Tom Maxwell and his three sisters saw stories on Facebook about 21 letters between their parents, Ilaine Murray and Elias Maxwell, dating back to the mid-1940s. She was living on a farm in Blackwood; he was in the Navy stationed stateside.
The letters were found in, of all places, a knife shop in the Smoky Mountains by women who bought the letters and sought out relatives online.
"Had this been 20 years ago pre-social media, these girls may never have found us and we won't have the letters," said Maxwell, a South Jersey nurse. "But today, the world's a little smaller place. They were able to find us and they'll be able to get those letters back to us."
Maxwell says he's looking forward to seeing and reading those letters to get a peek into their parents' lives before he and his sisters were born.
"One of our fears was, jokingly, it was like we hope there was nothing risqué," Maxwell added, "but then we're thinking, 'Well, the era that they came from, I really don't think they put those kinds of things in letters.'"
Next weekend, Maxwell and his sisters will throw a party after they receive the letters, hoping to clear up some details about how the couple's love story played out. In fact, he thinks this whole thing might make a great TV movie someday.
Maxwell's family and the thrifters from Tennessee will then visit Philadelphia.