Just a recap of the American Hazells here, since Cyn is describing her Christmas with them. Her mother’s older sister, Aunt Ettie, lived in New York and had three daughters, Millie, Marguerite and Mona. Cyn had met them as adults when she and her mother visited New York in 1939, and briefly visited when she arrived in America in August 1946, but she didn’t know their husbands well, or their children. Aunt Moo (Muriel) was visiting her sister from St Vincent, and Cyn briefly visited their brother, Uncle Artie and his wife Aunt Phine, in Central Valley, N.Y. between Christmas and New Year. Mention is also made of younger Hazell cousins Bebe, Pat, and Brenda.
4229 Berwick Ave.,
Toledo 12 Ohio
Sunday 9th February 1947
At long last I have managed to begin a letter to you – I am most ashamed of myself for taking such weeks and months over it, but I know that you realize what a whirl I am in most of the time and I really am sorry. Of course the longer I leave it, the more and more stupendous a job it looks and the less courage I have to begin, but here I am to tell you about Christmas now! Isn’t it awful- in February! I don’t really mean to try and give you a detailed account now, but I’ll tell you all the special bits and answer all your letters that I have- it will probably take days!
To go back to Christmas at Aunt Ettie’s- I arrived on the Monday morning, and as far as I can remember, we didn’t do anything that day except sit around and talk. We had lunch at A. Ettie’s, in her breakfast nook in the kitchen & it was very cosy. Her house is on exactly the same plan as Monies’, & in some ways I think it is nicer than Marg’s because Marg’s kitchen is absolutely minute! None of them do at all well for me as the cupboards are way high up! But Marg’s kitchen particularly seems so cramped & is usually untidy & lots of dishes to wash up, but Monies’ & A.Ettie’s with having the breakfast nook seems roomier. A.Ettie and A. Moo both looked the same as they did in 1939.- I don’t notice any change in them at all. They were asking me if I noticed A. Moo’s deafness any worse, but I couldn’t remember that it was. She is much worse than you, even with her aid I think – even when she has it on you have to speak right at her, but I don’t wonder that she gets tired and confused when the whole crowd is there- I did & I’m not deaf! There’s always so much going on & so many people that you hardly get a chance to sit & be peaceful! And as soon as we’d all get sorted out to our own houses & be sitting reading quietly, Margs would say “Now I wonder if Mother & A. Moo wouldn’t like to come over for supper” & off she’d go to buzz them (Bill has fixed up a little private telephone between the 2 houses, as A. Ettie has no real phone) & her Mother would protest & say no they wouldn’t come, they were both reading & Margs could never understand it! She thought they’d be lonely! Then of course in the morning it would be the other way round- there would be some plan of all going to A. Ettie’s for something & the girls would be doing this, that & the other & not dressed until A. Ettie would be about tearing her hair! What a crowd!
One of those days before Christmas A. Moo & Monie & I went shopping in Garden City for some last minute purchases. One of mine was a bottle of rum! I knew that they would all be having drinks on various occasions, & I didn’t want to be drinking their drinks all the time, so I got the rum & gave it to the family, & we all had drinks from it. I also treated A. Moo & Monie to a soda, & we had quite a nice time.
That first evening I was there I gave the girls their wedding presents- at last- and they seemed very pleased with them. Allan apparently likes hats, so he was quite pleased with his fair isle beret too, but insisted on putting it on himself & cramming it on his head. (It was his birthday on 1st Feb. and I sent him a card & a book.) Little Mona was very taken with her tiny “ballerina” doll & kept me busy bending her into different positions, & I don’t know whether Hugh really liked “Black Beauty” or not, but everyone else told him how lovely it was!
All the houses looked very prettily decorated & both A. Ettie and Margs had lovely Christmas trees, which were up & decorated when I arrived. On Christmas Eve, Bill sat down & wrapped up all the presents & put tags on while Margs flapped around & made a cake & finally went to Church with us! Allan hung up stockings for us all, & Bill really did all the work of parcelling etc. & even wrapped some of his own presents! Monie & A. Moo & I drove down to the local store for something & of course I got myself entangled with a drunk ex-soldier, much to their amusement! He had been in the 1st Division & in England & when he discovered I was English, he wanted to kiss me – and did! – because everyone in England had been so swell to him! He then presented me with two very old, dry, prickly holly wreaths & with difficulty I got away without making a date!
On Christmas Eve Margs & I & A. Moo & A. Ettie went to Midnight Service – Monie stayed at home because Owen was coming. It was very nice but very long, because I think we left home at about 10.45 & didn’t get back till 1.30- Bill nearly sent out a search party for us. We had been invited to some friends of Margs & Bill’s nearby for an “egg nog” party, & Margs said we‘d go but with one thing another we never did & I was quite sorry because I have never had egg nog & the pictures in the adverts in the magazine look so tempting!
Allan was quite good on Christmas morning & didn’t wake up till nearly 7, so we weren’t awakened at the crack of dawn. He was very sweet opening his presents – not wild with excitement at all, but very intent! The family present-giving was to be at A. Ettie’s so, apart from one or two little things in our stockings we didn’t open anything but Allan had most of his. Then we had breakfast, & tried to clear away the mess, & I had kept asking Bill when the King’s broadcast was, & he would turn the radio on vaguely, & then Allan would want something & he would turn it off, & so it went until I missed it all together. I was really so disappointed I could have wept, & in a way it made me feel quite sad all day. I know that it was silly to feel so, but I had spoken of it so much, & I knew you would all be listening & I was looking forward to it as being my special Christmas piece from home – they were all very kind of course, but all busy with their own affairs, & I couldn’t help feeling a little bit homesick & left out. However, I survived! Of course it was hours before the whole family was organized at A. Ettie’s, but eventually the presents were opened & we had the dinner which was very good. The only other thing we did, I think, was to go to Margs’ neighbours’ that evening & we were given a hot Swedish punch to drink, called Glogg! Which amused me!
After Christmas I did nothing much until the Friday when I went into New York to meet Gwen, but I think I told you pretty much everything we did. We talked our heads off of course & Gwen was very grateful to me because I provided her with a young man!! You will wonder how on earth I did that, as Gwen is in Kansas City, but it is really quite simple! Remember Mary the nurse, in Cambridge? I wrote to her, & had a reply telling me that she was coming over here to marry her American boy friend Tony in January, & giving me Tony’s address in Kansas City! I wrote to him – mentioned Gwen- & Tony & his best friend called on Gwen & have since given her a good time! Aren’t I a little blessing to my friends! Since Christmas, there is a sequel though, as Mary has written to me to tell me that she’s not coming to the U.S. after all! At the last moment she got cold feet, & she has met an English boy, so there it is! Gwen said Tony was very vague & had no plans where they were to live or anything, so probably it has all turned out for the best!
When I got back to Margs that evening, Mill & Ford & the kids had arrived down & Margs was having her cocktail party that evening. She had quite a crowd of her neighbours – all rather “solid citizens”! A Jewish couple, & a fat old couple, & another man, whose wife had to stay at home to look after the kids, & then the family. It was quite nice without being riotous & I chatted to Ford. Bill’s idea at any party is to get a drink & another man & go in a corner and talk – no one could call him gay! But I got to like Bill quite well, although his lack of humour puts me off – you hardly ever see him laugh (never!)– but he was very kind to me really. On the Sat. after Margs’ cocktail party, Bill & Margs took me to another given by some old friends of theirs, & they kept telling me what fun they were etc. & it turned out to be the dullest party going! Lots of dull stodgy people, the host & hostess completely occupied with food & drink, no music or dancing & just nothing to do except eat or drink! Margs & Bill got quite high- out of boredom! – and I sat & ate solidly all the loveliest “snakes” until I was full & bloated! But I hadn’t seen such gorgeous things for years!
On Sunday we had another big dinner at A. Ettie’s- roast beef- & on Monday morning Ford was driving up to C.V, leaving Mill and the kids behind & coming back on Tuesday for New Year’s Eve. I wanted to see U. Artie, & he had written “sort of” asking me, then we telephoned him & told him I was coming up with Ford, & all the time, he never really said I must stay! Of course we knew he probably meant it, but with A. Phine you can’t be sure! So Ford said if I went & they didn’t take it for granted I was staying he would just call in the evening & take me to Cora’s, but everything went off fine- A. Phine had the bed fixed & all! Uncle Artie of course was sweet to me, and so was A. Phine really –I took their Christmas presents with me- cigars for him & hankies for her & they seem very pleased. U. Artie had a taxi come for him in the afternoon & I went down to C.V. with him to the Bank & P.O. etc. He asked me how much my fare to and from New York was and I told him $40- it was actually a bit more in the end but that seemed a lot to ask for as it was- & he gave me a cheque. It was so sweet of him & I thanked him very much, & felt that he was really being very generous to me – then, what do you think. He got a money draft to send to Pat- her monthly allowance – and how much do you think it was? $100! I nearly had a fit! He was supposed to send her an allowance until she got a job, & then she had one and still got the money- & more than a lot of well-trained people in England to get too. And still she’s not content- do you wonder those girls make me mad at times! Margs has just written to me & in her letter she says Pat has now given up her job & is taking this hairdressing course, & also that Bren & her baby are due in England soon! I heard all about Bebe from A. Phine of course, & from the way she talked I guessed that her engagement wouldn’t last long, & now I hear that it’s over. But from what I gathered Bebe was much more thrilled with being engaged than with Paul, so it seems as if this is the best thing.
Uncle Artie seemed as well as could be expected & he & A. Phine didn’t fight while I was there, but only scrapped occasionally! As I told you, Ethel had an awful cold & so wasn’t very happy, but she seems to fit in very well, & has really settled down. Margs was telling me such a scandal about Ethel figuring in a divorce suit, & she doesn’t have a home of her own so maybe she is glad to have such a comfortable place. Although I shouldn’t think it’s at all easy because U. Artie is quite deaf now, & his sight is poor too, & with A. Phine’s sight as it is, it is very difficult. I enjoyed the two days I spent there, & it was a nice rest but I was quite glad it wasn’t a long stay because we really don’t have much in common to talk about, but they were both very nice to me.
Ford came to lunch next day, then we left & collected Cora, & drove down to Long Beach. I think I told you I thought Cora looked just the same- but talk- golly! That evening was New Year’s Eve & I think I told you most of our adventures then. When we got into the city & were walking up Broadway, we went into Jack Dempsey’s Bar for a drink, & I was pleased to see it, as it’s a place you often hear about. After that we went to Times Sq. & home again. Now, I think I shall indulge myself in some catty remarks! As you know, I like Margs & Monie & Mill immensely – Mill not so much perhaps, as I don’t get a chance to get to know her so well as I do the others – but I have come to the conclusion that they are sloppy! Don’t breathe a word to a soul! Maybe it is after living with Til & Lois, who are always immaculate & as tidy in their persons as if they were always on show – I know I don’t reach their level at all. But Margs & Monie get up in the morning, & slop around for hours in a dressing gown & pyjamas without doing their hair hardly, & then when they get dressed, they are usually garbed in a pair of old slacks & jersey or shirt! Mind you when they go out or go to town they dress up & look very smart indeed, but I suppose I have enough of Papa in me, to criticize! Millie, I think is even worse- not herself so much, although I don’t think she cares how she looks, she just dresses ordinarily – but I was really shocked in some ways with the kids Hugh and Monie – they don’t even looked clean half of the time! I know they were maybe wearing old clothes to play around in, but they were really old & dirty-looking- Monie in slacks of course – I’ve never seen her in a skirt! But Mill just doesn’t ever seem to bother, or to insist that they should dress up or look nice – probably nice for the kids, but again – I criticized! (Margs keeps Allan a beautifully!) A. Moo always looked so elegant & lady-like in the midst of all the throng – neat white hair, & she changed into pretty dresses if they were having a family party too, but not many of the others bothered, although I think Margs & Monie did occasionally. Now- having got all that off my chest!
On New Year’s Day we had another family dinner, & then the Pembletons set out for home, & we didn’t seem to be quite so overwhelmed! I forgot to tell you that Owen left on Monday, but after I left, Margs wrote that he was back again. On Thursday, Margs & I had a heavy date with Bill & Hugh in New York! In bed that morning, I got so worried- Bill was charging around getting ready for work, & shouting at Margs (sound asleep in bed!) & I was afraid he would get so mad he wouldn’t take us out! When I told Margs later she was most amused, & of course he did! Margs & I went into New York in the afternoon & I wanted a new hat, & so she decided to get one too – & so we had great fun. We thought the hats we got were lovely at the time, but next day we had our doubts & I have never worn mine since! They were both black and mine is like this: –
I don’t think I can attempt to draw Margs! We went to Bill’s office & met him there – he has just been made an associate member of the firm by the way, & is very pleased- & then we got a taxi to the Waldorf, where we went to a lounge called Peacock Alley, & Hugh joined us there. We had a drink & Margs began to feel gay & insisted she wanted to rhumba! So we went to another place for dinner called the Havana Madrid, where we ate & danced & saw a floor show in the South American style! After being there a while we went to the New Yorker, where we had another drink, & danced & that was where we watched the ice show. Quite an evening! Hugh left us at the station & Margs & Bill fell asleep in the train & I had to wake them up when we got there!! They both liked Hugh very much, & he liked them too.
Next day was the day I was leaving & Margs etc. were to take me to the airport, & she invited Hugh to come to the house in the afternoon, as he said he would come and see me off too. Then, first Hugh rang up next day to say he couldn’t come as he had some unexpected work, but would go straight to the airport, & then of course the darned Flight was canceled! Eventually after much rearranging of plans Margs & Monie saw me off at Long Beach, & Hugh met me at Penn Station & took me to Grand Central. Both of us expected that I could get a train as easily as anything but were we wrong! All the airlines were out of use, so everyone had rushed for the trains & the place was seething, with queues at all the windows. After waiting & waiting & finding everything booked up, Hugh finally called the Military Authorities! He said he had a British Government Official going to Toledo, & no reservation – could they help, & at once I had a bedroom at my disposal! Wasn’t that something! Actually I was quite alarmed in case anyone investigated who this official was, but it wasn’t so untrue, because all the girls who got their passports & visas in London got them free & stamped “Government Official”, so only us poor provincials missed that & I don’t see why I shouldn’t pretend I have it too! I left N. Y. that night & got to Toledo next day & had a lovely comfortable journey – very different to the one going, which I hated!
Till & Bill met me in Toledo & I thought there was something strange but it wasn’t until Lois came from the airport later in the day that I realized there had been some sort of quarrel, & the atmosphere was very strained. I heard about it later from both Til & Lois – I think I told you want a haphazard happy-go-lucky fellow Bill is- well, Lois can’t stand the way he just drifts from one thing to another, & imposes on Til, & of course she is just the opposite, – very steady & would give Til just anything she has. Actually, she has given Til the beautiful new Buick, & is saving now to buy herself another one. Anyway – she is also, to a certain extent jealous of Bill, because I think his best point is that he is very fond of his Mother, but also, when Til and Bill are together they kind of shut other people out- you know? I felt it & it hurts Lois badly, but of course it’s natural that Til should see no wrong in Bill. However Bill had been there all the time I was away & finally there had been a big bust up, & Bill & Lois weren’t speaking to one another & Til was being very bright & hard & the atmosphere was just stretched on wires. Bill left that same week for Florida & was away 2 1/2 weeks & all the time it was the same strain. Lois & Til both told me their sides of the story, & I could sympathize with them both, & I love them both, so I just hated to see them that way. You know me when I’m in a house full of emotional strain- me noives were shattered as usual! & I felt quite miserable & depressed. However- Bill returned one Wed.- just for one night- & Lois went out & stayed at a hotel – so that finally brought things to a head. Bill left & has gone to Florida where he has a job now (his wife has just got a divorce, by the way) & the next night Til & Lois had a real do – I went up to my room, but I could hear them talking & talking, & at last they got everything settled & since then they have been fine. I was so relieved! Lois was all set to leave & go & live somewhere else & I just couldn’t imagine it happening, & of course now they are just back where they used to be & it is lovely! I do enjoy being with them both so much, & I enjoy staying in the house in the evening or going out with them to the pictures more than anything else. Til is the liveliest of course – she is full of fun, & we enjoy having tea in the afternoon & gossiping about things. Lois is much quieter, but she laughs with & at Til & me, & we all enjoy it. When I came at first they hardly ever ate dinner in the house, but went to a restaurant every day, & now we cook at home much more than we go out. Til & I go out shopping, & come home & cook, & it hardly takes us more than 3/4 – 1 hr & sometimes much less & we talk & cook & serve up dinners that we think are wonderful! The only complaint I have about Til’s cooking is that she & Lois like their meat very well done, & I think they overcook it! Til’s favourite dessert is Floating Island , so we agree beautifully over that! I can’t decide if I’m getting fatter or not – I weigh 108 pounds now, which is 10 pounds more than I used to be, but I think I put on most of that in Cambridge.
Since the Christmas holidays I don’t think there has been very much of vital interest to tell you, apart from the things I told you each week. Do you remember my Saturday night date with Norman Walker, the young man I met in Chicago? Well, this time too, I was bored stiff, & I think he feels exactly the same way about me! We had the silliest evening really – full of frustrations! He was supposed to be coming to take me to dinner at 8 o’clock, but it was more like 8.30 when he appeared as he lost his way! Then we drove downtown & he didn’t know anywhere to eat, so I mentioned two places I’d been to, & we set out to look for one & couldn’t find it. After a search we found the other & then couldn’t get a place to park the car! At last he found a parking lot – just a square of mud & melting ice, & he drove onto it & sort of over the edge onto the pavement to let me out onto a dry place- then, the car wouldn’t move back or forward- its wheels just spun on the ice, & it was sticking 1/2 over the pavement! Finally some fellows came along & helped push & got it back & we staggered off to have dinner – me just fainting with hunger by this time! We finished dinner at 10:30, & then went to the pictures- & had to stand in a queue inside, & when we did get in, we sat right at the front at one side & it was all peculiar. I got home at 1:30 a.m. & I’m not surprised I haven’t heard from the young man again!!
Another escapade I haven’t told you about was my proposed weekend at Niagara – with a young man no less! Just about the time I was feeling kind of fed up, I had a letter from the man English teacher, Roland Purdy, saying that he was going up to Niagara, Buffalo etc. for a weekend – how about coming & seeing the sights with him. So me- thinking, gosh anything to get away from this grind of hard work – wrote an enthusiastic acceptance! Finally after all arrangements were made I began to come to my senses & think what an idiot I was! 1.) Because we were to stay at the General Brock (the big hotel we had lunch at) & you know how expensive that was- and that + rail fare mounted up to quite a lot & I began to think I couldn’t afford it 2.) I had to go & make a speech in Fremont, Ohio, on the Friday which meant I wouldn’t leave here till Sat. morning & get to Niagara Sat. afternoon & have to leave to come back on Sun. afternoon 3.) I could hardly remember what Roland was like, & I didn’t want to get entangled with him anyway!!! However – my nice little guardian angels saw what a pickle I was in, & that turned out to be the very time we had the ice storm & the schools were closed & I sent a telegram saying the weather was too bad for me to come, with a clear conscience! Since then Roland has written & asked me to meet him in Pittsburgh (last weekend), but I wrote back & said I was booked up- quite true!
Do you remember my promising Anne’s Tadek to do what I could about seeing if he could come over here? Well last week I went downtown and saw a (Polish) Judge Grzezinski- Lois’s brother-in-law, Ernie, arranged it for me – but there is not very hopeful news. He says that someone here would have to put up a bond for Tadek & promise him a job & he didn’t offer any suggestions as to who would or how that could be accomplished. He also said that he didn’t know whether Tadek would be released to come. Anyway I wrote & told Anne & sent the judge’s name & address, so if Tadek wants to, he can maybe write himself.
Apart from that, I have done nothing else except my usual round of social engagements! I told you about going to my friend Mrs. Pasquier’s on Sat. night – what I didn’t mention was that I got home at 3 a.m.!! I went at 8:30, & we had drinks & talked & didn’t begin supper till 12.30, & then everyone sat & talked some more. They are very nice – I like both Mrs. & Mr. P. The young man who lectures at the University (in English) reminds me of Noel Coward & was a bit elegant! Otherwise pleasant!
Tonight, just as I was sitting writing, a young married, Marjorie Whiting, that I met at a place I talked, arrived to ask me to dinner tomorrow night, but I had to refuse, as it is Til’s Friends of Music Concert & Lois & I are going. I was quite sorry though because she is nice & friendly & new in Toledo & she said her husband had invited a friend to come, so it sounded as if it might be fun! However she lives nearby, so I expect I’ll see her again – she has two little girls.
Oh – I nearly forgot to tell you of another amusing incident. One of the boys who used to be in my cookery class, Bill Volk, left at the end of the semester. He lives just up the street & knows Lois & Til & Bill Burns & is a nice, friendly sort of fellow, (about 18) & was always quite matey with me, & gave me a lift home in his car one day when Lois wasn’t there. I know all about his sister & her divorce & all sorts of things! Anyway, one evening last week, Bill rang me up & I was in alone – he talked & chatted & asked me what I was doing & if I was by myself & I was just knew he was pining to ask me out or or come along & see me! In fact, he did suggest coming along & teaching me to play gin rummy, but I said Til & Lois were coming in soon & we left it at that. I told Til & Lois that I could just imagine their faces if they’d walked in & found me & Bill sitting there! He pops into school occasionally & has a chat, but he hasn’t phoned me since! I have no boys in my Foods classes now – they have either left or are taking something else, but I still have all the dear boys in my home room!
Now, at last I think I’ve told you ALL my gossip up to date! But I have a great pile of your letters here, that I want to answer a little bit. Thank you for them all, so much, Mummy. I know I don’t answer them as I should, but you know that I just love getting them & hearing all the news & the things you do & how you’re getting on, & thank you very very much for every single one. Thank you also for the lovely Valentine you sent me – I thought it was beautiful & I loved it. I got one from Cambridge next day, which I’m sure is from Anne.
I have been so worried about you all lately with this dreadful weather & the crisis you have been having. I am glad that you don’t have to depend on coal, but it was bad enough as it was & I hear on the radio that you are still having awful cold weather, but I do hope it will go soon. Some people here have been driving me nearly crazy by saying “My, you must be glad not to be in England now” or “You chose the right time to come over here” or even just glooming over the “awful news from England” until I could slay them, but I have one or 2 champions who protect me! – the main offenders are 1 or 2 teachers at school, & the others all tell me to take no notice or tell them to leave me alone! It is dreadful though, that this terrible bad weather should come on top of all the other things people in England have to put up with- it’s time you all got something nice instead of lousy things.
Now, at long last, I can get down to a gossip with you over Nan’s engagement! Well – I am really very pleased about it – I’m sorry I don’t know Dick better, but both you & Dottie seem to like him more & more & I think he & Nan are very well-suited to one another. I go so much by yours & Dottie’s opinion- & nearly always you coincide! One thing I must tell you – as a Deep Dark Secret – Dottie told me not to breathe a word! – but she doesn’t like Nan’s ring, & says it looks so small on her hand – but I had to tell you because you said practically the same thing! However, I suppose Nan just feels that she’d rather have something small but good, & of course prices are awful now. I had a nice long letter from her & she seemed very pleased with my cable & letter & present of stockings – & I sent a card too, but I don’t think that had got there yet. She seems to have a nice lot of things & she is certainly taking all the household things etc. very seriously & getting down to everything! Nan told me that they wanted to get married at the beginning of Aug. & asked me to be a bridesmaid most particularly so I shall try to make it if I can, although I just wish it could be a week or so later, but of course I know they want the wedding at the beginning of Dick’s holidays. The only reason that I would miss it would be if the trip to Jamaica came off, as it would be too good to miss, but I’ve written to Monie & told her that unless she can know for sure soon I’ll have to let it go. I must book my passage home now anyway, I had a letter from Washington telling me as it is going to be very crowded so I’ll have to know soon. I don’t finish school until nearly the end of June, so I won’t have much time for sightseeing which I’m very sorry about, but I suppose it can’t be helped – & maybe I won’t have any money left anyway! I must ask Nan what she wants me to bring her for a wedding present – I shall have fun buying your wedding outfit & Nan says for me to get something in blue & a viely- flowery headdress or hat – so I’ll see.
I don’t think Nan & Dick will ever be the sort of “matey” couple that Irene & Bill are – but then Nan is so different from Irene too- but somehow Irene & Bill just suit one another so well. I like to hear Irene’s housekeeping struggles (e.g.1/4 lb. potatoes!) & I love hearing about her settling down as a young married!
Thank you for telling me all Anne’s news – I had a letter from her too, telling pretty much the same thing. I am really sorry for poor old Miss Stoll & that old pig of a Howlett– she wrote to DeV. & said she hoped Mr. Nauts was being kinder to me than Miss H. was to her, & I felt quite badly because everyone here is so very kind. But Mrs. Brand (one of the teachers- a friend of Miss S’s) says that she likes Anne so much & the other teachers too & says everyone is very kind- but she is nearly collapsing with the cold! The fellow Jessie got jilted by for Blanche is called Bob, & she was going around with him when I left Cambridge, but I never liked him – a conceited stuffed owl! – so I don’t think she’s missing much! I had a letter from Lillian today (I wrote to her) & she says her mother is much better, & she tells me as a great secret (don’t you tell Anne!) that she has applied for, & think she has got- a job near home as a P.T. Organizer! I am so glad for her sake as she is very pleased. I thought I’d send her a parcel of a few food things for her Mother – one of the things Lillian asked for from the U.S. was a tin of tuna fish & one of salted peanuts, so I’ll include those! She has sent me a pound for black woollen dancing tights!! Everyone seems very pleased with my Christmas presents – Irene & Dottie both, & Anne & Jessie F. & Pam Hapgood. I never hear hear a word from Jessie Hall of course. I sent Lillian a pancake make up, but she didn’t mention it – perhaps in the excitement of the job! I do hope that Dottie’s birthday & Nan’s Xmas parcels turn up – but I am most relieved at Irene’s wedding parcel, as that was the most expensive. I forgot to tell Irene, so do tell her if you remember, but I got her wedding cake box all right! And on the outside was carefully written “Cake Removed”!! Wasn’t that funny! I was most intrigued, by the way, at all the Whist Drive Prizes you are collecting right & left! You must be getting an Expoit! I thought it was nice to give the breadknife to Alan & Mary Bain too- she must be a nice girl.
I am sure that in all the awful cold weather, Irene & Bill must be thrilled with their Warming Pad! I have one in bed too & it is lovely. By the way – I’ve often meant to ask – did Ruth ever get her present from me? The compact I sent for Xmas I mean.
I was sorry to hear of all Alma’s & A. Maggie’s troubles – I must write, but I don’t know about sending a parcel as you said Mummy, because any place over here has such lots of food I think. I might send her a nice tin of biscuits or something, but the little things I would send to England wouldn’t be any treat here. While I remember, will you please give my love to Bella & Mrs. Johnny & thank them for their letters. I won’t write to them but I’ll send P.C.s again. I am glad Maude got the food parcel & that the ladies liked the things. My love to old Winnie too- I owe her a letter still- I was most amused at her looking at the Xmas cards – I never got even a card from Joe, the skunk! By the way – everyone who writes A.M. to me now just puts 1/- on the letter except you! Has it been reduced?
I was sorry to hear about all Jane & Bill’s bad luck – they have been having a bad time, but I do hope that things will go well from now on for them.
I was amused at your comments about all my newspaper pictures! I think the “upswept” one is quite good, but Anne wrote that all the staff disliked it & thought I had changed & looked sophisticated, but when they saw the Red X they liked that & said it looked just like me!
I love the story you told me about Katie & Mrs. Paice saying I would make Frank a nice wife! I don’t think Mrs. P. has seen me since I was a sweet shy young thing in my teens, but even then I think I’d have bossed Frank around, so goodness knows what I’d do now!
I don’t think I ever told you how much I loved hearing about Irene’s wedding. I was pining for your letter to come & it told me all the things I wanted to know, then Dottie wrote all about it too so I got a wonderful “overall” picture. Irene sent me 2 snaps which were nice of her & gave me a very good idea of her outfit.
As you will have guessed by this last haphazard page or so, I have been reading through all your letters & commenting & it has taken me hours! I think after all I am going to have to send this by sea as it will be so heavy, but I hope it won’t take too long. Now that I have got this screed done I will write to Amy & get that off my chest! I don’t think I have ever said thank you for your idea of my buying something for Christmas & you paying for it- I think it is lovely, but that you sent me plenty, with a lovely cami-knicks & the cute little dog. Anyway I don’t want you to get the silly hat I got in New York! I had thought I might get a new grey-ish suit (to match my coat) in the spring, & now I have thought I might get it in time for the Atlantic City Conference if I see anything I like, as my blue corduroy can practically get up & make a speech by itself, it’s heard me make so many! I thought I could wear the suit with the blouses & hats I have now & at Easter I would get perhaps a pink felt hat, as they have some pretty ones, & a pink blouse. I am kind of scared to spend much on clothes although I’d love to get some new things, as I don’t know how my money will do, but at the moment I don’t seem to have much to wear at all apart from the blue suit, so I think I’ll have to get something. By the summer, I hope to know better how much I’ll have left to “frivol” with & be able to get some things then.
I must stop now as it is midnight & I’m in bed – love to any of the girls if you see them, & to Maude too & please thank her for her letter.
Lots & lots of love for my little Mama
Finished on 17th Feb.