Calif. woman finds WWII photos, love letters in antique desk – locates relative through social media

Robert Schulte
Robert Schulte

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV/CNN) — It has been nearly 70 years since a group of pictures from the war years were taken.

But it was just days ago that they were discovered in an antique desk.

A California woman bought that desk at a swap meet, and social media helped solve a mystery.

“My dearest everlasting husband.”

Words on a postcard written so long ago.

“It makes me cry to just think I’m reading something so personal,” Lora Morel said.

Morel accidentally came across the love letter and more when she bought a desk at a swap meet.

“I yanked the drawer out and all of this stuff fell out of the bottom,” Morel said.

She got rid of the desk, but what to do about the photos?

“I held on to them for a while. I didn’t throw them away obviously, and I the time to sit down and post them on Facebook,” Morel said.

Scores of people responded, but there was one comment in particular from Lisa.

“She researched the name, it sounded familiar to her and it turned out to be a book that she had read,” Morel said.

The book, “A Sailor’s Story,” written about Robert Schulte by his nephew Bob Fellows.

“Ever since I was a little kid, he would just mesmerize me with all these war stories,” Fellows said by phone from Orange County.

Fellows turned those war stories about his uncle into a book about 7 years ago.

His uncle joined the Navy in 1939, and hunted German U-boats in the Atlantic.

He was then assigned to the USS Idaho – a battleship parked in the spot that the USS Arizona later occupied.

“They left there in Sept. 1941 to go to convoy duty in the North Atlantic, so had they not done [that] he probably would have been at the bottom of Pearl Harbor,” Fellows said.

Schulte, it turns out, lived in San Marcos until his death in 2009.

The photos and love letters are now in the mail to Fellows, but how they got inside the desk is not known.

“I can’t believe someone would go to all that trouble to track me down. I guess it really is a small world,” Fellows said.

So small, we’re all just a click away.

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