Part of letter to Cathie from Ford Killen



Part of letter to Cathie from Ford Killen


Reports receiving letters from family and Cathie. Reminisces over time in England. Mentions his ancestry and French Napoleonic history. Continues with long rambling description of his environment and comparison of WAAF and WACS. Concludes with some comments on politics and the state of the world.




Temporal Coverage



Fourteen-page handwritten letter


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[American Red Cross crest]

Page, the FIRST

In the Service Club:

Sat. nite [sic]
Sept. 15- ‘45

My darling Cathy:

A wonderful day it was for me today – know why? I received a short note from Mother, a letter from my sister, and (2) – no less – letters from – guess who? A little Yorkshire lassie I knew, and who made my life much more pleasant, while I was in “Jolly Olde England?” – Letters numbers 2 & 3, and “foine” [sic] it was to receive them. I wish you were a wild Irish [indecipherable words], dear Cathy; then I could shoot the blarney over your way. Though I’m prouder of my French ancestry than the Irish. I hate to admit it, but I have discovered a wee bit of English blood in me. Isn’t it awful? Me, thinking all the time I was French-Irish (There goes that [underlined] song [/underlined] again) of noble French & Irish birth; I don’t know what


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weeds grew into my family tree – I never had time, or cared to investigate it, and not knowing, may be I could pretend that one of my ancestors was the great? Marie Antoinette, or even Napolean Bonaparte, and surely Jean La Fitte – probably you have never heard of one Jean, but to New Orleans’ population he is as romantic and cherished as George Washington – the father of our country. This La Fitte fellow was a reckless, bold, renegade pirate leader who attacked British, Spanish, French, & American ships all, in the early 1800’s. His lair was a small island off the coast of New Orleans where he pounced upon his unsuspecting prey as a falcon on a pidgeon, [sic] and carried his treasure off to the island where his [indecipherable word] lived with women of disreputable character. And in the war of 1812 (remember, that was the British-American second

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Page the III

conflict – a war of the seas) he enlisted his band against the British as they dared to sail up the Mississippi to attempt a seizure of our fair & glorious city. Jean, being of French heritage himself, well disapproved of seeing N.O. in “Limey” hands, so he proceeded to lick their pants off (mind you, all this was unnecessary, as peace had been signed some 14 or 18 days previously, and a sailboat was dispatching the news to America) and for himself, because of his valiant deeds, he (along with all his crewmen) was given a full pardon by his honor, [sic] the gov. of Louisianna. Still poor Jean couldn’t let well enough alone, began striking & preying again & was killed (Boo Hoo) in an engagement with the American fleet. Aren’t I just too, too historical? See Cathy, even though our nation isn’t


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Page the Fourth

yet 200 years old, we have some rather romantic & glorious history. Just think, if the English had (There goes that [underlined] damn [/underlined] song again) taken N.O. & peace hadn’t been declared, maybe I would have been a “Limey!” Oh, no! Anything, anything, but that fate. I’m kiddin’, in case you’re getting your 84 lbs of might & muscle worked up to a lather of vehemence.

[four symbols]

The heather was nice – I think it’s the first I’ve ever seen. Presently I shall forward it to my Mother. She got a kick out of all those English flowers you pressed for her, & treasures them along with the cigarette pack full of English soil I brought to her. I couldn’t bring many things as souvenirs as we were limited to a 55-lb. bag on the Liberator & my clothes weighed more than that. So many things I had collected during

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Page the 5th

my 2 years residence in England & I hated to discard them, still I was so eager & anxious to get home I would have come with nothing but my G.I. underwear on – or if necessary wrapped in my duffle-bag. [underlined] THAT [/underlined] would have been a sight!

To answer a few “queries” – as you say. No – I haven’t shaved my infamous moustache, although it provoked much comment among my relatives & immediate family – they had never seen me with it, doubted my abilities. Jealousy, I calls it.

There are NO glamorous females around here unless you would consider the half-breed Mexican waitress in our mess glamorous. Definitely I don’t. They’re black as pitch & have an awful odor [sic] – cheap perfumes, & hair pomades. Disgusting is the word I’d employ to describe them. We do have a few of those darling (OVER)

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[underlined] Page the SIXTH [/underlined]

little holier-than-thou WACS on the base; those little touch-me –nots of the air base. (THERE GOES THAT – song again.) No one – not even civilians will go with them – so they are in sort of a jam. I wonder if we haven’t been a little too biased in our regard for them. You see, they are all volunteers and most of them went in for the glamor; [sic] one last fling – not through any patriotism. They’re spoiled, pampered, & petted for the simple reason that we don’t consider it a woman’s place. Ask anyone who has seen British A.T.S. girls manning Anti-Aircraft guns, driving trucks etc., & WAAFS working all hours – getting no particular favors, [sic] to make a comparison. There [underlined] IS [/underlined] no comparison. You girls did a man’s work because you [underlined] had [/underlined] to; your very existence depended on it – it wasn’t a romantic or glamorous thing to play with; it was a serious job to put everything

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Page the SEVENTH

you had into. No American serviceman (there are a few – (very few) exceptions) has anything less than contempt for these “sister-soldiers.” We had a royal discussion re the Wacs in our barracks only last night, & I didn’t hear ONE word in their favour. One guy said she had put on a uniform, so let her carry her own bags, let her stand up on the bus or street car – if she wants to be a soldier, allow her that (full) privilege. This is my theory, too. I’d gladly give my seat to a civilian lady, but a WAC – NO!

By the above paragraph I suppose you have come to the conclusion that I don’t particularly care for these skirts in khaki – frankly I’ll take Air Force blue any time – especially ONE in Air Force blue. But I’d like better to see her in soft silks, with a gardenia in her hair & orchids at her shoulder, & slippers on her feet (if any could be found –


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Page, the 8th

“large” enough) By the way, what size do YOU wear – about 8 EEEs? Or 1 1/2 As would be more like it.

No honey, I think we’ll let Great Britain survive – remember she has knowledge of the atomic bomb too. She’s a pretty good ally. I’ll send a personal message to President Truman to spare Leeds, anyway. Will that suit you?

Lend-lease? Honey, I don’t know. They’re relaxing all rations over here – now all cheeses are point free; the only commodities still rationed are shoes & meats. All canned goods, gasoline (petrol) have been released, & they say these 2 remaining articles should be lifted by Oct. 1 – or just 2 weeks. It doesn’t seem fair that we should be enjoying so much while other countries are starving. We have never been touched (so

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Page the 9th

everyone tells me) as far as food goes – and I can see that – what with a climate where vegetables, oranges, fruits can be grown the entire year-round, & everyone canned so much that was raised at home – things you over there haven’t seen for years. I wish there was some possible way to get things to you – but if I did, you’d have to give up points, pay customs, etc. I wonder if they’ll allow me to send you a Christmas gift, perhaps of foods – canned peaches, pineapple, grapefruit. There is an abundance of such thing now; but will the customs officials allow it? I’d hate to send it and have them return it to me. My Mother has so many canned figs (she preserved them herself) that everyone is tired of them. I’d like to send you about a dozen cans. If you possibly can, find out what regulations there are in


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Page, the 10th

England governing imports. I think it’s air-tight – the regulating force, I mean. Or get in touch with some G.I. who is going to stay in England for several months and I can send it to him (of course if you supply me with his address – But [underlined] don’t get too friendly with him, understand! [/underlined]) and have aforementioned [underlined]G[/underlined]overnment [underlined]I[/underlined]ssue relay my gift on to you. Wizard, eh wot, old girl? Don’t sound [underlined] veddy [sic] [/underlined] British? [underlined] Raw-ther. [/underlined]

[five symbols] stars-supposedly

I’m still sweating out that discharge. There are so many things I want to do once I get back into civilian clothing. Travel, write, (a little work – just enough to make enough money to eat) – not the money – food, I mean.

I still have done nothing toward getting out; I should say these officials haven’t done anything. I’m getting bored with

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[missing pages]

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Page, the 13th

a sprinkling of all 3? First I’ll let you be a silly young thing of 16 (and you can emote comedy at this act – act. I) In Act II you will be a serious, beautiful lady with a flair for husbands. You’ve had 13 husbands by the time you’re 35, and everyone of them has mysteriously disappeared. Some think you have “bumped them off” and received all their insurance & fortunes. At the end of Act II Scotland yard has put his famous detective Sherlock Killen on your trail to find out if you really murdered your 13 spouses.

Act III Sherlock Killen comes under your majic [sic] spell, and promises to be the 14th husband & victim, but no! He discovers Lady Catharine has slipped a sleeping pill & mysterious drug in his “beer” – a drug that makes the Lady (over)

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Page the 14th

appear so radiant & bewitching – so that was the reason she captivated the hearts of her 13 lovers? This, he must report to Scotland Yard! They bring a corps of miners & excavate the cellar in Catharine’s home & what do they find? Thirteen corpses, each with a dagger in his back. Killed! Brutally murdered by a she-fiend! A desperate, she-devil. Catharine pulls a gun & mows down all but Sherlock Killen, and he is hit in the leg and shoulder, but he crawls forward, determined to avenge these helpless former husbands. She takes steady aim; pulls the trigger! There is a click! Empty chamber.

Sherlock didn’t know it, but Dr. “Big Noise” Watson was on his way to assist them. He peers around the door, pulls the trigger of his .45, and the bullet passes through Sherlock, and into Lady

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Page [underlined] the 15th {/underlined]

Catherine’s breast. They both fall to the floor in a mortal embrace, each one’s breath is becoming more difficult, and just before the final curtain falls, Lady Catharine is heard to whisper to the dying Sherlock.

“Ah rally did love [underlined] you [/underlined] Rally I did.”

They both die & the curtain comes down & the audience – where is the audience; what do you know – not one person stayed to see the complete performance! Even the critics had fled, and if it’ll scare them off it must be bad!

So we decide to make a movie out of it, because they’ll accept ANYTHING in the movies.

Don’t you think that is a “grand” idea for a play for you? (over)

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(16) Page [underlined] the final [/underlined]

You have comedy, drama, mystery, and finally tragedy. Never before has a play been written to embrace all that. But if you’re a versatile actress you can handle the part. If not, we’ll make a musical out of it, is that O.K.

Honey, enough of this nonsense. It’s really quite late so I must terminate this novelette. You’ll never get through with it as it is. The service club is closing in ten minutes so I’ve gotta skidoo.

Hope you’ve been receiving my letters. Keep writing & you’ll be hearing from me. Next time I’ll try to be a little more serious.

So cheerio, Au revoir
Hasta la Vista
& all my love




F Killen, “Part of letter to Cathie from Ford Killen,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 20, 2024,

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