Purchasing an older (but new-to-you) house can be quite an exciting but unknown process. You are moving into a stranger’s house where years of memories and experiences have been had. Generations of families have come and gone, leaving behind what you now call home. Or, in some cases, leaving behind even a little bit more.
Meet Zach and Shannon Carter. They purchased a Pensacola, Florida home in April 2016, and they soon learned more about their home’s previous owners than they had ever expected to discover. You’ll love this story!
During a home inspection the surveyor discovered an old stack of love letters that had been left behind after both of the previous tenants died. The letters had been hidden, tucked away in a kitchen cabinet.
Judging by the stamps and wear and tear on the letters, they looked very old. Probably 50 or 60 years old at least. After opening the letters, the Carters soon realized that they belonged to World War II veteran William “Bud” Middleton and his wife Doreen.
Bud wrote the letters between 1948 and 1949 and they remained in the couple’s possession until they both passed away.
“My husband and I are the only other people that have lived in this house,” Shannon told the Huffington Post. “The house was bought by a company that flipped it. The only part of the house that wasn’t flipped was the cabinets we found the letters in.”
Bud wrote the letters to his future wife while he was studying in Georgia after serving in World War II.
“He talked about how he was in love with her, and how they wanted to get married,” Zac Carter told ABC Pensacola affiliate WEAR-TV, describing the contents of the letters. “He wanted her to come and be with him.”
Everybody has either been through or known somebody who has been part of a long-distance relationship and knows that it is difficult to keep the spark. Even in the age of the internet and cell phones, we sometimes feel very distant from our loved one when you are apart. Now imagine only being able to speak to each other over written letters!
To feel closer to one another, “Bud and Doreen listened to the same radio stations at the same time and would write about how connected they would feel to each other even though they were miles apart,” Shannon said.
“Each letter was talking about their day-to-day life that week, but each letter wrote of their longing to be in the same area.”
The couple eventually married, had two sons, and bought what is now the Carters’ home.
It turns out the the current homeowners have a similar love story.
“[Zac and I] did long distance from Austin to Pensacola for three years and have been together for six,” Shannon said. “We met through a mutual friend while I was here in [Pensacola] visiting — much similar to Bud and Doreen!”
The Middleton family were fortunate that the Carters wanted to return the letters and they eventually made their way back to the family.
“I found [Bud and Doreen’s] obituaries and Facebooked each of the children until I found the right person,” Shannon said. “The person I landed upon first was Ken Middleton [their son], whom I messaged letting him know about the letters.”
“I think it’s something any child would want to have from their parents,” homeowner Shannon Carter told WEAR-TV of Middleton family. “They said it was the best thing they could receive.”
Unfortunately, the discovered love letters only include Bud’s letters to Doreen. The family isn’t sure what happened to her love letters to her future husband and love of her life. This valuable find just goes to show how priceless a handwritten letter can be to somebody. Think about that the next time you want to tell a girl you love her through a text message. Pick up a pen and write her an old-fashioned love letter instead!