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.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Letter #9 from Henri Romieux March 7, 1944

H. Romieux, SK1c
NSD, Bar B-1
Oakland, Calif
John Land Detail

March 7 1944
San Francisco

Mary Garner, SK3c USNR
c/0 Naval Air Station
Minneapolis, Minnesota
c/o Disbursing Office

Dear Mary,

Thanks a load for your letter I received last week. Sure is nice of you to write and give me all the news. Hope you are having a better time now with your work at NAS. Don't let it get the best of you-it just isn't worth it. As far as me here, since I put your friend Campbell in his place- he has been going out of his way to be nice to me. Sure can't understand him-nor can anyone else. 

My ship goes under commission and I go aboard a week from tomorrow. Expect to stay here loading provisions etc. for about a week then shove off for San Diego in a few days and maybe somewhere we will practice loading troops. Then out to do something-Thank God. Our ship has been changed from AP to APA-which means Amphibious operations with the task force. Really sounds as if I'll be seeing some interesting duty soon. We are ordering all warm weather gear. I know we will go South Pacific way. Just where I wanted to go too. 

The weather here the past few days has been perfect-warm and sunny. Feels like a real treat for a change. Hope you are not shivering too much up there in sub-zero. 
How is my friend Edwards doing these days-say hello to her. The old man is throwing a pre-comissioning party for the entire crew next Monday. He has invited female Marines for us-sounds good-will let you know all about it later. 
Drop me a line again soon please, Love from your old "ship-mate"


How is what your fortune teller forecast for you coming along?

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