John’s Tragedy (update)

I have recently done some research because Mother always felt John’s Tragedy left more questions than answers.    links:

John’s behavior between announcing he was married and his wife’s sudden departure just before the birth of their child was so odd, they felt something was wrong.  On separate occasions, his father and sister had both come to visit, but each found Wanda had gone off on a trip with her parents, despite knowing of their planned visits.  He explained, she was young and spoiled, at only seventeen. She was used to having her way. Later on, her pregnancy made visits impossible. They got two letters from Wanda, that looked suspiciously like John’s handwriting.  Of course, this was in 1944, when John had just gotten back from a tour of duty in the South Pacific.  His mental health was very fragile at the time.  They were afraid to press for too much information.  The last they knew, Wanda had gone home to have her baby and not returned.

In November, 1944, John told his parents he was informed by Wanda’s father, she had given birth to twins in May 15, 1944. Both she and the children were killed in a train wreck shortly afterward. No further information would be forthcoming.  His father went to visit John as soon as he heard the bad news, but John quickly got rid of him.  In my research, I could find no record of a marriage or birth of twins listing John Arthur Holdaway as father, but eventually, combing through old family correspondence, I did come up Wanda’s maiden name. Mother remembered her new husband’s last name.  Armed with this information, I eventually the record of the birth of twins born May 15, 1944.  The mother’s maiden name fit, though no married name nor marital status at the time of birth was given.  No father was listed, but the boy(now deceased) was given the last name of the man she married at some point, not Holdaway.  I never found the date of that marriage.  This leads me to suspect he never married Wanda, probably only hoped to, maybe losing her to this other man.

John Arthur Holdaway’s wife did meet the California student who recognized the name John Holdaway raising the question of his own paternity, relaying the story to both my parents,so this part of the story seems true.

I am including two V Mails from his sister, Annie Holdaway who was in Egypt at the time John let the family know he had been notified of Wanda’s death.  The family referred to him as Arthur, at this time.  Later, he insisted on being called John, the only name I ever knew him by.V Mail about WandaAnnie's typed V Mail Feb 1945 Referencing Johns loss

John’s Tragedy (Part 2 from Kathleen’s Memoirs) update to follow

Daddy caught the train for New Orleans to see John as soon as we got the letter with his tragic news, not knowing what in what state he’d find John. John was living back in the barracks, explaining he couldn’t afford to keep a place with Wanda gone. He was strangely calm, resigned to the Continue reading

John’s Tragedy (Part I from Kathleen’s Memoirs) Part 2 and update to follow

When John was in the army stationed in New Orleans, we got a letter from him saying he’d married a girl named Wanda. It included a studio picture from Wanda, too, introducing herself. They’d see us some time soon when John got leave. Before too many months, there was a letter there was a Continue reading