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.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Letter #64 from Wilbur C Garner 31 January 1945

Field artillery at Merkstein, Germany
  by Henry Jay MacMillan

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, 6, Minnesota

"Somewhere in Germany"
31st January 1945

Dear Sis,

I received three letters from you tonight. One dated 30th Dec, one dated 4th of Jan, and one undated. These are the first I've had from you for about 2 weeks. I'm sorry to hear that you caught a cold going to Baltimore and still another returning to Minneapolis. Of course, I know it was worth the trip. I surely wish I could have gotten home for a couple days. 

You know, as a G-2, which is intelligence, you couldn't pour water out of my boot. I wouldn't even let you shine them. You would probably make friends with the damn Jerries rather than trying to find your friends. You asked me if I was with 1st or 3rd. That is plain stupidity. There's only one in Holland and it ain't them.

I'm glad dad is getting that affidavit made for me. I don't need all those things that you had done. Especially the letter you are getting from the insurance company. You see after I get Dad's statement I make one merely to show that I have an income and am capable of supporting her. You don't have to show a fortune. Thanks a lot for your efforts, though.

I'm glad to hear Mothers eye is much better now. It's too bad dad has had so much trouble with his teeth. I hope those plates get more comfortable after he wears them a little. 

I have not heard from Gwen since 20th of January but she was feeling fine then and I feel certain she will not have any trouble at all.
Well, Sis, I guess I'll close for tonight and hope I hear from you again soon. Take care of yourself and don't work to hard.

Loads of Love from
Gwen & Myself

P.S. Got any nuts chum? Boy that last batch I got was really good. Those were in those round containers.

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