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Woman Purchases Sewing Machine and Finds a Surprise

Kathi Arnold of Columbia, South Carolina purchased an antique sewing machine from a local thrift shop. She was elated at finding old patterns, patches and an old-fashioned pair of scissors. In addition, she noticed one of the drawers wouldn't close properly. So, she fiddled with it and found a touching letter from a soldier fighting in Korea, written to his wife. The letter was written in 1963 from Sgt. First Class Walter Smith to his wife, Roberta, saying:

“Hello my darling. I got the sweetest letter today from the sweetest little angel on earth. You do write wonderful letters, sweetheart and they tell me just what I want to hear, that you love me. I am so very fortunate to have you love me, little one. I don’t know what I did to deserve this, such wonderful love, but I don’t question it. Your loving husband — Forever, Walter.”

After finding the sweet letter, Arnold wanted to find the letter's rightful owner. She told WIS-TV News, “I thought, ‘What an important part of a family history this would be,’ and I really wanted to get it back to either the person who wrote it or the person who received it or their family." She found the address listed on the letter, but was met with twin brothers who had no knowledge of Walter or Roberta. The thrift owner wasn't able to help either. So, Arnold asked a local news station for some assistance. Then, a private investigator named Paul Silvaggio decided to help and said “I didn’t know whether Walter or Roberta were still alive, but wondered if there were family members who might find sentimental value in the letter.”

Just under an hour later, Silvaggio had found Roberta Smith’s nephew, Jeffrey Campbell, who lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His mother remembered Walter by saying “It was a loving relationship. They were very nice as a couple. Walter was a nice guy. I really loved him as a brother-in-law.” According to Campbell, the Smiths remained married until Walter’s death in 1971. Roberta passed away in 2014. Roberta's sister said the sewing machine originally belonged to their mother who lived with Roberta while Walter was away.

Photo: IJ Review

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