Lloyd and Marian Michael, now in their late 80s, have hundreds of theirs stored in a cardboard box.
But that wasn't the case for a few decades.
The letters, many from around the time of Lloyd's deployment to Europe in World War II, had been stolen 40 years ago.
Lloyd, 89, had kept the letters in a chest inside a shed on his Alta Loma ranch, along with paraphernalia from the war, and other personal mementos. The letters had been packed in a large locked steamer trunk "to keep the kids out."
"We were devastated to think someone would steal our love letters and probably throw them to the wind," said Marian, 88.
Lloyd said he suspects neighborhood kids from a new development just north of the ranch had broken into the stone pump shed and took the letters.
"I couldn't believe anyone would break in," he said.
"When I moved there, it was nothing but a grape vineyard north of us, and one of the first developments of homes was right up against my grove. These kids lived in the homes up there and on the side of us. Just typical boys. I was sure it must have been the neighborhood kids."
In November, a Moreno Valley man called the Michael family to let them know he had them. The Michaels described the man as a veteran with a son who recently returned from Afghanistan. The man was not involved in the burglary of 40 years ago.
Grateful for the return of their personal letters, the Michaels said they don't want to dwell on questions of blame. The return of the letters came just in time for the couple's 70th wedding anniversary celebration, which was Dec. 22 with friends and family.
"We were so excited when they were found," Marian said.
"Neither one of us can read them; we break down too quick," Lloyd said.
The Moreno Valley man suggested they all meet at the In 'N' Out restaurant on Vineyard Avenue at the 10 Freeway in Ontario where the letters found their rightful owners.
"It was a hell of a surprise," Lloyd said. "The gentlemen had traced me down through my military service number. He said there are a hell of a lot of Lloyd Michaels in the service. You're the only one that has a wife named Marian."
After a courtship that started during their time at Chaffey High School, and a first date at the Fox Theater in Pomona, the Michaels married on Dec. 31, 1942.
Soon after, Michael joined the Army Air Corps and became a mechanic on P-47 fighter planes.
The great risks of the war provided deep anxiety for millions, like Marian, who awaited the safe return of their loved ones from overseas. Michael said he received a letter from Marian daily.
Both had devised a coordinate map code using a letter and a number, designed to get past the military censors, so Marian could know exactly where in Europe her husband was. Such information couldn't be shared at the time, he said.
Initially stationed in England, Michael went on to serve in France and Belgium, advancing eastward with the allies toward Germany. One of the locations was just near Omaha Beach soon after the D-Day landings.
"I was very fortunate to have never gotten a `Dear John' letter from my wife," Lloyd said
After the war, Lloyd became a ranch foreman, served on the Alta Loma school board, the Cucamonga Valley Water District board, and became the water district general manager. A new treatment plant in town is named after him.
Among the Michaels' four children is their son Dennis, who is the mayor. They are also the parents of retired schoolteachers Marianne Quinn and Anita Schroeder, and Virginia Jones, who is still teaching school. The couple also have eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Today, the letters are kept bound together in a cardboard box. Some are V-Mail or "victory" mail letters, which are small photocopies of a letter sent to loved ones at home after having been read by a military censor.
In one V-mail, Lloyd writes in wide-eyed wonder of the sights of WWII-era London, including palaces, monuments and bombed-out buildings. He tells Marian of his hopes of one day visiting the city together.
They finally did so, 40 years after their marriage, in 1982.
Reach Neil via email, call him at 909-483-9356, or find him on Twitter @InlandGov.