Love Letters From 40s Offer Glimpse At Romance Before Cell Phones, Web

CHICAGO (CBS) — A man from the Edison Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side has found a cache of love letters written 77 years ago in the ceiling of his home.

Nicholas Pellikan has lived in the home at 6725 N. Oketo Av. for 23 years, but in 1940, Jack Henderson’s family owned the home.

Henderson was a military cadet at the time. His girlfriend, Louise Carroll, lived half a mile away at 6906 N. Oriole Av. and was a senior at Schurz High School. Between January and August of 1940 she wrote him 300 letters, proclaiming her love and talking about everyday life.

In the era before the Internet and cellular phones with no-cost long-distance packages, the U.S. Mail was how those messages were delivered.

Pellikan found the stash Feb. 23 when a leak developed in his ceiling, and he said reading the long-forgotten letters has been “fascinating.”

He said, apparently, Henderson and Carroll were good dancers. She wrote about missing him when there was a dance at Schurz, and Pellikan said Henderson referenced dancing in the one letter of his own in the cache.

“His friends actually tried to set him up with a young lady, and he said he couldn’t do it, because nobody danced like Louise did,” Pellikan said. “It’s pretty cute stuff.”

Also in the cache are a few letters from Henderson’s mother and from his sister, Marge; but Pellikan said “better than 95 percent” of the letters he found were written by Carroll.

The letters give no indication how long the relationship lasted.

Pellikan and Facebook friends have searched ancestry.com, vital records sites, and elsewhere to try to find Henderson and Carroll, who would now be in their mid 90s, or their respective descendants.

So far, records appear to show Henderson married someone else, but Pellikan would like to track down one or both families and give them a window into a time and a relationship long gone.

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