803, Granger Ave.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
21st May. 1951.
Dearest Little Mama,
I have no letter to thank you for this week, which is most unusual, but probably just as well as I have been promising to answer your other letters for weeks past! I fully intended to get going last week and begin writing so that I would be able to continue for a few nights and write a screed, but it has begun to get hot now, and you know how un-energetic that makes me! We didn’t have the screens up last week– still the storm windows, so we couldn’t open up much & the flat was so hot after dinner that 2 or 3 evenings we just went out for a little ride in MacTavish to cool off & it was so nice. I also did the ironing & the washing of socks etc. – and I must confess there was plenty of ironing- 2 lots – 2 weeks each! We hadn’t a hankie to our names!! So it dragged on, & then on Friday evening after my session at the Dental Clinic for another scale & clean, I just lay down & went to sleep all evening, so that wasn’t very productive, either!
On Saturday however, Cec & I made up for all our laziness & had such a busy day. We got up at the usual time, & and after breakfast Cec began & took down all the storm windows & put them up in the attic. They lift off & can be done from the inside, so it’s not too bad, except they are awkward things. Then he got out all the screens & the hose & hosed them all clean, & while he was busy with a hose we shut all the windows & he hosed the outside of those! After they were all dry, he put the screens on & it has made such a difference & although it is hot & humid tonight, it doesn’t feel half so oven-ish as it did before. While Cec was doing all this I gave the sitting room & bedroom a good clean, gave the bathroom and landing a fairly good clean, gave the kitchen a lick & a promise & gave up before I got to the stairs! Anyway, Cec was coming in & out with screens etc. so I couldn’t really do them & I’d had enough by then!
After lunch we drove downtown & shopped! We finally sold our second electric grill-waffle iron to Dawn & Bert for $10, so the money was burning a hole in our pockets & we decided to take $5 each & spend it on what we needed most. Cec got 3 prs. of underpants & a grey cotton, short sleeved sports shirt & I got another preggy dress. You will probably think I am getting hundreds of maternity clothes, but I just have the 4 things now; the grey short sleeved suit, which is a bit hot now; the pinky red unicorn dress; a green & white cotton dress, which is nice, but has to be washed & ironed practically each time I wear it & now my new one! I put $4 of my pocket money with it (the $5) & got a silky (rayon!) material like the red one, because it is cool & doesn’t crease & crumple like cotton. It is navy blue with a white pattern on- the white pattern is not all over, but just here & there & it is very plain with cap sleeves & an open neck & collar & gathers over my tum! I said to Cec that if you looked at me straight on I looked fine & slim, – but sideways of course, I’m like the side of 2 houses!! I also got a cute little yellow sun suit at Woollies & put it in a parcel of tins, pkts. of mixes etc. that I’m sending Anne. It is supposed to be her birthday parcel, but as she wrote about parcels she was going to send me at both Christmas & birthday & neither have materialized yet, I’m not worried because I’m late!!
After we came home from town, our exertions weren’t over yet! Cec took McTavish to S’s & borrowed Gunborg’s vacuum cleaner & did his inside thoroughly, then brought him back, washed, dried, waxed & polished him till he looked beautiful! I cooked the dinner – a little roast of pork- & while the oven was on & because it is so hot, I also made a meat loaf, stuffed & roasted a chicken, boiled a small piece of Canadian bacon (very like ham) & stewed some rhubarb! So most of my cooking for the week is done! Weren’t we good kids? We felt so virtuous that we practically glowed! Gordon & Gunborg came in, after being to the theatre, for Gunborg to borrow some books. She went to the Dr. last week & he thinks she has got either diabetes or a thyroid deficiency, so this week she has to go up to the hospital & have all sorts of tests made, and will be there for hours at a time probably so wanted some nice, light reading! She is quite cheerful about it all, & she & Gordon both think it is probably thyroid & not diabetes, as she has had trouble that way before.
Yesterday we went to Toledo for the day! We were supposed to be going for a weekend since before Easter, but we couldn’t make any definite arrangements, then at Easter Til & Lois took Lois’s old aunties (2 of them) down south & they visited C’Zelma & Em, & then brought Grandma back with them. She is living with them now, & as they only have one spare room, we couldn’t go for a weekend, but planned to go for a nice, long day. Til is taking Grandma back to Alabama when the holidays begin in 3 weeks time, & will probably stay down for 3 or 4 weeks. We meant to start at 9, but actually set out at 9:50, which we thought was pretty good! It was a bit grey & hazy to begin with, but turned into a lovely hot sunny day & the countryside looked so green & young & beautiful – the first time we’ve really driven anywhere in the spring, & we did enjoy it. It took us 2 hours to get there, & we arrived just in nice time & got a welcome from all 3. Til & Lois are looking so well & tanned & Grandma looks just the same as in 1947 – she is 86 now, but as sturdy & independent & bright as ever. We looked around the estate & saw everything – the apple blossom was over which was a shame, but the whole place looked so lovely you couldn’t mind for long. We then had a gorgeous dinner, full of things I shouldn’t have eaten, but did!! Fried chicken & gravy & mashed potatoes & peas & salad, then strawberries all sugared & coconut cake!! I missed out the cream on my strawberries, but otherwise made a pig of myself & it was lovely!!
After dinner I was so tickled- Grandma & I were sent to rest! Grandma because of her age and & me because of my condition!! I felt very pampered, & was actually so full I could hardly move anyway! Both Til & Lois thought I looked very well, but Til thought I was big for 6 months- also said that it was going to be a boy because of the way I’m carrying it!! We have all been hashing over boys’ names, but are no further yet- everyone who tries to help us gets disgusted, because whatever they suggest, one or other of us turns up our nose!!
I forgot to tell you that at dinner time I got a birthday present! Wasn’t that a lovely surprise? And what do you think it is? A pretty, pretty cotton housecoat – grey & white with yellow roses, & a zip right down the front. I just live in the brunch coat Cec gave me for my birthday – I change into it every evening & it’s so comfy & cool around the house – so although I can get the house coat on, as it has elastic at the waist, it is a tight fit, & it will be nice to have it pretty & new for the hospital. I think it is lovely though, & I can easily do with it as well as my brunch coat – ain’t I a lucky gal?
It got very oppressively hot during the afternoon & then a Mr. & Mrs. Gottschel arrived to visit (their daughter Elsie was a friend of Til & Lois’ & died while I was in Toledo- remember?) & while they were there, a most terrific thunderstorm began. It actually started about 3:30 & was still going on at 7 o’clock when we left, but of course it rumbled all around, & at one time it was directly on us, & the lightning was so close it actually seemed to be in the kitchen. I don’t ever remember being scared at a storm before but I was at this one, & so were we all I think, because the thunder was so loud, & the flashes right on top of us. All the electricity went off, so we couldn’t boil a kettle or have a cup of tea or anything, but there was a lull after a while & the Gottschels left, & we had cold chicken & tomatoes & cottage cheese & homemade bread (made by Grandma) & had a nice time. Half way through the electricity came on again, but we were all drinking milk by then, but finished off with tea or coffee.
Wed. 23rd May.
Hello – here I am again- two days later. I had promised Cec on Monday evening that I would be a good girl & go to bed at 10 o’clock (he was at the Lab.) as I was quite tired, so when I got to that point in the latter I suddenly looked at the clock & it was 10:10, so I dashed & jumped into bed & had a great long sleep! I felt fine yesterday but it was a miserable wet cold rainy day after all our fine weather & on our way home from work we saw that Somerset Maugham’s new film “Trio” was on, so we decided to be devils & go! We had our dinner quickly & went to the 7 o’clock show & thoroughly enjoyed it – in fact, I liked it better than “Quartet”, perhaps because I hadn’t heard so much about it. There were 3 stories, “The Verger”, “Mr. Know-all” & “The Sanatorium” – the first two very amusing & the last one amusing as well as tragic in parts- Jean Simmons was in one & lots of actors I know by sight- I do hope it will come to Ottawa sometime & you can see it too, because both Cec & I thought it was grand.
Anyway, that was why I didn’t get anything finished last night, so I’ll continue with the letter now & telling you what happened on Sunday. We finally left Til & Lois’ at about 7- having waited a while to see if it would clear up, but it was still rumbling & raining away, so off we set, & got back quite safely at 10 o’clock. It was a wretched drive for poor Cec though, because we seemed to follow the storm all the way & there was lightning & torrential rain at times, & of course in the darkness, difficult to see road signs & so on. Twice there were State Troopers directing traffic on the road, once because the traffic signal had gone out & once because the road was flooded & traffic had to detour over a country road, so it was quite an eventful journey, but our chauffeur was fine, and as we stopped for a cup of coffee in a little town which took some time, we weren’t so very much longer on the road coming back. Next day we read in the papers it had been a dreadful storm all over the state.
By the way, my new dress was much admired both by Til & Lois & the girls at work (I wore it yesterday.) I had to do quite a dressmaking job on it, because with my waist just below my bosom, nowadays, I had to take the skirt off & shorten the bodice as well as shorten the hem, but with wanting to wear it on Sunday I had no time to procrastinate but began & did it right away! Do you remember that little lime green “coolie” summer jacket I got at Mitcham’s a while ago? Well, I had it dyed navy blue last year & it looks very nice & makes a good “preggy” jacket as well as the colour fitting in quite well too.
Today when we came home at lunchtime we had 3 nice letters by now & we were so pleased as we hadn’t had any letters for about 3 or 4 days & we felt quite ignored! One was from you, written on 13th & we were so glad to get it; the second was from the US Treasury with our Income Tax refund of $50.00!! Wasn’t that lovely? It is baby money we have decided, to buy a crib & pram etc. so the poor little thing now has the promise of more than a dresser drawer to sleep in!! The third letter was from Chris Cooper – such a nice letter, telling all about Edgar being in the RAF now and making us laugh so much because he said how funny it was that both Edgar & I should become MAs this year!! I always enjoyed Chris’ jokes! He said he was writing to you that same evening, so probably you have his letter by now- poor Chris, he said it was a lonely kind of life, & I can imagine how it must be very solitary for him.
Your letter and card were greatly enjoyed by both Mama & Papa- the latter pretending to be greatly offended over the “lying in bed” card! He was also greatly tickled at your blue pencil, which is still associated in his mind with censoring- & in mine, particularly with censoring low jokes!! Never mind, honey, I think it is a great scheme & I will begin right now & answer it, so that you can see the blue pencil has made a deep impression on me!
We were so glad that you got your Mother’s Day card in time & liked the funny little angels! We sent one to Cec’s Mother too & we have been really up to the minute & sent birthday cards to Russell & Carmen & Dad Costain & Lea all in the last 2 months- Cec thinks they will all be shattered at the shock, but I have my reputation to keep up! I was glad to hear that Auntie Ettie would be home for Mother’s Day & can imagine what a welcome she would get from the girls. I hope they would think she was looking well and strong, and that they would see a great improvement in her health. I will try to get around to writing as soon as I can to A. Ettie, but can’t promise to it’s being very soon!
I wonder how you are getting on with your talkative border, Miss Mann! It is nice that A. Moo will have company while you are away, but from what you said Miss Mann is not the most restful of personalities, so I hope that she won’t be too trying, but will settle down nicely with you and A. Moo. I am glad that you like your new bedroom & hope that the stiff neck has quite gone.
Now to answer the first of your B. P. X’s!! About the money – I can certainly send you a cheque for £50 – or £100 if you need it – but Cec & I had been wondering if you had ever found out how much you would be allowed to bring with you. From what Peter says it looks as if £50 might be the limit, & I am sure there must be a limit, as it is really just the same as taking it from England to Canada & they were so strict about that. Anyway, Peter will probably know definitely, & help you fix things, & just write as soon as you know how much money you need & I will send you the cheque.
I hope Jenny & Peter had a nice time on their holiday & that Bren doesn’t have too bad of time with her teeth at the dentist in Barbados. Poor Bren must be worried about Arthur’s job hunting & I can imagine how she must be longing for him to get settled somewhere, so that they can all be together again & have a proper home. I am just longing to have a home, & we’ve just been married for 2 years, so I can imagine how much she is panting for one. In her letter to me, she asked about what I would like her to knit, but as I am so behind with writing letters just now, perhaps you wouldn’t mind explaining my slowness in writing to her, & telling her that I think the little pull-ups & jacket would be lovely, as the little jackets I have are definitely light & the suit sounds as if it would be nice & warm. You must also apologize to Jeanie for me & tell her that I still intend to write to her sometime, so not to give up hope! He looks a honey & from what you say, must be a lovely big boy.
I loved hearing about all our little garments & they sound to me to be a most impressive array! I am longing to see them of course, and I am all for your sending them off to me here, so that I can see them as soon as possible. Cec thinks we may have to pay duty on the parcel, but you may have to pay duty if you bring the things with you anyway, & too you will want to travel light on the plane & not have any extras if you can help it. I think it would be a good idea to send the parcel early too, because once we leave Ann Arbor, we won’t have an address in Ottawa for a little while, so we should make sure of getting them here. That reminds me, I haven’t written to Amy yet about the prospect of getting her rug, which I had better do, or she will be hurt! Isn’t little Mrs. Johnny a pet about the shawl? I am so intrigued with all these things – can’t really believe there for me & mine!!
Darn it- bedtime again, Cec says, so will close for tonight & get all done tomorrow. Night night- I go to have my lovely glass of scum milk!
Hiya – honey! Isn’t this a long drawn out effort?! Anyway I am determined to get it finished tonight & mailed tomorrow, or you will wonder what on earth has happened to us. Cec is back at the Lab. again this evening- departed with the little pyrex gravy boat to pour acid into something or the other of his equipment!! He wanted something glass with a handle, so I produced that & he has promised to bring it back cleaner than it’s ever been before!
We were amused in your letter where you were surprised at the girl taking 1 1/2 hours to scale & clean my teeth & wonder what you will be when you hear that I go for my 5th 1 1/2 hours tomorrow! It certainly is a thorough job (I’m still running on my original dollar!) but apparently it’s a common thing for preggy women to get gum trouble – & all this cleaning is doing mine good & clearing away the infection. Apparently I have no cavities that the girl can see, so that is nice as I don’t want to have to go to a dentist before we get to Ottawa.
I was tickled at all your holidays this week & hope everyone enjoyed them! It looks as if St. V. was certainly my natural home as I have been grouching all the time here about not getting any public holidays! However next week we do get one- 30th May is Decoration Day so I can stay at home- goody, goody!! Should really celebrate by scrubbing the kitchen floor!
About Connie – I had been meaning to tell you in this letter that we heard from them last week- letter from Leonard as usual! A while ago- after I had written & told them about our news- Cec got a paper (article on his work) from Leonard & on the top was scribbled “Congratulations from one father to another” so we presumed that their’s was a fact, but waited for a letter with more information. Anyway, this letter is quite cheery – the best we’ve had from them – no money talk or groans or moans! – & Connie is expecting at the end of August & is better now than she was, but has been having back ache etc. & so is now sleeping on a board! I can’t imagine Connie suffering in silence through any aches & pains, but maybe she isn’t so bad!! There are so many of us preggy gals at the Centre that it really is quite a help for us – each one takes it so cheerfully & matter-of-factly that you would feel a sissy to grumble or a grouch, & no matter how far on you are, there is someone a bit farther, & if she can come to work and be cheery, you feel, heck! so can you! One girl, Joan, was at work a week past Friday & had her baby (a 7lb. boy) on the Sat.- 10 days early. Millie is the next- she is due on June 7th, but is leaving work at the end of this month – not working quite to the last minute! But both those lasses have been very uncomplaining & there’s no doubt it must be very tiring & trying for them right at the end.
Did I tell you Dawn had a Baby Shower for Milly? It was the week I was sick & I was so mad I couldn’t go, but I gave my 25¢ subscription. Dawn asked all the other girls at the Centre & collected a quarter from each one & bought one big present, & then each girl brought with her a cute little 10¢ present from the dime store just for fun. It was a complete surprise to Millie as she had just gone to Dawn’s to do some sewing, & then in marched all the girls & it was a party! Dawn had ice cream & cake & they apparently all had a grand time. The present Dawn got with the money was a big bag with a shoulder strap (sort of handbag looking) & inside places for dry nappies & a waterproof place for wet ones, & an insulated part for keeping bottles hot & all sorts of cunning things. There was a little money left over, so she got a little jacket too, & Millie was thrilled with both. They are leaving Ann Arbour at the end of the summer (Jerry (the husband) is going to teach) so she is just borrowing a crib etc. to save moving stuff. I was to make her a little baby dress, but haven’t begun yet – I am ashamed!
I think that is the end of your blue pencilled questions so I had better end too as this letter seems long enough already! The only other thing was the St. V. stamps & I won’t forget them, but will send them in another (lighter!) letter! I hope all the ferns are doing well, & that the garden is looking spic & span after all the influx of helpers! We have lilac & lily-of-the-valley out just now & they smell so pretty – I have a little vase of the lilies here on the bookcase & another on my desk at work & it’s so nice to have flowers again. Cec & I were so excited the other morning- we saw a pair of hummingbirds on the lilac bush – the first I’d ever seen! They were so tiny & sweet we were fascinated!
Must stop now- love to Auntie Moo & the cousins – with lots & lots of love for Grandmummy from us all-
Hugs from Cynnie
Bed time again! Friday 25th– just got your letter written on the 20th- glad you got your parcel.