Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen



Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen


Written over a number of days. Relates the time he had at new year. Writes that he misses her but mentions a girl back home. Continues with general chat and banter. Mentions some of his activities and writes about films he had seen. Mentions upcoming furlough and meeting his brother. Concludes with note that he had sent her a Christmas package.




Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage



Four=page handwritten letter


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Jan 1 – 1945

Jolly olde England

My dear, sweet Cathie:

Greetings – a thousand greetings to you on this day – this year 1945 of our Lord, the second new year which I have celebrated in England, and I might say that this [underlined] was [/underlined] celebrated sans spirits (both those emotional & alcoholic) And I can’t say that I hope to have another here, and be truthful. Last year, at least, I was among my friends back at my old outfit, and this – I spent in the barracks with no friends. With nothing except memories & reminiscing thoughts of those days long past. Of yesteryear and the year before that.

I miss you terribly, Cathie – honest I do; if only I could see your cheerfully smiling face, and hear you say “Heathcliffe” You may think I’m handing you a line, but I’ve never missed anyone over here the way I have you. While I’m on the subject I might as well tell you everything. I told you a little about it in Norwich one day.

There is a girl back home – a little French girl who is the finest and I have known her since we were kids. My Mother knows & likes her, and I think she expects her for a daughter-in-law. Dolly (that’s her name) wants to get married next June, just as she graduates from high school at 18. She’s very optimistic in thinking that I’d be back then.

I like Dolly, a lot, but I don’t know what I really feel for her – if it’s pity or

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more than that. The kid’s had a rough time all her life as her father & mother divorced when she was quite young, and she lived first with one parent, then another, and with her grandmother part of the time. What havoc divorce wrecks upon children who are innocent. And for that single reason alone, do I want to be sure, because my kids aren’t going to suffer what Dolly did

Jan. 4.

Hello Again!

Several days have passed since I first began this epistle, but I’ll try to complete it this time. I’m Charge of Quarters at the shop, with “Bobo” Miller, the big guy who wanted to meet you that evening that I brought you down to the area (at Alstom) to give you some books. Remember he was playing cards in the hut & kept calling to “Cathie!” you finally went to the window & was introduced to him. We’re keepers of the shop for tonight, and right now I’m sitting by a nice fire on which is boiling a khaki shirt (that I’m laundering to wear on pass tomorrow, I have clean work ones, but don’t like them, and only have 3 khaki (Cotton) ones, and discovered too late, for time to take it to the tailor, so I am delving into the art of washing clothes – or clothe -, which, I assure you isn’t the first time, since I’ve been a G.I. Joe.

To get back to the atmosphere, and my environment (time out while I go for a drink of – honest – water. What wouldn’t I give for a gallon of lager right now!!!) The radio is on, a good one, and I hear soft, melodious music, direct from the States, some band playing “Always,” It has become very popular again over home since the release of the last Deanna Durbin picture “Christmas Holiday” in which she thrashed [indecipherable word] Berlin’s red stand – by of some quarter of a century ago. I can barely remember when it was first popular, but I had an Aunt who

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always sang it, and, invariably do I think of her whenever I hear it now. If you remember the words will you please send them to me? It’s probably my favorite [sic] song right now – with of course the old standby “Roll Out The Barrel”

Did I tell you I saw, in London, the life story of Chopin – in a film – American made, and it’s about the best film I’ve ever seen. Even the British film-critics, biased though they are toward American pictures, said it was the most beautiful piano music they had ever heard played on the screen. Especially the “Polonaise” – which has the most haunting melody of any music I’ve heard. And his “Minute Waltz” & “Nocturne” They rank on my hit parade with Tschaikowsky’s [sic] [indecipherable word] Liszt’s “Rhapsody #2, and other immortals. On my next leave I want to see “Wilson,” the story of our president, and his unsuccessful fight to have the U.S. join the League of Nations to help prevent any further wars after the Armistice of 1918. I was born in politics, and used the subject for many a theme during high school, winning quite a few honors [sic] for them, and now they’s [sic] nothing I love more than a political battle. My deepest ambition is to be a great political writer.

Cathie, I’m going to try to take a furlough sometime around the first of Feb., at which time I will spend some time with my brother on the West Coast, I was wondering if you could possibly get your leave at the same time, and I could spend part of the furlough with you – at your home, & maybe you could accompany me to see my brother. There’s nothing I would like better than spend part (if not the entire leave) with you. I want to meet your folks. So if you’ll write me pronto and let me know what the chances are, I’ll be grateful.

You will notice I have a different

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A.P.O. number, and a shortened name. The MC on my name has never been anything but an honorary title, which was bestowed upon me when I was going to school. We were a bunch of fresh kids, & called everyone else Mac, regardless of what his name was. Somehow mine has followed me into the Army, but I’m dropping it now for good. So in the future I’ll be known only as Killen, please. Hope it isn’t shocking to you. I’ve received other mail under the title of Mc – so it really made no difference.

I’ve sent your Christmas package, a little late, but you should be getting it soon. I received a few things from home which I enclosed. I sincerely hope they fit. They’re not as nice as I thought they would be – I just tore the tissue paper a little to see what something looked like, and you will find the paper still torn. I suppose the war HAS hit the States too.

I have some work to do, then I’ve got to pen a journal to my Mother, so for now I’ll just say, Au revoir, Cheerio, & good luck –

All my love

P.S. – Please write very soon



F Killen, “Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 15, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/39815.

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