A word of explanation about Cec’s work: in the 1950s, the word ‘microwave’ was not in everyday use as the short form of reference for the microwave ovens we have in our kitchens- in fact, it was only in use among physicists. Cec’s experience with early radar during the war led to occasional work with naval research in England, as he did his degree in Cambridge. At the University of Michigan in 1950, he was still doing his Cambridge Ph.D., but had followed his professor, Dr. Sutherland, to Ann Arbor and was now doing research in the field of microwave spectroscopy. The conference in Columbus was annual event that Cec would attend in the future as well.
Sunday. 11th June.
Dearest Little Mama,
I am a Grass Widow today as Cec has gone to Columbus, Ohio, with Dr. Sutherland for a Microwave & Infra-red meeting. Dr. S. is staying for the whole week, but the thing that interests Cec is on Monday, so he will drive back with another man on Tuesday. I am glad, as it seems so queer & quiet! They set off this afternoon & already it seems ages & ages although it’s only 8 o’clock- I have been eating my dinner in installments – I had cold meat & salad at 6.0, & then coffee, & now have just had a plate of ice cream! Actually it was supper as we had dinner in the middle of the day before Cec left. Talking about widows, remember the draught being a little wind from the bottom of the widow?!
I have just been writing to Nan, to thank her for a nice long letter & a picture of Sandy. Sandy looks sweet & chubby now – she said she was sending you one of the pictures too, so you’ll see him, & I put it on record that now I think he is a bonny baby!
I sent Nan’s birthday parcel off late, so last week wrote her a note to tell her it was on its way. I went & forgot & put a 3¢ instead of a 5¢ stamp, so had it returned for the 2¢ postage by the very mail her letter came, so I kept it & sent it off with a longer letter today.
I wrote to Miss Lefroy a while ago, & have been quite good about writing letters, but must write to Denis & Dorothy now about their son! Won’t Winnie be tickled to bits? I wonder if he is a red-head? I bet Denis is pleased with himself, and it is lovely to know that there is a little Bobby – I hope he is as sweet & nice as his namesake. I wish we could begin our family too, but we must just be patient and wait until we are at least nearer the time for going to Canada, because besides the difficulty of the money to pay expenses here & it being so much more expensive, Cec will have enough to cope with all his work this coming year, and also I’d like it to be a Canadian & to have a home instead of this little flat. I don’t know why I suddenly begin writing about having a baby, but so many people seem to be doing it!
When I wrote last weekend we were just going to Toledo, but I didn’t get quite up to date in that letter, so I’ll go back a little to Whit. weekend. Not that it was kept as Whit. here – I never heard it mentioned, but Tuesday was Memorial Day & a public holiday, but it didn’t make much difference as Cec went to work as usual. On Mon. afternoon I went to tea with Mrs. S. and she had invited Joan Simpson with Christopher too. We had it in the garden & Mrs. S.’s birthday present had arrived- it was a chaise-longue! A garden one – a sort of armchair-sofa with padding etc.- very comfy. Apparently, it was a family joke with the S’s- when Dr. S. came home in the evening & asked Mrs.S. what she had been doing all day, she used to say “Oh, I’ve been lying on the chaise longue, reading a French novel & eating chocolates!”, so now Dr. S. got her the chaise longue for her birthday.
Mrs S. was saying that next evening she was having a dinner party for 12 people- how it had grown & grown out of control, & she was now horrified! So I said could I help her at all in the afternoon & she was most grateful. I went along on the Tues. afternoon & helped her make salad, & a relish tray & other odd jobs & we had a great gossip! I told her that I thought Joan Simpson was a wet weekend & she agreed with me! As she is so dull & no sense of humour, & can talk of nothing except her own family! Mrs. S. is great fun – we are nice & catty together & have the same opinions about people – With her, people are either wonderful & charming, or else she sees their faults, but if they’re nice she doesn’t see anything wrong with them, & she tells you quite candidly what she thinks!
On the next day, Wednesday, the Dean of the Graduate School, & his wife, Mrs Sawyer, who comes to the Physics Teas, had invited all the Physics Dept Faculty & their wives out to a picnic at their cottage on a lake some miles from A. Arbor. Dr. & Mrs. S drove us up – I wore my new checked cotton dress – & we got there about 5.30. It was lovely, sunny but cool, & the cottage was really a proper house right on the Lake shore. It was too cold to bathe, but some people were out sailing, & some got baseball bats, but there were too many trees to play baseball, so Dr. S. & Cec & I got up cricket, with a tree as wicket & a baseball bat & ball! It was great fun & everyone was most enthusiastic & I played wicket keeper & had a lot of fun! We had a wonderful dinner- baked ham, hot rolls, salad, corn etc. then cake, ice cream & strawberries- for about 60 people! Mrs Sawyer had 2 coloured girls helping her, that was really marvelous, the way she did it. Then we played more cricket & got bitten by mosquitos! By the way, there was some goodstuff called “Shoo Fly” which had no smell, but kept them away if you rubbed yourself with it. I thought if you wanted I could get you some, as you said you got bitten. After we left Dr S. drove us around by another lake & it was lovely moonlight, so we had a really nice time altogether.
The only sad thing was that our energetic cricket made a Mrs.S. Cec & me, so stiff the next day, but we recovered! Also, I lost a filling in a tooth, so rang up a dentist one of the Physics wives told me about, & he put a temporary filling in & I go later on to have it done properly. He was quite a nice oldish man- not black & sweaty like your friend!!
On the Sat. afternoon we went to Toledo as I told you. Til & Lois came about 4, & we got there & had a lovely dinner of ham, macaroni & cheese, corn, green salad then rhubarb pie. We just spent the evening gossiping & Til & Lois & Cec looked at television & I looked at magazines! It was wrestling, & rollerskating etc. & I was bored with it, so I much more enjoyed the magazines! On Sun. we got up latish, & then Lois was going to drive us to see her Aunts, when we found the car had a flat tire, so a man came from the garage & changed it while we waited. We then went & had a nice drive & saw the Aunties, & then came back & got dinner- fried chicken, mashed potatoes, asparagus, tomato salad, and then strawberries! Cec did some of his marking & then off we set home & arrived here about 6.30, & Til & Lois went back. They will be driving down to Alabama this weekend & I hope are doing all right as they were going in the tiny car! It uses so little petrol etc. the whole journey would cost them $5!!
We had quite an uneventful week, except that Cec got a horrid cold, & felt so rotten he stayed in bed on Wed. It was a scorching hot day & by afternoon, the flat was so warm, as there wasn’t a breath of air, so he got up, & in the evening we went round & sat on the S’s porch & had a nice drink with them & chat & it was lovely. Thursday was even hotter, & Cec didn’t go to work as his cold & throat were still bad, & we both felt just limp with the heat. Thank goodness, there was a storm on Friday & it has been lovely and cool since.
On Friday I was to go to the University at 1:30 for my typing test. When Cec came home for lunch he said would it be O.K. if Ned (the fellow he shares a room with) and his wife Phyllis, came to dinner that evening. We had asked them earlier in the week, but with Cec being away from work, it had made a mix-up, so I said all right, as I didn’t think the test would take more than an hour & I’d have time to shop & cook. So off I went- arrived at 1:30, & tottered out at 5 o’clock!! I was horror-stricken! There were 4 other girls & myself, & first of all we had a 1 1/2 hour intelligence test! It was about 6 or 8 sheets & each sheet you had so many minutes to do- one was spelling – some right some wrong & you corrected the wrong ones; one was grammar; one was punctuation; one was sums– floored me; one was sorting out things etc. etc. Apart from the arithmetic, I got on O.K., but it was hideous! Fractions & so on, that I’d forgotten all about! The next test was typing- first, copy exactly just an ordinary typed sheet; second copy sheet of itemized figures etc. in columns; third, type a freehand letter with various inclusions; fourth, compose & type a letter to a person on a certain subject you were told about; and fifth, type a page & correct punctuation, spelling, capitals etc.
When it was all over, I waited & saw the dame, who told me my test was all right, but it was too late to have any interviews then, so I’m to go back tomorrow! Looks as if I might be working!
Anyway, when I finished the test & saw how late it was, I phoned Cec & said cancel the dinner, & instead Ned & Phyllis came later & played bridge & had drinks. I was worn out with all my efforts, & we were pretty lousy after no practice, but it was fun.
It is getting late now, so I must stop & off to my lonely bed!! (and squeaky!) Next week I am going to begin another letter & answer all of yours I have accumulated & will either send it by sea or send it next weekend.
My love to Auntie Moo, & the cousins,
with lots & lots for you
P. S. Cec’s Mummy was asking for you in a letter the other day & said she’d always meant to answer your lovely letter & asked for your address, so that she still could. I sent it to her, but she is just as bad as her son about letter writing!!