I have also added a short narrative at the end of this blog letter entry.
Mrs. W. C. Garner
3600 Copley Road
Baltimore, Md. 15
Mary Garner S2C
4th Battalion 13th Company
University of Indiana
Monday, May 24, 1943
How are you getting along now? Hope you are feeling well. It was raining "cats and dogs" the day we left Kentucky. Bill says it's very hot down in Louisiana. He seems to be dissatisfied with conditions at Camp Polk now. Seems as though all the decent fellows have left the company. He has been studying very hard for his Warrant Officers exam. He has already had his physical. Bill seems to think his company officers are trying to keep him from getting his commission. I hope he gets it or he will be one terribly dissapointed person. He called me Sunday, boy it was good to talk to him again. I miss him so much. I had lunch with your Mother last Friday. I have been house cleaning ever since I got home. Sunday we went down the shore and opened up the house. We started in cleaning and hope to start painting next week. Bernard called dad and offered to help paint. I thought that was very nice. The weather was rather warm the first week I was home, but is now cool again. Our yard at home here is beginning to look real pretty again. We had quite a time finding someone to cut the grass for us this season. Finally we got a little 12yr. old boy to cut it.
I am losing weight, Mary, but I don't know why. I am eating all the time. I only weigh 102 lbs. now. By the way, your Mother is looking very well. I have been practicing up on my cooking lately. I should be able to give Bill a pretty good home by the time all this mess is over.
Please forgive me if this letter doesn't make sense. This is the 3rd letter for me tonight and I am getting kind of sleepy.
It hardly seems possible that June 1 is practically here. The time has gone so fast the past few years. Just think in 2 months Bill and I will be married 2 years. It has been the happiest years of my life. I bet you don't know just how wonderful he is. Mary he has been so good to me. I could never tell you how much I love him. Guess I'd better stop this slush. You know I'm sleepy when I talk like this. Well, be good Mary. I promise again that I will write more often. Hope everything's O.K. If you have time, drop me a line sometime.
This is the first and last letter from Betty (Mrs. Wilbur C. Garner). She passed away a month after she wrote this "Letter to Mary," at the age of 21, on June 25, 1943, when she went into a diabetic shock from an undiagnosed diabetic condition. She had been married to Bill just shy of two years. She was laid to rest in Druid Hill Cemetery, (Groveland section) Baltimore, Md.
As told to me (Karen Garner Martin Messick) by Bill prior to his death in 2002.
"At the time of Betty's death, I was stationed in Camp Polk, Louisiana and out on cadre when I received the news. I was notified by the Army of Betty's sudden passing and given bereavement leave to return home. I immediately began my long journey home. The darn trains in the country were tied up with military comings and goings in support of the war effort and it took me over 48 hours of constant travel to arrive in Baltimore. I arrived tired and exhausted the day Betty was laid to rest, as I had not slept for those 48 hours. Betty's father, chastised me for not arriving sooner. I could not believe he did that, as I was mourning the loss of my beloved young wife. He was a real bastard.
Shortly after Betty was buried I headed back to Camp Polk to continue my service to my country, leaving my parents and Betty's to dissolve our marital home."