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.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Letter to Mr. and Mrs. Souil W. Garner April 15, 1943 Louisville, Kentucky

Mrs. W. C. Garner 
1129 S. Third St. 
Louisville, Ky.
April 15, 1943

Dear Harriet and Souil,
Thought I'd better answer your nice letter because I don't know when Bill will get a chance to write. He is finished half of his classes with an average of 90. He is also looking very well. Very much surprised to hear that Harriet has gone back to work. At least she has swell working hours. Bill and I like the idea of Bernard and Jane being engaged, but are willing to bet that they don't wait any year before they get married. We have the funniest weather down here we have had hot weather cold weather, sleet, snow, and plenty of rain. We are having a grand time sight seeing and taking pictures. The races have started. I think the Derby is to be run May 10th. There is a circus in town an several beautiful parks. Louisville is the best place I have been in yet, but of course there is no place like home!!! This is Bill's afternoon off so he is taking a snooze. Last Sunday we walked 11/2 miles out to the University of Louisville. The grounds and buildings are beautiful. All the trees and shrubs were in bloom. I get about three hours walking in each day. We can use the streetcars but it's nicer walking and healthier. There are quite a few large movies in town. The last picture we saw was "Keeper of The Flame" which we enjoyed very much. Louisville reminds me of New York on a very small scale.
It is hard to realize that this Sunday is Palm Sunday. The winter has gone so fast. Before we know it, summer will be here.
I guess you have read or heard about the letters we sent to York Road so I wont repeat all that stuff. It was swell hearing from you. There doesn't seem to be any news so I'll close for now. Bill and I both send our love.
As ever,

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