WWII Letters Provide a Glimpse Into the Past

MOUNT CARMEL -- Do you have something in your family history that you've been looking for for years, but can't find? Something you're not even sure exists? Such was the case for a man from Northumberland County, who thought there were family letters from World War II somewhere out there.

John Leshinski of Mount Carmel has always been interested in World War II. Family members who served during the war sent letters to relatives back home. Leshinski says it was rumored within the family that someone saved those letters, but he could never find them. Recently Leshinski did an internet search to learn more about his family history. He typed in the name of his uncle Mike and found a listing on eBay.

"It said about these letters that were for sale. The first word I recognized I think was Shamokin and then I started reading the names. Then I thought, I've been looking for these letters for the better part of my adult life," John said.

There they were. 65 letters from Leshinski's father, three uncles, and another relative from World War II.

"When he told me I said oh my gosh you've been looking for these for so long and I can't believe you found them," Trina Leshinski said.

Leshinski's sons paid $283 to buy the letters. When he read them he saw a different side of his father, who rarely talked about the war.

"His train of thought, his mindset, what they were about and to realize the sacrifice," John said.

Some envelopes are stamped "deceased". His uncle John died in combat. Some of the letters are hard for Leshinski to read.

"Well all I can say is they'll never shoot at me anymore," John read.

These 65 letters would be a great addition for any World War II collector, but for the Leshinski family they're priceless.

"It was just the strangest thing to actually be looking for these for so long. I never thought I'd find them. Ever," John said.

The man who sold the letters told Leshinski he got them at a flea market near Reading. He isn`t sure how they ended up at the flea market. But he isn`t concerned about that. These letters are pieces of family history he now has that he wasn`t sure even existed.