2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2, Ontario.
20th Sept. 1961
I can hardly believe that it is really just 2 weeks since the children began school. It already seems like two months and I am sure that they feel the same! They seem both seem quite content with their new teachers though – Charlie has the English teacher, Mrs. Cripwell, that Linda had last year – Cec and I did not think too much of her as Linda seem to get worse in Arithmetic after having her instead of better, but the children like her all right. Linda has Mrs. Tyler and all summer she was moaning and groaning about how much she hated Mrs. Tyler, but of course after the first day she has changed her mind and thinks that she is O.K. now! Of course they both have homework now and so in a way it is easier than when only Linda had it, but they are both still quite slow and what with half an hour’s practice on the piano they seem to have no time for play much to their sorrow! However they both like their piano lessons and Mrs. Scott says that they are doing very well – Linda is more self-confident and goes at it as if she knows all about it, but actually they are both doing just the same so far. I go down and listen to them practising most days, and they are really very cute with it and I am learning something too! They go every Thursday for their lessons – Linda 4:30 – 5:00 and Charlie 5:00 – 5:30 – it is a dollar fifty a lesson, so we’re paying by cheque every month.
Fortunately our weather has abated, and is now more like Sept. weather – nice cool nights and lovely sunny days. We had a very slight frost one night but not enough to damage anything – in fact the gardens are all looking lovely and everything is still so green and pretty – hardly any of the trees are changing yet and it looks fresher and greener than lots of our usual summer months. I hear that there is another hurricane heading for the U.S. and might even reach Long Island, so I expect Monie and Margs will be anxiously watching the weather news – it seems to be a bad year, but I hope none of them will be heading your way. In the news this morning I heard all the worry the W.I. Confederation are having about Jamaica – I wonder what will happen. It hardly seems as if they had given it a fair trial yet.
I told you in my last letter that I had begun a letter to you, but when I came to continue it today, it was so disjointed and garbled with many interruptions, and not even getting on very quickly, so I decided that I might as well begin all over again, and try and get this written up this afternoon while the children were at school. When they come home what with practising and homework and dinner, and then when that is over scrub Charlie with his soap every night and bandage his legs up, so that I seem to be fully occupied from 3:30 till about 9 o’clock! Did I tell you that just as school began poor old Charlie broke out in a wretched lot of boils again? I took him back to the specialist, Dr. Jackson, and he told me to continue using the ointment he’d given me (it has cortisone in and some antiseptic) and to keep his legs bandaged all the time and wash him every night with a special soap, and wash all his clothes and towels every day – including his trousers. He had some horrid big boils but they did drain and heal quite quickly, and now I am only bandaging his eczema at night so he won’t scratch, but continuing to scrub him and his clothes every day. I took him to Dr. J. again on Mon. and he says he is getting on fine and gave him some type of new treatment for his eczema – like x-rays he says – just for a very short time and we are to go back next week for him to see if it did any good. What with the skin specialist and Linda’s Orthodontist we are really busy these days! We went last week to the new Orth.whose name is Dr. Bradon and he is to do Linda’s teeth- they will take at least 2 years! Fortunately Linda likes him – he is young looking and has a bit of a look of Hugh P. and has a very nice way with children. Linda and I were horrified in a sort of giggly way, because after examining her teeth, he shook his head and said “Linda, you have got everything wrong with your teeth that it is possible to have!” Apparently, her teeth are big and she has a dainty little mouth he says and they are just all pushing each other out of shape. Her back teeth have got pushed forward till they don’t bite against each other and her front teeth are pushed out and her bottom teeth overlap! She is to begin by having bands on the back teeth to pull them back into place and then will have some incisors out to make room for the others and will then eventually have bands on the upper and lower front ones. Isn’t it a performance? Of course this will be done one thing at a time, so she won’t find it bad, but this is why it will take so long, but by the time he told me all the things to do I was relieved to hear it would cost around 750 dollars – I was expecting thousands! Cec and I are wondering if we’ll have to enjoy Linda’s teeth instead of a trip to England! She begins next month with three appointments to make the bands and fit the first one and then after that we go every three weeks – we pay $175 deposit and after that $60 a quarter. Let us hope she will be a raving beauty before she begins High School!
Apart from rushing back-and-forth to Dr. and dentists we have done one or two nicer things this month! Before the children went back to school we went to see a film that we all enjoyed very much “The Parent Trap”– a Walt Disney film with Hayley Mills in it – the little girl who played Pollyanna. It was very funny and the children really laughed and had a lovely time. [Linda already had the book the film was based on but decided she could live with the Americanized changes.] Afterwards we went and had a Chinese dinner – or at least Cec, Charlie and I had Chinese and Linda had roast pork!
On the very day that school began Cec and I went to hear the Red Army Choir sing. They were in Ottawa for 2 performances, and of all places they held the performances in the Auditorium – a dreadful old barn of a place where they have Ice Hockey and Circuses etc. Of course it holds a lot of people but it is due to be pulled down and it is dirty and smelly and just temporary old wooden flooring over the arena part and wooden chairs and for this we paid six dollars each. On top of this it was a roasting night and there wasn’t a slightest bit of ventilation! I sat with perspiration dripping off my brow so how the choir and dancers could stand it I don’t know – I was ashamed for Canada! The singing was wonderful and the dancing too – it was really a first class show, but Cec and I were slightly amused at the Russians singing “God Save Your Gracious Queen” and asking to send her victorious! —
Cec took Charlie to his first football Game the Sat. before last. It again was a terribly hot day and their seats were on the sunny side of the Grandstand, so it was very uncomfortable, and sad to say, Ottawa lost! Ken and Mr. Watt went with them, and old Mr. Watt thoroughly enjoyed it, sitting in his waistcoat and thick suit, and never minding the heat at all! Cec has been working away at his outside chores every weekend, but it wasn’t until this past one, that the weather was bearable. He has taken down the old clothesline and cemented me in one of those new umbrella type, that can be lifted out of its socket and brought in during the winter. Then he has replaced all the flagstones along there and cemented them and now he is painting the window frames and puttying the windows and painting the black roof trim. He has to do some work on the roof but is going to do only part this year.
My big job of course has been the Guild. [Cyn is now President of the Ladies Guild.] Our new rector and his family have arrived and are settling down. They all wear glasses, Linda says! Mr. Pulker seems very nice – a more practical man than Mr. Bowen, but not with the same charm, but I think he will be easier to work with. Mrs. Pulker is a little dark-haired lady, and reminds me a bit of Merle, and she also seems very nice and friendly, and there is a High School boy, a 12 year old girl and a 10 year old boy. We invited her to our first Exec. meeting, but she couldn’t come as there was a choir practice and she is going to help the choir. However both she and the rector came to our first Guild Meeting and seemed very pleased with it and thought the Guild was a busy bee! Both meetings went well I think, but of course I seemed to hear an awful lot of my own voice! Our first big effort is a Parish Supper to welcome the Pulkers and introduce them to the people and I am organizing this with a committee of 4, so you can imagine the phoning and to do. It isn’t only the Guild, but the Parish, so we have had to phone over 100 people and take bookings and everything. We are having it on the Pot Luck idea – each family is bringing something – a salad, pie, cake, rolls or casserole, as well as paying 25¢ per person, and with the money we are buying a turkey and a ham and cooking them and serving them cold with other things, and also milk for the children and ice cream, tea and coffee. It is our first attempt at this so I hope that it turns out all right and we have enough to eat! We are serving it Buffet style from 5:30 to 7:00 with a long serving table and eating at card tables, and by tonight we should know the numbers, which should be interesting! Greta Cooke, the treasurer, nearly made me faint by making 450 tickets, whereas I planned on about 100, but we shall see who is right!
What with the Guild meetings and going to send out notices about the supper and committee meetings, my time has vanished, so I will be glad when the supper is over next Wed. and things will be calmer – I hope. However I had coffee with Fanni this morning, and it was nice to be away from Guild for a little while. Also on Mon. evening I went to Scientist Wives Meeting, but I was very disappointed as it was supposed to be pictures of Upper Canada Village, the newly opened sort of village museum of old Canada, but instead the man just talked about it, and I’d already read so much that nothing he said was new. I took Margaret – poor Eddie is back in hospital again, and we went to visit him first. Finally last week they took x-rays of his tummy and found he had a new ulcer, and also the scar tissue on the old one which had healed had nearly obstructed the passage from the stomach so this was why he could take nothing but milk. They put him in hospital right away and are giving him some treatment – tubes down his nose to drain the acid from the stomach and a special formula every hour and are seeing if this will heal the ulcer quickly, but if not he will have to have an operation to remove part of his stomach. Isn’t this dreadful for a 16-year-old boy? Poor Margaret and Peter are so worried, and having to trail over to the Civic twice a day to see him is quite a thing too. I had the car yesterday so I took Margaret in the afternoon, but of course she doesn’t drive and it takes one hour there and one hour back by bus – if you’re lucky!
Cec and I still admire your typing and really looking at some of your older letters and then at your last the improvement is immense and I am so glad that you are persevering. I am so glad that at last you got the parcel of shoes and batteries. I always meant to tell you that I was so sorry that I had not had time to get you something for the Bazaar. What happened was that it was all done in a rush to get it off to you as soon as possible, and just after your letter and cheque came I found myself just outside your bank, which is usually out of my way, so I thought “Here is my chance – I’ll go in and cash it”. So in I marched and thought “How much will it all be?” And in my hurry I thought “Oh $10 will be enough – and Mummy said she hadn’t much money in her account!” So that is all I took out. Then when I went for the batteries they came to over five dollars I think and the shoes were about seven, so my guess wasn’t very good! However, Cec and I still owe you $50 on top of the Bond so don’t think about that, but it just happened that with the bank, the batteries and the shoes are being in different places, it took me longer than I thought to get them all, and also I couldn’t see anything much in the way of novelties, so I sent the parcel off and hoped you wouldn’t mind. The two nets were really for you, but I don’t mind a bit if you sell them at the Bazaar if you don’t need them. I just thought they might be something new. I am glad the shoes were O.K. and that hope that you will find them easier to get into as you wear them. I’m glad you approve of my scuffing them up! Linda is now wearing my shoes! She wears a five Missy and I wear a five Adult, but she puts on my slippers and is pleased as punch!
I am so glad that your supper went so well – hope that it is a good omen for ours. Ours of course is not to raise money, we just hope not to lose!
I see it is 3:30 so the children will be home soon, so I will finish this I think and answer about the Christmas parcels in my next, and now I will get this mailed. Not that I have any bright ideas about Christmas yet!
Love to Auntie Muriel & hello to Doris. Lots of love & kisses from us all to you – Cyn
I can’t imagine what you told that poor girl in Toronto about me. I have had a letter from her but haven’t answered as I don’t know what to say. I see no point in her spending her money coming to Ottawa to see me when I’ve never even met the girl. You’d better write & tell her I’ve moved to Timbuctoo!
I can only think this ungracious Post Script refers to the family mentioned a few letters back, where the mother (whom Cyn apparently knew) was settling her daughter in a job in Toronto with Bell Telephone after another had fallen through. [June 3 1961] I suppose the small circle of relatives/acquaintances in St.Vincent had encouraged Carol to assure the lonely young woman in her 20s to get in touch with her daughter who would be delighted to befriend her- but Cyn, in her 40s, busy with all her responsibilities, was anything but delighted. And I don’t think Carol realized the distances in Ontario- a bus trip to Ottawa and back on a weekend would have taken practically the whole 2 days!