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Family treasure uncovered in the pages of a second hand book

Ann Pellerine reunited with the lost letters of her late father, Matt (Buddy) Corbett. Corbett was stationed in Germany with the 1st Canadian Guards in 1959-60.
Ann Pellerine reunited with the lost letters of her late father, Matt (Buddy) Corbett. Corbett was stationed in Germany with the 1st Canadian Guards in 1959-60. - Brendan Ahern
PICTOU, N.S. —

It was meant to be.

Three years after her father passed away, a New Glasgow woman receives a call from her brother in Kentucky telling her that she needed to get down to the Second Edition Used Books in Stellarton – ASAP.

“It was really emotional,” said Ann Pellerine sitting at the kitchen table in Priestville with letters spread in front of her, each bearing the seal of the Canadian Armed forces. Letters from Germany sent by Pellerine’s father, Matt (Buddy) Corbett.

Buddy Corbett served in the First Canadian Guards, stationed in Germany after WWII. His letters, addressed to Pellerine’s grandmother Helen Corbett of Westville, ask about the weather back home and tell of plans to spend some time in Spain during the winter to catch some sunshine.

Pellerine’s mother had also recently passed, and she chose to bring some of her mother’s books to the Stellarton book store, where it’s owner, Gerry Smith, did with them what he does with every other item his shop: he shelved them away.

“The letters were in one of these,” said Smith looking through the shelf for non-fiction war books and pulling two items down. “I think it was one of these two but I’m not sure.”

Whichever book it was, at the time it seemed to stand out.

“When I went to pick them up, (Smith) said that the book looked like it was about to fall off the shelf,” said Pellerine, recalling the afternoon on Nov. 21 when she went over.

Pressed inside the pages were the letters that her father had sent home. When Smith found them he said he only had one thought: “Somebody would probably like to have these back.”

Smith posted about the find on social media. From there, it was broadcast over the radio and heard by a local woman who used to work with Buddy. She connected with Pellerine’s brother who lives in Kentucky, who called Pellerine.

The rest is history.

“As kids, there’s a lot of stuff that you don’t ask about,” said Pellerine. “Having these is really comforting. It was almost like we were meant to have it.”

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