Man renovating house finds hidden note from 1975 and tracks down woman who left it
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Featured Image Credit: Dakota Mohn
A woman was left 'absolutely shocked' after a man renovating her childhood home managed to track her down thanks to a note she'd hidden there when she was just 14 years old.
All the way back in 1975 - sorry if you remember that year, but it was a long time ago - Stephanie Poit was living with her family in a home in the village of Green Valley, 30 miles south of Peoria, Illinois.
The house was originally a two-level structure, but the family made it their own by creating a new living room, kitchen and bathroom.
Stephanie, who was one of five girls, lived there with her parents from 1986 until she headed off to college. Her parents continued to live there until 2002, but a part of the family remained when they left thanks to a note hidden in the living room wall.
Fast forward more than 20 years, and Sunnyland resident Dakota Mohn had started working on the house as part of a restoration job after a fire.
Speaking to the Journal Star, he explained: "My crew was in there demolishing the front living room of the house. I was cleaning up debris and I looked up and saw lettering on the wall said 'Note.'"
To make sure her note wouldn't be lost forever, Stephanie had written on the structure the words, "Note 9/29/1975," along with an arrow pointed to a hole in the wall which had been exposed during one of her family's renovations.
Mohn continued: "I stuck my cell phone in there and took a picture and saw it in this bottle. Took it out and read the note. It was like this 14-year-old girl was standing there talking to us, took us back almost half a century right there."
Stephanie's wrote reads: "To whoever finds this: Today is Sept. 29, 1975. My name is Stephanie Herron. I live here with my mother, father (Earnest), Becky and Valerie.
"Gerald Ford is president. Mrs. Lay is our neighbor. Mom is pregnant and the baby is due any day now. As far as we know, this house was made in 1872. We are remodeling the house.
"The Illinois Central Railroad is on the west side of the house. We have lived here for 8 years. My dad works the Chicago Northwestern Railroad. Green Valley has about 650 people. I am 14, Val is 16 and Becky is 12.
"I hope you have lots of happiness in this house. Steph
"PS: My mother's name is Rose Herron. She is a registered nurse. She works at Hopedale Nursing home. She was born in Nebraska. She is a very good mother."
After reading the note, Mohn decided to share it online in the hope of tracking down the person who wrote it.
The story quickly went viral, becoming the subject of a TikTok video, and eventually reached Stephanie, who is now 61.
Commenting on the surprising find, Stephanie said: "I was shocked, absolutely shocked, when I heard about the note. Honestly, I forgot all about it. Life goes on, years go by … I can't believe how much this has struck people. I've gotten notes from people who remember me as a kid growing up in Green Valley. It was a good place to grow up.
"And I'm getting notes from people I don't know, teachers a lot of them, who are inspired to have their students do the same thing now. Hey, I guess I'm a Facebook sensation. The whole thing is amazing."
The current owner of the house, Dylan Alig, plans to build a shadow box into the wall to display the message Stephanie wrote on the wood.
As for the note itself, Stephanie thinks it should be returned for someone else to find in the future, and Mohn and Alig plan to keep the fun going by adding some notes of their own.