17 June 65 : corrupt America : Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This continues the letter dated 16 June 1965 which began:

Dear family,

Thursday 17th June

Well, it’s been quite a day today. We have been in the office all day and it appears that there is no local work available for us, so we are finishing tomorrow, but being paid for next week – which is very nice of them. So we are almost out of work once again!!

I received two letters from Mum and one from Dad (equivalent to about ten of Mum’s.) He always writes very interesting letters, and I look forward to them very much. Also, I had my ticket for the flight home which looks very impressive.


1965 06 17 unsure photo of letter


About the ring. Obviously I haven’t as yet had a look around, but I would say that your chances of getting the best would be in England. Jewellery here seems to be very flashy and cheap looking, and the gold seems to look more ‘yellow’ than that in England. However I will have a look and make some enquiries.

Colin bought a very good ring (and we saw some very good bargains) at the jewellery market just off Petticoat Lane in London, held on Sunday mornings. It’s a separate little jewellery market and you can bargain and get some good deals. Lots of it is brand new of course.

I’m sorry to hear that you are having a spot of bother with your throat, Dad. Actually I have had something very similar. For several weeks when I was working in Birmingham (UK) I had just what you described, and I was convinced I had a bone stuck in my throat.

I finally went to the doctor who said it was tension (I was at the time negotiating for the SKF job) – and he was right, as it soon went. It could possibly be that with you. I hope it’s nothing serious anyway.


1965 06 New Orleans Tony on Riverboat President2
1965 03 21 Colin in Gatlinsburg


You say in your letter that I may not like New Zealand. I think I will, because much as I like America (and I do) it’s a rotten country. Bribery and corruption thrive here.

Everyone seems to be in on some racket. The other day we met a fellow whose father is a bootlegger. He told us that his father pays the Sheriff of the town $150 a week bribery money. And, so does every other bootlegger in town, and he estimated that there were about thirty altogether. I’m sure New Zealand doesn’t have that sort of thing – and never will.

I hope Nigel passes all his exams. From all your reports – if he doesn’t it won’t be from lack of effort. And fancy Carol taking charge of the nursing home, Mum taking charge of the Skirt Shop and Dad getting phone calls from the Foreign Office – all in one week. Quite a family!!! Carol certainly seems to be taking a lot of responsibility – and thriving on it too.

You seem to have had an awful summer (so far). I certainly hope it improves before long.

I have just phoned Vi to ask her if it is ok for us to move in tomorrow – and she said yes. Although, since we were last there, Herb has moved in – apparently they are getting married as soon as the house they are having built is finished.


With Vi and Herb in Bristol Pennsylvania 1965
Herb, Vi and Tony on a previous trip


She was delighted to hear Dad’s comments about her in the film!! She did say that she would love to come with me to the wedding – but luckily the house is costing quite a bit so she can’t manage it!! I would dread to see her at the reception – you wouldn’t know what she would do or say next!

Apparently Tony has another job, with the Philadelphia newspaper company, and is getting more money. Apparently he has furnished his house beautifully. The baby is well, and was christened last week and Vi went to the ceremony.


Our car has gone in for a check-up and a State Test and the other fellows are now leaving on Monday – so our race back was wasted. We haven’t had a car tonight and it made us realise how tough life is going to be after all the gracious living of the past six months.

We have also been looking through the jobs in the paper. If we can get a job next week, it means we are being paid twice – which will be very nice indeed.

I’m glad that Mum had my card on the day of your birthday. Fancy Carolyn’s card arriving three days late – Colin insists that this is because his father has retired!!

I hope my trip home will explain the lack of a present, as yet.

To be continued… 

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