Hidden under a decades old television picture tube, in a farmhouse attic loaded with as many cobwebs as stories, an East Tennessee woman uncovered a pile of handwritten family treasures.
"I just grabbed 10 that seemed to be still in good condition, came back and just knocked on the door and said 'these are for you' and she screamed she was so excited," said Leslie Myers as she recalled the moment she handed her grandmother a stack of letters written by her grandfather.
The letters date back more than a half-century and were written by Gary Pickel during his Army service in Korea. Ms. Myers was taking a last look through the old family homestead due for a tear down when she discovered those keepsakes.
"Like I say, the first day, three is as far as I could get on them. Three letters because I (read) to where I couldn't see through the tears," said Judith Pickel.
Married 44 years, Ms. Pickel says the handwriting on those notes came alive with her husband's personality. They were written before the two were together. At age 22, then corporal Pickel was writing home to his mom and dad in East Tennessee about his service as an aircraft mechanic in the Army.
"So many of the things he talked about were so indicative of his whole personality, just talking about the weather, or what he was doing, or the history of the area he was in," said Ms. Myers about reading the letters from her grandfather.
Her grandmother summed up the discovery of those notes with two words. "Absolute treasure," said Ms. Pickel smiling at the memory of her husband.