Cécile Filippi never said that about “Twitter, do your magic”, but the spell worked anyway and the love letters of a young French man sent in the middle of World War II to his beloved, that this 25-year-old girl found in a landfill more than seven decades later, they have been saved from destruction and sThey are already in the hands of the family, tracked thanks to social networks. In between, a story viral on the eve of Christmas remembering that social networks do not only bring out the worst oneself.
“When I see such beautiful days go by, in which we could spend our youth in peace, it seems to me that what I lose is more than blood, my little Aimée, you cannot imagine how scared I am and how sick I am of being here.” During the war, Pierre did not think of anything other than his beloved, called, precisely thus, Aimée (beloved in French). So much so that he wrote almost 200 letters between 1942 and 1945. The story of this couple, for once, had a happy ending: Pierre survived, he married Aimée and they had two daughters. The world conflict ended, normality returned and they led an anonymous and peaceful life.
The testimony of their early love, those missives carefully kept in their corresponding envelopes, was buried in a box in the attic of the family home near Saint-Jean-d’Angély, in southwestern France. Not even his descendants knew of his existence. Until Filippi saved them from destruction, thanks to a concatenation of coincidences and a little healthy curiosity.
In fact, Filippi wasn’t even supposed to be there. This 25-year-old works in an environmental studies office in Aix-en-Provence, on the other side of the country. It was other colleagues who should have traveled to Saint-Jean-d’Angély to participate in “experimental work”, for a week, at the local landfill, he says by phone. But because of the coronavirus, her companions could not travel and it was her turn.
Barely two days ago, a man appeared at the landfill with a load of old newspapers, some from the sixties, found in the attic of a house he had bought to renovate. I hadn’t even looked at the content. Fortunately, Filippi and another colleague, Adélie Breuil, did notice. And they discovered that, under all those newspapers, there was a box full of old letters, almost 200, addressed to the same addressee: “Mademoiselle Aimée Randonnet.”
Seeing that they were love letters, she could not help crying, she said on Twitter. “They were love letters from World War II! Something like this could not end up in the trash, “she reiterates a few days later, still excited. He decided to search for the family. And he opted for the social network.
“I work at a landfill and a man has brought us a box full of letters addressed to one Aimée Randonnet. Help me find your children / grandchildren. I don’t want this to end up in the trash, ”he wrote. “I didn’t think it would work, especially since I don’t have a lot of followers on Twitter, but I told myself it was worth a try,” he says. And boy did it work: your message was retweeted more than 12,000 times in less than 24 hours. And it reached Jean-Christophe Popinot. This “entrepreneur and talent scout”, as described on Twitter, is Aimée’s great-nephew. And he revealed why the letters almost ended up in the trash: of Aimée and Pierre’s two daughters, Claudine, the only one still alive, emptied the house before selling it, but “did not notice that box in the attic.” She “did not even know about the existence of those letters,” she explained in another tweet.
Relatives went to the landfill to retrieve the letters “early” the day after sending the message, says Filippi, who has already returned to Provence. Meanwhile, the descendants of Pierre and Aimée discover their unknown passion. Claudine “is reading the letters with her children and grandchildren. She is excited and touched. He did not know that his father was a poet. Some letters end in verses in ode to his love ”, Popinot has told the end of the story, of course, on Twitter.