I was cleaning out some old boards stored in the ceiling joists of our basement, when some dusty scraps of paper fell out and landed on the cement floor. They were war letters written from 1943 to 1945 to a Grace Dionne who lived in Rollinsford. They were from her sweetheart, Eddie, writing first from NY, then from Italy until the last letter on July 18th, 1945, a couple months after V.E. Day.
In one letter, he says it would be a miracle, but he heard he might get to come home by October. It was written in 1943. In the last, he tells a story about swimming at a beach in Viareggio in Northern Italy when a mine went off in the Red Cross building where he had been an hour earlier. He was blown 8 ft. in the air as pieces of shrapnel whistled past. In his words, “It was awful. No kidding lots of them were buried in all that mess. There must have been over 100 of them killed and wounded. At 2:30 o’clock, this afternoon I was in that building and at 3:30 it happened. Was pretty lucky. I had a good mind to sit there and write you a letter. Good thing I didn’t cause it would have been the last letter.”
He finishes, “Well, Honey, we’ll have our day someday. Keep your chin up, stomach in, chest out, and you’ll make it. Goodbye Honey. Hope to see you soon. Forever yours, Eddie.”
I looked up Eddie, whose full name was Joseph E Croteau. He had the same birthday as me (December 28th) and died in 2008. He made it home from Europe, married Grace and enjoyed a life together with her for 62 years. They had children and grandchildren and were members of the American legion and St. Mary’s a short walk from our home.
Please share this post. If anyone knows their kids or grandkids, we would love to return the letters their dad wrote to their mom when he was serving in World War II.
UPDATE: I just spoke with their granddaughter on the phone! It took you all only ten minutes to connect us. So excited. Thanks, everyone!