[This first letter was enclosed in a book Mum mailed to me December 9.]
62, Friars Avenue
9. 12. 82.
My dear Son,
Got your letter & photographs yesterday, they're smashing, such pretty girls & handsome men & no hanky-panky!! Incredible! By this time I hope you've got your "12 Days of Xmas". Now dear, as to your request, I have gone over your library several times & I could only find one hardback "Sonnets" only, no paraphrasing or explanations, just the sonnets, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre edition, & a large tombe of All Bill's works & this one I'm sending, but no sonnets, just the tragedies. I hope this is right, I can find no other at all I hope I've done right. There's no No 38-39 relating to sonnets, though the "Darling buds of May" is on page 18 in the hardback — no paraphrasing. I've looked at every book John repeatedly even amongst your Chinese library.
Now, dear, I had to have Dr to Dad yesterday, he examined him well & can find nothing per rectum, but he has a lump high up in his large colon left side. He's given him medicine for a week, then I'm to call him again if no improvement. He's afraid to go out now, he thinks he won't be able to control his bowels, it has happened & it really upsets him. Anyway Dr Gibbons is almost sure its nothing insidious, maybe Diverticulitis — look that up.!! It is dark & drear, pouring with rain. Judy sent a man to see the bathroom window, which I think I told you we couldn't close, Dad tried & the latch broke off. This fella says we want a new window, the hinges are rusted off & its a carpenters job. Judy is going to ask for an estimate but it will have to be after Xmas. We've had a reminder to see if we want to insure the TV tube a further 2 yrs, nearly £14, due Dec 20th, what do you think I should do, is it worth it John? I've just paid the licence & the rates are paid up till May, I think it is.
Enclosed is letter from "Halifax B.S." The mortgage rate has gone down, no news of your Tax Rebate. I had a lovely Xmas card from Chan & he says you will see him in February, so I take it you won't be staying on. Yesterday on my way to Jeans a black youth ran up to me & asked me the way to London, he said he'd lost his mates & had no money. I told him how to get to the M1, but he still kept on about being lost & having no money & he kept glancing all round. There was plenty of traffic but not a soul in sight. He could see I'd no handbag & as I moved off, he suddenly clutched my arm & ran off. I wasn't scared, in fact, I said "I'm sorry I can't help you", but I keep wondering, — was he after money or really lost. Hardingstone Post Office folks were held up at knife point last week & £2,500 stolen by 2 black fellas, although they were caught at Blisworth. If Dad died John, I'd have a new front & back door & bay window, I wouldn't say they're burglar proof.!!
Well, my darling, soon be Xmas, you know we shall be toasting you & of course, you know you are in my thoughts every waking minute, no son is more loved than you, you know that. I pray to any God who's listening to keep you safe & well. Marcus told me if his Mummy & Daddy die, he's coming to live with me, rather than Nanna Moore, 'cause I've got color TV, but they're not going to die for a 1000 years yet! He counted up the number of people who love him, it came to 10, including you, Auntie Mu, even Nanna Dailey & Tessa's Daddy, but he & Grandad are going to look after me when I'm very old! All for now love, X X X X
X X As always
[This letter was also started Thursday, December 9, but not mailed till the following Tuesday.]
Mrs. J.R. Derbyshire
62 Friars Avenue
Northampton NN4 9PX
Mr John Derbyshire
Siping Teacher's College
People's Republic of China
Dec. 9th 1982
My dear Son
can just get this in before Xmas, I hope & explain about your book. I went through all your books, every one & of Sjakespeare found three. One large complete works of theatre productions; one hardback book of just "Sonnets", no paraphrasing, & a large paper back of "Tragedies" with paraphrasing. No others at all, so I have sent the paper back. I had quite a shock, it was nearly £8 by letter post & no guaranty you will get it for Xmas, I hope I have done right John.
Dad can't do shopping any more, it is with great reluctance he gives me money now & a list of instructions!! He seems a little better, I have to let Dr Gibbons know on Wednesday how he is.
Sunday 12th Judy & Marcus just been, she has covered over the bathroom window till we can get it done & taken most of the washing. I am very grateful. The weather is foul, wet, cold & foggy, sleet & a little snow. Excitement mounts & on Wednesday I am going to school to see Marcus in the Nativity play; he is a Shepherd. I have put a letter in your book. I forget what I tell you dear, If I repeat things you'll have to excuse me. I shall pop up to Petes with a small gift for Michael. Annie's mother & sister are coming for Xmas & Petes folks too I think.
Darling, its now Monday. Judy took most of the washing [?? I see I've already told you this] so I've been quite lazy today., though I have polished all my brass & copper bits, ready for Xmas. Its nearly dinner time & getting dark & very cold. Tomorrow Jean & I are going into town for some last minute shopping. I went in on Saturday & I've never seen so many people, I was glad to get away. Dad had left some things in Sainsbury's from the day before, but they had been handed in & I was able to retrieve them. People were buying "mountains" of food & drink. I went up to shop where Tess has her Saturday job, then took her out for a cup of coffee. I watched her for ages, she was so business like & so nice to everyone. She is a sweet girl. Well, my love, nothing of note to report, will write again after Xmas. Let me know if & when you get the book & if I did the right thing. I can't say Happy Xmas dear if it is not celebrated, but we shall all be thinking of you & giving you a toast,
My love as always
X X X X Mother X X X X
- Monday is traditionally washing day in England.