March 13 1951

Baby nightie.

Tuesday. 13th March.

Dearest Mama,

This is the baby nightie pattern – and as you will see they are all kinds, shapes & sizes!! After I got it home, I discovered some were meant to be dresses, but as they are all more or less the same, what does a little thing like that matter!! 

Actually A & E are nightgowns, but I don’t like the drawstring effect much, and don’t think it is really necessary. E is better but what do you think of that kind of opening? I think it would be a nuisance to put on & off over the baby’s head, & I think the best & simplest pattern to make would be C- what they call a Kimono. I would put it on the baby with the opening at the back of course, & it would have to have either buttons or tapes to fasten at the back of the waist, but otherwise I think it would be fine, & so much simpler than the others. The nighties I saw already made were on this style too, so it seems quite usual over here, & I know Dottie had some for Peter which she used for ages. She put a good hem on hers & put about three tucks on the shoulders to let out as he grew bigger & I think that is rather a good idea, as well as making the nightie roomier!! Anyway, honey – there it is – you use the pattern or not, just as you choose, or if Jeannie or someone has a better one, you use that. Just make whichever you think will be best & I know I will like it – and do use the machine! Don’t sew your fingers to the bone for the little rascals and machine everything you possibly can- also ignore all the “embroidery” guff in the pattern – I’d far rather have a patchwork quilt!!


Cec has gone to watch an Exhibition Ice Hockey Match tonight with Arthur Dockerill. I decided not to go, as it’s cold & not very comfy, & anyway it is a pouring wet, horrid night. I was glad for Cec to go & hope he has fun because he goes back to the Lab. every evening now between 8 & 9 & works till 12, & it is time he had a little jollification. He spends most of the weekends at the Lab. too, so last Saturday evening I took my knitting & a nice murder book & went & sat with him up there while he made things & worked. I don’t know how much he got done, but I began making a baby slipper (out of one of Anne’s pulled out vests!) and after knitting & knitting, decided that it was practically big enough for Cec to wear as a bed sock, so pulled it all out again!

On Saturday morning I had a good time to myself! Cec gave me a whole lot of money, then went to work & just left me to shop & spend it all!! During the last two weeks, I seem to have popped forth immensely, & while I haven’t put on much weight at all, I am beginning to find that I just can’t wear some of my clothes as the waists are too tight. So I wandered around town,  in & out of shops, asking for Maternity clothes – which of course made me want to giggle!! I ended up very pleased with myself with a dress & a short sleeved suit – the dress is red – nothing modest & retiring about this preggy ma! It is actually a pretty pinky– red rayon (I’ll see if I can snip a bit when I turn up the hem) & has a little pattern of tiny black prancing horses! It has cap sleeves, & a kind of a little stand up Chinese collar & a cunning arrangement of elastic at each side of the waist. The suit is grey- rather the same material as the grey suit I brought home from America. The skirt is just one great straight piece of material, with pops & buttons at the waist to adjust it as you want. The jacket is unlined & has a round collar with one button & a flared back. I got the two for $18.00 & was very pleased, as all the suits I saw in other shops stores were $15 & more by themselves- this was 8.95 & so was the dress. Later on I’ll have to get one or two cotton dresses, but that should do me. I also got a new suspender belt (necessity!)- the largest size they have- 30” waist! I thought I could take it in & let it out as required!! Cec liked all my purchases, but we laughed like anything, because of course the minute I put on maternity clothes I look about 8 months gone, & it doesn’t help that both my things are too long & need taking up! Cec had the idea that I could wear a belt over the baggy jacket for a while, & it does look better, so I may do that.

By the way, I had letters from Nan & Irene on Monday – both very tickled & amused at our news. There was to be a Sewing Bee at Pam’s the next night, so as Cec says, it was a good thing I wrote to everyone at once. I had a funny letter from Winnie today too & she is just “charmed” with the idea! Charmed seems to be a new word for her & everyone was charmed! She mentioned the cable & your answer, as if they were in connection with my letter, but Cec & I don’t think she could possibly have got it by then. Anyway, as usual she skips around so in the letter that she could be writing about practically anything! Cec is home & sending me to bed, so nighty-night till tomorrow!

March 15th.

This is the day after tomorrow now. I brought this to work yesterday thinking I would steal a minute to finish it, but I was busy all the day & never got to it. Then in the evening I went to my “Mummy’s class” so got nothing else done. I missed the Mothers Class last week because on Wed. evening Cec & I & all the Sutherlands went to see “The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo”. They were in Ann Arbour for this one performance only, & danced at one of the big cinemas, & a few weeks ago we saw it advertised & thought it would be nice to go. We asked the S’s & they thought so too, & as the children get so little chance to see anything like that they decided to take them too. This company used to be a very famous one, but has gone down a bit, so I wasn’t expecting too much, but there was one famous ballerina, Danilova, that I was very interested to see as she is about the last of the ballerinas actually trained in the Russian pre-revolution school to be still on the go. Actually, it was very good, & we all enjoyed it. Danilova was only on once, & altho’ she must be getting on, she didn’t look it & was lovely – she didn’t do anything strenuous, but what she did do, was beautiful. The rest of the company it was all right too, altho’ they were very handicapped by a small stage. It was a little Mary’s first visit to the ballet & she thought it was lovely! We were tickled because she was absolutely entranced with the beautiful scenery, which was really just some very ordinary backdrops!

Anyway, because of the ballet I didn’t go to the class last week, but it was on Maternity clothes mainly, so I didn’t think I’d miss anything vital. This week was on the Layette, & a lot of the shops sent things up for us to see, & so it was quite fun. Elaine (the girl I know who also goes) & I were most amused to see that none of the things were pink or blue! Some white, but mostly yellow (some pretty, some a bit vivid) and a little pale green! The thing that I looked at & listened most eagerly to, was about the nighties & apparently I decided right! The kimono ones are the best (worn opening at the back) the nurse says, so isn’t it wonderful what common sense will do!! Amongst other things, there was a bathinet, which you said Auntie Ettie mentioned. The nurse didn’t advise getting one, as she said that they were awkward to use & difficult to keep clean, as well as not lasting very well. She suggested that an ordinary enamel baby bath, set on a table was far more useful, so in that case it seems silly to spend a lot of money on a bathinet, doesn’t it? By the way, Milly (who is Canadian) was telling me that anything sent between U.S. & Canada & vice versa, isn’t charged duty or anything if it is less than $5. Anything over 5 is dutiable, so that is interesting, isn’t it? 

Thank you very much for your nice letter which we got last Sat. It was the one about the Mauretania being in, & Cec & I loved reading about it all. By the way – I have a prospective visitor to you-I have been doing propaganda for St. Vincent!! The other day I was in the other room talking to Shirley & Jean. Jean is the girl who has Edie’s job – she is young & pretty & married & they live near us, so we have been giving each other lifts, so that we don’t have to take both cars. Her husband, Al, works at the big Kaiser Fraser auto works on the way to Detroit & is in the Engineering Dept.- he takes their car every other week, so that week Jean comes with us. Then when she has the car, we go with her. Shirley is the assistant boss – at first I didn’t care for her very much as she is rather reserved, but I like her more & more as time goes on. She has apparently had a very sad time the last few years, with her Mother being ill for sometime & then dying, & then her brother had a very serious operation, & recently her Father has been ill & in & out of hospital. Her home is in Detroit, but she has a nice flat here, which she used to share with an aunt. However the aunt has left A.A. now so Shirley is looking for a roommate as the flat is expensive. Anyway – after all this long explanation!- we were talking about leave & Shirley has 2 months leave saved up which she must take before July 1st, so Jean & I were suggesting all sorts of places she could go to & of course I said St. V!! Shirley was thrilled with the idea, & really got interested & we spent most of the afternoon with me telling glamorous tales of the tropics (fact & fiction)!! She was interested in flying & is going to find out fares etc. but the main thing is that she must get someone to share the flat before she goes as she can’t afford to keep it alone, so she is concentrating on that before she makes any plans! It would be in May for about 3 or 4 weeks if she did go, & I really I think she would love it & I would like her to have a good time as I don’t think she has had much fun or had many exciting vacations – but of course it is all very vague & might never come off.

I am enclosing 2 pictures taken when the Open Day was on before Christmas, remember? They are supposed to be of the display we made, but also have all the Field Office staff on, so you will see what everyone looks like! It is awful of me, but quite good of everyone else except Bob Peebles. Charlie is the Boss- a really nice man & Shirley is his assistant – the picture really flatters Shirley a little, but mainly because she usually doesn’t bother with her appearance much. Bob P. is the head of the travelling supervisors, Lyons does editing of training materials etc. & then Edie was Charlie’s secretary & now Jean is. Sylvia & I are the two clerks! Sylvia is the girl with whom I share a room. She is Norwegian descent, & looks at it, being very big out-of-doors-type as you can see, but at times she just about drives me crazy! She is careless & can be very lazy & incompetent & also very dumb, so you can imagine how patient I have to be – then I go home & tell Cec all about it!

By now it is Friday (16th) as I didn’t get this finished yesterday! I heard from Dottie on Wednesday – a nice letter – & from Amy yesterday, so all my letters are answered & I have to begin writing again! Amy’s letter was all right, but full of slush about you & her being resigned to anything that “made for the happiness of our darling daughters”!!

You would laugh like anything to see me – I have knitted a cute little baby jacket (it was supposed to be for Milly but we’ve done a deal & I am keeping it & sewing her a dress instead!) & I just finished it yesterday. Now I have to crochet down the front & neck etc. & you should see me struggling with dc’s & ch’s & so on! It doesn’t look very even but I’m hoping when it is washed it will look better!! Now you’ll tell me that I should have let you teach me long ago!

I forgot to tell you that on Sunday I have invited Shirley to dinner to meet a Frenchman!! He is a research student in physics, & Cec was talking to him one day about Paris etc. & he had been to England, so they had quite a chatter. They also waxed eloquent about food & cooking, & as Shirley is also very interested in food & cooking, I thought I’d get them together & let them taste mine!! I’ve been planning the menu-!!

Hors d’oeuvres variés

Chicken & mushroom casserole

Baked potatoes

Green beans

Milanaise soufflé


I think it sounds impressive & should taste nice, but it’s really very easy –sh! – don’t tell! As you will gather I am feeling fine now, & have really got over all the tiredness etc. & I am just as energetic as I ever was!! I also feel very happy & cheery & so does Cec, so despite his working hard & going to the Lab in the evening we are very contented & pleased with ourselves – isn’t that nice?!!

I really don’t think I have anything else to write about – I am doing this at work, last thing on Friday afternoon, & strange to relate there is no wild rush of work or anything. No one seems very ambitious, so I’m just going on writing and writing. Next weekend is Easter weekend, & did I tell you, we get no holiday!! I am horrified & feel definitely that this is an uncivilized country & keep telling everyone so! Apparently you can go to Church on Good Friday if you want to, & then come to work, but there is no official holiday. I have told Denis in a letter, because I am sure he would be so delighted to hear how the tables have been turned on me!

My love to the Aunties & cousins, with lots & lots for my little Grandmama-



Baby jacket in same style, but Made in England not by Grandmama! With smocking…

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