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.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Letter #5 From Henri Romieux to Mary January 2, 1944

H.Romieux, SK1c USNR       

Rec. Ship (AP167)
T.I. San Francisco, Calif

Mary Garner, SK3c USNR
c/o Naval Air Station

Minneapolis, Minn
January 2, 1944
Hello Mary, 

I'll bet you are surprised to hear from me. Hows all going with the Waves at NAS? Thanks heaps for the nuts. Sure was nice of you to think of me and I enjoyed them all the way to San Francisco. Have done next to no cooking since leaving Minneapolis. My ship is in Oakland and is being converted to a troop transport. It was a C-2 and has only made one cruise.  So you see I have an almost new ship. Had a good look at it last week. The crews quarters are sure swell.-two to four men to a state room each has running water and a shower for every two rooms. So unless they change plans it all will be mighty fine.
Have had liberty for 1500 to 0745 all but two nites since I came here. Frisco is a swell town and have managed to have lots of fun. Wish you were here Mary and we could have lots of fun.
     Next week expect to go to Mare Island for a few days fire fighting school. Then next week to gunnery school at San Bruno, I guess. Our crew is just starting to arrive all a bunch of swell fellows so far. The SK complement is a LT (JG) Supply officer, 1-pay clerk, 1-CSK (a swell guy) and the supply officer a Mister Greene, used to be an SK- then one SK1c (me), two SK2c, Three SK3c and two strikers. Don't know where they will put me for sure but looks like I'll have charge of Disbursing, I hope.
     Well Mary, enough of all this prattle-hope you can make some sort of sense of it out As you see I am the worlds worst writer. How about my pal, Moher, is he still there, the old land lubber. If he is say "hello" please. Hope the boys in the NRB are treating you okay- if not let me know.
     Any way here is the best possible wishes for you in the New Year and do let me hear from you.
                                       An old pal——-Henri

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