Sunday, September 7, 2008

Charles Forkner letters to Gertrude Connell

Charles Forkner and my grandmother, Gertrude Connell, had a friendship as young people in Wayne County, Indiana. While going through boxes of her belongings recently, I uncovered an original photograph of Charles and six handwritten letters from Charles to my grandmother. In the letters, dated during the years 1932 and 1933, Charles describes his life in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Whitney.

My hope was to find living relatives of Charles Forkner so that I might return the original photograph and copies of the letters. I hoped that his children might learn something new about their father's early military life.

A fairly straight-forward search followed and I learned Charles has two daughters living in California. Unfortunately, Charles passed away many years ago. I found several addresses for one of the daughters and wrote an introductory letter, then sent off a letter to each of the addresses. I figured she still lived at one of the residences or the letter would be forwarded appropriately.

I was excited to learn that the daughter was happy to discover this new information about her father and wished to learn more. I scanned all of the letters and the photograph, then sent off a package in short order.

We have now begun and very nice correspondence and are trying to determine the nature of Charles's and Gertrude's relationship. From the letters it is obvious they were fond of each other, but I would not classify them as love letters. I will do more research into the Forkner family of Wayne County, Indiana and also the social environment that the two might have enjoyed together.

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