WESTMINSTER, Colo. - An old record from a thrift shop held an unexpected piece of history: a love letter from 1945, sent from a World War II soldier to his girlfriend in Kansas.
"We brought the album home and we were looking through it, and I said, 'There's a letter in here!'" said Ilene Ortiz, who bought the record. "I thought, 'This is such a romantic letter and someone should have it.' I've had it for about six months, and I didn't know what to do with it."
Ortiz wanted to find the owner before Valentine's Day, and contacted 7NEWS for help. Turns out the couple, Bill and Bernadean Moore, got married and moved to Colorado to raise three children.
Their daughter, Melinda Gale, said her mother saved all the letters Bill sent her while he was in Europe serving in Patton's Third Army, but somehow they got lost after her mother died in 2010 and her dad, now 90, went to live at a veteran's assisted care facility.
"We can't find their letters which are a very special collection she had for years," Gale said. "Years and years. And we can't find them. So this is the only original that we have."
Gale got tears in her eyes reading her 20-year-old father's words.
"My darling, lovable, alluring, Bernadean," she read. "I ran out of space, but I could have written a lot more adjectives describing you. You are so lovely, darling, that I often wonder how it is possible that you are mine. I'm really the luckiest guy in the world, you know. And you are the reason, Bernadean. Even your name sounds lovely to me."
The letter goes on to say: "It's just when I get so horribly, terribly lonely for you that I write letters like this. I have never been so homesick for anyone in my life as I am for you."
Gale said her parents met when Bill was on furlough and her mother was still in high school in Fredonia, Kansas.
"Most of their dating was through letters in the war," Gale said. "I can't even imagine their relationship and how hard it would have been to love one another so very much and to never know what was going to happen."
Her parents were married for 63 years.
"They had so many great wonderful years together that just going back to the beginning is always something that's an amazing thing," Gale said. "This is the most wonderful gift."