Woman’s Thrift Store Find Ends Up Being A Decades-Old Treasure Trove.

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Sara Redlich is like so many of us and can't resist a good bargain.

We all enjoy a good thrift shop find. Searching through a sea of racks, looking for a find of a lifetime, is an adventure all in its own. Sometimes you get lucky and find an amazing vintage jacket. But sometimes you stumble upon something that wasn't meant to be in the thrift store in the first place. And that's exactly what happened to this woman. Keep reading to find out what she did to get an invaluable find back to its proper place.


In 2009, Sara lived in Aloha, Oregon, but decided to take a trip to the nearby town of Hillsboro. While she was there, she figured it was a good opportunity to do some thrift store scavenging at their local Goodwill.

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Sara was searching through their bargain bins, attempting to get her hands on a good deal.

But what Sara found was completely unexpected. What she found was so personal, she assumed that they were never meant to be in the thrift shop. Sara immediately knew that she had to do something to get them back to their owner.

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Sara gathered up the belongings and brought them to one of the staff members.

She explained what they were and how she wanted to get them to their rightful owner. Unfortunately, they didn't show any kind of concern for them.

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Sara figured that if the store wouldn't help her locate the owner, then she would just have to do it herself.

In an interview with the Washington newspaper, The Columbian, Sara said, “I grabbed them all. I thought, ‘I need to find the rightful owner. If nobody else is going to do anything about it, I am.’”

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But when Sara got home, she put the possessions in a box and forgot about them.

During the next few years, Sara moved a couple of times. She eventually settled down in Salmon Creek, Washington.

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While Sara was going through boxes from her last move, she stumbled across her thrift store find once again.

This time she set out with intentions to find the person the items belonged to. And what do we when we need to find someone or something? We reach out to social media, of course.

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And that's exactly what Sara did.

In hopes of finding the owner, Sara made a post on the “Vancouver Area Free Market” Facebook group. The post was only up for one day when she found the person she was looking for.

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Rose Hill is from Hillsboro, Oregon, the place where the items were found.

When Rose received a phone call from her son, he said, “Mom, you’re all over social media.” It was then that she found out that she had been missing something in her life for a very long time.

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Sara was so happy that she found the right person!

She made arrangements to meet up with Rose to return what belonged to her. She even wrapped them up nicely to give Rose a little bit of a surprise.

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As soon as Rose opened the package, she couldn't believe what was in front of her.

Inside of the package was a pile of envelopes, dating all the way back to the 1970s. They were letters sent to her from her ex-husband, Joe Hill, while he was serving time in the Vietnam War.

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The couple had met as children, while they were at a farm picking strawberries.

Over time, they became extremely good friends. Joe returned home from Vietnam during Christmas of 1972. Since they were so close, Rose didn't hesitate when Joe asked to borrow her car. All Rose wanted in return was a ride to and from work.

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Joe agreed and their relationship continued to blossom.

While on one of their journeys to work, the couple shared their first kiss. It wasn't long before they were running off to Reno, Nevada to elope. Unfortunately, a few days after their wedding, Joe had to go back to Vietnam.

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The letters that Sara had found were from the first few months of their marriage.

Rose was overcome with emotion while she opened the letters. She couldn't help but cry while reading the words from the man she once loved.

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It's definitely understandable why she would be so emotional.

The words he wrote to her were so beautiful. “I love you Rose! That may sound like an ending rather than a beginning, but let me assure you, it’s only the start of the beginning. Only the start of my feelings for you. Love is the only word capable of coming close to the description of my feelings for you," one note read.

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Rose couldn't believe what she was reading.

Joe had written things like, “As inadequate as words seem, I am forced to use them for now. The time will come, though, when I can show you just how much you mean to me. When that day comes, I will be the happiest man alive." There's no denying that their love was once very strong.

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Sadly, the couple has divorced since the time these letters were written.

But regardless of that, they were still so special to Rose. Sara didn't know it when she set out to return the letters, but Rose had been experiencing memory loss for about a year.

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Sara had no clue how much the letters would mean to Rose when she returned them.

“It seems like a lot of my life is gone and I can’t find it,” Rose explained in an interview. “I was rooting for them to find brain lesions or a brain tumor. I wanted to know what was causing this, because if you know what’s causing it maybe you can fix it – or make it better – or make it not hurt so bad," she said.

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Re-reading the old letters brought a flood of memories back to Rose.

“I remember! You smell the smells. You hear the sounds. You feel like you are back in time and place," said Rose excitedly.

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Rose is so grateful that Sara took the time to find her.

“She rescued them and she’s kept them for five, six years. Yeah, she’s amazing," said Rose. It's truly awesome what one act of kindness can do for someone!

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