»  Letter: Sunday, March 21, 1976

    J.R. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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  Transcription of Letter

From
J R Derbyshire
62 Friars Av

Delapre
Northampton
England

To
Mr John Derbyshire
14 Legion Drive
Valhalla
New York 10595
U.S.A.

62 Friars Av    9-3-76

Dear Son,

I have made a start to write to you but I dont know when I shall finish it, but will try not to be to long. I think it must be a failing in the Derbyshire's, letter writing. I have no doubt Mum keeps you up to date with all the local scandel. I am thoroughly disguested with Judith, what an example to put before Tessa. I would just like to know what is going through he little mind, she is just at an impressionable age now & what she sees now will be with her till she dies, so for her sake I dont say all I would like to & if anything happened to her I dont think I would ever get over it.

We are enjoying wonderful weather 9 hours sunshine, a slight wind with a bit of bite in it coming from the East. I had my morning walk  had a bit of lunch & cut the front & back lawns, first time since last Sept. I see the pound is down now to two Dollars to the £[1]  I think we have passed the point of no return. We are down on a par with Italy & Spain & Jamaica so for goodness stay were you are. I would love to come & see you but I have this thing one gets, when you get old  I feel OK but at my age one always has the thought we may have a turn or attack & I would hate to have it away from home so forgive me this time  Your new abode sounds very nice & quite a change for you & I hope you will enjoy it for a long time to come.

Well its now the 15 March sorry for the delay. We are now in a cold rainy season but according to the forecast for the next month its going to be warmer  I shall be glad as every winter puts a great strain on me & very difficult to keep warm even in a hot room  I have the feeling I cant stand the cold as I used to. I understand your new home is in the Posh part of town  dont spend all your money keeping up with the Jones'  its a bad policy & has brought some good people down & dont forget you wont always be 30, time soon passes. Your mother is working the sewing machine overtime so look out she has a change of cloths for every day she will be in the USA  & dont let her wander off on her own to far, as she has a lot to learn about being on her own in a strange country

You dont write very often & dont have much to say when you do. We are always glad to hear what you have been doing & your Mum gets edgy if she does'nt hear from you so dont have every minute of the day occupied, as I told you before, you want Yogi & keep it up, make it a way of life, you will benefit now & in later years if you keep it up  does'nt take a lot of time also it learns you how to control your sex urge & you could feel a different man as it relives all your stresses. I am or hope I am, pleased you are keeping single, you are now in the danger years. I was your age when I got caught so take care you have'nt won yet. Things are getting tough both here & in Europe & I cant see any end to it this century & in my opinion will get much worse yet before it gets better.

I started this letter on the 9 its now 19 so I must finish it this time. As I said its 19/3 today & we received your letter today & your birthday card yesterday & Mum is dying to your new Pad & examine your friends so look out. It must have cost you a bomb setting up your pad what comes of it if you have to leave as you should know by now nothing is certain so dont overwork so much there is reason in all things. The weather is dry but cold & shortage of water all over the country very serious. So you are going to buy a new car with the £ on the floor a good British car should be cheap  2500 dollars upwards also French & Italian  You have had good service out of your old one & if you are going to buy 2nd hand get someone to go with you who knows whats what. That 500$ you owe the Tax man would go a long way towards your new car. Well all for now, look after yourself, all the best

                Love Dad

                Mum  X X X

Buy a Concord then you can pop over & see us. dont forget buy British

                 Dad

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  Notes

  1. Through the 1940s, including the war years when England was flooded with GIs, you could get about four dollars for your pound. (Until it was eliminated by the introduction of decimal coinage in 1971, the half-crown coin — i.e. 2/6d, or one-eighth of a pound — was colloquially called "half a dollar.")  From 1950 to 1966 the pound was fixed at $2.80. The devaluation of that year reduced it to $2.40, where it held until 1970. It floated up to $2.50 by the end of 1972, then slid steadily down to $1.75 at the end of 1977, passing the psychologically-striking $2.00 mark, as Dad notes, in the spring of 1976. Year-end highs and lows since then have been:  $2.32 (1980), $1.44 (2001). The pound is at $1.87 as I transcribe this (August 2008), with my daughter in London spending money — and staying with my little niece Tessa, whom Dad was so concerned about in his letters. Tessa will be 41 next month.