Couple Reunites Family with 1956 Letter to Santa Found During Renovation

SHAMOKIN -- The holiday spirit isn't always where you'd expect it to be. In this case, it was found hiding away for more than 60 years in an apartment above a tattoo parlor in Shamokin.

With their business Dapper Tattoo in Shamokin taking off, things were looking up for Michael Nahodil and Alyssa Backes. That is until their landlord gave them an ultimatum.

"We could either buy or have a new landlord, and I don't want to get kicked out, so we kind of made the move," Nahodil explained.

The couple decided to buy the whole building on Liberty Street. It includes their business and apartments above. The plan is to move in upstairs, but to do that is going to take some work.

"A lot of work, a lot of tear down. Renovating absolutely everything," Nahodil said.

"We came up here and it was absolutely awful. Everything in every room needed to be replaced," said Alyssa Backes.

Michael and Alyssa were tackling the kitchen and ripping out cabinets when they came across an envelope. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was hard to ignore, but it's the letter inside that really grabbed their attention.

"Dear Santa, How are you? I've been a good girl."

Dated December 2, 1956, this misplaced letter to Old St. Nick had been tucked away between kitchen cabinets for about 60 years, long enough that the couple thought it was about time to reunite it with its owner.

"Everyone hopes they find money in the wall, but I think this was a little more special," Michael said. "We did. We tried to find them right away on Facebook but had no luck."

Fast forward to December 2, 2017, 61 years to the day after the letter was written.

"I couldn't really believe it at first, so I zoomed in on it, and I saw it said Susan Kleis, and I knew for sure," said John Krieger of Shamokin.

Krieger saw the picture on social media. It was his mother's Christmas list. His mom is now in her 60s and lives in Massachusetts.

"She was at work at the time, wasn't answering her phone, but I called her like four times in a row."

The letter may belong to John's mother, but it was written by his grandmother who has passed away.

"I mean, they got a lot going on here. They could have just swept it up, not ever looked at it," John said.

"I figure we can give a part of her mom back for Christmas," Alyssa said.

The Christmas list had a few things on it, including a learner's bike, a merry go round, a doll house, a set of horses, and a Robbie the rabbit.

John says his mother is still hoping to get that horse one day.