»  Letter: Thursday, November 1, 1973

    E.A. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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Mrs. J.R. Derbyshire
62 Friars Avenue

Mr. John Derbyshire, Bsc
2 Harbor Lane
New Rochelle
NY 10805

Nov. 1st

My dear son,

Thank you for letter just received, I'm very relieved to know all is well with you. Bless you you'll be getting fat, your menu made my mouth water. We've forgotten what a joint looks like. We have a chop or small piece of steak instead. Bacon is nearly £1 a pound. It's incredible & frightening.[2]. We got our O.A.P. rise of £1-60 & the rent was put up £1-67!! but we still get a rebate. Mrs. Cadd tells me that their rent now is £6-20 a week, ours is nearly £4. Dad puts a £1 and I pay the rest. Quarterly bills & anything else I pay out of my savings, but don't worry, we cope. The worst is to come. I would hate to have to ask you for money John, but any donation gratefully received!! Look after yourself & if you have any debts pay them & don't make any more, else you'll never have anything. There's another letter from Giro here to say they have cancelled your standing order for £6 as there's no money in your account. Are you dealing with it?

It's a dreary day today & I have a fit of the blues. Who knows, if you are still in the U.S. next year I might pay a visit, Im good at washing up!![3] I had Tess for the week-end, we talk about you & Judy says she'll write. My tummy seems to have settled a bit, I have to see the Quack in a week's time. I've just been paid £15 for some sewing Ive done for a friend, so Ive paid the Electricity Bill with it. Dad's gone to town to do some shopping, he'll come back moaning like hell at prices, people & his feet & the world in general. I get fed up with his carping at times, but you know Dad!! There are times when I long to see & hear you, but I'm glad you are happy & seeing the world, my love. Take good care, please write often. Dad is going to write to you so look out!! I'm very glad of my tea-maker & spin dryer,[4] both make life a bit more pleasant. We[5] are getting £10 bonus at Xmas, I'm treating myself to an electric blanket!! Loads of love from all here, as ever loving you

Mum & Dad

[Postscript, in left-hand margin.] I am knitting you a pull-over but you may not get it for Xmas.



  1. Now working steadily for Robbins & Robbins in New Rochelle, at the end of October or beginning of November I moved to a rooming house in Harbor Lane, at the other end of Drake Avenue.
  2. In Britain as in the U.S.A., inflation really took off after the oil shock of late 1973. The peak was 24 percent inflation in 1975, but price increases were already bad enough to anger and disorient older people like my parents.
  3. In British English, "washing up" = "doing the dishes."
  4. Appliances I had bought her as gifts. The tea-maker is a bedside gadget that will brew a morning pot of tea for you, then, when it's brewed, trigger your alarm clock.
  5. I.e. people receiving the O.A.P.