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'Sweetest thing I've ever read' | Man finds a grandmother's journal to her grandchild

The journal includes dozens of pages of loving words and advice from a grandmother written to her grandchild.

RIO LINDA, Calif — Luis Martinez found a journal while detailing a car at his job in Rio Linda. Once he flipped through a few pages, what struck him was the love and detail that went into letters written to a baby granddaughter by her grandmother. 

Now, he hopes he's able to return the memento to the family.

"I kept reading and it’s all to her, explaining her parents, explaining who she was and things she’s gone through," Martinez said. "It’s the sweetest thing I've ever read."

A black journal with green butterflies on the cover, the entries date from 2010 to 2018, all in cursive handwriting.

"It says, 'My dear little hummingbird, I felt like writing to you today'," Martinez said, reading one of the letters aloud. "'Although we are miles apart, I hope I can feel healthy for a while so I can write several letters to you, so you can read them when you are a teenager and that way you can know your grandma loved you with all her heart.'"

Martinez was cleaning out a Chevy truck and found the journal on the front passenger seat. Martinez said finding the owner is not possible because some of the cars that come through his site are repossessions with little or no information. Clues are written throughout the journal: names of relatives, cities and even a few phone numbers. After calling around, Martinez still hadn't found any leads. From what he's gathered so far, he knows the grandmother's birthday is June 18, 1921.

Credit: Barbara Bingley
Dozens of heartfelt letters to Lola Maxine's granddaughter take up half the journals' pages.

"The very first page, the date on it is 6-18-2010 and it says, 'today was my 89th birthday. David, Carly and I went to Dina's for dinner." Martinez read. "You can see right here...her name, Lola Maxine, that's the grandmother. And Arabella Raine is the granddaughter."

Connections like this and family are important to Martinez. Raised in Los Angeles, he said he missed out on his own opportunities to get to know his loved ones while growing up.

"Personally, I’ve gone through so much in my life," Martinez said. "As a young teenager, I lived a very fast life. I stopped living with my family when I was 13, I joined a gang, I did all the crazy things that you could think of. I mean, in and out of juvenile hall. I never got to enjoy my family. I never saw my siblings grow up, my grandmother, she since has passed away."

He wants them to experience what he missed. Martinez said the family this journal belongs to might not know they need it.

"The time we’re living in right now, we need some type of normalcy and happiness," Martinez explained. "To me, personally, I thought it would be really cool if someone handed me a journal my grandma wrote."

Martinez hopes to find Lola Maxine or her family and meet Arabella.

"I would tell her to cherish it and appreciate what you have because there's a lot of people who don't have family," Martinez said. "I read this and I was like, man, you know, someone took their time to write this. Someone needs it back. Hopefully we can find them."

If you happen to know who this journal belongs to, contact ABC10 at 916-321-3300.

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