. But these letters take us back to a simpler time when two affianced lovers were fanning the flames of adoration across the distant miles—she in New Jersey and he in Vermont.

The boy who found the letters, Patrick, and his mother, Kathleen Chaney, made it their business to return them to their rightful owners. He carefully dried them one by one in front of their fireplace when they didn't have power, while his mother played armchair detective. Ultimately, she discovered that Lynn Farnham had passed away in 1991, but she left a message on findagrave.com, where she confirmed his death, and the couple’s niece got in touch. A little piece of family history was returned and brought both women to tears.

Dorothy Fallon Farnham is now 91 years old and lives in a senior resident high-rise in Asbury Park, New Jersey. And this sentimental mother-son team have earned their halos for cherishing the documented love between two perfect strangers.

When’s the last time you got an actual love letter?


Image via Bunches and Bits {Karina}/Flickr

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