• Old letter

70-year-old love letters reunited with their owner

In the age of social media, handwritten, posted love letters are all but a thing of the past. But ironically it’s thanks to Facebook, that a 70-year-old shoebox full of letters exchanged between two love struck teenagers, has been returned to its original owner.

In 2019, Kim Rowe was sorting through her attic when she discovered a box of letters exchanged between a Norma Hall in Kent and a Bob Beasley overseas with the British Army. They were written between 1948 and 1949.

The shoebox had been taken in by her mother, when 20 years previously, a neighbour had been ready to throw its contents out with the bins. She’d always intended to find their owners and reunite them with the correspondence, but sadly died without being able to. But after reading just one of the letters, her daughter decided to fulfil her mother’s wish and set out to find Norma and Bob.

A Facebook post yielded thousands of shares, and the Internet went to work, providing possible dates of birth for the letter writers, sourced through ancestry websites.

It wasn’t long before Kim had a possible address, and so she posted a letter, detailing the contents of the shoebox, hoping that their writers might still be around to take it off her hands.

And she struck gold. The Norma Hall she wrote too had indeed once been an 18-year-old woman, writing passionate love letters to one Bob Beasely on the Woolwich Ferry in the 1940s. They started their relationship as friends, but soon fell in love.

And what’s more, now aged 88 and living in Lincoln, Norma Hall was in fact Norma Beasley. She and Bob married in 1951, when he returned from military service, and went on to have five children and six great-grandchildren. Sadly Bob had recently passed away, in December 2018.

Norma was astonished to receive the letters, even more so given that they were in the original shoebox she’d saved them in back in the days when she lived with her parents. She has no idea how they came to end up miles away with Kim’s mother’s neighbour. 

‘We would write to each other – first as friends – but then it became something more. He'd tell me about his life and I'd tell him what was happening at home. I don't think my life was as interesting as his out in Egypt,’ says Norma.

‘I didn't even like writing letters but I would write to him every week. I used to send him a magazine every week.’

Norma admits that having so recently lost Bob, she can’t yet bring herself to read the letters. But she has gained a new pen friend in the process, as she and Kim plan to write to one another.

‘There's a message here,’ says Kim. ‘In this age of electronic communication, write to your loved ones – on paper, snail mail – just once in a while.’


Author: Rebecca

Rebecca lives in London with her husband, daughter and dachshund. She hopes her dating blogs for Flame Introductions will inspire you to seek out the best London and UK locations for brilliant dates, and discover some tips along the way to help you find your perfect partner.