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True love stories: Stolen love letters found 40 years later

"It was a hell of a surprise."

By Kristin Wong Jan 10, 2013 4:01PM

The Heart Beat is excited to introduce our new weekly feature, "True love stories." Each week, a couple with a truly amazing love story will be profiled. If you know a couple with a story worth sharing, please email us at msnlivingmail@micros​​​oft.com for a chance to be featured.

On Dec. 31, Lloyd and Marian Michael celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. They kicked off their 71st year together with a heartwarming surprise.

In November, a man from Moreno Valley, Calif., called the Michaels to let them know he had found a box of their old love letters. The letters dated back to World War II, when Lloyd was deployed in Europe.

Photo: Ally T/Getty Images"We were devastated to think someone would steal our love letters and probably throw them to the wind," an 88-year-old Marian told the Daily Bulletin.

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Someone had broken into the couple's home 40 years ago and stolen a chest, which not only contained the letters, but also a collection of Lloyd's war paraphernalia.

The Moreno Valley man, who was not involved with the burglary, met the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., couple at a local In 'N' Out to return their lost mementos.

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"It was a hell of a surprise," Lloyd, 89, said. " The gentlemen had traced me down through my military service number. He said there are a hell of a lot of Lloyd Michaels in the service. You're the only one that has a wife named Marian."

Lloyd and Marian courted each other while they were high school students at Chaffey High School, and they had their first date at Fox Theater in Pomona. They tied the knot on Dec. 31, 1942.

Bing: Tips on how to write a meaningful love letter.

But soon after their wedding, Lloyd joined the Army Air Corps, becoming a mechanic on P-47 fighter planes. While Lloyd was overseas, he received a letter from Marian every day.

"I was very fortunate to have never gotten a 'Dear John' letter from my wife," Lloyd said.

The two had even devised a complex code within their letters so that Marian could know exactly where in Europe Lloyd was. That information was confidential at the time, but their code somehow got past military censors.

The Michaels' love letters are now bound in a cardboard box.

"Neither one of us can read them; we break down too quick," Lloyd said.

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Photo: Ally T/Getty Images

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Jan 11, 2013 5:19PM
There's something "refreshing" about this article and comments..........wait.........I know what it is now..............the "wing-nuts" from the right AND left, aren't here..............yet.........
Jan 11, 2013 5:14PM
Very sweet story indeed. I think my favorite part is Lloyd saying they can't re-read the letters because they'll just break down. Must bring back so many memories.
Jan 11, 2013 4:46PM

What a heart warming story. If only people in this generation loved like these two wonderful people do!

Jan 11, 2013 4:41PM
With all the hate in the world today, it's nice to know there are still loving, caring people out there.  God bless them both...and the gentleman who went to all the trouble to return their precious letters. 
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