August 11 1957

Box 330 R.R.1
Ottawa
Sunday 11h Aug.

Dearest Mummy,
No letter from you last week, so for once I’m not having to start with “thank you for your letter”– so unusual that I feel quite amazed! Of course I usually have lots of apologies too & without my two constant beginnings it really is astonishing! Of course I will probably hear from you tomorrow because if we don’t get your Post & the Saturday Evening Post on Fri. or Sat. they always come on Mon!!
I had a nice long letter from Nan this week and one from Dottie too. Nan was telling me a little bit more about her Mother & about the children & so on. They made no plans for summer holidays, but afterwords managed to book at Whitby & are off this month. This was the first letter I’ve had from Dottie since the baby & we heard his name – Timothy. Lindy is greatly amused because Dottie calls him “Timmy Willie” & in one of her Beatrix Potter books there is a little country mouse called Timmy Willie! She says he is a very good little fellow – and what do you think? They now have a Rolls Royce no less!! Second hand, but still – the swank m’dear, as Dottie would say! She says Ken has always longed for one & got this chance at a bargain & couldn’t resist although they don’t know whether they’ll keep it. They are very tickled with themselves & Dottie says they went over to York for Peter’s 1/2 term & had a great success with Peter carrying off the whole thing with nonchalance!
Talking of letters I’ve always meant to say thank you for the ones you sent me – Jean’s, Bren’s & Pamela’s – & to tell you how interested I was in them. The more I hear about other couples with children to educate in England the more thankful I am for Canada! Bren & Pamela were both talking about school fees & Nan in her letter was telling about Sandy trying to get into the Grammar School & how hard it was & I feel so thankful that we have none of that to go through. In England to get your children the best education you just have to pay for it or have a brilliant child, whereas here unless you’re a millionaire your child does the same as all the rest & the public education is the best. The thought of school fees hanging over you for 20 years or so – it makes me shudder! Here, we can begin saving now for universities! As a matter of fact Cec & I were just talking a little while ago about beginning to save the Monthly Family Allowance cheques ($10) for a nest egg when the children reach university age. Either to help them through University or to go a trip to Europe with or whatever their little hearts desire! Of course I shall miss that nice little cheque – it helps me out when housekeeping runs low & I always look forward to a little squandering! However – for the Sake of our Children! – and considering it’s theirs!!
All this talk of the children at university age makes me think of Little Mona & you & Moo having such fits over her occupation! I had to giggle, but I do agree that it isn’t a job I’d like myself or like to have my daughter doing. I suppose it must pay well & if she is to be married in less than a year it will only be a temporary thing, but still one would think Millie & Ford would try to get her to look around for a more congenial job. I had a letter from Mill & she tells me that they plan to get married next spring so I suppose Mill and Ford feel that if she is old enough to make such major decisions she is old enough to make minor ones also. In a way I admire Millie & Ford very much for the ability to stand back and let Mona be independent and to see that she has grown up, but I don’t know if I could do it myself – I suppose it must depend a lot on your child also. Certainly I think most American youngsters are much more mature in many ways than English boys & girls & a million times more mature than I was. Also Monie seems to be a very domesticated girl & everyone says how much help she is around the house, so perhaps she really is best suited to being married young and having a house and family. Mill must know well from her sisters (& her cousin Cyn!) that it’s fun having a gay time before you were married, but not all fun & that the dream man doesn’t always turn up, so perhaps she feels Monie’ll be happier this way. What I do feel is a pity is that Monie isn’t going to be trained to do anything. Even if she didn’t go to University if she were trained as a typist or a florist or a dressmaker or something I think it would be so much better. As it is, the only thing she can do is work in a store & that can’t be a very paying job – particularly as you get older. Not that I mean to be gloomy but sometime it might be such a help if they needed extra cash & she could earn some, & I don’t think any mother with young children can help but wonder sometimes what she would do if the responsibility for their upbringing were all hers. You hear of so many tragedies – a husband killed in a car crash & a wife left with a baby boy & a girl of 3 (Lea & Jim’s friends) – Margie Garrett’s neighbour whose husband died of a heart attack at 35 & left her with 2 little girls – one must feel a bit braver and more able to carry on if there is something on can do oneself to support a family. However, I have all these problems to come to & probably when Linda & Charlie are that age I’ll have all the decisions taken out of my hands too. Prof. Katz from Saskatoon was talking about the same type of thing & saying it was useless to wait until the child is leaving school or even a teenager to try to see where his future lies, but that you could see from the time the child is in school a few years what type of mind he has & be able to help him to live so that he is expressing himself in the things he does best & will continue to make his career through those things. So I must have an eagle eye on Linda & Charlie! Certainly with their Daddy’s academic record I feel they should have some bias towards the University & already Lindy is quite interested in the fact that I was a teacher & went to College too, so I think it must make a bit of difference. What a long dissertation this has been! I had better stop & get to bed! Last night was such a hot stuffy night that I felt I was tossing & turning all the time & even got up & wandered around a couple of times – most unusual for me!

Monday.
Today is now as cold as can be & I have on a sweater & am sitting on the bed with a blanket over my knees to keep warm! Although it is cold & windy & dull there is no sign of rain & it is as dry as a bone. We haven’t had a drop for ages & the poor garden is a wreck. The grass has an odd green patch where we have emptied the paddling pool, but otherwise it is brown & like wire to walk on. We have tried to water the roses a bit & they are looking very pretty & have done well, but everything else is wilting. Our tomatoes down the hill are just lovely however & for the last 10 days or so we’ve had a wonderful crop – big & red & smooth – with no rain they haven’t cracked at the top & they really look beauties. We have quite a few baby melons growing too & are watching them eagerly. Did I tell you a baby groundhog appeared not long ago? But what with Nicki & the dog next door & Cec all chasing it, the poor thing gave up & seems to have left for a quieter neighbourhood!
Relations between us & our new neighbours are again sort of strained! At least between the children – I don’t know about the adults! But they are so queer – a week or 10 days ago the children asked if they could have Jimmy to dinner one evening which we did & everything was fine. Then a few days later Jimmy & Pauline etc. wouldn’t come & play with the children & wouldn’t let them come over. Next day they let Charlie come, but not Linda! (You can imagine the tears.) Next day not at all – until the poor kids spent their time drooping around miserably with either one or the other of them left out, so I said “all right – both of you go or neither of you go”! Since then they have played by themselves & communications have ceased! Which I really prefer if we aren’t able to have Jimmy without his gang of cousins – Linda already picked up “My God!” from Pauline so I can do without more! Did I ever tell you about the birthday party Lindy & Charlie went to? Well all I need say is they had dozens of children of all ages & Charlie did not enjoy it! Lindy’s birthday party is the next big excitement – less than 2 weeks now.
We have just had a nice quiet weekend doing nothing & it has been very pleasant! Last weekend was a long weekend with the Monday holiday & we were on the hop so much & it was hot, so it was nice to have a rest & a change. On the busy weekend we had Mr. & Mrs. Hunka in for drinks & coffee etc. on Fri. evening. I think I have mentioned her before – she is English & he is Canadian & they have a teenager Vicky & a little girl Nicola of Linda’s age who was in K’garten too but in the afternoon class. He works at NRC but on the Administration & was in the London office before they came over last year. She is dark & very nice looking & I like her very much – he seems quite nice but Friday was the first time I met him. On the Saturday we took Lila out for a picnic with us to the place we were at with the Blachuts. It wasn’t quite so nice as the river was much shallower with no rain & Cec couldn’t get wet even to his waist! However Lindy had a lovely time in the water & with Lila playing but old silly Charlie wouldn’t even put a toe in! We set off home about midafternoon as I didn’t want to repeat the peeling process, & we had got there quite early in the morning, but oh, it was so hot driving home! We were all exhausted & cross & longing for a nice cup of tea! On the Sunday we had the Dresslers to tea. They are the young Swiss couple with twin baby boys – now 4 months old & they are so cute & good. Susie keeps them so nicely & they look sweet, but you would hardly know they were brothers let alone twins, they are so unlike each other. One has dark brown hair, brown eyes & a little face with a pointed chin & is quiet & placid & the other has a big round face, just a fuzz of fair hair, blue eyes & is excitable & lively!! They were as good as gold & lay on our bed & let us stand around & play with them & then just fell asleep when we left them. When it was time to go home one was still asleep & one was just lying cooing! Lindy was enchanted of course!
You asked about Boris’ baby once – he is a year old now & a very lively little fellow but no beauty! He has a funny little receding chin with a dimple & is rather dribbly, but of course Boris is the proudest father in the world!
Who do you think we had a phone call from last week? Ray Appleyard! He was just in Ottawa between trains having arrived from Switzerland & going up to Chalk River where Joan & the family were for a holiday. Cec went down to the Château Laurier and had a drink & chat with him & he says the family is fine and the baby boy doing well. They are staying another year in New York.
Talking about living in different places makes me think of Jean & I wonder how they will all get on in England. It always seems as if Jeanie is longing to be where she isn’t, & you can’t help but think St. Vincent will be shrouded in a rosy cloud when she has left it! I am sure that she will miss her multiple servants anyway – from what I gather even people with money don’t have much help nowadays – Dottie has a daily help from the village to clean & Gunborg has an untrained girl from Sweden – so they both still do a lot of cooking etc. themselves. Poor little Charles – even Mill & Monie said Jean was so un-maternal to him. It seems very cruel to send him straight off to boarding school when he is going to be even more lost & lonely in a strange country. Peter doesn’t seem to say much about what the children are to do – does he just let Jean go her own way? I wonder what kind of a job he will get. When Cec was talking to Bob Spellar when he was here he was saying £1000 or £2000 a year is not considered a big salary now the way prices have gone up. Of course I know Peter has his own money but taxes are high too.
I was very amused at the story of Peggy & Patsy inciting Alex to trespass on Royal Ground! They must have been very thrilled to see them all so close even if they were expecting to be hauled off to a dungeon at any moment!


I just phoned & got Mrs. Martin to sit for us tonight so that Cec & I can go to a movie – we haven’t been in an age and the last one we saw wasn’t much. This is “Love in the Afternoon” with Maurice Chevalier & Audrey Hepburn & Gary Cooper & is in Paris & is supposed to be very amusing. Hope it is. It’s such a chilly day it feels like going to a movie somehow! You mentioned a long time ago seeing “Desirée” – we liked the book very much & would like to see the film. One we are looking forward to is “80 Days Around the World” which is supposed to be coming soon.
I often meant to ask you how A. Trixie’s toe was after her operation & if it was very painful or if the results were worth it. You mentioned being interested because of yours, but as you said no more I wondered. I hope you are feeling all right now & that A. Muriel is keeping well too. Charlie’s awful poxy scabs have all gone now & we are all fine – I made bread & butter pickles on Fri. evening & poured some boiling water on my fingers but that is our biggest mishap & by the next morning they were better! As you can tell Ken is still giving us garden produce & we do very well. Mrs. Scott just had an op. to remove an internal tumour but is very relieved as they found it was not malignant, but she is having to take things easily.
You asked one time about Lindy’s class at school – there were 30 in her class in the morning & 25 in the afternoon I believe. I don’t know how the Grade 1 will be arranged, but I think there will have to be 2 classes. Lindy in a way is quite sad about school all day next term – she says “I’ll have no time to play”!
Well, I seem to have just about dried up! I haven’t been sewing anything lately but cut out the pink & white material you sent Lindy to make her a little sundress for her birthday. It is a sweet pattern Phil Douglas gave me & I just had enough material but will have to get a little plain white for a sash.
We were over at Phyl’s on Friday (another hot day) & all went down to the Rockcliffe Lake just near them & had a swim. Lindy wasn’t used to bathing with dozens of bigger children around & objected strongly to the splashing! Need I say what Charlie did?!! We went back & had tea at Phyl’s with a nice English girl who lives near her & has a little girl of Charlie’s age & a baby boy. She had a very sweet, very English voice & Charlie said “I like her talk”! When he likes people he also says “I like their look”!
Lindy & Nicki are both sitting on the bed with me & being distracting! Nikki still has sunburnt peeling ears poor little thing – they never seem to tan! How are the little kitties? I hope these ones survive! We have had Nick just a year now & she is a pet- Lindy particularly loves her dearly & she loves the children too- she always cries if they go out to play without her & when they go to Ken’s she trots after them..
Must stop – p-r-r-r-from Nikki, X from Lindy & a little snore from Charlie (still asleep) & lots of love from us all – Love to A. Moo too –
from
Cyn.

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