World War 2 soldier’s letter finds its way to his widow, 76 years later

‘It’s like he came back to me,’ says 89-year-old Angelina Gonsalves, who just received a 1945 letter from her husband

Nathan Place
New York
Saturday 08 January 2022 22:27
Comments

WW2-era letter finally reaches soldier’s widow

A World War 2 soldier’s letter has finally made it home, 76 years later.

Angelina Gonsalves, 89, lives in Woburn, Massachusetts. Last month, she told The New York Times, her mailman gave her a package containing a nearly century-old envelope.

“Hi, was your husband in the service?” the mailman asked.

“Yes, he was,” Ms Gonsalves replied. “But I didn’t know him then.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure I have something that’s personal for you,” the mailman said, and handed her the package. Inside was a handwritten letter, dated 6 December, 1945.

“Dear Mom,” the letter began. “Received another letter from you today and was happy to hear that everything is okay.”

The letter was from Ms Gonsalves’ husband, John Gonsalves, who in 1945 was a 22-year-old sergeant in the US Army. The war had just ended, and Mr Gonsalves was stationed in Bad Orb, Germany, near a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp that the Americans had liberated.

“As for myself, I’m fine and getting along okay. But as for the food, it’s pretty lousy most all the time,” the letter continued. “Love + XXXXX, Your Son, Johnny. PS I’ll be seeing you soon, I hope.”

Today Mr Gonsalves’ mother is long dead, but he did get to see her again. After the war, he returned home to his family and friends in Woburn, and in 1949 he met Angelina. They married in 1953, had five sons, and were together until 2015, when Mr Gonsalves died at age 92.

Meanwhile, the letter somehow got lost in the mail. Included in the package Ms Gonsalves received was a message from the US Postal Service, trying to make sense of the long-delayed delivery.

“We are uncertain where this letter has been for the past seven-plus decades, but it arrived at our facility approximately six weeks ago,” a USPS distribution center in Pittsburgh told Ms Gonsalves, according to WFXT-TV. “Due to the age and significance to your family history… delivering this letter was of utmost importance to us.”

After six years without her husband, Ms Gonsalves was overjoyed to hear from him.

“I just I couldn’t believe it!” she told the news station. “And then just his handwriting and everything. It was just so amazing… It’s like he came back to me, you know?”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in