June 10 1951

This letter has been chewed upon by St Vincent insects- pinholes right through!

Sunday, June 10th

Dearest Mummy,

Thank you so much for your nice letter which came yesterday – quite my Saturday treat now! It was mailed on June 1, so wasn’t very long in coming. You haven’t got many blue-pencilled remarks this time, but I will answer what there are later, & I also went through some of your old letters this afternoon, & red-pencilled (!) places to answer so will do that also!

Cec went up to the Lab. this afternoon, & has gone again now- after dinner – but I have been quite busy. We slept till nearly noon, of course – it is Cec’s one chance to catch up on his late nights during the week, & I was late late last night too, so was just as sleepy as he was this morning! You would have laughed at us at breakfast time. Yesterday I was in town in the afternoon & happened to be near a special shop which goes in for foreign delicacies & also fish. We had been talking about missing kippers the other day, & although we’d had tinned ones, they weren’t the same, so I went into the shop & sure enough they had kippers & I bought some as a treat for us this morning! So up we got & on opening the package I found two huge kippers (1/2 lb. each!) & I grilled them & they smelled very kippery & good! Then we began to eat them, & after a few mouthfuls we both said they didn’t taste like English kippers, & after we’d waded about 1/2 way through, we both confessed we didn’t like them! They had a very odd flavour- as if they had been cured in some funny way,- & they were very oily – So we didn’t enjoy our kippers much! Cec decided he wanted an egg to take the taste away, so he fried one & put it on a slice of toast & tried to eat it in his hand. I giggled so at his egg dripping through holes in the toast, that I leant forward & put my elbow in my saucer & spilled tea all over the table & myself – so you can see we had a very hilarious & messy time!!

This afternoon I baked a cake. After the Dr. said my weight was O.K. last week, I wanted to come right home & bake a chocolate cake, but Cec wouldn’t let me! However, it is his birthday next Sat. & we are having Pete & Mary Jo to dinner & a couple from Saskatoon- Bill Baker & his wife Jacqueline. Bill is head of the Agricultural Dept. at the University in Sask. (I met him when we were up last summer) & is down in A.A. for about a year, & Cec ran into him one day by accident, & since then we’ve met him and his wife once or twice. We asked Gordon & Gunborg to come to dinner too, but they have tickets for the theatre, so will just come in for a drink afterwards. Anywayas we are having the dinner on Cec’s birthday, I made his cake this weekend – just a white cake with lots of chocolate icing! The oven is tilted slightly though, so my cake is lopsided, but otherwise looks good! I also made a mince pie, as poor Cec hasn’t had any pies or puddings for ages, and boned & stuffed a breast of veal for dinner. I was very pleased with myself as it only cost 73¢ & the usual roast of beef is $2 or over for just a small piece & altho’ pork is cheaper, it isn’t as cheap as 73¢!!

You will probably be suspecting me of gaining weight again by leaps & bounds with cooking all these things, but Cec has made me a graph which we have on the bathroom wall, & each morning I weigh & mark it.  It is entitled “Cyn’s Giraffe” & is like this

The red line is what I should gain, & the humpy back line is how I did gain! At the moment I am below the red line & haven’t gained any since Mon. so am pleased with myself!

Cyn’s Giraffe- she put the graph in the scrapbook later- with both of us on it!

Actually I am having to be good as I am taught a lesson if I’m not! On Thursday Millie went to the Clinic & came into the office afterwards – it was the day the baby was due, but there were no signs, & as it also was Dawn’s last day at work before going on holiday, we decided to go out for coffee to celebrate. We went to a place nearby & as a real treat I had coffee & a chocolate iced doughnut & had a good time, & we enjoyed ourselves. Then back at the office I began to get indigestion, & by the time I got home for lunch I just sicked it all up!! I felt fine then, but I was so annoyed! On Friday afternoon, the Institute had their annual picnic – I didn’t go & as it was rather a chilly grey day, neither did a lot of other people, but the office closed around 3 o’clock & I came home & had a cup of tea & 2 slices of toast & raspberry jelly & I’m darned if the same thing didn’t happen – except this time I just had indigestion & wasn’t sick! Anyway, I’ve decided it’s just no good me trying to give myself a treat!!

By the way- Mary Jo told me over the phone when I called to invite her & Pete to dinner that she is expecting another baby in September. They already have 2 little girls- Jody & Helen- the latter 18 months & Jody about 3 I think, & they are an awfully nice family. Cec likes Pete very much – he is a big, quiet fellow, but very amusing, & Mary Jo is very nice. The little girls aren’t pretty, but they are very cute & Jody is quite a little chatterbox & most attached to Cec. I expect they’ll be hoping for a boy this time. I am wondering if Millie’s baby has come yet- the Dr. said it could be anytime, & she was hoping it would be the weekend while Jerry was home & could take her to the hospital. I went around to see her on Thurs. evening & saw all her little things – she really hasn’t much at all-just nighties & nappies mostly, & has borrowed a crib. When she left work her Dept. gave her a baby scale which is nice to have. Her mother is coming down from Montreal when they send the wire, so she is bringing things from the family & friends up there.

I told you Dawn was going on holiday – well, actually, Burt has finished his exams so they are visiting their respective families & Burt is also having interviews for jobs, so they are combining work & pleasure. He is an engineering lawyer & is through now but hasn’t got a job as yet. Millie’s Jerry is also through now – a teacher – & has got a job in Long Island & they are very pleased, as it is a good one & a nice new little town, (not so far out as Long Beach) & as Jerry’s people live in N.Y. so it suits them fine. They are spending the summer here though, as Jerry has a temporary job. It is very queer at work now with both Dawn & Milly gone, & also Shirley from the Field Office is going on holiday & Lyons has already gone, so the place seems empty. Another thing is that Sylvia is leaving too- she has hardly done any work for the past while, & last week Charlie told her that as there was no more work she had better go to some other job, so she is leaving the Institute. We are wondering how on earth she will get on, as she is so careless & undependable, & everyone here was nice & kind to her, but we don’t suppose they will be everywhere. My job will be empty of course at the end of the month, but she was never suggested for it – she’s been in the same room with me for nearly a year, but I don’t think she has any idea of what I do!

I meant to tell you that on Sat.when I went shopping in town (for my hubby’s birthday present- couldn’t find what I wanted) I was in Woolies & saw “catnip mice”, so of course got one for Spivvy & we are going to send it to him! It is a little grey cloth mouse with a pink wool tail & eyes & a funny smell, but we hope he’ll like it!

Yesterday evening I went with Ann Sutherland to the theatre to see “Mary Rose” by Barrie. Gordon & Gunborg have tickets to a series of plays which are on for about 6 weeks, & when they heard I hadn’t seen “Mary Rose” they pressed me to take Ann, as Gunborg had seen it twice & Gordon was very busy. I wasn’t too keen, as I’d read the play long ago at school, but went anyway & Anne thought it was lovely! I thought the acting was poor, & didn’t enjoy it much, but of course didn’t say so! 

I don’t remember if I ever told you much about Amy’s parcel – it was really lovely & no duty to pay. The pram cover is very thick & warm & quite big enough for a cot cover if you wanted- it is white, & the two little jackets, one is pink (quite bright!) & one is blue & they are a very cute pattern. They are a small size too, which is nice, as the ones I made are bigger & so is yours. Did I tell you I finally made & smocked Millie’s baby dress two weekends ago? I sewed & sewed & got it done & it looked very sweet, but it was a wretched pattern & made the smocking very difficult. It was a fine white cotton material & I smocked in red, but it came very big – nine months- one year size I should think – so if it’s a little boy Millie will just have to put it by! All the girls at work raved about it- none of them seem to do hand sewing at all- they machine & knit & crochet, but my sewing a dress by hand was something extraordinary! I have cut out one the same for me, but as it is such a big size & I’m so busy anyway, I’ve decided to leave it for the time being. Millie made & gave me such a nice thing – a bathing apron made out of Turkish towelling. I thought it was such a good idea & so useful- it has big pockets & is green & has a rick-rack trimming- wasn’t that nice of her?

As you will see, I am enclosing the cheque for £50, & hope that it will be enough- if not I can let you have more quite easily. You ask if U.S. dollars are O.K. in Canada & Cec says to tell you Yes – very much so! We both giggled at the thought of you smuggling dollars about the place of course, & Cec says to tell you we’ll probably have to bail you out, but I hope it is O.K. I am glad that you have booked your passage for the 6th – don’t worry, we’ll have a bed of some sort for you, some where – we’re just not sure where at the moment! Tell me how the plane goes after Barbados – where do you stop & how long does it take? We will be waiting at the airport at Ottawa for you, & you will get such a surprise at your little fat daughter! No matter how much you imagine me pregnant, I’m sure the actual sight will be a shock!!

I hope that you had a lovely weekend with the Fraser’s & enjoyed being out in the country. It was a pity Auntie Moo couldn’t go too, but when you are away she will probably enjoy visiting even more, & it wouldn’t be much fun for her if she was worrying about her earphone.

I am glad that you got my long letter- this looks as if it might be a rival to the 17 page effort, but I don’t know why except that I seem to be very hare-brained & skip from subject to subject! I am so excited about the parcels of baby clothes & hope they come quickly, as I am longing to see them. Millie had all little bought nighties & I thought how much nicer mine would be! I am longing to see the little silk dress especially & all your faggotting! I’m sure it will be cute. I felt for Jeanie knitting a wrong side for the little cardigan – I would do just the same sort of thing! I will write to her & tell her how good it is of her to knit for me. I hope when Bren gets back that she will feel better for the change, & that her teeth will be all O.K. Poor Jeanie must be in a flat spin about Hazell Ann & the wild Barbadians! It seems kind of incredible to think of Jean as a worried Mama, when really it doesn’t seem so long since she was at school & probably up to girlish tricks! Not that I think she would do the equivalent of nipping into dormitories, but just tricks in general!! Cec was very amused to hear that Barbadians were a wild lot even in your day!

We were both shattered at your suggestion for a boy’s name for us! Hercules Horatio – poor little horror! We have given it up for the time being as we have other things to think of! Cec is writing away, & I typed most evenings last week & have caught up now, so can rest as Cec is working at the Lab. and has nothing new for me. I can’t say your suggestion of Sidney really thrills me – Sid- ugh! & your 4 girl’s names aren’t the top of our popularity list either!! Aren’t we horrid? Actually, I think you’ll like our girl’s name, which is all settled, but it’s these boys that are the difficulty! 

Was glad to hear about Dottie, although from your account of her letter she seems to have had sad news about other people. I haven’t heard from N/C for a while, as I was a long time in writing & then wrote to them all at once. I’m glad Dottie is going to Mary & Bill for Race Week – she always enjoys going there, & I hope it’s nice weather.

Poor little Mrs. Johnny sending the shawl to you – I hope it doesn’t take too long to arrive & that you don’t have a huge duty. I haven’t heard anything from her – should I write & say thank you now, or wait till you get it or till I see it or what? It will depend on whether it takes a long time to get to you, as to whether you will have time to post it to me or will have to bring it with you.

You ask what “Decoration Day is for- well “Memorial Day” is another name for it, & it began as a memorial day for the soldiers in the Civil War, & people used to go & decorate their graves. Now it is supposed to be for all soldiers killed in battle, I think, but it is just a holiday mainly although they do decorate various places with flowers etc.


Well – Millie did have her baby!! At 2 o’clock this afternoon – a boy! He weighed 7 lbs. 10 ozs. & is 20” long and has lots of black hair! Jerry rang me up at work & told me & he was so excited, & I got wildly excited too & we practically squealed at each other over the phone! Then I rushed around telling everyone & Charlie said you’d have thought it was my baby, I was so thrilled! Apparently, Jerry took her to the Hospital on Friday evening, but they sent her home on Sat. morning as it was false labour, but she had pains off & on all weekend. Then at 5 a.m. this morning he took her in again & at the Univ. hospital they let the fathers stay with the mothers until they actually go to the delivery room, so he stayed at the hospital. I can go & see her any afternoon, but will wait & go on Wed. as I expect she will need a rest tomorrow. The baby is to be Eric – I don’t like that either!! There are 5 of us preggies left at work now- 3 have produced & another is about to! The men are doing pretty well too, as last week 3 of them had babies & brought round chocolates & cigars! Prolific crowd!!

You mentioned Connie- we have heard no more, but may see Leonard this week. There is a big Physics Meeting in Columbus, Ohio this week & all the Physics Dept. here & from all over the U.S. & Canada are going. Gordon is giving a paper of Cec’s, as Cec is too busy to go, but isn’t my husband clever? Leonard is driving down with another English fellow from Ottawa while Connie stays with his wife who has 2 little girls, & we may see the 2 men for a little while on their way back, so should collect the gossip then!

I am intrigued to know how you are getting on with “our” little patchwork quilt- I think it will be just sweet! Do you think babies need sheets? I always vaguely thought you just bundled them up in blankets! Anyway, I’ll be doing my shopping in Ottawa, so needn’t worry yet!

What news of Patsy lately? You haven’t mentioned her for a long time, except a while ago you said she seemed depressed. Apparently no news of a family for her yet. Also you haven’t said how Percy Verrall is getting on- I hope he is better now. Has Uncle Fred made up his mind to sell Fernside to the nuns yet? It seems a pity after having it so long, but as you say it is very big for him by himself. I was glad the dog bite wasn’t much after all.

I went to try & get your Felt for Feet on Sat. but couldn’t get it at the places I tried. I’ll go back to the place I got it before during the week & will send it off then.

You asked about my Father in one letter, & I meant to tell you I did have a letter from him about the baby. He was quite pleasant about it, – not excited, you know, but quite nice, & suggested some names etc. Also a few weeks ago I got a book from him- a historical novel about Bury St. Edmunds which he had told me about, & it suddenly arrived with no name inside or anything. I wrote & thanked him but haven’t heard since.

Must stop now, as Cec says it is way past my bedtime – glad you are having fun with your bathing suit, & hope you have been to the Club again with Miss M’s man!! She sounds a pain-in-the-neck! Too- too- for words! Cec sends love & so does Junior & a big kick! 

                          Lots and lots from 


                                                       Me too. Cec

I want to add a note or two commenting on Cyn and Cec’s life in Ann Arbor at this time. When she describes the ‘Prolific crowd’ she works with, 5 pregnant women and 3 proud fathers all in the same Institute, you realize how young they all are and how transitory their working life there is- the student husbands have finished their degrees and, like Cyn and Cec, are moving on with (no longer working) wives and babies, to homes and jobs elsewhere. The difference was that Cyn, pregnant at 36, was probably a decade or so older than her colleagues, although it’s possible that no one knew this. Cec was 7 years younger than she was, and as a PhD. student, fitted in to the age group but Cyn only occasionally mentions a man who was a veteran like Cec. Her war years had been a holding pattern in her life, and now it is fun to read of her obvious delight in her marriage, baby, and future home!

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