A Box in the Attic

In 2010 I received a mysterious email with the subject header, “Searching Family Baltuck.”  The sender was Johan Lebichot.  For some reason, the name rang a bell, though the bell was rusty and had long been silent. It began…

Dear Madam,

My name is Johan Lebichot, 33 years old, and I am writing you from Belgium – Europe. Perhaps this name recalls something in your memory.  I am searching a family from Detroit who corresponded with my grandmother 60 years ago…If you are the right person, you are able to confirm this: Your parents are Harry and Eleanor Baltuck and your grandmother is Rose Baltuck…Your brothers and sisters are Lewis, William, Leonore, Debbie, Connie and Miriam…

No wonder his name seemed familiar!  Lebichot.  A missing piece of the puzzle I’d tried to put together over the years.   

I am sorting the contents of my grandmother and found a letter from Mrs Rose Baltuck, two pictures of your uncle Lewis Baltuck…

…his military grave…

…and six New Year cards coming from your parents during the year Fifties.

…made from pictures with their children, you, your brothers and sisters when you were young.

Your grandmother explains in her letter that during the war your father…

 …came into my grandmother’s flower shop to buy flowers for his little brother’s grave.

Johan went on to say his grandmother died in 2002 and her shop was sold, but he’d saved a box of old letters from the dust bin, transferring it from her attic to his.  Eight years later, while on paternity leave, Johan remembered the box. From its contents, he pieced together the frayed threads of a story binding together our two families all the way back to 1944.  It was the same story I’d heard from my grandmother’s lips.  

It all began when my father visited his brother Lewis’s grave in a temporary American Military Cemetery at Fosse-la-Ville, Belgium.

He tried to buy flowers at a shop owned by Madam Jeanne Lebichot, but locals were observing their own memorial services, and the flowers were all spoken for.  Already shattered by grief, my father broke down and wept, and so did the shopkeeper.   She told him her little daughter had been killed in an accident the same day his brother was killed on the Siegfried Line.  Jeanne Lebichot gave my father flowers, refusing payment, and adopted my uncle’s grave.   She sent my Grandma Rose sprays of flowers from the bouquets she left on Lewis’s grave.  Grief, gratitude, and mutual comfort blossomed into friendship.  Long after my uncle’s remains had come home to Detroit, they exchanged gifts and letters.  

Rose kept all of Jeanne’s letters, just as Jeanne kept Rose’s.  But Jeanne spoke no English, and Rose spoke no French. For twenty-one years my father wrote to Jeanne, and translated Jeanne’s letters for my Grandma Rose.  After his death in 1965, the women lost touch, and the story might’ve ended there, but for a box in Johan’s attic, and another one in mine.  

Since 2010, our families have become reacquainted.  We’ve exchanged gifts, stories, and letters, both old and new.  We’ve learned more about our own grandmothers from the letters they wrote to a stranger on the other side of the ocean.  A new generation of strangers has become friends.  And I’ve had the pleasure of watching the newest Lebichot grow up, albeit from across the ocean.  

Two weeks ago my sister Constance and I traveled to Liege.  For the first time in sixty-nine years, the Baltucks and the Lebichots met fact to face.  I was apprehensive.  My French is so rusty.  What if their English was too?  What if we couldn’t understand each other?  Worse yet, what if we met and didn’t even like each other? 

Johan and Anita generously took a day off from work to drive us to the site of the American Cemetery.  They picked us up outside our hotel, looking just like their photos.  And they spoke very good English!  We had an hour in the car to visit before we arrived at what used to be the temporary military cemetery.  

At the time we made our plans, it hadn’t registered that we’d be in Belgium on the 69th anniversary of my uncle’s death, but it gave me a little shiver to realize it.  The soldiers’ remains have long since been moved to permanent military cemeteries in France, or sent home to their wives and mothers.  The site had been assigned happier uses–a playground, gardens, home to windmills generating new energy.

But a plaque commemorates its history.  

“In proud memory of the 2199 American soldiers here buried with 96 Allied Brothers in Arms.  They gave their lives to set free our country in the fights of the fall 1944 and in the Battle of the Bulge.”

While in Fosse-la-Ville, we paid our respects at Jeanne’s grave.

We visited the flower shop.  Vacant and in disrepair, it holds tight to its stories, as fewer and fewer people remain who know them or even care.  Really, what difference should it make that seventy years ago my father’s footsteps echoed down that very street, or that the door of that shop swung open with a push from his hand?  Listen carefully, and hear no clue, not even a whisper of the sound of anguished tears spent long ago; only an autumn breeze whistling through a broken window pane.

At Johan’s childhood home in Fosse-la-Ville, I learned more about his early years, the next generation of his family stories, and my heart made room for them.

Chez Lebichot, Johan cracked open a bottle of champagne and shared photographs and letters.

For the first time I saw an image of Jeanne.  Constance and I wondered at the friendship between her and Rose, two such different women, with an ocean between,  who shared no common language, who had never even met.  It must be the same as with war veterans: only one who has endured the trauma of the battlefield can truly understand what another war veteran has suffered.  And only a grieving mother could comprehend the pain of another who has lost a child. 

Was it coincidence that  Johan and I had both held onto our box in the attic?  Or that we cared enough to piece together the story and patch together a decades-old friendship?  I don’t think so.  Both our childhoods were difficult, both families fractured, and we both know what it feels like to be orphaned.

People  can shut themselves off from further attachment–and potential pain.  Or they can stay open to new beginnings–and potential joy.  For me, it’s a constant struggle.  This time, I choose to focus on life over death, I choose to mend rather than toss, I prefer an open hand to a closed fist, and I choose to give myself the gift of a happy ending.

Please, could you confirm that you are (or not) a member of this family I am searching ?

Kind Regards

Johan Lebichot


Yes, Johan, I can confirm that this is the family we were both searching for.

All images and words copyright Naomi Baltuck



  1. Liz Weir says:

    What a simply fabulous and most moving story. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. Dear Liz,
      That means a great deal, coming from such an accomplished storyteller. Thank you so much for the visit, and for sharing your very generous response.

  2. niasunset says:

    This is amazing family story dear Naomi, I am impressed so much. Thank you, love, nia

    1. Dear NIa,
      You are so kind! Thank you for your visit, and for taking the time to comment.

  3. sue says:

    THAT is incredible!

    1. Hi Sue,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your response.

  4. restlessjo says:

    How extraordinary is life, Naomi? And I can see the family resemblance 🙂

    1. Dear Jo,
      It is, it is, it is! Thank you, once again, for making me smile.

  5. Carol says:

    Oh Naomi, what a wonderful story! How fortunate you are to have those ties and to be able to piece together your family’s history. Too often by the time we become interested in our history, there is no one left to tell us.


    1. Dear Carol,
      I let far too many connections slip out of my fingers until it was too late, and I am kicking myself for it every day. I was not going to let go of this one, if I could help it.
      Thank you so much for your response. It is always good to hear from you.

  6. ledrakenoir says:

    Wonderful story, thanks a lot for sharing it… 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for listening, and sharing your response.

  7. Pat says:

    What a beautifully written, beautiful story. Life is so amazing when we are open to living it fully, with all its pain, bruises and opportunities.

    1. Dear Pat,
      Thank you for your eloquent response!

  8. Brings tears to my eyes, as always. And how strange it is to see photos of Rose looking younger than I am today. Would she have been in her 40’s when Lewis was killed? What am amazing trip for you and Con.

    1. Dear Lee,
      Yes, I think maybe she was 49. It was a great trip. This was the hardest part of it, probably because I cared most about the outcome, and it turned out to be the most rewarding. Isn’t that often the case?
      Talk to you soon!

  9. I love this! Pictures tell such great stories, don’t they? I loved that the box of letters were discovered, it’s a prime example as to why we need to keep writing letters instead of e-mailing. This is a wonderful post, Naomi!

    1. Thanks for the visit, Jill, and for your very thoughtful response. Yikes! I never thought about that aspect of paper letters–and trails that lead back to the past. It’s scary to think of all the electronic correspondence that could disappear in a minute, or with the next generation or upgrade of products.

      1. It scares me…the stories that could be lost.

  10. What a wonderful story…

    1. Thank you, Baz. I really appreciate your taking the time to comment.

  11. This is an amazing story! It made me think of those fantasies of a stranger appearing on your doorstep, saying he’s been trying to find you for dozens of years to let you know that a rich uncle left you his fortune… or something. But this story is so much better because it’s so personal and it’s real. It seems fated.

    1. Dear Juliann,
      I had long given up on connecting that broken thread to any part of the tapestry. I have always been the one trying to piece the picture together, and to hear from someone else who is also looking for answers was so surprising. My heart was literally beating fast as I read his first email.
      Thanks so much for your visit, and for your thoughtful response.

  12. Annie Chace says:

    Fascinating story. Can I just say again how much I truly enjoy your blog?

    1. Dear Annie,
      I so appreciate your generous response to this story, and to my blog! Sometimes you toss your stories out there, like a little bird on the wind, and hope it finds a safe landing place. It is good to know that it found one with you.

  13. Judith says:

    This post moved me to tears. I am so glad for your new friendship, and the new pieces of your family history.

    1. Dear Judith,
      I would never have thought it possible! Thanks so much for your visit, and for taking the time to share your very thoughtful response. From here on we are not only piecing together family history, but making new memories that will one day become family history to two families.

  14. I’m still smiling, imagining that friendship from the past, resurrected from a shoe box, and even more about the new friendship you and Constance are forging with Johan and his family today. I’m so glad you shared this story with us, Naomi.

    1. Hi Meredith,
      Thanks so much for stopping by, and sharing your response to this story. I so appreciate your kind words! (They make me smile, too!)

  15. Amy says:

    That is such a moving story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Naomi! Beautiful, precious photos.

    1. Dear Amy,
      Thank you for your generous response to “A Box in the Attic.”

  16. Some people in this world are truly awesome. This is the most heartwarming story I have read in ages and ages. Who the heck moved my Kleenex!

    Thank you for sharing. Glad you found each other again. Funny how you both kept your ‘boxes’. There was a plan all along you couldn’t have known about. 😀

    1. Dear Tess,
      Thanks so much for your really kind comment about “A Box in the Attic.” You always have a fresh perspective. I feel so very fortunate to know that Johan was as eager to find our family as we would have been to find him (if only we had known it was even possible!) I do think it was more than luck that Johan and I had both kept our boxes of family treasures–or clues; we both had holes we needed to fill in or repair, and we were looking everywhere–including the past–to find ways to fill in the gaps.

      1. It was meant to be. ;-D

  17. Alison says:

    What a wonderful story! It had me from beginning to end. How lucky you all are to have found each other again.

    1. Yes, yes, yes! We are both very happy. Thanks so much for your visit, and your thoughtful comment.

  18. Jamie Dedes says:

    Oh tears! What a fine and rewarding story … and yes, we must stay open to these things.

    Many blessing to all …

    1. Thank you, Jamie. You’re absolutely right; it is sometimes a struggle to remain open, but I find that it’s almost always worth it when I do. Thanks so much for your visit, and for your constant encouragement.

  19. Red Hen says:

    What a delightful story, wonderfully told, and with such marvellous photographs. Old letters are such great treasures.

    1. Thank you so much for your visit, and for taking the time to comment. You are right–letters are a treasure, but the art of writing letters is swiftly becoming dated, and the paper trail will be almost non-existent.

  20. Arlene says:

    I may have deleted that email before getting past the first paragraph, assuming it was spam. So glad the name rang that rusty bell and you didn’t click delete! This is such a great story and, as usual, so well told in both pictures and words. I love this: “Listen carefully, and hear no clue, not even a whisper of the sound of anguished tears spent long ago; only an autumn breeze whistling through a broken window pane.” Beautifully put!

    1. Dear Arlene,
      It does kind of start out like one of those spam letters promising a huge inheritance if only you pay so much in legal fees, etc.
      Thanks so much for reading, and for your very thoughtful comment. It means a lot to me.

  21. An intense story .. which takes you back in time… I wonder how many people are “connected” to each of us, through different stories… without ever being able to re-establish contacts! It’s touching and divinely written, dear Naomi, thanks for sharing even these pictures which gives a more special meaning to the story itself… Hug :-)claudine

    1. Dear Claudine,
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful response to this story. I love your speculation about our connectedness! I think we would be surprised about how many of those threads we have tying us together, if only we knew or were open to them.
      Hugs and warm wishes to you too,

  22. nutsfortreasure says:

    How perfect is that!

    1. Hi Eunice,
      You hit the nail on the head. I am a lucky duck, indeed! Thanks so much for the visit!

      1. nutsfortreasure says:

        🙂 Have a wonderful week!

  23. What an amazing, inspiring , overwhelmingly touching narrative. Truly , human hearts are without borders, not of space or language or race, if only you’ll only listen to it’s whispers. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Thank you so much for your visit. I so enjoyed your blog, and look forward to more visits there.

  24. Ann Roth says:

    Wow, Naomi. What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing the photos.

    1. Hi Ann,
      Thanks so much for your visit, and your very generous response. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.

  25. The heart has no borders
    It does not know of distances
    Nor of nations, nor language
    Nor of the skin’s differences.

    The heart knows of pain
    Of loss and separation
    Of quiet ponderings
    And shared elation.

    1. Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing this.

  26. Rosa says:

    what an extraordinary wonderful story.
    I visited Liege with its impressive modern trainstation not so long ago

    1. Dear Rosa,
      Thank you for your visit, and for taking the time to comment. The train station there is awesome.

  27. What a powerfully generous story! There’s not much one can say…it has all been said in this post. Thanks for sharing your family’s past by making it your present 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your generous response! I love your perspective–“Sharing your family’s past by making it your present.” And Johan wrote to me afterwards, “Our two families will be linked forever,” and so it also becomes our future!

      1. I have nominated you for the sunshine award here’s the link if you decide to accept it http://quarteracrelifestyle.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/the-sunshine-award/
        Enjoy your day!

  28. scillagrace says:

    I love the way that people of grace can make something life-giving and affirming out of what most people consider tragedies. Maybe there are no tragedies, only opportunities.

    1. Dear Scilla,
      Thank you for a beautiful and affirming comment. I know that you know what you are talking about, because you are one of those people.

  29. suzjones says:

    What a wonderful story. Thankyou so much for sharing. 🙂

    1. Thank YOU for your visit, and for taking the time to share your response to this story. I really appreciate hearing from you.

  30. I am lost for words. A story written with all the love and hope of the human heart. A story that spanned generations, travelled oceans, created friendship drawn by fate. It makes me appreciate more the past as well as the present and future. Thank you. This beautiful story needs to be retold, relive and be shared again and again.

    1. Thank you so much for your really kind response to my story. It means a lot to me.

  31. footsy2 says:

    Very moving. Very beautiful.

  32. Thank you for sharing this extraordinary story. Wonderful for you to be united with family and treasures.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for the visit, and for taking the time to share your very generous response. It is a good feeling to be connected again!

  33. Amazing and so interesting. And I suspect there is much more to your beautiful story ♥ Thank you for sharing, Naomi ♥

    1. Dear Paula,
      Thanks so much for the visit. I’m sure you are right; there is always more to the story! I will be sharing bits and pieces here and there.
      Thanks again, as always, for your encouragement.

  34. This is just a beautiful post and a wonderful story.

    1. Thank you for stopping in and sharing your very generous thoughts on this story.

  35. kathy says:

    The strangeness of life continually amazes…what an extraordinary story. Thank you for taking the time to tell it to us. It’s wonderful how such a seemingly random encounter can have such far-reaching effects. I’m glad your grandmothers kept in touch! And that you and Johan are continuing this lovely tradition.

    1. Hi Kathy,
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your very generous response. It is fascinating to me that these broken threads should have found a way to mend themselves. We’ve shared this connection too long, and it would be too sad and wasteful, I think, to let it go.

  36. pattisj says:

    This is a wonderful story, two families united over decades through loss, and now reconnected as found. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Patti
      Thank YOU for your visit, and for sharing your thoughts about this story.

  37. babsje says:

    This post brought a tear, poignant and moving, a story well-told.

    1. Thank you so much for your visit, and for taking the time to share your response.

  38. Naomi,

    What a lovely story. It was quite moving. I plan to share it with my husband (who never reads blogs…other than mine, that is). I think this idea of connecting and belonging are such elemental human longings. Perhaps these women were able to speak to one another’s spirits in a way they may not have been able to speak with their own neighbors. What a treasure. Thank you for sharing.


    1. Hi Jessie,
      Thanks for a very thoughtful comment. Sometimes it’s easier to speak freely to someone outside of our usual realm, but all the more so if you share something so basic as the loss of a child.
      I appreciate your visit, and your perspective, and your taking the time to comment.

  39. Maureen Kay says:

    So many elements fit together just right to create such magic. I picture two hands clasping, with each finger easing slowly into the right slot over years.

    1. Dear Maureen,
      What a vivid image! I love it. Thanks so much for sharing that with me. I know it will stay with me.

  40. Patty B says:

    That is such a cool story! You should publish it!

    1. Dear Patty,
      That is such a lovely comment! Thank you so much. I will give it some serious thought, and if I do, I will send you a complimentary copy!

      1. Patty B says:

        I would love that!

  41. Oh, how I love this story of communication and connection, family lore and love, and the journey you all took to make it all happen. WHAT A POST! So glad I heard about you from Roy and Back on the Rock. Hello!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to share your generous response. I’m very glad as well that Roy introduced us! I had a wander around your blog, and it looked great.

  42. 4amWriter says:

    Wonderful and touching. Proof that we live in a small world after all.

    1. It is a small world, isn’t it? And sometimes it comes back to you in unexpected places and ways. I spent several years trying to learn more about my uncle–I realized that if I didn’t, no one would know or care whose little bronze baby booties I have on the bookshelf in my office. I hit so many dead ends trying to find army buddies or relatives who knew him, and could tell me more about this poor kid who had died at twenty in a foreign land. And then, after I had nearly exhausted my sources, out of the blue comes Johan!
      Thanks for the visit, and for taking the time to respond. Best wishes!

  43. Roy McCarthy says:

    That is the most fabulous story Naomi, told in words and pictures as only you can. That connection was kept alive by a spark and in 99% of cases would have been extinguished by old papers being binned. How both families have fanned the flames is both extraordinary and touching. Thanks so much for telling this.

    1. Hi Roy,
      Thanks so much for stopping by, and sharing in the conversation. It is always good to hear from you!

  44. And that, my dear, is why like to write real letters. My goodness – can you imagine if people didn’t write letters way back then? AND NOW – what will the future generation do? Communicating through a computer that no one can get into unless you know the password. I rally to keep letter writing alive. Your story is a testament to how important it is to keep it alive.
    Glorious reconnection of a family that was able to share things with you about your grandmother. Your heart must be floating with pride and joy.
    I’m very happy for you.
    Izzy xoxo

    1. Hi Izzy,
      You’re right; letter writing is swiftly becoming a lost art. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about that, and for your very kind response to this story.

  45. What a wonderful story! I love hearing about stuff like this; making friends across the ocean, old relationships resurfacing, letters and photos.

    I have a friend that I write to via letter. We have email and mobiles of course, but insist on writing letters because that’s how we met in the first place when we were about 11. Maybe 12. We’re both 29 now and have boxes upon boxes of letters from each other.

    Stories like this help to remind me that so much of a life and a relationship can be held and captured forever in a letter. I hope Gemma and I never switch to email… we’ll have letters to show younger family members as we grow older and to remind them that staying in touch, loving and friendship is something to be valued.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful story and beautiful pictures. x

    1. You make such an important point here, Ileandra! Your letters to and from each other are like a journal, a record of your own lives, as well as your friendship, as you share with each other that which matters.

      Thank you so much for the visit, and for your thoughtful and thought-provoking response.

  46. Letizia says:

    What a beautiful, touching story. I love how you point out that you are a new generation of strangers becoming friends.

    1. Hi Letizia,
      Thank you so much for your visit, and for sharing your very kind response.

  47. kizzylee says:

    absolutely fantastic post loved reading this and seeing the pictures thank you for sharing my friend xx

    1. Dear Kizzy,
      I sure appreciate your stopping by, and sharing your response to this post. It’s always good to hear from you.

  48. Lignum Draco says:

    Wow, what a story! Most heartwarming.

  49. what a beautiful story from a friendship forged through grief

    1. Thank you! Like steel forged in a fire, it comes out stronger.

  50. What an amazing story – thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading your post 🙂

    1. I thank you for stopping by, and taking the time to comment. I appreciate your generous response.

  51. What an amazing story 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sarah. I still can hardly believe that our families were lucky enough to find each other again, and it makes me happy to know that it matters to Johan and Anita as well.

  52. Grace says:

    Oh my God! This almost made me cry. What an amazing story this is, Naomi. Thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoyed this one. 🙂

    1. Dear Grace,
      You are such a dear! This connection has meant a lot to me. As it will surely be a while before I have grandkids, I have enjoyed watching their little boy growing up. The story goes on!
      Thank you for your visit, and for your very kind response.

  53. Finally had a chance to read this. What an extraordinary story/photo essay. Thanks for taking us with you on a journey of connection.

    1. Dear Cathryn,
      So nice to hear from you! Thank you for the visit!

  54. Kev says:

    Wow! How amazing is that!

    1. Thank you for your visit, Kev, and for your very kind response.

  55. adinparadise says:

    Your story and photos really gave me goosebumps, Naomi. I’m so happy that the families have been able to make contact and meet up after so many years. Absolutely wonderful and so amazing!

    1. Thank you so much, Sylvia. It has been an adventure, and the story goes on!

  56. reocochran says:

    What an awesome email and gift given to your family! I am very excited for you to find all these connections and love the wonder of the photographs. I studied their faces, they look like such nice people to know!

    1. Thank you so much for your really thoughtful comments. It has meant a lot to me to be able to connect, and learn more of the back story. They are very nice people, and I feel so fortunate!

  57. Madhu says:

    Your telling of this extraordinary story read like a movie script Naomi!!! What are the chances of two families holding on to those letters for so many years? Unbelievable! And deeply moving. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Dear Madhu,
      This one was close to my heart. Thanks so much for your very generous response.

  58. ShimonZ says:

    This is a wonderful and moving post… and goes to show the younger generation that communication between far away worlds didn’t start with the internet. And when we do manage to bridge those great big gaps, and find sister and brother souls in another country, on another continent… it strengthens our love for humanity, and gives us a measure of faith. I so enjoyed your story.

    1. Dear Shimon,
      Thank you for sharing such a kind, thoughtful, and thought-provoking response. The internet can be a mixed blessing, sucking people into a virtual world at the cost of fresh air and exercise, and friendships that are shared face to face. But it is also a miracle, bridging, as you say, gaps that would be impossible to bridge any other way. After all, without it I would never have met Johan, or you. I know the key is finding the balance between the two, but I am still searching for it. Between work, travel, and familial obligations, I have fallen behind in my blogging, and now it’s time to catch up.
      Thank you so much for your visit.

  59. t2van says:

    Hi Naomi – catching up on my reading!
    Such a powerful story, thank you for sharing. There is no such thing as coincidence…only synchronicity…
    Your story reminds me of my favourite prayer by Teresa of Avila which contains the lines, “…May I be the source of healing for others.” Your grandmother and Johan’s grandmother helped each other to heal, and now you and Johan are continuing the healing started so many years ago. Kudos to you both, for in healing yourselves, you are healing all of us. 🙂

    1. Dear Terri,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I know what you say is true–our grandmothers needed each other, and I think that some deeper instinct must have kept Johan and me from tossing those musty letters from strangers speaking a foreign tongue, who in all probability we would never ever meet.
      So good to hear from you. I am trying to catch up now too, after travel, a busy storytelling schedule, and familial obligations. I look forward to reading your blog!

  60. Elyse says:

    What a beautiful story. I was catching up and am so glad I stopped to read this story. There is something so beautiful in the love of lost ones bringing people together. Now I need a hanky!

    1. Hi Elyse,
      Thank you so much for stopping in and taking the time to share your very kind response. It is always good to hear from you, and tonight you made me smile.

  61. kz says:

    this is such an amazing story about. thank you for sharing it. i thought this only happens in the movies but oh it’s real and so lovely. happy to have read this. 🙂

    1. Dear kz,
      I had already written this off as a chapter in history that could never be revisited, and that had no ending, or at least not a happy one. But the world grows smaller and it’s amazing how many broken threads have been mended through the net and spread of the internet! I have just been contacted by someone else who read this story, and as a result, another broken thread will soon be mended!
      A very belated thank you for your visit–somehow your message slipped in between the cracks.

  62. Maxime Noel says:

    Can contact me to you by e-mail?
    I am a young Belgian amateur historian who works at present on a book-tribute having for subject the temporary cemetery of Fosses-La-ville

  63. Hi Maxine,
    What an interesting subject for a project! I would be glad to be of assistance. You are welcome to e-mail me and we can figure out what to do and where to go from there.

    1. sharon62120 says:

      Hi Naomi, I am hoping to contact Maxime regarding the book she is making for Fosse, Belgium…in hopes of adding our relative Raymond Dirks, who died at the Siegfried Line on Sept. 11, 1944 & was buried at Fosse until he was brought home. I SO enjoyed reading your own story! That would make an interesting movie! Please email me at MinnTx23@aol.com if you have time. Sharon in Texas

      1. Hi Sharon,
        This is amazing! The internet really is incredible, like magic, bringing together folks who might never otherwise find each other.
        Do you know what company Raymond served with, or the circumstances of his death? I attended the 60th reunion of my uncle’s division. (He was with the 30th Division, K Company of the 117th infantry.) I will send you Maxime’s contact information and forward an e-mail he sent me explaining the project. I am sure he will be glad to hear from you!

  64. raptekar says:

    Love this story. Coming together after all the years. Such a joy for all of you. Beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Richard. Johan is coming to Edmonds to visit in June!

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