December 19 1954

The inside of Linda’s was in French, but since neither of us could read…

Box 330
Ottawa RR1
19th Dec. 1954
Charlie’s Birthday.
Dearest Mummy,
I am afraid that I have left my Christmas letter to you very late, but I seem to have been so busy each evening, and I really felt so upset about poor Anne and Tadek that I couldn’t feel cheerful & Christmasy for quite a while. I still think about her so much of course & everything we do I can’t help contrasting with her and her little family, & feeling that we have so much. I had a letter from Anne last week – it crossed with mine to her. She thought I probably hadn’t heard as she realized that Smithy had sent her letter to Ethel Street. She was telling me more of the accident – it was a car coming up behind Tadek which knocked him off his bicycle – it was driven by a Baptist minister & there are no witnesses so he disclaims any responsibility so there will be no compensation. Tadek’s skull was fractured & he was taken to hospital & never regained consciousness but died 3 hours later – Anne was with him. Poor Anne – you know how desperately she feels things – I don’t know how she’ll carry on. It is Janita’s 4th birthday today & yesterday we got a card from her & little Chris to Charlie – so sweet of Anne to think of us in the middle of all her sadness. We had sent a card to Janita too but I’m afraid it would be late, as our local P.O. is still hanging fire – the grocery part of the store has been open for ages but they are still waiting for this, that & the other for the P.O. so in the meantime it is quite difficult to get things mailed & stamps bought, particularly as it has been very snowy.

We had a huge snowfall yesterday – on top of all we had before – and it was very wet solid snow so poor Cec has been shovelling hard for 2 days to get our driveway clear! Our garage being under the house the drive has quite a slope & if there is any big obstruction the car just sticks! One of Charlie & Linda’s presents for Charlie’s birthday was a pair of red snow shovels (quite big!) and so we thought it was silly to keep them one more day when the snow was so gorgeous yesterday so we gave them a day early & they were a huge success. Linda loves the snow – shovels & falls in it & rolls about, but Charlie is still very cautious if he falls down he is so encumbered with boots, snowsuit etc. that he just lies there & yells till someone picks him up. He hates a cold wind & he just cries to go in if there is one – I know just how he feels! Cec was to go down & get the tree yesterday, but the snow was so thick & he was trying to clear the snow all morning, so never got a chance. However I went downtown in the bus & had a good afternoon shopping & did everything I wanted to do. Ordered the turkey amongst other things – I got such a pleasant surprise – a turkey just over 10lbs. cost just over $5.00 – I thought it would be $7 or $8.00. Talking of turkeys reminds me of the beef tongue – 25¢ for the whole thing! But it is quite a joke – Mrs. Blachut & I (we go together, taking turns to drive) have discovered that it depends on which man is serving us as to how much it costs! I have had them twice & paid 25¢ each time but Mrs. B. gets them often & has paid up to 60¢ & 70¢ for them! It was a mess in town yesterday – crowds as you can imagine & ankle deep slush & water. I got my hair cut too & as everyone was really very cheery & good tempered despite the weather I came home feeling very pleased & as if I had done a good afternoon’s work!

Little Charlie had a nice birthday I think – he isn’t very conscious about things yet, but he knew something important was happening! When Cec & I said “Happy Birthday” to him at breakfast this morning I asked Linda if she would said it & she replied “Oh I said it to him in bed this morning!” She was very excited about everything & chose a card with a little boy on for him & helped me make the cake etc. The milkman set was a huge success – all it is, is a little red wooden crate with a handle & in it 6 little white wooden milk bottles, but Charlie just loves the real milkman! He always watches for him & I keep some little empty glass jars in one of my bottom cupboards & he plays that these are milk bottles. Well, I saw a little toy in some child’s house a while ago – a little wire crate with those little cream jars (glass) that you get cream in in the best restaurants here, so I sent off to tour the toy shops about a month ago, but no one had ever heard of such a thing! Finally I mentioned it to Esther Calaman (the girl with the baby to whom we’ve lent the playpen) & she had seen something of the sort in a little hardware store near her & got it for me. It was worth all the trouble as Charlie was entranced & has carried it around all day & given everyone milk. It was very sweet this morning – Linda took it away from him & wouldn’t give it back so finally when we took it from her & gave it to him she howled & was mad. Charlie watched her a while & then said “Linda not happy?” & when Cec said no, he said, “Make Linda happy!” & went over & gave her his precious milk bottles! They are beginning to squabble now of course & Charlie comes in tears saying “Linda bammed me” so yesterday Cec said “Well if Linda bams you, you should bam her!” So Linda then said indignantly “But then I would cry too!” Lindy has just invented a name “Miss Rabbit Mosing” which she either calls anyone or makes up someone to fit & Charlie has taken it up & it is so funny to hear him in his funny little deep voice, saying “Help me, Help me, Miz ‘Abbit Mosing!”
To continue with Charlie’s birthday he wants me to thank you so much Grannie for his lovely blue T-shirt, his little book & the pretty birthday card. The T-shirt is sweet & he put it on straight away & looks so nice in it with his blue eyes just as blue as the shirt. The little Indians are cute too. He dressed up in it with a nice little pair of brown short trousers (with a bib & straps) which Lea Gander gave him ages ago & with blue socks & brown shoes & he looked a pet. Linda had on your last Christmas present – the pretty pink dress with blue smocking. She looks lovely in it now – before it was a tiny bit big but now it is just right, & she looks like a little doll. She wears her sticky out taffeta petticoat under it & it makes it even cuter. The little book you sent is a great favourite already – especially as it has in “The Owl and the Pussycat” which Cec recites to Linda sometimes – as there was a bit in the middle he never could remember, this is a big help! Thank you very much dear Grannie & a big, big kiss from your boy. Both he & Linda were saying good night to your picture & the Queen’s picture hanging on their bedroom wall tonight.
Besides the milk bottles Cec got the children Sewing Cards which I don’t remember ever seeing before but Cec says they had them as kids. They are pictures with holes punched along the outlines & there are things like coloured shoelaces to thread through the holes [heavy cardboard dolls, as I remember them, with clothes to ‘sew’ on] Linda can do it quite nicely but Charlie likes to put the laces hanging around his neck best! Cec thought it might distract him from unlacing his (Cec’s) shoes which he is very partial to! The book for Charlie was about a puppy – he is beginning to listen to stories now but isn’t nearly as interested in books as Lindy. For her I got a dear little book of Prayers for Children. It has sweet illustrations of children & has all sorts of little prayers & graces etc. as well as The Lord’s Prayer, The Lord is My Shepherd, Gentle Jesus etc. I had been trying to explain God & saying prayers to her & a book seemed a good idea & she has been very interested in it.
I made Charlie a white cake with chocolate filling, white boiled icing all over, & then round the edge choc. cigarettes to make a fence & inside some chocolate covered animal crackers! I wrote Happy Birthday Charlie in blue & he had 2 blue candles! Boris & Joan came to tea & brought little ice hockey sticks for both & a ball, so we had fun! We all just hope the sticks won’t be used as weapons!
With not getting the tree we haven’t got our decorations up yet, but hope to do so tomorrow. One thing we have hung up is our Christmas stockings! I made them of green & red felt & they look very nice & are much admired! They are hanging in a line over our picture window so:

The names were written in white pipecleaner, which also featured in the decorations.

This is a very rough drawing but it gives you an idea. Cec & Bunny’s socks are green with red on, & Lindy, Charlie and mine red with green on. I have made my Christmas cake (by my old Cooking School recipe) but not iced it yet & want to make some gingerbread men.
We will be spending Christmas Day by ourselves after all. We asked the Ganders but not long after they came to see us that Sat. (2 weeks ago) Lee had a lot of blood from the rectum & although Dr. Smith didn’t think it was too serious she is taking things quietly & staying at home. We have invited Lea & family for Boxing Day – we felt they could hardly leave Mrs. A. on Christmas Day & also, mean as it may sound, we didn’t want to spoil our Christmas & really they are not cheerful company. They came out last Sunday, Lea & Daryl in the afternoon & stayed to dinner & Wendell later & Lea had quarrelled with W. & she told me it all of course & although I am on her side entirely & agree with her & think she has a wretched time, it doesn’t make for a jolly party.
I don’t think we have been anywhere or done anything since I last wrote – Cec has just about finished writing his paper & it will be off his mind before Christmas. I have been up to the ears with Christmas cards & letters – thank goodness they are all over.

She’d already sent 13 parcels off in November, and included this page for Carol in this letter.
Hard to read, but not as bad as bits of the letter!

Thank you so much for your letter (A.M. form) received yesterday Mummy- I do get one every week & always look forward to them. I know I should answer them more particularly, but I really mean to – please say to Jean when you see her that Charlie would be delighted with Charles’s suit!
How exciting getting all ready for A. Ettie & Monie’s visit – they will be all in a thrill getting ready for it too! Your new Christmas kitchen floor must be very nice & such a help. By the way I have ripped up my English dress & by this-ing and that-ing think I can fix it – will let about 8 inches in the skirt to make it look decent & countless other things- take out pockets, shorten bodice, shorten hem etc. etc. – doubt if I’ll get it done for Christmas!
Must stop – bedtime – I do hope that both you & Auntie Moo have a very, very happy day on Christmas Day. We will all be thinking of you & you can imagine just the 4 of us attacking our turkey! We are so intrigued with your present to us – it has arrived safely & is put away. Hope ours to you is in time.
Hugs & kisses from Linda & Charlie & lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn.

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