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.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Letter #14 from WIlbur C Garner 17 April 1944

S/Sgt Wilbur C. Garner, 33377578

G-1 Section, Hq XIX Corps
APO 270, c/o Postmaster, N.Y.

Mary W. Garner, SK3c
U.S. Naval Air Station
Disbursing Office
Minneapolis, Minnesota(6)

17 April 1944

Dear Mary,
     Well it's me again. How are tricks with you these days? I'll bet you can't guess what I did today. I finally got around to mailing you the little trinkets that I bought for you. Also the small bell that Gwen gave to me to send to you. It is for a charm bracelet if you should have one. It's not very much at all but I thought it was very nice of her. She had a letter to send to you the other day. It was about the same as our V-Mail letters (Air-Graph to them). She took it to the post office and they said that it would not go so she had to take it back and send you a regular letter.
     I had this past Saturday afternoon and Sunday off so I went up to see her. There is not much to do except to take a walk or go to the movies. The scenery over here is beautiful. Of course there are always Red Cross Clubs to go to. That's where we spent Saturday evening. Sunday afternoon we went to movies and saw "Shepard of the Hills". It is a very old picture. I didn't like it so much but as I said there wasn't much else to do.
     Well I've got to work again tonight. Boy this night work will kill you if you keep it up. The first night I have off, I have to do some laundry. The next night I'm off the Company Commander will probably find something to keep us all in for, then of course the next night that the CO can't find anything for us to do I'll have to work in the office. That is my  workaday week. Then in my spare time, I try to get up to see GWEN R. WILKINS ( Gwendoline Rosa Wilkins). Nice name but a much nicer girl. Ha! Ha! I heard what you said and maybe you are right. I'll not say yea or nea now.
                           I guess I'll close for now and hope to hear from you soon again,
                                                                                       Lots of love and luck,

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