»  Letter: Wednesday, September 30, 1981

    E.A. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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J.R. Derbyshire
62. Friars Avenue

John Derbyshire
Co/ Kopec[1]
188 Voss Avenue
Apt B.  Yonkers
New York 10703.  U.S.A.

Sept 30th 1981

My dear Son,

Surprize, surprize, & thank you, as you can imagine, we've all been wondering how you were faring. You still didn't tell me the sex of Mary's new baby!![2]  Keep trying dear, you'll succeed in the end.[3]

Here is home news up to date. Dad had a very "funny turn" one evening last week. He called out from the kitchen & he was clutching the sink, his eyes closed & his skin yellow & clammy, but no pain in his chest. He wouldn't let go & said if he opened his eyes he'd fall. I got a chair & dragged him into the living room where he recovered, but was very shaken. He wouldn't have the "quack"  I think he had a mild cerebral disturbance — Kathie will explain[4] — Anyway, he's hardly been out since though he seems his self again. (I'd already spent the insurance money!!). Naughty.!

On Saturday evening (39th wedding anniversary) Judy's friend — Angela Scott invited us to dinner at her house. Dad wouldn't go but they picked me up & we had a superb dinner, Angela loves cooking, which is as well, as she has 6 menfolk, that is — her husband, 3 sons, twins of 16 & a boy of 12, her husband's pal & his son of 17, who've lived with them since his wife took off 10 years ago. They live in a most beautiful house in Park Avenue North. I wish the American critics of our food had been there, I must have had thousands of calories.

I talked to Wayne last week & they have applied to buy their house. They've had a surveyor & it's valued at £15,950  They have 9 yrs knocked off[5] & can have it for £9000. Unfortunately, I saw Janet today & Wayne is now quite ill, he has infectious hepatitis — Kathie will explain — again!! — & cannot work for many weeks yet. He has to be isolated & has had various tests. What an unlucky family they seem.

I go to Paris on Friday Oct. 23rd, return on the Sunday. I feel it is a lot of money for such a short trip. I'm still one cheque behind but am hoping I'll get my Oct. one in time. The gas bill came yesterday & it's nearly £15 more than this time last year. Diabolical, I call it. The water rate also came, but I have that as I get a stamp each week. I've prepared the front now for Spring, put in gilly-flowers & bulbs, weeded & cut out all the dead stuff. We've had some lovely days, but quite a lot of rain. I saw Mr Taylor about the dog, it was left alone on Sunday from after 8am till after 10 at night & barked & cried intermittently. I told him in the nicest possible way & said how much it distressed me & got on my nerves. He was very apologetic and said he'd been away on the East Coast all day & he'd speak to his wife about it. She goes to that "Jesus" commune at Bugbrooke & is there all day Sunday. All has been quiet since. Tess sprained her ankle quite badly last week & was off school. Her Daddy rang her on her birthday,[6] but didn't say when he was coming. Dad & I gave her money to buy a riding jacket & she had new jodphurs from Judy & lots of nice presents too, bless her, she's lovely. You'll see a change in Kathie's family. I expect her son[7] is quite a young man now. Well, dear, take care — you know we are all "rooting" for you. We miss you so. I'm going to Tescoes' to get the things to make a Xmas cake, every year I say I won't but I always do. All send their love, mine to everyone, especially Mary & Jay. Did you see Tom. Loads of love darling. Good luck.

As always,

            Mum & Dad  X X X X X X X X

        Not forgetting Kathy!!



  1. I was staying with Kathy Kopec.
  2. Male. This was Michael Bodo, born September 9.
  3. I had gone to New York in hopes of selling a book I had written.
  4. Kathy is a trained nurse.
  5. This was a "council house," owned by the town. Under the policy implemented by Margaret Thatcher's government, council house tenants could buy their houses at a discount, the size of the discount depending on the number of years the tenants had lived there.
  6. Tessa would have turned 15 this month.
  7. Courtney Kopec, 12 or 13 at this point.