August 4 1961

This letter features family rather than friends, so a quick review of Costains! Cec and Cyn, Linda and Charlie live at the east end of Ottawa, in a duplex with Myrtle Rothwell in the other half, which had a ground floor apartment at the back, now occupied by the Knights, who will feed the cat Nicki while the Costains are away.
As they start out for their holiday they have to drive west through Ottawa, and then go up Highway 17, which goes through Carp where Cec’s sister Lea and family live- so they stop for coffee. They find and enjoy their cottage, and make an expedition one day to visit Cec’s Uncle, Milton Costain, and his Aunt Lily, who normally live in Toronto but are also doing the Ontario summer thing- going to the cottage. What they really are looking forward to is the visit on the weekend of Cec’s oldest sister, Merle Moor, and her husband Dix, with as many of their 3 boys, John, Lorne, and Bruce, as are available. Bruce is 11 at this point, Lorne 18, and the children welcome these cousins, and miss the oldest one.

Gull Lake

4th August

Dearest Mummy,
Well, here we are at the Cottage! I can hardly believe that we have been here nearly a week and we are all having a really lovely time. The weather has been warm & sunny but not too hot & only one evening after dark we had a heavy shower, otherwise no rain at all. The lake is a very big one but we are on a small bay off another larger one called Deep Bay, so actually we only see a small part of the lake but it is very beautiful with wooded hills and rocky outcrops, and all the trees are so gloriously fresh & green this year. Our cottage is not right on the beach, but up a little rise across a field with trees at one side & a rocky hillside behind.

There are only 2 other cottages & the owner’s house (Mrs. Forster- very obliging) & our cottage is nicely off on our own. It is very comfortable with running water, inside toilet, refrigerator, electric stove & light, & a wood stove in the sitting room for heating. We actually just light it in the morning, although it’s not very cold, but it quickens up breakfast if Cec cooks the bacon and eggs on the fire & I do the other things on the electric stove.
We have organized a wonderful system – I cook meals (except Cec lights fires & does most of breakfast) & make beds; Linda sweeps the cottage; Charlie washes the breakfast dishes; then Linda washes the lunch dishes & then Cec washes the dinner dishes, so isn’t that a lovely holiday for me? Just knowing I haven’t a dish to wash makes me feel very carefree!
So far we have swum twice every day & 3 times one day – usually about 11:30 a.m. & 4 p.m. The water is very nice & warm & is grand for the children as the bay goes out very gradually – the beach is sandy but actually the bottom is mostly mud, but it’s not too gooky & unpleasant! Linda is a complete waterbaby & will stay in hours without a shiver, but poor little old Charlie is still as skinny & gets cold as quickly. Lindy is doing very well with her swimming – she swims very well on her back & floats & does somersaults in the water & touches the bottom etc. On her front she swims a crawl stroke & does very well, but she swims with her face in the water & and has difficulty getting her head up & getting her breath without a gulp of water, but it is coming gradually & she already can swim further than when she was in the swimming pool. Charlie seems to have no buoyancy at all! He still doesn’t like to get his face & head wet, but he tries & it will come sometime I expect! I am trying to do the things Lindy learnt at her lessons – the Jellyfish Float etc. so I am being quite venturesome! We are all getting healthy & sunburnt but not to excess! We have rented a rowboat & we row around & go walks & are really quite energetic – Cec took us a hike over the hill one evening which turned out to be quite an expedition, up & down ravines & through bushes etc. & poor Lindy thought we were lost forever! However we turned out exactly opposite our cottage, so the guide wasn’t far off!
Cec bought a fishing rod in a little town nearby & he & Charlie have been fishing in the boat, but had no luck. We all went last night & I rowed them around but Lindy said all the fish had gone to bed! I have said that anyone who catches a fish must clean it himself, so I don’t know if this has dampened their ardour!

We had quite a long drive up on Sat. – nearly 300 miles, & not nearly such easy driving as the Thruway! We had to take food & bedding as well as clothes, so you can imagine how packed little Rosie was. We set out at 8:45 & as we passed right through Carp we had phoned & told Lea we would stop for 1/2 hour for a cup of coffee. We found them all well, but as usual in some sort of flap. Over the prospect of a move to Edmonton this time – goodness knows how it will turn out. Afterwards we went on up the Ottawa River Valley. We had a picnic lunch – in a slight shower of rain, but we were under trees! – & then on up to Algonquin Park – the big National Park you know. Linda was all set to see bears, but we just drove through on the highway of course so there wasn’t much hope but we did see some deer with whole crowds of cars stopped to watch them! We visited the Park Museum which had exhibits of the wildlife of the park – some like bears etc. stuffed, & fishes & frogs etc. in glass cases! Then we drove on through & arrived at our nearest small town, Minden, around 5 o’clock. We shopped for milk & bread & then after wandering around back roads for a while found the cottage. We are about 15 miles from Minden & are going in this afternoon to get meat & groceries for the weekend. The 2 children are so funny & different – if we lose the way in the car or walking Linda gets so agitated & upset & worried whereas Charlie gets all philosophical in adversity & tramps on cheerfully saying “Oh well if this isn’t right we’ll just have to go back!” I had brought a cold roast turkey with me & rolls & salad, so we had a nice supper all ready.
Mr. & Mrs. Knight are looking after Nicki for us. It worked out very conveniently as their daughter and her husband & 3 children were due back from Germany (with the Army) on the day after we left, & of course the Knights wanted to have them to stay while they looked for a house (they are now stationed in Ottawa), but Myrtle was being very difficult about it all. When I heard this I suggested giving the Knights our back door key & Mr. & Mrs. K. could come in & sleep in our Recreation Room each night & we loaned them the chaise also as a bed for one of the children, so they were overwhelmingly grateful & immediately suggested that they would look after Nicki. As Mrs. K says, the family might be with them a week or only a few days depending on how long before they get a house, but it will be pretty close quarters for them, & I said to let the children play on our swing & slide etc. as Myrtle has been so disagreeable they are determined they won’t set a step on her path even! We left food for Nicki & her bed in the washroom & if it rains the Knights will let her in our basement.
Since we arrived here we have only been on one expedition & that was to Gravenhurst in the Muskoka area where Auntie Lily & Uncle Milton are staying for their holidays. It is about 60 miles away & we drove over in the morning & had lunch & then back home in the late afternoon. Poor Charlie still doesn’t get on well in the car & the country around here – rather like Mill & Ford’s camp – all hills & winding roads & up & down etc. doesn’t suit him at all, so we are going to just enjoy the cottage and not drive around more than necessary as it bothers him so & the pills make him very dopey. His eczema is improving but not gone all together, but he seems in much better shape now & is eating well.
We are expecting the Moors this weekend – probably not till tomorrow morning. Merle has been attending a Course in Toronto & finishes today & Dixon has had a summer job marking exam papers, but it is finished too. Lorne has a job as a Life Guard at a swimming pool but he can get the weekend off & we hope Bruce will be home from Camp & come too. John has gone in the “Mission Field” for the summer, so we won’t see him. I don’t quite know what this means, but he has apparently gone somewhere in connection with the Church, but will let you know when I find out more.
Well, Lindy has just about finished the dishes, so we will be on our way to Minden soon & I had better stop & mail this. Charlie has learned to play Patience & is very engrossed in it. They both can row now. Must stop – big hugs from us all.
Much love

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