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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Letter to Pvt. Souil W. Garner U.S. Army November 6, 1943 Baltimore Maryland

This letter is from Phoebe Emma Garner (Souil and Bill's Mother)  to Souil after he was drafted into the Army and sent to finance school at Fort Benjamin Harrison,  Indiana..........
Mrs. S. W. Garner
6000 York Rd.
Baltimore Md - 

Nov. 6-43

My Dear Souil,

I received your letter on Wednesday, was surely glad to get it. Harriet called the night before, + told us of her change in plans; she sure did feel badly about it. We certainly do sympathize,  I told her to come anyway, + stay a couple weeks, but she didn't think that would be practicial, + I suppose she knows best. Well, Dear Boy, we surely will be thinking of you this weekend especially. I don't often stop my work on Saturday morning to write a letter, but I can't get you out of my mind this morning, for even a few minutes, so thought I would stop + write to you. I had a letter from Wilbur this morning telling  me, his unit is slated to be the next one out of there for overseas, when the maneuvers are over. It seems terrible for this war to drag on + on as it is. There must surely be some good reason the Good Lord has for allowing it, + who am I to question? I know you must be digging into that course you are taking. I hope it will be of use to you when things are settled once more, + this night mare is over. Souil Mr. C says just about the same as that Officer told you; he thinks you have gotten a wonderful break, so lets hope any way. There does not seem to be much left in this life anyway-but hope,  so lets hold on tight to our hopes + faith which is only a confirmation of our hope. Hope says I expect so + so, + faith says, I know in the Lords own good time he will bring some special thing to pass, because he has promised that, "No good thing will be withheld from those that love him." So lets not lose heart. Well, here's the Old Lady preaching again. Souil Mr. & Mrs. C are very much worried about Jim. Patty's sister has a boy friend, who is a sailor; his boat docked over a week ago in Boston + he went home, to Plattsburg, on furlough. He was surprised on arrival, that Jim was not home, for he says Jim's boat, The Spencer, was in Boston dry docks laid up for repairs. He told Patty + she has waited almost a week , after that for some word, and then wrote to Christman's. He had written Patty a few weeks ago and told her he had lost his hearing entirely from concussion of big guns, (he is in charge of a gun crew.) The Dr's think one ear drum is burst, but that the other will respond to treatment. Since that she has not heard a word. Mr. C thinks it must be a mistake, + that the boat couldn't be in, but Mrs. C thinks it is in, + Jim is hurt more seriously than his letter said + he is in a hospital + won't let them know. Well they are really worried. So I have spent a lot of time trying to keep her talking, so she won't have time to sit and think much this week.  See, I always have an alibi, when I don't write often, when the reason really is I get lazy, once in a while. Now Souil I guess I shall have to bring this to an end. We are both well, + getting along all right. I laughed at your reference to Dad's pay,  (the mistakes) for he came home the last pay day, with nearly six dollars more than he should have had + they don't seem to be able to figure it out. Well, if they want it that way, I hope it won't be six less. Now Lots of love from us both, to the very best boy in the world, none excepted.
Yours Lovingly

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