July 23 1956

Box 330 R.R.1 Ottawa

Mon. 23rd July

Dearest Mummy,
At last the long awaited letter! I don’t know how I puddle the time away these days! One thing is that the children are so keen on playing with Jimmy after dinner & Cec & I usually go out & mess in the garden, so that they are not in bed till much later; then when they are in bed after the story etc., I find that the evening is more or less gone! I have 2 funny stories about the children’s sayings – today Jimmy had his small cousin Glen (brother of the little Pauline I used to dislike) staying with him, so Linda called to Jimmy could she come over & play. Jimmy said yes, but Charlie said no he wasn’t going – Linda could go but he was staying, so Lindy & Jimmy got together & had a little talk & then Linda called “Come on – it’s all right Charlie – Glen’s face is clean today – you can come!” whereupon Charlie “Oh – is his face clean? Ogay! I’ll come!” Can you imagine Glen’s mother if she heard that? A few days ago at dinner Cec & I mentioned Miss Derouchie, the lady who now lives in Mrs. R’s apartment below the house. She is a “career girl” type you know – could be anything from 27 to 37, has her own car etc. & is very pleasant but with quite an opinion of herself! She has painted all through the apartment & bought new furniture & has it looking awfully nice now & is just the right person for Myrtle – can stand up to her & not let herself be bullied & yet not get mad! Anyway, she also has a boyfriend, in the Mounties who comes to see her frequently (not in uniform!) & when Cec & I were chatting at dinner this day Lindy suddenly said “We saw such a funny thing yesterday. Miss Derouchie was sitting in the car with her friend & she kissed him.” “Yes” said Charlie “They were gissing & gissing & gissing & we laughed”! It turned out that they with Jimmy had peeked around the corner this & thought it very amusing because they were just friends! [A bit of explanation here, in our defence. Story 1- Glen unfortunately had a permanently runny nose and no handkerchief. The result was unpleasant. Story 2- The boyfriend was an observant man, saw the children peeping, and said “Let’s give the kids a show!” So they did, and later told the parents about it with great amusement.]. There has apparently been no more buyers for the house & no one seems to think she will get the $21,000 she is asking – Ken says it cost her $14,000 – nice profit!
Ken & Dot were up this evening to see our new curtains – yes we were rash last week & finally bought what are called “matchstick bamboo drapes” for all our sitting room windows. We have been thinking about it for quite a while & had gone to see them in the store & had wondered whether we’d like them or not & at last we decided to get them as they cost us $43.00 for all the windows floor length & the cheapest curtain material would have cost us more than twice that & then all the making, tapes hooks etc. These were all ready to put up & we got them on Friday & Cec worked all evening & got them all up & now we are so pleased with them. They are the natural colour & go so nicely with our furniture & exactly match the palm leaf table mats! Cec moved the curtain rail along at the end of the room & curved it around the corner to join the front one, so that now there is a continuous sweep of curtain around the picture windows right to the bookcase & then again at the other front window in the alcove.

We think it looks so nice & are delighted with them & everyone else seems to think they look nice too. We also got a new floor lamp, a tri-light as we needed more light in that big room & it really does look pretty. My idea now is to use what was my curtain material to make a new loose cover for the big sofa. The old navy blue one is just about in holes it is so thin & I think the patterned cover would look nice. Next year I’d like to paint the room, although Cec shudders at the thought & I have in mind a pretty light coppery tone – we’ll see though!
We were really on the spree last week as we also bought a big new paddling pool for the children. It is really Linda’s birthday present, but it seems silly to wait & get it at the end of the summer, so we got it now & hope the weather will improve! It is oblong – about 6’6″×3’6″ & has steel bars to keep it rigid & little metal stools in each corner & is about a foot deep so Linda should have lots of fun in it – & we hope Charlie too eventually! Of course it has rained practically ever since we got it on Friday so it hasn’t had much use yet!
Saturday was to be the Lab. Picnic. Margie Bedard had it all arranged & everyone was to drive up to her parent’s cottage in the Gatineau [hills on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, with lots of small lakes with cottages] on Sat. afternoon & everything was beautifully organized so of course we got up on Sat. morning & it was pouring with rain! It rained & was dull & miserable all morning & everyone kept phoning saying what were we going to do until finally at mid-day Marge phoned down from the cottage to cancel it, but to say come Sunday- rain or shine! Cec decided to go back to the Lab. & the children were a bit disappointed at no picnic & a rainy day so I decided to drive Cec to work & then to take the children to the Museum which was a great treat! We spent 1 1/2 hrs. there which I thought was pretty good, looking at lots of stuffed animals & birds & Indian & Esqimaux things & we had a hasty trot through part of the Art Gallery & then we drove down to the Lord Elgin Hotel & had tea! It just poured all afternoon which in a way was nice as it would have been so maddening to have cancelled the picnic & then have the sun shine! We drove around to the Lab. to get Cec & found him working there with Santiago & a Prof. Crooker from Vancouver who is at the Lab. for the summer, so we brought them home for dinner. I had cold meat (ham, liverwurst, baloney & chicken) hot rice cooked with tomatoes & fresh peas, salad & hot buns, & then a bowl of fruit (peaches, apples, grapes & cherries) & brownies & gingerbread, so I think a good time was had by all! By the way the children insist on calling the Museum the “Muspiffam” & Charlie was telling me he heard one of the stuffed birds say “cheep”!!
On Sunday it was gray & dull, but at least it wasn’t raining so we got ready & set off straight after lunch. The place was about 25 miles up in the Gatineau & was very nice – not really too “cottage-y” as it was just outside a small village & had quite a big fenced in space around with the grass cut & chairs, tables etc. out on it. There was a big see-saw for the children & a horseshoe pitching game for the men – also they went & had a game of baseball in a field next door. The lake was about a 1/4 mile up the road & we went up & Lindy put on her bathing suit & splashed around & some of the others. Marge had gone to so much trouble – she had ice cream cones for the children & a big jug of cold fruit juice for everyone, then she made tea & coffee for when we ate & provided food for the bachelors – all the rest of us took our own food. Then she also had the children run little races & gave them little prizes. Charlie of course hung back but it was so nice to see Lindy – she wanted to be in everything & do what the others did & she ran in the races & played on the seesaw & had a wonderful time – sometimes looked a bit bewildered, but tried awfully hard! She got a little sandbox shovel & animal mould set for a prize & was very thrilled & when we had to go at about 8 o’clock she was so tired & yet didn’t want to go that she had quite a weep! However it was most successful & we all had a lovely time. Even Charlie ventured away from me & played with the children a bit & with his friend “Dr. Bolo” [Santiago Polo] so things are progressing!
Last Thursday we were invited to spend the evening with the newly married couple- the Dresslers – you remember we were at their wedding a while ago. They have a small semi- basement apartment in one of those big new buildings behind where we were on Acacia & it is very nice really. They have bought their furniture & are both quite arty-crafty types so have gone to a lot of trouble & made it very nice. One thing she has not only made the curtains but for the ones in the sitting room she bought plain cream linen & printed them with a lino cut design she made of the cathedral at Basle (their home) & the dragon of Basle crest which is very effective. We took the Moores (the N. Z. couple) & had a very pleasant evening. Susie, the girl had gone to so much trouble – made candies & stuffed dates & salted almonds etc. & then coffee with sandwiches & a fruit cream dessert.

Since we came home I seem to have been buying so many presents & sending so many parcels – very expensive! I sent Til & Lois a “thank you” parcel with Bader’s book (I talked about it to them); a box of English chocolates; & a pair of silk stockings (Til thought she’d try some silk as nylon hurts her feet). Then I sent Barbara Heslop a little pink & white cotton dress for her birthday & a pair of gold latex swimming trunks for Sandy for his – a bit early! I had missed Richard’s birthday while I was away so sent him a blue & white cotton suit & a little blue, white & yellow suit to the new baby. I got Lea’s new baby girl a little frilly sun suit & Darryl had his birthday just then so I got him a T-shirt & some candies, & then I went to see the Spanish girl & her new baby & took him a tiny white terrycloth suit too- Phew!
When I was down in the U.S. I got Margie (on sale!) a darling little quilted dressing gown for her baby – white with little flowers on, & she was so thrilled as she had none & had got literally dozens of tiny dresses. I also got Doreen Moore’s baby a wee white & red sun suit & she was very pleased. I got a few things for Carman & Leona down there too – a white blouse with lace insertions for Leona; a blue sports shirt for Carman; white bracelet & earrings; funny little wooden salt & pepper shakers; two lollipops – huge, with faces on etc. & had fun sending them a birthday parcel – Carman’s birthday is April & I don’t know Leona’s, but still! Oh, one more thing I got and sent was to Dottie. I hadn’t any idea what to send her as I imagine she would have household goods etc., so I got a really personal gift – a pair of scarlet nylon baby doll pyjamas!! They were the kind that have tiny panties & the top just comes down to cover them, so Cec thought they would be a source of amusement to both of them!

I don’t know if I told you about our shopping in Toledo – of course we didn’t do nearly as much as we intended – it was so hot & apart from the day Cec & I went in with the children I never actually got into the city again. However, we got shirts, underpants, & socks for Cec but didn’t get him a suit as we didn’t see anything we liked much. For the children I got winter jeans on sale which was nice & also socks, a slip for Lindy, T-shirts etc. & a very pretty little dress for Lindy to keep for school. It is cherry red with a white collar & cuffs – it is cotton & has a permanently pleated skirt & she is very pleased with it! We went into a booth & tried on 3 or 4 & she felt very grown-up!! For myself, I left it to the end of course & then in a great rush bought a blue & white cotton skirt & a pink blouse – neither very exciting, but just so that I would buy myself something!

Of course the shopping had to cross the border!

I am wearing them now – this morning Margie came in her car with the baby & Peter & collected me & the children & we went to Doreen Moore’s for coffee. Margie had lent (through me) Doreen a couple of her maternity dresses, so Doreen was returning them & we had a nice chat & saw the babies. Janey is a big baby & very sweet & fat & full of smiles. Little Paul is still a wee fellow & slept most of the time we were there. By the way, Cy is in Mexico for a week & Tommy & Danny are out in Sask. staying with Margie’s parents – Cy’s parents took them & will bring them back – so Margie is feeling very footloose.

We drove out to Carp a week or so back & had dinner with Lea & family. The baby was only about 4 weeks old & seems so tiny. She is sweet but has colic & cried a bit. We got the pram fixed for them – it cost $18 but looks like new when it was done, so it was worth it. The parish are certainly good to them – they had given them a new fridge & a washing machine previously & when Lea came home with the baby they had put in a new electric stove & re-painted & papered the kitchen!
I must stop as I have been writing this letter for 2 days. I know I haven’t answered some of your questions so I’ll try to keep on with the good work & write another long letter soon. Tonight Cec & I are going to a party at the Kleman’s – they are leaving for Sweden in less than a month & we will all be so sorry to see them go. Tomorrow is our anniversary & the Douglasses too, so we are joining together & asked the Klemans too & going out to dinner somewhere – frivolous us!
I hope that you had a nice time at Jean’s & that A. Trix has better news from Bill. Poor Janie with the T.B. scare – how are totally horrid – particularly just then – but thank goodness it was o.k. Hope you have a good news of A. Ettie – I must write this week.
The children send big, big hugs & kisses & lots & lots of love from us all – Will really write again soon

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