Man hides love letters from late fiancé in the attic

Lefty Graves

** This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

One of my favorite things is to remodel old houses. One house I lived in for about four or five years had an attic with a giant bee's nest in the rafters. Using a ladder, we climbed up to the attic access that was over the door and began the process of cleaning out the attic.

The bee's nest was cautiously removed and relocated to a set of beehives we had purchased for the occasion. This was exciting because now we would have honey on our new homestead. Then we realized that a lot of stuff in the attic needed to be removed.

One item was particularly fascinating; it was a packet of letters, a lock of hair, some panties, and a few photographs of a man, a young boy, and a woman. As I opened the letters and began reading them, I realized they were love letters.

The couple repeatedly declared their love for one another in the letters. They were slated to be married in a few short months when suddenly, the letters stopped. So I went to the county courthouse to do a bit more research on the house's previous owners and found out who the man was.

I knew his new wife reasonably well and met the young son several times. I then took the date from the letters and went to the library, where I researched more. It turned out that the young woman he was writing letters to had suddenly been killed by a speeding car. The date of her death was two days after the last letter she had sent to the man.

It suddenly made a lot of sense. The man would sometimes sit quietly on the front porch of his new house and stare off into space. Although he and his new wife were happy, he always had a long-lost look on his face.

I considered giving him back the letters, but I wasn't sure what his new wife would think about them. After all, he had carefully hidden them over 30 years ago in the attic of the house that he lived in. Sadly, the man died a few years later. So I kept the letters and the photograph (although I did throw the panties out). I'm not sure if I'll craft a love story around it.

His widow lives on, but I don't think she would appreciate the sweet love letters from his late fiance. What would you do? Would you return the letters to his son? Would you save them and write a story later after his newer wife passes on?

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming & more. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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