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. Souil Garner February 18, 1943 DeRidder, Louisiana

Wednesday,  February 17

Dear Souil,

Gee, thanks a million for the $40.00. It was so nice of you to think of us. The money certainly will come in handy. We had to wire home and borrow some money because we found ourselves running short. Bill misses a pay because he will be home on his furlough. We expect to arrive home Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning. I have decided to come back with Bill. Hope we can arrange to see you while we're home. As far as we know we will be out York Road on Friday evening, Sunday afternoon and evening and maybe Monday for lunch. We will have to leave to come back the following Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning. Seems like we will spend most of our time traveling but it is still worth it. You have no idea how good it will be to get home again. I am glad Mary finally got into the "Waves." I believe she was really anxious to go.
She has more courage than I would have. My brother Bill is in New Guinea now and has just received his Christmas package and cards. He is going to send a complete native outfit home. We are both so excited and anxious about coming home, thats all we even talk about anymore. I have been busy getting our clothes cleaned and laundered all week. We have just about every minute planned. You'll never know how much we appreciate the money, but you shouldn't have done it. You know you don't realize anyone is thinking about you until something like this happens. It will be so good to see you again. let me say thank you again, you are really swell to think of us.
Lots of love,

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