A few notes of explanation. Cynthia wrote Air Mail (A.M.) forms to both her parents, briefly and formally, and then sent long chatty letters to her mother by sea mail. Those are the ones Carol kept- there are no Air Mail forms from this period. This means that times are jumbled- she refers to things she’s already told her parents, which can be confusing.
The reference to Jane and Bill suggests that her cousin Bill Otway has finally been demobbed and can take his wife to the West Indies to live, and meet his parents! (Cyn will see them again in 10 years when she and her family visit St Vincent.)
It is obvious that to her, the scheduling of classes in the American high school was quite different- I believe she used to have a class for a whole half day once or twice a week in England- but when I (retired high school teacher) read her schedule, I thought, “Wow, they were being nice to her- an hour for her own work, and only two preps!”
And a reminder: Miss Marie Stoll was the teacher she had exchanged with, and apparently Cyn had arranged for her to have Cyn’s rooms in Cambridge for the year so she did not need to go looking for somewhere to live.
4229 Berwick Ave.
Toledo 12 Ohio
Tuesday 10th Sept. 1946
Dearest little Momma,
I got your A.M. letter at school today, & it was just lovely to get it – the first I’d heard from you in Toledo. I am so glad that you had got my A.M. letter quickly – I expect the sea ones will take quite a while, but the only one I’ve sent by sea so far was full of juicy details, which you won’t mind getting a bit late!
I have been meaning to write this next long letter to you all through the weekend, but you have no idea what a busy person your small daughter is- rushing hither & thither & yon! Everyone is being so overwhelmingly kind that they invite me out all the time, in case I’m lonely, & instead of that, I hardly have a moment to myself! I also get quite a lot of sort of official letters from the British Consul in Cleveland welcoming me; the National Education Association welcoming me & giving me free membership for the year; the Reader’s Digest welcoming me & giving me a year’s free subscription (lovely!); from the D.S. Supervisor in Toledo; the D.S. Dept. of the U.S. Office of Education etc. etc.! And I feel that I must keep the British flag flying & write them all polite charming letters of thanks, but it all takes time. I’m just beginning to realize just what a responsible position I am in, and how much on show I’m going to be all the time – but still, I expect I can manage & I’ll do it as well as I can.
I am not going to answer your letter in this one I don’t think, as I want to get up-to-date with all my doings, but my next A.M. I shall include a part for you answering your letters, because I think to be interesting it’s better to do that in an A.M. & for Dad. I don’t give you very full accounts of my adventures so there should be room. But I was glad to hear that Jane & Bill are off at last – they will be terribly thrilled & so will Auntie Trix & Uncle John, but poor Mr. & Mrs. P. will be feeling it.
Now to go back to my arrival in Toledo – great occasion! As you guessed, I didn’t sleep much on the train- partly excitement & partly because we were arriving before seven in the morning & I was afraid I wouldn’t be awake & ready in time! But I was! It was hot, so I put on my Weatherall suit & white hat & was all set. When we got there – no proper station, like you see in the pictures it’s just railway tracks – the porter put my cases out, & some other people got out & I stood around & waited & waited & it wasn’t until everyone else had gone that Mr. Nauts came up & spoke to me. I think he just couldn’t believe it was I was IT! I just looked far too young & frivolous! He looks just the part, tall & big, with a slight stoop- a rather broad kind face, dark brown hair & eyes & glasses. He took me in his car to his house & I met his wife- short & fat & blonde with a pale face & glasses, – no beauty, but nice. She is an artist & designed their house, & has a studio in it. It is most original & she has all the woodwork the pale natural wood, & she has drawn flowers & fruit & leaves on all the stairs & doors, & appropriate sayings written on each door & it looks lovely. We had a nice breakfast with their youngest son Barry, (just entering DeVilbiss) and then Mr. N. took me in the car to the school. It is Enormous. I am enclosing some pictures of it in this letter, which would give you a better idea of it than the card I sent. He took me to see my rooms – I have 3- a classroom, a kitchen & a little dining room, – then around the building a bit. Then he drove me around the town a little & back to the house & then down to the Y.W. I have a nice little room there, with a little bathroom attached but the only thing was that it was on the ground floor beside the desk & was a bit noisy at night. However, it wasn’t bad. No meals were served, but I got my breakfast at the YMCA Cafeteria across the road & other meals out too. Getting meals out is going to make it expensive living here, but I don’t see that it can be helped. Lunch in the school cafeteria every day costs between 35-50 cents (1/9-2/6) then dinner in the evening is at least 50-75 cents, & that is when I eat the cheapest things! I shall have to wait until I get invited out, then make a pig of myself!! I do miss my tea, so much! I think that I will buy some & make it for myself in the afternoon when I get more organized, then I won’t get that sinking 4 o’clock feeling! I have breakfast at 8 o’clock, lunch at 12 o’clock, dinner at 6.0 & that’s all.
To go back to my arrival, I unpacked my cases, but not my trunk – & I can tell you, I was looking slightly worse for wear by then – my clothes I mean! Then I had a little wander out, then I slept as I told you. I got ready for dinner after having a bath, & felt lots better- I got my blue corduroy out of my trunk & wore that & it didn’t look too crumpled. Mr. & Mrs. Nauts picked me up & took me to a big hotel, & Mr. and Mrs. Bowsher (the Superintendent) met us there. He is a bluff hearty type & she was quite nice & quiet. We had a very nice dinner & there was an orchestra, but the service was terribly slow & we sat from about 7 till 9:30! By then, I was nearly asleep! However, I managed to be polite!
Next day, I slept all morning- did without breakfast & had a light lunch. Miss Mildred Pasch came for me about 4 o’clock & took me to her home, where I met her sister Dorothy & her mother & they were all really sweet & kind. Mildred is tall & a lovely complexion & pretty as well as smart. (Dorothy has a crooked spine.) We had a glass of sherry & & then dinner which was nice, & then Mildred & Dorothy took me a drive around in the car & delivered me to the Y.W.
Monday was Labour Day & I slept late again, but no one else did! The processions & bands began at 9 o’clock & I could hear them tootling away. About 12 I went out to see & the processions were endless- men & women just walking & walking carrying the names of their unions, with a band every now & then & a decorated car. Rather they than me, tramping along that hot day. I had lunch in the cafeteria & spent the afternoon writing letters & reading. There was a knock on my door and a female came in, one of the Y.W. officials, to ask me to supper at her apartment to meet some other Y.W. people & a Miss Frances Kayo, a Hawaiian exchange teacher. So I went & they were all very kind, but a bit “old girl-ish”! Miss Kayo was very American I thought, & full of so much pep and gush, that she made me feel weary & devoid of charm! There was a question of my living in the same lodging she is in, but I thought no! it would be too exhausting! We ate spam on toast with tomatoes & scrambled egg on top- it was nice!
Next day was work! I got there on the bus all right & Miss Pasch met me & introduced me to all the teachers as they came in- they all looked so well dressed & glamorous – all make up & jewellery & cute hats – but of course I couldn’t remember a single name & I’m sure I’ll never see 1/2 of them again. The only place we all go to is the cafeteria & we go in 4 shifts- I go in the 3rd, so I’ll probably only see those in the same one. Isn’t it silly? I wore my navy suit & white blouse & white hat – neat, but not gaudy! Mr. Nauts introduced me, then talked all morning about nothing at all! I wondered if it was just me bored, but apparently he is long-winded & everyone said the same. I had lunch with Miss Pasch and Miss Bargmann & others then back for another little homily from Mr. Nauts! Miss Bargmann met me at Smith’s Restaurant with another teacher & her husband & people & we all had dinner then I went to the Y.W. That evening I discovered that I could only stay at the Y.W. a week. So next morning I decided I’d have to ask Mr. Nauts about these plans he mentioned. Next day was the first day the students were in! I was stunned- but I think they were a bit too at me & they were quiet & good. I have a Home Room Group of 36- 1/2 boys & 1/2 girls- ages 16, 17 & known as Juniors. The 1st year are Freshman, 2nd Sophomores, 3rd Juniors & 4th Seniors. The H.R. Group comes to me for 1/2 hr. every day & I am their “advisor “– so far, I think they advise me mostly! The day is divided into 5 separate hours – I have 9 – 10 Study (they sit & work & I sit with them & do my own work); 10 – 11 Home Ec 1- (that is people beginning DS); 11-12 Foods 1 (2nd year in DS); 12 -12:30 lunch in Cafeteria (a rush); 12:30 – 1 Homeroom; 1 – 2 Foods 1 (another group); 2.0 – 3.0 Home Ec 1 (another group). And I have those same pupils the same hour every day! They can choose the subjects they want to do, so you can imagine how at the beginning there is just chaos & they all want to change their schedules & can’t fit things in & what not. My! My! The English system of telling them what they must do, seems much simpler!
That first day the pupils only stayed until 12, going to their classes & getting into the routine, then they left. Miss Sanger, the DS supervisor called to see me in the morning, & I arranged to go down & see her that afternoon & get the low down on things. I spoke to Mr. Nauts about accommodation & he told me about a teacher whom he thought might take me but couldn’t! However, he took me down to the Board of Education & I saw Miss Sanger, & spent the afternoon talking to her & getting so much information that I weakened wisibly! Miss S. took me to Miss Dorothy Pasch who is at the B. of E. as she had said she knew a really nice person who might have me, & she rang her, but she had just got someone else. So I felt quite sad & down hearted & had a long walk back & it was hot! I asked at the Y.W. about accommodation, as they mentioned a teacher wanting to share an apartment, but she had had to take in a relative, so that was no good! So I had dinner by myself, then Mr. Brown rang me up, (the Dean of Boys) & offered to have me live with him & my heart leapt. He came & took me out to his home, & it sank again! He & his wife were sweet & talked & were friendly & gave me tea, but their little baby was 1 month old, & cried all the time I was there, & they had another little boy of 2 (he cried too) & I thought I couldn’t bear it & that probably Mrs. Brown had enough to do & would have been fed up with me. I would’ve helped, but it would’ve been a tie. So that wasn’t much good & I went home feeling like little orphan Annie.
And next morning I had a letter from Anne telling me about old Marie Stoll making such a fuss about Warkworth House & threatening to complain to the Director about inadequate accommodation. Was I mad! After she’d done nothing for me, & while I was toiling away trying to find somewhere to live, she was grumbling because there was only one bathroom. I could’ve spat in her teeth, if me & her teeth had been closer! Anne says she’s nice but I feel prejudiced against her! They tell me here that she is always superbly dressed & full of pep & bowls all before her – she doesn’t sound my type!
However, after all my troubles, my little guardian angel came along & a nice teacher I’d noticed, Lois Enteman (Gym) came & said that she shared a house with a Mrs. Matilda Burns & I could have a room if I liked. I went out with her after school & fell in love with the place straight away – not to mention Lois & Til who were dears to me. Lois is about 35 – 40– slim, Eton cropped hair, & a nice face- Til is 45-ish- grey-haired & pretty & very witty – she makes me laugh & laugh. I told you about my little room – I shall try to draw a plan of it to enclose & I have taken a snap which I hope will be good. I don’t think I told you how nice Owen was- he lent me his camera, so I will take lots of pictures of all the places & people & send them for you. Wasn’t it sweet of him to think of it? Til is a widow- was married only 4 or 5 years & her husband died. She has a grown-up son- married & separated from his wife – & two grandsons. The son is in Columbus Ohio, & the grandsons & wife in Alabama.
Must go to bed and to sleep- it’s 11:15. I thought of you on Sunday – it was about 10:30 here & I was having breakfast & I just thought you’d be getting ready for tea. Night night- lots of love-
Hello honey – it’s me again. I’ve just been drawing the plan of my room for you & it looks a bit odd, but I know it will amuse you. I am also enclosing a map Toledo for you – I got one for myself on Saturday & I got one for you too & marked some of the places, & I thought you might enjoy looking at it, & if ever I have friends in any part of the town I can tell you & you’ll be able to see where it is on the map! To go back to my record of my doings, I was so happy & delighted to have a home to go to, & the next day I told everyone at work, & they all said that it would be lovely for me, as they were both so nice. On the Friday, Miss Bargmann, who was most helpful & kind to me, asked me if I would like to go out with her & have tea somewhere, as she knew I miss my tea, & I said I’d love to, so we were all set, & Miss B. met two other teachers as we were leaving & told them & one of them asked us all to her house to tea. So we went there, & it was very nice & I drank 2 cups of tea to celebrate! I packed that evening & took myself out to dinner as a treat! Next morning I had all my luggage ready & I got an Express Van to take my trunk as it wouldn’t go in Til’s car. She was coming for me & my cases at 2 o’clock, so I went into town – the 1st time I’d really gone shopping! It was lovely, even though I spent most of my time gazing! I went to the Bank & they were very nice to me there & while I was in there was a lady cashing English traveller’s cheques, so I said hello & asked if she was English & she was, so we had a little chat. I gazed at all the stores & bought a black felt hat (plain & sits on the back of my head) & black gloves & a white necklace (at the five¢ & 10¢!) I also got Anne a pair of blue earrings (I sent in a letter) and Dottie some shelf paper & Jessie F. a little silver charm, for her bracelet, all at the 5 &10!! I tried to buy a raincoat but couldn’t get my size.
After that little spree I had lunch & then back to the Y.W. & Til picked me up & took me out to 4229 Berwick. My trunk was in the basement, so after I unpacked my cases, I began unpacking my trunk & carrying the things upstairs & I got it nearly all done. Then I washed & changed & Til drove me out to a little airport where Lois works. She began this job (bookkeeping & typing) at this place during the summer vacation & likes it so much that she is trying to keep it on as well as her school work. She goes there at weekends & every day after we’re finished school. Til teaches music at lots of schools in Toledo, & broadcasts & plays in concerts, so they’re both pretty busy. The airfield is just a little one privately owned by a Col. Cory & his sons & they teach flying & hire planes – just little planes. Lois introduced me to everyone & then we went & had dinner across the road, then Til & I helped Lois finish her work, then we all drove into town & went to the pictures to see Danny Kaye in “The Kid from Brooklyn” which made me laugh & laugh!
On Sunday I slept late & then had breakfast – Lois had gone out- then I made my bed & continued putting things to rights in my room. At 2 o’clock, a Mr. Herbert Emery, one of the teachers from school, came for me in his car & took me home for dinner with his wife & family – two boys 15 & 10. Til made me laugh the other day – she was encouraging me to ask people to collect & deliver me in their cars & she said “You just say – why I’d love to come, but I don’t know my way. I get so confused around here – why the other day I just walked right in the river!” Isn’t she crazy!
Mr. Emery is rather a thin, pale, stooped, middle-aged man, & his wife is a little plump, but bonnie, and they were both awfully nice to me. We had a lovely dinner, & we sat talking & talking because they had visited Britain & seen Edinburgh & Durham & York & Cambridge & we talked about them all. They were great chatterers, & I as I get with such people, I just burst to get my say in & and end by talking as much as they do! I stayed until about 8 o’clock & then came home & wrote letters.
Monday, work again – boo! But I am managing all right! I just got the kitchen organized today & will begin cooking next week, but so far I’m just doing theory. I talked to one of the teachers, who is a friend of Lois’, and she said that Til & Lois liked me so much, & that everyone said how nice I was, so I felt pleased! That evening I went into town & saw about getting my card for sugar rationing & travelled out to Berwick on the street car, which is a horrid old thing! But the buses run at night, so it’s better, & I can find my way all right. When I had been out with the Y.W. females & Miss Kayo the previous week, they had been arranging to go to the theatre & asked me to go too, to see “The Voice of the Turtle” so I’d said yes, as I wanted to see the play. The arrangement was to meet on Monday evening at the Y.W. at eight, so I got all fixed up, (my pale blue silk suit, black hat, gloves, shoes etc.) & set out. On the way I met a girl & asked her about street cars & she was going to town too, so she & I went together & talked all the way & she was nice – called Rhoda. She is young- about 21, & lives near Berwick & we’re going out some evening! I met the other people & we all went to the theatre (paid for our own seats) & the play was very good & most amusing. I sat next to Miss Kayo & she was tired & had lost a lot of her pep, so I didn’t feel overwhelmed,, but quite bouncy! She is small too- 5’2″ & looks quite Japanesey (she has Japanese parents – naturalized U.S.) but it’s not really noticeable when she dresses & talks in such an American way.
Tuesday was yesterday & I had myself quite fun. On Sat. when I was shopping in town, I went to open an account at a big store, Lamson’s, as Dr. Smith had given me a tip to do so, & then I’d get nylon stockings & goods exchanged if I wanted to. The girl who took down all my particulars in the office was so nice & when she heard I came from England she was just amazed. Her home is in Texas & she’s just been in Toledo 2 weeks, so we chatted & agreed to meet, which we did for dinner yesterday. Her name is Joyce Cole, & her cousin was in the Army in England & people were very kind to him. She just graduated from the Univ. of Texas this summer, & her parents have moved to a place 35 miles from Toledo, so that’s why she’s here. She’s such a nice lass & we had a good gossip & it was fun to get away from school & meet someone else! I came home afterwards & wrote to you & Til & Lois came in later & they payed me a great compliment & said that they had never had anyone apart from their own family whom they had felt was so much a part of the home & that I just fitted in, which pleased me very much. I write up here in my own room, but I sit & gossip to them when they come in, or anytime we’re all in the house at the same time.
Today, Miss Sanger came in at work & listened to my lessons & seemed quite pleased & amused at some of the things I had them doing & she is coming next week to help me & to give a demonstration canning lesson for me next week. Canning is just bottling, but their jars etc. are different & I told her I’d like to see someone else take a class sometime & she offered to come & do it for me. She is a littler woman than me & grey-haired & will come right onto you when she talks – but otherwise is very nice! She is arranging to have me to her house to meet all the other D.S. teachers one day.
Today I had another dinner engagement. When I was at I. House in New York, the 1st Sunday just after I arrived, one of the other English teachers came rushing up & said that here was a teacher from Toledo. She was a thin little woman of 35 – 40 & her name is Kathryn Meyers. She chatted, but was leaving that day, so gave me her name & address & phone number & said I must call her. When I got to Toledo, I was in such a rush etc. I did nothing, then one morning I had a welcome note from her at school, then another day she phoned the Y.W. when I was out, & when at last I called her I felt quite ashamed! However we arranged to meet tonight & she took me to dinner at Grace Smith’s which is the famous restaurant here and we had a lovely dinner. She introduced me to a man who was also dining there with his family, who is Assistant Supervisor of Ed. & he was very nice & told me that Mr. Bowsher had told him of me & said “now there’s a girl that her country needn’t be ashamed to send anywhere!” So wasn’t that nice? This man told me, because he thought it would make me feel fine & it did! Then we went to Kathryn’s house & I talked to her Father and Mother and then I came back here.
Tomorrow I go out to tea with some teachers, to dinner with someone else, Friday I go to a Home Ec Club Meeting, but I’m keeping the weekend free to do all my chores & letter writing! I have my first public speaking engagement – on 25th Sept. to a Teacher’s Association meeting. My! My! Only for 15 minutes though! I’ll survive!
I must stop now & get to bed- the time just flies when I’m writing to you. The thing I miss most of all is having someone to really gossip to & say “isn’t so and so funny “! – so I do it to you instead. I do hope that you aren’t feeling too lonesome still – do you realize a month has gone?
Lots & lots of love