Letter from Ford Killen



Letter from Ford Killen


Comments on current weather and reminisces over time in England. Writes about his literary work which is based on her. Outlines plot and writes about music. Continues with more reminisces. Mentions speaking to army recruiting officer and speculates on joining up. Writes that he wished she could be there, and they be together.




Temporal Coverage



Five-page handwritten letter


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Sunday March 3 – ‘46

453 W. Water St.
Elmira, N.Y.

My own darling!

It’s a beautiful day here – the sun is nice, and the day warm – I wonder how it is back in the country I learned to love? How could I but love it when it was there that I met you? Sometimes I get so hungry for those good old days – but always I’ll have those wonderful memories to last me until
Spring or Winter comes and with it – YOU. I don’t know when you’re coming, but before you start I’ll know it. Let me add, before I ramble on & on, that I love you, love you, love you. With all this Irish heart of mine I love you darling, & it’s not blarney either.

I feel happy – elated – is the word today because I turned in a story yesterday to my editor that he liked so well, he gave me a by-line. The first one I’ve had since I’ve been of the staff of the Star-Gazette and the Sunday Telegram! And what do you think the story was? It could have been our love story so close to our lives did it parrallel. [sic] Maybe I wrote you about the British brides who just came over? I interviewed one & wrote a story which I thought was no better than any I have written. But the City editor thought it pretty good and sent me out with the photographer to get some pictures to run with the story. When I pick up the paper & see my name on it, as its author, you could have floored me.

It's the story of a little Yorkshire – YORKSHIRE – girl from a place called Moorend – perhaps you’ve heard of it, being a Yorkshire-ite yourself, who was in the ATS

([deleted] over [/deleted])

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near Peterboro

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at a base near Peterboro who met & fell in love with an American flier on a base just 5 miles away. I was at Huntingdon, just 15 miles from Peterboro & you couldn’t live too far from where she did. She is tiny – like you – do they make all the girls small in Yorkshire? And her accent – and I told her about you, so you see, when you come over it won’t be as though you are completely separated from your friends and all, because she wants to meet you the minute you arrive.

I’m going to send you – via air mail – the paper with this story in it, and show you what a reporter’s life is like. He meets so many interesting people – and gets invited to so many dinners – all kinds of affairs. I was invited to the Y[underlined]W][/underlined]CA’s 32 annual dinner at the Mark Twain Hotel (I told you Mark T. was buried here didn’t I? So everything’s named after him) – 250 women & just about 3 men. Was I surprised when I found I was placed at a very prominent table with a lot of “ditto” people, and a large card was on the table with big lettering MR. (mind you) FORD KILLEN. But I got a $1.50 dinner (7/6) free, and heard a good orator. She really was good – a colored [sic] woman speaking on racial problems – she’s a member of the World’s Council of Y.W.C.A.’s

Darling, I found “The White Cliffs of Dover” – finally, in an album by Lynn Fontaine – who played last year in “O Mistress Mine” in London. I bought it, now I have to worry about getting it packed so the 3 (6 sides) 12 inch records wont break in transit. I’ve also got that picture I was telling you about. So many things but I’ve got to be careful how I pack them. But I’ll get both (I hope) on their respective ways this week. I’m still looking for that letter, and the picture of you so I can have the engagement announcement put in the paper. I’ll send you several copies when they are published. I’m definitely not the society editor, but I’ll write the engagement myself and give you a great build-up. Okay?

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Yesterday I received a regular mail letter from you – of Feb 2; took it just one month to reach here. What awful service the liners must give!

Darling, you asked me did I remember the Buckinghamshire Arms and the time I told Renee off? and the tree-lined road leading to the base and the boughs that formed a perfect arch over the road – and the time our whole base was restricted, (What a son-of-a-gun was old Col. Scott!) and you & I were bicycling down the road to the aforementioned “Arms” and ran right into the old Col. himself? But he didn’t stop – thank God, or I’d probably be serving time yet. And millions of other little memories – of the little things we did – like you waiting for me out at the Fort that cold afternoon & good old “Big Noise” said he’d do the work, so I went on with you. And the 17 mile bicycle ride to Norwich, and the ride back with the rhonden [sic] – (flowers – I can’t spell it) blooming all along the roadside; and that (or those) rendezvous we were to have kept in London, but never got to because of conflicting pass schedules –

I was talking to the Army Recruiting Officer - & he says a former service-man, when joining the Army can pick almost any country he wants to go to. If you can’t get to America, I’ve about decided to throw career & everything else aside & rejoin the Army & come back to England. There is supposed to be a pay boost (the lowest is $50 a month now- for Pvts. – and the proposed increase would bring it up to $100 for the lowest – or £25, plus clothes, meals, etc. which wouldn’t be bad. Wish I could clear that a month now, but meals cost so much. I spend about $2 (10s) a day for food alone – then there’s clothes, & room rent, & laundry - & a million and one other things that must be bought. This is just an idea – you know – like if the Mt. can’t come to Mohammed – Mr. M. will have to go to the Mt.

Darling, this is a day for Singing. Laughter &

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joy – only one thing could make it complete – for you to be here. Right in the middle of winter, too. I’d like to go bicycling again. You know I haven’t been bike-riding since I returned from England last July. Doesn’t seem possible that I’ve been back in the U.S. for almost a year – 8 months to be exact.

Darling, I haven’t heard from you since I wrote the letter telling you I was going to move – I’ve heard, but they were all letters written before that. Now I’m anxiously waiting for that day to come when I’ll know what you are going to do. If you come now, the going may be pretty rough at first; I can’t say exactly which is best. It keeps you in a state of confusion. I shouldn’t be thinking of [missing words] terribly much that each day we’re separated seems like an eternity. I’ve got to look around for a house to buy. They’re scarce, too.

Whatever your decision I’ll stand by it, though. Maybe these next months will fly by like the last 8 months – I hope!

Darling, I’ve got to write Mother, and several old buddies – wartime buddies – and my niece & Aunt Cat. So for now I’ll leave you at peace. Remember I love you, my darling, with all my heart – and more.

Until I hear from you (& better still, see you) I’ll be saying

Yours, forever & ever,
[underlined] “Heathcliff” [/underlined]



F Killen, “Letter from Ford Killen,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 20, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/39861.

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