As I said at the beginning of this project, when writing to one’s beloved mother, the writer wants her mother to be happy, so all troubles (colds, $$$, lodgers, broken-down cars) are lightly passed over and intimate problems (loneliness, depression) not shared- although Cyn did describe her aggravations and adventures and made them amusing.  It follows, then, that when actual crises occur, Cyn is telling Carol after the event when the crisis has passed, and of course the letter takes at least a week to get to her.  Only a happy event like a birth gets a telegram sent to the West Indies!

This is certainly true of January 1953. When the baby Charlie was a month old, he became quite ill and required emergency surgery, was hospitalized for a while, and Cyn had to stop breastfeeding him, which made her suffer severely too. While the Costain household must have been upset, starting with the doctor’s visit to the house (!!) and a drive to the hospital at once (Ottawa winter, snow, hospital across town, reluctant MacTavish- the doctor drove Cyn and the baby, and Cec followed once the car started), with emergency baby-sitting by the lodger, and a midnight operation; all followed by a special nurse for the first night, daily hospital visits, worries, money concerns, etc., letters went off to St. Vincent without a word about what they were going through- instead, the Christmas present list, and then a local clipping, and Linda’s vocabulary!- until two weeks later when Cyn sits down and explains what happened in an Air Mail in such frank detail that I am not including the letter! After that, there are only Air Letter forms for months, as Charlie came home from the hospital with flu caught from another sick baby and kindly shared it with the household, and required constant sterilized bottles and the making up of formula- such a curse, Cyn told her mother. Crisis over, daily life resumed, mother reassured as the letters continued through the winter describing the children and their behaviour, and how the curtains are finally being put up. 

And Carol notes on the next letter about vomiting children “Things to tell Cyn- about Peter, about Margs, about African violets” so it is clear that she isn’t very worried and normal communication has resumed!

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