Whether it’s chance or fate, this World War II veteran has just had the surprise of a lifetime thanks to a coincidental find at a thrift shop. Ilene Ortiz was doing some thrift shopping one day when she stumbled across a letter that was tucked inside an old record. After reading the emotional letter, Ilene knew she had to do what she could to find the man who wrote it.
When the letter reached its author, the man immediately broke down in tears. That man was Bill Moore, 90, who served in the war with Patton’s Third Army in Europe. He originally wrote the letter to his eventual wife, Bernadean Gibson, 70 years ago. While Bill read the old letter he couldn’t help but laugh through the tears.
The letter read: “My darling, lovable, alluring, Bernadean, 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 had been written in 1945. Little did anyone know, the two would spend the next 63 years married and raising children together.
Bill commented on the letter saying, “When you’re apart for the reason, not knowing if and when you’d ever see that person again, every chance you got to communicate was just wonderful.”
An incredibly heartwarming reminder was also a little bittersweet for the gentlemen. It served as a reminder of their love but also as a more somber reminder of his wife’s fairly recent passing in 2010.
“It’s difficult talking out loud about it to other people,” he said. “But I loved her, and she loved me. That’s all I can tell you. It’s a heartache not being with her all the time,” Bill explained.
Ortiz found the letter in a record cover after a purchase at her local thrift store. She contacted the local news hoping they would help in her search for the family connected to the letter. She then was lead to Melinda Gale, 48, one Bernadean and Bill’s daughters. When she read the note addressed to her deceased mother, she couldn’t hold back the tears.She claims the flowery language her father used is far from anything she would have expected from him. She said, “My hands were shaking when I finished reading it.”
“It truly was a window into how deep their love was. And obviously, they were married for almost 63 years. We knew they loved each other very, very much, but as children, you don’t see that. Where it came from, that deep connection, and this was a window into their story. He was a mechanical engineer. I cannot believe he shared these deep emotional words with her,” Melinda stated.
Melinda and her sister Gale had always had a fascination with the service their father gave during the war. They even planned a special trip to see the places he’d been.
“Mom had never gotten to see everywhere he had been. We did this amazing trip so I can picture exactly where he was on December 29, 1944, sitting in this miserable, cold, dark forest in the northern region where France, Germany, and Belgium all meet.”
Trying to explain the placement of the letter, Gale believes her mother put it there for safekeeping since it meant so much to her. The woman who found the letter can’t remember which record it was in but Gale has a pretty good idea which one it may have been.She explains that her mother’s song dedicated to her father was “I’ll be Seeing You” from the Broadway musical, Right This Way.