— -- When Zac and Shannon Carter bought a renovated 1970s house in Pensacola, Florida, last month, the home inspector told them he had discovered a stack of old letters in the original cabinetry.
It wasn’t until after the couple moved in that they realized the envelopes contained the beginnings of a post-World War II-era love story.
Curious about the inspector’s find, the Carters read the vintage letters, which were postmarked from 1948 to 1949. The letters belonged to the original homeowners, veteran William Middelton and his beloved.
William Middleton, aka Bud, wrote the letters while he was in school in Georgia after serving in World War II. He sent the letters to a woman named Doreen in Canada.
“He talked about how he was in love with her, and how they wanted to get married,” Zac Carter told ABC Pensacola affiliate WEAR-TV, describing the contents of the letters. “He wanted her to come and be with him.”
A romance blossomed between Bud and Doreen within the inked parchment. The couple eventually got married, had children and moved to a house in Pensacola, where they stowed away the cherished letters in a cabinet that remained intact decades later through an ownership change and renovations.
The Carters had hoped to return the letters to the couple, but learned that both Bud and Doreen had died. They spent days searching for surviving family members until locating one of their two sons, Ken Middleton.
“I think it’s something any child would want to have from their parents,” homeowner Shannon Carter told WEAR-TV of Middleton family. “They said it was the best thing they could receive.”
Middleton told the Carters his parents had met through a friend. Bud, who served toward the end of the global war and returned home, had a neighbor in Georgia who had a pen pal from Canada. That pen pal was Doreen and she happened to meet Bud when she came to visit. The two fell in love and kept in touch by writing letters.
The letters the Carters found – the ones Bud penned to Doreen -- are just one part of the decades-old love story. The ones she wrote to him may also be hidden somewhere in the house near Olive Road and Johnson Avenue in Escambia County.