16 June 65 : Dodging police – and exciting news! : Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Wednesday 16th June 1965

Dear family,

I am coming home for the wedding!!!!

I have been wanting to tell you for a long time, in fact I booked the ticket back in January.  I booked it, not really knowing whether or not I could afford it – but it became apparent that I could, and I paid for the ticket about 2 weeks ago.

The reason that I haven’t told you sooner is because I was worried in case anything might happen to prevent me making the trip – and I knew that you would have been terribly disappointed. However, at the moment it’s ‘all systems go’ so keep your fingers crossed.

I am flying out of New York on Irish International Airlines flight number 106 on July 22nd and will arrive at Bristol Airport at 12:35pm July 23rd on Aer Lingus flight number 282. I shall be changing planes at Dublin.

I am hoping that you will be able to be there to meet me (in that quaint little English car of yours!!) I have arranged to fly back to New York on August 5th leaving Bristol at 1pm.

Well, that’s the news of the week and I expect it is quite a surprise to you too. I have been saving pretty hard and this is why I haven’t phoned you as often as Colin has phoned his parents, so I hope you will now understand why.

Also I am a ‘fugitive’. I owe the Canadian police $15 for a speeding fine – which I decided not to pay, so let’s hope that they don’t catch up with me before the 22nd of July.

When I return to New York, Colin is going to meet me at the airport and we are going to head west straight away. So I shall see you – all being well – on July 23rd at Bristol Airport.

 

The viewing platform at Bristol Airport in the 1960s
The viewing platform at Bristol Airport in the 1960s. Photo: Bristol Airport

 

Once again all our plans have been changed. When we got back from Texas on Sunday night to the motel in Memphis, Tennessee, we learnt that there had been phone calls for us over the weekend. Later that evening the phone rang and we learnt that we had to drive back to Philadelphia immediately.

This is because a new warehouse has opened in Kansas, and as we couldn’t go there because we are due to finish this job soon, three other fellows, who are starting next week, and are replacing us, are going down there and will need our car.

So we have spent the last three days driving from Memphis to Philadelphia – on top of our trip to Dallas this means that we have driven over 2,100 miles in the last five days.

The drive from Memphis was great. The weather was terrific, with low 90’s all the time. Good roads and some very lovely scenery up through Tennessee and Virginia. We came back a different way and drove up the Shenandoah Valley – which is in between two mountain ranges.

Virginia is quite easily at the moment the most beautiful state we have been in – I only wish you could drive through it, as we have. We drove a lot in the evenings and spent the mornings sunbathing by the pools.

We stayed last night at a brand new motel (this one on the paper). It has only been open a few weeks and it was the last word in luxury. It’s going to be an awful blow going back to a one room apartment after this!!

We got stopped by the police again this morning, Colin this time, and we had the Deputy Sheriff armed with two very fancy six shooters, and his name was Jake Lee.

When Colin handed him his International Driving Licence, opened at the Arabic page, he looked at us as though it was a ‘Candid Camera‘ joke. He was quite baffled by all our papers and said “Let’s forget it” and went on his way.

 

1960s candid camera

 

Have I told you that there is a speed limit on all roads in America? It’s usually 70 – even on the super highways.

We have to hand over our car tomorrow to these new fellows, and we shall be very sorry to see it go. We have done over 21,000 miles in it – and not had one bit of trouble. We have only had one routine service done in that time. I think American cars must be the finest made.

We have taken down all our flags and plaques, but we’ll put them on our own car when we get it. We don’t quite know what is going to happen to us next week – as we now only have one full week left to do. I hope they can use us. We shall know tomorrow when we go into the office.

When we arrived here in Philadelphia it was 95 degrees Fahrenheit, only two degrees below the record high of 97 degrees for the city.

To be continued… 

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