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 3, 2014

Letter #4 to Mary from Wilbur C. Garner, Sr. 30 November 1943

Sgt. Wilbur C. Garner 
Hq XIX Corps, G-1 Section
APO 270
Camp Polk, La.

Mary W. Garner, SK3C
U.S. Naval Air Station
Disbursing Office

30 November 1943                                                                                                                                             Dear Mary,
     Well, sis, I was'nt kidding you about Christmas presents. I have at last gotten a chance and boy am I really taking advantage of it. Today I am a Sergeant. A technician Fourth Grade to be exact. (Tec. 4) Don't under any condition send me any Christmas presents. I am getting a three-day pass this coming weekend and I intend to go to Beaumont, Texas and try to do a little Christmas shopping.
     I was a little sick at my stomach last Friday but I am OK now. I'm going into DeRidder tonight to take in some cleaning so I'll have some clean clothes to wear next week-end. This is strictly confidential. I'm going with the Captain and I think we will fly all the way. That should be some trip. It's to the best section. I've really been busy this last couple of weeks.
     I'll tell you Mary because I'm sure you realize our safety is in the balance if anyone should say anything out of turn. I leave here the 15th Dec by air for the East coast. We are to fly from there to England. Boy I'm anxious. I hope I can get my hands on one of those turret guns on the way over. Please don't worry about me. This will be my first Christmas out of the country. I've got to stop now because I've got a lot to do. I'll call you by phone before I go. In fact maybe this weekend.
     Well it is a lovely day here. It is nice and warm. It was cold last night and this morning but it warms up as soon as the sun comes up. I have'nt had time to write to anyone in the last four or five days.

Lots of love to a real Sister
Sorry this is so scratchy, but you can see I'm real busy 
                                               Love Bill
Camp Polk Unit Louisiana Wilbur C. Garner bottom row second from left
Postmarked December 13, 1943

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