Facebook helps reunite Oregon woman with lost love letters - KMOV.com

Facebook helps reunite Oregon woman with lost love letters

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By Daniel Fredman By Daniel Fredman

HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) -The letters were special.

Sara Redlich knew that as soon as she spotted them at a Hillsboro Goodwill store.

Postmarked in 1973, they were addressed to Rose Hill in Aloha, OR.

The letters were sent from her new husband, Joe, who was stationed overseas with the U.S. Navy.

Redlich gathered them up, along with military paperwork containing the man's social security number, and took them home, intending to find the owner.

“These are somebody's memories. These are part of their life and history,” she said.

That was five or six years ago.

Redlich lost track of the letters during a move and forgot about them. Now in the midst of another move, she came across the letters and started her search for the Hills in earnest.

“They mean a lot of somebody, they mean a lot to me and they're not even mine,” Redlich said.

She turned to modern communication to find them, posting a photo of the letters with the names to a Facebook group on Tuesday.

Less than 24 hours later, that post landed in front of Rose Hill's son.

Now living in Hillsboro, Hill is thrilled the letters were found, although she admits feeling trepidation because she doesn't know what's written in them.

“I'm just excited as heck to see this and find out who we were. And who we were to each other,” she said.

Rose met Joe Hill when they were 12, while both were picking strawberries south of Canby.

They stayed in touch through the years and both joined the Navy.

Hill left the service and returned to the Portland area.

She ran into Joe Hill while he was home on leave.

Sparks flew and they married.

“Three days later he was back in Japan and I was still in my apartment,” she said. “There was nothing, except a guitar, there was no Joe anywhere in my house.”

Then the letters started coming.

The couple raised a son and have two grandchildren.

They are still friends, but are no longer married.

Rose Hill is anxious to read the letters because she hopes they will trigger memories from a part of her life she doesn't remember much of. She doesn't know how the letters ended up at Goodwill.

She began experiencing memory loss a year ago and says much of her past is locked away in her mind.

“Well, I think we can kind of surmise. Early marriage, love letters,” she said, laughing. “But I don't know the particulars, so that's going to be kind of like reading somebody else's story, I think, for awhile. Unless it triggers something. Either way, I'm up for the surprise.”

Redlich and Hill spoke on the phone Wednesday morning and plan to exchange the letters over lunch.

“I'm so excited to meet her, I'm shaking,” Redlich said. “I think that's great. And if these can help her in anyway, I think that's fantastic.”


“She rescued them and she's kept them for five, six years,” Hill said. “Yeah, she's amazing.”


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