J R Derbyshire
62 Friars Avenue
2 HARBOR LANE
NEW YORK 10805
6 FEB: 62 FRIARS AV.
Many thanks for your letter received today. I am surprised to hear you are thinking of crossing U.S.A in an
banger & I don't think you realise what you are up against.
Still I don't suppose anything
I say will make any difference. but I hope you will give it a little more thought. I will try & give you some idea
of what you are up against.
To cross USA you will meet with a big change of Temp: in the weather from very hot to very cold which will effect your
car as well as you. &
there are vast spaces where you may break down 50 miles from habitation & mountain roads which will make your hair
stand up. also you must not
give a lift to anyone at all & that is a must if you want to land in one piece & with any money left. also you
will need a gun. I am not
kidding dont compare it with Hong Kong. there people have been reared a lot different than we have & the only thing
they respect is the Dollar.
You will meet a lot of nice folk who will help you & some who will knife or shoot you just for fun & you will
be alone. I am not trying to
put the wind up you but you must face facts. you are a tenderfoot alone & fair game for cops & robers &
with your lack of driving
experience it will be costly. If you break down it will cost you most of your capital as the garages can spot a learner
so never have much money
& look daft & you may get by. Also remember the cops depend on traffic fines on the spot as part of their
salary & every state has
different rules & if you are pulled up by them they will want to find everything out about you & if they do,
you may lose car &
everything so you see what you are up against. the USA is 3 different countries i.e. Eastern, MidWest, South, &
each state has different laws
& most traffic laws are different in every state & when you get into big towns you haven't much time to look
about you. The trip would be
very tricky for an experienced driver so I hope you are as lucky as I was at your age. when I look back to the near
misses I had I shudder. I have
lectured you knowing it will have no effect. but I always go by a saying of my old school master VIZ: No one knows
everything, we all know
something, so on conversing, if only 10% is something you did'nt know you are learning. End of lecture & the best
You are lucky not to know you had a bank balance. I dont doubt your mate is all you say he is a 10 yr old banger. however well its been looked after has had its life span & I dont take notice of the mileage clock its adjustable so as long as you see it as a gamble OK. I am not looking forward to being a Great Grandad. For one thing it makes me feel old. & nowadays with the Pill most youngsters opt out & have a good time. When I think of the good time I could have had with the Pill. "No enraged Dad after you with a shotgun." I hope you keep following my advice. & if you do risk it & get married see she has plenty of money & keep her on the Pill.
Noel called in for 2 hours on Monday he said some bloke is summoning him for threatening behaviour after Noel had booked him. So you see even Traffic Wardens live dangerous. If you never fall for a girl you are OK. they are all the same in the nude & the pretty ones are Big Headed & the ones who give you the most enjoyment are like good Snooker (Pool) players have had a misspent youth. I always found the plain Janes were best in action but marriage is like eating a feed of mushrooms, you dont know till its to late.
The election is over now with little Harold at the Helm so all is well. I am quite satisfied if they will let us have a vote of the people about Common Market & Ulster dont worry we cant sink to much going for us. but its not a young mans country. [ … ] The Americans have been saying we are finished for the last 50 yrs. At one time when I was a boy all the world depended on us & our word was our bond Finance revolved round us & when we gave our Empire up there was no one to replace us as world bankers. that is 90% of the cause of falling values in the world.
We had a card from Enid posted before Xmas so it must have come by boat her address is (ELSIE GRIFFIN HOUSE (Room 1) 5 SCOTIA PLACE AUCKLAND, NZ says she is a barmaid at a select bar 7 mins walk away. she said a bloke came in for a drink who used to drink at The nook when you were there. Well all for now love from Mum, says she will write in a few days so take care of yourself & then we shall all be happy.
X X X X
- Dad mis-wrote the date. It should be "March." Compare the postmark.
- He means an old car. I had conceived the idea of buying a cheap old car and driving it cross country, to get a proper look at the U.S.A. I had in fact bought a car (see below), but didn't get round to the cross-country trip until a year and a half later.
- I was not (and am not) much of a money manager, and I think had discovered that I had more money than I'd been supposing.
- One of my dishwashing buddies, very knowledgeable about the buying and selling of "old bangers" had helped me locate one — a 1964 Chevy Nova.
- Dad means "it," i.e. the car.
- The contraceptive pill, still a marvel to people of Dad's generation.
- My brother Noel was working as a traffic (i.e. parking) warden in Swindon.
- Harold Wilson, of whom Dad was a fan.
- They did.