CASNOVIA, Mich. – Joshua McKinney has just a couple reams of insulation that he still needs to put in his attic. His project was interrupted shortly after he began removing the old insulation.
“I was just scooping it up so I could put the new stuff down and when I did that it was just plop, What is this?” said McKinney. “I started looking and I was like, ‘Honey, come look at what I found, this is kind of cool.”
The couple began thumbing through the find.
“There was a bunch of letters wrapped up in ribbon dating back to 1940,” he said.
Included was William Kissel’s birth certificate from 1942 and Edward and Virginia Kissel’s marriage certificate from 1941. They had the names, now the McKinneys had to track down the family.
“We first posted it on Facebook and went from there,” he said.
The post bounced around on Facebook for a mere four hours before getting the attention of Williams’ daughter Christine Frien, from Muskegon, who saw a deeper connection at play.
“With my dad’s brother just passing away this weekend. I don’t know. I felt like my dad was just trying to talk with me,” said Frien.
She brought the letters home and began pouring over the find with her mother, Shirley Kissel.
For Shirley, it was a chance to to get know her husband’s father, a man she’d only met once before his death.
“I didn’t get to know him that much,” she said. “But he was kind of a lover I guess.”
How the letters ended up at the cottage in Casnovia is a mystery for another day.
“We only knew they lived in Ludington,” Frien said of her grandparents. “And then here in Muskegon. So that is going to be something to find out.”
However they ended up there, the family is happy to now have them in their possession.