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, February 23, 2014

Letter #58 from Wilbur C Garner to Souil Wade and Phoebe Emma Garner

This letter, while not to Mary, was saved through the years and ended up in the bundle of letters Mary saved. So it is included in the thread of "Letters from the War." When Mary and Bills parents Souil Wade Garner and Phoebe Emma Biggs Garner, passed away, Mary and Bill dissolved their household and quite possibly retrieved this letter that Bill's parents had saved, so it is included here in the time line of letters.

S/Sgt Wilbur C. Garner, 33377578
G-1 Section, Hq XIX Corps
APO 270, c/o Postmaster, N.Y.

Mr. & Mrs. S. Wade Garner
2425 Calverton Heights Avenue
Baltimore, 16, Maryland

"Somewhere in Germany"
9 January 1945


Dear Mother & Dad

Good evening. How are you all tonight? I received two letters from you today. One dated 19th & 22nd of December. I certainly am glad that Bernard has gotten OK once more.
Is Jane’s Mother still pampering her so much? That is not at all good. It wouldn't have hurt Jane to come down with you and Dad where he could be looked after. That boy must give her,her own way in everything and take all orders from her. They ought to just go live with the Durdings’ and save a little bit. 

I haven't received the baby things you have sent me but I'll thank you anyhow. Also thanks for the After Shave Lotion. Boy that must have been some big bottle at that price. Thanks anyhow.

Incidentally, I have a Parker pen with some of my things. It was Betty's. I don't know where it is since you moved but it used to be in the chest of drawers that was in Marys room. Would you put it in a small package and register it Air Mail. That way it won't take so long. Be sure it is packed as small as possible. I dropped my other pen on the floor and bent the point like a corkscrew.

So Kenneth Cromwell is married now. Man! Anything can happen these days. Whats next?
Well you say it has been cold over there. It has been plenty cold over here also. It's done nothing but snow here for the last 4 or 5 days now. In some places there are drifts 3 ft. deep. It was about 8-9 inches on the level, I think.

I used to like the snow and sledding that came with winter but it has an entirely different meaning over here now. Well, maybe it won't last too much longer. Here's hoping anyhow.
Say, you know the wedding picture with the soldier on one end and the A.T.S. girl on the other, Well those two were married shortly after that picture was taken. Also there is a girl across the street from Gwen who is married to an American soldier. 

I understand there were 14,000 that were married while in England. That really cuts the nose off of some American girls. I don't think they like it either.
I'm glad your eye is OK again. You should have had it taken off long ago. I'm glad you had my letter transferred to Harlem Park Church, since Mary also went there. Incidentally Gwen is going to join the Methodist Church when she gets over there. She used to belong to a Methodist, but changed to Anglican or Church of England, so she could get into the WREN'S. Gwen asked me what Church I'd like the baby christened in. She thought I would like it christened in a Methodist Church. She said she would like it christened Methodist. I suggested waiting until she gets to the States and the take it to Harlem Park. Its OK to wait 7 or 8 months to have it christened, isn't it? What do you think?

Well, I guess I'll close for now and hope to hear from you again soon.
Loads of Love from, 

Gwen & myself,

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