»  Letter: Thursday, October 4, 1973

    E.A. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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Mrs. J.R. Derbyshire
62 Friars Avenue
Northampton NN4. 9.P.X.

Mr. John Derbyshire, B.Sc.[1]
c/o Room 93 Pioneer Hotel
341-351 Broome Street
New York City
N.Y 10013

October. 4th.

My Dear Son,

Just had your letter. I'm always happier when I know you are O.K. I do hope you can get your permit.[2] If you do go to Canada you have a cousin Stanley Knowles, I think either Ontario or Vancouver, but I'm ringing Mu tonight for my brother Joe's address in Wolverhampton & then I will write & get Stanley's address. I gather from Mu he has a very affluent position & I'm sure could help you in the way of a job. I haven't seen him since the war when he was in the Navy. I gather he works for the ?American ?Canadian Navy, though I'm not sure. Anyway, it might help.

I've had some of my letters returned from Cindia's address, so I hope you get my letters now. I write every week. Dad has had a bad cold & cough & has just gone to the Drs. You know how depressed & miserable he is if he thinks he's going to die!! Otherwise we are fine, though my weight going steadily down. The hospital & D. assure me I've no cancer! I had such bad pain but no more, this was the acute stage of the ulcer. The weather continues good long may it last.

Of course I worry about you darling & shall till the day I die. Have I been a good mother? could I have been better? I look back & wonder & think I could have done better, was I too concerned with my own problems. Even now love I can't help it, I wish so many things, but we struggle on & have much to be thankful for. The council have put our rents up again so we are back where we started. This is due to my pension & interest on investments, but shouldn't grumble.

Darling, I would send you a sweater, but the postage would be as much as the sweater to send by air & if it came by surface mail it could take weeks. I'll make enquiries as I have one half knitted for you. Judy & Allan ask after you, we are all eager for news. Take good care my dearest. There's always home!!

Your very loving

Mum & Dad

You ought to look after your hands



  1. For working-class English people of my parents' generation, it was a wonderful thing to go to university and get a degree. My cousin Michael may have been the first person on either side of our family to do so. I would then have been the second. I tried to dissuade Mum from adding the "B.Sc." after my name, but the temptation was too strong for her.
  2. My parents had a vague idea I needed a "permit" of some kind in order to get a good job in the U.S. They must have known that I was doing dishwashing work — see Mum's closing remark. The actual state of affairs is described in one of my "Straggler" columns.