March 15 1951

March. 15th. 1951. 

Dearest Mommy,

I am beginning the Herculean task of going through a whole mass of your old letters & trying to answer them! I am in the middle of a letter to you, but forgot it at work, so I thought that I would have fun to myself & catch up on these- something which I’ve been meaning to do for ages!  Cec is up at the Lab. & I have just had my evening cup of tea, so here I go!

In one of your letters from the bungalow you were telling of Pip’s “family” & Cec & I were most amused at the story of his love life, & how he now takes no notice of his wife & children. [I’m assuming we are reading about a cock and hen here.] He is obviously a rake & not at all suited for domestic life, so it is just as well he doesn’t live too close or his poor wife would get disillusioned! Your drawing of Pip before & after plucking made us laugh too – some slight resemblance to the Costains before & after haircuts!! At the moment my hair is quite long & needs cutting, but the last time I had it cut, when the Boveys were here – the girl did it so badly it was straggly for weeks, so I’m kind of shy about getting it done again!

You were saying you had finished Bebe’s tablecloth, & I am sure that it must look lovely. I am sorry I won’t see it, but I know that Bebe will think it is beautiful & it will be quite unique among her presents. I still thought that Cec & I would send her something, but I haven’t managed it yet. We still haven’t sold our electric waffle iron yet, so are still saving Millie’s $5 – we thought if we sold the former we could put all the money together & get a toaster! If you recall, the Atkinsons promised us a toaster, but it has never materialized, & we have gradually begun to lose touch! I owed Mrs. A. a letter for ages, but it is her birthday on Sat. so I am sending a card & have written a note telling of my “condition”!!

I am glad that you were able to alter the pale blue dress from your Christmas parcel & make it fit & look nice. I thought the colour was pretty & would suit you, & I hope it will wash well. I must get cracking & shorten my preggy clothes because I will really have to begin wearing them soon. I am popping out more each day & in the evenings I feel so much fatter than in the mornings!!

You were mentioning hearing from Miss Lefroy & Chris in some of your letters, & about AGL’s sister having flu. Miss Lefroy didn’t catch it. Flu seems to be quite prevalent in some places over here, but so far most of A.A. seems quite healthy. Our supervisor (Survey Research Centre) in New York was writing to tell us how many of the interviewers there were ill with flu, & what a bad bug it was, because the people who caught it once were finding that it recurred 2 or 3 times & they were ill in bed more than once.

I was interested to hear that Arthur was busy in England trying for jobs, & wonder how the Sierra Leone one turned out. You said no more about it, so it must have flopped & probably just as well as the climate isn’t good as you say. I finally wrote to Bren a week or so ago, but she will probably tell you anyway! 

There were 2 things you said you would send me & so far have forgotten- you will have to push all the odds & ends in an envelope like I do & just send them off! The first was the cutting about Bebe’s wedding, & the second was Father O’Brien’s letter about my Father. I am glad that you finally heard from Fr. O’B. & hope that he will write again sometime. Certainly from the two letters I’ve had, my Father seems much more contented & placid than I’ve heard him be for a long time. Very muddly sentence, but you know what I mean! I will write to him this weekend for his birthday & will try to get a parcel off.

Do you remember writing to tell me about waking up early one morning & watching the boy milk the cows? Cec & I roared with laughter over his washing the cow, then milking into the same pail! The whole scene sounds most idyllic even if not hygienic, & we think it is lovely! Did I tell you I drink skim milk, so it’s not to get too fat!? I don’t like it much & call it my Scum Milk!! In the same letter you gave me a great scolding about my grammar, gran’ma!! But I don’t care – you can’t expect me to think too hard when I’m busy hoarding gossip & news for you!! To skip back to milk- you were asking what a Milk Shake was – well it is milk (a little) & ice cream (a lot) & a flavouring (i.e. choc syrup) all mixed around violently in an electric mixer till it is all frothy & bubbly – yummy! I haven’t had one for quite a long time, but may get one as my Saturday treat this weekend! We will treat you to a Huge one just as soon as you get to Ottawa & I bet you like it! Cec & I keep thinking of all the things you will like & that it will be fun for us to do when you arrive & we have quite a list already! Don’t get alarmed, we are not planning wild excitement with me just about to produce (!), but little ordinary things like shopping in a super-market will be fun when you are there. I was most interested to hear of all the excitement about Alastair Fraser & his new bride, and I am so sorry that you missed seeing them. Perhaps by now you will have done so & can tell me all the details!

In your last letter you were telling Aunt Ettie going to Barbados- I hope that she had a nice flight & enjoyed her trip. Cec & I were intrigued at hearing about Jean & Peter & the others flying over the Soufrière [St. Vincent’s volcano] & getting such a good view. It was a grand idea for Peter, as I don’t suppose he’d ever get a chance to see much of it otherwise. I remember Margs telling of a crowd of them climbing up one time, and wondered if people still did that, or if it is too busy bubbling now.

Cec and I laughed about all the twins you keep hearing about in the Hazell family now that we have brought the subject up, & Cec is most amused to find that there are some proper as well as improper twins in the family!! By the time you get this letter Auntie Trix will be with you & I hope that the nightie material was all settled & that I wasn’t too late in telling you all about everything. I hope that you all have fun with A. Trix – she will certainly stir you all up & make you bustle anyway!!

Talking of the twins, Cec & I are most curious to know what girl’s name you have chosen! We have chosen one too, but won’t tell you yet! As for a boy’s name – we are stuck! Everything I like, Cec thinks it’s awful, & vice versa! We can’t even think of any nice matching twin names, but I suppose we’ll manage in the end!

I don’t know if I told you that a little while ago we were having such nice bright springy weather- well this week has just turned around & been horrid again. We had rain, sleet & snow, & we are all so disgusted. It is slushy & muddy & of course everyone thinks it is much nastier after the foretaste of spring. Above our window at work there are pigeons nesting & on the sunny days they just sat there & cooed & sounded so contented- now we never hear a cheep out of them!

In one letter you were asking if I had ever heard anything from Hugh, but I never have since we got the MixMaster. I wrote then, & sent a card at Christmas, but we didn’t even get a card, so I wonder if he is overseas or not. He hasn’t been attached to a battalion recently & was doing work on guided missiles, so maybe he is still in the US. Did I ever tell you about Til’s son Bill (in the army now for sometime) being sent to Panama? They have to do so much overseas service if they’re in the regular army & this was his – isn’t he lucky? His wife joined him & they had a baby (girl) out there & they were to stay for a year or more,, but in Til’s last letter of a week ago, they are back again & going to Texas, I think. It was Lois’ birthday last month & I sent her 2 little silk neck ties which are fashionable here & Cec sent her a lovely new adjustable spanner, as the 2 of them have such fun fixing things when we are there!

I have just come across the little bit of cloth like your housecoat from A. Moo, & I don’t remember if I ever told you how pretty I think it is. The colour is such a nice becoming shade of pink & with the white pattern looks lovely & cool & fresh. Cec & I were talking about what I wanted for my birthday the other day & decided that I really needed a cotton housecoat or dressing gown, so Cec is going to give me that. I only have the pink silk one Til & Lois gave me to match that nightie & it doesn’t meet, so isn’t very respectable, & certainly won’t nearly meet this summer! Also I will need a dressing gown in hospital, so might as well have one all summer.

We had a letter from Jim & Lee Gander the other day – remember them? They are in New York now, & Jim is taking his Ph.D. at Columbia. His mother is staying with them & helps look after the baby (over a year old now) while she has a very interesting job at the Univ. Library. We haven’t written to tell Joan & Ray our news, but must do so soon & enquire how they are getting on. They will have the baby here as they will be in the U.S. at least till late summer, if not for another year. Ray’s mother was coming over to visit, but I don’t know if she will be here for the baby’s birthday or not till later.

Do you know, I haven’t heard a word from Anne since the news of the baby? And I have written to her 3 times! I don’t know if she is offended because I didn’t thrill enough over the baby, or if she is just engrossed in it or what, but my last letter was telling our baby news, so I’m just going to sit back & wait.

I have always meant to answer your request re. your little Parisian purse & have always forgotten. You do just what you like with it, honey – I don’t want it to give to anyone, & you give it away or keep it as you choose.

March 23rd. 1951

It is now a week later, & also Good Friday, as you’ll see, but I sent off a big fat envelope last weekend, so I am continuing this at my leisure! I have been bad about writing this week, & apart from an air letter to my Father for his birthday, haven’t written to anyone.  I haven’t really done anything else either, so I can’t give you a list of my achievements! I got letters from Amy & birthday card, & Anne- at long last & very thrilled about our twins – but as usual making me mad because she never said one word of thanks for 3 letters I’ve written her, nor answered anything I’d said! She is back at work again (on 1st March) & her mother is looking after the baby, who is doing fine – she mentioned she hadn’t written to you! I also got Easter & birthday cards from Nan & Mrs. Allan, & an Easter card from Tom & Doris Allan & the boys, but apart from that, it doesn’t seem at all like Easter. The weather is still cold with patches of dirty snow lying about & we were at work all today & go on Monday as usual, so there is nothing to make us feel Easter-y – except that last night Cec & I were out shopping at the Food Market & Cec bought me a gorgeous, huge pot of daffodils, which look so beautiful and like spring and Easter all rolled into one! It has a dozen or more great big flowers & more buds coming and after not having seen a flower for so long, it is the most heavenly surprise to both of us whenever we see it! Haven’t I a nice husband?

I am going on with answering some of the questions in your older letters now – I have 2 nice new ones to thank you for – 1 A.M. mailed on 12th March- & 1 by the Lady Nelson mailed on 22nd Feb- but I won’t answer them yet, because if this letter doesn’t show any signs of getting finished soon, I’ll write an Air Letter & answer them! One thing – in the sea letter you sent me two of the things I asked for- Bebe’s wedding cutting & Father O’Brien’s letter – thank you so much- & also for Pam’s funny letters! Cec & I haven’t done the game yet, but I’ll let you know how we get on!

In one letter you were asking about how much the Auto Bridge games cost- they are only $1.00 & if Pegs would really like one we would be very pleased to send it- a small return for the loan of the wedding veil! We can also get you & A. Ettie some refills if you still have fun with it, but I know the novelty wears off a bit, & we haven’t looked at ours for ages!!

You were writing of books you had read- amongst other “The World My Wilderness” by Rose Macauley. We got that in our Book Club (from Dottie) but didn’t like it much, but another one we got called “A Town Like Alice” by Nevil Shute we liked very much. You also said you’d read one of Lloyd Douglas’ – did you know that he just died recently? He used to be a minister at one of the churches in Ann Arbor, but was out in California for many years. I don’t read a very great deal now! We get the “Saturday Evening Post” every week, & “The Reader’s Digest”, & our Book Club book, & once in a while I go to the Library or buy a $.25 murder, but I am busy a lot of the time! (can’t think what I do!)

I have been laughing to myself again over your confusion at my thinking all the beautiful crocheting of my Christmas present was your work! I didn’t really consider anything else, because you had said that you & A. Moo were crocheting presents etc. & of course I know that you could have done it. I am just as pleased that you didn’t toil your little fingers to the bone over such fine work, & whoever did make them they are lovely! I’m saving them till I have a nice table, as I told you, & it is such fun to think that you will be at their christening in Ottawa- something we didn’t realize at the time, did we? I am reading away at all your letters & enjoying them over again before I burn them – it always seems such a shame, but the box I keep them in is BULGING! I have just been admiring your drawing of the Christmas decorations once more & thinking how nice the room must have looked. The Christmas cards on the staircase were a grand idea – we stuck ours onto red ribbon with scotch tape this year, & hung them in scallops to the picture rail & they looked very nice too, & lots of people admired them- saved so much dusting too!

I have always been so ashamed of myself because you asked in one letter ‘way back, if I would send you a pen, & as I had already sent your Christmas parcel, I left it for the time being, & then poor Mummy had to buy one for herself. I am so sorry, & will do better over any other commissions you have for me – I must get organized over your birthday parcel – I know what I want to get, but haven’t shopped yet! It is 11:30 p.m. & Cec will spank me if he comes back from the Lab. & finds me not in bed, so I must say night night! Will write more tomorrow!

Easter Sunday.

Dearest Mummy,

Happy Easter! I hope that you have had a nice Easter – we have had a nice quiet day, without doing much. I went to Church at 11 o’clock & then we had a breakfast cum lunch (my 2nd breakfast!) It has been a nice sunny day, but still very cold, and a day or so ago there was quite a gale, & the remains of the wind are still icy. We had ham for dinner, so are both sitting feeling stuffed & I am afraid that when I go to the Clinic tomorrow I’ll have gained about a ton!

In one of your letters a while ago, you were asking about the Survey Research Center, & who, what & why they interviewed! Well, their main employer is the government, & what happens is that some gov’t department (or any big business or firm for that matter) wants to know what people are thinking about a certain thing – for instance one of the surveys was “Public Thinking on Atomic Energy” another on “Life Insurance”, another on “Housing” etc. – then they get together with the S.R.C. & decide how many interviews they want taken, and how much it will cost, & so on. Eventually one dept. of the Center makes out a questionnaire incorporating all the things they want information about. In the meanwhile, the Sampling Section (where Dawn & Millie work) get huge maps etc. of all the cities & towns & country places where we interview all over the U.S. (called the sample points), & from the maps they pick out streets etc. The interviewers then go to these areas & first of all “list” all the houses & dwelling units in these areas & send these lists back to the office, & from them are chosen the exact houses & places where the interviewers must go to take the interview. It is called “picking a random sample” & is all done very carefully – if the interviewer can’t get an interview at that exact address for any reason (illness, refusal etc.) he writes back & tells us, but isn’t allowed to substitute another house. When he asks the questions in the interview he writes down verbatim what the respondent says, & afterwards adds what is known as a “thumbnail sketch” i.e. a short description of the person, the circumstances etc. When the interviews are sent back to the office they are carefully numbered & checked then sent to the Coding Section, where coders read them & kind of give marks to each answer & finally from these marks or codes, the analysis & report is made out (mostly long tables of statistics!) & sent it off to whoever wants it! Now you should know all about surveys!!

You asked about Edie one time – I think I told you I got a letter from her in Los Angeles, & she just loves it there. She is not a bit of a career girl type- she is little & quiet & we all think would make a grand wife for someone, but so far has had no luck. I’ll send you her letter sometime, because it is quite fun.

In one letter just after we got MacTavish you were calculating how much we paid for him & said $850.00 was about £177 but Cec says you must have been calculating by the W.I. dollar. At the present rate of exchange £1 is $2.20, so that makes McT. worth over £300, & he is such a good & beautiful automobily he is well worth it! I was wicked last week!  On our way back to work in MacT. in the afternoon I picked up a whole bunch of girls from the office & gave them all lifts, & when we got there, I parked the car & we all climbed out & buzzed into work. That was at 1 o’clock,  & at 3 o’clock I was downstairs & one of the men who had just arrived said to me, “Did you leave the engine of your car running?” “Oh no” says I “I’m sure I didn’t” & dashed to look, & sure enough here was poor MacT. still put-putting away! I rushed out & turned it off of course & everyone laughed at me for wasting gas, but the agony came at 5:30 when Jean & I went to go home- MacT. wouldn’t start! The heater had been on as well as the engine & had run down the battery, so we were stuck! Jean phoned her husband Al, & he came & picked us up & we went & got Cec, & then came back & pushed MacT. out of the parking lot with the other car. There’s a hill outside & MacT. started on that, & so Cec drove to the gas station & the man charged the battery for us & I paid out of my pocket money! Cec is so nice – he just laughed at me & wasn’t cross a bit!

I have been wondering if Peter is better now & back at work, or if his leg is still bothering him – also what happened to the poor clergyman who had polio – if he is still in St.V. or has finally got back to England. There is a magazine article by a man who has to live in an iron lung after having polio, & I was amazed at some of the things he tells. Apparently, although he is paralyzed, he still can feel things & the discomfort of a wrinkle in the sheet under him, or his hand placed in an uncomfortable position, can be agonizing. It is amazing how the poor man can stand so much.

How have your “pore feet” been lately? As the weather has been cooler, they probably have been better, but I hope that they are easier altogether. I’ll get you some more felt-stuff if you want it.

How is my Mrs. Costain rose getting on? I hope that she is putting forth as her namesake is- I expect it to produce twin blossoms!

We read in the paper last night that the Cambridge & Oxford boat race was a fiasco yesterday, as the Oxford boat sank after 3 minutes! Did you read about it? It must have been terrible weather as they stopped the Cambridge crew from finishing, so it may be rowed over.

I have gone through all your old letters way back to Bequia, so had better stop now! I got another lovely letter from yesterday, posted on 19th, but I will answer it & the one before in my next, & will get this mailed tomorrow. I go to the Clinic tomorrow, so I will write soon again to let you know what the Dr says.

Night- night- my love to the Aunties, and lots & lots for you 

                     from

                          Cynnie

P.S. you said on your last letter did I save the stamps for Peter – some I do, & some for Milly & some for the mailman!

[Cec’s handwriting] Dear Mom

In a letter from home Mother tells me I have twin cousins – which I had forgotten, & also my grandmother had twin cousins– so we still have hopes, in spite of the Hazell’s false symptoms. Cyn is being a good girl – when I make her behave, at least. It’s a wee bit difficult to get her to bed by 10:30 – It’s now 11:45. 

                Lots of love

                            Cec.         [Cyn’s handwriting] It’s Sunday tho’!

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