July 4 1951

4th July, 1951

Dearest Mummy,

It is the 4th of July holiday today, but as I finished work on Friday it hasn’t meant a thing to me – sad! Cec has been up at the Lab. as usual all day, & I did the chores & this afternoon wrote letters – six of them! – so feel very virtuous! Then after dinner we went up to the Drug Store & had an ice cream cone & that was our celebration! Now Cec has gone back to the Lab. again & I’ve washed the dishes & made myself a “cuppa” & am writing to my Momee!

After I wrote to you last week nothing very exciting happened. Cec worked at the Lab. every evening & I didn’t do much, and at work was kept busy in finishing jobs and leaving everything ship shape! Charlie & Shirley & Lyons were all the way & things had been very quiet, then in the middle of the week the news came that the Center had got a new $100,000 contract, so that there would be lots of work & the whole place buzzing! Bob Peebles was cursing the fact that they hadn’t hired anyone in my place, because when they thought there wasn’t going to be much doing they’d said he could do my work, & now of course he was busy & there was no one trained to do my job! However, all I had to do was sit back! 

On Friday I felt quite sad at the thought of leaving everyone, & everyone was very nice & sad about my going! We had our last coffee together in the afternoon, & then when I got back to my office afterwards here was a lovely little parcel all prettily done up & a big envelope marked “Cynthia”. I was most taken aback as I really hadn’t expected anything as so many people have left the centre recently that everyone must be fed up with collections. Anyway, I trotted round to Jeanie’s office to have company over the opening & opened my parcel- and what do you think it was?

13 names on the card!

A perfectly darling little solid silver spoon & fork for the baby! I was so surprised & amazed I just squeaked & squealed because when you wrote to me about cleaning up my spoon. & fork & not letting anyone give me another, I thought to myself “Well, my goodness – who on earth would give me a silver spoon & fork!” & I just couldn’t think of anyone wealthy enough, & here the girls had collected together & done it! We’ll just have to save mine for the next baby, that’s all- this one obviously is going to be born with a silver spoon all ready to pop in its mouth! You will just love the sweet little things when you see them though – they are such a pretty shape & they are a “pattern” as you see in the ads. called Damask Rose” & have a little rose on the handle. The girls were very interested to know if it was my “silver pattern”, so I said we didn’t have such things in England! The other letter, I opened it afterwards, & got another huge surprise! It was from Bob Peebles telling me all sorts of nice things about what a good girl I’d been & telling me he had given me a subscription to a magazine “The Saturday Review of Literature” as a parting present. Wasn’t that nice of him?

How he came to choose that mag. was that he gets it himself, & whenever I could get a look at his weekly copy as it arrived, I did! He asked me one day if I liked it & I said “oh yes “because it is full of book reviews & about films & the theatre & so on- rather like the Sunday Times used to be – & I told him how we got nothing like that now as we thought we would wait until we got settled in Ottawa first. So he had remembered & got it for us – I thought it was so sweet of him & to write me such a nice letter too- particularly as Jeanie & I used to make fun of him about being such an old woman!! I spent the rest of the afternoon going around showing off my baby spoon & fork & everybody thought it was lovely! Cec was pleased too when he saw them!

That evening Jeanie & Al were having a little party and had invited us to come. Jeanie had her mother & younger sister staying with her all last week & the party was really for them – their home is in Connecticut & Jeanie’s mother is one of our interviewers there, so of course was interested in the Center & everyone there. They had been up & seen around earlier in the week, so I had met them before, & of course Jeanie had told me all about them beforehand too. We couldn’t stay very long at the party as Cec was going on to the Lab. to work, but we stayed a while & chatted, & then when we left Cec took me to the Sutherland’s & I stayed & had a gossip with Gunborg as Gordon was away- took my spoon & fork to show off too! Gunborg brought me home later, & we have arranged a shopping spree in Detroit to get nappies etc.!

On Sat. I had 2 more lovely surprises – or at least, not exactly surprises, but lovely all the same- your nice letter, and the second of the baby parcels- no nothing to pay! Thank you lots & lots for both of them – we enjoyed the letter immensely, & of course I loved the parcel. The little nighties are just so cute & Jeanie’s 2 little jackets are such tiny sweet little pets that I just fell for them at once. Now I am not working I hope to really get my letters off my conscience, but please tell her they arrived safely & that I will be writing. You said you knew I’d love them & I do – they are so cute & fat & little & quite different than any I’ve seen here – the double breasted one is my honey! The flannel square is a beauty & I never imagined anything so wonderfully made & embroidered when you told me about it- I just thought it would be a plain square piece of flannel. It is so elegant I can’t really think what we’ll use it for- to put over the cot do you think? Or to wrap the baby, or what? I have such a nice lot of things now – I’m going to pack them all in a case together & gloat!

Card accompanied a present of a Dry Duck bag!

I went downtown with my week’s pocket money on Sat. & bought myself a cotton petticoat! I have been wearing my 2 nylon ones, but in hot weather they stick & feel very hot – particularly over my fat tum! – so I now have a white cotton waist petticoat – I got a big size as I put it around my “waist” which is just below my bust & it is just right! I also got some stockings as I think they are dearer in Canada, & in a fit of madness also got a blouse made of sort of black cotton fish net! It is very alluring etc. but of course not with my present figure, but I thought I could always send it as a present if I decided it was too ultra for a mama!! 

On Monday I felt quite lonesome & lost all day with not going to work! I kept busy & did the chores & got the laundry ready & took it to the laundromat, & cleaned the kitchen windows & in the afternoon cleaned the tiles in the bathroom, but I still missed the girlish gossip at work! I had quite a sleep after lunch though, & again yesterday, so I am quickly falling into preggy ma habits! Today I sternly had a cup of tea to keep me awake & wrote letters! On Monday evening at about 11 o’clock I was just having my milk & about to go to bed when Cec arrived home. This was terribly early for him as recently it is more like 3 or 4 a.m., so I was expecting a scolding for still being up, but instead we had a little outing! Cec & Jean Levy (the Frenchman we once had to dinner) had both been working at the Lab. & were going out for a cup of coffee when they noticed there was quite a display of Northern Lights. That is quite unusual down here, & Jean had never seen them before so they hopped in the car & collected me & we drove about 2 miles out into the country away from the city lights & got a wonderful view. They were quite greenish coloured & very fascinating to watch. Afterwards we came back here & the boys had sandwiches & milk & then went back to the Lab. again.

Last night Cec took a few hours off & took me to the movies – the first time for over a month that we’ve been out! We went to see an Alford Hitchcock thriller called “Strangers on a Train” & it was very good & exciting although we missed a little bit at the beginning so were a little bit fogged for a while! We were greatly tickled because Alfred Hitchcock himself always appears somewhere in each of his films, and we spotted him in this one- a funny fat man struggling to get a great bass fiddle onto the train!

Now that seems to be just about all my news, so I’ll get back to your nice letter. It is so nice & cool tonight- last night was hot & close & all this morning seemed stifling, but now it has got very breezy & quite chilly, so I am delighted! I feel a hundred times more energetic when it is cooler, & I want to begin getting things cleaned up so that I can leave the apartment nice. Oh, I forgot to tell you- we have an unexpected guest for the weekend! Cec got a phone call from Washington last week & who should it be but Phil Hawkins from Baldock where Cec used to work. Do you remember Cec talking about him, & one Sunday he & his wife & little boy came to Cambridge & went on the river & then came home & had tea with us? Anyway, Phil is over here on Admiralty work & has to go to Chicago, so is flying here on Friday evening & spending the weekend with us. A good job it isn’t later when all our things are packed & sent away!

I was so glad that you had got my letter with the cheque in, & that it was O.K. about taking your money into Canada. I’m looking forward to hearing that you have got your passage all fixed & hope that the man has come back from his holiday by now! I was telling Cec that you were probably having collywobbles in your tummy already, although by now you should be a seasoned traveler! I was amused at your saying that your previous week’s letter had been quite an effort to write – you were very noble to write it then I think – I usually put it off if I feel like that! I did think it wasn’t quite up to your usual high standard, but we enjoyed it just same!

You were very optimistic over your good wishes that the thesis is all done & sent off. As you’ll gather from all my references to Cec working night and day, things haven’t been going very smoothly & the poor lad is having an awful time. He is working desperately against time at the Lab. to get results he wants before he leaves, so the writing is left for the moment, as he can do that afterwards if necessary, whereas he has to get results now. He has had all sorts of trouble & is so worried about it, but despite all that & hardly any sleep, he is so good to me, & keeps cheerful and is really wonderful. I am just hoping & hoping that he will have a run of good luck & get something good any day now.

I was glad that you spent a nice day with Bren out at Peggy’s & bet you had a whale of a gossip. I was delighted to hear Bren’s news about Arthur, & do hope that everything works out O.K. for them – it sounds just ideal really if it does come through, as Bren will be near enough to come home for visits & they will get their leaves in England too. I was most amused you & she coming to the conclusion that there must be something in the air at the Institute because of all the preggies! We are used to say that it was catching & the unmarried girls would get quite alarmed! I haven’t seen anything more of Milly or the baby lately, but will call around before we leave. Dawn saw her one day & said that she was fine & all over the fever, so that is a good thing. I don’t know whether she will ever dress Eric in that little dress or not- I should think the white & red would suit him, but it looked a bit “girly”! I wouldn’t be too worried about making her rompers if you are very busy – I think we are just about quits now really!! I was so glad to hear that my cute little patchwork is finished & look forward immensely to seeing it – hope the baby has as much fun over it as I’m going to!

Bren’s little blue knitted set must be sweet – this is going to be a lucky baby isn’t it?

I was glad to hear that you had been to see Mr. Verrall, & that he was up & about though not well yet. Hope he will soon be better.

I laughed when I read your apologies to Cec for forgetting his birthday! I thought you probably would as it never seems to really have registered with you, but I think he will forgive you! I was amused that our anniversary was to be a cotton one this year – we’ll have to get each other some curtains or something! Probably lots of cotton things we’ll be needing anyway- nappies for one!!

Re. the singing cake – before I forget! It is supposed to have stopped singing when you take it out, but I think for a sandwich-type-cake this makes it a bit dry. It is O.K. for a rich fruit cake but for any other I think you can take it out while it is still singing a little, & it is a moister cake – as long as it isn’t soft & bubbly in the middle still!!

I laughed about you laughing at me when we meet in Ottawa! I bet you do giggle too- Cec & I do on occasion when it suddenly hits us in the eye as it were! I have decided that my tummy is just about the size & shape of a good sized watermelon at the moment! My waist measurement (where it used to be!) is 36” & I weigh 131 lbs. so you can try to imagine me!!

Cec & I were most amused that you & Bren were pining to know our girl’s name! We just didn’t tell you at first because you were being coy over the names you thought of, & now Cec says you may as well wait another month!! We still have no boy’s name, but I tell Cec we can haggle over that all the time we’re driving to Ottawa!

Well, that seems to be about all now, so I’d better finish now & go to bed. Did I tell you we had given Len some money & asked him to have the Ottawa paper sent to us? Well, it is coming now & we are reading the ads. with great interest. There are quite a lot of furnished houses & apartments for the summer months, so we are thinking of writing to some of these & seeing what we can get, as it would be fine just to go to a furnished place & have a couple of months to look for somewhere permanent. There are masses of houses for sale quite reasonably, so we are quite hopeful.

Must stop- Cec has just come home for a sandwich as nowhere is open tonight – he sends his love and the baby sends a great kick which he just delivered on his Mama’s ribs!! 

Lots of love from

            Cynnie. 

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