My Father’s Love Letter of Nov. 27, 1939

Leo_Letter_11-27-39I have a small photo of my mother. She is sitting on the steps of my Uncle Peter Flynn’s house in Musselshell, Montana. The time is the 1930s. My mother was 22 years old. My father was 15 years older than my mother. Uncle Pete and Aunt Molly’s home is where she was living when she met my father, Leo Flynn. Here is another letter my father wrote to her from one of the many places he was sent to work as an employee of the Great Northern Railway. See the previous posts of his letters for the circumstances of their communication.
– Alice Flynn

Judith Gap, Mont.
November 27, 1939

Dearest Vivian,

My Dear, I have started three letters to you today, two this Morning when I came from work and this one. Guess I’m getting the same habit you have. They don’t seem to read just right for some reason or other. Hope I do a little better with this one.
Our visit yesterday wasn’t near long enough. Was it? I did hate to leave you last night. Wish we could have spent a little time together. There is so many things we could talk over.
It was good to get home again, even though it was only for a short time. You can’t imagine how happy it has made me just to be able to spend a few hours with my loved ones. If only this job lasts and I can get a car to drive down once or twice a month., it won’t seem near so bad.
I had a funny feeling as we drew near home yesterday, was wondering how you would greet me. Vivian my dear I just don’t know what to say. Can’t find words to express my feelings. Had planned on having a talk with you alone. I could have told you that I do love you a tiny little bit, or More.
But when we did have those very few seconds together the words wouldn’t come. There is an old saying that there are times when silence speak louder than words. I’m sure that must have been one of the times, and I believe you felt it the same as I.
Received two of your letters this morning one that was forwarded from Bainveille and the one you wrote Friday. I’ve read them over a dozen times. Just can’t seem to get enough of them. Also received a letter from Molly and the girls that was forwarded.
Mary Jane said in her letter, Daddy please send 10 dollars and I will owe you. Suppose she was planning on buying Xmas presents. That reminds me, I haven’t heard that you have sent your letter to Santa yet. If you don’t hurry you will probably loose out. I could have him send you Hobby horse or a little red truck. Maybe you would like a 26 inch doll better. They are lovely dollies, I’ve seen them.
I do hope we have a nice Xmas this year. We’ve all planned on it so long. I just can’t imagine it being anything but a Happy Xmas if we can all be together, all I ask for is to spend a few days at home With You.
We got back home about 950 last Night. Frank doesn’t drive like I do. Never drives over 50 M.p.h. I believe I could make it down there in about two hours.
He’s a funny fellow, I tried to pay for the gas & oil for the trip and he acted as though he was hurt by just mentioning it. He wouldn’t take a cent. Wish he had, as I could feel free to ask him to make the trip again some time. He makes $265 a month and expenses, he is single and not much of a spender. So I guess it won’t run him short.
I have known him for a long time and never knew he even went with a girl. After we left Roundup he started talking about the children, family life & etc. He finally ended up telling me of his girl in Washington, and all these years I thought he was a confirmed old Batchelor.
Well my dear will close and get this up to the post office before it’s too late for today’s mail. Will be looking for a letter from you soon. If I can think of anything to write about will drop you a line again tomorrow. I still think your the best kid in the world and I love you for it. Answer Soon.

Lots of Love,

Half Agony Half Hope

Posted in Art, Family, Life, Love, Montana, Railroads | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Letter From My Father, Nov 12, 1939

Leo_Letter_11-12-1939I have a little photo of my father as a young man standing in his Great Northern Railway work clothes and hat at the depot in Havre, Montana. On the back is penciled, “Agent Flynn Ha! Ha!” My father, Leo L. Flynn, Sr., did become an agent and worked for his entire career for the Great Northern until he retired at age 65.
Here is another letter from the stack of letters my mother saved. The letters are written sometimes in pencil, sometimes with a fountain pen, with beautiful penmanship and heartfelt words.  The letter below is dated before my first post on the blog about his letters. The first post was a letter at Thanksgiving when he told my mother for the first time that he loved her. Go to the first letter post for more information about the circumstances. – Alice Flynn, Bozeman, Montana

Bainville, Mont.
November 12, 1939

Dear Vivian:
Received your letter this morning and have been trying all day to answer it. Just seems as though I can’t get a letter finished ever at work. There was nothing much doing today but there is always some one coming around asking foolish questions or just to visit and I just can’t write a letter when there is some one hanging around. Should have written in answer to your letter I received Friday Morning But as I said before a person had to go to bed to keep warm and you can’t do a very good job of writing while in bed.
We had the funniest thing happen to us over at the rooming house. I suppose you have heard of borders walking out on the landlord, but did you ever hear of the landlord walking out on the borders. Well that’s what happened. When I went to the room last night they had gone. No one showed up today so I moved to the hotel. You can at least keep warm here in fact it is too warm at the present time. Have a nice room, and a desk to write on. So I can be a little more prompt in answering your letters.
I’m glad that the money got there for Mary Jane’s birthday. I was worried for I was afraid she would feel bad if she didn’t get anything from me. I just hate to disappoint them.
You did not mention before about the correspondence course. Glad to hear you received an A in your very first lesson and feel rather proud of you. But then we don’t expect anything but A’s from Our Vivian.
I can’t very well write about Xmas in the letter to Pete, Mollie & the Children. So if I’m not imposing on you too much, Will tell you what I would like to do and also ask your help in doing it. You see My dear I probably will be moving around and it will be almost impossible for me to cart presents around With Me. So if I send you the money and tell you what I want will you get them for me. I wouldn’t know what size of anything to buy. Tomorrow should be payday and if it is I will send a money order. You can use what it takes for the dolls from that. You and Mollie would know best what dolls to get. Please don’t forget Pattie’s. Next payday I will send money for other things. I’ll get the toaster for Mollie and Pajamas for Pete. The children can get bedroom sippers for Mollie and will have to think of some things for them to get for Pete. Gosh I wish I could talk this over with you. It would be so much easier.  I’m afraid this month will fly by and I won’t get anything done.
I’m feeling quite a bit better now, my shoulder hasn’t hurt so much the last couple of days. Have a better place to stay which makes it a little More Pleasant. Wish I had come here in the first place. Still have that lonesome feeling but I guess I won’t get over that until I get down to see you.
I had intended to write to the rest of the folks tonight but it is getting late and I’m afraid I won’t get around to do it. Will Write to them tomorrow night.
I’m afraid you won’t be able to read this writing. Isn’t it terrible. I’m almost ashamed to send this to you. But what can I do. When I Can’t write any better.
Well Vivian will close and if I can think of anything to write about will write again tomorrow night. Tell the children that Daddy sends love and kisses to them and that I will Answer their letter tomorrow night. I received their letter this morning also. Tell them I said they were good girls and that I love them. And that goes for you too. Please answer right away as I will be looking for your letter.

Lots of Love

As you can see in the photo above, Daddy’s handwriting was beautiful, and he really should not have been so self-conscious about it being “terrible”. – Alice
Bainville, Mont.
November 13, 1939

Dearest Vivian,
Well another day has passed and I’m hoping it is another day closer to the time when I can be down there With you all. I’m going to try and write a few lines don’t know if they will be very interesting or not. Will just ramble along and put on paper what ever comes into mind.
I’ve said this many times in the last few letters and will repeat it again. I just wish I could be down there to help make plans for Xmas. I hope its a happy one for all of us. I’m just so sure that you and Mollie can do so much better than I could. I will do my best to get some money to you so you can get the things the children want. I know you will have more of an idea what they want. I know they do a lot of talking and I suppose they have the toy catalogue wore out by now.
I’m wondering if you are at home tonight or at work in Roundup. I had a funny dream last night, thought I was down there with you. It seemed like we were in the kitchen you and Barbara were standing close together and I was talking to you. Margaret, Mary Jane, Mollie and Pete were sitting in the living room. It all seemed so real that when I woke up I just couldn’t believe that it wasn’t true. I can’t remember what we were talking about, I suppose it was about Xmas, or maybe it was about you.
I’ve had you all on my mind so much lately. I think of you a thousand times a day. I suppose that is the reason for the dream.
Had another Wonderful Warm day, Old Man Winter hasn’t been so bad so far this Winter and hope he doesn’t get a cold until after the holidays.
There is so much confusion about what day will be thanksgiving this year. I stole a march on most people and had my thanksgiving dinner tonight. I had a big turkey dinner it was real good too.
I suppose the people around here think I’m a funny person. I never mix with the rest of them and spend most of my time in the room when I’m not working. There is a bunch down in the lobby now playing the radio and talking loud. There is a lot more noise around here than there was down in the other rooming house. It goes to extremes one way or the other.
Well my dear can’t think of anything else to write so will close, and hope to have a letter from you real soon.

Lots of Love,


Posted in Art, Family, Life, Love, Montana, Railroads | Leave a comment

My Father’s Love Letters To My Mother

Leo_Flynn_love_lettersMy parents were killed in a car accident on July 19, 1979. I was 27 years old. It was a tragic shock. Overnight, a narrow streak of hair above my forehead turned white. Within a few hours of being notified of their deaths, I was in the house where I was raised. Next to my mother’s bed, on the nightstand, was a stack of old letters wrapped in a thin pink ribbon. There were over 45 letters tied together. They were mostly from my father to mother, with a few letters from my mother answering him. The dates began from the time they first met. As I began to read them, I found that the one dated November 1939 was the first time he told her he loved her. He and his wife had separated and were getting divorced. He had taken the three oldest of his four daughters to stay with his brother Pete Flynn and his sister in law Molly in Musselshell, Montana. The baby stayed with her mother. My three half sisters were taken care of by Molly and Pete and my mother, Vivian, who was living with them. My mother worked as a typist and stenographer for the county Clerk and Recorder. She was fifteen years younger than my father. She thought she would always be single, devoting time to her photography and working in an office. Molly was not well, and my mother stayed at their home to help for room and board. My father worked for the Great Northern Railway, but his job made him move from depot to depot, not in one place to make a home for his girls. This is the letter where he first expressed his love.

Leo L. Flynn, Judith Gap, Montana, Nov. 23, 1939
to Miss Vivian McConnell, Roundup, Montana
Dear Vivian,
I’ve missed your letters the last few days and I’m darn lonesome this morning.
Wish I could be down there with you this beautiful thanksgiving day.
I arrived here yesterday morning and went to work this morning. Tried to write to you yesterday, but was so darn tired, I just couldn’t think. Went 48 hours without a wink of sleep. I was dead tired when I got here. I’m staying at the Hotel and there’s a Beer Joint in connection, they play the Nickle phonograph all day long. Didn’t get much sleep yesterday, but suppose I will get used to it in time.
I’m a little closer to home now Wonder if I will get to see you more. Wish I had a car today would be tempted to drive down even though I am half dead for sleep.
Was talking to the Boss about laying off a few days at Xmas time. He said if I wanted to come back here to work, would have to lay off ten days as each extra man working an extra job is entitled to ten days work and this is an extra job. I can’t afford to lay off that long and don’t know what to do. He may be mistaken about that rule. I’m going to Write to the Chairman of the Union and find out just how that works. I’d hate to have to be away from home at Xmas time. I’ve planned on it too long now and still I just can’t miss ten days work.
Wonder what I have to be thankful for this thanksgiving day. If it isn’t one thing it’s another!
Suppose you will be in Roundup tomorrow working, so will send this to Roundup. Hope I’m doing right, as I want a letter just as soon as you can get one here.
This midnight to 8 am shift isn’t so hot. But it pays 75 cents an hour, and I am closer to home so will stick it out as long as I can. There’s a lot of mail to transfer here and my shoulder is starting to raise the devil again. Wish I could get to a doctor and find out what the trouble is.
Guess I better stop Crabbing, or you’ll think I do nothing else but complain.
Well my dear must close and write a few lines to Mollie, Pete, & the girls to let them know I am down here and on the job.
I’m just wondering Vivian if you will think me a Cad, if I tell you something that I have tried to keep secret for quite some time.
I know I haven’t the right to say this but can’t keep it any longer.
Wanted to talk to you last time I was down there and I think you knew it too.
Well my dear I love you and have ever since last spring when I got to know you and found out what a wonderful girl you really are.
It’s said now.
It has grown upon me more since I left this last time. I think of you every day. I just couldn’t help but tell you Vivian and hope you don’t feel angry toward me for doing so.
There is no harm in me loving you and there will be no more said about it if you wish it that way. Some may think I haven’t the right to love, considering everything. (You know what I mean). But I don’t feel that way and furthermore you can’t govern your heart.
I hope you are not offended. Please write to me soon and if it’s your wish we will say no more. But you can’t stop me from loving you.
Give my love to Mollie Pete & the Girls and Please write soon.
With love to you,






Posted in Art, Life, Love, Montana, Railroads, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Third Grade School Photo

I loved this dress when I was in the third grade. It was dark green velvet with a black and white cameo on a ribbon. 1960, Saint Helena Grade School, Helena, Montana – Alice Colleen Flynn

Posted in Art | 1 Comment

Memoir of My Great Aunt Alice Flynn

tom and ellen keaveny wedding picture
Tom and Ellen Keaveny, Wedding, Leitrim, Ireland
I have my cousin, Benedictine Sister Alicene Tucker, to thank for preserving stories and genealogy of our Flynn / Keaveny family from Glenfarne, Leitrim, Ireland. I was named after my father’s sister Alice Flynn, and she was named after my great aunt Alice Flynn. I now have learned that the name Alice Flynn has even older history in our family.  From a cousin in Ireland who contacted me through a DNA database, I learned that the name Alice has been passed down for many generations.

Sister Alicene was the daughter of my great aunt Alice Flynn. Below is a PDF scan of Alice Flynn’s memoir of their life in Ireland and the immigration to the USA in the 1880’s.

– Alice Colleen Flynn, Bozeman, Montana, April 2019

Alice Flynn Memoir PDF File

Posted in Art, Family, Ireland, Irish, Life, Photography, Weddings | Leave a comment

Spring and Apple Blossoms


Posted in Art | Leave a comment

Dark Winter is Binge Watch Time


New design in my cafepress shop, time to Binge Watch something.Shirts, mugs, duvets, ornaments, pillows, binge watching accessories.

Posted in Art | Leave a comment

Alice In Grass Valley, Late 1950’s

This snapshot of me with a cousin was taken in Grass Valley, California, when we were on a family vacation visiting my father’s siblings who lived there. I wish I could remember the name of this cousin. I remember this moment, holding out an apple for him to take a bite.

– Alice Flynn


Posted in Art | 1 Comment

West Virginia Farm Landscape

This large landscape painting was commissioned by a family farm in West Virginia where you can see this view. copyright Alice Flynn

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Relations Unknown

I have only a small color photo print of this large painting titled “Relations Unknown”, as the painting was lost to an unethical gallery owner who did not return it to me after a show. So many years have gone by, I thought the location of the painting would not be discovered or the painting may possibly be destroyed.

This evening I had an interesting phone call from someone who has had the painting and appreciated it in his home for many years. Who knows what round-about way it got to him, as it was not from the gallery.

“Relations Unknown” was inspired by a small snapshot I found in my mother’s black and white negatives and prints. She had placed a few old photos in a white envelope with the simple script on the front, “Unknowns”. These people were so expressive, I was inspired by their impression on me to adapt the figures, place them in Montana, and create this painting.

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Evolution – Change I Can Think About

This Darwin portrait design is my original, copyright Alice Flynn, July 19, 2015. It is available online on products in my Cafepress shop under the division “Science”.

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Video of Lazuli Buntings at Bird Feeder, Montana

The Lazuli Buntings and Western Tanagers are some of my favorite birds to watch in my garden in Montana.

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring – almost

Scary climate change making Montana too warm and dry this winter, but it is feeling like spring. Here’s a painting from my portfolio. The birds are checking out all the bird houses in my yard. This painting is a small oil on canvas. Alice Flynn

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

My Birthday Today and Jane Austen

I’ve spent my birthday today watching old movies, including a production of Northanger Abbey. So, I still have Jane Austen on my mind. Here is another of my watercolor ACEO portraits inspired by Jane Austen.
Jane Austen Watercolor

Posted in Art, Books, Illustration, Jane Austen, Life, Love, Watercolors | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Jane Austen

One of my watercolor portraits inspired by Jane Austen.
Jane Austen portrait by Alice Flynn

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Esther In Winter painting by Alice Flynn

I have not been blogging much since spring, when I suddenly found myself in the Intensive Care Unit of the local hospital with a life-threatening blood clot in my leg. The skilled people at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital saved my life. Turned out to be May-Thurner syndrome (yes, i had to google it, too). I woke with my left leg twice the size of my right, and from toes to hip, it was purple. Drove myself to the Emergency Room and experienced my jugular being cut open and a blood clot filter threaded into my body.
I was also dealing with Trigeminal Neuralgia at the time (google has lots of answers about what that is) and now the TN is in remission.

It is good to be alive and currently pain free!

Yesterday I spent three hours in my yard and garden getting everything ready for winter. The snow is on the mountains and will be in our valley soon.

Treasure every day and look for the beauty and kindness around us. Below is one of my paintings, titled Esther In Winter.  – Alice Flynn


Posted in Art, Illustration, Life, Montana, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Before Snow Flies

I’m tidying up the yard before winter sets in. I have only the pond pump and hoses to gather and put away. I will make cuttings from the leggy red geraniums to pot up and root over the winter. Here is a watercolor I created some years ago of a thistle, a traditional symbol of Scotland.

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pumpkin Pi Season

The weather is turning cold here in Montana, and we already have snow on the mountains. Pumpkin pie flavored everything is on its way in the shops. I grew up making pies and cakes with my mother. When I left home to go to college and got my first apartment, I immediately bought my own rolling pin, pastry cloth, pyrex pie plates, and pastry cutter. I mastered making flaky pie crust at an early age. My favorite pie is pumpkin with a mound of whipped cream on the top of each slice. I don’t eat flour any more, so my days of pie making are sadly over. Here is a design I created last year for items in my Cafepress and Skreened shops online.

Pumpkin Pi design by Alice Flynn

Pumpkin Pi design by Alice Flynn

Posted in Art, Graphic Design, Illustration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wrestle With My Demons And Sometimes Snuggle

It has been one of those days… so I thought I would share with you one of the most popular sayings I’ve had for the last couple of years in my online shops. Sometimes I wrestle with my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle. It’s available on items on Cafepress, Skreened, and on Etsy as a print and a digital download. – AliceWrestle_tee

Posted in Art, Business, Etsy, Graphic Design, Letterpress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dublin’s Inner City Photography Project by David Jazay

Posted in Art | Leave a comment