»  Letter: Monday, November 5, 1973

    J.R. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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  Transcription of Letter

J.R. Derbyshire
62 Friars Avenue

Mr. John Derbyshire
2 Harbor Lane
New Rochelle
New York 10805


Dear JOHN,

It is nice to hear you are well & more or less on your feet again & I hope it keeps that way for as long as you want it. I know Mum keeps you up to date on the news & I don't like to give you advice, seeing I am not with it, so it kinds of limits me. You seem to have landed on your feet again with digs & I hope you hang on to them & always remember they like you to get home sober. In all my experience, that is the one thing they all object to, so above all remember that & know when to stop. In the job you have got now there shouldn't be any question of you being hungry or cold but always watch your health, more so in the U.S.A. don't take any chances. I hope you can stay long enough to carry you on to your next place legally & in comfort. I am glad that you don't have to commute all that way & also that you are in a better district. From your account, it must be a nice place. Is it an old Brown Stone house. I thought they had all been demolished. You know what to expect if Immigration catches up with you.[1] Finger prints & a dirty jail till deported & a bar to re-entry, so I hope you can avoid them till you are ready to move. You seem to have landed a cushy & by our standards, well paid [job] as the grub is worth a bit & I have no doubt of the best. I once did a spell as Ass. Chef in an Auckland hotel, but as it was during a very hot spell of weather & I am afraid it was too hot for me, only stuck it for 4 weeks, but you have just landed at the right time (party time). It will be a nice experience for you as well as a pleasant chance to get out to clubs & weddings etc. It's usually very cold in winter & lasts a long time & you will find what would keep you warm here will not be enough there so take care. Forgive me preaching but it's only because we are concerned about you & whilst we rejoyce you are doing what you want to do & enjoying yourself we still worry & I have been through it myself. I now know how my parents felt when I didn't keep in contact with them.

Don't worry about us, we are OK & don't want for anything. If we did, Allan & Judith[2] would take care of us as they are always asking if we want anything, so just set your mind at rest. Sometimes I feel as if I lie down & go out, other times I feel top of the world. I try to take a nice walk every day but now the weather is getting colder, I worry about not being able to get out & every winter it feels worse but generally I am pretty fit for my age. Mum keeps going sewing, knitting etc. & keeping me in order.

I have no doubt Mum told you about Enid in N.Z. We both replied to her letter but haven't heard anything from her since, but I have no doubt she is doing well, but by what she told us she has to be home by July 7th to settle up for the house. Noel & Robert called on us Sunday (yesterday) still the same wants to be remembered to you & wishes you the best of luck. He has had trouble with his leg but it seems to have cleared up now. He is still looking for another job but I don't think he will as he isn't doing to bad with not too much effort. Our grandaughter is paying us a visit this evening as Judith is attending a lecture at Rushden so Tessa will stay tomorrow with us & Judith will pick her up tomorrow night.

The weather has turned cold but dry today which is tomorrow by date top of letter & it will be the 7/11[3] before I get it to the P O Box. I often wonder what became of your gear you left behind when you left. I could do with that Black & Decker drill now. Is there any chance of contacting your old digs[4] & getting them home, as I understand you left money for that purpose & I hate to think the things have been abandon. You won't know N'ton when you see it again. All parts are being knocked down & being rebuilt & look awful not half as good looking as the old buildings. Hardingstone Lane & round Queen Eleanor Hotel across the fields between Hardingstone Lane & Bedford Rd. will come out by the Britannia pub. I hate to think what it will cost & in the opinion of a lot of people me included, a waste of money. In the state the world is now it's the people left behind, not the people who are leaving it, that need mourning. On this happy note I must leave you wishing you all the best & enjoy yourself. You are always in our thoughts

Love Dad.



  1. In fact it must have been around this time that I got my U.S. Social Security card. At any rate, the Social Security database shows me having $698 of "Taxed Social Security Earnings" for calendar year 1973 — seven or eight weeks' pay at the rate I was paid for kitchen work. It was just eight weeks from November 5 to year's end.
  2. Allan & Judith were living in Northampton at this point, at a house in Ivy Road.
  3. November 7.
  4. Before going to New York in early August 1973, I had lived in a rented room in East Sheen, London.