November 21 1950

Field Office

 Survey Research Center 

21st Nov. 1950

Dearest Mummy,

I have a few minutes to spare at work this afternoon, and I thought it might make you laugh to hear a little bit about some of the funny people I deal with via the Post Office! We have about 200 interviewers or more, you know, scattered all over the States, & of course they write to us about all sorts of things, & we get to know them & I visualize what they look like & then usually look in my card index & find they are quite different! For instance, I visualized Carma Durban as being a beautiful tall blonde girl about 25, & she turns out to be a little fat woman of 57 with grey hair!!

One of our interviewers that you would be interested in is a gentleman called Erving B. Weeks. He lives in Syracuse, N.Y. & is 70 years old! In addition to that, he is quite, quite deaf, but lipreads so well that he is one of our best interviewers & turns in all his things beautifully written up & at the right time. Isn’t that amazing? Another old couple we have are Mr. & Mrs. Friedberg who both interview in New York – they are both about 60 or so, & yet they have done practically all our surveys & their writing is just beautiful, it’s so neat & perfect on all the things they send in.

Besides having some interesting people we have some awfully funny names- how do you like Miss Lavinia Derryberry? Or Miss Fidelia McLaughlin of Minnehaha? Or Mr. Julian Plant? Or Mr. Henry Arachtingi or Casimir Irmo? Aren’t they lovely? Some of the places are funny too- like Mrs. Fleta Fern Russell of Arkadelphia Arkansas!!

One of my favourite interviewers was a middle-aged fat man with a ruddy complexion (so his identity card says!) called George W. Puffer- he was always most enthusiastic & sent all his interviews & forms etc. in at the right time (is in Los Angeles) & even wrote at the bottom of one thing which had to be in on a certain date “Stayed up till 4 a.m. to get this done but sure enjoyed this survey”,!! Anyway, what do you think one of the Supervisors told Edie? Friend George & his wife are Nudists & invited this lady to go & spend a weekend with them at the Nudist Camp they visit!!

You remember my mentioning Edie before? She is secretary to Charlie Cannell, the Head of the Field Office, and is such a nice girl – so friendly & popular with everyone – well, anyway, she is leaving at Christmas. She has decided that she can get no further at the Center, & it is a very floating staff- people like me – coming & staying for a few months & then leaving while Edie stays on. She has the highest salary for secretaries now, & sees no future in it, so she is just going to pack her bag, and take a bus & go out to California! Out there she wants to get work in a big store, & see if she can’t work her way up to be a buyer or something of the sort, as she likes that kind of thing. I am most sad to see her go & don’t know what I will do without her, but I think she will do well & hope that she likes it. There has been all sorts of agitation, as to who will get Edie’s job, which is quite a terrific one, & even some probes as to whether I would like it, although I don’t take shorthand, but both the heads & I feel that it wouldn’t be much use training me & then someone to take my place in a few months time, but both Cec & I feel very pleased that they would even consider me for such a job- Cec says “from the bottom to the top of the ladder in 4 months”! But still, I am happy with my nice little un-responsible job & don’t want to become a career girl!

November 23 Thursday 

Thanksgiving Day.

I had to stop & do some work then, so I am finishing this off now before we go to the Sutherlands to eat our Thanksgiving Dinner. Wasn’t it nice of them to ask us? I have spent the day sleeping- writing letters- & washing my hair! I wrote to Connie & Len – Joan Cox – & my Father – & sent birthday to Joan & to Ruth Schatz & got one ready for Maude Allan. I got letters yesterday from AGL (thanking me for birthday letter & card), Bar & one from you – written Nov. 12th. Thank you so much for it, and for the P.C. of Villa – I remembered seeing it before, but it was much more interesting now that I know which bungalow you are in & that you bathe there & see the plane coming in. I was horrified about the sharks- you be careful!!

I am so glad that you are enjoying your holiday & the bathing, although the mosquitoes are so bad. I hope that the weather is cooler now & that you are enjoying it even more. It has been cold & a bit snowy here all week, but today was very bright & cold & sunny to begin with, & then suddenly got grey & has begun to snow quite hard. It seems to be wet snow, so isn’t lying, but it looks pretty. Isn’t it funny me being snowed on, & you being bitten & bathing?! You seem to be having a very gay time at the bungalow, what with entertaining & parties, & so on- I hope you aren’t wearing yourselves out, but really are beachcombing!

We had quite a gay time- for us! – last week, & went out 3 times, which was fun as a bit of a spree after Cec’s hard toil! On Tuesday we went to a concert in our “series” & it was Myra Hess, & we enjoyed it very much indeed. Gunborg & Gordon were there with Anne, & afterwards Anne wanted Myra Hess’ autograph, so we all trooped around to the stage door & got in & stood at the door of her room with a mass of people. There was a little man ushering people in & out & when he saw Anne’s pen & programme he said she wasn’t signing any autographs, so I told him Anne was English, whereupon he ushered us both in & up to the front & introduced us as “two girls from England”! Anne got her autograph as a special concession & I told Myra Hess I knew friends of hers (C’Zelma & Em) & she asked after them, & sent them her love. We felt very triumphant!

On Thursday evening Cec & I & Gunborg went to see a professional tennis match which was given in the big University Field House. Gorgeous Gussy was playing, & Pauline Betz- then Jack Kramer & Pancho Segura. We had a grand time & thoroughly enjoyed it- the tennis was wonderful – girls singles (Pauline won) men’s singles (Pancho won) then a doubles when Gussie & Kramer won. Besides the tennis of course we were all tickled to see Gussie who wore her lace pants & was a honey, but Pauline was bound & determined to out-do her & wore silver lamé shorts & then leopard skin shorts! We still liked Gussie best, & we thoroughly enjoyed the good sportsmanship & good spirit there seem to be. Pancho was the funniest little man – small & bowlegged (he had polio) but like a flash on the courts. It was a really good evening.

On Saturday evening – after a wild day Christmas shopping- we went & played bridge with Dawn & Burt (remember they were at my tea party?) They are a very nice couple- exactly “our type” & we had a lovely time- also played good bridge & won!! Burt was in Italy during the war & got thoroughly converted to opera, spaghetti and wine- so we drank muscatel wine all evening and it was nice. We enjoyed having a bridge evening again. On Sunday I packed my parcels, & got most of them off at the beginning of the week- I’ll tell you all I sent in my next!

Last week also I was on my diet! I was very good & didn’t lapse at all- till the weekend, a little! We bought our scales & I ate lunch at work each day & I lost a pound a day regularly from the Monday to Sunday- I was 125 to begin with & I am now 119! Isn’t that clever of me? I kept saying to Cec I didn’t know where it was going from as I saw very little difference in my clothes etc. but he said “Honey, you have no back porch now!” I’m going to send you my diet so you’ll see how wonderfully strong-willed I was all week- tea with no sugar and milk & not even one slice of bread all week!  Must leave it till next time though, as it is time to go now. We must buy Christmas cards tomorrow & try & get them off this weekend – hope all these things will be in time. I feel very relieved that my parcels are mostly all away – yours aren’t because I couldn’t get what I wanted, but they’ll go this weekend!

By the way – you asked about pictures we took this summer – we did take some in Saskatoon, but left them there for Carman to make some prints for us, & so far we have none yet. I reminded him last time we wrote, so I hope to have some for you sometime. Cec hasn’t been able to use his “gadget” to take pictures of us both yet – his cable release is the wrong size or something & he hasn’t got around to doing anything yet!! Sometime – we’ll send some pictures.         

With lots & lots of love to my little Mamma 

                    from Cyn & Cec.

[Cec’s handwriting:] These chickens are both stuffed with turkey- I ate too much, anyway. Cyn will probably gain back all she lost on her diet. You should see her now- real whistle bait.                                                

Love Cec.

A note about Carol’s ‘holiday’ in St Vincent that Cyn refers to.  In her stories about her Mother’s childhood, she told about the way the family would go on an excursion for the day, packing the children into a wagon with driver and servants to take hours to go from the town to Villa 6 miles away, while the ladies followed later in the carriage and the gentlemen rode horses. Once there, they would swim, picnic, the children would play, the ladies rest, and the gentlemen would inspect the Isolation Hospital on the tiny island opposite the beach, where the French fort from the Napoleonic wars remained. [The story ‘After the Hurricane 1898’ which I posted back in January.] Now it appears that bungalows have been built by that beach, and the Hazell sisters have moved out of town for a bit of R&R in one of them, enjoying the same things that they had done as children.  This was a tradition that Cyn & Cec were to continue- staying out there for part of our holiday when I was 6, and renting one for their winter holidays once my brother and I were at university!

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