American soldier John Gonsalves, who served in Germany following World War II, wrote a letter to his mother in Massachusetts in 1945 and the U.S. Postal Service finally delivered the letter to his family — 76 years late.
Angelina “Jean” Gonsalves, 89, was shocked to hold the airmail envelope in her hand after her mail carrier dropped it off at her home in Woburn, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, she tells ABC affiliate Boston 25 News.
“Dear, Mom. Received another letter from you today and was happy to hear that everything is okay,” reads the letter. “As for myself, I’m fine and getting along okay. But as far as the food it’s pretty lousy most of the time.”
The letter, which sat unopened for more than three quarters of a century, inexplicably showed up in a United States Postal Service facility a month ago for processing and distribution in Pittsburgh.
USPS employees searched for next-of-kin to Gonsalves, who had died in 2015, his mother also long gone. They found an address for Gonsalves’s widow, Angelina, whom the young solider met five years after sending letter.
“Imagine that! Seventy-six years!” noted Mrs. Gonsalves. “I just I couldn’t believe it.”
Along with the handwritten letter was a note from USPS expressing condolences for Mrs. Gonsalves’s loss.
“We are uncertain where this letter has been for the past seven-plus decades, but it arrived at our facility approximately six weeks ago,” the letter reads. “Due to the age and significance to your family history… delivering this letter was of utmost importance to us.”