October 12 1961

12th Oct.1961

Dearest Mama,

Thank you for your letter of 3rd which arrived on Tuesday. In it you said not to bother sending the babies & balloons as your Bazaar it was to be 1st Nov., but I had this little packet of babies & as they & a small pkt. of balloons won’t weigh much I thought I would just send them off air mail & it would be a little something. They have other tiny party favours of the same type, so if I find some other cute ones I may send them another time.
The other enclosure will startle you! Well, about 10 days ago Cec got an invitation for us to go to dinner with the High Commissioner of India & his wife! Cec had been asked to help with the examination of some Indian students for their Civil Service Commission & in addition to that he has had invitations to go to various Indian universities after his visit to Japan, so the invitation was in connection with all this. Actually the invitation was for the 10th (Tues.) & it was a Guild Meeting but Mr. Pulker (the Rector) said this was what Vice Presidents were for, so June Byrne took the meeting for me!

Anyway, I decided this called for a new dress, (the invitation was “semi – formal”) and I have been pining for a pure silk – they always feel so gorgeous – so I decided to buy some really nice material & make it. Unfortunately last week Linda had a cold & was home from school 3 days and Charlie had a bad stye & was home 2 days so I didn’t get downtown till Thurs. I went to a shop on Sparks St. that has lovely imported materials & looked at the silk prints & they were all so beautiful – then I asked the price $11 – $12 – $17 a yd.! I said meekly I didn’t want to pay so much (I had thought about $5 a yd.) so the girl brought out some between $5 & $10 & then she pulled out this roll and said “Oh here is a bargain – this is reduced from $10 a yd. to $6 a yd. because there is only a short piece left.” It was all shades of green & pinky-red as you can see – rhododendrons I think – very gay & unlike anything I’ve ever had, so I fell for it & got it. I only needed 3 yds so with the material & pattern etc. it came to $20 & everyone tells me that you can’t get an Italian pure silk dress for less than $100!! Of course I had a scramble getting it made – Thanksgiving weekend – but I cut it out & did some Friday – a little bit Saturday – a little bit Monday & finished on Tuesday in time to go to the party! I combined 2 patterns to make the dress – I liked a very pretty draped skirt of one but it had a very naked top with straps so I took another pattern with a simple top & it made up very well & fits nicely – tight across around the seat – I must lose weight!

The dinner was very nice – only Mr. & Mrs. Malhautra and the Head of the Indian Civil Service Commissioner were from India & the rest were scientists & their wives & an External Affairs man & his – 13 in all. We expected vegetarian dinner & no drinks being Hindu but as diplomats apparently they follow the international customs & we had drinks before, wine with dinner & liqueurs afterwards & a most delicious meal served buffet style. All sorts of Indian dishes as well as chicken legs cooked in a sauce & a very nicely flavoured fish casserole etc. & afterwards a sort of pineapple mousse & an Indian dessert called “Gold & Silver”. This was a dish of small brown balls looking like crystallized fruit, with a thin skin of gold & silver stretched right over the top like a skin on hot milk. As you helped yourself you got some of the gold and silver & just ate it! The balls were warm & sweet & had a gingerbread-y texture & Mrs. Malhautra told us they were made from milk boiled & boiled & boiled for hours & hours! Wasn’t that interesting? Altogether it was quite a fascinating experience & I enjoyed it.
I want to mail this & go to the Coin Wash so I will stop now & tell you about Thanksgiving & our visit to Jim & Lea’s new cottage on Sunday in my next letter. Also we had houseguests for a night in the middle of my sewing!! Will write soon – hugs from the children – much love from us all

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