Box 330 Ottawa R.R.1
Tues. 19th Oct.
I have been trying to settle down to write you a long letter for simply ages, but somehow I always seem to be on the hop. These evenings when Cec goes back to work I never seem to get anything done- by the time the children are in bed & dishes washed etc. it is about 8, then Cec goes into work anytime from 8:30 – 9:30 so I feel I can’t settle down to anything till then, & afterwards the evening seems just about done & I might as well crawl into bed & read a little & go to sleep!
Lindy & I want to thank you so much for her perfectly beautiful pyjamas! They arrived yesterday & we are all so thrilled with them – they fit her very nicely indeed – not too big & floppy, but nice & loose & plenty of room for her to grow. She is so tickled with them & had a great time choosing which pair to wear first – the ones with the little animals won & she is wearing those now – I am so delighted to have them at it as it is cold, miserable, wet weather & she just had cotton ones. I had no idea you had got all 3 different materials – they are so sweet that I really can’t tell which I like the best – thank you very, very much for making them & sending them, Mummy dear – they are a real boon. By the way I mailed the batteries & cord last week – hope they don’t take too long – I still think I got the best of the bargain!!
Thank you so much too for your A.M. of the 4th Oct. which came on Sat. – so quick it seems. You were writing about being threatened with a hurricane, which fortunately had passed by, but I wondered if it was the same big one which came up through the U.S. & hit Ontario on Fri. We had terrific winds on Fri. night – trees & high tension wires blown down etc. but Toronto had a terrible time with the rains & floods – nearly 100 people dead. [Hurricane Hazel, October 15th 1954.] Our only damage was in the garden – in the spring Cec transplanted a lot of chrysanthemum cuttings along one side of the lawn & they have grown big & bushy & are just in flower – not particularly pretty (Cec is disgusted in fact!) – pucy-pink single daisy type – but they are so thick & covered with flowers they look very nice. Anyway the wind snapped whole bushes off by the root & we found them rolling around the garden, so the chrysanthemum border looks very moth-eaten now!
You must be having such a busy time over the Bazaar – I have forgotten when it is, but you certainly deserve to have a big success after all your hard work. I sent some “Iron-on” Transfer Patterns by sea last week – I don’t know whether they will get to you in time to be of use or not. Did A. Ettie sent you some nice things for the Bazaar? The parcel postage is awfully high, but how nice that you have 2 new dresses!! What are they like? Talking of dresses makes me think of the “Print Bundle” I sent – I thought you might give a piece to Doris to help compensate for her burgled material, but maybe if A. Moo is buying a piece for her Christmas you think that will be enough.
Charlie, the little pig, is howling his head off. They are having their afternoon nap & he woke & cried & I went & potted him & put cream on his eczema, but he will not shut up! He is really tired too as this morning I took him to get his haircut & he howled all the time of course & exhausted himself! His ex. has been so raw & irritable lately & someone told me a Dr. they knew advised taking children off homogenized milk & putting them on dried skim milk & 4 babies she knew had tried it & it cured the ex. so today I got some dried milk & a big shaker & have begun to give it to him. He gets plenty of fat now in the rest of his food so I don’t think it can hurt him & it is worth trying anything. I have cut out tomatoes & citrus fruits as they made his face blotchy, but it doesn’t seem to have made a bit of difference to his legs.
I am glad you wrote to the C. of Justice about the Memorial & said I would agree. As you say it seems a pointless thing to spend so much money on, but there is no point in opposing him & giving him something else to get agitated about. I wondered if A. Annie would write to him about Uncle Field. I had a letter from her about 2 weeks ago – I must reply sometime. I am glad that he left the farm etc. to Arthur’s boy even if he won’t ever farm it himself – much better than to the Australian family & also to Leta & children as after all he knows the rest of his nephews & nieces very little on the whole. I never thought of him leaving me anything till you said he hadn’t & then of course I thought, “Well it would have been useful!” But poor old fellow, he certainly didn’t know me very well.
You were asking about Lindy & Sunday school – well, I have attempted it, but when it came to the point she wouldn’t go! This girl down the road, Pat Tomlinson, is taking her little girl Joanne, & I thought “Oh goody” & was all enthusiasm – & so is Lindy if it is in the dim distant future!! But when it is “today” she gets all scared &, so I haven’t forced the issue. Actually she & Joanne don’t seem to cotton to each other at all, I don’t know why, but anyway I thought I would leave it for a little while & then try again as goodness knows she is shy enough without it getting any worse & I hope she will grow out of it naturally – & SOON! She still howls when even the shoe man comes with new shoes for her & I have to put them on etc. but one victory we’ve had is that she now doesn’t mind getting her hair washed & doesn’t cry over it!
Since I last wrote not much has been going on. Cec of course is still going back most evenings & this past week was the first in ages that he hadn’t gone back some of the time. I don’t know if I told you in my last letter that we were having Chris, our Danish friend, to spend a last weekend with us. He is so nice that we were very sorry to see him go – particularly as he just loved being here & would really have liked to stay. We were sorry he didn’t find a nice girl as he is so easy & good in a house & sweet with children, but he didn’t have any dates, & no girl in Denmark as far as we know. He will be in England now I think – he is spending about 4 days there. The weekend here was kind of queer! To begin with it poured with rain & was wet & cold & miserable. Then on the Sunday just after we finished a late breakfast the entire electric power went off, which is just disastrous for us – no furnace, no oven, no fridge, no water (electric pump)! You can imagine! I couldn’t even wash the dishes & I wanted to make a cake, & I had a duck to roast & stuff for dinner & an apple pie to make! Well, by 1 p.m. it still wasn’t on, so Cec trotted out in the rain in the back & built up stones & made a little fire! We heated soup & milk for the children & I got them fed & to bed, then soup & coffee for our lunch & I made sandwiches, so at least we didn’t start! The wretched power didn’t come on till 3:30 & of course then I had to 1/2 kill myself to get everything done – at least, I never did get that cake made!!
We were at Lee & Jim’s for bridge the Friday before & they are both looking very well now. Lee’s baby is due the end of Jan. or beginning of Feb. so she is showing now but she’s feeling fine – the first 3 – 4 mths she was miserably sick & nauseated & lost weight etc. but now she is all right. You know they are a funny couple!! For the past 2 years they have been talking of buying a house & they have money borrowed from relatives for a down payment. They have looked at houses uphill & downdale – one week they decide to build & look at lots & house plans & talk to builders etc. – then next week they decide to buy an older house & answer ads & go to estate agents & put names down on lists etc. Long before Pete & Lu began house hunting they were at it, & very busy too- going to see houses on weekends & in evenings, but always some little thing was wrong, till we all got just sick of hearing about it! The last thing was they thought they’d get the builder of Pete & Lu’s to build them one the same & they were looking at lots etc. & now it has all fallen through & they have signed a lease on the apt. for another year! It will be crowded with the baby I’m sure, & although it is not too much housework for Lee it is a 3rd-floor apartment which means stairs up and down & baby carriages to get up & down etc. I don’t know – people are queer, aren’t they?!!
Lu was out here one evening with another Sask. girl called Willa Woods. They were on their way to a butcher in a little village called Orleans. (Remember my letter with the postmark? It is the place where we nearly bought that house in March) about 3 miles past us, so I invited them to come & have coffee afterwards. (Incidentally, I go to this butcher too– they are good & v. reasonable!) We had a good chat & I think Willa is going to buy my silk dress from England – she looks very nice in it & took it home for her husband to see!
Al & Betty McNamara were here to dinner a week ago on Friday. Al has his PhD. from Sask. now & is finished there, but instead of working for Pete as expected has taken a job at N.R.C. which annoyed Pete as it was through him & for him that Al got a job at Sask. & could go there. However it doesn’t concern Cec & me so we keep out of it! The Dept. Al is in is at the N.R.C. on Montreal Rd. so it’s very close to us & they have been lucky enough to get an N.R.C. house close by at $40 a month- just for one year & a few disadvantages like no heat except for an oil stove in the living room, but for a young couple with no children it gives them a nice start. They will be quite close to us & were moving in last week so I expect we will see a bit of them. Al isn’t so shy & I like Betty so they will be a pleasant acquisition to our social life!!
Last Monday was Thanksgiving here & we had a roast chicken & a delicious lemon chiffon pie. We had no guests which seemed seemed strange, as we usually have someone in to share the celebration, but it was quite fun to be just by ourselves & Charlie sat up at the table too & thoroughly enjoyed himself. Now he goes to each chair at the table & says “My place? My place?” & is quite crestfallen when we say “Your place” & lead him to his little table!
On Friday Cec & I got Anne our Dutch woman to babysit for us & went to see James Stewart in a thriller called “Rear Window”. It was very good & we enjoyed it & enjoyed having a little outing. In addition, on Sat afternoon Margie & I took off & went downtown for tea & a spree so I have really been stepping out!! We went just to look, but Margie saw a very nice dress & little jacket reduced from $15 to $10 & it was just what she wanted so she tried it on & it fitted her beautifully so she bought it & I had to lend her $5.00! If Willa buys my dress, I too will go shopping!!!
On Sun. Lea Atchison phoned to see if we were doing anything & she & Darryl came over for dinner & Wendell came later. Lee seems a bit better but the situation is very difficult. Mrs. A. has always been a very possessive domineering mother & now her husband is gone she can hardly bear Wendell out of her sight. She has a very bad heart condition which she holds over him & I really feel sorry for the poor fellow. Lea is agitating of course for them to get a place of their own & the mother begins having heart attacks at the mention of it, so what’s to do? He has a job as salesman for some book company but it is on commission so that isn’t very steady, but he works very hard at it. Lea thinks she will nurse again & really I think it will be best as she sits there, doing nothing, bored stiff & she and Mrs. A. getting more & more on each other’s nerves.
It is getting near midnight so I had better go to bed – Cec is at work & I don’t know when he’ll be in. I still have some letters of yours to answer so will try & write a long sea letter soon.
Hugs & kisses from Lindy & Charlie (took him to get his haircut today – howled of course but looks very sweet).
Lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn
P.T.O. A Charlie story- One day Bunny, our (big) pussy, was feeling playful & jumped at Charlie’s arm & nipped it- Charlie didn’t mind & just pushed her away, but Cec scolded Bunny who went & lay down on the floor. So over trots Charlie, lies down beside her & says to Bunny “Say ‘Sowwy!’ Say ‘Sowwy!’”!!
A Linda story- yesterday morning I was getting Linda up & hugged her & said “Oh you’re sweet” so Lindy gives a big grin & says “I’m sweet as sour medicine!” We have such beautiful, clever, children!!!
Just a note about the Ewing family that Cyn mentions in this letter:
Her father, Gordon Ewing, or J.M.G.E. as she sometimes refers to him, was institutionalized with dementia after her mother had left him and come to live with Cyn in Cambridge, and although both Cyn and Carol had since left England, they remain connected through lawyers and money matters. Apparently he wants to spend money on some sort of Memorial and they agree not to oppose it.
A more serious matter is that one of Gordon’s older brothers, Field Ewing, who had run the family farm in Ireland, had died. Cyn had had a letter from her Aunt Annie, but is not sure her father will have been told about it. Cyn is happy that the farm will go to ‘Arthur’s boy’, a cousin who seems to live locally, rather than her cousin Leta who also lived in Northern Ireland but had married and had her own life, or the Australian cousins that they had lost touch with. And she acknowledges that she has had very little connexion with her Uncle Field since visits in her childhood, and letters!
However, in the 1980s, the Australian cousins got in touch! A Mr. Ewing started exploring his family’s roots, and through the Irish descendants, got Cyn’s name and actually came and visited her and Cec in Ottawa, and, I think, Leta in Ireland. Cyn gave him her Ewing heirloom tea cup and saucer- the one I thought ugliest in her collection as a child, and was cavalier about breaking while dusting until I learned its Victorian history- she had it mended- and he gave her the Ewing genealogy he had worked out after he added her children to it. When Cec and Cyn visited Australia in 1990 or 91, they visited his family and enjoyed the connection to her distant cousins, but I was in Vancouver, Charlie in Ottawa, both of us working, and we did not keep up the connection, and sadly, I can’t find the Ewing genealogy either.