John Gonsalves was an American soldier who served in World War Two. This young man came from Massachusetts to Europe to fight for the stars and stripes.
Like so many young men who answered the call of duty, Gonsalves had only one way to communicate with loved ones and family back home: handwritten letters.
These were the days long before email or Facetime! After the liberation of Germany in 1945, Gonsalves posted a letter back to his mom.
However, the problem is the letter got lost in the rush of postwar mail and never reached her…
A Rare Discovery is Made
When he was only 22 and posted far from home, Gonsalves wrote back to the one person who was on his mind at the time: his mom.
He told her about how things were going overseas and said it wasn’t too bad, but the food was definitely “lousy.” I guess some things never change!
Well, the letter never ended up reaching his mom, lost in the crowd of post-war mail. Then, a month ago in Pennsylvania, the letter was found in a mail sorting location in Pennsylvania.
US Postal workers were fascinated and started to look for Gonsalves. Sadly, Gonsalves already died in 2015, and his mom died long before that. They dug deeper and found his widow still alive in the town of Woburn, Massachusetts near Boston!
His widow, Angelina Gonsalves, was stunned when she got the letter her dead husband had written to his mom 76 years ago.
Angelina and John’s classic love story unfolded after the war when he came back. John ended up getting a job at a company that produced footwear; he met Angelina there after driving her friend and her home one day in 1949.
Only four years later, John and Angelina married, and they stayed that way for 61 years until his death in 2015 at 92. Angelina had the letter delivered to her by US Postal Service representatives on December 9.
They don’t know how it got lost or where exactly it was, but it’s now in her hands, and John and Angelina’s five boys – who have since grown up into adults – are also thrilled.
John Gonsalves' letter had been discovered in a Pittsburgh postal facility, Angelina Gonsalves said. https://t.co/vtEqUbsSPI
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) January 9, 2022
The Importance of History
As stories like this show, history can tie us all together, even many years after it’s happened. The discovery of this letter from John to his mom was a Christmas miracle.
The delivery to Angelina and her family is an inspiring example of never forgetting our history and those who have sacrificed so much for our country.
When they were far from home on foreign shores and writing home, brave young Americans reassured their family they were fine and they would be home again.
Not all of them made it, but the lucky ones like John went on to live incredible lives and raise great American families who make this nation stronger to this day.
A few months after World War II, Sgt. John Gonsalves wrote home to his mother from his posting in Germany. He assured his mother that he was fine. It turned up unopened in a Pittsburgh post office and was finally delivered to Gonsalves’ widow. pic.twitter.com/j77InpMD6x
— JP+ English (@jpmasenglish) January 10, 2022