June 2 1950

Friday. 2nd June. 1950.

Dearest Mummy,

I seem to have got in such a muddle over writing to you lately, & we have done so little that I can’t even remember from my dairy when & what happened. However, I shall go back to my old plan of writing at the beginning of each week, as you now have an airplane service, & will keep up with myself. This letter I’ll tell you what we have been doing & on Monday I’ll answer all your letters.

I have lots & lots of things to thank you for. 1) your letter posted on 23rd May which arrived on Monday 28th. 2) your letter posted on 16th May which arrived on Sat. 20th. Monday seems to be the day your letters usually arrive, but that one just managed to get here sooner- last week’s was a great surprise as I didn’t expect one for another week, but it is lovely that there is an extra mail now. Both Cec & I love your letters & get such a kick out of all your doings- of course we are wildly muddled up with all the relatives already, but we have great fun over them! I hope your cocktail party was a great success- also the games! But I’ll answer your letter properly next week. 3) the Burny Sugar Cake which arrived very quickly, just a few days after your letter telling me about it. Thank you very, very much, Mummy! I love it & crunch away & then have to puff to cool my tongue! Cec doesn’t really like it & the Sutherland children get a sort of painful pleasure out of nibbling tiny little bits, so I get it mostly all to myself! 4) The Picture Post with the dear little bear! We enjoyed seeing him so much & think he is so sweet – thank you for sending us his pictures.

Tomorrow is Joan Cox’s wedding day. We got her invitation this week & wished we could pop over for the occasion. She wrote & told me she’d like something to adorn herself with, giving sizes, but by then nothing would have arrived in time with Customs & what not, so I sent her a smuggled pair of nylons by air mail to arrive for the wedding & will send something else later. I wrote her an A.M. too, so we aren’t going to send a cable– too expensive & as usual we are hard up!! Did she tell you that the Lock’s baby was a girl? We heard today from Merle, Cec’s elder sister & she has just had her baby- a third boy!

She says the other two wanted a girl who would do the dishes! But that that he is sweet.

I got bootees & mitts with blue ribbons so I was right!! Actually I have just sent them, as we have sent 4 prs. of Cec’s trousers home for Carmen & I put the baby’s things in a back pocket. Both prs. of brown tweed pants & the fawn gabardine & grey pair he got his 2 summers in France are all too small- middle & length- he says they have shrunk!!

Now to go back to our doings- way back, just after I last wrote- Cec & I went shopping in town & had such a good time with ourselves! We got Cec a summer suit, as he had nothing cool to wear & it has been quite hot already. It is a bluey – grey material, & he looks nice in it – he wore it to teach his class one day this week & the students whistled at him & asked him if he was going to get married! It has two prs. of pants, so he is getting the other pr. to wear as slacks. Then we got me a cotton dress – black, red grey & white checks, trimmed with black along the bottom, cap sleeves & yoke. I have had to bequeath 3 of my cotton dresses to Anne Sutherland- my boost boosting out! So I have very few. We saw a wonderful thing that we are going to get with Marie’s wedding present money – it is out of stock at the moment, but more are coming in. It is an electric waffle iron- oblong- to cook two waffles at a time. When you don’t want waffles you can fix on flat plates instead of the honeycomby waffle ones & use it as a grill for eggs or bacon or hamburgers, or you can use it as a sandwich toaster! We are panting to get it & have a go at it!!

That evening we met Mary & Arthur Dockrill at 7:30 & went to the big University Gymnasium which was reserved for the use of faculty & families on Sat. evenings. (Closed now) It is a marvellous place with a huge gym – badminton courts, squash courts, swimming pool etc. We went in the gym first & I didn’t do a thing though the others played around, then we went to change for swimming and darn me if I didn’t split my bathing suit!! It was the one I got in America- white with purple orchids on made of silk jersey & I suppose the material was pretty rotten by now. Anyway, when I heaved it over my fat seat, it just went z-o-o-o-o-p! Mary seemed so upset at my saying I wouldn’t go in, that I toiled all the way home, & not risking my French one (tight in the beginning!) took the yellow playsuit with red roses on & finally swam in that. Cec & Arthur in the time of my absence has been playing paddle ball- a bit like squash, so by the time our swim was over, Cec was crawling with exhaustion! I had a lovely bathe in a rubber ring floating gently around! Afterwards we all went to a drug store & had a cup of coffee & as Dr. & Mrs. S. were out to dinner & I’d said I’d look in at the children, we bought them each a popsicle (frozen water ice on a stick!) & went & gave them to them in bed & read them a story! We were very popular! Next day & for about 3 days afterwards Cec couldn’t lift his arm above his shoulders & groaned like anything!

Did I tell you about the Sutherlands loaning us a bookcase? It is an old one they had in the children’s room in England & didn’t intend to bring with them but it got packed up with the other things. There was no room for it here, so it was lying in the attic & Mrs. S. said we could take it & paint it & do what we liked. So I spent two days filling in holes with plastic wood, sandpapering, & painting two coats of grey to match our sitting room walls & now it looks so nice & makes an enormous difference to the appearance of our room. It looks like so-

Charming, don’t you think?

I did all this very violently because on the Wed (next day) we had Mary & Arthur to dinner & we wanted it all to look nice. We brought the table into the sitting room, & I had the green linen table mats, green candles & a little bowl of sprays of lilac & it looked pretty. The menu was: – Tomato juice: Fried chicken & gravy- mashed potatoes- corn- green peas: relish dish of radishes- carrots sticks – celery curls: lemon meringue pie: coffee & it was good! They hadn’t had fried chicken before so it was new to them. We had a nice evening & we all enjoyed ourselves talking. Mary has a part-time job as Lab assistant at the Univ. now – that is what she did in Cambridge. She took a job packing in a laundry for a week 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with 1/2 hr. for lunch! It was good pay but she was nearly dead! I am still hoping for my typing job & go for a test next Friday- oo-er!

Do you remember my telling you about going to Toledo & to the Atkinsons etc. etc.? Well, we have been all muddled up. I suggested 3rd June or 10th to Mrs. A. & arranged to go to Til & Lois on 27th May. However, Mrs. A. couldn’t manage 3rd, as it was a big Masonic “do” & as schools finish on 9th, she found everyone would be going away or gone by the 10th, so finally we all decided to postpone it till the fall! Then we phoned Til & said we’d go to them for the weekend of the 3rd as that suited them better, as Lois finished at the Airport on 31st May, so would be freer. After that was all arranged Cec discovered that he had to invigilate his students’ Physics Exam on Sat. morning, so now instead of going on Friday afternoon Til & Lois are coming to collect us on Sat. afternoon & Cec is taking along his papers to mark! Til & Lois leave for Alabama on 10th & will spend most of the summer there, so we won’t see them again for a few months.

We are sitting waiting for them to arrive now, so I will stop & write you more on Mon. when I get back. We are taking down the presents to them that I got in Cambridge as this is the 1st time we’ve been down since our trunks arrived! By the way, how did everyone like your presents? Tell me!

We had another letter from you today (Sat 3rd) written last Mon. so I am scrambling to get this off as I feel guilty! Thank you heaps for yours – 

    With lots and lots of love 



[Cec’s Handwriting]

Dear Mom,

Cyn has left me more space than usual! I’ve got my exams to mark, grades to do & then I’ll be free to work for a few months. 

I was a bad boy last week. I went back with one of the other boys to the lab in the evening, started an experiment we couldn’t leave & got home at 7 a.m. Poor Cyn was frantic but she should have gone to bed & slept. She’ll know next time. (I hope.) She was a good girl not to tell you. Bye for now. Stay sober! 

        Lots of love       Cec.

Cyn’s favourite sweet from St.Vincent was called, in the family, Burny Sugar Cake, because it was- is- a cake of crystallized sugar flavoured with ginger and so ‘burned’ fiercely.  I shared her fondness for this, (along with chocolate milkshakes) but unfortunately the only time I tried to bring some back from the West Indies with me, the strands of ginger embedded in the sugar cake got mouldy- it is street candy, not commercial, and doesn’t travel well!

The cheques Cyn and Cec got as wedding presents in America are added to her wedding present list: in the previous letter, she mentioned Aunt Ettie, who gave them a cheque for $15 and the electric fan she had hoped for was bought, along with an electric alarm clock. I remember the waffle iron Cyn is looking forward to getting- a great heavy appliance that lived in a cupboard and didn’t make an appearance very often, but definitely made good waffles. Hugh’s present has not made an appearance yet, but is very generous- a Sunbeam Mixmaster that was a staple in Cyn’s kitchen and survived constant use for decades.

And speaking of money, in the account book she kept at the time- rent $80 a month, as was their monthly food and housekeeping bill- the letter mentions Cec’s suit- $31, and her dress- $5, although in June Cyn spends $20 on more clothes  and Cec’s birthday present.  Cec’s pay seems to be $240 a month, and in July there is a new entry: Cyn got a job, and their money situation eased a bit!

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