Lost Love Letters From The 1940s Found In Stranger’s Attic

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CASNOVIA, Mich. – Joshua McKinney has just a couple reams of insulation that he still needs to put in his attic.  His project was interrupted shortly after he began removing the old insulation.

“I was just scooping it up so I could put the new stuff down and when I did that it was just plop, What is this?” said McKinney.   “I started looking and I was like, ‘Honey, come look at what I found, this is kind of cool.”

The couple began thumbing through the find.

“There was a bunch of letters wrapped up in ribbon dating back to 1940,” he said.

Included was William Kissel’s birth certificate from 1942 and Edward and Virginia Kissel’s marriage certificate from 1941.  They had the names, now the McKinneys had to track down the family.

“We first posted it on Facebook and went from there,” he said.

The post bounced around on Facebook for a mere four hours before getting the attention of Williams’ daughter Christine Frien, from Muskegon, who saw a deeper connection at play.

“With my dad’s brother just passing away this weekend.  I don’t know.  I felt like my dad was just trying to talk with me,” said Frien.

She brought the letters home and began pouring over the find with her mother, Shirley Kissel.

For Shirley, it was a chance to to get know her husband’s father, a man she’d only met once before his death.

“I didn’t get to know him that much,” she said.  “But he was kind of a lover I guess.”

How the letters ended up at the cottage in Casnovia is a mystery for another day.

“We only knew they lived in Ludington,” Frien said of her grandparents.  “And then here in Muskegon.  So that is going to be something to find out.”

However they ended up there, the family is happy to now have them in their possession.

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  • Charlene Polk

    After seeing your story on the news, which was a surprise, I decided to let you know how those letters ended up there. Virginia and Ed were my husbands aunt and uncle, of which they lived in the projects off from Marquette St. at one time in Muskegon. After people moved out of the projects they were sold and moved for cottages and homes. When Virginia and Ed moved they must have forgotten about what they had put in the attic. My husband, John Polk, and his family also lived in the projects. Hope this helps you clear up the mystery.

    Mrs. John Polk

    • Christine Frein

      Mystery solved. Thank you. So when the projects were sold my grandparents were placed into other housing or the actual houses were moved? I knew my grandparents lived in the projects and Ludington before that. We were very confused why these items were found in Casnovia. Even my Uncle Dan didn't know.
      Thanks again!!! Christine (Kissel) Frein

      • Charlene Polk

        You are more than welcome. They weren't placed in other housing, I imagine they bought the house they lived in on Marquette.

  • Anonymous

    The letters should be given to someone who had a closer connection to Virginia and Edward. Seems to me that you barely knew them. I’m sure someone that were closer to them would appreciate the letters more than you.

  • Kerri Kissel

    Anonymous – My grandpa died long before any of us were born. No one including my grandma(Virginia) spoke about my grandpa. Included in those letters was my dad’s birth certificate. No one was closer to my dad then my mom and siblings. It’s unfortunate that such a feel good story could cause so much grief and rude comments. Letters will be shared with all the family. And knowing my family, my sister is probably the only one that would have traveled to retrieve them.

  • Christine Frein

    That's unfortunate that people feel this way. When my mother received the phone call that somebody had found some items of her husbands (my father). I was ready to run as fast as I could to retrieve those items. Nobody was closer to my father than my Mother and her children. It was a wonderful surprise to see more than that when I arrived at this home. Beautiful love letter were an added bonus!. Those love letter will be share with all those who loved Virginia and Edward. I will pray for who ever this person is who wrote this anonymous comment. I guess they did not get the chance to be blessed with a beautiful family as I have.

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