The Washington Times-Herald

May 23, 2013

Letters returned after 55 years

Lindsay Owens
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — Fifty-five years ago Jerry Decker wrote letters back home to his sweetheart, Carol, from Camp Pendleton, California where he was based in the Marine Corps. Fifty-five years later, Jerry still had his letters from Carol.  But Carol, now Jerry¹s wife of 52 years, had, well misplaced a few of hers.

“He asked me one night if I knew where his letters to me were and I had no idea. I just figure they had been lost between moves over the years,” said Carol. “He was really giving me a hard time about not having all of them anymore,” she added with a grin.

The next day, a woman appeared at the Decker’s home just outside of Washington and asked for Carol.

“I didn’t have any idea who she was or why she was asking for Carol but I told her Carol was at choir practice right now and would be back later. That’s when the woman, Regina Martin, handed me three letters,” said Jerry.

“I just smiled when I saw them and I couldn’t wait for Carol to get home to show her.”

The three letters Martin brought to the Decker’s were some of the same letters Carol thought she had lost all those years ago. Martin told the couple she had found the letters while doing some remodeling work on her home at 1108 W. Van Trees. The home was where Carol grew up.

“I guess over the years, they just were covered up when the house was remodeled,” Carol said. “I never expected to get them back.”

Jerry mentioned some of the letters may have been written when he was traveling by train because he apologized to Carol for his poor penmanship.

“I think I was coming home from leave. The writing was a little shaky,” he said beaming as he held the letters.

Now yellowed the age, the letters, which cost seven cents to mail in 1958, were back in the hands of the woman they were intended for.

“Regina is a very special lady to have tracked me down to return my letters. How many people would find something like this and say, ‘I’m going to find these people these belong to.’?”

Martin could not be reached at press time.