1st Sept. 1954
I sent a sea letter last week (not a long one – mostly odds & bobs!) so thought I had better get to work & write an A.M. so that you don’t get all behind in the Costain news – so momentous & exciting always!! Thank you so much for your A.M. of 23rd & also for Lindy’s birthday card, which arrived the day after her birthday, and also the enclosures for me. I was amused at the beginning of your letter which recalled the day of Linda’s birth, as I was doing the same thing to Cec & saying “Oh, I’m glad it’s not 3 yrs. ago!” Not because of Lindy but because of all the wretched time we had with the thesis & moving etc.! It’s nice to feel we are a bit settled now.
Lindy had a happy day I think & of course we had fun too! I had debated whether to have a birthday party for her, but she isn’t too interested in other children yet & the only ones she thought she’d like to have were Cathie & Margo (Mrs. Rothwell’s little granddaughters who live down the road – five & 7, I think) but they are away at a cottage so I gave up the idea – with great relief, I might say!! On the Sunday after breakfast we gave her the presents & she was very pink & pleased! Not so amazed & rapturous as she was last year, but now she knows a little bit more about getting presents! She got: –
from Mummy & Daddy – a humming top (requested), a baking set (complete with board, rolling pin, egg beater, bowl, pans etc.! ) a small blackboard & chalks (really like a school slate) a book about animals, & a little watering can
Grannie – two new T-shirts (she is very proud of them & has worn them both- the little black people & crocodile one is so cute!), dolly (christened Clarabelle! We have such a time changing her clothes!), guitar!
Nan – a wee tiny china cup & saucer, a little book
Amy & Charlie – a very cute bear all dressed in a dress & apron & holding a baby bear. Amy got it at a sale of work – the bears are velvet. Lindy & Charlie are both very intrigued!
Gunborg brought them both plastic pails & shovels when she came & also for Linda a little shoulder bag for “Baby’s Diapers” just like Mummy’s! It has a little bottle in, a wee diaper, clothes pins etc.!
Mrs Rothwell– a hankie
All of the above sent cards too & she also got one from Anne & Tadek so she was very pleased. We also gave Charlie a few things so he wouldn’t feel left out – a wee wheelbarrow & a little watering can & a book about animals too, so they were both as happy as could be. Of course Linda commandeered the wheelbarrow & Charlie adored the top, but on the whole things worked out very well! We also gave Charlie the little “Prince Charles shirt” from you & I dressed him up in it this week & he looks such a little pet! The little trousers are a bit too big, but with the tiny red shorts that Dottie sent him he looks such a little man! He still has a very rolling gait & it makes him look quite the “drunken sailor” at times! The birthday was a lovely hot sunny day so they played outside in the sand & with their watering cans etc. & had fun. I made a birthday cake of course & iced it like the one I saw in Good Housekeeping- the whole top like one big flower –
it is just done with kind of blobs of icing shaped into petals & looked very pretty with pink candles, but I made the icing they told you about & it turned out to be very gooey & marshmallowey. I didn’t care for it too much & neither did Linda, but Charlie & Cec did! We had some out on the grass & we gave some to Mrs. Rothwell & her sister & next day I took some down to Mr. & Mrs. Scott, so I managed to dispose of it! On the Monday I invited Mrs. Blachut with Janek & baby Danny to come to tea & also Pat Tomlinson (wife of fellow with ear phone) & Joanne & baby Susan, but the latter family couldn’t come as Joanne was sick, so we just had the Blachuts. It was hot again, so we had tea & cake outside at the back & the children played in the sand & swing & Mrs. B & I talked. I like her very much, she is the Swiss lady married to the Polish man who drives to work with Cec. Janek had never seen a swing before & was fascinated – he is very like his Daddy – fair & the kind of wide Polish face Ludwik had. He talks Swiss-German to his Mummy & Polish to his Daddy & a little bit of English to other people but not much as he’s shy! They brought Lindy some pretty Swiss hankies too.
Last week we had the hottest days of the whole summer & I put the paddling pool in the sandbox (it is shady on that side of the house) & the children just played in & out of the water but it suddenly got cold one night & this week we had 3 days solid rain & so cold. Today was fair, thank goodness- yesterday was the big hurricane which hit new England – got the rain but no more. I wonder how Long Beach got on.
I spent Monday evening making a parcels – a jumper one of the Sutherland girls left behind; a box of mints for my Father – haven’t written in an age, but send a little candy or a Reader’s Digest now and then; a parcel to the Heslops & one to Mrs. Ewing! I was very late with Sandy’s birthday present, but I really get down town so little nowadays & I wanted to get something for baby Barbara too. I got a “Tinker Toy” one of those things with sticks & wheels that you make things with & I intended to get something sensible for the little girl – warm & woolly!! But anything nice in that line seemed so expensive and I ended by getting a wee blue nylon dress – adorable & tiny & probably useless too!! However it looks sweet! I put in some little paper cocktail napkins Gnborg left behind for Nan & Dick for their next party! Your parcel, Madam, is a Con-glom-er-ation!! To begin with there is the “Print Bundle” – and as far as I can see I think you will have to give most of it to Doris or make things for the bazaar! Actually, the prints aren’t so bad, but they’re not very pretty & not very suitable for children except one pale blue with roses which would make a little sundress or something. However, you do just what you like with them & I hope they are useful. Then I put in an old pair of trousers for the old man & also one of my old dressing gowns – the pink silk one- remember? The nighty that goes with it is on its last legs, but the d.g. is still good, but was always a nuisance with so many buttons. I thought maybe you could put a long zip in & use it or give it away or something. Then there is a small present for you (a box) & a small present for A. Moo (a packet) & last but not least, one dollar’s worth of toys for the bazaar. The most expensive items were the two tiny teddys at 10¢ each, then the dolls & whistles 5¢ each & the cars 40 for 50¢! The latter I think are the biggest value – I had them in mind, but had such a search to find them – it is a bad time of year for toys – when summer is over & Christmas in sight there’ll be more & if you want some more let me know. I tried to get a few different things to show you what I could get, but there wasn’t much.
You mentioned in one of your letters that there was some pretty flannelette in the stores & asked if I would like some winter pyjamas for Linda. I would love some! So would she! Her last winters are very skimpy now & never were very nice – they were cheap & inclined to be tight over the chest & not enough room for her fat little bottom! (just like mine, alas!) so she is very hard up. She has one cotton pair her Granny C. made her last year which fit her very nicely, & one pair I bought her thinking it was going to be hot, with low neck & frills for sleeves & she’s hardly had them on. What I would really like would be to send you the money for them though Mummy, as I would really like 3 pairs & that is a tall order, especially as it would be nice to have them fairly soon, so I suggest you get someone to make them & let me pay for the whole thing. Granny C.’s pyjamas are quite plain with fairly high neck, long sleeves & elastic in the waist of the pants, but they seem very sensible if you can get a pattern a bit like them. The measurements are:- Jacket. Shoulder to hem. 14” Width 15” Sleeve 11”
Trousers. Waist to hem. 19 1/2” Inside leg to hem. 11”
As I said- this fits her perfectly now, so you had better make yours bigger. Talking of Lindy’s bottom, I chuckle every time I see her & Charlie undressed for their bath – their back views are so dis-similar! She has the fattest roundest little smacky bottom & little old Charlie just has none! Do you know, it’s so funny – both Lindy & Charlie are developing the odd little mole here and there – also like me! Neither had any originally but Lindy has two on her legs now & one tiny one on her arm & Charlie one or two also – just flat & freckly you know. Lindy’s birth marks are fading out gradually, but you can still see them – Charlie had none.
We haven’t had much social life lately as Cec is still working quite often at night (is away at the Lab. now) but last weekend we had quite a spate! On the Friday we had the Forsyth’s over – I don’t know if I told you that Lu had her mother staying this summer – a very fine looking imposing “blue” haired lady, but full of fun & jolly. She lives in Vancouver & has been separated from Lu’s father since Lu was at school girl – she had a job in one of the hospitals & retired this spring – is over 70 now. Anyway she has just left. I wore my elegant skirt & Lu was in raptures & we had great fun & chatted & talked our heads off as we always do. On the Sat. we had Ray Appleyard for part of the day- he’d been to N. York for some meetings & phoned us on the way down that he’d have a train wait in Ottawa, so at about 11:15 he called & we drove in & got him at the station. We had lunch & a good chat & a cup of tea & then drove him down to catch the train for Chalk River at 5.0o. We have a tentative arrangement to go up to see them for a weekend – a kind of painful pleasure we feel, as goodness knows how the children will react to sharing beds etc. but still we can but try & Lindy wants to go on a train!! On the Sat. evening we went to the Douglases (Phyl & Alex) & Esther & John Calaman were there. Alex and Phyl just got back from 3 weeks at a cottage on a lake the week before- a bit further away than we were last year – but the weather wasn’t too good & it was awfully cold at night apparently. The Calaman baby is 4 mths. old now & is a big, big fat boy – which reminds me- Linda got a card from Christopher Bovey & of course we didn’t send him one!! Little Calaman is nicer than Christopher though. Nan Ramsey just had her 3rd baby last Saturday – another girl! But they don’t seem to mind! Another bit of Lab news is the Dan has left – one person no one will miss I’m sure! He has a job somewhere in the States.
By the way, I have been meaning to tell you that at long last I had a letter from Jessie Aldridge & she had a son! In Jan. of course, so he is quite big now – called David. Norman is well again & was home just before the baby came & she says the girls love the baby – particularly Zinnia who is now as tall as she is! Can you imagine! Did you know that Dottie was sending Peter to Bootham School in York this term? It is funny to think of him trotting along those old familiar streets!
Well, I had a better pot my babies & put out the light – I am writing this in bed and it looks as if Cec is going to have an all night session at the Lab- things seem to be going very well there though & he & Dr. H. are pleased.
Oh, one other thing I meant to ask you. You know you said Hazell’s was so badly run now that once Peter left you didn’t know how things would go – well Cec & I are so thrilled with living out in this part of the town that we are becoming quite enthusiastic about buying a lot & eventually building on it. The lots are some 1 acre & some 1/2 acre & are about $1000 & up – some are lovely with trees – the Blachuts have an acre of woodland which is just beautiful – a place you’d choose to picnic in any day!! Anyway all the lots are being sold now & seem like a very good investment – the taxes out of the city are very small & we feel that if we bought one it would be an incentive to build or at the worst you could always sell it again- & at a profit. However, we haven’t enough money of course! And I wondered if Hazell’s was kind of rocky whether you would like to invest some of the money you have there in something else – namely Canadian Real Estate! Whether we could get the money here is another matter, but if you remember I was allowed to bring over £1000 altogether – £250 a year for 4 years. Well – I brought £250 a year for 3 years, then none last year, so there is a possibility that I might be able to get permission to bring over another £250. If you considered it, I would make enquiries through Martin’s & if it all went through we would pay you either the 5% loan interest, as it is here or if you get money from Hazell’s we would pay that. There would be no trouble about sending you the dollars & we could either send you all the interest or start a Savings a/c for you here & either repay the loan so much a month as well, or go on paying you the interest & keep the loan as long as you wanted it to go. It would mean you would have some dollars & if you had an a/c here it would be a nest egg for your next Canadian visit – as well of course, as helping us buy a lovely piece of land. It is all very vague & in the air of course, but you think about it & tell us if you think it’s worth finding out if I can bring some more money over- money my kind mother is giving me of course we’ll say!! All very illegal, probably!!
Do you know – I am so disgusted – my dress arrived from Harrod’s yesterday & it doesn’t fit! It is a long sad tale, with the moral that I should have had more sense!! The dress I first chose & ordered had a full skirt & I asked for the smallest size – 12. Well, it was out of stock but they wrote they had another similar but in bright colours (I had wanted primrose with black fern design) – so this didn’t sound too good- mushroom background they said! So I wrote & said I’d leave it to them but I wanted it to wear with black accessories. Finally I got another letter & a little catalogue with a dress marked & saying they were keeping this one for me in blue & white & black & was that all right. Well, it was pure silk & a bit more expensive & it had a narrow skirt, but it looked pretty so I wrote all right & here it is! It is very pretty, but it is size 14 & while the shoulders are too big, the waist just fits & the skirt is like this –
& miles long!!! It is all together too much of a problem to try to alter & it won’t even fit my Mother! – so I am going to try to & sell it to Phyl or some other tall slim female. Because of the duty I don’t want to send it back but will try & sell it here & get myself something else. So annoying though.
Must stop now – the crickets & grasshoppers are making such a row outside – we have so much insect life just now! The crickets come into the basement & sounds like foghorn’s they’re so loud. I was ironing this morning some clothes I’d piled in a box down there & imagine my horror on finding a cricket in one of Charlie’s overalls! They look revolting to me! We have spiders hopping around too & did I tell you I killed a snake in the basement? About 2 feet long – it was the first I’ve ever seen “loose” & I was stunned into action with a broom! Since then I’ve seen 2 or 3 around outside – grass snakes – quite harmless!
Must stop! Hugs & kisses from us all
xxxxxxxx Linda & Charlie
Love from Cyn