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Home improvement leads to sweet find

Lost 1940's Love Letters Found in Stranger's Attic

Joshua McKinney has just a couple reams of insulation that he still needs to put in his attic. His project was interrupted shortly after he began removing the old insulation.

'I was just scooping it up so I could put the new stuff down and when I did that it was just plop, What is this?' McKinney told FOX17. 'I started looking and I was like, 'Honey, come look at what I found, this is kind of cool.'

The couple began thumbing through the find.

'There was a bunch of letters wrapped up in ribbon dating back to 1940,' he said.

Included was William Kissel's birth certificate from 1942 and Edward and Virginia Kissel's marriage certificate from 1941. They had the names, now the McKinneys had to track down the family.

'We first posted it on Facebook and went from there,' he said.

The post bounced around on Facebook for a mere four hours before getting the attention of Williams' daughter Christine Frien, from Muskegon, who saw a deeper connection at play.

'With my dad's brother just passing away this weekend. I don't know. I felt like my dad was just trying to talk with me,' said Frien.

She brought the letters home and began pouring over the find with her mother, Shirley Kissel.

For Shirley, it was a chance to to get know her husband's father, a man she'd only met once before his death.

'I didn't get to know him that much,' she said. 'But he was kind of a lover I guess.'

How the letters ended up at the cottage in Casnovia is a mystery for another day.

'We only knew they lived in Ludington,' Frien said of her grandparents. 'And then here in Muskegon. So that is going to be something to find out.'

However they ended up there, the family is happy to now have them in their possession.


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melissaspets January 28 2014 at 5:56 PM

I have had letters found in a storage locker for Mrs. Rettie Smith, married to a Mr. J F. Smith of Stanfield, NC, dating from 1917 thru 1919, and most are from a soldier killed in the first world war. Some are from her brother it seems, a Robert Moss. Interestingly, the Red Cross had sent a notice to the mother of her son being killed, and it was for someone else with a similar name, he was killed not long after she had received the false notice, and was buried in Etionne, France. Anyway, never thought I would be able to find who they belonged to but thought I would attach this to the story just on the off chance someone might know who they belong to. Would have returned them right away if I had found them earlier. Shot in the dark..... thanks

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1 reply
o4peetsak melissaspets January 28 2014 at 7:13 PM

I have tried to find my Mother's family for years. The last name is Schlichting. They lived in Springfield Mass. in the 60's and 70's. No information to be found. With a name like that.............

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Douglas Hom MD January 28 2014 at 10:13 PM

In this electronic age, there will come a future where information that is not contained in electrons will not be found as such a treasured find. In addition, the handwriting has been touched by the writer and further connects the past to the present. Written letters, especially those of romance, are likely lost forever in the world of twitter. No longing phrases and expressions of love and desire given rise to intensity by the force and swirl of the pen stroke fueled by the emotions of the writer at the time of the expression. I hope the young know what they are losing in this new world. It will be a colder more impersonal world when emotion is denoted by CAPITAL LETTERS and quizzical thought only expressed by "quotes" and not sweep of the pen. I suppose I'm being a romantic but there will an increasingly loss of the past in the new order.

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2 replies
mikco99 Douglas Hom MD January 28 2014 at 10:24 PM

Now I'm sad after reading your post. So true.

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Judy Douglas Hom MD January 28 2014 at 10:26 PM

I think I agree with you but I also know that since the beginning of time, things have changed and somehow a lot has been preserved. I believe that our world of technology is terrifying to those of us who didn't have computers, much less the internet, when we were younger. Therefore, I am certain that our children and their offspring will somehow preserve what is important to them. Maybe the love letters on Twitter will actually show up in a museum someday. My children disagree with me, as I did with my parents, on the political changes and especially, our influence by the government, including insurance. I turn it over to them. They feel, as we did, that they are right, so be it. What I do know, with absolute certainty, is that God is in control and He will have the final say. Anything that is going on in our world today is under His watch.

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aleenash January 29 2014 at 9:28 AM

Better news than most news we see today!

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ozalot January 28 2014 at 8:15 PM

Nice story. Nice people. Unusual these days.

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jay January 28 2014 at 11:05 PM

Feel good story, thank you.

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ajafullmn January 28 2014 at 6:59 PM

I found a few letters from 1917 in our attic. Our house was built in the 50's by a family friend. one of them remarks, "I can't wait to see you to tell you my secret"., Man, have I always wondered what that was. We were never able to figure out who they were.

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1 reply
Ray ajafullmn January 28 2014 at 7:38 PM

How did you post the lightning ? Ray rayalien457@aol.com

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williams January 28 2014 at 9:22 PM

good luck with your fined

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Joan January 29 2014 at 8:25 AM

Now this is a nice story, I am sure there are a lot more like this one around. I say keep them coming.

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fahronn January 28 2014 at 8:57 PM

This is so sweet!

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Cathy January 29 2014 at 8:54 AM

We found Two Post card's from the 20's In two diffrent place's when working on our home that was built in 1924.

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