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, January 3, 2016

Letter to Mrs. Souil W. Garner (Harriet) Baltimore, Md April 18, 1944

This letter to Harriet (Mrs. Souil W. Garner) is from Bill while stationed in England.....
S/Sgt Wilbur C. Garner, 33377578
G-1 Section, Hq XIX Corps
APO 270, c/o Postmaster, N.Y.
17 April 1944

Dear Mike, (Harriet's nickname)

I received your letter of the 5th last Thursday which was very good time. Seven days to be exact. I also received one from Souil, Jane and Bernard, and two from Mother. I'd say that is a very good haul. I surely was sorry to hear about you having Scarlet Fever, but I really had to laugh and then to think that Ann King was quarantined with you. Boy what a climax! ! ! 

So you are assuming that just because I visited a town, the name of which I can mention no more, you seem to think there is a girl mixed up in it. Well you are right there is and was. She is a WREN (same as our WAVES) that I met at a Red Cross dance one Friday evening about two months ago. I think you can see some pictures of her that she gave me to send to Mother. She is 21 years of age, about 5 ft 7 in, weighs 135 lbs and has sorta blonde hair, not an outstanding blonde but much lighter than Mary's hair. She is a VERY NICE girl and I'm not kidding.

I guess I have had as much to do as you have had so little. I've been working about three evenings out of the week until 10:30 and 11:00 PM. Well the only thing I can say is that it surely helps the time to pass by quickly. It really has flown too. It is hard to realize that in about two more weeks that one-fourth of '44 has passed.

Thanks for Jessie's address. I have wanted to write to them for sometime. I received a very nice card from them but have never written sue to the fact that I lost the address. 

Well I hope you are OK again by the time this letter reaches you.
Beeeeee Gooooood and don't work tooooooooo hard. 
Lots of love and here's hoping we'll all be home again soon,

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