Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen



Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen


Aplogises for letter and says he was not well. Writes of film he had seen and describes plot. Follows rambling section on his feelings, thoughts and memories. Mentions activities and expresses his feeling for her. After break in letter describes his latest activities.




Temporal Coverage



Six-page handwritten letter


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[United States Army crest]

Sg. N. 10400 F B K
Mitchel Field,

Friday Nite –
Nov. 15 – 1946

My darling Cathie:

First I want to apologize for writing this letter before I’ve received an answer to the first one I wrote about a week ago – probably before you’ve even received it. But the night is dreadful – cold & I’m miserable – I’ve got a cold myself & feel lousy.

I just saw the picture “Temptation” based on the book Bella Donna – in which the beautiful English woman – played by Merle Oberon – finally brings about her own destruction. And Merle Oberon reminds me of you – remember her as George Sand in “A Song to Remember?” – not that G.S. reminds me of you. It’s something about Oberon which brings painful memories of you – her eyes – maybe? Mouth? Or is it her eyes – no hers are Oriental [two symbols] like that. You certainly don’t have Oriental eyes.

Darling Cathie – did you ever feel that life was not worth living? That you hadn’t the energy to go on and on and on – not knowing what to expect – nor caring – an empty, fathomless shell

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of a life – when the person you love most seems unobtainable – Oh why bother you with my troubles.

But I feel like I’d like to be a little boy again and let my Mother put her arms around me & then cry my heart out. It’s a pity men don’t cry. I hear women must have a good emotional (damp) outburst every four weeks or they’re not happy. How can a man get the burden off his chest & mind? By fighting – by drinking – by being cynical & ill with everyone. I’ve tried all these mediums – I find no more pleasure in drinking; I still am cynical to a certain degree – and fight? I’ve had my share of them. Yes, it relieves you for awhile – not for long, though.

I’ve been listening to the 3rd movement of Tschaikowsky [sic] a Concerto in B flat minor – the same recording that I gave you. If you were listening to the same record perhaps I would feel it. Once I liked the 18th Movement; now it’s the 3rd.

I went to New York last night to see Ray Bulger in [deleted] “Call me [/deleted] “3 to Make Ready” – he’s the dancing comedian of films. The scenery was lavish, but the acts were

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mediocre – lousy is a better word. Last week I saw “Call me Mister” – the hit revue of N.Y. put on by an all [inserted] ex [/inserted] serviceman cast. Scenery isn’t too hot – it’s even amateurish, but it’s been playing to a maximum of standees for the last 40 weeks & probably will continue for 2 or 3 years. Next Friday I’ll see “Annie Get Your Gun.” Ethel Merman’s new smash musical comedy – about Annie Oakley, the Western sharpshooter & Buffalo Bill. Hear that a London production will be put on by Jack Hylton with Beatrice Lillie playing “Annie.” Irving Berlin wrote the score & 3 of the tunes at at [sic] their crest in America now – “Doing what Comes Naturally,” “Falling In Love is Wonderful – So they Say,” & I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning.” Don’t know if they have become popular in England or not.


Cathie, I suppose I sound forlorn, but “dad-blame” it, I am. I was looking through some of my stuff today & ran across an old letter of yours – dated back in Jan. of this year. I read it & re-read it because it was all I had of you and it “did me good” to almost hear your breezy, perfect letter – voice – aw, what’s the use. You’re probably having such a time

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in London with the Thespian circle that you have no time for this. But I hope you love the stage as much as I do the [underlined] Fourth [/underlined] Estate. I’m beginning to think of another way a man can let of [sic] steam – through writing – if he had the heart to do it.

I’ve got to see a dentist Monday. I hope it isn’t too long before my teeth are fixed. It makes such a difference – one of those things (how many times have I done it though?) you take for granted until it’s gone, and then you don’t know what to do.

Please excuse this writing, - or scratching I should say. When I don’t feel well, I can’t write – I have to be in a mood – of late, that mood hasn’t been often –

Cathie, I can’t continue this tonight – if I go on, it will only be something to make me & probably you) miserable. I just want you to know that my heart cries out for you & my head is spinning around & around – if only I could reach out across the sea & bring you to me!

Darling, regardless of what you’re doing now, of whom you have contacted, and of how you feel, I’ll ALWAYS love you. I could never love another, nor think of marrying anyone else. It just isn’t to be done.

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I suppose it would be best to ask you not to write to me; to forget; that’s how it should be – for the good of all concerned, but I’m selfish & cannot do this.

Because without you – not hearing from you – knowing not if you were even interested, I have been wretched –

From your letter of Jan. 30 – 1946:

“…. as within my breast, This bud of Love by summer’s ripening breath may prove a beautious [sic] flower when next we meet ….”

It’s time I signed off – & let you go to sleep – I don’t know why, but somehow I have a feeling that you’ll receive this at night. Maybe a dark, stormy, [underlined] English [/underlined] night – when the wintry winds are howling at the eaves, and the cold drizzle adds misery to the pedestrians fumbling & stumbling along [indecipherable word] the darkness, groping for a rail or some mark of identification [symbol] Are the lights on – I mean [underlined] really [/underlined] on – once more in London. Do they miss the tramp of American feet – light-hearted, gay, a little overbearing and very outspoken, seeking a pub when a shot of Scotch was available or a meal, or a bit of fun.

You know, Cathie, the Americans aren’t hard to get along with. We – the English & I –

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had our differences – would be a very boring world if we didn’t, but I think we had the same underlying nature –

Sat. morning:

The sun is out and the world seems a much nicer place to live – What a great difference a little ray of sun – or hope can make! Although it still is cold outside, the nip of the fresh air makes one ambitious –

Today I am charge of quarters at Base Headquarters, and for a few hours the entire base will be under [underlined] my [/underlined] jurisdiction – Spoils a weekend, but I would not have gone anywhere, anyway.

I’ll send you a little article I did on “I Remember England –“ It will be enclosed with this epistle. But I wish you were here to keep me company. A Wac is working across the room from me now, and I’ve made appointments for interviews this afternoon – for publication. I work when I’m working on another job.

There’s nothing else that strikes me as important now, but I’ll write every day if you want me to. Until I hear from you (or better) see you, I am

Yours forever & ever



F Killen, “Letter to Cathie from Ford Killen ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 20, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/39862.

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