About this blog

As the author of this blog, Karen L Garner Martin Messick, I am the daughter of an American soldier, Wilbur (Bill) C. Garner, Sr. and Women's Royal English Navy service woman (British Wren) Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins, who met and married during World War II. They lived and loved for over 50 years before Mother passed in 2000. When she did I helped Dad with every day chores when I could. One day I was helping him clear things out and I lifted a plastic bag out of the seat of Mom's piano stool, asking Dad, "Whats in this bag?" to which he replied, "Just some of Mary's old letters." Mary, his older sister, was still alive at the time, residing in an assisted living facility, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I put the letters back in the piano seat thinking he did not want me to open the letters.
When Dad passed two years later, I inherited Mary's letters.
When I began to read them, I found they were mostly letters from Dad to Mary while he was in World War II ("The War"). I could not put them down. I wished I had opened them the day I first saw them so that Dad and I could have had conversations about them, but that was not to be...so as I read through these "Letters to Mary" I began to get a glimpse into Dad's young years when he met Mom and his time as a soldier. I have researched events during World War II to enhance my understanding of what was happening in the war as each letter came to broaden my understanding of what he might have been experiencing. I knew he landed on the beaches of Normandy, France D-Day plus 1 as he recounted his memory of that day to me when he was dying from Leukemia. It was horrifying. There were also letters from a companion Mary had met while in Minneapolis, he had been deployed overseas. I have entwined them chronologically with Dad's letters as it gives a greater dimension to the war itself. I intend to editorialize as necessary to explain personal relationships and situations as the story unfolds through the "Letters to Mary." I welcome any questions, comments and feedback. As the "Greatest Generation" fades away, I felt compelled to share these letters and story in hopes of continuing the legacy they left for the world. Let us never forget the untold years and lives that were sacrificed for freedom!
If you have stumbled upon this blog I have added a blog archive at the bottom of the blog page. Continue to scroll down to access the Blog Archive. The posts are chronologically listed and to follow the story it is best to start with the first post in December 2013.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Letter #11 From Wilbur C Garner 21 March 1944

S/Sgt Wilbur C. Garner, 33377578
Hq XIX Corps, APO 270
Postmaster, N.Y., N.Y.

21 March 1944
Mary W. Garner, SK3c
U.S. Naval Air Station
Minneapolis, 6, Minnesota

Dear Mary,

Well kid, how are you these spring days? Is there anything new around your way? I received a letter from Mother and Dad the other day and I understand, she and dad have gotten a house on Calverton Heights Avenue. Back to the old neighborhood. Well I guess that is just about the best they could do at this time. When I get home, I hope there will be something open at Towson or Wiltondale. I really think that is about the only section of the city to live in.
Incidentally, did you read that piece in the Life Magazine, 14 Feb 44 knocking Baltimore? Some of those damn hillbillies from the hill that never saw light before probably wrote it. Boy, it really made my blood pressure rise in a hurry. Those morons are the ones that have made Baltimore the mess that it has been since the war. Of course they wouldn't know anything about that.
I accepted that invitation to my friend's home that I told you about. It really was a lovely few days. Incidentally, Sis, will you do me a favor?
Would you send her a black shoulder-sling handbag? I'll send you the money for it so don't worry about that. She is really a sweet kid and I'll send you a picture as soon as I can get one of her. She has given me a little ship's bell for a charm bracelet to send you from her. I bought you a little gold filled pin.
It isn't much but I thought you'd like it. I'll try to get off to you tomorrow.
Well I guess I'll close for now because I'm at work and I see a job coming up.

Lots of love from your loving brother,

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