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Wartime love letters were fetched from the trash

Trina Kleist
Staff Writer

A box of love letters from a World War II Navy seaman to his wife stateside were rescued from the trash, the woman who found them said Monday.

“We had gotten a great big donation this last spring, and they had slowly brought it up from the warehouse in mid-June,” said Vicki Landucci, assistant manager at the AnimalSave thrift store on East Main Street in Grass Valley.

The letters, most of them from Claude Dawson to Nadine Dawson in San Francisco, were described in Monday’s edition of The Union and have stirred interest beyond the county.

Landucci spotted the box, covered with gold paper and stuffed with the old envelopes and 6-cent stamps, in a trash can. The former U.S. postal worker from Penn Valley grabbed them.

“When we’re sorting through stuff, everything goes into a pile or a can. I’m always going through our trash cans,” Landucci said. “I just happened to pull this out.”

When Landucci opened up the first envelope, she realized they had been someone’s personal letters. The volunteers stopped and looked through them, passing the hand-written pages around.

“We just couldn’t throw them away,” Landucci said.

But what to do with them?

Susan Raub, a volunteer at the store, agreed to take custody of the box, Landucci said. She eventually got them into the hands of local historian Brad Prowse, who also took an interest in them.

A reporting crew from CBS Channel 13 in Sacramento came to the thrift store on Monday and talked to Landucci, and filmed the letters at The Union. With the segment expected to air soon, fans of the letters hope word of them would reach some relative of Claude and Nadine Dawson who would be interested in keeping the documents.

In the meantime, The Union will start publishing the letters in Saturday’s edition, and scanned images of the letters will be posted online starting next Monday.

Anyone with information about the letters or the Dawson family can contact City Editor Trina Kleist at tkleist@theunion.com or 477-4230.

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