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 #6 from Henri Romieux January 31, 1944

H. Romieux SK1c, USNR
U.S.N.S.D. Bar-A-1
Oakland, Calif.

Mary Garner, SK3c, USNR
c/o U.S. Naval Air Station
Wold-Chamberlain Field
Minneapolis, Minn
(Disbursing Office)

January 31, 1944
Dear Mary,
              Thanks a lot for the letter and all the latest developments at NAS. So Moher finally received his orders. How does he like his new station or have you heard? You know Mary the world is small at that. Remember in your letter you said a pay clerk Campbell had been transferred to the west coast well he is assigned to our ship, as a matter of fact he is to be in charge of supply and I work right with him. Can you lic that. So far he seems ok-likes to talk about himself quite a lot but seems much easier to get along with than the usual type. How was he liked out at NAS?
    Not much news here, tho we are quite busy and scheduled to go into commission Feb 14 at that I am kind of anxious to get aboard and show off. They have issued us all both hot & cold weather gear- so we are all guessing where we are bound for. If you get transferred you should ask for duty out this way- I am quite sure you would like it.
     Glad to hear you are getting on OK with GRB and thanks for saying you miss me there. Needless to say -I miss my daily chats with you all-we did have our fun at that. Say hello to Edwards for me please.
    Will have to shove off for this time and catch the train back to Oakland if I want to get any sleep tonight.
     Drop me a line soon. Will you  please Mary?


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