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.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Letter to Pfc. Souil W. Garner Ft. Myers, Fla. April 23, 1944

This letter is to Souil William Garner from Souil's Dad, Souil Wade Garner....

S. Wade Garner
2425 Calverton Hgts. Ave
Balto. Md.
Balto. Apr. 23 -1944


Sunny boy. So you thought that you would put one of those balls right over the home plate and score a home run didn't you? Sending me a personal letter was too much a challenge for my (eat-a-cat), so I thought I had better arm myself with a scribbler and proceed to regain my status quo er it be too late. Dukie I appreciate you taking your time to write me such a lovely letter. I don't feel as though I deserve it, but I would have to tell you the same things as mother does, as we are only one source of information, where we used to have so many "bureaus of information" to draw from. It is now 9:15 pm Sunday and the close of another very cold rainy April day, that almost seems like fall. 
Michael called up about 6 o'clock to inquire about me - your old Dad is having a battle of the "Molars" I had six more teeth out Friday night and am not feeling just as fit as a fiddle. My face is very swollen, have been lying around with cold compresses, on it most of the time, Harriet was here when I came home from the dentist Friday night and was kind enough to go up the street and borrow some ice cubes - (I guess mother told you our refrigerator unit went up, or I think was broken in moving and we will not be able to get it for about 2  weeks) for me. The Doctor says all my teeth must come out, xray showed them to be in very bad condition, all six Friday night were absessed and I have to go again on Wednesday night. Things seem to have gone in reverse since we moved, but "By gosh" - we'll come up again or know the reason why. You know a postage stamp is not worth a darn if it don't stick to its job, and you know me, you might throw me, but I'm coming back if there is any way to do it, and if I don't see a way, I even might be like the colored boy who said he would knock the knots off the other boys head, and the boy said he did not have any knots on his head, so the other boy, again said, he would put some knots on his head and then knock them off. Don't think too much about this Mother and I are about settled in our new home and are very happy and thankful. 
I have met Dr. Horn, he called here twice already and we have been attending church service and Wednesday night meetings and feel perfectly at home and like Mrs. Horn very much, a little dramatic, but I think sincere, and brings very helpful messages. A number of the folks seem surprised when they discover me to be your Dad. So many seem interested in you and inquire about you. Well, we hope this whole affair will soon be over, it looks like things might be heading toward a climax - we hate to hear and read about it, but as long as it must come - the sooner the better. Bernard + Jane did not come today, but are coming on Tuesday for supper, said he had a letter from Will, which was written about two weeks ago - he was OK and seemed in good spirits. Well here's hoping for the best, hope you are well and getting along OK. We're are looking forward to seeing you before many more weeks pass. Will close for this time, with love from Mother and I.

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