Before the Bed Stuy house, we never found anything of value during our renovations. When we started demo on the 4th floor, we discovered a cubby hole that had been closed off for years. What we found in there was a woman’s trash, but the cool thing was that it was trash from the 1940’s.
As we pored over stacks of love letters, newspapers and miscellaneous garbage, we gathered that the woman was probably renting the room when this was a boarding house. Judging from the hair care products, we guessed she was African American. Judging from the letters, liquor bottles and fishnet stockings, we suspected she may have been a bit of a wild one.
Most of the letters were from Private Jasper, who was getting moved around during the war, but was never in combat. The correspondence went on for about three years. Many of the letters were the same: “I miss you.” “Stay Sweet.” It’s clear from the final letters that Alpine stopped writing back to Jasper and he gave up on her, brokenhearted.
We did a search on the internet, but couldn’t find either of them. Perhaps they’re no longer with us or perhaps we didn’t have the time to try harder. We archived the letters and war time newspapers and I plan on using a few of them in a resin countertop so Alpine and Jasper can keep a place in the history of our home.