MINNEAPOLIS — Ahead of Valentine's Day comes a love story for the ages. It was lost for decades but unearthed when a young couple decided to give their Minneapolis home a facelift.
"To us, it's kind of cool to see a little bit of the past," said homeowner Matt Tessmer.
There's a saying that, if the walls could talk, they would have many interesting stories to tell. For Matt and Carrie Tessmer, those walls with words to share could be found upstairs.
"It's truly a mystery how any of this stuff made it into our wall," Carrie Tessmer laughed.
It all started back in November 2020 when they decided to renovate their relic of a restroom inside their more than a century-old home. It was that process of peeling back layers and layers of paint and plaster just behind the toilet that revealed treasures from lifetimes before.
"Take some rubble, put it to the side and there'd be more stuff after," said Matt Tessmer. "It is trash to those people, but to us it's kind of cool to see a little bit of the past."
Inside were numerous toiletries once manufactured down the street.
"There were a lot of Minneapolis brands in here," said Carrie Tessmer. "Some of the medicine they used, all the razor blades [and] rose water and glycerin."
There was even makeup and an old bottle of shoe polish. But perhaps the most interesting find hidden in their bathroom wall had nothing to do with the bathroom at all.
"I'm like, 'Am I reading this correctly?'" Carrie Tessmer questioned.
They found love letters from not only one, but two budding romances — to Hazel and Pauline.
"Oh my God," Carrie Tessmer said. "Honestly, I didn't know what to think."
Each note made the same request asking both Hazel and Pauline to a dance while declaring their undying devotion.
"'I hope you still love me. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX,'" Carrie Tessmer read from the note.
The letters were then signed with affection from someone named "John B.," who also went by the name "Lolly."
"We have zero clue who this John B., this 'Lolly' person is," Carrie Tessmer said.
Neither note was dated, so perhaps they were written at different times or perhaps written by a young Casanova pining for attention.
"Upon reading some of them we realized it was actually probably more likely a kid like between the ages of 13 – 18," said Carrie Tessmer. "They were talking about first lunch, 'I have study hall this period.'"
Lessons of love learned at a young age that maybe were never meant to go beyond the bathroom's four walls, but are now sparking the need to know more.
"I would love to know the story behind it and also why the letters did not get delivered and why they ended up in our bathroom wall," said Carrie Tessmer.
After some research, the Tessmers found a John Pavlo who would have matched the original deed to their home. He and his family lived in their house from the 1920s through the 1950s. He also had a son named John.
"John Joseph Pavlo would have been about 17 at the time when he lived in this house with his family," said Carrie Tessmer.
There was also John Book, who was born in the 1930s. He bought the house decades later as an adult. The Tessmers also found some of his old homework in their attic.
"It's even more of a mystery because we don't know if it was written by John Pavlo as a 17-year-old in the '20s, or if it was written by John Book when he was a kid and he just threw it in the walls when he bought the house in the '60s," Carrie Tessmer said.
It's a story in which the ending has yet to be written, or is maybe just still waiting to be uncovered.
"Whatever project we have next I'm sure we'll find something," the Tessmer laughed.
The Tessmers said they're still not giving up trying to figure out who "John B." is. They also added that, before they closed up their bathroom wall during their renovations, they put a picture of themselves with a note about who they are for future homeowners to find.
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