This is the second half of Cyn’s letter to Carol from their Michigan holiday cottage. She has brought all her mother’s letters with her and is catching up on answering her questions. The first thing she seems to be dealing with is a compliment, because Carol seems to be asking her to make a hat to match a wedding outfit- which unfortunately is hard to do when you are isolated in cottage country without a car! Carol, living on an island with limited shopping opportunities, (just like I do now) often has commissions for Cyn to fulfill- mostly batteries for her hearing aids, but sometimes things more difficult to find. However, Cyn discusses friends and relatives they both have been writing about, alludes to unknown people and events, gives her opinions about divorce, and lays out plans for family celebrations- as well as that night’s dinner!
… I just opened your last letter to answer it and Lindy saw the piece of material of your dress and thinks that it is very pretty. I don’t know if I will have much luck with getting flowers or a shape here – with being so far from Ann Arbor I haven’t had a chance to even look at the shops there yet and if I wait till I get home I don’t know if it will be in time for the wedding. I had thought that I might go into Detroit for a day’s shopping and Mary Jo and I had discussed my leaving the children at her house for Jody to look after one day and she and I going for a day, but what with Lindy and Cec not being well, and the difficulty of planning with all her big family, we haven’t said anything more and I think I will content myself with shopping in Ann Arbor when we are in there at the Motel. Cec and I have suddenly remembered that it is our 13th wedding anniversary on Thursday – with being away from home the days are all muddled up – but I think we will just have a nice dinner here at the cottage and then have a dinner out at the weekend when we would be eating in a restaurant anyway. One day when we were in Ann Arbor we had lunch at The Pancake House – they serve all sorts of pancakes and waffles and on the table there is a whole assortment of syrups and fruits to go on them and you can just help yourselves! Anyway, to return to our wedding anniversary, we plan to get ourselves an electric frying pan – everyone who has one says they are a wonderful help, so I thought I would like one and as they cost much less down here it would be nice to get it for our anniversary. Of course thanks to old Diefenbaker and his monetary policy our dollar is at a discount now and we only get 92¢ for each dollar!
You asking your letter about Til and Lois – Til is your age I think and she retired a few years ago, but Lois is much younger and she is Physical Education Supervisor for the city of Toledo now and is doing a wonderful job. You also ask about the trip down and how Charlie got on – he seems to be getting over the car sickness now and I didn’t give him any pills this time. When we went down to Merle’s at Easter he felt queasy once or twice so I gave them to him then, but he gets so dopey and sleepy for such a long time if he takes them and he loses his appetite too, so that the trip is no fun for him. However this time he was O.K. – I think it is just if he is too hot or too tired or too excited that it sets him off. I know perfectly well that Cec would pour scorn on the chain idea and wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing. Anyway can you imagine the jangle jangle all the time and how nerve-wracking it would be? Charlie, by the way stays in the water for hours now with no ill effects at all – mind you, the water is shallow and very nice and warm most of the time but isn’t it a change?
You will be getting all excited about the Consecration of your Bishop on Wed. and I hope your tickets for the cathedral have arrived. I certainly think you and A. Muriel should have tickets if anyone does. I am glad that your Plant Sale was a success and that the rain held off at the crucial moment. I hope that it will do the same on Wed. and not wash all the clergy out to sea!
I am glad that the batteries arrived quickly and I hope that Ena’s mother tries it anyway. I hope that the white dress will appear soon and that you will find it useful. I was thinking of suggesting that you wear some red with the white dress, but I can’t say that I think a big red hat like Peggy’s would be your style! I can’t somehow imagine Peggy in it either, particularly if her dress is red too, but red never was a favourite colour of mine anyway. By now I wonder if Peggy has had her baby – I am sure that she will be very glad to have it over and I hope that they get the boy that they are wanting. I have got a box of funny cocktail napkins for her which I will send in a parcel to you sometime. They are cartoons of a little ‘embryo’ baby called Egbert which I thought would be appropriate to Peggy at the moment and would amuse her. A. Muriel will think they are rather disgusting and I will admit that they are very indelicate, but also very funny!
We were very pleased to hear of Hugh and Ginny’s Coming Event and hope that all goes well and that they don’t produce twins too! A pity little Mona has such trouble adding to her family when she is so keen, but they have a lot of time yet.
I am now answering another of your old letters and I find another question about the children’s swimming, so forgive me if I go back to it once more. You ask if the children always went to the Château for swimming lessons, but last year they both went to the YWCA which just has a small swimming pool and it’s over near where we went to that Lab. to have your blood tests etc. done. Those lessons were in classes of about 12 children or so and although they were good in that they taught the children to get used to the water and so on, the lessons at the Château are much better as the man gives them individual lessons and is very good with them. It costs a lot more too, $15 for 10 lessons (I had Lindy and Charlie share 5 lessons each), but it costs $.50 just to go in for a swim or 1 dollar after 4 o’clock for children, so it isn’t really too bad, and as I say the man is very good. The swimming pool is lovely with the most luxurious balcony for us mamas to sit and deck chairs with sun lamps etc. around the pool. I wouldn’t mind having a swim there myself but I was always busy rushing out and putting money in the parking metre and doing the odd bit of shopping. Also I am a Pudding in my bathing suit now!
You asked if I heard from Hugh and Lee Brown this Christmas and yes, we did. They are still in the States – in Washington I think – and the note was mostly about Jim, their son, who is through Harvard now and has gone into the Army also. [They had met Hugh when the Americans were posted to Newcastle during the war.] You were asking about snaps, but I don’t think that I have any more of last summer. We had some at Christmas and when I get home I will see if I can find them and get some prints. Linda and Charlie both have their cameras here, but they don’t take pictures of each other much. Lindy was a page in her Ballet Recital this year and had black tights, a royal blue tunic white blouse and big blue beret-style hat with a yellow feather. We didn’t take a picture, I don’t think but maybe when we get home she would like to dress up one day and we will get some snaps.
You were asking about Lindy’s birthday in your letter but I think that by the time you get this you will probably have done without my help. She isn’t too keen on material – you know it is hard for her to be enthusiastic over something she can’t put on right away, and I am afraid Mamma is not very quick about making it up. She would love a book I know, but it is hard to know what she has read. She has read most of the Children’s Classics by now, but she is very keen on all sorts of girls school stories, or girls annuals or that type of thing. Do you remember my Chalet School stories? She just loves those, so I know would be very happy with something in that line. I don’t know if sometime you would like to send her a little writing case – one of those small ones with a zip around. Not that she writes many letters but she is at the age where something like that appeals I think. I don’t know if sometime you might like to send the children a subscription to an English children’s monthly magazine. Mind you, I don’t know if if there is such a thing, but I thought some of the English people you know might know something about them, and I know the children would enjoy it. Til and Lois send them the Children’s Digest and they get a big kick out of getting it each month.
Thank you for telling me the latest news about my Father. I am glad that he is so much better than the last report and as you say it is a big relief to have kind Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie there to tell you the real truth. When you write please remember me to them – I always meant to write, but I don’t think that I ever did.
You ask about our croton plant – well the poor thing, the Canadian sun just about finished it! Just after we put it out we had a very hot dry spell, and although I tried to water it a bit it just collapsed entirely, and all the leaves fell off! I thought that it was finished but we had some good rain storms during June and just before we left we saw some little sprouts showing, so perhaps by the time we come home it will be all leafy again. Do you remember my patience flowers [Impatiens] which I had in the house and then put out along the wall at the back of the house? They were an orangy-red colour, and then in Greenfield Village in one of the gardens I saw a whole bed of every colour imaginable – my salmon pink, purple, magenta, ordinary pink, white, and even a white with some pink shading. I would have loved to take a few surreptitiously cuttings and put them in my bag and bring them home!
You were asking about our Rector, Mr. Pulker the other day. He is very nice, but he is so different to Mr. Bowen that it is funny. He doesn’t have any of Mr. Bowen’s friendly charm – in fact he is one of those people who is very difficult to get to know – and unlike Mr. Bowen he doesn’t preach much of a sermon, but he does keep it short! Not that Mr. B’s were long, but he was so good that you had to listen to his sermons whereas Mr. P.’s you sometimes have to make yourself listen to his sermon! Also Mr. Bowen was very impractical and couldn’t care less about the business side of the church and also thought women’s organizations were so much waste of time, whereas Mr. Pulker is very practical and businesslike and is most interested and helpful with the Guild. He is much easier to work with for me and has really taken a big interest in the Guild and although he is not one for playing fulsome compliments he says he thinks that the Guild has excellent leadership. [Cyn is President.] The biggest contrast is his wife – she is a little dark woman full of high spirits and very down to earth and talk about tact – she doesn’t know what the word means! She says what she thinks and if she puts her big fat foot in it, it is just too bad! At first we were all rather amazed, but she is very likeable and we all like them both now. They are very hard workers, and have been to all our meetings and Mrs. P. has sung in the Choir and has begun a Children’s Choir. We hear that she is to teach the Singing at Fairfield School this year and we are very pleased as she is very good we think, and Linda who had her in the Junior Choir likes her very much.
In one of your last letters you enclosed a blank check, but you didn’t say anything about what you wanted me to do with it so I will keep it until you write and tell me what you want – don’t forget. [In handwriting at the bottom of the page with an arrow: Is it for your shoes? Must tell me the number etc.]
I don’t think that I have ever remarked on the news you sent me about Bebe’s impending divorce, although Cec and I had a good talk over it. I am very sorry as from what you say he seems a very nice person, but both Cec and I think living so close to Marie and so much in her pocket would be enough to send any man crazy. I can’t help feeling that Bebe was asking for it particularly if he didn’t care about horses and she was so mad over them, but it is a big pity because I can’t see how the little boys will be able to grow up normally with a grandmother like Marie and no Father to counteract. Then there was the news of Hazell Ann and her love-life and I must say that it seems a great pity for the poor girl. Of course I am amazed how her mother and grandmother pass all the poor child’s affairs around to the whole family, while it seems to me that the less said the better, but I suppose that is how it is. I can’t help but think that broken marriages breed more – here is Uncle Fred and Aunt Mil, then Jean and Dick, and now their daughter running into the inverse side of the same trouble. The same thing is happening with Til’s son Bill – his son by his first marriage is in the U.S. Army in Germany – married some little High School girl he had just met, they had a baby and now they are separated. It seems to me that the child of a broken home must unconsciously not feel the same about marriage because the same thing seems to happen to them so often.
I have always meant to mention your dress size, as you said Monie was telling you to get a half size as they were shorter waisted, but I don’t think they will suit you very well as they are made for little fat women! Even I tried on one and as it had a straight skirt the skirt fitted over my fat seat fine, but the shoulders were much too broad and the bosom just sagged! You will have to see how this house dress Monie sent you fits, but I think it is easier for you to get a 12 and alter the waist than to have to begin bothering about shoulders and bosom.
I have just been out to the kitchen and discover to my horror that it is nearly 5 o’clock. It has been dull and rainy and thundery all day and I have just sat and read your letters and typed all day long! My fingers are quite sore so I had better stop and get some dinner ready. I did get some lunch but Charlie washed the breakfast dishes and Lindy the lunch dishes so apart from making the beds I have spent all day writing to you – this is to make up for all the times I should have written and didn’t! It looks as if we are going to have our little wood stove going tonight but that is rather fun and keeps us all occupied! Pete and Mary Jo lent us a small outdoor barbecue so we have cooked quite a lot of our dinners outside and it has been quite fun – we even graduated from hot dogs and hamburgers to chicken and spareribs and Cec says that he is getting used to that burnt charcoal flavour!
Must stop – the children send big hugs and love – love to A. Muriel from us all. Is Doris back from her holiday yet? Hope that she had a nice rest.
Lots of love
P. S. Had a letter from Jane the other day telling me of my godson’s confirmation- feel I must do something about it but don’t know what. You asked about Linda – don’t know if she will be confirmed this coming year or not – some Rectors like to confirm them very young & some like to wait until they are in their teens, so I think Lindy could easily wait till she is 12.
The holiday ended with the return to Canada and fun for the Costains in Stratford, seeing a Shakespeae Play and G.& S.’s Gondoliers, before visiting their favourite relatives in Brantford. Back home, ordinary life started up again with Linda’s birthday in August, and Cyn’s Guild activities and the school Fall Term. There are no letters to cover this period, but photos of the highlights will have to do.