A couple remodeling their Detroit home discovered a past resident’s secret history: A treasure trove of love letters from a World War II veteran long before he had married.
Hubert Sawyers III and Eliza Sorise-Sawyers came across the stash lodged in a heating duct. The documents included handwritten letters, black-and-white photos and military discharge papers.
In a Detroit News 4 video for NBC, Sawyers reads one letter written some 60 years ago, which begins:
My Dearest Stan,
Sweetheart, it was hard to see you go this morning, knowing that it may be the last time I will see you for a time, which we don’t know how long it is going to be before we see each other again.
Photos show a young man overseas, striking a pose on the beach and with various young women. The vet drove an ambulance in 1944 and 1945. But then what happened to the man of letters?
According to neighbors, Stanley worked for the city of Detroit. He married Sadie Gargas, and the two had no children. After Stanley’s death in 2004, his wife was moved to a nursing home. With the help of the World Wide Web, the home's current residents were able to contact a nephew of Gargas who confirmed the identity of Stanley.
As for the fate of the mementos, a local museum has expressed interest in some of the photos and letters for its archives. But Sawyers says the fate of the letters is a decision left to the surviving family members.
Sorise-Sawyers told the Detroit Free Press, "I just thought it was really sweet and mysterious at the same time. Detroit has such a cool history, and this is part of that history."