CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - “A good thing was done today,” a Burlington, Ky. woman recently wrote on social media after returning an old leather scrapbook she found at the Caesar Creek Flea Market to its rightful owner.
“Over a month ago at a flea market I stumbled across an old leather scrapbook and when I opened it I knew it was special,” wrote Alexis Mayle. “There were letters glued to the pages dated back to 1943-1944 from various Navy bases written by a pilot named George Keiter from Ohio along with a newspaper clipping providing a photo. These letters talked about many first for him such as flying a big plane, dropping practice bombs into the ocean, being in new states, and meeting new people. It was that day I decided to do my best to find the family these memories belonged to.”
And about a week ago, she did just that. After searching for nearly a month, she was able to find George’s son, Tom Leston.
"She sent me pictures she had taken of the scrapbook that had pictures of my dad in it and letters that he had written and I was like, where did this come from?' said Leston.
She says she was able to meet George, who is 97, his wife, and one of his children after driving more than an hour to meet them in Xenia, Ohio.
“Tracking him down was the absolute hardest and most aggravating part,” said Alexis.
She started by Googling his name hoping to find old navy records/new papers or maybe an obituary. After an exhaustive search on social media, she tracked down an ex-wife of one of George’s sons days later. Luckily, she was able to help point Alexis in the right direction.
“I didn’t know it existed,” said George.
Who created the scrapbook is still a bit of a mystery. The letters were sent to and saved by the Daniel’s family who Leston believes have since passed.
But he says looking through his father’s scrapbook shows a side he never knew.
“I think the neatest thing was he talked about meeting new people, being in new places, getting to fly,” said Leston.
Since getting the scrapbook, Leston has been reading the letters to his father.
“It was an amazing piece of history,” Alexis said of the scrapbook. “I read the letters everyday for a month because they were just so amazing. George was able to tell us more about them when we met and watching him hold the letters and recognize his hand writing was awesome -- an all-around amazing experience.”
Alexis says she will miss reading the letters but she’s happy the scrapbook is now in the hands of those who will appreciate it the most.