Awash With Love: Storm Resurfaces 1940s Letters | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Awash With Love: Storm Resurfaces 1940s Letters

Play associated audio

The weekend after Superstorm Sandy, Kathleen Chaney and her son Patrick stumbled upon a bundle of letters while they were walking along the New Jersey shore near her home.

The letters were tied with a pink ribbon and thoroughly soaked. Some of the beautiful handwriting had blurred. Chaney took the bundle home, dried out the letters and began to read them.

They were written to a man named Lynn Farnham, signed by "your loving Dot." Chaney says the letters speak of true love and devotion.

One begins: "My darling Lynn, just a few lines this morning, as this is going to be another one of my many busy days."

Another letter details last-minute wedding preparations: "We ordered the flowers. You will have a white rose, and the other boys will have carnations."

Chaney soon realized she had to find the couple and return their correspondence.

"It's so romantic, I just want them to have them," she says.

She went to the address on the letters, in nearby Rumson, but the house had been torn down. She reached out to local officials and posted messages on genealogy websites, where she connected with Shelley Farnham Hilber — Dot and Lynn's niece.

"Uncle Lynn was my dad's older brother," she says. :He passed away quite a few years ago, and there's a whole piece of family history that is lost with that."

Farnham Hilber says her aunt and uncle met in the early 1940s, and the letters were written during their wartime courtship.

She says her uncle was at Pearl Harbor during the attack. The couple married in 1948, and Farnham Hilber says she's thrilled to have this piece of history.

"These stories are gone, these people are gone, you never have access to these moments again," she says. "It's going to be wonderful to have a peek into what it was like to be 19 and 20 years old, and to be in love in the 1940s."

Dorothy "Dot" Farnham is still alive and lives in a New Jersey nursing home.

As to how these letters ended up on an Atlantic Highlands beach in New Jersey, the best guess is that they were put in storage when the house was torn down, and only resurfaced because of the storm.

Copyright 2012 WHYY, Inc.. To see more, visit http://www.whyy.org.

NPR

Stephen King On Growing Up, Believing In God And Getting Scared

"The more carny it got, the better I liked it," King says of his new thriller, Joyland. King talks with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his career writing horror, and about what scares him now.
NPR

Cash For Halloween Candy? Dentists' Buyback Program Is Booming

If you're like many parents, by tomorrow morning you'll be facing a candy glut. One possible solution? Sell it to a dentist participating in a program that sends candy care packages to troops.
NPR

For This Colorado Voter, Oil And Gas Debate Plays Out On His Property

Knocking on doors in Colorado, Steve Inskeep asks Antionio Covello about the election. The successful Denver business owner, a conservative, weighs mineral rights, foreign policy and division at home.
NPR

After Mass Protests, Hungary Gives Up On Internet Tax

The government had proposed taxing Internet usage, but opponents claimed it the government was trying to impose a digital iron curtain on Hungary.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.