Alfred and Mary McGann each wrote letters to Santa and tucked them away in a chimney. They were probably anticipating that Santa would find them as he descended into their home. Over 100 years later, their childhood letters were discovered, not by Santa, but by a man they would never meet or know existed.
The man’s name is Peter Mattaliano, and his discovery of their hidden letters has touched him deeply.
It all started with a home improvement project to renovate the fireplace in his New York City home. Mattaliano, a screenwriter and acting coach, recruited his brother to assist him with the project. The brothers plucked the letters from the rubble and realized they’d found something special.
Amazingly, the letters remained in relatively good condition, despite being written in 1905 and 1907. Alfred’s letter contains a request for two toys: a drum and hook-and-ladder wagon.
Mary’s letter to Santa provides a deeper glimpse into the children’s lives. Her letter is a little more elaborate and includes a small envelope addressed to Santa in Reindeerland. Mary also used her imagination to hand draw a reindeer postage stamp. Mary’s letter reveals that she thinks about the welfare of others, and not just her own desires. She humbly asked Santa to bring her and her brother whatever gift he thinks is best for them.
Mary and Alfred’s letters are displayed on the fireplace mantle. Beneath the letters sit a rag doll and miniature wagon, which is his way of honoring their childhood wishes.
Thanks to Alfred McGann signing his letter, Mattaliano was able to trace the family’s history. Unfortunately Alfred and Mary had already passed away. Still, their memory lives on through their childhood belief in Santa Claus.
What do you think of Peter Mattaliano honoring the children that once lived in that house? Use the comments section below and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!
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