Not all the letters to Carol, still in Hampstead, have survived, but this one sums up the journey to the States and puts the couple in their new apartment and new life. And on the way there, Cyn meets some of her new relatives, and Cec’s friends. Lea and Wendy are Cec’s second sister Lena and her husband, Wendell Atchison, a United Church minister. Pete and Lu Forsythe are friends from Saskatoon from Cec’s university days, now at McGill doing graduate work. In Toronto lived Cec’s uncle and aunt, Milton and Lily Costain. Later in the letter we learn that Cyn’s uncle, her father’s older brother, John Ewing, has died, and that Cyn will write to her relatives in Ireland.
It is fun to read Cyn’s excitement at big grocery stores after England’s rationing, and her pleasure at baking her first ham! And she continues the misspelling of ‘hungry’, which we first read in her school letters, and is the only word she consistently gets wrong…
803 Granger Ave.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
21st Feb. 1950.
Thank you so much for your letter of the 16th which we got yesterday. I was so glad to know that you got my letter from the ship and knew that we were both quite safe and sound – the crossing wasn’t really dreadful, just uncomfortable and boring!! However, as you say the Queen’s were even worse, we didn’t do so badly. About Revelle’s I hardly think they are worth it – they didn’t stop me feeling ill & the steward said they actually made people sick! And as soon as I got used to it, I was o.k. without anything.
I told you all about our travels in Canada in my last letter, and we were very pleased to have got in all our visits, despite the fact that we both found all the travelling very tiring. I expect our sea trip didn’t leave us feeling too strong either, but we are both fine now after having a good rest in our apartment!
The business of getting off the ship in Halifax and spending the night in the Customs shed was the worst of all- standing and waiting to get off the boat for hours, and then waiting and waiting in a packed mass of people to get into the shed to claim your luggage – then waiting for Customs men & railway men & goodness knows what. We were exhausted and practically nervous wrecks, but there were mothers with tiny children and an old lady all by herself, and how they managed at all I don’t know. I think you must have got muddled with our dates, Mummy, because all along we were supposed to dock on the 7th and had to be in A. A. on 13th as Cec began work that day. With the ship being late and not docking till the night of the 8th, our plans had to be changed a bit, but as we got our US currency problems settled so quickly in Ottawa, we caught up time there, and were able to get back to Montreal the same day. We didn’t really see very much of Ottawa, as we dashed about so, but it was a glorious bright sunny day, with fresh snow, so everything looked very sparkling and clean. The whole countryside was snow-covered of course, right from Halifax, but when we got to Toronto there was none. Then on our way to Detroit there was quite a blizzard, & it has been snowy here ever since, with quite a big fall today. The night before last the temp. was down to zero but the flat is nice & warm and outside it was sunny & clear, so wasn’t at all alarming!
I enjoyed our stay in Montreal, and liked both Lea and Wendy and Lu and Pete. I see quite a family resemblance between Lea and Cec and Wendy reminded me quite a bit of Bob Mills – not so much in appearance, as in manner & way of talking. They live at a small place a bit out of Montreal- about 1/2 hr in the train- which Lea says is quite a summer resort. Wendy has a small Church there, and the house goes with the living – it has no running water, but a pump in the kitchen, so Lea is delighted at the prospect of moving into a new house which the Church is getting next month. She has taken on another job for a few weeks – night nursing a lady who has had a nervous breakdown- but she got a substitute while we were there. Lu & Pete live out the other side of Montreal in what were RAF married quarters which have now been taken over by the Univ. (McGill) for married students. We spent an hour or so there, chatting & seeing the baby who is cute, & then all went into town and had dinner before they saw us off on the train. Next day we spent with Cec’s Uncle and Aunt in Toronto & they were both very sweet & kind. Cec rang up his home from there & had quite a chat with the family which was nice too.
Since we got settled in Ann Arbor, we have led a very placid restful life for a change! The very first evening we were here, I telephoned Til & Lois and we had a great gossip and I squealed with excitement at them! As we didn’t feel like any more travelling for a while, we arranged for them to come up on Saturday afternoon, which they did. They are just the same as ever, & liked Cec (of course!) & Til thought he was so cute she would like to take him home with her! We had tea (!) here & talked & talked & a drink & talked some more and then went out for dinner. Then Til & Lois left around 8–8:30 & we will go & see them probably a week on Friday. We don’t want to make any plans for just now, as we are waiting for our 8 crates, 2 wardrobe trunks & 2 tin trunks which we sent by freight from Halifax as it was much cheaper. Cec will have to go & see them through the Customs at Detroit when we get word that they have arrived, so we are just hanging on. We have bought all the necessities, but I find that my cooking must be simplified, as we have so few dishes! Our flat is our pride & joy & we do like it. I keep opening & shutting the refrigerator & I’m getting used to the electric stove. Cec & I did quite a big grocery shopping on Wed. as well as getting pans etc. Then on Friday Mrs. Sutherland took me in their car to a big grocery store with her because it is quite a distance away & with big bundles it is too far to walk. She says that I may come with her each Friday so it will be a big help as she & Dr. S. only live in the next street. I just love going around the big grocery stores – I have to keep turning away from temptation & not buying everything I see, because our bills are quite big enough! We don’t think food is quite as expensive as we’d thought it would be, but of course with buying staples & a few tins we have spent more than usual this week. The Sutherlands had a most wonderful baked ham the night we went to dinner, & they said it really wasn’t extravagant, as beef or mutton roast cost just as much or more, & it lasted for so many meals, so as a treat we got one for ourselves last weekend! It was a shoulder ham & weighed 4 3/4 lbs, so Fri. night I cut two big slices off & fried them, & on Sun. baked the rest & it was gorgeous! The first time I ever baked ham! We had corn, & creamed potatoes & apple sauce with it- hungrey?! Next night we had it cold with salad, lunch today we had a little in our Rice Pilaff, & tonight we had it scalloped with hard-boiled egg so it is lasting us well & still some left- also the hambone in the stock pot!
I have been doing various small washings here, but there is no place to dry things & we had a mass of stuff accumulated, so today I took it all to a Laundrymat! That is, I spent 65¢ for the use of a Bendix washing machine & got all the clothes washed, rinsed & dried. Actually, I could have had it done 10¢ cheaper if I’d stayed & put the things through the dryer etc. myself, but it takes 1 1/2 hrs so I paid the extra & just left it & collected it later. Isn’t it all clever? There are about 20 machines in this place & it is only 5 or 10 minutes walk away, so it is well worth my going- they charge by weight, so if you have only a little you pay less. Mrs. Kaufman has loaned me her iron & board, so I will iron tomorrow – they are both being very kind & have given us lifts in the car & lent us books & magazines as well. They are still in the middle of having their kitchen & new bathroom etc. fixed, so are in a great muddle. [Changed to writing in pencil, hard to read on onionskin paper.]
Yesterday evening Cec & I went to a Basketball Game! The University v. the State College. All the Sports Fields, Gyms, Stadium etc. are just a block away from us, so it is very convenient, & Cec thought it would be fun to see some basketball games, then Dr. S. gave him 2 complimentary tickets to this one. It is the same sort of thing as netball, but played with men & much faster – I enjoyed it – & the Univ. won!
Tomorrow Mrs. S. is taking me to a Tea Party given by the wife of one of the Profs for the “Physics Wives” so I must behave myself. As you can see, the ink situation is bad – both of our pens dry so I must stop soon.
We were so sorry to hear about Uncle John’s death, and I will write to the Ewings this week – they will all feel it a big break in their family circle & I wonder if poor Auntie Annie will last long now. I was interested to hear about Pam & George & Nikki being to see you & looking forward hugely to hearing all about Ruth’s party. My goodness, their expense over my wedding will be just a spit in the eye compared to this! I am sure you will enjoy it when you get there & will look much nicer than Amy! We are sending Ruth a cable tomorrow & will send the nylons when our finances are a little more settled! I am just going to send them & let her pay the duty, because I don’t want to risk losing them if we pay a lot of money for them.
I was most interested to hear Denis & Dorothy’s news & look forward to getting the letter. I am glad you got your trunk safely to London at last, but sorry to hear about the poor little puppy. It was rather a horrid little thing but kind of cute. I do think Joan was unkind to them & I hate to think of the time poor Spivvy is having.
By the time you get this the Election will be over and I wonder what will have happened. Til & Lois & everyone we talk to here are very Conservative-minded!
I simply must stop now. Will write soon again. Don’t begin & get agitated about your trip now – just think how nice it will be when you get to see Jane & Bill & A. Trix & A. Moo – & how much nearer you’ll be to us. I’m so glad you had a nice letter from A.Ettie & that she seems better.
With love to AGL & Chris &
lots & lots for you
[Cec’s handwrting] She didn’t leave me any room so lots of love
[Cyn’s handwriting] P. S. I always meant to say Thank You for your photo in the dear little frame. It is sweet & is on our dressing table.