Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen



Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen


Writes of snow, cold and his workplace. Tells of his recent visit home by train. Reports on his return to work and state of his paper. Writes of his recent activities and arguing about her. Goes on to discuss his financial issues. Continues with more gossip and news.




Temporal Coverage



Two page typewritten letter


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Mitchel Field. N. Y.
February 21, 1947

My darling Cathie:

I wrote you a short note last night, which I sent airmail: this morning, while I thaw out, I’ll try to write the long overdue letter I promised. When I saw [sic] thaw out, I mean just that. The snow that began yesterday afternoon continued all through the night and well into today. It isn’t expected to clear up until this afternoon. Already snow is 18 inches deep, and drifts are up to six feet.

My office is like a refrigerator; the radiators refuse to give out more than a couple of calories of heat. So I’ve wrapped up in a couple of sweaters (pullovers you call them) a heavy shirt and my battle jacket. I waded in snow which was above my knees, and my feet and legs are freezing. A couple of days ago we took ‘flu’ shots, which may help to ward off any colds or influenza … Seems the authorities were afraid of an epidemic. We wondered why they waited until winter was almost gone before giving them to us; now I can see that they weren’t too foolish after all.

Let me begin at the beginning …. When I went home, I had a fairly nice time; except that it rained nearly every day, and the trains were packed to the hilt …. I traveled [sic] nearly 2,500 miles -- it took me three days and three nights. The food on the trains was lousy; service was poor; and the ride tedious. One day the trains would have no heat; the next day, to make up for the lost heat, they would be too hot, so you see the poor passengers were alternately frigid and sweltering. My mother sweated out my arrival, because we have to go through mountains, over rivers, tunnels, under rivers, and through every sort of terrain found in America. And a lot of accidents have been occurring of late -- especially on the mountains. One train wrecked in Pennsylvania just a few days ago, killing 25 and injuring more than 100. And I could have flown home, except that I’m almost afraid to set foot in an airplane now that they have been crashing all over the world. Cathie, I wonder if an unusual amount of aircraft is cracking up, or if the newspapers are just sensationalizing the news. But when famous persons like Grace Moore and the Swedish prince are killed in crashes, the world can’t help but become leery of riding in the great ‘tin eagles.’

I came back, found the paper in a rather unsteady position; since then I’ve been working night and day to try to save it …. to keep it from going on the rocks. Of 1,800 camp and field newspapers published in America, it is gratifying to learn (and I did yesterday) that my publication is in the top 30. Just where it ranks in these 30 papers, I don’t know, but I will learn soon ….. if it’s first ….. because the winner of the best paper award will be notified. If I could only take that place (among 1800) it would be award enough for the time and effort I’ve put in trying to make it a readable paper. Considering we have but two men on the staff now. I’m sending the last copies to you. And to your mother.

Did I have a time last night! Do you have any idea what I was doing? I was arguing, about you! I was belligerent with a couple of WACs, who were trying to dissuade me from continuing my love for you. The told me everything bad about every foreign girl who had come to America, or who wanted to come to America. I insisted that YOU were the exception -- that I would make them eat their words. They didn’t know it, but the more they advised me, the greater became my determination. Perhaps it is because both are over 30, and still unmarried, ……….. and they

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2 ….

tell me that there are 20 (slightly exxagerated [sic]) women in America to every man and that I would do better to find an American wife ….. pooey! Shall we show them?

There are a lot of things I want to talk to you about ….. and the greatest is my inability to save money. I try …. and intend to save it, but there is no one to advise me, and once I get my hands on it, I never rest until I spend it. With all the benefits we get, it is estimated that my income is more than $3000 a year. I have $10,000 life insurance which costs me only $6.50 a month and my laundry expense is only $2 a month, so I SHOULD save something. Actual cash that I draw a year is $1440. I can’t understand it so I won’t try.

are Still freezing ….. not much doing ….. half the civilian personnel who [deleted] is [/deleted] employed here, have been unable to report to work today. Probably the worst storm in Long Island this year ….

If I can make it to the personal affairs officers’ office, I’ll have him make out the affidavit today. Will be able to make it if it quits this infernal snowing. I also have to go to the dentist this afternoon. I’ve got about 8 hours in; will have at least 20 more before he finally has completed the agonizing process.

Yes, [deleted] [indecipherable word] [/deleted] dear, I’m glad you gave the chocolate to the little tyke. It shows where your heart is. I hope that you are able to have some of the other commodities that I sent in the boxes. Find out what condition it was in when it arrived, so that I’ll know how to pack the next. I want to send some more; I’m going to call the post office now and find out what the regulations are …. how many pounds I will be able to send.

Darling, it is just too cold to continue. I shouldn’t be complaining though when I think of the coal situation over there. Aren’t they ever going to get things settled?

Write me often. And if you get the chance send me a few Sunday editions of the Daily Express. It and the Mail were my favorite [sic] newspapers -- so different in policy. For now I’ll sign off, hoping to hear from you very soon and hoping to have your little form in the mail immediately so that I will be able to see you sooner. I’m glad that you are getting along okay at the Academy. I know that you are a winner and that you will be top of your class. I haven’t seen any plays in New York lately although a lot of new ones have opened. My buddy [deleted] [indecipherable word] [/deleted] finally got tickets to see Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Lorraine ….. but for the last week in May. He bought the tickets in January. That is a smash hit if ever there was one. Saw a couple of good pictures. This one I am recommending for you ….. I saw it twice, and it is without doubt one of the finest -- if not the finest -- ever made. James Stewart in “It’s A Wonderful Life.” “The Jolson Story” was okay too. Nice music. I can’t remember Al Jolson, but if he was as good in the 20’s as he is now, I definitely have missed something.

Give your parents my regards. I will be able to write to your mother shortly ……. So for now all my love ……… as ever

Yours alone




F Killen, “Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 25, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/39674.

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