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, December 27, 2015

Letters to Mr. & Mrs. Souil.W. Garner November 8, 1942

After more than a year of finishing the epistolary story "Dear Mary: Letters From the War" a few more letters from WWII, 14 to be exact, have surfaced that were in my sisters possession. She gave them to me some time ago to add into this blog but I just have not had the time to sit down and focus on the project until now.  These letters were addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Souil W. Garner, Bill's (who was also known as Will) brother, Souil and his wife Harriet. Unfortunately they will not fall chronologically, instead will be added over the next week or so. This first letter, being entered today, December 27, 2015; post the epilogue entry.
The letters to Souil and Harriet may not make too much sense as they are out of the story line, so if you care to fit them into the story line, see the Blog Archive at the bottom of the blog page to chronologically insert them into the story line.
So, to refresh memory Pvt. Wilbur C. Garner (Bill or Will) was our dad who had married Betty shortly before he was drafted into service for WWII.
These letters were written by himself and a few from his then wife Betty Garner to Souil and Harriet and reflect his time in service from Nov 8, 1942 til May 1, 1944.

This first letter to Mr & Mrs. S. W. Garner was dated November 8, 1942, Waco, Texas from then Pvt. Wilbur C. Garner 802nd Tank Destroyer Btn. at the young age of 22.

Sunday November 8, 1942

Dear Souil + Harriet,
Well I got out again this week but there is not much chance next week. It is really hot down here today. Well Old Boy I never thought I see the time when I'd be glad to get back into those tents until Friday night. We had to pack up everything we own and be ready to move out in the shortest possible time. We pulled out about 7:30 p.m. No one but the officers in charge knew where we were going. About 10:00p.m. we pulled into a field. We thought we were stuck. It was just lucky that we went back to camp. We got back about 1:30 AM only to get up at 6:00AM. I don't think there were many of us that got to bed before 2:30AM as we were all assigned to different tents. Those tents looked good though. I called Betty today. It only took me about 30 minutes to make all connections which was pretty good. How is everything back home? Please don't feel badly if you don't get a reply to your letters promptly because I really don't get much time during the week. I will write you when I can though. Well I'll be seeing you.
                                                                                                                                        Love Will

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