According to the Associated Press, 14-year-old Patrick Chaney recovered the 57 letters inside a box walking along a beach in Atlantic Highlands the day after Sandy destroyed the area.
The letters documented an intimate relationship between Dorothy Fallon and Lynn Farnham from 1942 until the week before they married in 1948. The Vermont native served in the Pacific during the war, the AP reports.
"I wanted to return them to whoever they belonged to," Kathleen Chaney, Patrick’s mother, told NBC 4 New York. "They're beautiful. She obviously adored him."
In an effort to return the letters to its rightful owner, he visited the return address in Rumson, N.J., but the original house had been torn down. She also posted an ad on Craigslist but was unsuccessful in getting a response.
Finally, Kathleen left a message on a website, where she learned Farnham had died in 1991. A niece contacted her to say 91-year-old Dorothy Fallon Farnham was in frail health in Asbury Park.
"We were both crying," Chaney told NBC 4 New York.
While it is believed the letters floated from the Rumson area down the Shrewsbury River into Sandy Hook Bay, Chaney promised to mail them right away. She said she was offered money but refused it.
After reading the letters, she said, "I feel like Dorothy is my aunt as well."
According to Chaney, every letter ended with some variation of these words: "I love you dear and miss you very much. All my love always, Dottie."