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, March 16, 2014

Letter #78 from East Coast Processing Center 6 April 1945

Joe was once again in Dutch!!

Service Command Unit No. 1114
Camp Edwards, Massachusetts

6 April 1945

Mary W. Garner, SK1c, USNR
Supply Depot, U.S. Naval Air Station,
Minneapolis, 6, Minnesota

Dear Miss Garner:

Your letter dated the 31st of March 1945 is acknowledged.
Your brother is presently in confinement at this center because of his recent absence without official leave. He was examined by competent medical officers and was found unfit for further military service. He will be discharged from service in the very near future.
For additional information we suggest you write him at the following address:
Pvt. Joseph R. Garner
20 343 522
Camp Edwards, Mass.

Very truly yours,

Charles Johnson
Asst Adjutant

1 comment:

  1. I had a similar experience when I received a small box in the mail from one of my Aunts As I started reading I realized it is the diary my grandfather kept for the three years my father was in the Marine Corps during WW II, including when he was wounded at Iwo Jima. It gave me insights about my grandfather's thoughts, fears, and joys. My grandfather was a quiet man, I wish I would have read the diary while he and my father were living. I am collecting family and news photographs to illustrate the diary entries. David