Correspondence from Canada: Letter 24 - 28.12.81
Copyright holder(s): Name withheld
28th Dec. '81
Dear Mum & Dad & Al,
Well, greetings from the U.S. at a little more length. I'm sitting in the lounge watching T.V. (Channel 10) and feeling my brain cells rot away. This is awful: the programmes are built around the commercials and film censorship is rife. Would you believe "Thunderball" was savaged by cuts? For example, I remember in the original, the girl says to Sean Connery: "What sharp little eyes you have", and he replies: "Wait till you get to my teeth." On T.V. the reply was cut.
But enough trivia. I got here more or less on time after my 3 planes functioned effectively and my suitcase came thro' too. The flights were fun, but despite having window seats on 2 of the flights it was too cloudy to see much, and it was snowing fairly hard at Montreal, and slightly at Boston & Phil. It's warmer down here.
On the first day I relaxed, wandering around a nearby shopping mall. You'd love the malls here, Mum. In another mall there's a super-expensive store which has moved out of New York - Bloomfields or Bloomingfields? - and which carries the real luxury goods.
Then, on Christmas Eve Mr & Mrs. [CENSORED: surname] and I went into Philly. We went to the Art Museum first, and what picture did I see the instant I went in? Only "The Monarch of the Glen"! Yes, Philadelphia Art Museum was holding an exhibition of Landseer's Victorian paintings, a large no. of which depict Scottish themes. However, the Museum is superb. Many of its exhibits are "built in" to the structure: you'll walk thro' a porch which was once the window of a medieval monastery, and there are such exhibits as a full-scale Japanese tea-house and eastern temple. And the steps outside are the ones which Sylvester Stallone ran up in the film "Rocky". So I've got a couple of photos taken there! And then we went to the Edgar Allen Poe Historical site. This is a house with nothing in it but the memory of Poe. Still, the guide was very interesting, and the cellar does apparently resemble the one in "The Tell-Tale Heart". Then on to pizza at the Italian Market, a loud, exuberant vegetable-clothes-pizza etc. market in the Italian quarter of Philadelphia. That was really fun - just like the movies. And then on to the cradle of the nation: a quick spin round the Liberty Bell and then into Independence Hall, where the Declaration was read out and signed. And so home.
So that was Christmas Eve. Christmas Day started early: 6am. Rod, the son who's home, was working at a local store to earn extra cash, and he started at 8am. The family was extremely kind: I've got everything from a pocket calculator to one of Mr [CENSORED: surname]'s firm's mugs, from a Rubik's cube key-ring to a 3-D map of center (sic) city Philadelphia, from tube socks to chocolate kisses. Carole sent me a shirt from Germany, saying if I didn't like it she'd keep it herself. I phoned her on Christmas Day too, and she's probably coming in February. For Christmas Dinner we had beef fondu, which was fun.
On Boxing Day we all went to shop in the expensive mall, and later Mr. & Mrs T. took me to the local Brandy Wine Museum which has work by local artists, and Longwood Gdns which has special Christmas displays Alison would have loved: "Storybook Trees", which were miniature trees decorated according to a theme: "The Wind in the Willows", "Peter Rabbit", "Raggedy Ann" etc.
Yesterday Rod & I went to a book barn - a barn filled full of 2nd-hand books. We spent all afternoon there and I eventually bought 2 books for $4-00: a good hardback poetry anthology and a paperback on the philosophy of language, which should be useful.
And today I went for a walk around in the woods. The countryside is nice by here. The [CENSORED: surname] live in a renovated farmhouse a little out of town. There are deer in the woods and hunters after the deer. It must be about as idyllic as you can get near Philadelphia. Needless to say the [CENSORED: surname] are a great family. The elder (married) son is in Oregon but the other three kids are here - Wendy is an aspiring dancer who runs 8 miles a day, Jane has started Michigan State Uni., and Rod is studying Home Economics in Texas. They're all being very kind to the unintelligible stranger in their midst. We're going to Washington on Wed. and we've got tickets to see round the White House. We're also going to the Lincoln & Washington Memorial & Monument, and we'll visit the Smithsonian Inst. and see the Apollo 11 moon module, the Wright Brothers' aircraft & "The Spirit of St. Louis." It's a whale of a holiday.
Still, I missed being home & I was kind of lonely on the evening of Christmas Eve. I'm looking forward to seeing Carole soon. What's happening in the U.K.? All we get on T.V. here are adverts for Atari video games, and the quick rumour that Mark Phillips is having a royal affair with a BBC anchorwoman, not named. Esther Rantzen? I'm sure you enjoyed a good Christmas & New Year. Give my best to all. Be seeing you in '82!
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Correspondence from Canada: Letter 24 - 28.12.81. 2020. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved June 2020, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=872.
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