It’s something you read about in books, something you see in movies: the discovery of secret treasure hidden behind the walls of an old home. But that very thing just happened to Gaby and Jerry Wilson of Cranford, and the story gave me chills all over!
Gaby and Jerry moved with their six-year-old daughter to Denman Road a little over a month ago, having lived on another street in Cranford for three years. Their house on Denman is a charming Cape Cod, built in 1951. Gaby said, “When I first saw the house, I loved how warm it is, how it has a good vibe and feels like a cozy family home. As soon as I saw the chimney, I started thinking of Christmas and building memories before we’d even purchased the home.”
The Wilsons planned to do some renovations on the second floor right away, because the bathroom on that level has no shower or tub. According to Gaby, “We had our contractor John Hamor come this past Sunday morning to figure out how we could extend the bathroom to put in shower. He opened up a closet that had once been a shower. When he pulled one of the wall panels down, he saw the trunk sitting there, along with some boxes! I had been sleeping at the time, and I heard these excited voices shouting. When I came downstairs John and Jerry had this antique trunk open and they were yelling, ‘This is from World War II!'”
The trunk and boxes are a virtual treasure trove that detail an incredible period of time in one woman’s life. Gabby and Jerry gently went through all the contents, trying to figure out whom they had belonged to. They found a nurse’s uniform and a woman’s military shirt with the name “Anna” written on the tag. They found a diary with only a few entries, but in one entry Anna wrote of her nervousness in beginning her post in the military. When the Wilsons dug deeper, they found heartfelt love letters, poems, and postcards–all written in script–most of which appeared to be from a Walter McGarry. In one letter, Walter wrote to Anna that he had just arrived home and missed her terribly, aching to kiss her again.
Finally the Wilsons unearthed a Western Union receipt that contained Anna’s last name, Tesar. From that point they were able to do a little detective work online. Using Google and Spokeo, they discovered that Anna had indeed lived in Cranford but had passed away in 1989. What made Gaby misty-eyed was the revelation that Anna must have ended up marrying her beloved Walter, because her children’s last name is McGarry!
The Wilsons were able to get in touch with Eugene McGarry, and he was delighted to learn of the discovery of his mother’s belongings in the Denman house. Gaby said, “We told him we would bring the trunk and boxes to him the very next day, to his house in Califon. He said no, he will come here, I think because he would love to see the house.”
Gaby and Jerry are beyond excited to meet Eugene this weekend. Gaby said, “I can’t wait to hear about her life here. We found a certificate that says Anna was a crossing guard for many years, right here on Denman.”
I, too, can’t wait to hear about the Wilsons’ interaction with Eugene, and I’ll make sure to share all the details with you! In the meantime, enjoy the photos provided by the Wilsons that will take you back to another time. They just might make you start tapping on your own walls, looking for hollow spots, wondering if there’s treasure to be found.
STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO!!! GABY AND JERRY WILL BE MEETING WITH EUGENE SOON!!
WE CAN’T WAIT!