When Carol Ewing, née Hazell, went home to St.Vincent after thirty years in England, she re-united with the whole widespread Hazell clan. First she stayed with the Otways in Trinidad- her sister Trix and then her nephew Bill and his wife Jane and their children- and from what Cyn says, seems to have seen her eldest sister Gee, Georgina Hutchinson, as well. (Cyn was surprised at how old she looked in the photograph Carol sent her of the sisters, but considering that Carol had just had her 56th birthday (and Cyn her 35th) which would make Gee 77 years old, an elderly appearance is not surprising.) Basil Hutchinson, Cyn’s cousin, who lived in Canada, seems to have been visiting his mother, met his aunt, and took Carol’s postcards and a birthday present for Cyn to mail in Canada as a surprise. Gossip over other relatives, Jack Otway, Uncle Fred, etc. are interesting to Cyn as Carol passes on what has been going on in the family.
I was interested in Cyn’s birthday presents, as I still have some of them in my library (5000 volumes and counting) and in the attention she has to pay to ironing, a thing I don’t think many of us worry about nowadays- I certainly don’t. And details of prices are also interesting, if a bit surprising.
Now that Carol is living in St. Vincent, Cyn’s letters follow the pattern we’ve just seen in the month of April 1950- short Air Mail letters attempted weekly to keep in touch, with one long one sent by sea, often covering the same topics, but out of step in time. This letter is the usual 15 pages, and repeats a few things mentioned in earlier letters, but includes the little diagrams that would waste too much space in an air letter!
Sat. 22nd April. 1950.
Dearest Little Mummy,
Happy Birthday! And many, many happy returns of the day! Cec and I have been thinking of you all day, and wondering what you were doing, and what fun you were having with Auntie Moo. We reckon that you will be about 2 hours ahead of us in time, so I expect that you will be beginning to think of bed, and I hope that you had such a happy day.
Cec and I were so delighted this morning because your letter written partly on the Lady boat and partly on your arrival in St. V. arrived, and it was so amusing & jolly and you sounded so happy that we were both tickled to bits and kept reading it over & giggling at bits! I am so glad that St. V. was just as lovely as you remembered & that everything was even nicer than you remembered. I am longing to hear all the details & want a plan of A. Moo’s house, so that I can picture it, – the garden sounds wonderful – you have me puzzled because you say it isn’t very big, then reel off at least a dozen trees which are in it so that it sounds like an estate! I do hope that you can get some pictures of you in the garden & the surrounding country & so on. I took a picture of this house today, so that you will be able to visualize us in our abode! I took it now, while the trees are still bare, & will take another when they are in leaf as it will look quite different. I’ll also try & take some inside, so that you will see what it looks like. I am trying to learn how to use Cec’s camera, so it will be fun to see what I do!
You certainly gave me a great surprise with your letter & cards from Canada! I think they arrived on Tues. morning & the first one I saw was your letter- stamp Canadian – postmark, Montreal! I gawped, then without looking at the pictures on the P.C.s I began reading the one you wrote Cec “Here I am in Canada” & nearly collapsed with amazement! I finally got it sorted out, but not before I began thinking that via Montreal was a roundabout way to St. V.!! How nice to see Basil though, and what fun to meet yet another relative! It was kind of him to take the letters & my birthday present, & I am looking forward to getting the earrings – they sound lovely. I loved getting the snaps of Janie & Billo & the kids & the three sisters! I think the one of Bill with the 2 boys is sweet & the one of little Johnny watering the garden, but I didn’t think either of the ones of Janie were very good. Both Cec and I thought your face looked quite plump in your picture, but it suits you! Auntie Trix looks just the same as ever, but I didn’t realize that Auntie Gee would be so old looking- I don’t really remember seeing a picture of her for ages. Auntie Trix’s house looks nice, but hot without trees to shade it – but Janie & Billo’s looks lovely & shady. We hope so much that you like the colour picture we sent you for your birthday. It is quite the nicest one of the colour pictures we took on our honeymoon. The one of me in my glamorous bathing suit was awful I looked like a camel & Cec let me tear it up! The others are quite nice – two lovely ones from the train window of the Corniche d’Or & the gorgeous blue sea, another of the cliffs which isn’t too good, then one of us together on the beach & one of me alone. Unfortunately the ones on the beach are not as good as they might have been as we were sitting under the umbrella so looks rather greeny & anæmic, whereas the people in the sunlight look lovely. The two we took at Avignon, have hardly any colour in at all – it must’ve been something to do with a hot hazy day, but it was a pity. The prints are so expensive that we decided not to get them all to send to you, but got you an enlargement of the one we thought you’d like best. I hope you notice the Rolls-Royce waiting for me in front of the hotel?!
I have a whole stack of your letters here some of which I partly answered & some of which I haven’t, so I’m going to read through them as I go along. The first one I have is the long diary you wrote on the “Golfito”- I expect that seems ages ago to you now – and does England seem a dream, or do you still feel as if St. V. was a dream & that you will wake up some time? I think I answered everything in that letter, but I have been meaning to ask about the two girls you met on board – did you hear anything more of Mrs. Quinn in Trinidad? I expect that you will see Jeanette in St.V. now & will hear all about the wedding – you mustn’t forget to let me know. I liked hearing about the Hutchinson cousins- especially Sylvia, as she seems very nice & I would have loved to have seen her guest house. It sounds lovely & she must be really good at her job to have it looking so nice, and such good food etc. I’m sorry that you didn’t get a snap of her & the house, as I would like to see what they both are like, & I was interested in her romance, & hope it will eventually come right in the end.
By the way, I don’t believe I ever said thank you for the book you sent me for my birthday – or rather Sylvia sent for you. It was a little late in arriving, so that is why I forgot I hadn’t written about it, but thank you very very much now – I liked all the little articles & Cec did too- they were homey & nice, weren’t they? I did very well for books for my birthday because Nan sent me “Trouble in the Glen” by Maurice Walsh, & the 1st book from the Book Club I told you Dottie had given us the membership of, arrived last week. It is called “The Kon-Tiki Expedition” & sounded rather awful I thought, but Cec has read it & says it is very exciting & interesting. It is the true story of a group of young men who sail on a raft from Peru to some of the S. Sea Islands to prove that that was how they were originally populated. Amy sent me “Maxims & Reflections of Winston Churchill”- pst!!! Irene sent me two pretty hankies. I have joined the public library & I am enjoying it very much. They have all my old favourite authors like Elizabeth Gouge & Frances Parkinson Keyes & in fact many more British than US authors.
Talking of birthdays, I have just been packing your birthday parcel, late though it may be! We were keeping strictly to our budget this month, & until nearly the end we didn’t know how we were going to make out, but we did fine & bought (1) a carpet sweeper- beautiful, gorgeous thing, in comparison to that old Broom! and (2) an ironing board, as well as your present (the latter wasn’t such a very expensive item!!) Cec & I were so thrilled with the sweeper, that we rushed around the whole flat & swept everything, & as we bought it on Sat & had it delivered on Mon. I had let everything get dirty & we got a wonderful lot of dust & dirt! The ironing board I am very pleased about – I have been borrowing Mrs. K.’s & didn’t like to be always bothering, so we have been always behind with ironing. I got a nice metal board, as it’s a permanent possession as it were, and you also have to buy a pad and cover, as you just buy the structure by itself – cost us $9.00! It is being delivered tomorrow & I have a whole stack of ironing waiting! To go back to parcels, yours isn’t very much but Cec & I thought it was cute, & it is for you to do your chores in! I also packed a parcel for my Father – sweets, sugar, etc. and also a little package of candy & comic books for Peter, & some chocolate covered cherries for Dottie! Talking of Dottie, we had a letter from her last week with the rudest story, which made us laugh and laugh! Pity you’re not still with Auntie Trix – I expect she still likes a low joke!
I am making up a food parcel for Nan’s birthday with Fudge Mix, Coconut Pie Mix, Brownie Mix, Peppermint Frosting Mix etc. & will do something the same for Anne, although of course I’m late for her birthday, but I wrote & told her I was & sent a card.
To go back to your letter, I have been meaning to ask you how Jack was getting on, & then in one of your letters you say it doesn’t look as if Joan is coming back to him. What do you think is the trouble? They seemed very happy at one time – is it just his drinking do you think, or is it again a bit of mother-in-law trouble? Is she living at her home or what. I was so glad to know that Janie & Bill were so happy & had such a nice house and so many conveniences. It is grand that Bill is doing so well, because he is such a good boy & deserves to do well. I was surprised to hear about A. Trix being so interfering etc. but now I think about it I realize that she is inclined to be that way, & also of course, just as possessive as Winnie over her sons! However, I should’ve thought she would have had enough sense to be thankful that Bill has such a sweet wife without putting her big foot in it!
Now that you are in St.V. I expect you are all up to date with the Hazell gossip, & I am looking forward to hearing all about it. What about Auntie Mil & Uncle Fred’s divorce – are they really going to go through with it after all this time? It seems silly in a way, but I suppose it will be Mrs. Child’s doing – it must be the most peculiar situation – you must tell me what this Delilah Child’s like!
I wonder if you ever heard any more of the U.S. fleet or any more news of Hugh? I think I remember seeing something in the papers about the fleet returning from the Caribbean, so probably you didn’t. His letter was sweet, wasn’t it? I can’t imagine little J.P. growing up & being bigger than me- such a huge size! I must write to Hugh sometime- not only for the wedding present!! It’s a good job he hasn’t Jacob’s tastes or I could look forward to a tasty carved giraffe or hippopotamus!!
I have been writing this for a whole week now, & what do you think? Our boxes arrived on Friday- at last! We are so pleased & excited to have them all safely & to have everything with us again. We began unpacking straight away, & as Cec said it was just like Christmas!! We kept finding things we had forgotten all about, & we were amazed at how marvellously that old man did pack everything – there were only 3 casualties & none of them serious (1) a pyrex dish- that shallow square one- remember? (2) Mrs Parry’s blue Wedgewood jug- I never did like it anyway, but we won’t be able to sell it!! and (3) our big map got a bit jarred, so that the frame was loosened & there is a crack at one corner of the glass at the back, but nothing that we won’t be able to get mended quite easily. I’ve got all my cupboards in the kitchen full, but I haven’t washed the china yet, so next week I’ll do that and put paper on the shelves & it will look lovely! There isn’t room for the silver anywhere in the cupboard, & we haven’t any furniture we could put any of it on, so I am going to wrap it up & put it in one of the trucks. Anyway it tarnishes terribly quickly here with the heating. Talking of silver, makes me think of tea pots – well, I have plenty now! When we were at the Atkinson’s for that fateful weekend, Mrs. A. insisted on lending me the most atrocious thing you ever saw- thick, thick, white pottery with a little knobs all over (like warts!) and red & blue lines making a check on it – not to mention a yellow flower on top of the lid! It held about 8 cups of tea, so you can imagine how useful it was to us! However, as our boxes still hadn’t arrived I was in the grocers one day & here were the sweetest little brown pottery teapots (2 cuppers!) full of teabags for 49¢, so I got one, as I knew I hadn’t a tiny teapot anyway. It is so cute – made in England, & I am very pleased with it! By the way, had your boxes arrived in St. V. safely? And was everything all right? You would be just about as pleased to unpack everything & settle down as we are. Our Indian rug looks so nice in the sitting room. It has a navy blue carpet which showed every footprint, so the rug is fine on it, & as the walls are grey & the curtains plain yellow, it brightens it up & when we get our pictures hanging it will look very nice I think. We are going to try & get some bookshelves later- at the moment we have Cec’s books in the cupboard in the sitting room & have put all the story books back into one of the boxes in the attic. At the moment there is only the sofa & armchair- Cec’s desk, & two little occasional tables, in the sitting room, so there isn’t much space for bric-a-brac!!
I laughed over Janie dieting with things she doesn’t like! I’m just the same, but as I cook mostly things I like, I don’t get far! I am hoping that in the summer if it’s hot, the fat will just roll off me, without any effort! At the moment it doesn’t look as if summer will ever come here – there isn’t a sign of a bud on a tree or anything, but I expect it will arrive suddenly & we’ll swelter.
I was interested to hear of the prices of food in Trinidad & how Janie thought I wouldn’t be able to manage on my budget. Well, it is quite a struggle, although it seems a lot compared to what we’d spend in England, but of course it is all our meals, as Cec comes home to lunch every day & in England neither of us did. You said eggs were $1.26 in Trinidad – well they are low here at the moment- between 45¢ & 50¢ a doz. but as we use three for breakfast every morning (making up for lost time!) we get through them quickly. Vegetables I find very expensive- a little tiny cauliflower 35¢ & broccoli 39¢ & the only cabbage great huge ones at 9¢ a pound. I find the frozen veg cheaper, as corn & peas & beans are all under 30¢ a pkt & also I get little tins of veg (just enough for two) for as little as 2 for 15¢. Meat is high & bacon- also coffee. Each weekend our roast, which does us about 2 dinners & maybe 1 lunch is between $1.50 & $2.00 & of course our month’s milk bill is nearly $12, so it is no wonder that I am being careful! We had so many initial expenses with Cec’s college bill (which we’ll eventually get back from D.V.A.) & freight charges on our luggage & tea chests, that each month we’ve been panting for the next month’s cheque, but at last this month we have got straightened out & have even money left (not much) in the bank after paying our electric bill, (very pleased with ourselves- 2 month’s bill $10.00) so next month we will start out square.
I have been trying still to get a job, as we could use the money & I really haven’t much to do, but so far have no success as I don’t seem to be much good at anything! I wrote to the Gas & Electric Companies & the Electric doesn’t employ married women & the Gas said I could call sometime & fill in a form! I also went to a Book shop that wanted an assistant & the man was nice but turned me down as I had no experience & I went to a dress shop that wanted someone 1/2 time to sell hosiery & bags, but again I had no experience. Most annoying! However, I may get something – the last job would have suited me fine – afternoons & Saturdays & I am sure I could sell stockings very nicely, but I didn’t get the chance!
I was horror stricken at the size of the spider you drew that was at A. Trixie’s! We had a centipede in the bathroom yesterday & I yelled for Cec, we don’t know where it came from. The attic here is the worst place as it was just full of sick & dying flies & wasps & on a warm day they would all emerge from their crooks and nannies and creep around. I got a shoosher & have been spraying them all & collecting corpses & hope they are done now.
I was glad you had a nice time in Grenada & liked Mrs. Chandler so much. We were very amused at you & the café-au-lait gentlemen dashing out to the ship together! I am amazed at all the cousins you seem to be finding that I have never heard of before! Neither the Doreen on the Lady Rodney or the ones you met at Sylvia’s or with Marion, did I know existed – well, well!
I don’t know if I told you but the Sutherlands are going to build a house here. They have brought a “lot” & some weeks ago I think I told you they drove us to see it. It is in a very exclusive part a few miles out of A.A. by a lake & is very lovely & wooded. The site they have is on a hill, & they will have to have the house built in terraces as it were, but it should be very nice. The last Physics Wives Tea Party I went to about 10 days ago, was at a new house owned by a young couple with 3 little girls. It is most modern- built of wood- cedar, I think- & left brown, not painted, inside or out. It is built on the side of a hill and from the road looks a bit like Noah’s ark as only the top story shows & it has a wide overhanging roof & a sort of gangway or path all around.
The living room, kitchen etc. is all on the top floor, & you go downstairs to the bedrooms, & in addition to that, the whole of the living room floor has no inside walls except for a central cupboard, so-
It looks even more peculiar, as it is quite unfinished inside, as the husband is doing all the paddling & stairway & bedroom walls & closets etc. himself & it isn’t done yet, so all the walls are bare with aluminum insulating showing! It was very intriguing to see though!
I think I told you that we went down to the Kaufman’s to see the television & met their youngest daughter & son-in-law & I was very pleased! They were just married in Sept. & Mrs. K had told me so much about Fay, & how popular she was, with a smile for everyone & had shown me a newspaper photo (head & shoulder) of her as a bride, in which she looked lovely. However, she is small, about my size & fat– dumpy rather & a bit sulky looking! We liked her husband much better- he was a jolly young man. I was most amused, Mrs. K. kept telling Fay her hair didn’t look good, & Fay kept smarming it down with her hand, just like you wanting me to make a good impression & me not co-operating!
We haven’t seen any more of the Dockrills this week. They are the young couple just arrived from Cambridge – he is a Lab Technician & Dr. S. got him a job over here & they’ll stay if they like it. I just met him for a minute one day, but he reminds me of Claude & Brian- more of the latter in looks really, and the same way of talking. She looks a little bit like Joan Appleyard & seems quite nice. Talking about Joan & Ray, we wrote to them when we arrived, but haven’t heard anything. Did I ever tell you that we had had a note from Jim & Lee Gander near New York & they have a baby!
I have had letters from Nan & Irene lately & they tell me that the Egans are going out to Australia! Michael has a job as a radiologist at a hospital in Perth & they are to arrive there in August & Mary is having another baby in Sept. Brave girl! Poor Mrs. White will be sad at their going so far away though, but Irene says Mary is thrilled. I also heard from Ruth that she got her parcel safely & likes everything very much, & no word of duty!
I had written to Amy before & sent her a silver wedding card, even if it was late! I’ve never heard from my Father since leaving Cambridge, but write an A.M. every week. Anne wrote me that Tadek has got his Ph.D. Isn’t that grand? He is also a British citizen now & was trying for jobs, so I do hope he gets something really good – I haven’t heard from her for a little while.
Well honey – I think that is all the news! My pore arm is fair wore out! We are looking forward to a letter from you tomorrow perhaps telling all about St. V as we didn’t get one last week, but I know you would be having a busy time unpacking & gossiping & meeting people!
Cec is working very hard now & is giving a paper to the Physics Faculty at their weekly meeting on Thurs. so he’s preparing for that, then has another to give two weeks after. He sends his love & has been censoring this as I wrote it! Must stop now as it’s bedtime. Be good now!
Lots & lots of love from
Finished Sunday 30th April.