Two sets of cufflinks. Some WWll service medals. A watch. A few photographs. Until now, these were all the physical heirlooms that the Colman siblings had left of their father Abe Colman, a Second World War veteran from Toronto who died half a century ago. But thanks to the gesture of a North York woman, Eleanor Maxwell, they now also have a treasured letter from their father, written while he was in uniform in 1943.
Maxwell, a retired teacher, found the wartime letter nearly forty years ago on her front lawn.
“Now this literally blew into my face on Denmark Crescent,” Maxwell said July 12, when she met Abe Colman’s three sons and presented them with the old letter. “I thought, you know what, I’ll pick it up.”
Maxwell thinks the letter blew up the street in the Bathurst and Finch area sometime between 1972 and 1979, when she and the Colmans’ mother lived for a time on the same street in North York: Colman at No. 12 Denmark Crescent and the Maxwells at No. 2. The families didn’t know each other.
Maxwell says she immediately realized the letter was old because the envelope was postmarked December 29, 1943, and it had a 4 cent stamp with the image of King George on the front. It was addressed to a Mrs. A. Colman, 535 Palmerston Boulevard, Toronto. The return address was from Aircraftman A. Colman, posted at the Royal Canadian Air Force training school in Rockcliffe, Ontario, and now part of Ottawa. Continue reading “How a Jewish RCAF airman’s wartime love letter was restored to his Toronto sons, 74 years after it was written”