The letter was written by Sgt. John Gonsalves, a 22 year old army soldier stationed in Germany. He was writing to check in on his family and let his mother know that he thought he would return to Massachusetts soon.
The letter, dated December 6, 1945 – written several months after the end of World War II – will never reach her mother. But 76 years and three days later, he was delivered by the USPS to his widow.
“I got to read it and it was wonderful,” Angelina Gonsalves, of Woburn, Massachusetts, told CNN Wednesday. “It’s in great condition. I was surprised by that myself.”
Angelina and John did not know each other when he wrote this letter. The two married in 1953 and had five sons. In 2015, John passed away at the age of 92.
In the two-page letter to his mother, also named Angelina, John discusses “bad” food options and the weather in Bad Orb, where he was stationed, claiming that the sun had not been out but for half a day. per month. He closes the letter by sending his love to the family. The front of the envelope has a six cent stamp attached.
“It was a joy to see his face light up as he read his words,” Brian Gonsalves, son of Angelina and John, told CNN. “Being able to see her read something he wrote and come back to that story is something she will always have now. “
So where was the letter hiding all this time?
This part is unclear, but late last year she was found at the USPS Treatment Center in Pittsburgh, according to a letter from the USPS that was sent to Angelina along with John’s letter.
Staff at the center recognized the importance of the soldier’s letter and that it was part of a family’s history, so they began to try to locate John’s next of kin.
“We are aware of your husband’s death in 2015 (our condolences),” the letter from the USPS read. “By virtue of a dedicated detective work by the postal workers at this establishment, we were able to determine your address, hence the delivery of this letter, although delayed by 76 years. Due to age and Because of the importance of your family history, the delivery of this letter has been of the utmost importance to us. “
Angelina received the letter on December 9, just before the holidays, which her son said was a lovely Christmas present.
“It was as if he had returned for the holiday season,” he said.