November 13 1950

First page had typewritten second page on the back- rest hand written- hard to read!

Monday. 13th November.

Dearest Mummy,

Was so glad to get your letter last week & to know that you had got the letter with the typed forms & coloured pictures & so on- also my Air Mail letter. I saw our Mailman on Sat. (your letter came on Thurs.) & he was begging for some St Vincent stamps, so your letters keep me very popular with the postmen!

The last time I wrote I was going to go with Dawn and Edie to the pictures & it was raining – the buses here are once an hour in the evenings, so I set out to walk, all bundled up in raincoat & hood & boots, but by the time I got there I was dripping all over! However, the picture was quite good – it was called “All About Eve” & got very good criticisms & the other girls thought it was wonderful, but I didn’t rave! The dialogue was good, & Bette Davis was amusing with her wisecracks, but looked awful! I took a taxi home as it was still raining, so I told Cec I’d had a very expensive evening out of my pocket money – he usually pays for pictures out of his pocket money!

Cec’s Seminar finally came off on Thursday afternoon (after staying up till 5 a.m. on Wed. night) & he came home very pleased as it had gone so well. Dr. Sutherland was very pleased with it & some of the other Profs had too & they had all been interested & asked questions & discussed things afterwards, so after all his hard work it was nice to feel rewarded. Since then he has been relaxing a bit, but he’s starting in to toil again today he says.

On Friday evening we went & shopped for our groceries, and I made my Christmas shopping list and we planned out a great day of action for Saturday! We got the Laundry ready to take to the Laundrymat- wrote checks for the Electric Co. & Laundry that we owed- Cec took out the typewriter to take down to get it cleaned & I took my Christmas shopping list. Our first stop at the Laundrymat was a little disheartening, as it was crowded and we had to wait for half an hour or more, however, we finally got it in and walked the rest of the distance into town. There, we headed for the Bank – and what do you think? It was closed for November 11. It is a legal holiday here, and of course we didn’t know. We were so frustrated! I couldn’t buy any presents of course, and it means that I won’t be able to get any till next Saturday, so my presents will be late in getting off, but I can’t do anything else. Also to add to our troubles, the places where we were going to pay our bills were closed too, and the man who was to do the typewriter was out! Anyway, we left the typewriter, and had a cup of coffee to weep into, and then went home for lunch. I was ever so annoyed.

In the afternoon I cleaned the flat, and Dr. S. & Anne called to leave their bicycles on the way to the Football Game. Gunborg is away till tonight so we had asked Gordon if he would like to come and have a game of bridge with us on the Sat. evening, as he plays and Gunborg isn’t keen, and he said that he would like to very much. So another thing that frustrated us all day Sat. was that we spent the day ringing up Al MacNamara to ask him to come and make a fourth and we never managed to get him yet! After the football game Anne and Gordon came in and had tea and hot scones, and Gordon said that he had some shopping to do, and would call for us in the car when he’d gone home on his bicycle, as we were getting ready to go up and get our laundry, so we waited and he was quite a little while – and guess what? It was just after six when we got there, and the place was closed, and we didn’t get our laundry either! Wasn’t that a day? However, Gordon came in the evening anyway, and we played cut-throat bridge, and all had a good time, so it ended all right!

I meant to do so much over the weekend of course in the way of writing letters, but ended up by getting none done. I had the rest of the washing to do, and what with our late rising and the meals and general chores, I wasn’t finished until after dinner in the evening and then in a moment of weakness I picked up “Florence Nightingale” which was our last Book Club from Dottie, which came sometime ago. Cec had read it, and I had read a little at the beginning, so I began to look at it again and ended by reading all evening. It is a biography written by a woman Cecil Woodham-Smith, I think, and it’s very fascinating. I had no idea that Florence was such a weird person, and that she had done such a little actual nursing. In some ways I kept thinking of Miss Lefroy, but she isn’t as peculiar as Florence was. I was very sorry to hear of poor Miss Lefroy’s troubles and the bad time she has been having. I do hope that she is able to get a good couple downstairs, and that she is free of domestic worries for a while. By the way, when I sent her birthday card I had forgotten that Chris’s birthday was so close, and didn’t say anything about her except to send my love – however! I thought that for their Christmas I would send a fruitcake like Barbara Kristin used to send me – even if they don’t like it much themselves, it will do for their tea parties! The only other thing I could think of was a bottle of whiskey for Chris, and that is a bit expensive! Talking of whiskey – on Saturday, after our bank catastrophe, we suddenly thought that we had Gordon coming in the evening, and we had nothing to drink. They always give us something, so we thought we should do our best, so we went home and opened my two piggy banks, and the cigarette box where we keep the money for the newspaper boy, and scratched together enough for a little bottle of whiskey and a bottle of ginger ale! We put in We.O.U.’s and will pay them back!

It is Tuesday now, and I am writing this at lunch time again. Cec got some money yesterday, and bought our bathroom scales with our lunch money, and so I weighed myself and am 125 lbs. and Cec is 201 lbs. Yesterday was the first day of my diet, and I was very good- I am leaving out all sugar and milk out of tea and coffee, and it tastes horrid! Today I had two hard-boiled eggs and a grapefruit for my lunch, and for dinner tonight I have steak, but only a salad with it. I’m not too oppressed with hunger, but my tummy feels very surprised!

Instead of beginning with your oldest letter and answering through till I’m up-to-date, I decided to do it the other way around this time, so I brought your last letter to answer today. It was written on October 30, and you had got my A.M. of 20th. I am so sorry that you were worried about your letters, as I haven’t mentioned them – they come very nicely & regularly & Cec & I love them. They are waiting in the evening when I get home & the first thing Cec always says is “A letter from your Mummy”, so I sit down & read it right then & there, then hand it onto him to read while I go & get dinner!

I was glad that you told me again where the colour photos were of, because I had forgotten exactly where they were taken. I knew the house and garden belonged to some friends you had visited, but didn’t know which ones. Also, I had no idea that that was the beach where you went bathing, so was pleased you told me. I think sometime when you have nothing to do, besides making the Family Tree that Cec talks about, you should make me a pictorial map of the island, & put in where people live & where are you bathe & shop & everything, so that I can follow everything that’s going on! There’s a nice job for you!! That reminds me of my scrapbook – do you know it is just about full? I had quite a session a few weeks back one Sat. evening while Cec was working, & I brought us right from our honeymoom up to living in Ann Arbor. I got as far as this summer & only have 2 pages left – can you imagine that huge book bursting full? We still love to look at it & inflict it on anyone else we can!!

First of many scrapbooks!

To return to your letter, Cec was most amused to hear about all the Hazells about the place & your “niece” in the Bank – also most curious to know the joke about Grafton! I couldn’t remember – unless he was the man who didn’t have 6 inches! Is that him?!!

I was sorry to hear that you had been having such queer weather with so much rain, & I do hope that it improves and that you have a lovely time down by the sea. It is a grand idea of Auntie Ettie’s that you should all have a holiday, and I know that you will all enjoy the bathing. Our weather has been a bit strange too. Our weekend at Til & Lois’ was heavenly & warm & for about 3 or 4 days afterwards it was like summer again, then it suddenly got cold & snowed, & has been alternately cold & wet since.

I didn’t really tell you much about our visit to Til & Lois’ so I will go into more detail now, and answer your questions too. They had a good time in Alabama this summer (the little car was fine) and while there they asked Grandma whether she would mind selling the Berwick Ave. house, as it was partly hers originally. She said no, so when Lois came back (before Til) she began looking around & an agent took her to this darling little house by the river, & she fell for it at once. She telephoned Til, & Til came home, & liked it too, so they decided to buy it & Til sold “Berwick” to her nephew Bud & his wife (one of Etta’s children- big fat Etta who used to come to Til’s when I was there & was so nice) so it is still in the family. We only heard about the new house when Til rang us up one evening, & they had only been in it about 3 weeks when we went. I told you all about it & sent a plan in a sea letter I sent, so won’t repeat it, but it is a yellow bungalow & very cosy, with the most beautiful view I’ve seen for ages (it is only one year old). Talking of bungalows, a slight digression to tell you that I had a letter from Denis this week, & he was telling me that he has at last got a job in N/C, so he is very pleased. They are going to stay with Winnie till they find a house, & are keen on a bungalow, so they were interested when the Hayning’s bungalow was for sale, a few weeks ago- price £2,400- & as Denis says only 4 small rooms & not the smallest piece of ground for a garage. We were wondering how they would like living with Winnie, but maybe they will be able to find some other place before long.

To return to our Toledo weekend, Lois met us at the Bus Station in town & drove us out to the house – it takes about 3/4 of an hour- & Til was waiting there with all the lights on & a big blazing fire & it looked lovely. We saw all over the house & had dinner & spent the evening in front of the fire – I was so enchanted to see a fire again, & be able to poke & put on logs! Does it make you nostalgic too, or are you just glad you don’t have to clean out the darn things anymore!

On Sat. morning Cec & I slept till 10, & then got up to find that Til & Lois had been up since 6 or some unearthly hour, & Til said Lois had been shouting & stamping around the place for hours trying to wake us up! After we had breakfast we went out & really saw the place by daylight, & it looked heavenly with the sun shining & all the autumn colours. We scrambled down the bank to the river & really inspected the property & picked lovely branches of queer little white berries & scarlet & yellow maple leaves & I arranged a copper jug & a grey bowl with them & everyone thought they were very artistic!! Lois showed Cec her leaf-brusher-up & her lawn-mower with a seat to sit on & Til & I inspected the plants & roped in Cec to help us transplant some little pine trees that had been just dumped in one place. Cec then helped Lois who was caulking around the side of the house & Til & I went shopping in Waterville for the groceries & began cooking dinner when we got back. Mr. & Mrs. Pasquier were coming later to see us & for a snack Til said, & we just had all the dinner ready about 2:30 to 3 o’clock, when in they came! After everything had been shown etc.Till was in a great quandary as the dinner was all cooked with only 6 little pork chops, but we dished it all up with lots of veg & applesauce etc. and ice cream & cake (stale, Til said) afterwards, & everyone had a good time!

They had to leave in the early evening as they had another engagement, but it was so nice to see them again & Ethel brought us the loveliest presents from her trip abroad. To me she gave a beautiful hankie from Paris, with a map of England woven into it, & for our wedding present she gave us a lovely little cigarette holder and ashtray made of Royal Copenhagen ware, which she got in Denmark. They are a dull turquoise blue on the outside with grey inside & a gold band around the rim. Weren’t they lovely presents?

On Sunday we slept late (Cec & me!! ) then Cec & Lois did more chores & I began cutting suckers off the apple tree with a lovely long handled sort of guillotine! In the afternoon two old aunties of Lois’ arrived (just as we were finishing dinner!) with 2 other ladies & a gentleman & they stayed for ages! Cec & Lois sneaked away & began a great project to enable them to tow the leaf-sweeper-up behind the motor mower & toiled away at it until dark & just got it done, much to their delight!! When the Aunties etc. finally left, Ruth & Ernie & the children & Lois’s other sister, Mary, came as we were just beginning to think of going for our 6:15 bus, so Til called up & found there was another bus at 10:15, so we were persuaded into staying. After a while Ernie took the children home & Ruth & Mary drove us in for the bus, & it was very foggy a lot of the way. The bus was late & we didn’t get home till 1 a.m. feeling fair wore out, but we had a lovely time, & think their house is sweet & just suits them. They are both thrilled with it – particularly Lois, who is as tickled as if she had hatched it!! Til has a grand-daughter – baby born in Panama!

I was most interested to hear about Monie’s impressions of Wales & sympathise with her over the cold feet and nose – particularly as I have a cold sore on my lip at the moment! Pah! -never had them before I got engaged!! I told Cec you were making cracks about his Mama writing letters & he laughed! You won’t be hearing from her for a long time now anyway, as we had a letter last week full of news – they have sold their house & land in Sutherland & have bought a smaller house with a smaller garden actually in Saskatoon. It will be less work & more convenient & they seem very pleased. Also, Russell, the 2nd boy (21) is engaged & getting married at Christmas! He is the one who works on the Govt. Telephones you know & is away from home, but when he was home for the weekend when we were there, there was a little talk of his girl, but not much & we are so sorry we didn’t meet her.

It is now Wednesday, so I have decided to finish & post this letter tomorrow, as I think it is just about the proper weight. I will continue with the rest of the gossip & post the next installment later! Cec is busy marking tests – he is taking 2 classes  (6 hours) a week- the same as he did before, but on Tues. & Thurs. his classes begin at 8 o’clock so that is a change for him!! He is sitting there, muttering “Silly buggers” as he marks things wrong!

My love to Auntie Muriel & Auntie Ettie – I hope that you are all having the loveliest time by the sea.  

        With lots & lots of love for you

          from Cynnie & Cec XXXX

P.S. Cec has given me full marks!

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