This letter reminds me of the changes that have taken place in Ottawa- and in cities in the rest of the world too, I expect, as the population grew- in the last 65 years. In 1956 the Costains were living on the Montreal Road which was the two-lane highway roughly parallel to the Ottawa River connecting the cities of Ottawa and Montreal. The house was set back with a garden in front, but we lived on the upper floor which had a big picture window over the drive so there was a good view of the road not obscured by the lilac hedge. The speed limit was still low because it was a built up area- but if there was an accident or some other traffic hold-up, it became glacially slow and the cars inched along. Much was the amusement on holiday weekends in good weather when cars streamed out of Ottawa on Friday night (going to the cottage) and rushed back in going the opposite way on Sunday (or, long weekends, Monday) and there was an incident- occasionally a pile-up elsewhere caused fender-benders all along the road, so the cars in front of our house would be literally touching and motionless as far as we could see. Then emergency vehicles would come with sirens, driving on the wrong side… we children found it very exciting. By the time Charlie and I were driving a dozen years later, there was a 4- 6 lane highway crossing Ottawa, with a bypass connection to all the major roads, and Montreal Road had become much less important.
Another thing I should point out is that when the Hazell sisters visited family, because of the distances, they stayed for months! This has already been clear from the 4 to 6 month stays Carol made when visiting Cyn and Cec, but in 1956, Carol in St. Vincent is hosting her sister Trix (who lives in Trinidad) for the whole spring and summer it seems (Trix’s son and family- Bill and Janie- have moved to New Zealand which may explain this) while Muriel, who shares her house with Carol, is paying a visit to their sister Ettie in New York, and taking the opportunity to see her 3 nieces there, also planning to come see the Costains in the fall. However, Cyn keeps referring to Aunt Ettie’s health because apparently she has had a stroke although neither Carol nor Cyn know how serious it is.
Did you know Ruth had another boy? 15th July 1956
I am ashamed of myself for not having written long ago. This week I was determined to write a long letter after having taken such an age over it, and then believe me something happened each night. One night a girl & her husband from the Lab. dropped in to show off a new car; another night Miss Derouchie (from the apt. under Mrs. R.) came in for a chat [Mrs Myrtle Rothwell lived in the other half of the duplex, which had a basement suite] – what do you think? – Myrtle is selling the house!; another night a car fell on its’ side into the ditch across the road just by Mrs. Cardinal’s & of course such excitement. The three boys in it weren’t hurt but of course there was a terrific traffic jam & police & tow truck to pull it out etc. & we were kept busy watching!! Tonight Phyl Douglas & I went down to the General Hospital (French) to see Mrs. Velasco – the Spanish Fellow’s wife who has just had a baby boy. She already has one little boy of about 14 mths so she will be busy. The N.Z. girl, Mrs. Moore, also had a boy so I wonder if Joan & Boris will get one too – theirs isn’t due till next month.
We are all fine – I don’t know how the time goes but it just flies! The children play all the time with Jimmy next door & think he is wonderful! He is so good with them & of course I am thrilled! I have been violently attacking the bulbs bed by the driveway all weekend – pulling out the weeds & cutting down the bulbs & trying to make it 1/2 decent. It has been so wet & not very warm, so nothing but the weeds seem to be growing quickly, but everything looks nice & green.
Thank you so much for all your letters – I really will write a proper letter this week & answer them. I was so sorry to hear about A. Ettie in your last – they didn’t plan on coming up till the Fall (Sept.) so I do hope that maybe they still will be able to come & that she will soon get better. So glad you are happy to be back at Noyack again – what did D. [Dorée Edmunds- see Spring letters] say about her absent chef?! The children send a big hugs & kisses – they both look so well & are growing as quickly as the weeds!
Lots & lots of love from us all – from Cyn.
Love to A. Trix.