MONTROSE — Lauretta Button was living in New Jersey in the 1980’s when she bought a storage unit at an auction and inside discovered a treasure, including letters a man named Fred Ferrone, known as ‘Fritz,’ wrote to his mother during World War II.
“His military patch was here and just a lot of things, I think the family would really love,” said Button.
Inside the box with the letters was part of a Nazi soldier’s uniform, an American flag and even a picture of the soldier, himself, as a baby.
“I’ve had it for 30 years now, and I’ve moved six times since then, and each time I brought the box with me hoping that I would finally find the box because I always wanted to return it. Because if this was my grandfather or my great-grandfather, I’d want it,” said Button who now lives in South Montrose.
As the years passed, Button tried again and again to locate the soldier and his family.
Finally, she had success. Button learned Fred Ferrone passed away in the 1960’s, but she found his son, a doctor living in New Jersey so she called this week and left him a message.
Then he called back.
“He was very excited, he was very excited, and I could hear his wife in the background and she was like, ‘Give her my cell phone number too!’ And I think they are very excited to talk to me as well so I was like, ‘Yay!'”
Button said she will deliver Ferrone’s possessions to his son in person.
She wants to meet the family, and she said while it may sound silly, she will really miss the items.
“I’ve had it for 30 years. It’s like a little part of me, and it’s going to be hard. I’ve read just about every letter in there, and I feel almost like it’s family,” she said.