May 5 1957

Box 330

Sunday 5th May.

Dearest Mummy,
It is a lovely day after a week of cold windy weather. We had a beautiful warm spell over Easter & for a while afterwards & things were just looking lovely & then it suddenly got so cold & even froze some nights & people who had put out plants etc. got them all frosted. However we weren’t so venturesome & indeed Cec is being very correct about his gardening this year – all the seed catalogues etc. tell you to begin seeds indoors & as we haven’t had too much luck putting them straight into the garden & the season is so late beginning here anyway that we thought we would try it. So last weekend Cec made some flats & sifted soil etc. & planted them & already we have some funny looking little things! I giggled at Cec as he worked so hard over getting them all done nicely & then he said “Well, I hope they won’t be a success!” & when I said “Why?” in horror he said “Well, I couldn’t bear the thought of having to do all this every year!” However he is already talking about what he’ll do next year so he can’t be too serious! We planted Cosmos, Clarkia, Brackycomb, Petunias, Lavendar, Zinnias, Nemesia, Portulaca, Stocks & Perennial Iceland Poppies. Also Tiny Tim Tomatoes & some Baby Muskmelons for down the hill! We have ordered 6 more rosebushes & 3 new chrysanthemum plants & Cec divided up all the orange lilies in the Fall so we have quite a few perennials now – also some delphiniums & a peony we got last year & sweet williams. My Bleeding Hearts from Mrs. Carleton are all doing nicely but Cec is having grave doubts about the chicken manure he dug in so laboriously in the Fall. You know it was on Ken’s advice he did it, but our things seem to be so late compared to other peoples & our bulbs are so slow. Of course the latter may be caused by the transplanting as in the places where they weren’t disturbed they are way ahead, but poor Cec is going to be so disgusted if they don’t do well after all his hard work.
The children have been playing out all day with Jimmy except for going to S. School, & I gave them a picnic lunch on the grass & they had a lovely time. They are both looking so well & rosy cheeks now & seem to get so much dirtier than they ever did before! The bathroom wash basin always seems to be filthy & Charlie’s towel is just like the pictures you see of little boys’ towels! Charlie is quite lonesome on school days with no one to play with now, as he had such fun at Easter with Lindy & Jimmy, so he will be delighted when summer holidays come. He is very pleased at the thought of going to school & in S. School this morning I heard him holding forth to the teacher in front of all the children so he isn’t shy! I meant to begin a letter to you last night, but I began to make a book for my S. School – a Touch & Feel Book. They give you outlines of a sheep, bunny, dog, bird etc. and you cover them with cotton wool, velvet, feathers etc. to get the right feel – it was fun but it took me hours! Cec was at a Men’s Do at Boris’ & I spent the whole evening stuck up to the eyebrows! My class is still going strong & I have pretty regular help from a lady Mrs. Kuhn whose little girls come so it is all right, but I find I spend at least one evening a week making things for it & getting things ready. Do you remember Flora Wansborough a thin dark girl further down the hill towards Ben Rothwell’s? They adopted a baby boy just over a year ago & we coffee together occasionally – anyway she is an Anglican & I got her interested & she may come & help teach. She came & watched last week. Yesterday afternoon the Anglican Ladies had a big Maytime Tea & Sale of Work down at the School. It wasn’t anything to do with the Sunday School really but all the mothers etc. got together & organized it & the idea was to make money for a Fund as the beginning for a church some day. They sold tickets at 25¢ for the Tea & then had an Apron Stall, Children’s Wear Stall, Baked Goods, Plants, Candy Stall & a Recipe Stall which I thought was such a good idea. I’ll tell you about it because it might be a new idea for your May Fair or Bazaar sometime. They had 13 very luscious foods set out looking very attractive, then in front of each one little samples of the cake, cookie etc. stuck on toothpicks for people to taste & they were selling the 13 recipes typed on a sheet for $1. 00. They had some foreign recipes, some pickles etc. & I thought it was very good – Pat & I got one between us – 50¢ apiece! Pat has it at the moment & is going to type me a copy – they have the recipes from various people you know, which always adds interest too. I thought I had done quite well as I sold 10 tickets; made chocolate truffles for the Candy Stall; made coconut cakes for the tea; made choc. layer cake for the Bake Stall & sent 2 jars of pickles. Then I heard of a lady who had sold over 70 tickets, made 2 aprons, 2 children’s play suits, made bread, cakes & sent jam to the Bake Stall & was in charge of the Candy Stall & made dozens of lots of candy. Whee! Anyway it turned out to be a big success, & had lots of people there & I hear today that it made over $500 which seems wonderful for such a small group with no real church organization behind them. I was going to take Linda & Charlie, but then Linda got an invitation to Diane Kuhn’s birthday party (in her class at school) so Charlie decided he would rather stay at home & play with Jimmy. Lindy was to go as a storybook character, so I spent the Friday morning making her a little red cloak with a hood. Do you remember some red lounging pyjamas I swapped with Jessie long long ago? Then at my Halloween party in Cambridge I made them into a red petticoat? WELL – now I made Lindy into a cute Little Red Riding Hood! Lu gave her a pretty red moire skirt of Leslie’s a little while ago & they exactly matched & with a white blouse & a little basket she really looked like the storybook! I took her to the party & then took Pat & Mrs. Tomlinson & Joanne & Susan to the Tea – lots of people were there – even Mrs. Rothwell making funny remarks about Anglicans! I got some cookies & small cakes, some candy, a kettle holder & a pair of darling little “baby doll” pyjamas! The top is flowered cotton with little white panties, but unfortunately it is too small for Linda (they had no bigger sizes) so I will send it to Barbara Heslop for her birthday.

I was so pleased with myself yesterday morning as I went to town & had such a successful shopping spree. I had thought I might get a suit this spring but I looked around earlier & they all had these straight tight skirts which are so bad for my poor seat! Then I decided I would get a coat as the only non-winter one I have is my grey raincoat from trousseau days which is very sad now, & I saw a nice black bengaline in Simpson Sears catalogue (water repellent too) which was just what I wanted so I sent off for it. I was so disappointed when I got a card saying it was out of stock so on Sat. I went downtown & found just the same thing at Freimans’ & in my size too. I got it there & then & then hopped upstairs & got a little pink lacy hat & a pink scarf (I already have a new high-heeled black suede shoes). I also got Nan a pair of red corduroy “scuffies” (slippers with no backs) reduced to $1.00, so felt very successful! I dashed home & got Cec to mark the hem of my coat & shortened it then & there & wore it to the May Tea with my new hat & felt so pleased as everyone was dressed up to the eyes & I felt quite chic too. I have my white straw that from last summer I’ll also wear with the coat & I got some pretty white material with a black flower spray on it to make into a dress, so it will all go nicely. Do you remember a pretty navy coat Lila had on that day we drove out to Kingsmere? Well, mine is very like that.
I feel quite free to concentrate on our summer wardrobe now as I have at last finished the slipcover for the sofa & feel very pleased with it. Cec & I had such a busy time last week after Easter. I told you how he began painting & finished the bathroom & it looks so nice & fresh.

Then I got some pretty yellow nylon & made a new curtain & we got 20 yellow tiles (plastic) & tiled around the wash basin. It looks most elegant & it is such an improvement as the wall got so splashed behind the basin & it spoilt the paint. We are very pleased with it. Then Cec began on the kitchen & painted that (I helped but I was mostly sewing the slipcover. ) It is a very pretty pale blue, walls & woodwork, with the brown cupboard doors. We have also moved things around & now it is like this-

It is such an improvement having the stove near my workplace in the corner near the sink & the fridge is just as convenient on the other side & not so much in the way. It takes the stove away from the door too & when we sit at the table we are not as close to it. Cec has hung the bread box below the window & under it we have a new white garbage can! I have some blue and white spotted material to make frills for the tops of the windows but haven’t done so yet. I think it looks very nice though & I’m delighted with it.
All last week then, Cec was painting hard in the evening & I was sewing away & in the day time the children & I were busy gadding! Lindy was on holiday of course, & on the Wed. we went to tea with Susi Dressler & saw the little twins – so sweet – just a month old, then on the Thurs. we drove over & had lunch with Lee & Barry & Dougie; on the Friday we went & had coffee with Flora & then on the Sunday the Atchisons [Cec’s sister & family] came to dinner! Cec planted all the seeds last weekend too, so it really was a busy time. The A’s were all well after a bad winter of colds, chickenpox etc. but little Patty Lou is growing fast & beginning to walk & Lea is still enchanted with her baby. Cec & I we’re saying that she really missed so much of Darryl’s baby hood with working that this is really new & fun for her & she just thinks Patty is wonderful. I was handing on some of Lindy’s little things I still had – but not the prettiest ones! Aren’t I mean – but some of them are too sweet to give away!
This week we had a party on Tuesday – a surprise birthday party for Lila! You know she is so good about sending the children birthday, Valentine, Easter presents etc. etc. & one day Cec & I were talking & I said I didn’t really like surprise parties but that I thought one for Lila might be fun, so we had one! We invited mostly those with children whom Lila treated as she treats ours you know – Phyl & Alex, Nan & Don Ramsey, Joan & Boris, Ray & Doreen Moore (the N.Z. couple but they couldn’t come – Doreen is sick – preggy again – R.C.’s poor girl ) then Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg, but Mrs. H. couldn’t come as she was away, & Dr. H’s secretary Mary & Santiago & Dr. Velasco. I phoned Lila a little while ago & said I wanted her & Mary to come out & arranged a day in a very casual way, & then Alex & Phyl picked them up & got here about 8:50 & all the rest at 8:30 having put their cars around the side. Then when Lila came up everyone sang Happy Birthday & we gave her a pretty pink corsage & a card signed by all the children! She was quite pink & confused, but very pleased I think & we all had a nice evening. We chatted & then played quite a good card game that everyone can join in, & we had Punch to drink. Then I had coffee & tea & a big pretty tray of open faced sandwiches like I used to have in Cambridge & then a big birthday cake. I made it white with a wreath of pink rosebuds around & Happy Birthday Lila in the middle. It was all over & everyone leaving by midnight but we felt we’d had a good time & enjoyed it anyway so we hoped everyone else did! We had a nice card from Lila full of raptures afterwards!
On the Wed. the children & I had another kind of party – Charlie & I picked up Lindy from school in the car & went downtown for lunch & then we went to see Walt Disney’s “Cinderella”! I was very keen to take them as they have a Cinderella book with pictures from the movie & they were both thrilled at the idea. Lindy just loved the whole thing & enjoyed every minute, but poor old Charlie got a bit tired & kept saying “Is this the end?”!! However I really think it was quite a success as it was their first full length film in a theatre – I loved seeing it again too! Then we went out to tea to Mrs. Kuhn’s on Thurs. & Lindy & I got our haircut on Fri., so those are all our activities! Cec was back at work every night except the party night last week, so he was really tired this weekend but he got some good results, so he was quite content. Next week I hope we all are going to have a quiet week – I feel we have been living hectically for quite a while!
Thank you so much for your last letter (29th) which I got yesterday – I am so sorry that none of our things reached you for your birthday though. Somehow your letters come so nice & quickly now though, that I assume mine do to you too, but I hope that by now the parcel as well as my long letter will have arrived. It was my fault about the A.M. not getting posted though- so don’t blame poor Cec! I had a bunch of letters to mail – paying bills etc. & your A.M. & some library books & my purse & so on & Charlie & I got in the car & I put them all on the seat between us. Well, what with Charlie & me & all the other things your letter & one of the others slid down the back of the seat & I didn’t notice they were missing when I mailed the rest. Then a few days later I saw a little white thing sticking up & pulled it & lo and behold – letters! I’m sorry! I’m so glad you had a nice birthday – yes we did think of you – and had such a lovely picnic – how nice of Auntie Muriel. You told me the girls had sent you a pretty dress but you didn’t tell me what it was like, but your new hat sounds very pretty too. What a pity Noel Coward didn’t come to Church on Easter Sunday & see you in it! But I really can’t imagine him dashing to Church at the crack of dawn as you & A. Muriel do! What a pity you didn’t see him though although I feel he must be too too conceited for words! Your telling me of him reminds me that I nearly forgot to tell you of someone I met unexpectedly at the May Tea yesterday – Mr. & Mrs. Hughes from Acacia Avenue – remember? They have built a house out here at Rothwell Heights- not way down by the river, but in some woods that we rather liked – moved in just about a month or so ago. They were very cordial & most pressing that we should come & see them, so we must do so & see their house – Mrs. H. tells me it has “What my Mother would call a Charles Dickens window”!! What do you think she means?! I guess a bow window or one with leaded panes!
The Church Procession you saw sounds a most exhausting affair – I’m glad you didn’t try to join in. The new man at Hazell’s sounds as if he will take some of the work off Uncle Fred’s shoulders which will be a relief for him, but as you say Alan Gunn doesn’t sound as if his return will be very permanent. I wonder if you got any bargains at the Sale? They have been having big sales in all the stores here but somehow nothing I needed!
You were asking about Charlie – he’s not nearly such a tender little plant as he used to be & doesn’t cry so much, but still that lower lip can quiver in a very pathetic way! He doesn’t cry at the Barber’s or having his hair washed now & is quite independent – Lindy at last will have her hair cut at the hairdresser’s but has to hold my hand! I am going to make her pink & white sun dress soon – we both think it is very pretty – when I get a nice pattern.
You were asking about our finances – well we are doing quite well & have it last paid off the money we borrowed on our insurance when Charlie was born!! Also we have joined a Civil Service Co-op Savings Society which takes the money out of our pay cheque before we get it so perhaps now we will amass a huge fortune!!
I don’t seem to have been reading much lately – too busy sewing! But I ploughed through a long but interesting biography of Richard III! We don’t belong to a book club at all now – the English one was nice but we got a bit tired of it & the U.S. ones we never seem to get books we like!
I think the table mats for Ginny & Hugh are a very good idea – I’m sure they’ll like them. [Cyn’s cousin Milly Pembleton’s son was getting married in the summer, and so Carol and Cyn were considering wedding presents.] I must get them something & send it off – I thought of something in the china line, but I’ll go & have a look around. Mill very kindly asked us down this summer but I think we’ll postpone it till another year – we thought we would just stay home & save our money this year! But having just begun the savings plan we want to get a good start, & even at the cottage you seem to spend a lot of money & we were counting up & on our trip last year we spent $500 about. That includes things we bought & everything, but still! Talking of table mats I really like yours much more than Amy’s – they look cleaner (!) & the colours are so pretty & cheerful. She keeps impressing on me that she only sends to children now, so obviously I’ll not get the big ones!
By the way, I got the photo album from Una at last – so silly- all these pictures & only a few with you in & I haven’t a clue as to who any of the other people are! If she said sent it to you, you might have been amused at it, but really there are so few with you in that it seems quite pointless to send it to me.


Monday. I am just finishing this off this evening & have just had a birth announcement of Dottie’s baby – a son! Ken writes a note on the bottom that the baby & Dottie are both doing well. Born 16th April & weighing 7 lbs. 2 oz. but no name. Cec says that anyway he won’t be so spoiled as a baby girl would have been! [Ken & Dottie’s blended family now has 4 boys!]
I must stop as I am yawning me head off! Must send Nan her birthday card & will send her Scuffies tomorrow – my love to Auntie Muriel – big hugs & kisses from Lindy & Charlie & lots of love from us all –

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