- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - The author of a 58-year-old letter has been located by her former classmates after a construction worker found the letter behind some lockers at a Kalamazoo elementary school.

Last week while he was working on a major renovation of Milwood Elementary School, Doug Parish found the letter written by a girl named Phyllis to her childhood friend in Ohio, the Kalamazoo Gazette (https://bit.ly/21qRXck ) reported. He posted photos of the envelope and letter on the Vanished Kalamazoo Facebook page.

A newspaper story about the letter was circulated between Milwood Elementary alumni. Several of them were able to identify the author as Phyllis Molhoek.

“We would have been in 7th grade that year. I am certain that this was written by Phyllis Molhoek. The reference to Lucy in the letter confirms my guess as Phyllis and Lucy were best friends throughout our years in school,” said Laurie Shelb Doering.

Kim Meedham Gunyou found yearbook pictures of the girls from their sophomore year in high school and posted them on Facebook.

The alumni were able to track down Molhoek, and confirm that she was the author of the letter, with the help of Google and LinkedIn.

Molhoek, now 70, said she didn’t remember writing the letter, but she recognized her cursive handwriting. She believes the letter must have slipped from her stack of books and made its way behind the bank of lockers where it was found more than five decades later.

Molhoek went on to become a member of the first graduating class of Kalamazoo’s brand new Milwood Junior High School and to earn a teaching degree from Western Michigan University. She eventually moved out of state and later returned to Kalamazoo to earn a master’s degree in reading disabilities.

“I loved it here, I loved the people and the connection between history and economics,” she said of her decision to stay in Kalamazoo after graduate school.

In 1991, she moved back into her childhood home, which is listed as the return address on her letter.


Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, https://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo

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