An Oregon woman is now discovering the love that blossomed nearly a century ago between her grandmother and grandfather, all thanks to the kind determination of a total stranger.
It all started in 1918 when Nathan Byrd, serving in the military in France, wrote 25 letters to his wife Lota Byrd at home in Phoenix, Arizona. The story might have ended there, until a woman named Sheryl Caliguire found Nathan's letters to Lota in a Southern California car port 30 years ago, and held on to them all this time, KATU News reported.
"I come from a long line of military people in my family, so that's not something you can throw out," Caliguire told the outlet.
Caliguire sought to return all 25 letters to a relative of Nathan and Lota Byrd, but she found that the address on the envelopes was a road in Phoenix that no longer existed. So Caliguire held on to them until she, now residing in Pennsylvania, decided to reach out to a TV station in Phoenix for help.
Eventually Caliguire was able to track down Lisa Byrd Adajian, a teacher in Oregon and the granddaughter of Nathan and Lota Byrd.
"To now know someone that was lost to you, that’s incredible," Adajian told ABC News. The letters are an intimate look into the early love between her grandmother and grandfather.
"My precious girl I will try to pen you a few lines this afternoon. Did not have a chance to write you last night," Nathan Byrd wrote, according to KATU News.
Nathan eventually returned home and lived with his wife for the next 11 years, before their relationship became estranged, ABC News reported.
"The most interesting part to me is just thinking about my grandmother as a young woman and being in love with someone and enduring that separation," Adajian told the outlet.
Love letters are beautiful relics of a time before technology made communication easier, and for the writers and recipients, their sentimental value makes them priceless. Take Lloyd and Marian Michael, for example, a couple who has been married for more than 70 years and who was devastated when the letters chronicling their courtship during WWII were stolen from their home along with other wartime relics. Amazingly, the letters were returned 40 years later by a fellow veteran.
Lost love letters sometimes turn up in mysterious places, like this box of letters from the 1940s that a 14-year-old found along a beach in Atlantic Highlands the day after Hurricane Sandy struck.