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, December 28, 2015

Letter to Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Garner February 2, 1943 DeRidder, Louisiana

Tuesday, Feb. 2

Dear Harriet + Souil,
I am so glad to hear that you are out and around again. We have found a swell place to live just around the corner from where Bill gets the bus for camp. This is a nice clean place~ all modern furniture and Mr. and Mrs. Terry are lovely people. I fix my own breakfast and lunch here which saves us quite a bit of money. I can use her icebox etc. She furnishes us with plenty of fresh linens and towels. Today Bill and I have been married 1 1/2 years and it is my 21st birthday so I guess we'll celebrate by going up the drug store and get a couple of sundae's. The weather has been beautiful lately. Bill thinks maybe he can get a furlough sometime in March. Gosh, it will be swell to get home for a few days. I almost forgot to mention that I do my own washing and ironing too. Mrs. Terry teaches school and I have the whole place to myself all day. We worked out a budget. I hope we can stick to it. The boys at camp send me their fruit Saturday. Bill walked in with 8 apples and 8 oranges. Last night he brought me more. All the fellows and officers seem to like Bill very much. I think right much of him myself. Well, Harriet, take care of yourself and try to keep Souil from working so hard. It was good to hear from you. Hope to hear again soon and maybe see you soon.

                                                                 Lots of love,

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