»  Letter: March 6, 1974

    E.A. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

  Image of Letter


First page

Second page

Third page



  Transcription of Letter

Mrs J.R. Derbyshire
62 Friars Avenue
Northampton NNP.P4X.

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

March 6th

My dear Son

Well, "The tumult & the shouting" has died, Captains & the Kings departed[1] & it seems we are waiting now to see the outcome. We don't envisage any great changes. Shall have to wait & see. I had Tess last Wed. & Thurs. Judy had to go to school but Tess didn't. It's always a delight to have her, it seems she's going to be our only grandchild, nudge! nudge!! We always talk about "Uncle John." I wouldn't be surprised if they don't return to U.S.A. in the near future. Well, my darling, so you have a car. We always fear for your safety & Dad is quite sure you'll be robbed, shot, stabbed, beaten up, etc, etc, in that violent land.[2] Take care son, & if there is one, God[3] go with you. I pray to whoever may be listening to watch over you & keep you free from harm & evil. We love you dearly & long to see you, but you are your own man my love. Good luck. Just keep in touch as often as you can. I trust in your good sense to see you through. Last Friday I went to Wanstead with Jean Isherwood to stay with her friend Gwen who has a lovely flat there. Gwen is a Senior Tutor at London hospitals, a spinster, but a most charming lady. We had lunch at the Swiss center Friday. Saturday we lunched at Stoke Poges, visited "Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard."[4] Delightful place. Got a flat tyre, repaired by a charming Australian couple on a honeymoon tour accosted by Mother's best "helpless little old lady act." Went on to Eton, walked round Windsor Castle & on to tea with friends. Sunday we came into London, walked in St. James' Park. a lovely morning, lunched at B.O.A.C.[5] & home in the afternoon. Gwen & Jean wouldn't let me pay anything, but I make it up by a bit of dressmaking for them.

Your friend John sounds super.[6] If you go to Canada you have your cousins address & if you get to Oregon I'll send you Barry Allan's.[7] He's a Dr of Physics at Portland. The gas bill is £14 John & the electric was £15 something so I shall be very grateful for help, though I really do hate asking. It's something to do with pride, which I have to swallow now!! Judy & Allan are coming home on 24th (Mother's Day) to celebrate my 62nd birthday, must say I don't feel much different. We are quite well & happy love, we worry about our beloved son, of course. Take care, don't take any unnecessary risks. Loving you as always,

Mother    X  X  X  X  X



  1. A reference to "Recessional". English people of my parents' generation all knew their Kipling. Here Mum is talking about the general election, which had taken place on February 28.

  2. Interesting perspective on America from across the pond. Land of mayhem.

  3. Raised as an Anglican (she was confirmed, and had a beautiful white prayer book to prove it), Mum was in adult life a vague Deist.

  4. She means the graveyard where Thomas Gray wrote his celebrated poem in 1750.

  5. British Overseas Airways Corporation, an airline, now defunct. They had a big facility near Victoria Station in London, from which you could ride a bus to the airport. I suppose Mum's referring to that facility.

  6. He was indeed a great guy, and I hope still is. This was the co-worker at Robbins & Robbins who had helped me find a car & get it on the road. Heaven forgive me, I have forgotten his last name.

  7. Son of Fred & Mary Allan, our neighbors at No. 58 Friars Avenue.