‘Message from heaven’ found hidden in Middletown after nearly 60 years

For a piece of paper smaller than a business card, it certainly has left a lasting impact on those who found it and a daughter of the man who wrote, then hid the note.

Last week, after closing West Central Wine on Central Avenue, co-owner Mel Kutzera and some “late-night downtowners” visited the basement area. While down there, Sam Ertle, who managers a downtown bar, noticed that a piece of the wall was loose, so he pulled out the broken brick.

MORE: 3 groups spend $30,000 to improve Middletown’s Smith Park

In the small cavity, he discovered a tightly rolled paper stuck inside some hardware, what Kutzera called “a tiny time capsule.”

It was too dark to read the note in the basement, so Kutzera put it back. A few days later, she retrieved the note and took it upstairs to the bar area. She discovered the note was left in the basement nearly 60 years ago.

Hand-written in pencil it read: “Placed here by C.D. Craft, May 27, 1958.”

RELATED: Light Up Middletown adds more attractions for its 19th season

Then, with the aid of old fashioned investigative tool — a Middletown City Directory — and the Internet, Kutzera and her business partner, Monica Nenni, connected the note to Craft’s family.

In 1958, C.D. Craft, then a 17-year-old Middletown High School student, was a stock boy at S.S. Kresge. He worked in the basement and his girlfriend, Laura Sue Ely, worked upstairs at the candy counter. Occasionally, Ely used a dumbwaiter to send Craft his favorite candy.

Craft graduated from Middletown High School in 1958, then entered the U.S. Army. During leave, he married Ely on May 22, 1959, one year after leaving the note. He died in 1986 and his wife died in 2010.

RELATED: Middletown creates custom grants for new small businesses

After looking in the City Directory, Kutzera and Nenni discovered C.D. Craft was a rigger at Armco and lived in Middletown. They posted a message on Facebook and asked if anyone knew a Clarence Craft. They learned that Craft was a member of a popular band called Sagebrush that played a LeSourdsville Lake and was a disc jockey every Saturday on WPFB radio in Middletown.

Then they made contact with one of Craft’s two daughters, Casey White, who lives in Vandalia. They sent her a picture of the note and she instantly recognized her father’s handwriting.

At first White was reluctant to answer the Facebook message. When told by Kutzera that she had something to show White, her mind wondered. Did her father leave someone $1 million dollars? Was Kutzera some long-lost relative?

Instead, it was something much better: A connection from her past.

RELATED: Candy, doughnut shop opens in Middletown

White, 56, said the note came at “an important time” in her life. She is having complications from a recent surgery so she’s unable to help her family move from Vandalia to Englewood.

“I was pretty low when I got that message,” she said during a phone interview from her home.

When White realized the note was written by her father, who died at age 45, she burst into tears. She called it “the ugliest cry of the century.”

The note, she said, was “a message from heaven, a message from my father. That was so clear. My spirits were really lifted.”

She paused, then added: “It was like my dad was talking to me.”

Her sister, Lori Cresong, 54, lives in Medway, and her brother, Christopher, died three years ago.

Kutzera believes there is more meaning to the message than just a few words.

“He had no idea that one day there would be a mall, then there wouldn’t be a mall,” she said of the failed City Centre Mall. “But he had the hope of his hometown. He knew somebody would find this note.”

MORE: Why some say Middletown’s downtown has turned the corner

It’s amazing, Kutzera said, that even after several downtown buildings were demolished, the basement wall and the note were spared.

“Having hope in the future is critical to the survival of the town,” Kutzera said.

Nenni added: “We can draw parallels from when the note was left to today. Back then, things were booming down here and we’re coming back to that time. We are seeing a revival. (The note) had to come to us for a reason.”

Now, Kutzera said, it’s time she writes a note and places it back in the cavity.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

How this upcoming third-year event became so important for a local food pantry
How this upcoming third-year event became so important for a local food pantry

The annual Fairfield Food Pantry 5K has grown in just three years to be the organization’s largest fundraiser. This year the race is set for 9 a.m. on March 24 at Waterworks Park on Groh Lane in Fairfield, and proceeds will help the pantry serve the hundreds of people that utilize the facility each month. RELATED: Fairfield adds 2 new Little...
Mississippi boy, 9, accused of shooting sister over argument about video game 
Mississippi boy, 9, accused of shooting sister over argument about video game 

A 9-year-old Mississippi boy is accused of shooting his 13-year-old sister in the head after they had an argument over a video game, WTVA reported Sunday.  Moore County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell said deputies responded to the scene around 1 p.m. Saturday.  Deputies said the boy allegedly had grabbed a gun when his sister would not...
Brush fire spreads to 5 acres, is put out quickly
Brush fire spreads to 5 acres, is put out quickly

Crews left the scene of a brush fire that spread to 5 acres in an area off the 5000 block of Medlar Road. The fire, reported around 3:20 p.m., was extinguished quickly by responding crews. Crews are on scene of brush fire this afternoon involving a reported 5 acres. The fire was reported around 3:20 p.m. in the 5000 block of Medlar Road, according...
UD President: ‘Students ... put themselves and their friends in danger’
UD President: ‘Students ... put themselves and their friends in danger’

University of Dayton students who ignored orders and acted out against police during St. Patrick’s Day activities Saturday were called out in a letter sent this morning from UD President Eric F. Spina to the student body. “Today I am deeply disappointed in the behavior of many of you. I witnessed groups of students assault police officers...
Exit poll: Putin wins re-election in landslide
Exit poll: Putin wins re-election in landslide

Vladimir Putin earned a convincing victory in Sunday’s presidential election in Russia, winning 73.9 percent of the vote as he was re-elected to his fourth term, CNN reported. A state-run exit poll revealed the results, which was not a surprise, CNN reported. Pavel Grudinin was second with 11.2 percent of the vote, according to the exit poll...
More Stories