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Letters from the front

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 3rd, 2013

photo by Jon Stinnett Faye Lukowski reads a stack of letters that her husband, Warren, wrote to a pen pal during World War II. Lukowski was recently given those letters and reads them every day. ----- Faye and Warren Lukowski as newlyweds.

Faye Lukowski sits at the dining room table of her Cottage Grove home, a warm smile on her face and a lightly yellowing stack of United States Navy stationery in her hands. She’s only had the letters in her possession for a matter of weeks, but already their words have been printed on her heart.

“My mom reads these letters every day,” says Lukowski’s daughter, Carol Craig, and mom nods.

“I love them because the writing is so familiar,” Lukowski says. “I wrote to a lot of kids during the war, but it just wasn’t the same. Some people aren’t letter writers.”

Fortunately for Lukowski, her husband Warren, a journalist and teletype operator during a 22-year career in the Navy, was a supreme storyteller at a time when letters were the only real way to relay news and sentiments from home to a war-torn world and back again.

Sadly for Lukowski, though, her own correspondence with her future husband as he experienced triumph and tragedy during World War II did not survive the couple’s many moves.

“One time during a move he told me to throw those letters away,” she said. “‘You’ve got me,’ he said. ‘You don’t need them.’ But I do wish we would’ve saved them.”

It would take a chance encounter with one of her husband’s old pen pals to reacquaint Faye Lukowski with his writing, a woman named Ruth who, at age 92, recently discovered her own letters from Warren Lukowski and offered them to his wife of 46 years.

“When those letters arrived, I was at her house,” Craig told the Sentinel. “To see the tears of joy as she went back in time 68-70 years made my heart soar. The paper and ink were in such good shape that the words were very clear. In the first two letters, Warren was just making general conversation. Then, he started talking about meeting a gal named Faye, who was five- foot-two and 120 pounds with eyes of blue, and how in love he was with her.

I cannot express how thrilled I was to see my mom so happy.”

Way back in 1942, some of Faye’s letters had begun finding their way overseas to a friend of a friend, one Gene Lukowski.

For the complete article see the 07-03-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 07-03-2013 paper.

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