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A Brother's Love Comes Full Circle
By Linda Fudala-Tucker
Peg Sonoga was barely 17 when George Goddard, a couple years her senior, asked her to dance at a neighborhood dance in their hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. She had spotted him among the crowd of young people and thought he was looking at her too.
“I said to my girlfriend, ‘I’ll just die if he asks me to dance,’ but sure enough he came over and asked me. I wasn’t sure I knew how to dance the jitter bug, but he made it easy. And we just clicked. That was it, I knew he was the one for me,” she recalled. The couple had dated for nearly two years, when the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor was blazoned across the movie screen where the couple sat hand in hand.
“I didn’t know it, but George went the next day to enlist,” recalled Peg. His brother Bill had enlisted prior to the attack while little brother, Bob spent his time gathering metal scraps with his school chums for the war effort . His big brothers would always be his heroes and the inspiration for his own life.
George wanted to be a fighter pilot, but at over 6-ft. tall, he was deemed too tall and became a co-pilot on B-24 bombers. By this time the sweethearts were getting serious and exchanged letters, recalled Peg. “George sent me a letter with a check in it and said I should buy a ring, but I wanted to wait until he got back and we could make a public announcement.”
Editor’s note: “A Brother’s Love” published in the online VO Journal told the story of Bob Goddard and how he was moti-vated to become involved with the Veteran’s Outreach program. That motivation was the service of his two older brothers, Bill and George in World War II. Bill sur-vived the war but George did not. This story is how that story recon-nected a long lost sweetheart to George’s youngest brother, Bob.
George Goddard, pictured left, is the older brother of Bob Goddard, below. He is one of some 58,000 airmen who vanished over the Pa-cific during World War II. The pic-ture was one of three treasured by Peg Sonoga, who waited for her pilot to return and claim his bride.
Margaret “Peg” Wiseman Sononga was 17 when a good-looking, tall guy asked her to dance. “We just clicked, that was it. I knew he was the one for me.” recalled Peg now 88.
The young pilot never returned, however, and was lost somewhere over the Pacific in July 1943. Nothing was ever found of the plane or its crew.
It was devastating to the besotted young woman who grieved so deeply for the sweetheart she thought she would marry.
Through the intervening nearly 70 years, Peg never forgot her first love and treasured the three photos she had of him. She went on to marry and have three children, Jacque, Ted, and Jerilyn the youngest. “Jeri” Ohl-hauser of Denver helped her mother make the move from Michigan to Denver following the passing in Febru-ary (2012) of her husband of 42 years, Steve Sononga, a Navy WWII veteran.
“She had kept those pictures on her desk for years. She told all of us kids about George, ‘the love of her life,’” recalled Jeri. “When she told me that George had two brothers, I got curious and searched on Google using George’s name and one of the entries that came up was the “Brother’s Love” story on the Veteran’s Outreach website.”
After contacting the VO office, a phone call brought Peg and Bob Goddard together.
“He was just a little boy at the time, and I had maybe met him twice at George’s house, but it was a thrill to make that connection again after all these years.”
Bob recalled Peg as being “beauty queen gorgeous,” and loved by all his family. He was delighted to be able to talk about their mutual idol and the years melted away. “I loved both my brothers, both were accomplished, good men, but just about everyone who knew George wanted to be him, he was so highly regarded.”
While there was pain and anger, Bob said it was more a deep loss he felt that George didn’t return. Peg said time had healed some of that loss but no amount of healing will ever replace the love she shared with her hero, her sweetheart, George.
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