A letter written by an American soldier in Germany in 1945 was finally delivered to his family in Woburn in December.
Army Sergeant John Gonsalves wrote the letter to his mother on Dec. 6, 1945. World War II was over, and he was looking forward to coming home.
Gonsalves used a 6-cent air mail stamp to send the letter off from Bad Orb, Germany, but it never made it to its intended recipient. Instead, the letter was delivered to his wife, Angelina Gonsalves, on Dec. 9 — 76 years after he mailed it.
His son, Brian Gonsalves, said his mother was overjoyed to receive the long lost letter and the handwriting of her husband, who died in 2015.
“My father enlisted, was sent to England, then France, and then to Germany,” Gonsalves said in a phone interview. “He wrote this to his mother a few months after the war ended, and somehow this particular letter never got to her.”
Gonsalves said the letter was discovered in a US Postal Service facility in Pittsburgh last fall, and the postal service did some research and was able to track down his 89-year-old mother.
“We have no idea where it was for 76 years, from when my dad mailed it to when it was found at the postal facility in Pittsburgh,” he said. “The mailman came to the door and said, ‘I think I have something for you.’”
His mother, Angelina, said she couldn’t believe it.
“Imagine that! Seventy-six years!” she said in an interview with Boston 25 News. “I just I couldn’t believe it. And then just his handwriting and everything. It was just so amazing.”
In the letter, Gonsalves talks about the weather and the quality of the food that he’d been eating, and when he expected to be returning home. He also mentioned his sister, Agnes, and asked about some friends.
“Dear Mom, Received another letter from you today and was happy to hear that everything is okay,” he wrote. “As for myself, I’m fine and getting along okay. But as for the food, it’s pretty lousy most all the time. I guess it’s because of the strike they had back there in the States, whatever it was, I can sure feel it now.”
“I also received a letter from Agnes, she done alright for herself, hasn’t she? By the way mom, if you are thinking of sending any packages, don’t, as I think I won’t be here to receive them. It looks like it won’t be very long before I return to the States, I’m almost positive to be home sometime in the last two weeks of January or the first week of February.”
“What lousy weather we have here now, the sun hasn’t been out but just for a half-day in about a month. It was raining and snowing again this morning but it stopped inside of an hour. As yet, I haven’t heard any more from Jim or Bill. I suppose Jim has gone home. Have you heard anything of him? Well Mom, that’s about all that I can think of, so I’ll have to close here. Give my love to the family and regards to all. Take care. Love + XXXXX, Your son, Johnny. P.S. I’ll be seeing you – soon — I hope.”
Gonsalves said getting to see the letter that his father mailed so long ago brightened the holiday season for his family.
“Opening it and reading that letter made it feel like he came back to us for the holiday season,” he said.