AOL News has a new home! The Huffington Post.

Click here to visit the new home of AOL News!

Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories
Good News

Two World War II-Era Letters Arrive Decades Late

Mar 3, 2011 – 7:30 AM
Text Size

Susanna Baird Contributor

Miss R.T. Fletcher, American Red Cross, Station Hospital, Camp Roberts, California

An envelope thus addressed to a now-mysterious Miss Fletcher arrived at Camp Roberts last month, 67 years after an equally unknown correspondent dispatched it.

The postmark reads Montgomery, Ala., Aug. 9, 1944. A small tear in the return-address corner reveals the contents -- a handwritten letter -- but dashes hopes of identifying the sender. The back flap is sealed with tape.

Gary McMaster, curator of the Camp Roberts Historical Museum and current holder of the letter, has left the tape in place out of respect for the privacy of Miss Fletcher and her pen pal.
An envelope thus addressed to a now-mysterious Miss Fletcher arrived at Camp Roberts last month, 67 years after an equally unknown correspondent dispatched it. The postmark reads Montgomery, Ala., Aug. 9, 1944. A small tear in the return-address corner reveals the contents -- a handwritten letter -- but dashes hopes of identifying the sender. The back flap is sealed with tape. Gary McMaster, curator of the Camp Roberts Historical Museum and current holder of the letter, has left the tape in place out of respect for the privacy of Miss Fletcher and her pen pal. (Camp Roberts Historical Museum)
Camp Roberts Historical Museum
This envelope postmarked Aug. 9, 19 arrived at Camp Roberts, Calif., last month.

"It was handled like any other piece of mail," said McMaster, who called the local post office after the letter arrived in the daily delivery. No one remembered seeing the rare piece.

Today, Camp Roberts serves the Army as a relatively quiet home for National Guard training and pre-deployment, housing a few thousand soldiers on its busiest days.

During World War II, the base was a bustling beehive of military activity.

"It was one of the army's largest infantry and artillery training centers," McMaster told AOL News. "During World War II, most of the movie stars that were drafted came here and did their basic training because it was the closest camp to Hollywood.

"We had Army WACS here. It was a virtual city. On any given day there were 40,000 people here, so it was really huge."

McMaster speculates that, given the address on the envelope, Miss Fletcher served as a Red Cross nurse. He located a family in Montgomery that thinks Miss Fletcher might have been their grandfather's sister, but they haven't called him back to confirm.

If the mystery remains a mystery by next week's end, McMaster will open the letter and try to learn more about Miss Fletcher and her epistolarian, with hopes of finding the family of one or both.

While Miss Fletcher's letter is the first McMaster has received during his tenure as curator, he said the museum has unearthed other interesting items, including a number of wallets presumed stolen and an original reel of Marilyn Monroe entertaining the troops.

Last month, just about the time McMaster received the letter sent to Camp Roberts 67 years ago, Tilford Teig received a letter sent from Camp Roberts 68 years ago.

Army Lt. Mervin Teig, now deceased, wrote to his family about training at the base and about the one-room, kitchenless home he and his wife shared. He asked about life back on the farm and offered advice to his little brother.

"How's good old Iowa? I suppose you are getting ready to plough corn. Wonder if I could still run the tractor," he wrote, as reported in the Daily Freeman Journal.

"If Tilford is smart he'll stay there and feed the pigs and polish the Ford. I see too many of those young fellows in uniform out here."

Tilford, now 85, did stay home and feed the pigs. The retired farmer received a letter addressed to Mrs. M.J. Teig in February.

Sponsored Links
Postmarked May 19, 1943, the epistle brought Tilford back to long-ago days, and to memories of his older brother.

Mervin farmed, raising Chester White hogs until he enlisted following the attack on Pearl Harbor, then participated in successful military campaigns in the European theater. Postwar, he embarked upon a successful business career in Mason City, about an hour-and-a-half north of Tilford's Stanhope-area farm. He passed away about a decade ago.

Camp Roberts' McMaster hadn't heard about the second long-lost letter, and he finds its showing up at the same time as Miss Fletcher's a "strange coincidence."

As for Miss Fletcher, if you're still out there, you've got mail.

Put more Good in your life! Follow AOL's Good News on Twitter and Facebook.
Filed under: Nation, Good News, AOL Original
Related Searches: camp roberts ca, world war 2,
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


2011 AOL Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Follow AOL Good News