October 1962

From Nainital Observatory

Cec’s wartime experience of India had not allowed for travelling within the country. This time, after his stay at the university in Mumbai, he visited colleagues in the north, in Banaras (Varanasi), and after that, the Observatory in Nainital where Dr. Pant, who had worked with Herzberg at the N.R.C. earlier in the 60s, and whom I expect Cec had met at the Spectroscopy Conferences in Columbus, or even the symposium in Japan, gave him the opportunity to see the Himalayas in the distance when the clouds allowed.

Another picture shows the Yamuna or Ganges River up close, as if Cec was looking at the 16th century Allahabad Fort from the water.

He must have made a side trip from New Delhi to see the Taj Mahal, since his slides of the outside were foreshadowed by postcards to Linda and Charlie showing the detail of the inside that interested him. The children had a multi-volume children’s encyclopedia, so would have been able to look up the places of interest, but Cec added more facts rather than personal details!
On the back of the Taj Mahal PC to Linda: “Dear Linda, Here are the actual tombs seen thru the arch in Charlie’s card. The flowers are semi-precious stones inlaid 1/2” deep in the marble. The tombs themselves are each from one piece of marble. Love Daddy.”

He also did a lot of shopping: Linda got another 2 dolls out of the visit to India, magnificent male and female Indian dolls, and Cyn silk saris and scarves- material for future sewing projects.


Cec left for Europe October 13th., stopped briefly in Italy and Spain (another doll, more PCs), and arrived home in Ottawa October 21st. On the postcard of Venice addressed to Master Charles Costain he writes: “17/10/62. Typical sight along the Grand Canal, the homes of nobles & princes of the Middle Ages. The canal has lots of traffic, gondolas, water taxis, & continuous ferry or ‘bus’ service. Tell Mummy the food was wonderful. See you soon- maybe before you get this. Love Daddy.”

Having Cec home again was reason enough for celebration, but getting presents is always fun. There was a lot of loot in his luggage- no Declaration Forms were preserved- but Cyn must have collected the telescope that had been shipped from Japan at Canadian Customs earlier that month while the children were at school, and kept it until Cec returned, because Charlie remembers that Cec’s help was needed to put it all together.

Later that Fall, Charlie made a speech about My Telescope where he describes what happened. “When my father goes away on a trip, he usually brings back a present. This year he went to Japan and India, and when he got home, he produced a huge box, nothing like I expected. I went to work unwrapping the parcel, and found a long wide tube with a mirror in the bottom. We put the pieces together. What a surprise- a telescope, for looking at the stars…”

Of course, life went back to normal now that everyone was in their proper place. Cec was glad to be home and back at work in the Lab. Among the younger scientists at the NRC, there was a spate of weddings. Dr. Hin Lu, on the permanent staff in the Physics Division, had married Marion in October, before Cec got home. In November, the wedding of the Spanish Post-Doc. Fellow, Santiago, would happen in the States, and the South African George Ritter’s wedding was planned for the new year in Ottawa. Cyn and Cec started having late night discussions that would bear fruit by Christmas, and the children incorporated their father’s travels into their November Public Speaking assignments.

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