12 June 65 : SKF misconceptions, girls in curlers : Panama City, Florida

This continues the letter dated  9th June 1965 which began:

Dear Family,

Saturday 12th June

By the way, judging from your comments, and Mr and Mrs H’s, you seem to be under a misapprehension about our conditions with this job.

(note: Tony and Colin had a very cushy job with SKF, a global ball bearings manufacturer – details in THIS LETTER)

We signed a contract for a 6 months period only, and we were given a great privilege in as much as we are the first people outside Drexel University of Philadelphia to do the job.


1960s skf advert
1960s SKF advert


These students at Drexel have to do so many months in industry every year, and SKF offer two terms, 3 and 6 months. These students all have to pay for their own education (as do all students in America, and this runs to $2,000 on average) and this is why (I think) the company is so generous.

They know that they are helping these fellows to pay for their fees and, as it goes down as expenses for the company and they can then claim tax relief, they don’t mind. We were taken on in addition to the students they already had for this term of 6 months so as you can imagine we were given a great favour.

We have hinted that we would like an extension but we have been told quite clearly that it is out of the question, as the next lot of students are signed up. So we are very grateful to have had the chance at all. There is no possibility of us doing this anywhere else, as no other country has a similar scheme. Only America is rich enough to be able to afford it. There is no comparable job in England.

There is one thing that I must tell you about and that is ‘curlers’. American girls and women seem obsessed with curlers, and seem to spend 90% of their lives wearing them.


women in curlers Abigail Heyman's Growing Up Female A Personal Photo-Journal
Women shopping in curlers – credit to Abigail Heyman, from her book Growing Up Female: A Personal Photo-Journal


They wear them everywhere, and we have been amazed to see girls down here on the beach and in the sea in bikinis – and covered in curlers!!

They lie by the pool all day in curlers, eat in restaurants, and even go to dances wearing them! We can’t understand what they are ‘preparing’ themselves for!!

We even heard on the radio the other day that a woman was in one of the top restaurants in New York with her hair in curlers, and when someone asked her why – she said she was going out afterwards!!!


1960s American students in curlers – with thanks from http://mountarchives.blogspot.com/2010/07/


To be continued… 

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2 thoughts on “12 June 65 : SKF misconceptions, girls in curlers : Panama City, Florida

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