2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2, Ont.
21st August, 1961.
Here we are, back in Ottawa again. It is just over a week since we returned and already we feel as if we had hardly been away and are all involved with home things once more.
When we got back we found both your letter and your lovely parcel of Yummies waiting for us. Thank you so very much – we all enjoyed them so much – particularly me! The children and Cec liked the chocolate and I even let Cec have a little of the Burney Sugar Cake, but he isn’t crazy about it, so what is the point of squandering it on him? Believe me I had no trouble at all in eating it by myself and already it is all gone! I felt I had to eat it quickly and then I could get on with my dieting with no distractions! Yes, I am up to 134 lbs again after my holiday, so I must really begin the big effort once more and try to get down again. Of course, I have never lost what I gained when I was trying to fatten you up, so I have a long way to go. Tell me, how is your weight keeping? I hope that you are able to maintain it and haven’t lost any of your good Canadian fat! By the way, Cec and I both think that you are doing very well with your typing and hope that you will keep it up. Now that you are not having lessons you should try to type as many of your letters as you can and also practice once in a while, because it is very easy to forget and you will find that if you keep at it it will get easier and you will get quicker all the time. I know that at first it is very hard to think and type at the same time and you feel your letters tend to be stilted, but already I can see the improvement in yours and think they are quite natural now.
Oh, I was going to tell you about the guavas. When we open the parcel we found that the jar of guavas was fine, but sticky, as if it were leaking, so I took it to the sink and washed it off. Then I noticed that it looked a tiny bit bubbly and the metal top was bulging a bit so I called Cec and asked him what he thought, and he took it and very gently eased the top a bit, and immediately the whole thing turned white with millions of little bubbles! He gradually unscrewed the top and it all began foaming over the top like champagne so I dashed and got a bowl and we put it in. Cec and I decided the only thing to do was to cook it again, so I put it in a pan and gently brought it to the boil and let it simmer till the effervescing stopped. I had to add a little water, so it actually it is now more like jam then stewed guavas, but it still tastes delicious and we are enjoying it very much. The guavas don’t seem as firm this time – I don’t know if this is the action of the fermenting or if they were not as firm to begin with. Anyway, don’t let this deter you from sending some more another time – we love guavas, bubbly or not!
The second week at the cottage just flew by of course, and we could hardly believe that there were the same number of days in each week. The Moors arrived about 10 on the Sat. morning – Merle, Dixon, Lorne and Bruce. John as I told you was away, and apparently he is looking after a Mission Church and Sunday School for the summer and gets all his expenses paid and a small salary for it. He is having the time of his life and thoroughly enjoying it, so Merle is very pleased. He has done all right at the University this year, so has one more year for his B.A. then he is going to McGill University in Montreal for his Theology, so we hope to see more of him then. He doesn’t get outstanding marks, but has managed to get by, and apparently the subjects he does really well in are things like Greek which he will need in his Theology, so it sounds as if he will do all right. I was really disappointed to hear from you about Alan not finishing his year at University. I am sure that Marguerite and Bill must have been very upset, and the thing that is so worrying is that having gone through practically the whole year he didn’t stick it out for the exams as now he will get no credit for that year’s work at all. I suppose they will try and get him into a University nearer home.
Lorne, the second boy is now 18, and he was anxiously waiting the results of his exams but apparently there is not much cause to worry as he is the Costain type like Cec and Carman and does well. He is going to McMaster University in Hamilton, and although it isn’t too far away he will live in residence. He has a girlfriend that none of them care for very much, so Merle is hoping that they will both get new interests when he is away! He has a job as a Lifeguard at an Open air swimming pool this summer, so he is as brown as a berry, and as he is a fine figure of a young man and has nice curly hair he is quite a sight to behold! He is an awfully nice fellow too, and played with the children, and helped them with their swimming and is just as easy and natural as can be. He had to be back at his job on the Monday morning, and the whole family was going to leave on Sunday evening, but we found out that there was a bus going to Toronto from the main road nearby and he could catch a train from Toronto to Brantford, so he set off home by himself on the Sunday afternoon and the rest of the family stayed until Tuesday.
Merle was very tired, as she had been staying in Toronto attending this course and had had exams at the end of it and of course the weather had been hot and close, so she really was glad of the rest, and so was Dix as he had been housekeeping for the last few weeks! We all had a really nice time – two swims on Sat. which was a lovely day, and then Sun. turned out rainy, but we still swam twice and we adults chatted and the children played card games etc. Brucie was a real dab at what we used to call “Pelmanism” but he calls “Memory”, but L. and C. gradually caught on and didn’t do too badly – even absent-minded little old Charlie! Monday we swam and rowed and the boys fished with no luck, and then on Tuesday Cec set out at 8 o’clock, and drove over to Gravenhurst and brought back Uncle Milton and Aunt Lillie for the day. They arrived before lunch a while, and we showed them around, and then had a Buffet lunch. I had bought a ham, which we had had for dinner the evening before, so we had cold ham and salad and I made a hot dish of Spanish rice with tomatoes and onion and celery and mushrooms and bacon in it, and then afterwards we had watermelon, which Merle and Dixon brought, and fruit cake which I brought from home. We all had a swim in the afternoon, except Uncle Milton, but Auntie is very fond of the water and had a lovely swim. We had tea afterwards, and then the Moors got ready to leave and they took Auntie and Uncle back home on their way. We were sorry to see them all go and of course it seemed quite flat that evening, so I brought out a huge 800 piece jigsaw puzzle I had brought and we set to on that. We should really have had the Moors help with it, but we had to put it on the dinner table and while we had such a big family we really couldn’t do without that table. It was quite a struggle getting it done before we left on Sat. but Cec stuck with it and we got it done on Fri. evening. We didn’t even go back to Minden that week, we found a little store 4 miles away and got what we wanted there, so the children couldn’t even get P.C.s to send to you as we had planned. In fact we didn’t send any at all, as I had just assumed we would be back again. The weather was lovely and we had a lovely time the last few days and had such fun in the water. Linda liked being under the water more than on top and Charlie was getting very keen on jumping off the dock and beginning not to mind getting his head all wet. The last couple of days we began to play a sort of water polo with a ball in the water Linda and me against Cec and Charlie, and it was a riot – we all grabbed and got dunked and had a great time.
We left on Sat. about 12, and this time went home a more direct route through Peterborough, and a better road too. We had a picnic lunch and got to Peterborough afterwards, and called up Joyce and Les Hayward who live there. Do you remember them? They are old Sask. friends of Cec’s and have 3 girls – Linda, Carol and Lois. Joyce told us to come over but said Les was just a week home from hospital after an operation, and when we saw him we were shocked. He had lost 25 pounds and still looked a very ill man. He had had an operation for the removal of his large intestine (polyps growing in it) and then he had had a stone removed from his gallbladder, but this had gone all right until about 4 four days later his whole incision split open and he went into deep shock and nearly died. For two weeks they didn’t know if he would live and he was very low, but thank goodness he has got through it. We stayed and had a cup of tea and a chat really longer than we had planned, but we were so glad that we had called. We had dinner en route and drove through a most torrential thunderstorm and arrived home about 9 o’clock. Apparently the evening before Ottawa had had an even worse time – a baby hurricane they called it, so we missed the big one. Nicki appeared very soon after we put on the lights and we all had a nice reunion!
Last week seemed to be spent mostly in coping with all the dirty clothes! I cleaned up on Monday, and then on Tuesday we took Cec to work so that we could have the car and went to the market and had fun there. We can got all the usual meat and fresh veg. and also peaches, blueberries and tomatoes, and then at the fishmongers I got fresh tuna! It was a curiosity of course, and I can’t say I would repeat it as it is very solid and rather tasteless, and we all agreed we preferred the canned! In the afternoon we took all our personal clothes over to the coin wash (4 machines full) and as there is a nice one at the McArthur Shopping Plaza now we went along and looked at the shops and I bought Linda a pretty little dark cotton dress for school. It is a slaty-grey colour with a little red paisley pattern on it and it has a red belt and a yolk with red piping and then pretty red smocking. It has a little white collar and 3/4 length sleeves, so it is very cute and she looks nice in it, but of course she had her eye on a much paler grey plaid with white lace trimming and mauve velvet bows, so she was quite disappointed! It was a very pretty dress, but more expensive and definitely a ‘Best’ dress – also a bit big for her – I wonder how long before I don’t manage to win these arguments!
The next day I canned some of the peaches and blueberries, and made dill pickles for my two men! I still have strawberry jam left from last year, so I won’t make any jam, but I will try and do some more fruit I think. On Thurs. I went across to Emil’s and had my hair done as it was quite a wreck after all the swimming. I meant to tell you the last time I went to him before I went away, I just trotted over with a sweater and told the children I would be an hour and a half and left them playing with Jimmy. Just as I was ready to leave, all beautiful and curled, it began to pour with rain so Emil went to see if he could find me an umbrella and I was looking out at the downpour, when out of our house emerged two little figures in raincoats with umbrella and carrying my coat! They troddled over in the rain to my rescue – wasn’t it sweet of them?
On Friday I went to the Coinwash again with all the bed clothes this time (5 machines full) and while they were washing wandered down along the shops again, and this time bought a dress for myself! Cec says this Coinwashing is really expensive! It was in that dress shop Reitman’s and you remember what bargains they have at the end of the season, and I thought I would see if I could find something in a dark cotton too, as people wear darker cottons in Sept. and there I found such a pretty black cotton dress in an 11. It was a nice fine cotton with a silky sheen (but not a glazed cotton) and it had a full skirt but the fullness was in flat inverted pleats, and the top had a kind of double breasted effect with a collar and two buttons. The buttons are white and on top of the black collar is a white linen collar which you can take off to wash, and it’s sleeveless. I didn’t know if an 11 would be too tight for me, but it fit very nicely except for the length, and it cost 5 dollars reduced from 14.98, so I got it!
The Savics got back on the Tues. so on Fri. afternoon she asked me and L. & C. over to tea. They had been to England you know – Peter on business, and Margaret to see her sister and family who are in London, but poor things they really didn’t have a very good time as Eddie’s ulcer acted up all the time, and he was sick and in pain, and living on crackers and milk nearly all the time. He is so thin now & he used to be a plump boy. They went to Paris and he was so bad that they flew back to London the next day and really the whole trip was ruined for them as well as the constant worry about Eddie. They couldn’t get him to a specialist in London – it is really hard for visitors to get much medical attention at all now because it was so abused by foreigners previously, so they were all glad to be home. Peter and Margaret came over and had a drink with us on Sat. evening and then yesterday evening we drove over to see the Ganders and return the sleeping bags which they lent us, and get back the case we lent them! They had been to Edmonton to see Jim’s family and to Vancouver to see Lee’s and got back about the same time as we did. They have bought a lot up on a lake in the Gatineau and are having a cottage built this fall, so they are very excited about it. It is near McGregor Lake where we were that time.
Our big excitement this week is Lindy’s birthday of course. I was so tired of the usual party that I talked her into inviting 2 smaller groups of girls this time, and going out for a little expedition instead of games etc. so tomorrow the girls are coming at 10:30 and we are driving out about 15 miles to a place called Clarence past Orleans, where they have started a little Zoo, and then we will come back here for lunch and birthday cake. Then on Thursday we are taking a few more at the same time to the park at Hog’s Back for a picnic, and I only hope that it is fine! On Thursday there will be 4 little girls, but tomorrow I think only 2, as some are still on holiday, but I think this will be a good number to cope with. I thought I would just let them play by themselves at the picnic and perhaps have a Treasure hunt for various flowers and leaves etc. which I would list and give a prize to the winner, but otherwise no effort from Mamma!
We had such a job getting Lindy a present this year – in the end after trailing through town all day on Sat. I found a thing Cec and I had thought of – it’s called ‘Pitch-it’ and is a bouncy net in a frame which you set up on the grass and it bounces the ball back when you throw at it.n I also got her ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ which she dearly loves, a doll’s dress and petticoat, and a new pair of shorts and a top to wear at the picnic. Charlie is giving her a little Dolly’s Toy Shop, and I have your parcel and one from Nan that looks like a book, so she will do very well. She got Auntie Muriel’s card and hankie and was very delighted and will write later. I gave her your card too and she got one from Charlie Stainthorpe, so she has an array already.
This is also the week of the Exhibition [a summer fair with rides, midway, and food, combined with the exhibition of prize animals, veg, etc] so we will be going one day, and on Friday we are having a sort of Farewell Party for Alex and Phyl who are going to McMaster University for a year. This is a new Council policy to have people go and take the place of Profs. who are going away on sabbatical leaves, and Alex is the first one and will take the place of a Prof. McClay. They have rented their house and will leave next week to get settled before the children begin school. We will miss them.
Talking of the Council you will have heard of the Russian Scientist, Dr. Glotchko, who defected to Canada last week? Well, he and the rest of the Russian group were at the Council the day before and saw round, and had lunch there. Boris and Alex were at the lunch and Boris sat next to Dr. G. and said he was very nice and seemed perfectly normal, except that he was just dripping with perspiration all the time, and it wasn’t a hot day. Then the next morning he just walked out of the hotel early and went to R.C.M.P. headquarters. Don’t we live in the midst of the world news?
I must stop now as Linda has Joanne here and it is lunchtime, so I must feed them, and then make a birthday cake this afternoon – not to forget all the ironing still left!
My love to Auntie Muriel, and hello to Doris. Thank you again for the lovely parcel,
With lots of love from us all,