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.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Letter #12 From Henri Romieux

H. Romieux, SK1c, USNR
Naval Supply Depot
Barracks B-1
Oakland, Calif.

San Francisco
22 March

Dear Mary,
Thanks a lot for the nice letter which I received yesterday. You sure are the lucky one to get out on subs and quarters. Hope your heating problem has been fixed by now and that you have gotten over your cold. Yes, I can just see you huddled close to that radiator. Mpls sure can get cold in the winter and hotter than hell in the summer, but I guess its just in me to like that way. Here it just don't seem right- no snow and really has been warm the past ten days- just got comfortable without a coat. I think you would like it, really.
Sorry to hear you are having a little difficulty with G.R.B. but I know Williamson just don't care and isn't much interested in that work. With me it was kind of a hobby you know as I helped start the G.R.B. from scratch. Anyhow I sure hope things run along more smoothly, and don't be afraid to tell Williamson off more in a while. Will do him good.
Me. I'm kinda disgusted the past few days- Just found out our ship has been delayed again and likely won't be ready till 1 May. Can you imagine that? If this keeps up I'll never get to sea before the war is over. They have changed our ship from an AP to APA, which is the cause of the delay. Wouldn't you know- typical old Navy, always changing  their  mind.  The supply depot barracks are too crowded and they have told us we would have to leave and go out on S&Q but much as I would like too - I can't find a single place to live - even the YMCA won't let us stay more than four days. So guess the NSD will have to keep us anyway..
     Well Mary guess I had better sign off for this time as I am not in too good a mood today, and can't for the life of me write anything of interest.  So please drop me a line soon and tell me more of how all is going by you up there. Tell Edwardson I am waiting for that letter.
                                                                                                    As ever, Henri

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