From the California State Archives
The Christine Collins letters
The woman whose tragedy inspired the Clint Eastwood movie "Changeling" tells her story in her own words.
Los Angeles Calif.
Nov. 9, 1930
Dear Mr. Clark,
I was very happy to received your very encouraging letter of Nov. 3rd. I want to apologize for not answering sooner and thanking you for your kindness also in sending me the blank forms in case that I am successful in obtaining employment for Walter. You are so lovely toward both of us and your kindness is greatly appreciated.
It means a great deal when folks like you show such consideration and we feel now that there is a brighter future.
I have taken up the subject of parole for Walter with several prominent businessmen and feel that they are interested.
I had occasion to visit the lodge hall of the Knights of Pythias last Wednesday evening to appeal for signatures of the brother knights on a letter from them to the directors of the prison board. I was informed beforehand that I probably would be called upon to speak before a small group of committee men. Imagine my surprise when I was introduced and then escorted to a chair next to the chancellor commander.
I was then asked to "make a speech" that is talk in behalf of Walter regarding a parole. It was so unexpected and surprised me so that I thot I was petrified.
I asked the chancellor to speak for me, which he did and I believe his appeal was effective. He said, "as a daughter of a past chancellor commander and a brother knight, now deceased, Mrs. Collins is asking your aid in trying to obtain a parole for her husband, whom we all think has suffered enough," etc.
I was then escorted back across the large hall and as I was leaving I turned around and said, "I want to thank you all for your kind attention!" to which they all applauded. I do not know whether it was the "speech" I made or the recovery of my tongue. My father had been a member of the K.Ps for 35 years. He always said that that lodge always assisted the families of brother knights in distress. Anyway I sent out my S.O.S.
We want to visit as often just as soon as we are settled. The invitation is standing.
Thanking you again for your encouraging letter.
I wish to remain
Sincerely your friend,
Mrs. Walter J. Collins
Tel # Capitol 3996