5 July 65 : Independence day, Brit delights, education systems : Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This continues the letter dated 3rd July 1965, which began: 

Dear family, 

Monday 5th July

This weekend has been a national holiday and today is a day off for everyone, although yesterday was the actual Independence Day. Every house was bedecked in flags, and all the streets were lined with them too. There were parades and celebrations everywhere.

We spent most of the time in the garden and in the pool. It was a glorious day and even Vi found time for a swim. That woman works so hard it’s almost unbelievable. She has a lovely English style garden with lots of flowers (this is very unusual over here – most people just have lawns).

Herb has a friend who is an amateur photographer and we phoned him up and asked if he would print some of our photographs. He said he would be delighted and we went down last night and spent four hours printing. We have four films to be done which will take a long time but it will be worth it as I believe I have some good shots.

We had a phone call yesterday from one of the other changeover men who was with us down south. He is our age and lives in Philadelphia and he has invited us to dinner at his home next weekend. They have some English neighbours and they are coming too. In fact the woman has been invited to cook the meal – so we should have a good old ‘Roast Beef and Yorkshire’ type meal.

On Saturday evening Pat phoned up and said if we weren’t doing anything why not come up as she was on her own. So we took the Volkswagen up to show her and stayed the evening. Tony wasn’t there as he doesn’t get home until about 12.30, but some of the neighbours came in and we had a very pleasant evening.

Tony and Pat received a crate recently from England containing all their wedding presents, which they had had shipped from England. It came in by boat to Philadelphia and, believe it or not, not one single thing was broken. They reckon that there was about $1,500 of stuff in it, which I think is remarkable.

Well, I think that’s it for this week. I hope you are all well and have everything well under control.

I expect Nigel has taken his A Levels by now and I certainly hope he has done well. I’m sorry to hear that he can’t make up his mind about going to college. He ought to see some of the fellows we work with.

They are doing the same work as us to pay their college bills (which average about $2,000 a year). There is no such thing as free education here and these fellows really have to work for their education.

They are amazed when we tell them it’s free at home – but strangely enough, they still prefer this system. They say that having to work to pay the bills gives you a far greater will to pass all the exams, which is probably very true.

Well, that’s it for this week.

Cheers for now, Look after yourselves,


Tony xxxx

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