By Barbara LaMonica
When former Huntington resident Daniel Thomas Nauke discovered boxes of forgotten letters written between his parents during WWII, he brought the letters home and put them on a shelf. It took the COVID lockdown years later to prompt Daniel to finally read and organize the letters. He found they revealed not only a love story between his parents but also a story of immigrant families, a neighborhood, and life during WWII.
Using the letters as a springboard, Daniel began a research project involving old maps, censuses, and newspaper articles to recreate the time frame of the neighborhood and the families that lived there. The project evolved into the book Always Faithful Letters Between An American Soldier and His Hometown Sweetheart During WWII. The result of this research is a work that is not only a personal love story, but also an historical document of the times in Huntington Station.
By the 1920s, the streets in Huntington Station had been laid out, building lots were being sold and homes built. Immigrants came to this area and eventually settled in the new community, creating a diverse neighborhood of Germans, Irish, Italian, and Polish families to name a few. This is where the author’s parents, Lee Alessio and Wolfgang Nauke, grew up across the street from each other on East 4th Street and Fairground Avenue. Lee was the daughter of Salvatore Alessio from Acri Italy, and Wolfgang immigrated with his parents from Dresden, Germany in 1923.
Interspersed with the letters, the author provides photographs, maps, postcards, and WWII memorabilia, as well as an extensive index of families and businesses that populated the area. This book illustrates that old family documents can be more than personal memories, they can provide historical insight of interest to everyone.
If you are interested in purchasing this book when it becomes available, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog has been written by various affiliates of the Huntington Historical Society.