The following article by David Strange was originally published on 15 Feb 2015. It is archived here for your reading enjoyment.
John Silver, son of Ruby Lee Troutman and Ed Silver, sent a copy of a great old letter to me the other day. I think you might get a kick out of it, on this Valentine's Day weekend.
The letter was written to John's uncle, Kenneth Troutman, by Rua Larimore in February 1932. As a guy, I wonder how I would have reacted to such a letter if it had been sent to me.
But here, read it yourself and see what you think:
February 9, 1932
Dearest Kenneth -
The great love that I have hither to expressed for you
is false and I find my indifference for you
increases daily. The more I see of you the more
you appear in my eye an object of contempt.
I feel myself in every way disposed and determined
to hate you. I can assure you that I never intended
to love you. Our last conversation has
left an impression on my mind, which has by no means
impressed me with your extremely high standard of character,
and your temper would make me extremely unhappy
and if we were united I would experience nothing but
hatred of my fellow being added to the everlasting dis-
pleasure of living with you. I have indeed a heart
to bestow, but I do not desire you to imagine it
at your service. I would not give it to any other more
inconsistent and capricious than yourself and be
capable of doing justice to myself and family. I
[think] you are aware of the fact that I
speak sincerely and hope you will do me a favor of
avoiding me. You need not trouble yourself about
answering this letter as your excuses are only full of
impertinence and not a shadow of
wit and sense. Believe me
I am so adverse to you that it is impossible for me
to be your loving and affectionate Sweetheart.
PS. I suppose you were inquisitive and read all the correspondence. I only intended for you to read every other line.
As Rua says, be sure to go back now and read just every other line for the true, and opposite, intentions of the letter. Oh, how women just love to play with men's hearts and minds!
I am told that both Kenneth and Rua's families lived off Pitts Point Road, on land that is now part of present-day Fort Knox.
Sadly, Kenneth Bruce Troutman, the oldest son of Bennie Shepherd Troutman and Huldah Kimball Troutman, died suddenly on April 15, 1932, just two months after this letter was written, as a result of acute appendicitis. He was not quite 22 years old.
If I am not mistaken, "Rua" was Rua Larimore Shouley. She lived a long and good life, passing away in 2006 at age 94, the widow of Akra V. "Cotton" Shouley. Over her years, Rua worked as a beautician and eventually owned her own shop. She was an active member and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church of Shepherdsville, where she belonged for most of her life.
By the way, if the letter seems familiar, you are correct. John Andrews is given credit in one place as the author in 1853, but I have found versions of this trick letter dating as far back as 1840 in the Salem Observer, and several other publications since then.
Love, loss, friendships, and humor. Of such things memories are made that surely lasts a lifetime, and beyond.
At least those that matter.
Copyright 2015 by David Strange, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.