Woman finds 1951 love letter in a used book, tracks down the writer

Apr 22, 2014, 04:59 IST | Agencies

The letter was written by an Army private to his fiancee, when the two had been separated by war

South Carolina: Sandi Blood of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina recently made an intriguing discovery in a used paperback novel she purchased, which led her to a new friend miles away. While Sandi was flipping through the book’s pages, an old letter fell out. It was dated November 1951 and sent from Army Private Gilles LeBlanc to his girlfriend Carole Petch. The two were separated while LeBlanc was stationed in Japan and Petch was in Toronto, Canada.

A piece of history: Sandi Blood, who found the letter in a secondhand book she bought, used Facebook to trace the couple. Pic for presentation

The letter spoke about the military man’s army life before he shipped out to Korea and also professed his love for Carole including thoughts like, ‘Honey you can’t realize how much I love you and think and dream about being with you. It’s hurting me all over.’ The two were apparently engaged and the letter included plans for the couple’s upcoming nuptials.

After reading the letter from the past, Blood couldn’t help but find out more about the soldier and his love. She decided to take her search to social media. “I reached out to some Facebook friends. I figured that seems to be how things get done nowadays,” said Sandi. Shortly after her post, a genealogy expert friend instructed Sandi to find LeBlanc’s military ID on the envelope. That piece of information proved to be the key in tracking down Gilles LeBlanc, now an 84-year-old Royal Oak, Michigan resident.

The two connected by phone and spoke for 45 minutes. Gilles told Sandi about his experience at the start of the Korean conflict and about his love Carole, who later became his wife. Gilles said, “You get a 30 day leave at the end of your tour, so when I came home in December for 30 days, we got married.” The pair had six kids together before divorcing in the 1970s.

Reportedly, Sandi purchased the used book in Garden City, South Carolina, where Gilles’ daughter lives. When she had owned the novel she used the letter as a bookmark. Both Gilles and Sandi are delighted by the discovery and the connection that it forged. “I feel wonderful about it. I think the lady in South Carolina is just wonderful,” Gilles said. He has plans to visit his daughter in Garden City and when he does, he hopes to meet up with Sandi, and her genealogist Facebook friend.

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