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The Lewis Legacy-Issue 77, Summer 1998

The Wonders of E-mail: It's a Small World Original Article

Sender: [email protected]:comDate: Mon, Apr 27, 1998

Dear James,

Here is the main text of a letter that surfaced from my files and piles and sank again in 1977. I typed this out then and offered it to the editor of a Lewis newsletter, and he was not interested. Now my carbon of this typed excerpt has surfaced. I wonder if Dr Kerr is still there. I don’t recall how I happened to correspond with this nice man.

“You refer to the apparent lack of appreciation of Lewis in Belfast. I doubt if this is really the case, altho’ it is difficult to be sure. The
religious bookshops here all have about 8 of his better known works in
paperbacks, at any one time, so presumably they are selling some of them. However, I have been amazed at how many Belfast people I have come across who have read and been helped by his books, who haven’t realized that he was originally from this part of the world. I worked with C. S. Lewis’s cousin Dr. J. T. Lewis, but one of the big regrets of my life is that Dr. J. T. had died before I knew of their relationship.”
Dr Alan G Kerr
6 Cranmore Gardens
Belfast

Yours,
Kathryn

Sender: [email protected]
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998

Dear Kathryn,

Dr Alan Kerr still lives in the same house in Belfast. I’ve spoken to his
wife. He returns from heart-bypass surgery today and I’ve sent him a copy of your message. His full details; Dr Alan G Kerr, 6 Cranmore Gardens, Belfast BT9 6JL Tel: 01232 669181.

Dr ‘Joey’ Lewis was brother of Albert and attended his brother in his last
illness. He’s probably mentioned in CSL’s diary for that period. Joey was
father of Joan Murphy, who lives today in Oxfordshire and acts as a guide to CSL parties. Mary Rogers is a friend of hers. We hope to welcome Joan
here with David Spence’s party in the summer.

Thanks for digging this out.

Yours,
James O’fee

Sender: [email protected]
Date: Sat, 2 May 1998

Dear Ms Lindskoog,

Yes, I’m still here. Mr O’Fee kindly sent me a copy of your email to him
dated April 27th, which was awaiting me a few days ago when I got home from hospital following Coronory Artery Bypass Grafting last week.

I must admit to having only the vaguest of memories of having written to
you in 1977 although I can still clearly recall the joy of first coming
across your book C S Lewis: Mere Christian. Up until that time I had read
quite a few of Lewis’ books but until I saw the Bibliography of yours
hadn’t realised how many more there were. I wrote to some of the
publishers at that time and got some of them and then, I think it was in
1976, I was delighted to come across a Logos Bookshop in the States with a full section on Lewis and Friends. It was probably something arising out of that that led me to write to you.

I still get enormous satisfaction and help out of Lewis’ writings and
return to him time and again.

Dr J T Lewis, known as Ted, was an elderly consultant physician in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital, when I was a medical student. (Probably he was younger then than I am now!) I spent 6 weeks fulltime in his Wards in 1956 and got to know him quite well but, as I said, I wasn’t aware of the relationship at that time. I shall be off work for a while but when I return I plan to go to the Archivist of the Royal Victoria Hospital and see if there is anything of note on Ted, in relation to CSL, in the files. If so I shall pass this on the Mr O’Fee whom I hope I shall be meeting at some stage over the summer. Sadly, my current illness has already limited my opportunities for involvment in the Centenary activities, and may do so further.

Thank you for taking the trouble of resurrecting my letter from your files
and thank you also for your book. It was great, and indeed still is.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,
Alan Kerr

NOTE: A picture of Joan Murphy with Loring Ellis appeared in Legacy 76.
Joan Murphy is a first cousin, once removed, of the Lewis brothers. She
says they helped her parents (Dr. Joey Lewis and his wife) by briefly
entertaining her and her brother once. Joan married Prof. Bryan Murphy, who taught Russian at the University of Ulster. The Lewis brothers baby-sat their sons while Joan was pursuing her studies at Oxford.