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Arts Playlist: Locally produced book offers love story and history lesson

On February 14, 1924, Ken Slifer created a Valentine for his sweetheart featuring an original drawing of a  Rolls-Royce. The card read, “I’d rather be jes’ flivverin’  with you than ridin’ in a Rolls-Royce with anyone else.” Back in the 1920's, a flivver was slang for an inexpensive car. Now it's the inspiration behind the title of a new book published in Delaware- "Flivverin With You, The True Story of a Great Love in Letters."

In the 1920’s, Ken and Caryl Slifer  were college sweethearts. Over the course of their 5-year courtship, the couple wrote each other hundreds of letters many illustrated with drawings and calligraphy.

 

Caryl kept the letters boxed up and stored on a shelf in her closet for decades. Her daughter, author Diane Scott spent 14 years selecting, transcribing and editing excerpts from the nearly 400 letters.

“My dad wrote in his final letter, ‘this will probably be the last letter that I’ll ever write,’ he’s leaving for Buffalo in his borrowed flivver for their wedding,  and he says, ‘I wish I could make this letter so loving that you’d save it forever,” said Scott.

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Credit Blue Blaze Associates, LLC
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Wendy Scott and her mother, Diane C. Slifer Scott, the author of "Flivverin’ With You.”

Scott adds the letters reveal more than just a great love story.  They also provide an window into life in the 1920’s, both good and bad. In one letter, Ken Slifer describes jeering at members of the KKK at a rally in New Jersey.

“And he describes being able to see the whole thing with two giant burned crosses and initiation of males for $10 a piece and initiation of Kamilias, those are women in the Ku Klux Klan, some of it was almost funny but some of it was pretty scary,” said Scott.

Bringing the book to print was truly a family affair.  Originally Diane Scott's goal was to put the letters in book for for her family to enjoy.  When Scott's daughter Wendy saw the work, she convinced her mom it would resonate with a broader audience and helped get it published.

To learn more about the book, visit flivverinwithyou.com

This piece is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.