December 8 1961

2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2, Ontario.

8th. Dec. 1961

Dearest Mummy,

I am sorry that I didn’t get a letter off last week, but now that I am back to normal there is so much to catch up with and I am so behind with everything concerned with Christmas. Of course I had no presents or cards or anything, and also I am very short of winter clothes and needed a hat and dress badly, so last week Linda had a dental appointment on Thurs. and so I decided that I would get Cec to take me downtown too, and I would shop and then come home in the bus. Of course you know what happened! I had both children home from school and we had to cancel the dentist as well as everything else! Linda had a bit of a cough at the weekend, but not bad, so she went to school on Mon. but Tues. it seemed worse so I thought if I kept her in bed a day or so it might clear it up, but by the Thurs. morning instead of being better she suddenly had a temperature of nearly 102 after not having had more than 99 the previous evening, so then Charlie decided he felt sick and throwy-up, so I kept him at home too. Actually, that afternoon he was to go to Dr. Kastner to have the dressing changed on his toe, so I called the nurse and told her about Linda and she said to bundle her up and have the car warm and bring her in too. We decided that we might as well all go to Dr. K. now as the children are getting big for the Paediatric Centre – Linda wasn’t too pleased but I think is resigned now! Cec came home and drove us over, and after a while I went in with the two children and Cec was most amused because in his (Dr. K.’s) usual whirlwind style he looked at Charlie’s toe (healing quite well, but still sore), got the nurse to put a dressing on it; looked at Linda’s ears and throat gave me a million instructions and two prescriptions for her; and then proceeded to give me a lightning quiz and give me a prescription for a tonic and bucker-upper – and we were all out and on our way home in about three minutes! Charlie’s toe continues to do well, but he still finds a shoe painful although I think he will be able to wear one soon as it doesn’t look red and inflamed now and the new nail seems to be doing all right. Linda took her medicine and the cold cleared up over the weekend. Dr. K. said that she could go to school this week, but no gym or going out at recess, so I gave both of them their lunches at school, so that she wouldn’t have to walk up in the cold, and Charlie has been taking his since his toe was so sore so that he wouldn’t have to walk. This has given me a lovely free week, and I have at last managed to get downtown and go to the coinwash and this morning I made my Christmas cake and it is in the oven now and smelling delectable! I made my Christmas pudding last week, so at least we will have some Christmas fare – I still haven’t made mincemeat, but I shall try to get it done next week, because I am so used to your grape mincemeat now that the bought kind tastes very strong and solid. Oh, I meant to tell you that Dr. K. said that I was doing fine, but that after a thing like this one’s haemoglobin goes down, so this would make me tired and so he gave me some mineral and vitamin pills, and I take one a day. How about yours? Blood, I mean? After your fall and the shock perhaps the same thing happened to you so I think you should get it checked and maybe you could use some pills too!

Poor Mama – you still haven’t heard all the ins and outs of this accident of mine! As you can imagine so many people have asked about it here and talked about it and everything that we feel everyone must be sick of it, but with having to write it to you I never did tell the full tale. Well, it happened on the 21st Oct. at 8:30 in the morning. Of course usually I would never be out in the car at that time on a Saturday morning, but this week the Cubs were to go downtown to a show and they all had to be at the school at 8:30 so Charlie got all dressed in his camp uniform and off we went. I left him at the school and then placidly drove back home again, having left Linda in her dressing gown and Cec asleep in bed as he had been working late the night before, and then as I drove up opposite our driveway and began to turn, with no cars in sight, I saw a small newspaper boy on a bicycle ambling along just opposite our house. I slowed down to let him past and then glanced along the highway again before turning across the road. I saw a truck coming from the Montreal direction just appearing over the hill, but thought “Oh, I have time to get off the road”, so drove quickly across and onto the gravel shoulder of the road opposite our driveway when suddenly the truck (what is called here a panel truck – we’d call it a van) drove smack into the passenger side of my car. Of course I just felt the terrific crash, and the doors on my side of the car burst open and I was thrown out onto the gravel. I wasn’t unconscious but the blow which broke my ribs had knocked all my breath out and I was wheezing and whooping trying to get it back. I was lying on the ground partly under our car and the man ran over and began helping me out and then I heard Emil’s voice, and I was so thankful as I could hear them sending someone for an ambulance and I was trying to say that I lived right here but had no breath to do so. Emil then said that I lived here and the two of them carried me in – I remember it all but I couldn’t open my eyes, and Emil says I kept saying “I’m all right “, and I did manage to say that Cec was still asleep. Poor little Lindy got such a shock as she saw them carry me in all gravelly and grubby, and Emil told her to go and wake Cec and he poor fellow woke up and found a house full of strange people and me were lying there and he didn’t know what had happened. I was on the sofa, and a lady who lives behind Emil’s and is a nurse and heard the crash dashed over and she bathed my face and put a cold cloth on my head etc. and then Cec phoned Dr. K. and he said to have the ambulance take me to the Civic Hospital. The ambulance came then, and Mary Orr who was passing and saw the commotion came and got Linda dressed and took her home with her, and they put me on a stretcher and took me off just as the police arrived.
I was taken into the Emergency and undressed and then taken along and x-rayed and then all taped up with wide adhesive tape and by this time it was getting on for noon, and I was very sore as you can imagine, so I asked if I couldn’t have at least an aspirin or something, so at last I got a pain pill. There was no bed free so I lay there in the Emergency Ward with various companions such as a small boy who had fallen off his bicycle and a young fellow who had broken his collarbone playing football! Cec came in and stayed with me a while and as nothing was going on I told him to go home and see how the children were as Mary Orr was going to collect Charlie and take him to her home too after the show was over. After a little while I was taken up to the proper ward and got into a nice room in the new wing of the hospital. It was semi-private with two beds and I got the bed next to the window which was nice. Once in there I was looked after very well – I got a hypo needle to take away the pain, and Dr. K came in very soon and said he was sorry he was delayed, and said I was to have pain pills every three hours and sleeping pills at night etc. One of the shots they gave me I had a reaction against and threw up, but I dozed and slept and felt all right when Cec came in to see me in the evening. My companion in the other bed was a girl of about 13 or 14 who came in after I did having been thrown from a horse. She had a very black eye and various bruises, but she went home the next morning and then on the Sun. afternoon I got another lady, a Miss Gibson – a little older than me and a member of a large family of brothers and sisters nearly all living in Ottawa. She was very nice and we got on very well together. She had had a cancerous tumour removed 7 years ago and now had a small lump on her neck to be removed, so she wasn’t feeling ill and the first day or so she just had tests and x-rays, then the operation was small enough so that she didn’t feel poorly for more than a day or so. However when the lump was examined they said it wasn’t malignant but that she should have some treatment, and also she had been having gall bladder trouble and the doctors decided that she should have that removed while she was in the hospital, so she had that operation the very day I left hospital. Poor girl, I felt sorry for her, because with this cancer threat hanging over her it must be very worrying. I phoned her sister one day and she told me that she was very weak after the gall bladder operation but was getting on although still in hospital. Well, I think that seems to be the saga of my accident – as I told you everyone was terribly kind – I got more than 15 gifts of flowers and plants – all sorts of beautiful roses and pots of chrysanthemums and things and various boxes of candy and chocolate, and gifts of toilet water and talcum and soap, and fruit and cookies, and then of course Cec and the children were inundated with food and invitations and so was I when I came home – you can’t believe how kind people were. I got between 30 and 40 cards from all sorts of people – not counting the ones from friends and relations like Mill and Monie – also Christmas cards and notes from Peggy and Marie and Auntie Mill. Oh, I thought you would be amused to hear how well I was looked after by the clergy when I was in Hospital. Someone phoned Mr. Pulker just after the accident and he came right up and saw Cec and asked if there was anything he could do, then he came to see me twice in Hospital. As well the Anglican Hospital Chaplain came in to see me, and then Wendell, who was in seeing one of his parishioners came in one afternoon. Next, who should come but Mr. Cook – the United Church clergyman from here – you met his wife at Mrs. Rothwell’s, remember? I thought it was so nice of him to come and we had a nice chat about his baby who is a great big strong fellow of 7 or 8 months now. Last but not least, Miss Gibson is a Presbyterian, and one day when she was down for an X-ray her minister came in to see her, and when I explained where she was he sat down beside me and had a little visit, and then another day he came in to see Miss G. again and gave us both a little service. All that was missing was for the priest to drop in, but I never saw him!

I forgot to tell you that the man who bumped into me had no insurance on his truck. Our insurance man went to see the police and their report, and they had down that the crash took place about 10 or 12 feet off the highway and that the man must’ve frozen at the wheel. There were no skid marks or brake marks so he must not even have put on his brakes but just have driven right off the road into me. Apparently there is a fund that one can get damages from if the party to blame is uninsured, but one has to bring a court case first to apportion the blame and assess the damage, and they say court cases can go any which way depending on how the judge is feeling, which is not very encouraging. Our insurance company is interested in recovering some of their money if they can, so they are continuing to investigate and if they decide to take it into court then we would go along with them. We would hope to get my hospital expenses and perhaps the $120 which Cec had to pay to rent a car, but of course we wouldn’t get the difference we had to pay between the money we got from the insurance company and the cost of the new car. Our poor little Rosie was demolished. The right side was all smashed in and apparently the whole frame was twisted so that it couldn’t be repaired. I was so fond of that little car, and we all feel sad about it, but the new one is very nice too. It is also an Envoy but the 1962 model which is a little wider and longer – it is a pretty blue with a lighter blue side streak and top, and blue leather seats and carpet inside. Lindy said we should call this one Bluebird and I don’t know if you remember Mrs. Bird in our guild? Well, her daughter is called Bonnie, so now the car is called Bonnie too! On Sunday Cec took me down Rothwell Heights and I practised with the new car and then this week for the first time Cec went to work with Teddy and I had the car, so on Tuesday I drove downtown at 10 a.m. and didn’t come home till 3 p.m. I don’t feel nervous but just a bit suspicious of all the other drivers! Then yesterday I went to the Coin Wash and Shopping Centre and so I am getting quite used to it.

This week has been hectic – on Mon. evening Cec and I went to the Film Society – mostly because we haven’t been this year yet and we hadn’t been out for so long, and it turned out to be some very depressing films about Africa and the conditions under which the coloured people live there – not at all enjoyable, and both Cec and I got so sore and stiff from sitting! Then on Tues. evening I went down to the church for an Advisory Board Meeting. This is the Board which does all the church business and as Pres. of the Guild I now am a member – just me and Mrs. Pierce of the Altar Guild and all the rest men! It is really very interesting and Mr. Pulker is very businesslike and practical which is certainly a big change from Mr. Bowen! Wed. evening was a Guild Executive meeting in the house of one of the members and then last night we went with Margaret and Peter Savic to the Little Theatre to see a play called “The Pleasure of his Company’. We have tickets for a series of plays this winter – about 4 or 5 I think, and this one was quite good, but it was a pity everything came in one week. Tonight Cec has gone out to dinner and to a Stag Party with the men from work and I must say that I am delighted to stay at home! As you can see, I am really back in the routine again, but I do get tired still and my back aches, but usually I get into bed early in the evening and read and have my cup of tea! I had better go and get some dinner or my children will starve – Daddy out so we will have a very picnic meal!

Dear Gannie,
I am fascinated by this RED ink. Charlie has just said that he loves you and I say the same. We are having exams in school now at least my class is. A minute ago Charlie said that he was having 10 exams next week and you should see his school – bag!
P.S. Charlie has just gone downstairs to weigh his school-bag! I run to make you a CHRISTMAS card. Good – bye! L. C.

Dear Grannie.
As Lindy has said, I have lots of homework and my schoolbag weighs a lot, 9 lbs. 16 oz. to be exact. I am going to send you a copy of ‘Stoopid’ it may be the rough copy but I don’t think you’d mind. Mummy says it’s time to go to bed so I have to stop. HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a MERRY NEW YEAR.

Me again! Talking of Christmas – two weeks this weekend – horrors! – your parcel has come, and here I am just packing yours. I know that you will be amused at the house dress that I have sent you – Lindy says that it isn’t a “Grannie dress” so I said “Oh, well, don’t you think that it is a Grannie-in-the-West-Indies dress?” So she said “Yes, but not a dress for Grannies here!” So you will see that it isn’t a dull old womanish dress! Actually it is a sun-dress and I got it on sale, so it should be very good value! I tried it on, so I hope that it fits you O.K. Auntie Muriel’s present says on the outside ‘For Men’, but I don’t see why ladies shouldn’t find it handy too! [Curiosity led me to looking up Cyn’s Christmas present list to discover what this could be- Soap on a Rope!] I’m afraid that all my parcels and cards are going to be very late but nothing can be done about it.

Cyn’s Christmas Lists, in the agenda book she’d been using since 1932.
Recipients of Christmas cards and gifts- friends in England and U.S.!

You were asking about the Guild in one of your letters and of course we have had all sorts of functions this fall, but I haven’t been taking too much of an active part. While I was in the hospital we had the Rummage Sale, and if I had to miss any of the things I was happy that it was that one, as I can’t say I can rouse much interest in rummage! Then just after I came home there was an Exec. Meeting, but I got June to take that as I wasn’t going, but the next week we had a Guild Meeting and I went to that as usual. That week there was such a tragic thing happened – one of the young men belonging to the Church suddenly dropped dead at work one morning. He was only 34 and his wife is 32, and is left with 3 young children – the oldest 11 and the youngest 4. We were all so shocked and the poor girl, Hilda Cooper, was stunned. The funeral was held at the Church on the Sat. afternoon, and there were relatives coming from all over the country, so we in the Guild organized things and sent in a hot meal on the Friday evening, and then on the Sat. two of the ladies went over in the afternoon and had tea and coffee and sandwiches and cookies ready when everyone came back from the cemetery – a miserable cold wet afternoon too. We sent in a buffet supper for about 15 or so that evening so that she wouldn’t even have to think of food. The next Sat. we had our Skate and Ski Exchange and it did very well. We made just over $50, which doesn’t sound much, but the church just takes 25% of the sale price, so that means we sold $200 worth of secondhand skates and skis. Then last Sat. we had our Coffee Party and it was a big success – we made about $200, but for something which is mostly fun this is pretty good. Mary Orr and some of the girls who are taking millinery classes made some cute little hats – mostly just veiling and flowers etc. and I bought one with brown flowers on to go with my winter coat. I was so pleased as I hadn’t had a chance to go down town and get a new winter hat at all. Then last week when I was in town I looked for a dress but had no luck till I was at the Coinwash and went to my old standby Reitman’s and got a pretty woollen dress with 3/4 sleeves – it is a nice gay green colour – quite a change for me – and has a pleated skirt. I thought it would look nice and Christmasy with my gold belt and gold jewellery.

I don’t think that I have told you of all the excitement about Christmas. Cec’s Mother and Father wrote and said they thought they might come down East this winter, so we wrote and said this was lovely and for them to come for Christmas. They said they would, so we thought it would be fun to have a real Costain family party, so we called up Lea and she said that they could come on Christmas Day, then we wrote to Merle and her family and persuaded them to come up for Christmas too. We had her reply last week and they are going to come – they will arrive on the Sat. before Christmas and then be here for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and then leave on Boxing Day. We had said in our letter that if they had already asked Uncle and Auntie [Milton and Lily Costain in Toronto] to spend Christmas with them to bring them along, and Merle says that she phoned them and not to be surprised if they come! This means that we would have 17 for Christmas Dinner! Merle suggest that she and Dixon and Auntie and Uncle, if they come, sleep down at the motel and I think that is what we will do. Then Mom and Dad can have downstairs to themselves, we will put all the Moor boys in Charlie’s room and Charlie can sleep on the chaise in Linda’s room. In that way we will have the sitting room clear, and this will make it easier. Won’t it be fun though? The only thing we don’t know is when Mom and Dad are coming – by the way, Carmen and Leona just had another little son – 2 boys and a girl now. It is now Sunday and Cec has spent such a noble weekend – he has washed the ceiling and walls of the kitchen for me – it looks a different place as you may remember after you did one wall! We want to decorate all through in the New Year, but in the meanwhile this is a huge improvement.
Charlie in his little note mentions that he is going to send you his rough copy of ‘Stoopid’. This is his speech which I very briefly told you about in one of my earlier letters. In the Public Schools each year they have Public Speaking Contests – Senior Grades 7 and 8, then Junior Grades 4, 5, and 6. Well, before my accident Charlie said he had to write a speech and there were various headings he could choose from – one was “A Faithful Friend”, so after lots of discussion he decided to write on this one telling about the little monkey Stoopid which Cec knew when he was on the aircraft carrier in the Pacific. Part of it is made up and part is true, but he wrote it all out quite well, and much to my surprise when I was in the hospital Cec told me that Charlie had been chosen one of 10 in his class to learn his speech and give it. Well, you know his memory! I never thought he would be able to do it, but Cec told him how to make short notes and then go in his room and say it over and over, and much to our surprise in a day or so he could reel the whole thing off, and time himself – nearly 5 minutes! Then at school they had various eliminations and he was chosen each time until he and a little girl were chosen out of his class to speak in the contest against 4 other boys and girls from the other grades. One of these was Janek Blachut who was chosen from Lindy’s class – poor Lindy was quite disgusted at first, as they did not get their speeches begun so soon, so consequently she hadn’t hers written before I went into hospital. She was going to write on “An Exciting Adventure” and tell about you as a small girl in the hurricane going down into the cellar and the little child with the cotton wool for brains! Well, what with me not being there to consult and all the upset of the accident and going out to people’s houses and one thing and another, she was late getting it finished and didn’t have time to learn it properly, so she wasn’t chosen from her class. However, when she got over her disappointment she was quite proud of Charlie! They had the finals in the evening and parents could go and listen and there were 3 judges from outside. There were 6 children speaking in the younger group and 6 in the older, and they began with the young ones. They drew lots for turns and each one went up onto the platform and made his speech – without notes. Janek was the only one who forgot, but he made a good recovery and managed to finish up well. Charlie was 3rd or 4th and we could tell he was very nervous – very serious you know and looking so small up there! But he did very well, and said it all nicely – it was a funny speech you know, and he had told us how all the children laughed when he said it, but he was too scared to make much of the jokes that night! Cec and I thought the little girl called Christine out of Charlie’s class was the best – she spoke about ‘Upper Canada Village’- the pioneer village which has just been opened down by the St. Lawrence Seaway. After they had finished the judges went out and then when they came back they reviewed each child’s speech and made suggestions and corrections and it was so interesting, and they were very nice because they found something good to say about each one, and were most encouraging. When the man was going over Charlie’s he talked for a while, and then was going to say something about speaking louder and he suddenly stopped and said ‘You are 10, aren’t you?” and Charlie said “No, I’m 8” whereupon the man looked so surprised and laughed and said “Oh well, perhaps we can’t expect a little fellow to speak much louder!” In the end of the Junior Group the little girl Christine was first and Janek was second, and I think Charlie was quite relieved as they had to go to another school another night and do it again against other winners, and he had had quite enough! But we were very proud of him. Especially as it was something we hadn’t even thought he could do, and he did it so well – imagine standing up and giving a speech to a whole hall full of people at that age!
You asked in your last letter – for which thank you so much – if Sheena’s baby has come yet. It isn’t due until the end of this month so perhaps she will have Christmas at home. She is expecting her mother this week, so she is very excited. One nice thing about my accident it has healed old rifts as it were – Margie heard about it from Sheena about two weeks ago and called me up and we had a nice long chat and are friends again with many protestations that we must get together soon! But I am glad as I like Margie and Cy so much – Cy seems to be quite well again now, but apart from that Margie didn’t say anything about his illness. In answer to some of your questions Lindy hasn’t got any bands on her teeth yet – she had to get some more fillings done before they were put on, and Dr. Braden has just got some little ‘spacers’ in between some of her teeth at the back. The first bands she will get will be on her back teeth so they won’t be noticeable for a while. Linda doesn’t mind Dr. B. as he does no hurting work like fillings etc. and also he is a nice looking young fellow rather like Hugh Pembleton. Charlie’s eczema has been pretty good lately – he just had the two short treatments when I mentioned them earlier, but they cleared it up very well, and only this week I noticed he is beginning to scratch again a bit, but just as he always has you know – not the big infected sores he had a while ago. Dr. Jackson said to come back if it got bad again, but so far it is all right.
Well, here I am nearly at the end of the paper, so I must stop. Please give my love to Auntie Muriel and all the other kind people who enquired about me, and thank them. I will try to write with my Christmas cards but goodness knows when they will arrive. I do hope that you have a happy Christmas and enjoy a nice Christmas dinner. You can think of me with my 24 lb. turkey, and be glad I have my nice new big oven to put it in! I meant to tell you we have had chickens as low in price as 19¢ a lb. – doesn’t that make you and Auntie Moo jealous? We have had chicken all week long – yum! –

Lots of love and happy Christmas
[in hand writing] Did your glasses come yet?

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