A letter written in 1945 and discovered behind a bathroom cupboard last Saturday in a Marshfield home has returned to a family member of the recipient thanks to the help of NewsChannel 7 viewers.
The discoverer of the letter, Brooke Konecny, said it only took eight hours for the rightful owner to surface. On Saturday, Bonnie Schulte, the daughter of Marge "Margie" Adolph Zinda, returned to the home she once lived in more than 60 years ago to make the exchange. With hands shaking with awe, she examined the letter and said it was an awesome surprise.
"Now I'm not even aware of how often they exchanged letters, but I'm glad I got this one," she said. "I really, thank you! Thank you very much!"
The writing in the letter has a very loving tone, but John "Jack" A. Konkel and Zinda aren't lovers, they're brother and sister.
"They were really buddies, which is nice being the age difference between them and I said I can see where this would look like a love letter. It's just that kind of a letter because that's the kind of relationship they had. He did, he really adored her," said Schulte.
She said the two became close when their mother died when her Uncle Jack was five-years-old and her mother was 15. Once Zinda got married a few years later, she moved from their home in St. Paul, MN to Stevens Point, and then to a new home in Marshfield as the letter indicated. Konkel stayed in Minnesota and lived with his oldest sister Jenn.
Konkel wrote the letter while he was serving in the army when he was about 23. Schulte said she may have inadvertently been the reason the letter disappeared.
"In this cupboard my mother also had, she evidently had this (the letter), and she had Easter seals and I would always be in there, again at 6-years-old, digging through there for those Easter seals or digging just to snoop," she said. "I'm probably the one that maybe even knocked it back there."
Konecny said she had one more surprise from a viewer also looking for a Zinda woman. The email said they have a one cent postcard from January 24, 1922. Now, Schulte is on a family history adventure she never expected to be on, but as for the letter, she said she's "going to hang on to it for dear life."
Schulte gave her Uncle Jack a call for the first time in 16 years. He is living in Indianapolis, IN and is in decent health for being 92-years-old. He said the news really made his day and he can't wait to tell his kids. Unfortunately her mother will not be able to enjoy the discovery, as she passed away a few years ago.
There are some charms of living in older homes and one Marshfield woman got a surprise she didn't expect. She found a letter dating back to the World War II era.
Brooke Konecny found the letter in her home on Saturday. She moved into the house almost two years ago and was fixing up and painting her bathroom cabinets when she dropped her paint brush behind the drawers. She reached back to grab it, but she not only found her brush.
"I stuck my hands down there and felt some stuff moving around, so I took the cabinet apart and then out came this letter," she said.
A letter written by a John A. Konkel on January 8, 1945 while in the Philippines. Konecny has been searching for the writer ever since she found it with little success.
"Oh I've tried the Honor Flight, I've tried WWII Veterans, I've tried the Navy. I've tried everywhere and I could not find them," said Konecny.
Judging from the letter addressed to a Mrs. Adolph Zinda, it seems her and John Konkel were close. NewsChannel 7 tried to decipher the letter, which reads:
"My darling Margie,
At last I got a letter from you after so long waiting. It was good to hear from you again, I always like to get your letters.
So you have finally gotten settled in your new home. I know it will be so much better than where you were settled.
I hope you have had a nice Christmas and New Year's season. It wasn't quite the same out here as it was in the States. Their days seemed like any other days of the year. They are all alike out here.
Wish I could have been there for New Years, think of me and home a cold one for me will you? I received a couple of Christmas packages today. They were simply ... I would have written to you much sooner but I didn't have your address in ... I believe I did write and I hope you got them.
In everyone new short of ready cash and enclosing a ... that you can try and spend if you get to Japan. If you like it I can save you a couple of tour money ... I can get the shippping space.
Well no news here for now so I will say bye bye now and regards to all.
All of my love sweet,
Konecny said it appears to be one of many letters these two had written to each other. Zinda had likely brought the letter to this new home, as the letter was addressed to a home in Stevens Point. Konecny said she likely dropped the letter behind the cabinets much like she dropped her paint brush.
The letter also indicates it was written while on the U.S.S. Spencer C.G. Cutler, which was the Coast Guard's most decorated unit, receiving 14 battle ribbons. During the time Konkel appears to have been aboard the ship, it reported to the Navy's Seventh (Pacific) Fleet and took active part in invasions including on Luzon and Palawan in the Philippines. Two Japanese pasos were also enclosed with the letter and kept in mint condition while behind these drawers.
Despite the lack of luck in finding this writer or receiver, Konecny is determined to return these pieces of history back to their rightful owner.
"It would mean a lot just to give it back to him. Because I know that it's not supposed to be here. It was something that was lost and it should go back to him," she said.
If you know either John A. Konkel or Mrs. "Margie" Adolph Zinda, or recognize these letters, please contact Brooke Konecny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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