2043 Montreal Road,
Ottawa 2. Ontario.
3rd. June, 1961.
You seemed to approve of the type written letter and feel that it encouraged you and your typing out effort, so I am very happy to continue that way, as it really is much quicker than writing and I do get so much more on the page. The children enjoy getting your typed letters and think you are doing very well. I do too, but you mustn’t peek – better to have mistakes, because otherwise you will never get any speed if you stop to look and see what you are doing!
Thank you so much for both your letters -14th and 26 – I am very sorry that I have been so long in writing, but I have had a kind of cold, or rather a sore throat, and I felt rather ‘punk’. Charlie had a bit of cold and sore throat the weekend before Cec left, and I kept him home from school on the Friday, but it cleared up quite quickly only unfortunately I caught it and it turned into real hanging-on thing with me. It didn’t develop too much the first week – I had a sore throat and kept expecting it to turn into a real cold but after we saw Cec off at the Airport it went up into my sinuses and I got earache that night and puffy all round my eyes and felt miserable. I don’t know if I got chilled standing waiting for the plane to take off or if it was just developing but all weekend it was just the same so on Monday I phoned your friend Dr. Kastner and he told me to come in that afternoon as there were a lot of strep throats around. He gave me a penicillin shot and penicillin tablets to last a week, and I have been gradually improving, and feel pretty well back to normal now – not very energetic though! Dr. K.’s nurse was enquiring for you and I think it was that same day that I had a phone call and here it was Basil’s wife, Win is it? We had quite a little chat and she seemed very nice and said that they would come and see us if they were in Ottawa. She was very complimentary about you too, and said how much they had enjoyed meeting you. She told me that Helen Hadley had been there but was now in Toronto after settling Sally in a job with Bell Telephones – apparently she couldn’t get into – was it T.C.A. she wanted? – and they had quite a time getting her something, but it was all fixed now. Helen was to go home soon I think she said so I don’t expect that I will see her.
Next week Charlie arrives, and what do you think – it never rains but it pours – I am also meeting Mary Egan! I had heard from Nan that she was visiting England this summer [from Australia] but thought nothing of it until last week I had a hasty airletter saying that she was flying via Canada, and after stopovers at Vancouver (where she will see Olwen and Noel – remember?) Banff, Calgary and New York, she was going to Montreal to stay with someone for two days before flying to England. She went on to say that she understood that Ottawa was close to Montreal so could she pop over to see me or could we meet somewhere. Of course she barely gave me a week to reply as she was leaving on the 3rd and didn’t tell me her address in Montreal or anything so I dashed off a reply and said I would meet her in Montreal bus station at 12:15 by the bookstall on 14th June, as Ottawa was 120 miles away and by the time she reached Montreal she might be glad to stay still for a day or so. So – I only hope that she gets my letter and that we do manage to meet – it seems very haphazard somehow! It will be fun seeing her after 13 years, and I must look my best! Last week my hair was long and straggly and I felt a wreck, so I went over to Emil and had a hair do. He cut it quite short and straight and trim across the back and gave me nice fat curly bangs and short sides, and everyone has been complementing me on it. Except the children that is -they just groan and say ‘But it doesn’t look like you it’s awful!’ I must say that I feel quite happy not to look like me for a change! (P.S. Mrs. Emil doesn’t make the flowers – she just sells and rents them – they are plastic. [This is a reference to their Bazaar decorations mentioned in the last letter. They were successful there but Cyn would not have been a customer!])
I had determined that the first week that Cec was away I would do some sewing, so despite my indisposition I began on my pink suit on Monday and was able to wear it at a dessert party of Marjorie Graham’s on Wed. afternoon. The lining wasn’t too much extra and it does make it look much nicer I think, and it looks nice – not homemade I presume, as quite a few people asked me where I bought it! I still have quite a lot of material so I will make Linda a skirt and also the suit pattern has a pattern for a blouse – a kind of tailored one with a round neck and zip at the back and it shows a picture of this worn with a skirt and made in the same material it looks like a dress, so I have cut this out and will make it this week. I have also got Linda’s flowered cotton cut out, but no further and I hope I will get it done soon. Somehow I seem to have got involved in all sorts of things these next two weeks – going to the Blood Donor Clinic tomorrow to serve coffee and juice – next week going to help serve a luncheon in aid of the Save the Children and what with both Charlie and Mary coming next week and each taking a whole day is as it were, I can see I’m going to be hopping!
I was listening on the radio this morning about the Kennedys in London, and that reminded me that I am sending you a LIFE about their visit to Ottawa. It really doesn’t have any very good pictures but I thought that you would be interested. Lindy, Cec and I went to see them the evening they drove from Gov. House to the Am. Embassy in Rockcliffe. Charlie was at Cubs so he couldn’t come, but I don’t think he minded too much. We got a good view standing on the flat stone walls at the gateway, but you know how quickly they seem to go by even if the car is going slowly, so I don’t think poor Lindy got more than a backview and she was so excited about Jackie! I got a quick glimpse and saw that she had a big strawberry pink organza stole around her shoulders, but the main impression was that they were both laughing and seemed to be having such a good time! Very natural and informal and it is such a nice change from some of the old stuffed shirts.
The next day I did go out to Carp – just set out from here around 9:30 and got there in less than an hour – had a cup of coffee and then came home. I gave the children their lunch at school so I didn’t have a rush and stopped at Simpson-Sears on the way home but saw nothing enchanting! Lea looked pretty well and seems to be getting on all right, but of course their odd ways and method of living amazed me as much as ever! The house was in even a worse mess than usual! Poor Lea!
We had a nice holiday weekend for the Queen’s Birthday – you are amused at me saying this and not Whit. but Whitsuntide is not recognized publicly in Canada or the States, and it just so happened that the Monday nearest to 24 May, Victoria Day, happened to be Whit. this year. We had Cec’s birthday on Monday and gave him a sports shirt, a key case and a new cigarette lighter and a big bag of fireworks! We had a steak and apple pie for dinner and then lit all the fireworks and had great fun. The weather was not bad most of the weekend so we got quite a lot done in the garden but since Cec has left it has been weird – we had frost a couple of nights and half of our 18 tomato plants are dead I think, and it has been wet and cold with just two nice days I think. We haven’t had any really nice weather since that hot few days I told you about earlier. Of course the lilac and tulips have lasted wonderfully and the garden still looks lovely with them although the tulips have been out for about 3 weeks, but none of the seeds are doing a thing. Do you remember Monie sent some Morning Glory seeds and one or two others last year? I planted them more than two weeks ago but there isn’t a sign – probably rotted in the ground! We are having an awful time with crab grass in the flowerbeds as the new soil we got last fall must have been full of it. Cec and I weeded all the beds and got them clear before he left, and they are just as bad again.
As you can imagine we are all missing our Daddy very much, and that first weekend seemed a week long – particularly as I had the cold. However, on the Sat. morning I had made an appointment to take the children to have their portraits done in pastels! One of the stores in town advertised this artist giving sittings – 2.50 a black-and-white sketch and 5.00 for pastels, and so I went and looked at some of his drawings one day and thought they looked quite nice, so decided to have the children done as a surprise for Cec on Father’s Day, which is actually June 18th – the day he returns. The drawings took about 30 – 40 minutes each, and I think they have turned out very well – at least you can tell who they are! They are in profile and Lindy’s is very good I think – she looks quite animated and although not actually smiling she has a pleased look on her face, whereas Charlie who sat like a little statue the whole time looks very serious and so less like himself to me, but Myrtle thinks that his is better, so who knows! [I always thought it was lucky I had long hair, because Charlie’s showed the artist couldn’t draw ears!] I must get Cec to take a picture of them to send you so that you will get some idea. The colour is very good and he sprayed them with a fixative so they won’t smudge at all.
After the portrait business we went to the Library and then on to Rockcliffe Park for lunch – hotdogs and ice cream cones! I just sat in the car but the children ran around and as usual thought R. Park the most wonderful place! The Sunday was a rainy day so it was very dreary, but this weekend was better although it rained both evenings and it’s pouring today (Mon.) Lindy went on her Brownie Picnic on Sat. and Charlie played with Jimmy, and then yesterday kind Margaret Savic asked us to dinner, so the time passed quite quickly.
Oh, I forgot to tell you – last Thurs. I had a real spree. Before Cec left he said while he was away I should buy a coat, as the black bengaline one I had is very old now and is no longer waterproof, and this year one has really needed a spring coat, though some years it gets too hot very early. Anyway, I thought I would have a day in town, so I gave the children lunch and then went to town and to the bank. I began looking in the shops in Sparks St. but found that the season for spring coats was about over, and there were very few to choose from. I had thought I would get what they call an ‘all-weather coat’ – that is a coat which is waterproof, but not just a raincoat, and earlier they had some nice ones in brocade or tapestry, some reversible and so on, but I couldn’t find a thing I liked. So I thought perhaps I would get a nice silk print dress with three-quarter sleeves, because most of my summer dresses are very summery and sleeveless or pastel colours, and by this time I was down on Bank St. and prowling around some of the little dress shops, so I went into one and got into the clutches of a very charming gentleman! He was really very nice, but of course a great salesman, and when I asked for coats first he brought out some and I tried them on but didn’t care for them, then he brought out this one – lilac coloured and quite plain but with a small collar bound with black braid continuing all down the front. I tried it on and it looked so nice – it is waterproof and the material is a new thing- backing laminated onto a kind of plastic foam, which insulates against heat and cold. I hadn’t wanted mauve, but in the end I liked it so much I said I’d have it and then I looked at dresses and tried on such a pretty cotton satin in just the style I wanted and it fitted me and suited me so I took that too! Bang went $50! I wrote and told Cec I would be spreading the housekeeping money thin this two weeks! I am sending a piece of my new dress to show you as I shortened it to wear to the Savic’s yesterday.
I needed a new summer hat to go with all these, but felt I’d been extravagant enough for one day, so I got a hat form in a small turban shape, and some black tulle and some mauvy- pink flowers and Mary Orr is going to help me make a hat on Wed! So what with my new mauve coat, new pink suit, new flowered dress and the navy and white outfit you helped me buy, I am doing pretty well but I was very low in clothes as I got nothing last summer except the cotton dress you gave me and the cotton skirt and blouse to wear around the house, so I really needed quite a lot – oh yes, and I made myself that white and blue cotton dress too, but it is quite ‘bare’ and hot weather. I still have some tissue gingham to make Linda and me sundresses, but then I think we will be well set up. I feel that if we are going to go to England in two years, I had better begin to gradually build up a suitable wardrobe, as I won’t be able to suddenly dash out and buy everything I want at once, and I think this coat will be very good for travelling as it is very light but warm, and is loose enough to wear over a suit or a dress. The children were most impressed with my rashness, because after buying all these things I took them out and bought them both new sandals, and Linda a new pair of blue slacks, and they felt I was really going wild!
We had three nice postcards from Cec last Wed. from Belgium and then just now we got two airforms from Holland. He seems to be having a hectic time, but to be enjoying it and all his friends are determined that he should see every bit of their countries available! He was only in Belgium from Sat. morning till Sun. afternoon, but the things he did and places he saw with Charles Courtois would be enough for a week. Charles took him to spend the night with his uncle, a retired judge, and aunt and their family, at a lovely manor house in the country and he said they were all so wonderful to him. He was busy at the meeting at Holland, but was having the day off after he wrote and going to the Zuyder Zee.
Now he is in Denmark and as today is a Danish National holiday he will be sightseeing I expect. The weather had been mostly sunny but cool although it rained the day he wrote but that is better than too hot. We wrote to him this weekend and sent it to London as we are not sure of reaching Sweden in time and have no Swiss address. We wrote once to Holland, and talk of trying to keep things quiet, of course Linda wrote a poem “Mummy had a shot In the bot For her cold She’s getting old.” and of course I hadn’t intended to mention it! Also Charlie told him we let the well run run dry on Thurs. and I had to get Ken to come and prime the pump! No use trying to keep secrets!
I am so glad that you and Auntie Muriel enjoyed your holiday so much at H.B. Cottage. Even we have had some hummingbirds on our lilacs lately! I am glad too that A. Muriel’s cough is better and I hope that you both feel quite rested and well again. Don’t forget that you have to go and have your blood checked every now and then. I will try and remember to get the white hair nets when I am in town this week and will send them as soon as I do. I will willingly get the shoes at Bata but you must be sure and give me the number on the shoe and the size and all particulars, because I can’t remember a bit what they looked like. I will send the recipe for the Lemon Loaf with the hair nets – I just had a piece with my lunch and it is delectable I think! I was just busy writing this this morning when here I saw Charlie strolling along the road! I dashed to the door thinking he must be ill or something, only to find that a boy had pushed him in a puddle at recess, and his pants were soaked, so his teacher had sent him home to change! Of course he was taking as long as possible over it!
How wonderful that Monie and Owen are coming next year, and imagine bringing Hugh and Ginny [their nephew and wife]! Lucky, lucky people! Particularly Ginny – marrying a man with such a generous godmother! They will all have a wonderful time I’m sure and the young couple will have a real dream holiday – can’t you imagine Hugh getting the biggest kick out of everything just like his Dad! You were telling me about making the Java plum jam for Monie, and you sound as if it were quite a job, with all the big stones, but I am sure Monie will be delighted. I am looking forward to my stewed guavas when they are in season – any burny sugar cake or coconut candy?!!
I must stop now and get this posted or you will think that I have collapsed. I shall rush down to George’s and mail this and then do the vacuuming I should have done this morning!
Lindy and Charlie have been home for lunch and send big hugs and kisses. Much love to A. Muriel and lots of love to you