Murrells Inlet woman finds 63-year-old love letter, tracks down its writer

A Murrells Inlet woman has a new friend in Michigan after she found a love letter he wrote more than 60 years ago.

It's a story about how social media helped bridge a gap of many years and many miles.

One day, Sandi Blood bought a paperback novel at a used book store in Garden City.

When she opened it, something fell out.

It was a love letter, dated November, 1951, from Army Private Gilles LeBlanc, stationed in Japan, to his girlfriend Carole Petch in Toronto, Ontario.

Immediately, Sandi was enchanted.

"I'm a hopeless romantic, as most of my friends will tell you and my husband, too," Sandi said.

Much of the letter was about Gille's Army life prior to shipping out to Korea, but there's also this:

"Honey you can't realize how much I love you and think and dream about being with you. It's hurting me all over."

Then he wrote about their wedding preparations.

Sandi just had to track him down.

"I reached out to some Facebook friends. I figured that seems to be how things get done nowadays."

It didn't take long.

One of Sandi's friends, a genealogy expert, saw the Facebook post, called her and asked for Gille's military ID number, which was on the envelope.

From there, it took only a few minutes for Sandi's friend to track down the now 84-year-old LeBlanc in Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.

"I feel wonderful about it. I think the lady in South Carolina is just wonderful," LeBlanc told NewsChannel 15.

Sandi called Gilles Wednesday evening and the two chatted for 45 minutes.

She says he told her that finding the old letter was "better than a case of beer."

The two talked about his experiences during the early days of the Korean conflict, and about the girl who became his wife after the war ended.

"You get a 30 day leave at the end of your tour, so when I came home in December for 30 days, we got married," LeBlanc said.

Yes, Gilles and Carole got married and had six kids.

And then they got divorced back in the 1970s.

So, it might not have been quite the storybook ending Sandi had in mind, but she says Gilles is delightful and a newfound friend.

"He wants the letter back, so we're going to find a way to get that back to him," she said.

LeBlanc's daughter has a condo in Garden City. She was the one who used the letter as a bookmark in that old novel.

LeBlanc told NewsChannel 15 he plans to visit his daughter in Garden City, and then he, Sandi and her genealogist friend can all get together.