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.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Letter #63 from Wilbur C Garner 29 January 1945

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

Mary W. Garner, SK2c
Supply Department
U.S. Naval Air Station
Minneapolis, Minnesota

"Somewhere in Germany"
29 January, 1945

Dear Sis,

Howdy pardner! How are things out there in the Mid-West? I guess you are still studying for those exams. How are you making out with them?
I am very anxious to know how Jane is. I haven't heard from home for sometime now. The last letter I had was dated 30th December.
I have been getting Gwen’s letters lately, I got one from Gwen today dated 19th of January 45. That is rather good. Gwen was still feeling fine and anxiously looking forward to 8th Feb. She surely has been fortunate the way that she has felt, I think. 

Well we have had lots more snow since I last you. It seems like it snows almost every day. it has been plenty cold here too. I think I lost about 3 hours sleep last night trying to get warm it has stayed down 10-18 degrees for sometime. Yesterday I received the package of nuts you sent me. They are nice containers they use for packing them. I'll find something to keep in them. Thanks a lot.

Have you heard form Souil & Harriet lately? I haven't had a letter from them for sometime. I received a package from Souil the other day. The first since I came into the service. Boy I was shocked too! You could have knocked me over with a feather. It's about time those rich bitches started spending some money. I don't think I'll ever understand those two. I don't know how you feel but those are my sentiments. Of course, if they knew any of us actually needed some cash, I know they'd loan it to us. As far as I'm concerned, happiness means more to me than money. Say, what am I doing? You'd think I was preaching a sermon or something.

Well Mary, there's darn little to talk about so I'll have to wait until I get a letter from you. 

Loads of Love from
Gwen & myself
P.S. I think I thanked you for Gwen's slips once before, but in case I didn't thanks a lot.

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