Homeowners discover trove of long-lost love letters during renovation project

MINNEAPOLIS –

Before Valentine’s Day comes a forever love story. It was lost for decades, but was unearthed when a young couple decided to renovate their Minneapolis home.

“For us, it’s cool to see a little bit of the past,” said owner Matt Tessmer.

There is a saying that if walls could talk, they would have many interesting stories to tell. For Matt and Carrie Tessmer, those walls of words to share could be found upstairs.

“It’s really a mystery how this all got on our wall,” Carrie Tessmer laughed.

It all started in November 2020 when they decided to renovate the relic of a bathroom inside their century-old home. It was that process of removing layers and layers of paint and plaster right behind the toilet that revealed treasures from previous lives.

“Take some debris, put it aside and then there will be more stuff,” Matt Tessmer said. “For those people it’s rubbish, but for us it’s cool to see a little bit of the past.”

Inside were numerous toiletries that were once made on the same street.

“There were a lot of Minneapolis brands here,” Carrie Tessmer said. “Some of the medicines they used, all the razor blades [and] rose water and glycerin.”

There was even makeup and an old bottle of shoe polish. But perhaps the most interesting find hidden in her bathroom wall had nothing to do with the bathroom.

“I wonder, ‘Am I reading this correctly?'” Carrie Tessmer questioned.

They found love letters from not just one, but two budding romances: to Hazel and Pauline.

“Oh my God,” Carrie Tessmer said. “Honestly, I didn’t know what to think.”

Each note made the same request: to invite Hazel and Pauline to dance while declaring their eternal devotion.

“‘I hope you still love me. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX,'” Carrie Tessmer read from the note.

The letters were then lovingly signed by someone named “John B.,” who also called himself “Lolly.”

“We have no idea who this John B., this ‘Lolly’ person is,” Carrie Tessmer said.

None of the notes were dated, so perhaps they were written at different times or perhaps written by a young Casanova who craved attention.

“In reading some of them, we realized that it was actually probably more likely to be a boy between the ages of 13 and 18,” Carrie Tessmer said. “They were talking about the first lunch, ‘I have study hall this period.'”

Lessons of love learned at an early age that perhaps should never have gone beyond the four walls of the bathroom, but that are now awakening the need to know more.

“I would love to know the story behind this and also why the letters weren’t delivered and why they ended up on our bathroom wall,” Carrie Tessmer said.

After some digging, the Tessmers found a John Pavlo who would have matched the original deed to their house. He and his family lived in his house from the 1920s to the 1950s. He also had a son named Juan.

“John Joseph Pavlo would have been about 17 years old when he lived in this house with his family,” Carrie Tessmer said.

There was also John Book, who was born in the 1930s. He bought the house decades later, as an adult. The Tessmers also found some of his old homework in their attic.

“It’s even more mysterious because we don’t know if it was written by John Pavlo when he was 17 in the ’20s, or if it was written by John Book when he was a kid and just threw it on the walls when he bought the house in the ’60s. “said Carrie Tessmer.

It is a story whose ending has not yet been written, or perhaps is still waiting to be discovered.

“Whatever project we have next, we’re sure to find it,” Tessmer laughs.

The Tessmers said they still haven’t given up trying to figure out who “John B.” is. They also added that before closing up their bathroom wall during renovations, they put up a photo of themselves with a note about who they are for future owners to find.

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