Lubbock family discovers cache of World War II love letters
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - When Andy Green went into his attic to unblock a drier vent on Sunday, he uncovered treasure hidden under his home's roof at 58th Street in Lubbock.
"I heard him stomp down the ladder, and he said come in here, I think I found something really cool," Andy's wife, Jessica Green, said. "So I went out into the garage and he had this old pillowcase, and it had stuff in it. We dumped it out on the garage floor and it was just hundreds and hundreds of these old, old letters."
Andy, a history minor at Texas Tech University, knew exactly what to expect when he examined the envelopes.
"It took me two seconds," he said, "to find out these were from a soldier."
When they picked up one envelope, they discovered it dated back to 1942, sent during World War II.
"We gather it all up and we bring it in the house," Jessica said, "and I'm going through it, and I just start putting them in order and whenever I have them all in order I just start reading them one by one and it was just incredible."
The Greens discovered that Dale Simpson, a chief petty officer in the Navy, wrote the letters to Virginia Sims.
"They have every emotion you can think of," Jessica said. "A young boy going off to boot camp during WWII - being proud, and then being scared."
As she read the letters chronologically, Jessica began to develop a timeline of events.
"About five or six letters in he, tells her he loves her," Jessica said, "Then 25 letters in, he says, 'Marry me, I don't want to wait for the war to be over.'"
Jessica describes the letters as a love story with one missing chapter.
"The letters stop in March of 1943 and pick up in April of 1945," Jessica said. "When the letters stop in 1943, they're addressed to Miss Virginia Sims, and then when the letters start, it's Mrs. Dale Simpson."
This sent the Greens searching for answers.
"My husband got online and he just starting Googling," Jessica said. "We found out that both of them are passed away, and of course, I'm Facebooking this find and everyone is jumping on it."
Dale died in 1997 and Virginia died in 1995.
Dale was born April 15, 1921, in Colorado City. He attended school in Colorado City and at Lubbock Christian College, Abilene Christian College and Texas Tech University.
He married Virginia Frances Sims on March 12, 1943, in Las Cruces, N.M. He was a deacon of Greenlawn Church of Christ, and he had served as minister for numerous congregations. He served on the Missions Board at Greenlawn, and he received top awards for his work in sales for church loans and investments.
He served as a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was a published author and a contributing writer for several newspapers. He was director of development at Lubbock Christian College for 30 years, retiring in 1993.
Mutual friends led Jessica to the most reliable sources to the story, Dale and Virginia's daughters and son.
"She said that is so funny because our parents were very quiet, private people. They didn't show affection out loud," Jessica said, "and you never would have thought that these words would have come out of my father."
Their daughters tell us they met right after high school in El Paso, when they were both there trying to find jobs.
Jessica plans to compile the letters into a scrapbook to pass along to the Simpsons' family, as soon as she finishes reading it.
"I can't imagine how this is going to affect them, especially when they start reading it and it opens up this whole new perspective of who their parents were," she said, "versus the parents they grew up with."
However, even when the Greens pass these letters along, they will be forever influenced by the romance these letters still carry, more than half a century later.
"Getting to experience it with her in our first house together, so many years after coming back together, it was like we were divided by years of inexperience and having growing up left to do, certainly not by war," Andy said, "but in a similar way, I feel just as lost without Jessica as Mr. Simpson seemed to be without Virginia."
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