Jimmy Weakland was visiting his son and daughter-in-law recently when he noticed a scrapbook on the table. It was full of memories of generations past, including local brothers who served in World War II, became prisoners of war and survived.
Photos: Scrapbook Dating Back to WWII Returned to Family
The brothers’ last name was Weakley. Weakland’s son, Michael, and daughter-in-law, Ashley, weren’t sure how it ended up at their house. They assumed someone had found it and given it to them since their last name was similar to the family in the scrapbook.
After seeing the scrapbook at his son’s house a second time, Weakland decided to take it home with him.
“I said, ‘I’m going to take it; I’m going to do a little research.’ I did some Facebook searching,” Weakland said.
But he wasn’t having any luck finding the Weakley family. Then his wife told him to contact NBC4 Responds. We started researching and just a couple of days later made contact with a family member who lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He put us in touch with his cousin, Annie Green, who lives in Fredericksburg.
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We hadn’t told Green the name of the family who found the scrapbook. But when we mentioned her name to Weakland, he immediately recognized it. Turns out the families actually know each other, but Weakland didn’t know that Green’s maiden name is Weakley, so he never had a clue it could be hers.
We arranged a meeting between the Weaklands and Green so they could return the scrapbook but kept the Weaklands’ identity a secret from Green. When she arrived at the meeting and saw the Weaklands, she paused for a moment, then her eyes grew wide and her face lit up, and she rushed over to hug them.
“Oh my gosh! Ashley and Michael! Oh my goodness! How did you find this?” Green exclaimed.
After chatting with each other and their families, they determined that Green’s husband had taken it to the house around 2016 to show it to Ashley’s father, who lived there at the time, and accidentally left it behind.
Green says her uncle, Richard Weakley, who was a Fairfax County firefighter, made the scrapbook and many others before he died.
“He had unfortunately retired due to an injury after falling through the floor of a burning house,” Green said. “So in his time of retirement he could meticulously go through all the boxes that my grandparents had in their basement and put together at least ten I know.”
Green says this scrapbook was one of her uncle’s favorites, and she is so happy to have it back where it belongs. She is grateful for the friends who made it happen.
“I can’t thank them enough that they valued family and memories like these to connect with you guys to return, so thank you,” Green said.