ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - They say true love can weather any storm. Even Superstorm Sandy could not take away the love that two people shared in the 1940's.
Dorothy Fallon is a Rumson native who in 1942 was a high school student preparing for a career in nursing. Throughout the 1940’s she maintained correspondence with her future husband Lynn Fallon, whom she married in 1948. She also had correspondence from soldiers and sailors she would treat during the war.
Cranston Dean, 22, of Atlantic Highlands, was helping friends in neighboring Highlands - clean up from the devastating effects of the flooding in their home. Each day he and his friends walked home on the Bayshore Trail along the water between the towns.
In the week after the storm, Cranston Dean and friends, Eric Silokowski, Brian Olafson, and Nick Barradale, all Atlantic Highlands, were walking home when they came upon letters, photos, and school memorabilia from a woman name Dorothy Fallon.
Unidentified photos found among the letters and other material belonging to Dorothy Fallon.
The letters dated from the 1941-1947, include love notes from Lynn Farnham, her future husband, then in Vermont. In one note, Lynn writes, "I want you to know that I'm thinking of you all the time and wish we were together. But then it won't be too long - I hope, before we can be that way for always. I have another idea about a house but that will have to wait until I see you and can explain everything. Maybe you won’t like the idea - who knows!"
Letters of thanks also were sent to Dorothy from sailors and soldiers she had treated. One soldier, Tony Mueller, seemed to have a growing relationship with her. There first letters seemed somewhat formal, Dean said. In later letters from Mississippi and Alabama, Tony would give her a nickname, addressing notes saying, “Hi Hey!” and "Hello from the boys" on the back of an evelope.
“I just want to meet Dot,” Dean said. “So many people were writing to her that obviously cared about her. She must have been a 1940’s “babe.” A nurse and outstanding student – she must have been something.”
Dean, a singer-songwriter with a passion for history, was inspired by the letters and determined to find Dorothy. Searches on the internet were fruitless until a CBS News item appeared about another batch of Dorothy's letters found by 14 year-old Atlantic Highlands resident, Patrick Fowler.
Patrick’s mother, Kathleen Chaney found Mrs. Fallon’s niece, Shelley Farnham-Hilber of Virginia through the website www.findagrave.com according to published reports.
Mr. Dean spoke with Mrs. Farnham-Hilber, the family historian and genealogist and learned that Dorothy, or Dot, as she was called in the letters, now resides in an Asbury Park nursing home. Dorothy is in a diminished capacity, according to her niece. Mr. Lynn Farnham passed away in 1991. The Fallon’s had two children; a son, now deceased, and a daughter that the family has lost track of.
Dean will be sending the materials he salvaged to Mrs. Farnham-Hilber this week.
Mrs. Farnham-Hilber will appear on the NBC Today show on Friday to tell her story of these found family treasures.