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 5, 2014

Letter # 7 from Henri Romieux February 13, 1944

H. Romieux SK1c, USNR
Navy Supply Depot
Barracks A-1 Oakland

Sunday Feb.13, 1944

Dear Mary,
Thanks a lot for your most welcome letter. Too bad you could not get your transfer if your heart was set on it- but then Mpls. is not such a bad place to be stationed- could be a lot worse you know. Was surprised to hear of Riverners getting his orders. Wonder where he was sent? Yes I just can see Hammon fretting now that he will be transferred soon. Well between you and me- My sentiments are if a person don't want to go to sea- why in hell did they enlist in the Navy and I have not too much use for them.
I have just about told Dick this too- when I was there. Those people make me sick. ( well enough of this- but it just makes me see red I guess.)
Thanks for the dope on Campbell- well he made chief the other day and I had him sized up just about right. So far tho- we get along okay- but we won't if he tries anything- as I'm not a person that will take it and I have already told him so. To hear him talk- he knows how to do everything-okay by me-but he will also take all the blame if things are done wrong-I'll see to that & he knows it.
Last nite I did a little howling- made a few bars- one of them you really should see- if you were here- I would take you there and you could drink cokes. Its called the "Top of the Mark" way up on the top floor (deck) of the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Glass all around and a circular bar- one gets a beautiful view of Frisco and all the bay area from there- really a site! and good liquor too.
The weather is nice and brite but nites are awful cold and raw- much different than Minnesota. I hear you are really in the grips of old man winter up there now. How do you like it? Well Mary I hope your not being over worked and that Max is taking good care of your reservations.
Please excuse this scrambled letter- but there is so much noise here in the barracks tonight I can't even think right.
Drop me a line again soon please- 

Your pal Henri

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