October 15 1969

As this letter suggests, Cec’s presents from his travels in Australia and Japan have finally arrived in Ottawa- and Peterborough probably! There is no letter describing my gift, and I can’t find it to insert a picture, but: one day in the Porter’s Lodge of Trail College there was a large battered box with my name on it, come all the way from Australia. It created much excitement, which was topped only when the box was opened and a soft cuddly koala bear emerged, not quite life-sized, but pretty big, and very huggable. The soft fur was actually kangaroo, and he made a sensation on my floor. The present that was not so exotic was an opal ring, also Australian, greenish blue, because my father knew I loved opals.
Meanwhile, my mother was very kindly making the rest of a sari (which had already become a wedding outfit for herself at a summer family wedding ) into a mini dress for me to wear for my high school graduation in November, and was urging me to find a pattern for a formal dress for the graduation party the following night. This was the preoccupation of many of the girls in first year at college- snare a new boyfriend and then go home and show off! Since I had no ambitions in that direction, my mother and aunt had arranged for my cousin Bruce, now in his second year at McMaster University, to come up for the weekend and be my escort. Charlie and Bruce and I got on well so I was delighted when he agreed, and eventually we had a good weekend.

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa 9, Ont.

15th Oct. Wed.

Darling Lindy,
I have just got a big parcel in the mail with Coral marked on the outside, so I wonder if you have got your parcel yet. Is it nice? Are you excited? I haven’t opened mine yet as I thought I should let Daddy and Charlie have some of the fun too, but I am filled with curiosity. I’ll let you know what it looks like later.
I have spent the whole morning dunning (duning?) Nursery School parents for their fees. So many excuses you never heard – car accidents – husbands with big contract – carried around in purse for weeks, etc. but the favourite is a breathless silence and then ‘Hasn’t my husband sent those in yet?’ I am having my elevenses now (coffee with no milk or sugar – ugh!) and then plan to retire up to your room and sew. I have taken up the machine and hope that your black table won’t collapse under the strain. I cut out my navy blue material yesterday afternoon and want to get it made to wear tomorrow night to go to the Little Theatre – I go to a WA meeting tonight, but I don’t think that I can get it done for that! After I have made that I think that I will make your green graduation dress and for that I want:
Bust 31 1/2_____ Waist 24 1/2_
Hips 36___ Length______34___ (filled in with pencil)
Can you get one of your friends with a tape measure to fill this in and then send it back to me soon. I know we should have done it but I quite forgot. The length I want is from the middle of the back at the neckline down to the hem. Probably if you decided which of your dresses is the length you want your green one to be and measure that one, that would be best – I don’t want to have to lose the lovely coloured edge of the sari so I need the length to be fairly accurate so I can just make a tiny hem. I am getting quite excited about making it, so I hope it looks nice. When you are down town go on looking for a pattern of a formal you would like – try the Vogue book if you can find one and if you find a short dress you like that would be OK we could just make it longer but it would be best to have an A-line so that you would have room to walk. Ditto with material – if you find something GORGEOUS, go ahead and get it!
I went upstairs this morning and found your bed which I had carefully made yesterday with the coverlet all pulled down at the top, so obviously your pussy cat snuggled in there sometime yesterday! Charlie was out at his Driver T. class last night so it was probably then. He doesn’t get to drive for quite a while yet, so is a bit disappointed I think. On the way home from seeing you on the bus, he suddenly said “I never got a chance to drive the car.” So I suggested that we go into the NRC parking lot then and there and he could have a little lesson, and that is what we did. He managed fine except for a few jerky starts, but he was cottoning onto it by the time we finished.
How did you make out on your bus trip? I hope that Amanda was a better travelling companion than the girl you came up with, and that you weren’t too late getting back to Traill. Did you get a taxi all right? We never got a chance to say a proper goodbye, but it was a lovely weekend honey, and it was wonderful to see you so happy and full of fun.
I found your winter gloves yesterday (inside your fox hood), so I am sending them to you, as it is getting quite chilly for the little paws. I have your mittens too, but they are bulky so they can wait till you come home next time. Did the other girls have nice weekends? I can imagine the chit-chat going on till all hours of the night. Is there anything you want me to send down by Janet? I thought I might give her a cake to bring down so that you would have something to eat with your cups of tea, and so that Janet won’t starve with all the Traill food she won’t like!
The dinner is on cooking and I am waiting for Daddy. I got on beautifully today with my dress and should finish it easily tomorrow – I have to do the zip, put in the sleeves and do the hem and I think that it is going to look nice. I will get that bluey-grey material from SC and make the same pattern with short sleeves I think. Lee Gander phoned up today and we are going out to a Chinese dinner before the theatre tomorrow night, and on Friday Daddy and I are going to a CAP dinner, so we are having a tres gay week. Tonight Charlie and Daddy are watching a football game, and hoping that Ottawa will redeem itself.
Next Morning.
Ottawa did win, so I came back from the WA meeting to find two happy men! Nothing very exciting happened at the meeting – I sat beside Edna Thomas and knitted. Remember your pale blue sweater to match the pale blue skirt? I cut off the sleeves sometime ago and now I picked up the stitches and knit on a welt to make short sleeves- at least I got one finished and began the other so that will be ready for you when you come home. The brown check jumper has got the zip in I discovered, but it needs shortening and I don’t know how much, so I may measure against one of your other dresses or wait till you get home.
I am finishing this letter in a scurry as Daddy has gone down to the Montreal Labs and I have the car until he comes back and I want to go to SC and St. L. We opened the coral last night and it is very pretty- one they call, staghorn, like branches, white with little green tips, and another that is like a flower in bloom – a sort of hollyhock blossom if you can imagine it. It is a creamy white and lovely, but Daddy expected them to be mounted on something, and they’re not, but they look very exotic anyway.
Must fly- Lots of love from us all


3 thoughts on “October 15 1969”

  1. Dear Linda

    Dunning perfectly good English word, it’s just short of demanding, reminding insistently.

    Love the blog



  2. What a very busy handwork time! Makes me remember party frocks I sewed, and then, my ideas being too conservative, grad frocks which a) Ann made for herself(!) and Rosie had someone else make. But I can’t remember ever completing a dress in only two days. Cyn’s abilities … and her letters are so alive.


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