24 Jan 65 : RIP Winston Churchill, weddings and brotherly love : New York, USA

This is a continuation of the letter dated 17th January 1965, which began…

New York

Dear family,

Sunday 24th Jan

We certainly haven’t been very lucky with our recent visits to New York, as far as weather is concerned. Since telling you yesterday about the improvement in the weather, the temperature dropped violently, and snow started falling, to be followed by freezing rain – which is like small droplets of ice which pile up and freeze into solid ice, and gives everything the appearance that it has been sprayed with glass. This has resulted in another four to six inches of snow, and conditions are very bad.

New York is terribly expensive and to enjoy oneself, it costs a lot of money.

We are very disappointed with the social life in America. They don’t have public dances, and young women are too scared to go out anyway. So it makes life very dull and we shall be glad to get to where there is some life. We have been told that in the Midwest and West it is better as far as social life is concerned.

We are getting really restless now to get away from the Eastside, and especially the New York area. I feel I know New York like the back of my hand now.

We heard on the radio and TV today that Churchill has finally passed away, and every channel on TV is full of tributes to him. Only minutes ago Johnson (from his sick bed in hospital) announced that all flags are to be at half mast. It’s incredible how he is worshipped here. I’m sure the feelings in Britain must be quite great too.

We went to the British Embassy in New York after lunch today, but all tributes are being made in the British Embassy in Washington (it is only a Consulate in New York).

We have just watched an hour long tribute on TV (free of adverts – a tribute indeed), which was most moving.

Churchill dies New York Times 24 January 65
New York woke to sombre headlines. Image from – http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0124.html

This morning our boss called around with a letter for me. I was very relieved to have it, as it is the first I have had since we have been travelling.

The mail arrangements aren’t very good I’m afraid, as the letters get sent to places and arrive there after we have left. But there is nothing better we can do so we shall have to put up with it.

I was lucky, Colin hasn’t had a letter for three weeks. Where they are – and the rest of mine are – I don’t know!! Anyhow, don’t worry about it, as we will get them sometime, sooner or later.

The letter I have just had is dated 15th Jan, and I think I have missed out one or two, because in this one you mentioned something about Mrs Dunning’s husband not being expected to live. This is news to me. Poor Mrs Dunning, she has had nothing but trouble these last few months.

I also was pleased to hear of Jennifer’s happy event – even if she isn’t. It’s a shame about her husband going away though.

I’m glad to hear arrangements for Carol’s wedding are progressing. (NOTE: Tony’s sister Carolyn was to marry her fiance Chris later in 1965) I know the College Close Hotel, and I’m sure it would be ideal. It certainly is in a nice position. How about the actual wedding? Will this be at Horfield Church?

I’m sure Dad will go ahead with his plans for ‘you know what’ – I certainly hope so anyway. If he doesn’t, I’m sure he will regret it. (Note: Tony has no idea what this refers to!)

You still seem to think I am drinking myself to death here, and I’m convinced that all the words in the world will not change your opinion!! But I can assure you that this expense account doesn’t run to personal spending, and at seven shillings a small glass, it’s out of the question!! We are both convinced that by the time we return home, a pint of beer will put us on our backs!! I’m amazed there are so many alcoholics here. It must cost a fortune to become one!!!

Great news about Chris’ new position – he really must be good. Once he becomes established, he shouldn’t have many worries about the future. I’m delighted for Carol’s sake, she is very fortunate.

I was shocked to hear of the death of Auntie Eirie’s brother. I think Carol knew him quite well, didn’t she?

Is Dad using six inch nails for the bathroom wall heater? I hope so – we don’t want it falling down!!

By the way every building here has a fallout shelter, and I was thinking ‘so have you’ – the garage!!

Well, as you can possibly detect I am scraping the barrel for news to tell you, so I will wind up now.

We have tickets tonight to go as part of the audience for ‘What’s My Line,’ so that’s something to look forward to.

Hope the weather has improved – we heard it was pretty bad recently.

Look after yourselves.

All my love, Tone xxx

P.S. Dear Mum and Dad,

I have been thinking about the forthcoming wedding recently and I imagine you have too, as it could possibly be causing you a bit of worry financially. You have my bank book, and I want you to use it for as much as you want, when you want.

Don’t worry about paying me back- you can let me have it anytime. That money is no longer needed to cover any emergency, as I shall be able to save enough for that, with this job. So please draw out as much as you need. I would hate you to skimp anything on Carol’s wedding, so please use it.


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