Community Life

Cranford Resident Finds Trunk in Attic Belonging to WWII Nurse

86976061ad1025a45ea4_12799326_10206503443399467_8357359695234576045_n.jpg
Credits: All photos provided by the Wilson Family
8c483640769d3fc06c5f_FullSizeRender__1_.jpg
Credits: All photos provided by the Wilson Family
8e6880b842b47788a517_FullSizeRender__2_.jpg
47c4bdfaf5fd5a1d72ff_IMG_4431.JPG
fb88ec33532c1a67bd53_10325711_10206503442999457_3419139307372727165_n.jpg
bedb8812a458443333b9_10422216_10206503443079459_2296960552120454137_n.jpg
86976061ad1025a45ea4_12799326_10206503443399467_8357359695234576045_n.jpg

CRANFORD, NJ - Little did Gaby and Jerry Wilson know that when they bought their Cape Cod home just a month ago on Denman Road in Cranford that World War II nurse's personal history was hidden in the attic. 

The Wilsons bought the home last month and planned on expanding, starting with making an upstairs bathroom larger. They hired a contractor to look at the upstairs space including the ability to blow out the bathroom wall into the attic. When the contractor pulled off a piece of paneling, an old trunk was revealed.

Gaby shares, "I got goose bumps all over. Before it was opened I thought to myself maybe it's gold or something that we don't want to see," she says jokingly. 

Sign Up for E-News

As she and her husband began to discover the contents of the trunk, they found poems, love letters, postcards, military papers and what looked like hospital clothing and gowns. As they dug deeper they discovered that the trunk belonged to Anna Tesar, a World War II nurse circa 1943. 

Tesar served as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps and worked at the Oliver General Hospital, a military hospital in Georgia. The Hospital was a former hotel  taken over by the Army in 1942 to treat soldiers returning from WWII. Tesar was unmarried at the time but soon after met Walter McGarry,who would eventually be her husband.

According to Tesar's son, Eugene McGarry, "I'm not certain whether my parents met in the States or overseas, but they met in the 40's while they were both in the military."

Anna and Walter would correspond through poems, letters and postcards that Tesar kept. She also kept a diary that the Wilsons found with the first entry in 1945. 

Walter McGarry served in the military and was stationed in Japan, after training in Georgia. He was later injured and returned to the States receiving the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Silver Star, according to his son.

Walter and Anna returned to Cranford where in 1957 they built the home on Denman Road where they raised four children, including Eugene and his three sisters. It's the same house that the Wilsons live in today.

Over the years Eugene had seen his father's army uniforms but never his mother's items.

"My parents never discussed their time in the military, we had no idea that the trunk existed, she must have just packed it up and put it away," Eugene said. "When they both passed, we cleaned out the house, but didn't find it and had no idea until the Wilsons called us that it even existed. I am in shock that the trunk exists."

"I can't believe no one found the trunk before us, I'm glad Anna picked us in some way to find it, it's a treasure to be able to get a glimpse of someone's life you never met and also to return it to her family," Gaby Wilson adds. 

The Wilsons invited Eugene to their home this weekend to retrieve the trunk and return it to the McGarry family where it belongs.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Westfield Family Continues ‘Summer of Kindness’ with Infant Clothing Drive

July 12, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield mom and teacher Sara Liptack is continuing her family’s “Summer of Kindess” with an infant clothing for Furniture Assist, an organization in Springfield that helps formerly homeless people, veterans, the elderly, fire victims, refugees and people fleeing domestic violence.

“I said, ‘What’s the one thing you really ...

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You

EMOTIONAL EATING: FEEDING YOUR FEELINGS

Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

Send a Message to Nick Scutari and His Cronies: Corruption Has No Place in Union County

July 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman, Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman as County Manager smelled of corruption from the start.

To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million County ...

When to Dial 911: Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month

July 10, 2018

There are many times you should call 911. If you or someone around you is in true medical distress, such as experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, bleeding, possible stroke, or any other serious health issues, then 911 should be called as soon as possible. If there are wires down, fire, a crime in progress, or other dangerous conditions to people or property, call 911 ...

Pizza and Trivia at Scotch Plains Public Library on Weds, Aug. 8

July 21, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- ​On Wednesday, August 8 at 6:00 p.m., join the teen staff for a night of trivia and pizza!

Teams of four will compete to figure out who has the best musical knowledge. Questions will range from “Name that Tune” to “Who Wrote that Musical?” The winning team will receive prizes. Registration is required and will begin on Monday, July 30 at 11:00 ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b3322a9af399ab00349f_nightsky

Mon, July 23, 8:00 PM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

View the Night Sky at the Scotch Plains Public ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_99864111416f9af936dd_dsc_2436

Wed, July 25, 6:00 PM

JCC of Central NJ, Scotch Plains

The JCC’s Barracudas Swim Team Meet the Coaches ...

Sports

Carousel_image_989b40b66144f89908a8_pizza_run

Wed, July 25, 7:00 PM

Westfield

Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza

Sports