Thijs Pattyn

58-year-old love letter found in the roof of a West Flemish restaurant

A love letter that was written almost 58 years ago has been found during repair work on the roof of a restaurant in the West Flemish municipality of Heuvelland. The letter was written by a then 17-year-old boy that at the time worked at De Hollemmersch in Dranouter to a girl called “Yvette”. The current proprietor of De Hollemeersch hopes that the media will help him locate the writer of the letter and Yvette, both of whom will now be in their mid-seventies. 

On 22 April 1965 a 17-year-old boy that was then working at the De Hellemeersch restaurant wrote a love letter to the apple of his eye, a girl called Yvette. The teenager wrote “The first time were met at the inn in the village it was as though my heart had fallen to the ground”. He went on to say that he hopes to continue writing to his “darling Yvette”. But “only if you parents allow it”.

The current proprietor of De Hollemeersch Laurens Van den Weghe found the now somewhat faded love letter under some isolation material when he was reinsulating the roof of his restaurant.

He told VRT News that "When the mysterious boy wrote his love letter, I was only a month old. My parents ran De Hollemeersch back then. In the meantime, I have been running the family business for the past 17 years. The roof hadn’t been renovated since the 1960s”.  

Luc, Jean-Luc of Hugo?

The young man that wrote the letter did sign it. However, “It is barely legible. The scribble looks like it could be Hugo, Luc of an abbreviated version of Jean-Luc. Apparently, he once worked here, but our family can’t remember who it was. Yvette’s identity also remains a mystery for the time being because her surname is not mentioned anywhere. The question is whether the boy actually sent the letter to the girl and her parents, given that we found it in the Hollemeersch”

The place where the letter was found used to be used as a dormitory for restaurant staff.

"Maybe he had hidden the letter to prevent it falling into the hands of curious or jealous colleagues. Or maybe it was a first draft or a copy of a letter that he had already sent. We simply don’t know”, Laurens Van den Weghe said.

Laurens Van den Weghe is calling on the public to help him trace the writer of the letter and/or Yvette. Anyone with any information can contact him on +32 57 44 44 06. 

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