When Cyn discusses housework, I am always struck by the importance of the chore of ironing. She does seem to buy cotton dresses, sensible for a hot summer, and my father Cec wore a white shirt and tie every working day, but I seem to remember handkerchiefs and sheets and goodness knows what else needing ironing. There is no letter telling about her getting a job, but it is clear that now she is working, she is facing the perennial problems of the working woman, combined with a conviction that the housework is HER job!
Pete and Lu Forsyth have featured in both Cyn and Cec’s letters before, since not only was Pete at university with Cec in Saskatoon, but also was a Radar Officer like Cec during the war. This letter introduces his sister Jessie, as well as new friends that Cyn is meeting because of her job. She keeps in touch with old friends too- Joan’s wedding was remembered on the day, and a cable sent off to the Egans sailing for Australia. And family is always mentioned- Carol and her sisters and nieces reuniting in the West Indies, and Cec’s sister Lee having a baby boy in Canada. Soon the letters will be covering Cyn and Cec’s holidays, when they go west in Canada so Cyn can meet her in-laws!
5th July, 1950.
For the first time since I began working I have caught up with my ironing! I am so pleased with myself because each week I had a dribble (or more!) hanging on till the next week & tonight I finished it off!! What helped the hitch in the first place was that I changed my laundry as the 1st one wouldn’t remember to collect the things regularly & the 2nd laundry thought it was a “flat” wash & brought back 8 shirts rough dried to add to my other ironing! Woe was me!
Yesterday was the 4th of July & so of course I got a holiday, much to my delight!! We slept late (need I say!) and then I did housework till I told Cec I had a halo extending for feet & yards! I cleaned both rooms thoroughly – did the hall & stairs- cleaned the bath & scrubbed the kitchen floor! Despite the hard work we had a nice day & I quite enjoyed the change of occupation! Thank goodness it has got a bit cooler, but by the time dinner is over I can’t get any energy to clean so I leave it for the weekend & then with the shopping & cooking & one thing & another it is a regular scramble, but now I am caught up I feel fine!
When I wrote last week we were both wilting with the heat, but it got better by Wed. & has been nice but cool ever since. We had a visitor to dinner last Wed. Do you remember Cec often talking about friends of his at home called Pete & Lu? We met them in Montreal when we came thro’ & saw their little baby girl. Well, Lu wrote to us a little while ago & said that Pete’s older sister Jessie (a teacher) was coming for a Summer Course at the University here, so we got in touch with her last week. She met us in town & we brought her home with us for dinner & she seems very nice. I had a cold meal- cantaloupe, a chicken mould with an hors d’oeuvres (in Joan & Ray’s dish) of salad veg. and bread sticks & butter, then afterwards strawberries & cream on little sponge cakes & coffee – Good?! It is so strange to think that you can’t get chicken now, because at the moment they are much cheaper than meat- the cheapest meat (hamburger) is 64¢ a pound & steaks etc. are 99¢ a pound or more- whereas chickens are 39¢ a pound or 49¢ according to type, so we have one most weeks & enjoy ourselves! Now that I’m at work all day I can’t go shopping with Mrs. S. on Fri. afternoons, so instead the wife of a fellow who works with Cec, called Peters, takes me with her. They live close by, & have 2 little girls & have just bought a house which they are painting & fixing up themselves. The girl’s name is Mary Jo, & she & her husband are very nice. Anyway, Mary Jo calls for me about 8 o’clock on Fri. evening & drives me downtown to a big “Market” called Packers & we buy in our week’s stores. I think I am doing pretty well to have two huge paper sackfuls, & 1 boy to help me carry them out, but Mary Jo always has to have 2 boys & they can’t even carry her stuff to the car, but have to drag it in a little cart!!
Cec had to go back to the Lab. once or twice last week, as he was running some machine, so on Thursday evening I took my washing around to S’s & Gunborg & I had quite a chat & a cup of tea over the kitchen table. Anne & Kirsten are going to a summer camp for girls for 3 weeks, so she was sewing name tapes on, so I helped her, & then Dr. S. came in, & he was rushing to get an article done to send off, so I typed the end of it for him! On Sat. evening Cec & I called around to see them for a minute on our way to the drugstore to get a milk shake, & they were so interested in the idea, that it ended in us all getting in the car & driving into town together. We went into an Ice Cream Parlour & sat in a booth & had milkshakes & hamburgers! Gunborg & I felt very hilarious & said it was because we were having such a wild night out! We do enjoy being with them tho’ & they are such fun – we are planning to all drive into Detroit one evening & see one of the big baseball games. Cec is always listening to them on the radio & I am beginning to have a slight notion of what they are about!
On Sunday Jessie had asked us to come & have dinner with her. She is staying at one of the big women’s residences for the University & they were allowed to invite guests on Sundays. The place was over on the other side of A.A. & no buses on Sundays, so we borrowed bicycles from the S’s. Cec was fine on Dr. S’s, but I found Anne’s was just too high for me, & oh! my seat got sore!! The residence was very new & comfortable, & we had a good dinner, with Cec the only man in the whole dining room but we sat at small tables, so he didn’t mind!
On Monday morning we began a new time at the office- 8 instead of 8:30 in the morning, so that we get out at 5- lovely at 5, but oh dear- 6:45 AM!!! We had a cheque from A. Ettie for $15 as a present from her & the girls, so we bought a nice little electric alarm clock for $5, & counted the electric fan as the other part of the present, as that cost $10. Wasn’t it sweet of them – and we couldn’t have had 2 more useful presents – remember, I said I’d ask her for one or the other? I’m afraid she got tired of waiting for my letter, but I wrote straight away & thanked her. The clock is nice- square with a cream plastic case & has been very effective as to alarm up to date! I was so pleased to hear from A. Ettie about Monie & Owen going to England & her coming out to St. V. I hope she keeps well and gets her permit all right to come in September. (Did Margs ever get to the W. I. In Feb? I never heard.) Won’t you all have a good time chattering together!
Did I tell you that I had to go to a dentist as the filling came out of one of my teeth? Well, the hole was so big, he is having to take out the nerve & I have been 3 times already, & he was ever so cruel the time he injected me & took the nerve out! However, it seems to be O.K. now & I hope he’ll soon have it finished. He told me it would cost $30 or $40, so isn’t it a good thing I have a job!!
It is Saturday, by now & I am sorry I didn’t get this letter finished earlier, but I just didn’t seem to have had a minute. I was writing on Wed. evening & went to bed as I felt sleepy, & I didn’t tell you how we finished celebrating the 4th July! Just after dinner Gunborg came to invite us around that evening, as Dr. S. had just left for Buffalo for a meeting & she was feeling very lonely. So we agreed to go later as Cec had work to do. When we arrived, she had her “Cocktail Recipe” book out, & we mixed one we all liked the look of & then sat & chatted, but although we only had 2 drinks each, they must have been very potent, as we ended up the evening feeling very cheerful!
On Wed. I remembered to send a cable to Mary Egan who was sailing from Tilbury on Thurs. I shudder to think of what their last few weeks must have been like with the packing & children & everything!
On Thursday. I invited one of the girls at the office home to dinner with us. Her name is Miriam Krauss & she began working there just after I did as secretary to one of the men. She is rather like Irene in appearance (blonde- German descent) and is just 22 & out of College. She is engaged to a fellow in College who hopes to be a Dr. & they are going to get married next month, but in the meanwhile he is up in Northern Mich. at his home, & she is in a room here (as her home is a little way away) & feels so lonely, so I am sorry for her! Her father is a minister, & her mother doesn’t want her to get married this year, so I listen & give a good advice! But she seems a nice girl & enjoyed her visit. Last night I went shopping with Mary Jo & today I don’t seem to have done much at all. I baked a fruit cake & some shortbread biscuits as I thought they would be nice to take for our picnic lunches. Did I tell you we took them each day now? If it isn’t nice we eat them in Cec’s room in the Physics Building & if it is we eat them on the “Campus” which is like a little park around which the university buildings are built with grass & trees & benches. We take peanuts for the squirrels too & have as much fun feeding them as feeding ourselves!!
This letter will be way overweight if I’m not careful – so I’ll stop now. Love to Jeanie etc. (by the way Cec’s sister Lee has a little baby boy too! All Costain babies seem to be boys this season!) and A. Moo–
With lots and lots for my Mummy
P.S. This letter seems very disjointed – don’t know why!