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 #8 from Henri Romieux February 22, 1944

H. Romieux, SKc1, WSNR
NSD, Bar. A-1
Oakland, Calif.

Mary W. Garner, SK3c, WSNR
W.S. Naval Air Station
Minneapolis, Minn.

February 22, 1944
San Francisco

Dear Mary,
Thanks a lot for your letter received today. Good to hear from you and get the news from old Mpls.
I can appreciate your difficulties in the office, because had a lot much the same at NTS. I think those shore stations are all alike. They get the damnedest brain storms and don't know what its all about.
Your fortune sounded real interesting - let me know if any of it comes true, especially the romance.
Well I had my first real run in with Campbell today. I have been over at Treasure Island at fire fighters school for a week and just came back to Oakland last nite-and I found out he had been picking on my men something fierce and had sent N. Striker back to T.I. saying he couldn't use him and he was not worth a damn. After me spending lots of time teaching him how to make out requisitions and enter them on the record book. Well to make a long story short I went right to LT Greene the S.O. and I won out. The Striker comes back tomorrow. Boy was Campbell burnt up.
Also found out today there is no room at the personnel barracks so I go out on subs and quarters the end of this week. Okay by me-I just as soon live in town for a couple of weeks before we shove off.
Well Mary-this is about all the news-Wish you were out here-really- and we would go as I said to some of them swell nite spots. Remember me to Edwards when you see her please. Drop me a line again soon please-I still will get my mail at the old address. Naval Supply Depot Barracks A-1 Oakland 

Bye for now and be good——-Your pal

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