August 10 1966- Part 1

Box 330, R.R.1,
Ottawa, Ontario

10th Aug.

Dearest Mummy,
It is so long since I wrote you a proper letter that I hardly know where to begin. I am so sorry, but after our visitors left, we all were just exhausted, and seemed to spend the first week either sleeping or sitting, and it was only last week that I finally got the last of the 16 sheets washed and ironed, not to mention the other odds and ends! In addition to that all the garden things are flourishing and I have been picking and freezing – raspberries, green beans, wax beans and peas. The small carrots are ready and the beetroots, so I should get on with those sometime today. The raspberries haven’t been as good as last year as it was very dry for a while when they first began and the berries were just little wizened up things, but then we did get some rain and they improved. Mom Costain when she was here just loved a jar of blackcurrant jam which I had made 2 or 3 years ago, but I am the only one who likes it here so I hadn’t bothered since. However, when I have the currants it seemed a shame not to make some jam for her to take home so Cec picked me the currants on Sunday (sitting peacefully on a garden chair!) and I spent one entire evening topping and tailing the miserable things and then making the jam. I don’t think there is more than 2 lbs. of it – I put it in small plastic jars with lids – but it was more than 2 lbs. amount of work. My fingernails are still stained black. We still have lots of currants on the bushes, but I don’t think I will deprive the birds of them! Leona was crazy about gooseberry jam, and again no one here eats it except me, so we picked a big plastic bag full for her to take with her, and they were still very firm, so she hoped that she would get them home and be able to make some jam. I still have the bag of gooseberries in the freezer from last year!
We have had a simply incredible summer – beautiful sunny weather day after day for 3 months or so. Ever since the children finished school at the beginning of June it has been lovely nearly all the time – we have had occasional thunder showers and one or two cool days, but always the next day has been warm and nice again, and we have even had more pleasant hot days than miserable humid ones. We have had it very hot – over 90 quite a bit, but the nights have been quite pleasant and usually the humid horrid weather just was a day or so, and then nice again. Yesterday turned very hot and humid and was over 90, but there was a thunderstorm about midnight and today is lovely and cool and sunny in the high 70ies. It has been perfect for all those people who have cottages, and would have been so nice for us last year! However, we certainly couldn’t have managed our visitors nearly so well without the gorgeous weather, so I can be thankful. Actually, the hot weather doesn’t make me any more energetic of course, but there haven’t been all that many days when it was an effort to move, although I am beginning to get fed up with trying to think of meals without putting the oven on! I must be needing a holiday to be getting fed up with cooking, and ours begins on Tuesday!
We drive down to Stratford on Tuesday, and stay in a Guest House. That evening we go to see ‘Henry V’ and then next day Cec and I hope to go over to London for a quick visit with Pete and Lu Forsyth while Linda and Charlie stay in Stratford and go to the matinee of the opera ‘Don Giovanni’. This seemed the simplest thing, as really our children and the Forsyth children don’t know each other now and have very little in common, and Charlie was quite heartbroken at the thought of not seeing the opera, which is his favourite. Personally, Mozart’s operas don’t thrill me that much, but he loves them. Then when we come back we go to see ‘Twelfth Night’ that evening and afterwards drive to Brantford. That makes an awfully long day, but we arranged it that way as Merle and Dix thought that they might bring Mom and Dad over to see ‘Twelfth Night’ too, and we would all be going back to Brantford together. While we are in Brantford John and Sharon and their new baby Steven will be there too as they are home for a month, and while they are there there will be a double christening on the Sunday with Lorne and Liz’s new little baby Cynthia. I had thought I might be godmother to my namesake but they are both going to be a little members of the United Church so I don’t suppose they will have godparents.

Stratford was great. We had a wonderful holiday.

Lindy’s birthday is on the next day and we will spend most of the day in Brantford and then go back to Stratford to see the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and spend the night before we drive home the next day. We will be away just 8 days, but it will be a nice break, and Cec took quite a lot of time off when we had the visitors etc. so he doesn’t have much time to spare if we plan to take a month in England next year. You will be glad to know that we have saved airfare to England and back, so now all we have to do is save the money we will spend when we are there, and we won’t have to “Go Now – Pay Later”!
I have at least 3 very nice letters of yours to answer, and all sorts of things to thank you for, like the cheque and anniversary card etc. but I think that I will begin by trying to get you up to date with our doings, and then I may find that I have answered some of your questions while doing so.
I think that the last time I wrote you a decent letter was at the end of June just before Mom and Dad came. We had the Sunday School Prizegiving on the 26th and in the afternoon the S.S. races etc. and then the Chicken Barbeque – do you remember last year? It was a very hot day again and the chicken got a bit burned but everything else was fine! The next day Mom and Dad arrived by train during the afternoon both looking very well and exactly the same as they have looked for the last 10 years.

The next evening Lindy and I were invited to a shower for Alayne Staniforth by Mrs. Pierce and Mrs. Craven. Alayne is the eldest daughter of Phyllis Staniforth, who you will probably remember is a very close friend of Margaret Savic’s. She and Margaret have always been pillars of the Altar Guild, so this is why the Shower and all of us Church ladies were there. Alayne is the oldest girl – there are 2 others, one training as a nurse, and one, Pamela who is Linda’s age. Alayne is a Hospital Librarian, and her fiancé is a Medical Student and they have been going steady since High School, although Robert moved with his family to Vancouver about 4 years ago. They are to be married on August 20th in our church, and then will live in Vancouver. The Shower was great fun, and Lindy and I made up a Kitchen Basket, with all sorts of little presents in it for our gift and she really got a wonderful lot of useful things and no duplicates. I even managed to make her an apron, and Linda wants one the same, so I will have to hustle on with it! Alayne’s was blue and white stripes but Linda is going in for green this Fall, so I have got a white material with green and gold spots, and a gay green trim, so I hope it will look nice and that she will be pleased.
We had quite a nice visit with Mom and Dad – not doing much, and of course Linda and Charlie began their Typing Lessons on 4th July, and had to be there from 8:30 to 11:30, so this meant an early rising. They left here at 7:45 and got the bus downtown, and it put them off right outside the door of the Business School (next door to the Zenith Shop.)

It introduced us both to typing, and we would bring our (mis)typed efforts home each day for Cyn to giggle over the peculiar sentences that resulted. We may not have enjoyed it but it was useful.

We had Carman’s friends Joy and Jack Locke over one evening to meet Mom and Dad as they knew them from when the Lockes lived in Penticton, and late one night the phone rang and here it was Carman, saying that they had decided after all to make the trip East, and could we cope with them. Of course Cec said yes, and they were to arrive on 13th, driving and camping on the way. In the meanwhile, Mom and Dad had told us that Russ and Errol’s little girl had scarlet fever when they saw them in Saskatoon and didn’t know if she would be well enough or the boys catch it, so we had no idea if they were coming or not.

That week Cec took some days off work and he and Dad began building a big barbeque fireplace in the back garden. Dad had built a big retaining wall at the back of the garden of his new house in B.C. so Cec thought he would have expert advice, but of course the job turned out to be an enormous one and took much longer than they thought as always happens! It is at the back corner of the patio, and if you remember Cec had piled there some cut limestone blocks which Ken had used for a fireplace in the other house and which had been torn out when they remodeled. Cec always said that he would use them to build a fireplace, but of course he had to build it out of concrete blocks first and pour cement for a platform, and then face the whole thing and chimney with the limestone, so it was a very big job, but it really looks beautiful now. It is sort of 3-cornered, with the firebox and chimney in the middle and two wings on either side, which Cec has covered with slate tiles, so that there is a working space on either side. Cec of course wanted to get it done before all our visitors came, as we didn’t think our little hibachi would be much use for all that crowd, but Grandpa went away in the middle of it, so he had a hard time getting it done in time. However, he managed, and we christened it while they were here and Cec was very pleased that he could cook 36 hotdogs at once!


The Letter Continues…

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