26 Dec 64 : Clubbing, resigning, cruising – and incredible generosity : Miami Beach 

This continues the letter dated 18 December, which began…

The Century Hotel, 140 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach 39, Florida. 

Dear Mum, Dad, Nigel and Carol,

Boxing Day (Saturday 26th)

Herb and Vi came over last night (Christmas night) and she looked like a Duchess in her mink, and she insisted we dressed up and went out for Christmas dinner.

So we did just that!! We went to a fabulous hotel overlooking Biscayne Bay, and ate a traditional Christmas dinner. It was seven courses, and the main course was turkey – and it was delicious!!

Vi had been miserable all day, because she had missed the family, and Herb was miserable because he had made Vi miserable by persuading her to come down.

However, at dinner she said she was very happy as she was with her ‘family’ (me)!! I think she almost considers Colin as family too. She thinks he’s great and adores him.


Dad on his travels 

We had a great night and had a lot of fun. We drove along the front of Miami Beach singing carols at the top of our voices.

She insisted on treating us, so we insisted on treating them, and took them to one of the top nightclubs, the Boom Boom Club at the Fontainebleau Hotel. We danced and drank – and nearly died when we had the bill!!!

(NOTE: The Wikipedia link on the Fontainebleau Hotel (above) lists an amazing range of films and TV shows which the hotel features in – including Goldfinger, Sopranos, Police Acadamy 5, Scarface and The Bodyguard!) 

Vi enjoyed herself immensely although Herb didn’t seem to. He doesn’t drink, smoke, or dance, and we bought him two ginger ales which cost about 10 shillings each – which is ridiculous. So, considering it was our first Christmas away from home, it was pretty good.

Ffontainebleau Hotel 1960s image

Fontainbleau Hotel in the 1960s

Colin worked all day and had had a terrible day, as when the Housekeeper found out we were leaving, she was viciously nasty to him all day, and even took it out on the girls, and made one of them cry.

She kept talking about him to the other women, and generally running us down.

He had to be reasonably polite, as she could have kept us waiting for our wages until January 5th – and we needed this money to pay for the cruise.

Luckily I wasn’t there, so I didn’t get any of her nastiness, but she said she would deal with me today. So today we went in to collect our money – all prepared for battle!

When we got there she wasn’t in her office so she was called on the phone, and she said she would be down right away.

Then we had the biggest stroke of luck ever. On the way into the office she walked into the glass door – and nearly broke her nose. It was all we could do to stop laughing, but when we saw one of the women pouring iced water over her almost blue throbbing nose, Colin laughed, and she said ‘go and get your money’ – so we shot out, got our money and left!!

We then went to the ship and went on board about 4 o’clock, and sailed at about 4:30. It’s a lovely little boat, very small and intimate.

We decided to tour it and had finished in about an hour! (A bit different from the Queen Elizabeth.) We have a small cabin, and the whole ship is air-conditioned, and pleasantly cool.

There seems to be an average sort of crowd of all ages, and immediately we were dragged into a party games session to ‘get to know each other’.

We will arrive in Freeport tonight at 10:30 pm and can stay ashore until 3:30am, and we sail for Nassau at 4 o’clock.

Sunday 27th December

Just arrived in Nassau, after a beautiful mornings cruise through tropical islands, and hot sun. All the news of Freeport, and Nassau, in my next letter.

Lots of love,


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NOTE 1: Happy Christmas all!! xx

NOTE 2: An 2018 addition by Tony…  Something happened when we were working at the Eden Roc Hotel which for some reason, I didn’t include in my letters. It really illustrates the generosity we experienced whilst in America.

Colin and I were in the lift (elevator) going down to the lobby. We were chatting to each other, when a man said ‘you are English’ and started talking to us. We continued talking in the lobby, explaining our trip and he was very interested.

We told him we were just leaving our jobs at the hotel, and were going on a cruise to the Bahamas on Saturday – and he said he’d just returned from the same cruise.

We asked him about the dress code on board, and explained that our suits were in Philadelphia (at Vi’s place).  

He said  ‘you really need a jacket at least,’ then seeing our worried looks, he produced his card and wrote something on the back of it.

He then gave us the address of his tailor in Miami and told us to go there, show his card, and select a jacket each, and have it charged to his account. We did just that, and each came away with a beautiful jacket all ready for our cruise. What incredible generosity and kindness – I valued that jacket for many years.


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Eden Roc hotel Miami 1960s advert

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