The Letter

Two day before Christmas we were doing some renovations to the kitchen. I know…. sounds like an odd time to be renovating but we had just purchased a new stove for Christmas and the renovations were necessary.

The home we live in has a lot of history behind it. Not only was it built about ninety years ago, there was also a small room off the kitchen that served as the Dale Post Office. Yup, the same “Dale Post Office” mentioned in Bitter, Sweet.

Miraculously, while in the midst of all the renovations, we discovered a letter hidden in between the walls. The letter was in perfect shape, still in the original envelope with a 2 cent stamp affixed to it, and addressed to the previous owner. It had been written by one of her sons while he was a patient at a hospital in the United States eighty years ago.

I decided not to post the letter for privacy reasons but am adding some photos my daughter took the day the letter was discovered.

The gentleman we bought our house from, when we were first married, will be turning 100 this month and lived in the house as a boy. From time to time we drop in to visit him at the nursing home where he now lives. At 100 his mind is as sharp as a tack and he has many wonderful stories to tell. As you can imagine he has seen many changes in our community over the years and I swear he can recall each and every one. I love local history. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before. I could sit for hours and listen to him. He’s a wonderful story-teller and our visits with him are always so pleasant.

During the holidays we dropped in to visit with him. He had company from the city that day and, although we didn’t want to interrupt their visit since they’d come from such a distance, they insisted we come in. We knew these people— since they had once lived in the community— all but the one lady whom we’d never met before. Awhile into our visit my husband told them about the letter we had found. To our surprise the lady spoke up and said it had been written by her father when he was a young man!

To make a long story short, I got her address that day and sent her the letter. She was so pleased to get it. In a little thank you note she wrote me later, she said that it was like getting a letter from the dead. He father had been very sick while a patient in that hospital and the doctors weren’t at all sure he would survive.

When I stop and think how odd it was that we’d find this letter a week before meeting the daughter of the man who had written it eighty years ago, I’m reminded that the world is filled with magical moments such as these. It was exciting to be able to send the letter back where it belonged and somehow it just feels right.

I love the way life throws these little “coincidences” our way. Although I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that life is not just a bunch of haphazard events, I’m always amazed when something like this happens.

So what’s your story? What odd thing has happened that made you sit up and notice? Do you believe in “coincidences” and “chance meetings”, or do you think life unfolds the way it is supposed to? I’m very curious, you know……

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  1. What an interesting account! It sounds like material that should be included in a future story. I’ve experienced occasional coincidences and so I know they happen. I suspect God has a hand in their timing, although of course I can’t prove it.

    • Funny you should say that. When my husband mentioned finding the letter that’s actually what was suggested, that it was material for my next story.

      I agree with you only I’ll go so far as to say that I know God has a hand in these things. For everything to be so perfectly timed it really would take a miracle of sorts, at least in my mind.

  2. wow – what a great story, Laura. It actually leaves me kind of numb and tingly…

    • I think about it often.This week when I received the thank you from the gentleman’s daughter, it really felt as though she was meant to have the letter. I love it when strange things like that happens.

  3. I agree with Carol; this sounds like the beginnings of a good story.

    I’ve had some coincidences but none like you described. The only one that comes to mind is when I used to pick up and drop off my daughter from daycare. I would always leave the way I came. But one day I decided to take the long way out of the neighborhood. It was a neighborhood I always loved, and I always dreamed of living there. So I drove around the corner just as a man was hammering a For Sale by Owner sign into his lawn.

    I sped home, grabbed my husband, and we returned to the house and asked for a look. Long story short, we bought it outright and were living in ti two months later.

    I’m not sure if that’s just a coincidence that I took a different route that day or if my impulsiveness gets me into memorable trouble.

    • Tricia, I’m totally convinced when these things happen that we are somehow guided in a particular direction. And you just proved that dreams do some true. I totally believe that dreaming is under rated. Nothing ever happens without us first giving thought to it. Before my book was accepted for publication, I spent time each day dreaming of what that experience would feel like…just saying..

      • Oh wow! Don’t laugh but I just noticed Tricia, that your post came in at 11:11…..Um..I have a “thing” about 11:11 or any other double digits, put in particular 11:11..can’t tell you how many times that shows up in my life…. weird…. Do you think it means something? lol

  4. Oh, Laura! I could discuss this topic for hours and hours. So I’ll do my best to cut it down to a quick and dirty couple of paragraphs.

    I’m not sure what I believe, really. There’s been too many of those “coincidences” in my life for me to 100% think they were completely random. But, at the same time, some off-the-wall stuff happens that makes me question the whole “supposed to be” theory, too.

    A quick example:

    Driving down the interstate to visit my mom, I decided to take the first exit instead of the second exit, which I always take. I don’t know why I did it. But I heard that little voice whisper, “Get off here,” so I did.

    Turns out, there was a wreck between the first exit and the second one. Now, I’m not sayin’ I would’ve been in the accident; I could’ve just been delayed for a couple hours while they cleaned it up. Whatever the case, I’m glad I took the first exit.

    • I thinks it’s good that you listened to that “little voice”, Leah. And I’m wiling to bet that most of us has some sort of similar experience. Not everyone acknowledges these things, they simple pass them off.

      I’m pretty sure that we don’t pay as close attention to these things as we should. I think there are many more “coincidences” going on in our lives than we are even aware of. I use the word “coincidence” for lack of a better word. But when I hear the word “coincidence” it means much more to me that events that randomly happen.

  5. What a wonderful and amazing story, Laura. Thank you for sharing this. I do believe in these “coincidences.”

    • It’s almost impossible to pass ignore these “coincidences” isn’t it? It seemed almost surreal finding the letter in the first place but then meeting the man’s daughter a week later was just TOO much!

  6. Wow, very cool story! I tend to think coincidences as amazing as this one must surely be orchestrated from above.

    The gentleman you bought your house from sounds like a wonderful man — must be a real delight to listen to his stories!

    • I certainly agree with you Shari!

      One of my favourite stories was the time he and his brother walked the family cow a distance of about fifteen miles to their new home here in Dalhousie. They stayed overnight at a relatives before continuing on their way. I believe he said they made it home the next day around supper time…

  7. Too many examples come to mind on this end but I think the letter will ignite some shining work from a certain non traveling Nova Scotia author. BTW – Pretty lame having story ideas come at ya from inside the walls of your house. Do you have any idea what it costs for me to travel around for inspiration these days? Sheesh. (Next stop: The Everglades)

    Was thinking maybe my aunt took care of the man that penned the letter. Cool penmanship. She moved from Nova Scotia in the late 20s & worked at Mass General Hospital until WW2. THAT would be a stretch AND a wild coinkydink.

    10 minutes – for the sake of 10 minutes I would be living in Pennsylvania today instead of Florida….. & probably would never had made an attempt at writing. One day I’ll post about that. In the end – we were supposed to be here.

    • Story ideas coming out the the walls…. When you put it that way I guess it does sound a bit lame… But hey, I’ll take ideas wherever they come.Well you never know, this may one day make it into a story.

      Now, I’m very curious about this 10 minute thing so I hope you don’t make us wait to long before posting about it..

  8. chezjlb

     /  February 7, 2010

    Wow, I got goose bumps reading this. I agree that it sounds like a story line. As the family genealogist and family historian, I can only imagine what it felt like to welcome that letter back into its original family. Well done!

    • Thanks! It really felt good to be able to send the letter back to his daughter.

      It makes me wonder what other “treasures” are hiding between the walls of this old house!

  9. Oh Laura! There is a great title for a book! Treasures Between the Walls! oooooooooooo

    • “Treasures Between the Walls”—-So I’ve got a great idea and a title, now all I have to do is get busy. Sounds so easy. Doesn’t it? lol

  10. That is so sweet, and so amazing! My house is only 10 yrs old so I don’t get any old cool things happening in it.

    • I used to think it would be nice to live in a fairly new home but then when things like this happen I’m happy to be a part of them. We once even found an old address label for the Dale Post Office.


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