Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen



Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen


Writes that he was thinking of her after re-reading letters. Comments on recent concert he attended. Continues with description of his activities. Mentions stockings he had acquired for her and that he had received a letter from her mother. Writes about an Avro York arriving to pick up toys made by convalescing America soldiers. Concludes with other news and states that he did not make a record while in hospital.




Temporal Coverage



Two-page typewritten letter


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26 July, 1948
Mitchel AFB, N.Y.

My darling Cathie:

I have just re-read your last letter, and I had to sit down and write to you again ….. I think every time I read one of your letters -- even though it be over and over again -- I fall in love with you all over again … well not exactly, but a bit more in love. So, darling the more you write, the more I love you.

I keep bringing out the bit of heather (I think it is heather …. I hope) and looking at it, and can almost feel your touch, lnowing [sic] that your hand has touched the stem. It’s almost as though I were touching you, dearest heart. And all your letters, I read over and over time after time. Way back …. those [deleted] to [/deleted] old ones. I’ve got to have you over here this year.

Darling I attended a concert in New York recently. Jose Iturbi, whom I consider the greatest pianist in the world today, conducted and soloed [indecipherable word] an all-Tschaikowsky [sic] program. He conducted the Pathetique, and then soloed AND conducted the N. Y. Philharmonic Orchestra through the Russian’s piano concerto. Remember the album I gave you with Horowitz soloing, accompanied by the NBC symphony? It wasn’t near so good as Iturbi. A mob of 20,000 screaming fans demanded 6 encores, and got them. He would be playing there til [sic] now if the fans had their way. Appropriately he ended his program with Chopin’s Polonaise. The fans [deleted] [indecipherable word] [/deleted] wouldn’t leave until they had heard this past piece. The sports editor for The Beacon bought the tickets, (for which I paid him) and I went with the staff librarian, [deleted] a [/deleted] the girl who, accompanied me on the record I made for you. She is an accomplished pianist, that is the reason I asked her, because I find that I can’t enjoy art, unless there is someone with me who enjoys art, too. But Bunny is so lifeless, lustreless … her laugh is mechanical, and her mind isn’t too broad. After the concert we went to a nice little restaurant in Manhattan, and they ate barbequed shrimp (I can’t think of anything more disgusting, as I don’t go for seafoods) and I had barbequed beefsteak. Its just a little hole in the wall, but it has atmosphere.

Darling, I have just finished reading 12 O’Clock High, the story of the first group of the 8th Air Force to begin operations in England.

[page break]

Page 2

The next night …..

I have been terribly busy, so I was unable to continue your letter; but tonight (it’s 9 p.m. now) I slipped back here, and will get it completed … I hope …. I haven’t left this base in ages … we’re working on a special Christmas edition now, to be released Monday, Dec. 23, just two days before Christmas, and its taking all my time. This besides the other issues … and they’re putting my men on KP .. Cook’s duty or something you call it … working in the mess hall …. doing all the dirty jobs the cooks find menial ….

Before me I have two pairs of nylons … size 9-1/2 …. the girl I mentioned before bought them for me in New York, and brought them out tonight. Tomorrow I’ll mail one pair airmail, and the other I’ll send regular mail … with hopes that you have at least one of them by Christmas …. they look pretty nice, although I don’t know much about them … stockings … that is …. they may be too large; if so give them to your mother and send me your correct size …. don’t forget to send me your shoe size too.

I received today, a letter from your mother … she was very nice, but naturally she was sad at the thought of giving you up. I can see her point -- but naturally!!!!!!! She explained that America seemed like a paradise, with all the rations we have .. I still say it is unjust that we should have so much while other nations are starving …. and living on wartime rations. If the embargo is lifted -- I think it is going to be -- I can send more foodstuff …. canned butter, canned shortening (cooking fat) etc. Please darling Cathie, let me know what you need most. I only wish I could transport the entire contents of several of these super stores to England and watch the housewives “go to town” sans ration coupons, and limitations ..

An Avro York landed here today to pick up 2,800 toys made by American soldiers -- convalescents -- in the Scott Field, Illinois hospital … we took pictures for associated press, and the photographers wanted the words MERRIE [sic] CHRISTMAS TO ENGLAND FROM THE USA on the box in white chalk … I printed it somewhat raggedly, but my product will be carried all over the U.S. in newspapers … I talked with the crew. They flew over from England a couple of days ago, and this was their first trip to America. Pity you couldn’t have stowed away.

I expect to get 35 days immediately I get the paper for Christmas out, and see my mother … I’ll give her your love …. she is genuinely fond of you, and my Aunt Cat adores you …. both are very simple, but very dear people. My mother is a bit old fashioned, as my grandfather was a minister of the Methodist Church, and she was brought up very strictly, but I wouldn’t love her quite so much any other way … When it seems that it has been almost a year now since I saw her, I can harly [sic] believe it.

Visited my legal officer today, am going back tomorrow and get the final details, and before the week is out I should have something definite lined up.

Darling, it seems like a dream that I am talking to you; I didn’t get to make a record while in the hospital for the simple reason that someone busted the recording machine. Now I have time for nothing …. I thought editing a small paper like this would be a snap, but when you have to do about 95 percent of the writing all the editing, and a lot of the art, it takes every minute. One, competent man could help me a lot, but I don’t have him …. woe is me ….

So, until very soon, will you please forgive me for this “short note.” Written in ink, I’m sure this would be 5 or 6 pages … Give my kindest regards to your family … Tell your mother I’ll answer immediately. And remember that I LOVE YOU AND ONLY YOU …. For now, goodnight dear heart and again …. all my love ….. for ever …. and ever …. Just …





F Killen, “Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 19, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/39682.

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