The letter was written by Sgt. John Gonsalves, a 22-year-old Army soldier stationed in Germany. He wrote to check on his family and let his mother know that he believed he would soon be home to Massachusetts.
The letter dated December 6, 1945 – written a few months after the end of World War II – would never reach his mother’s house. But 76 years and three days later, it was delivered to his widow by the USPS.
“I had to read it and it was amazing,” Angelina Gonsalves, of Woburn, Massachusetts, told CNN Wednesday. “It’s in really good condition. I’m surprised by that myself.”
Angelina and John didn’t know each other when he wrote that letter. The two married in 1953 and had five sons. In 2015, John passed away at the age of 92.
In a two-page letter to his mother, also named Angelina, John discusses food options and the “bad” weather in Bad Orb, where he is stationed, saying the sun hasn’t set yet but it’s been half a day in a month. He closed the letter by sending a message of love to his family. The front of the envelope was stamped with a six-cent stamp.
Brian Gonsalves, son of Angelina and John, told CNN: “It was nice to see her face light up as she read his words. “To be able to see her read something he wrote and look back on that history, that’s something she will always have now.”
So where has the letter been hidden all this time?
That part is unclear, but late last year it was found at the USPS Pittsburgh processing center, according to a letter from USPS sent to Angelina along with John’s letter.
The staff at the center realized the importance of the soldier’s letter and that it was part of a family’s history, so they began trying to track down John’s next of kin.
“We are aware of your husband’s passing in 2015 (our condolences),” the letter from the USPS read. “Thanks to the dedicated work of the postal workers at this facility, we were able to locate your address, thus delivering this letter to you, despite a 76-year delay. age and importance to your family history, sending this letter is of the utmost importance to us.”
Angelina received the letter on December 9, just before the holidays, which her son said was a nice Christmas present.
“It feels like he’s back for the holidays,” he said.
https://abc13.com/lost-letter-world-war-2-wwii-john-gonsalves/11467630/ World War II soldier’s letter to his family 76 years after he mailed it