June 4 1962

2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2, Ontario

Dearest Mummy,

I have been meaning to sit down at the typewriter and write you a good old screed for ages, but somehow there is always something cropping up that just has to be done. This morning I drove Cec to work as Fanni and Teddy are in Quebec, then I collected my washing and Margaret Savic, and we went over to the Coinwash and did our washing. I washed all the children’s winter jackets and leggings so feel pleased that those can go away for a while, and it is so much cheaper to wash them than to have them all cleaned. Now I have had my lunch and sorted out the clothes, but I decided to leave the ironing and write to you instead. I won’t have all that amount of time as I pick up the children at 3:30 and take them up to the Château for their Swimming lessons. I don’t know if I told you that I was letting Linda go too – she was so keen and although she didn’t need them as much as Charlie she still could do with some and they are both doing very well I think. Linda can swim across the pool doing the crawl on her front and she can do practically the whole length on her back, and Charlie can do the width on his back and over half on his front, so I am very pleased. The Swimming Instructor is very good and has them jumping in at the deep end, and Linda even jumps off the diving board, and they both swim in the deep end as well as the shallow and they are very proud of themselves. Michael is much more tense than either Linda or Charlie and although he tries very hard and splashes a lot he doesn’t really do so well, but he is getting more confidence too. This week he is having exams so he is not going, but he will probably have his next week when Linda and Charlie have their exams. Linda is very disgusted as they are having 2 HOUR long exams this year, and this seems like an eternity to her!

I am hoping that the children will get a lot of practice with their swimming this summer, but we still haven’t got anything definite settled. I have been waiting to know for certain before telling you but I might as well go ahead as we are no further forward! Cec decided earlier this year that he would like to do some work on some special equipment that his friend Peters has at the Physics Department at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Herzberg thought it would be a good thing so Cec wrote to Pete and he wrote back very enthusiastic and it was arranged that Cec would go for the month of July and that Pete would try to rent us a house or cottage fairly near to the University and also to a lake or swimming place for the children. Cec would work most of the time and perhaps take a week off at the end, and it would be nice for all of us, and also perhaps I would get to see Til and Lois as well as some of our Ann Arbor friends. Pete, by the way, is called Wilbur Peters, and he is the one who has a wife Mary Jo and they had two little girls when we were there – now have some boys too. Anyway, we still haven’t heard anything from Pete about a place to stay, but Cec is going down to the Spectroscopy Conference in Columbus, Ohio, next week and on the way he will spend the night in Ann Arbor and see Pete and find out what is happening. In the meanwhile as I told you, Bengt and Gudron Kleman and their two boys, Bjorn and Johann are coming to Ottawa for the summer, – they were here about 5 or 6 years ago from Sweden on a Fellowship, and we liked them so much, and then last year when Cec was in Europe he stayed with them in Stockholm and they were very kind to him, so we suggested that they live in our house while we are away in July. It would be nice for them to have a place to come to and it would be nice for us to have the house looked after, not forgetting someone to look after Nicotina! Bengt is here now staying at a hotel, and Gudron and the boys arrive at the end of this month so it would fit in very well.

Tuesday, 5th June.

I just got as far as that yesterday when the doorbell rang, and it was a lady asking me if I would take a little package for Mrs. Rothwell as she was out, and it turned out that the lady was Mrs. Dupuis, the wife of the Dr. who is now living in Ken’s old house. I think I mentioned that when I came out of hospital in the Fall she sent a whole dinner over one day, and how overwhelmed I was as I had never even met her, so of course I had to invite her in and we had quite a little chat. Her husband, the Dr. works at the St Louis Marie de Montfort Hospital down the road, and he is from Haiti. She is French-Canadian from Quebec and they have six children! They, of course go to the Catholic school so Linda and Charlie don’t see much of them but there is a boy around their age, Jean, and he has been over a few times. Mrs. Dupuis seem very nice and has quite an amusing sense of humour, so we had quite fun and a few good laughs together. She left just after three and I apologized for not keeping her to tea, but explained about the children’s lessons, and she said she couldn’t stay anyway but I must come down and see her. I had a great old scramble to wash the lunch dishes and be down at the school by 3:30, but I did it!

This always makes us late with dinner, as we pick up Cec around 5:30 and then I have to get dinner when I come home, but I wasn’t very ambitious and we had cold stuffed roast pork and salad and rolls, then for dessert I had some cupcakes and jam tarts, but by the time I get it and clear it away and wash up it is usually quite late. Then I did some ironing, and promised myself that I would get to this this morning. So first thing, I dashed over to Myrtle’s with Mrs. Dupuis’ cake (she wasn’t in till late) and of course had to sit and chat, then trotted back and did housework and was in the middle of vacuuming when in came Myrtle – she had locked herself out! I gave her all the keys I had but none of them fitted, so back she came and phoned Ben and we chatted some more, and finally saw Becky drive up and went out and found her front door has been wide open all the time! She had found the side door shut and had never looked at the front door! Anyway that rather interrupted my morning, and then Mr. Pulker phoned that he would drop up to see me this afternoon about the Guild meeting tonight so I rushed and finished cleaning, hastily defrosted the refrigerator, had a shower and set my hair in rollers, had some lunch, and I am now sitting typing ready to rush and tear out the rollers the minute I hear him coming! Actually I think I had better do it when the clock strikes 2, then I will be on the safe side.

Now before I go any further I must thank you for my lovely birthday parcel or you will think that I am most unappreciative, but we were all so delighted with all the nice things and have really enjoyed it. Both the children and I have had the greatest fun with the cookie press, and although I am not yet an expert with it I am gradually getting better. For my big coffee party for the Guild I tried it out myself and then on Friday I was making cookies for a tea party on Sunday when we were having the Spanish Fellow and his wife, Dr. and Mrs. Herranz, and their two little girls Marie Isabella and Lucretia and Dr and Mrs. Shrivastava and their little girl Vinnie. We had a lovely time and made hearts and butterflies and all sorts of things and the children both enjoyed making them and eating them. Actually the tea party was funny as I tried so hard to make all things that the Shrivastavas could eat (Hindus – vegetarian – no eggs even) and made cheese scones and had things like olives and other snacky things and jam tarts and the cookie press cookies made without eggs like shortbread, and in the end when Cec went for them Mrs. Shrivastava was sick and they couldn’t come! However the Herranz came and they are very nice and the two little girls of three and four are very sweet and Linda had a lovely time playing with them.

Playing on the see-saw Cec had made for an earlier birthday- taught us a lot about physics I’m sure!

To go back to the parcel the stockings were most, most welcome. I wouldn’t say that the black seams and heels do much for my fat little legs, but they are very welcome just the same and the more conventional pair was worn right away. The children were very delighted with their CASH and will say thank you when they come home. My buttonholer turned out to be such a disappointment, but I hope that everything will turn out all right. I ordered the one in the catalogue – the only one actually, but of course all the machines are different models to the one I got – you know how they change them all the time over here, and when it arrived and Cec and I tried it it just wouldn’t fit on my machine. I phoned them up about it, and kept trying to get some help from the man in the sewing machine dept. but he was very vague, so I waited until I went over to Simpson Sears one day, and then they said they didn’t make one to fit my machine anymore. However, when I went to the catalogue counter to return it the girl said that if I sent her the serial number of my machine she would write to the Head Office in Toronto and she thought that they would be able to get me one, so I hope that this is what they will do. Such a nuisance as the machine isn’t that all that old, and when you think of the old old Singers and Whites that are still going strong after 20 or 30 years it makes you mad. Never mind, I may yet get my buttonholer! In the meanwhile I am still making them by hand. Last week I decided that I had to make Linda and myself sundresses, as neither of us have much in that line and it was very hot again. It looks as if this summer is going to be a scorcher as already we have had some very hot weather, and it has been so dry all May that people are having well trouble already. I planted some petunias and portulaca plants from the Market last week and the poor things are looking very bedraggled but it is cloudy today and we are hoping for some showers. I got a present of a plant when I came out of hospital in the winter and you will be amused to hear that it was a croton! It looked quite pretty when I got it, but gradually the leaves dropped off until now it looks more like a palm tree with a tuft of leaves on top, so last week I put it out in the garden hoping it would improve but the poor thing is looking more depressed than ever with the drought! However, to return to the sundresses, I cut them both out from some material I got in the sales last summer – it is what they call a tissue gingham, and I thought it was rather pretty – I shall include a little piece so that you can see – the blue is Linda’s and the pink is mine, and I got some blue grosgrain ribbon to match the darker stripe and made a belt and straps of it and got it finished in time for the tea party on Sunday. Linda was delighted and I thought she looked very sweet in it, but when she asked her Daddy he looked a bit doubtful and said “I don’t like the material much – it looks like pillowcase ticking!” so now I know we will always think of them as our pillowcase dresses! Mine of course is not done yet, but maybe this week, if we get more hot weather to spur me on!

It was so roasting last week, and on Sat. from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm we were having the Sunday School picnic over in the big Park, and what should happen but the weather changed on Friday night and it was grey and dull and cold, and we sat and huddled in rugs and froze! The children of course were fine, as they ran races and rushed about and kept warm, but us poor Mamas and spectators had a most comfortless time! Cec went into work, and when he came home about 4 he brought Bengt Kleman to dinner. I had planned to have cold roast pork if it was hot but instead I had a good old hot stuffed roast of pork and it was very welcome with the furnace going and the wind blowing! Bengt stayed till nearly midnight and it was nice to have him, but what with my cold morning in the open air, I was just about asleep.

I had planned to answer all your letters, but this has ambled on at such a rate and Mr. Pulker will probably arrive before long, so I think that maybe I should end and begin another letter-answering one another day. I don’t remember if I yet thanked you for the 2 A.M.s which did arrive together, but what do you think the ridiculous P.O. at Ottawa did with your previous letter. Redirected it out to Penticton under the impression that it was Mrs. H.H. Costain instead of me, so of course Leona sent it back, but what a roundabout route. They sent quite a few things out and in the end I had to phone the P.O. and complain.

Will stop for now then- love to Auntie Muriel and Peggy when you see her- hello from all of us to Doris,

Lots and lots of love from us all –

April 20 1962

The Costain grandparents had spent the winter in the East, where the grandchildren were all older than Carman and Leona’s toddlers, and so, after the successful family gathering in Ottawa at Cec and Cyn’s for Christmas, it was happening again at Easter at Merle’s in Brantford, where Granny and Grandpa Costain were now staying. Merle and Dix’s two older boys were away at university, but Linda and Charlie enjoyed visiting their cousin Bruce. Cyn and Cec were also intending to visit friends in southern Ontario while they were there. We have no letters telling about the Easter trip, but it was immortalized in the scrapbook!

Good Friday

Dearest Mummy,
It is real Good Friday weather – lovely and sunny and warm & reminds me of some of the days at Bellingham & Warkworth. I have just been to Church and have finished writing 20 letters to various Rector’s wives etc. enclosing complimentary tickets for our Bazaar! My arm is wearing out but it must be used to hard work after all the painting!
Our painting is more or less finished – in the sitting room I mean. I have to put a 2nd coat of enamel on the window frames but that will have to wait. I was so lucky & got the name of a lady in Cardinal Hts. very close by, Mrs. Proulx, who wanted to do a little work each week so I got in touch with her & she came and cleaned for me yesterday & did a very good job. She was most thorough & worked & got all the paint off the sitting room floor & it looks so nice. Cec has scrubbed all the bamboo curtains & put them up & everything looks lovely & clean. Mrs. Proulx is going to come for a morning every week, so I feel very happy & relieved as cleaning is not my favourite thing & I am out so much with the Guild that I felt it was really getting on top of me.
We set off early in the morning, will call on Auntie & Uncle in Toronto & onto Brantford. Cec & I have a room in a motel as Merle will be crowded with Mom & Dad too, but I was horrified last week to get a call from Lea & hear that they are going too! Aren’t I mean? But what a crowd for poor Merle – they will sleep in sleeping bags on rubber mattresses but can you imagine such a crowd in the house all day & for every meal? We go to the Douglasses on the Tues. & Forsyths Wed. & home Thurs. We took poor Nicki to the Kennels yesterday and she was so scared.
I went to see Eve P. at the Civic with her baby on Mon. & it is a dear little thing. I also visited poor old Myrtle Rothwell who is in for 2 weeks for deep heat treatment for the arthritis in her hip, so I felt I had done a GOOD Deed!
We all send love & best wishes for your Happy Easter Birthday –
Much love
XXX from L & C.

April 13 1962 Part 2

Dearest Mama,
Just a short note to answer some of your questions. You asked about my ribs etc. – they are fine now & I don’t feel any effects at all. When I am tired I get a bit of an ache in my back where the worst ones were & it is a little flat there, but it isn’t much & a rest puts it right again. As you can tell by all the wall-washing & painting etc. I am not incapacitated at all!
You asked me about taking Charlie with his toe to the Hospital – yes, it was the one on Montreal Rd. – St. Louis-Marie de Montfort! It was just the Outpatient Department we went to, & we quite saw Life! – a father with 2 little children who had swallowed aspirins & had their stomachs pumped out! It seemed all right but all French of course & none of the Drs. seem to send anything serious there – the Civic has all the equipment & facilities I suppose.
What do you think? Eve Proudfoot has a DAUGHTER! Born on the 11th, over 8 lbs. & called Laura Jane! You can imagine Mrs. Barltrop [the grandmother] – she is just popping!! She took us quite by surprise as Dr. Smith had said the end of the month but everyone is very pleased for her and Jim. Mr. & Mrs. B. have moved to a house in town, as they really needed the room I suppose. [The Proudfoots had 2 sons quite a bit older] There seems to be quite a spate of “second-thought” babies – when is Peggy’s due? Poor Pat Tomlinson is having another in August – Jamie is just 1 yr. now & she has so much trouble with varicose veins that I am really sorry for her.
We have heard no more from our Insurance man & actually I feel I’d like to forget the whole thing now. We got about $150 rebate on our Income Tax & Ontario Medical Insurance as our Medical Expenses were so high last year – all my accident & Charlie’s business & Linda’s teeth – it was very welcome! L’s teeth are coming along fine- she has what she calls “metal work” all around her lower front teeth now, pulling them into shape & filling up the 2 spaces [I had had 4 teeth removed to make room] & she seems to get used to it quite quickly. Must stop now & get some work done.
Hugs from the children – it is marbles & skipping season now! Love to Auntie Muriel – hello to Doris –
With lots of love from

I’m not sure why Cyn wrote the answers to her mother’s questions as a separate letter, but as she did, I published them that way. All of the questions are following up things Cyn had written about earlier that year or even the year before, and her mother would remember the friends Cyn wrote about from her stay in 1960.

April 13 1962

2043 Montreal Rd
Ottawa 2

Friday the 13th. [April 1962]

Dearest Mummy,
Here am I just sending your Easter & birthday cards & your Easter card arrived yesterday with the enclosed note. Thank you so much. I have had the cards for ages but didn’t want to send them too soon, then this week we have been so busy with our PAINTING & the house is in such a turmoil! We got on very well last weekend – Cec got all the ceilings washed twice & I washed the walls & then we began painting & got 2 coats on the part of the room near the bedrooms & it looks very nice. This is the colour – quite harmless! I have been doing the doors & windows, woodwork etc. in the enamel, but we found that we just had about 1/8 the can of paint left for the rest of the walls, so ordered more, & wouldn’t you know it? They are out of it & we have to wait! So here we are, sitting in the chaos! However, Cec has taken down & washed the bamboo curtains & we have got the material to recover the dining room chairs, so we can get on with something. The material is a browny linen tweed, & we plan to get or make a new slip cover for the sofa & get new curtains eventually, so we should look elegant! Cec has moved the big bookcase over in front of the bedroom doors as a room divider & we will make the part with the big windows the sitting room – will draw you a plan when we are all done.
We have another change to make too – Cec was shutting the garage door on Wed. & it fell down! So we have ordered a new one & a new storm/screen door for the front door -the latter was old & cracked & need a new screening. I am glad to get rid of the old garage door to as it was so heavy & this new one should be easier to manage.
This has been a busy week, what with the painting at home & all sorts of things outside. I have been making Linda’s costume for the Ballet Recital – she is to be a page & wears long black tights, a white long sleeved blouse & a short royal blue coat–affair with a flared skirt & a big blue beret – it is the coat & hat I’ve been making & what a pest as we had to adapt a dress pattern & they gave us very little material. However, it is nearly done. The Dress Rehearsal is on Sat. & the recital is Sat. 28th, so we will just be back home in time.

On Mon. evening Cec & I went to the last of our Film Society & saw a colour film of the U.S. taken by a Frenchman. It was very amusing, as he was tickled by all sorts of funny things – a Convention for Twins; a Strip Tease School; etc. & he was allowed in prisons, universities & so on, & as he was an artist he got some lovely pictures, so we enjoyed it very much.
On Tues. evening there was a Concert at the School & both Lindy & Charlie were singing with their classes. The singing is always very nice & while we thoroughly enjoyed hearing it, it was also fun to see & hear the funny little Grade 1’s etc. Fanni had to go, as her sons wanted her to, but neither Babusch or Daniel were allowed to sing – they just had to stand with the others & open & shut their mouths!!
On Wed. morning we had a great project for the Bazaar. About 10 – 12 of us went to 9:30 a.m. Service & then met in the kitchen & had a Sewing Bee for the Children’s Wear Stall. We made gathered cotton skirts & shorts for all sizes & “pop tops” – sleeveless short blouses, you know.

I cut out & 5 of us had sewing machines, & the rest cut out or did hand sewing & we got on quite well & took what wasn’t finished home with us. I have made 3 hats for our hat stall – “La Boutique”!! They are just little flower & veiling things – one white with bright flowers – one black veiling with pink flowers & one black veiling with a gold & bright coloured brocade ring on top!

My own hats are quite a success – I made one of pinky–mauvy–purpley flowers which matches my spring coat & is quite pretty, & adapted Linda’s straw bonnet with brown ribbon & yellow flowers to go with “your” silk material & made myself a white mohair hat. The latter was a “shape”, so – & I steamed it & shaped it, but I’m not too happy with it – might change it yet! It has been fun though and I learnt quite a bit.

Last night was our night at the Little Theatre & they had on a play “Send Me No Flowers” which was funny & well done. We went with the Savics & went to the French Buffet first & had dinner as my birthday treat, so it was a lovely evening. I am feeling much more cheerful now that the spring is coming although today it is cold & sleeting!! However, Charlie’s toe is nearly better & the sun shines sometimes!
Lots of love from us all, Happy Easter to you and Auntie Muriel-

March 2 1962

This letter mentions in passing an event that must have loomed large in February 1962- Cyn’s Cookery Demonstration that the Ladies Guild of the Church used as a fundraiser. I am so sorry that the letter giving Carol details of her plans and preparations is missing, because it was quite an undertaking. Nowadays, television/Youtube has made us familiar with the cook demonstrating the preparation, combining of ingredients, setting up of the dish to be cooked, all the while chatting about what they were doing and why, but in the 60s this sort of entertainment combined with education was rare. Cyn was a professional, and would have preferred to do this sort of thing after her training instead of teaching, and these demonstrations were a successful illustration of how good she would have been at it.
Cyn had to decide on what her audience would be interested in watching and later making, and give them an interesting variety too. She needed some sort of theme, and would have chosen something fairly easy to do, probably for the purpose of home entertaining, but not that well known to her audience. (For example, choux pastry is not that hard to make, but turning the baked product into a swan creates a platter worthy of a fancy tea or company dessert.) After the menu planning- probably appetizer, entrée, and dessert- came the preparation- and this is where my memory comes in- Cyn was pretty hard to live with those weeks before the actual event. My mother was not one of those people who allowed her children to cook along side of her, teaching and giving them tasks to ‘help’! No, she wanted her kitchen to herself as she practised her menu and worked out the timing and the sequencing of events in the demonstration. Her recipes had to be typed up for publication and given to other Guild members to reproduce for the audience to take home with them. The Church Hall had to be set up for it too- there was a kitchen off to one side where the helpers would bake/roast/finish what Cyn had just demonstrated, but there was no platform, so one had to be set up, and electricity provided there so she could use her MixMaster to beat ingredients or a hot plate so she could cook in her demonstration- making choux pastry, or sauces- with chairs in front for the audience.
Then she had to co-ordinate her helpers ‘backstage’- the other women in the Guild who would take her prepared product off to the oven and provide the previously-baked-and-cooled duplicate- so the cream could be whipped, the choux bun could be filled, and the swan neck could be attached to demonstrate the finished product! When all the recipes had been shown in their various stages, the spectators were invited to admire the finished presentation, taste the results, and praise the demonstrator- who took a few days to recover. This Cookery Demonstration became an annual event, but I’m sure the behind-the-scenes ballet was tense this first year they all tried it!

2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2 Ont.

2nd March.

Dearest Mummy,
Sorry that I haven’t written – I have been busy with poor Charlie’s NOSE! He is so unlucky, poor fellow, and seems to have something in his metabolism that makes it hard for him to get rid of things.
Anyway – I wrote last before the Cookery Dem. – which went off very well, by the way, and his nose bled off and on all week. I took him to Dr. K. & he gave us nose drops & I was to put vaseline etc. but although the bleeding wasn’t heavy, he still had it now & then. On the Friday Mom & Dad Costain came back from Carp & spent the weekend here & left again by train on Mon. morning to go to Merle’s at Brantford. Charlie’s nose had been much better over the weekend & didn’t bleed at all on the Sun. so Mon. I sent him to school & went down with Cec to see Mom & Dad off at 10 a.m. I was hardly back in the house before the School Nurse phoned that Charlie was bleeding again!
I got him home & called Dr. K. & he made arrangements for me to take Charlie to Dr. McKercher the Ear, Throat & Nose Specialist (did L.’s tonsils) to get it cauterized so we spent all afternoon in his office, but finally got it done. Dr. McK. said to keep him home the next day & send him to school Wed. & it was the Scout & Cub Father & Son Banquet on the Tues. evening, so Charlie seemed fine & he & Cec went & had a nice time then he hardly got to bed & he sneezed – out came the packing & it began to bleed! I took him to Dr. McK. again on Wed. & he cauterized it once more, Thurs. I took him to Dr. Kastner for a blood check to make sure his blood was not low & Friday I took Linda to the orthodontist! What a week in Dr’s offices!
Over the weekend the wretched nose bled each bedtime & on Mon. it just began all day worse than ever so on Tues. Dr. McK. said to take him into hospital & there the poor little fellow is! He isn’t feeling ill at all but they have just packed his nose & kept him in bed & Dr. McK. is going to take out the packing today & if it is all right he can come home this afternoon or tomorrow. He is very good of course, but wants to come home – he doesn’t like the food in the hospital!
So I have been going over to see him every afternoon (he’s in the Civic of course [far side of town]) & then again in the evening, so the days have been rushed, and the weather has been terrible all this 2 weeks. More snow than the whole rest of the winter & each day I had a lot of driving to do there would be a blizzard! It is cold & sunny today (below zero) but more snow tomorrow!
I enjoyed hearing about all the visitors & thank you for your letters. Will write a better letter next time, but must have lunch now & get ready to go to the Hospital. Charlie is writing you a letter there!
Lots of love for you & A. Moo & all the cousins from us all –

February 2 1962

Up to this point, the letters in 1960 and 1961 have been well preserved so that reading them in sequence connects the events in the Costain’s lives and makes them easy to follow. Unfortunately, 1962 has gaps, so that what starts out to be only one letter a month preserved with others obviously missing- leading to a ‘Huh?’ moment when some unknown event is referred to – is then followed by two April letters, a June one, two in July and one final one in December! After that, there are no letters until 1966, when both children are in high school and life is different- or perhaps not, you can decide. I will try to fill in some of the holes from my memory and the scrapbooks, and be glad that some of the events are recorded – having been spoiled by the wealth of detail lately!

2043 Montreal Road,
Ottawa 2, Ontario.

2nd Feb. 1962.

Dearest Mummy,
Thank you so much for your last letter. I am glad that you had got mine, but sorry that the belated Christmas parcel still hasn’t come – it will be a Valentine parcel instead! At least, I don’t think that there is anything in it to spoil!
My goodness – what a surprise! The Pems and Mona and family coming too! I can imagine that you will be in a real whirl. In a way it seems a pity to have them all at once rather than spreading them out and being able to enjoy them a few at a time, but in another way it is nice that all the preparation for one lot of visitors will do for the other contingent too! I wonder how you are getting on with your search for a house for the new arrivals. Cec thinks that once Uncle Fred has it in hand that the matter is as good as done, but as you say, there aren’t that many houses to choose from, but I hope he will get something so that you are not all worried to bits. I can just imagine the chaos in Highland Mills with getting Granny, Mamma and twins all outfitted for their holiday! I wonder how Margs is feeling now that she will be the only one left behind? If their weather has been anything like ours for the last week I should think she will be ready to jump in anyone’s pocket – we have had a solid week with the temperature never above -5°, and last night it was 27° below zero. They say warmer tomorrow – probably a lovely warm zero!
Mom and Dad Costain left us a week ago and went to Lea’s for a few weeks. It was so strange because Lea and family had had colds etc. so Mom and Dad had waited until they were over so that they wouldn’t catch them, and they just left here in time because the moment they left we got sick! They left on the Thurs. afternoon, and on Fri. morning I woke up with a real doozy of a cold, and Charlie began being sick! He was throwing up all day, and then when that was over he seem to feel much better and had no temp. to speak of, then on Sat. and Sun. he convalesced and didn’t eat much, but my cold was really going and I felt pretty awful. Then in the middle of Sunday night Linda began vomiting and she had the bug! I kept them both home on Monday and Linda got better quite quickly and my cold was much better, but as they both looked quite peaky I kept them home on Tuesday and what should happen but that I should suddenly get it and begin to be sick too! It was so sudden and violent that I just went to bed and lay there and dozed, and the children were so good – they got their own lunch and then Charlie washed the dishes and Linda got the dinner ready (hot dogs!) so Cec came home to things well organized! By next day my tummy really felt all right, just I felt a bit weak and weary, so the children went off to school and Cec stayed home in the morning and then took Linda to the orthodontist for me in the afternoon. We had good news there because Dr. Braden says that her teeth are moving into place very well and much more quickly than he had expected, so perhaps it won’t take the whole 2 years after all. We are all feeling back to normal now, except for Cec who caught a bit of my cold, but I am so glad that Mom and Dad were well out of the way of all our germs!
Just before Mom and Dad went to Lea’s Dad finished the headboard for our bed and he and Cec put it into place. It looks beautiful, and is just so luxurious as I pull out one thing for a back rest, and pull down another for a bedside table, and arrange all my odds and ends in my bedside cupboards! I have really made use of it in the week since Dad has left as I have spent quite a lot of time in bed! I long to start painting and decorating and new curtains and things but this miserable cold weather doesn’t encourage me a bit! Dad and Mom will be back here for a bit I gather, before they go down to Merle’s and I rather think that they will return here again before going West, but there is nothing definite, so we will just wait and see how things go.
With having them here we seem to have done very little in the social line this year. We were invited to the Savics on Friday Night and I was so much looking forward to an evening out, then of course I felt so awful with the cold that I couldn’t go. Cec was going to stay at home with me and then Peter called and said why didn’t he come anyway and as I was in bed and so were the children and he was sitting all by himself with no company, he was very pleased to go, and had a nice time. Since then poor Margaret and Peter have got Eddie in the hospital once more – his ulcer began bleeding internally again and he had to be rushed in. It looks as if he will have to have an operation and have part of his stomach removed, and it is such a shame for a young boy, but he has been on a strict diet, he’s been taking pills regularly and still it happens so there seems nothing else to do.
You will be amused to hear that Cec and I went and played badminton one night! They are trying to begin a Badminton Club in connection with the Church – they can’t actually play in the Church Hall as it isn’t big enough and not light enough, but they play in the school gym. I think it is a good idea, not necessarily for us, but for the young people more, so to make it go Cec and I signed up and took advantage of our built-in babysitters and went down one night. We were pretty hopeless of course, but it was quite fun, and to our amazement we weren’t crippled next day!
Please congratulate Peggy on her news for me! I really think that it is very nice as she seems really so fond of children and she can get so much help that it isn’t the tie for her that it is for someone here. Did I tell you that Eve Proudfoot is having a baby next month? At one meeting in the Fall she said to me “Did you know that I was getting a little girl in March?” and I looked at her blankly and said “No – where from?” and then she said “The usual place” and we both roared with laughter, because the way she put it I thought she must be adopting one. Sheena Kalra finally had her baby on Monday, a little girl. She has been expecting it since Christmas, and her mother flew from Scotland before Christmas to be with Sheena when the baby came, so every time I phoned Sheena would answer and I would say “What, are you still here?” and she would giggle. At last I called last week and her Mother was due to go home on Sat. and still no baby, so I don’t know whether she had postponed her return flight and was still there on Monday or not. There was a bit in the paper this week about a baby born here weighing 16 lbs.- better not tell Peggy!
Thank you so much for the diary too and the children’s letters. They arrived this week too. Charlie wants me to tell you that his school bag weighed 9 lbs. 8 oz., not 9 lbs. 16 oz. and that it was a slip of the typewriter and not that he doesn’t know how many oz. are in a lb! The children were very interested in your new dog and I hope that he will be a good watchdog for you.
I am enclosing two pictures for you that Cec took this summer. When he was having lunch with Miss Lefroy in London he took two pictures and this is one of them. We meant to have the prints done in time for Christmas, but things were so confused this year that we have just had them done now, and we knew that you would like one of your dear A.G.L. The other picture is quite good too, but Miss Lefroy is not looking at the camera, and we thought this one was better. The other is Linda in her Chinese Girl’s costume from the Operetta. We are a bit disappointed in the print as it is very wishy-washy looking, and the transparency is lovely and bright with Lindy’s jacket a pretty daffodil yellow, but they say that this is the best that they can do.

A better picture than the one she sent Carol!

The cutting out of the newspaper is of our first big wedding at St. Christopher’s, and June Bell, the bride, has taught Sunday School and being a member of the Church since we began. It is an awful picture of her – she is really a pretty girl – but I sent this one to let you see all the funny little children! It was a very pretty winter wedding – the two older girls had red velvet dresses with white fur headbands and white fur muffs with red carnations and holly sprays on, then the older boy had a white shirt with black velvet trousers and he carried the ring on a red velvet cushion. The two little pages were in white frilled shirts and red velvet trousers and the tiny flower girl was in a long red velvet dress, but otherwise like the big girls. The Guild of course did the catering for the reception – they have a big house down in Rothwell Heights and they had 100 people, and everything very elegant – two barmen and all sorts of drinks and champagne for the Toast. Eve Proudfoot made the 3 tier cake, but I didn’t want to ice it, so they got one of the confectioner firms to do it, and it looked very nice, but when we came to cut it and hand it round it was like cutting plaster! Six of us went at about 1:30, and began getting things ready and then the wedding was at 2:00 so we had time to get organized while everyone was away. We served small open faced canapes; hot curried crab canapes; cheese butterflies; chicken patties; mushroom patties (both hot); and hot cocktail sausages. For the children we served ordinary small sandwiches and a chip dip with potato chips and cookies, and then after the Toast and we cut and served the wedding cake, we had hot coffee for those who wanted it. We also made sandwiches and cookies for a trousseau tea she had before Christmas, and for this and the reception and the wedding cake we charged just over 130 dollars. I think this was quite reasonable, don’t you? And Mrs. Bell was just delighted – she said she could never thank us enough for all we done, and seemed to be more than pleased with everything, and she is one who doesn’t mince words if she doesn’t like a thing! All of this was on the Thurs. after Christmas, so you can see we really had a busy time of it. We also catered for a hot luncheon for the teachers at school on the last day of school – the very Friday before Christmas, so what with my large Christmas household of 15, things were really hopping!

You asked in your letter if Uncle Milton and Aunt Lillie came up for Christmas, and this was really the one disappointment we had. Apparently when Merle phoned them up and suggested them coming up, after we wrote and suggested it to Merle they were very pleased with the idea and Uncle was full of it, so we wrote them and told them how much we’d like them to come and it was all arranged. Then Uncle began getting cold feet – he was feeling so tired – it was such a bad time of the year – they were so busy at work etc. until finally he decided not to come. Poor Aunt Lillie was so disappointed and wrote us such a pathetic letter that we all felt so sorry for her and very sad that they didn’t come, but he is apparently nervy and this happens all the time. Merle had asked them to Brantford for the New Year weekend when they got back, but from what she says in her last letter they didn’t even go there.
We didn’t have our usual Open House at New Year – I really didn’t feel up to it with the big Christmas and all the Guild work on top of the ribs, and with the latter I had a real excuse to give it a miss. Normally I enjoy it, but it was just too much this year. Dad doesn’t use a hearing aid yet although he is still talking about it, and Cec says he will take him down to Zenith one day. He is fine when you talk to him directly, but has trouble in a big crowd as you always used to find. Myrtle is the same as ever, but has a sore hip – arthritis I gather. You probably will get her Christmas card at Valentine time along with our parcel!
I finally finished all my thank you letters today, so I feel very relieved, although I was as slow pokey as usual. However, this year my Christmas parcels were so late that at least I got most of my thank yous written before I received theirs! This is Friday and the children are full of shenanigans! They have done an hour’s homework and piano practice and are now romping like puppies! Tomorrow we have ballet, grocery shopping and library, and I feel that I should go to the hospital to see Sheena so it looks like a busy day.
I must stop now as I don’t want to go onto another sheet of paper – love to Auntie Muriel from all of us, and hello to Doris. Take care of yourself and don’t exhaust yourself polishing up the whole island for the Visitors!
Lots and lots of love from us all

January 18 1962

This letter consists of two sheets, each headed by a brief typed Thank You note by Linda and Charlie, with the sheets filled on both sides by Cyn’s actual news! Then she also included the Christmas Present List so Carol could see what everyone gave the family. I was interested to see the books the children got- we loved being sent the English Annuals (they were so different from anything North American, although we had lots of books and a box full of comic books – Disney and Archie, plus those ‘educational’ short versions of classic novels-) but the annuals were a lovely mixture of cartoons, short stories, non-fiction, puzzles, and articles on crafts or pictorials of famous places or buildings. As well, I was collecting as many L. M. Alcott’s books as I could, and Grannie had sent me an abridged ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ for Charlie’s birthday (foreshadowing? I wrote my dissertation on Bunyan twelve years later), while Charlie’s British Grade 5 teacher, Mrs. Cripwell, was carrying on the cross-cultural work (she introduced me to the Narnia books) by reading a “William” book to his class.

Thank you heaps for the SWEETEST CUTEST little twin babies that there ever was. They looked so funny when they peeped out at me on Christmas morning. Nobody was as thrilled as me but I was not as thrilled as Mummy when we opened the silk and braid clips. They look like little green slugs. My hair is not thick enough to hold one braid, two of them do quite nicely, in one clip.

Thursday 18th. [Cyn’s note is handwritten, the children’s are typed.]

Dearest Mama,
Just a note on these short but sweet thank you letters! We have been having a flu session- men only, so far, but we keep our fingers crossed. Charlie had a “throw up” at the beginning of last week then got better & went back to school on Thurs. In the meanwhile Cec got an upset tummy with diarrhoea and felt so miserable on Friday that he stayed at home, felt better on Sat. & then worse again Sun. & Mon. Charlie got the same thing again. Cec is back at work although not quite recovered, but I have had Charlie home all week & he was trotting to the bathroom so much day & night that yesterday I called Dr. K. and Charlie is so tickled at his prescription – a soft diet with a cup of hot strong tea every hour! Also he takes four 222 tablets a day (codeine in them) & so he thinks this is lovely! Linda thinks she should take the tea too to prevent her getting it!

Mom & Dad plan to go out to Carp on Sat. – that is if Cec & Charlie are recovered. Lea has a big turkey she has been saving since Christmas so we are all to go out to dinner & leave Granny & Grandpa there. They will stay about 2 weeks & then return to us. The bed head is nearly finished & looks beautiful – Cec & Dad are to bring it upstairs tonight, so we will see how it fits in!

[Typed upside down at the bottom of the page in red:]

P.S Hugs and Kisses. L.

2043 Montreal Road,
Ottawa 2, Ontario.

7 January, 1962.

Dear Grannie,
Thank you for the racing car, the T-shirt, and the pencils like arrows; for Christmas, I use the pencils a lot. I enjoy the game “Geography Lotto” that you gave me for my birthday.
We had a wonderful Christmas, with Auntie Merle, Lorne, JOHN, Bruce, Uncle Dixon, Granny & Grandpa COSTAIN. I had a lot of people to play the hockey game with. We made a toboggan slide and had a lot of fun.
Daddy has just put a microphone on the radio, and we are having fun talking through it. Mommy is screaming at me so now I have to stop.
LOVE Charlie

[Cyn’s handwriting continues.]
It is very cold this week – below zero most days & was so windy that it made it worse, but today is much calmer though still cold. I went to the Coinwash yesterday & the day before to Emil’s new Beauty Salon over at the Shopping Centre. Did I tell you that he had moved his salon? It is a new shopping centre to the south of the city – about 10-15 mins. drive away – & he has a much bigger more elegant place with 2 or 3 assistants, & Mrs. Arndt goes as receptionist. It isn’t nearly so convenient of course, but it isn’t too far & he & I agree on my hair now! Mom & I went over to S-Sears just after New Year & I got a Car Coat on sale at Fairweather’s – a store there. It is a dark brown “Heeksuede” – i.e. looks just like suede, but isn’t really, & has a thick quilted lining & is very nice & just what I’ve wanted for the last few winters for the car. Of course I then had no skirt to wear with it, so the day I got my hair done I went to S-Sears again & on sale once more, got a thick sort of blanket-cloth skirt – gold or orange & brown sort of plaid with inverted pleats & an orangey – gold sweater to match. Of course I look like a tub, but it is warm & gay!! Mom C. had lost 15 lbs. before she came here & needs to put on weight so you know what this does to me! She has put on 2 lbs so far – me???!!
Time for Charlie’s next cup of tea – must fly! Lots of love from us all.

January 9 1962

2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2, Ontario.

9th. Jan. 1962.

Dearest Mummy,
Happy New Year! I am ashamed to say that this is the first time that I have written 1962! I am also so sorry to have been such a long time in writing to you – both to thank you for our lovely parcel and to tell you about our Christmas, but somehow each time one thing was over, something else turned up and I seem to have been on the go all the time. I haven’t even been to the Library for about a month, so you can see that I really didn’t have spare time – when I relaxed I slept!
However, despite all the busy time, it was great fun, the only thing being that the time went so quickly! We didn’t have time to really savour it all, and before we turned around Christmas was over, the Moors had left and the children were back at school again. They went back on the 3rd Jan. so they didn’t have very long, especially as they didn’t finish school until the Friday before Christmas. They were both quite irritable and tired out the last week or so, and then on the last day of school Linda woke up and said she didn’t feel like going to school. I said “Oh, don’t you want to go today, you’ll have such fun” and she said “I want to go, but I don’t feel like it” and sure enough before very long she was sick, and had one or two goes during the day. She didn’t have a temperature, and by the next day (Saturday) she was up on the sofa and feeling not too bad and able to be up and around by the time the Moors arrived in the evening. Sunday she was O.K. except for not much appetite but in the evening Charlie began to feel ‘off’ and although he never was actually sick, he felt queasy all Christmas Day and neither of them had much appreciation of the Christmas Fare! Charlie was remembering last year when he had a Christmas dinner of broth and crackers – he doesn’t have much luck with the turkey does he? It seem to be a type of 24 hour flu, but it passed quickly and by the time they went back to school they were both feeling fine and so full of fun, and this past weekend they had a wonderful time playing in the snow and tobogganing, and then yesterday Charlie felt sicky again, and here he is back in bed today and throwing up! I hope that it is the same thing and will soon be over, and that Linda doesn’t get it, because it does leave them washed out and the winter is just beginning!
And now to thank you for your lovely parcel! It certainly lived up to the reputation Charlie told you of last Christmas, and we all enjoyed it so much. Both Linda and Charlie were delighted with the birthday gifts, and Charlie is very intrigued with his game and Linda likes “Pilgrim’s Progress” very much. I must read this version because I remember disliking the whole book immensely as a child! Linda was just delighted with her twin babies! I had warned her that we weren’t giving her a doll this year, as she plays with them so seldom now, and she was quite sad at the thought, then here arrived the little babies from you and a pretty little English doll from Gunborg, and I think she was more thrilled and excited over getting them that if we had given her the biggest and most expensive creation going! She had a great bath day one day and tried on all the new dresses from Auntie Muriel and thoroughly enjoyed herself. The silk is lovely and I am going to have a lovely time getting a nice pattern and making it for her. She has set her heart on a smocked dress – I think that she is a bit too old for smocking now, but apparently it is still the fashion amongst her school mates, and she is always talking about it. I have no notion of trying that myself, but had vaguely thought that if I got a pattern and material and sent it out to you, you could get someone to make it for me – kind Mrs. Young is not there to do the smocking for me this time but I am sure that you will know someone who will do it beautifully. I think that I will make the silk up myself in a plainer style, as it has such a pretty pattern and really needs no other ornament, and that I will get another material for the smocking with perhaps a small pattern or plain like the blue one with the white smocking that Mrs. Young did for me, and if I send it out to you fairly soon then perhaps you could get it done for Easter- it is late this year. The only reason I am rushing over it is that I feel if she doesn’t get it soon she will be too grown-up for it! The silk you sent now I feel won’t date or get too young for her at all, if I make it in a simple style, but the other is definitely not a teen age style! [Linda is 10 at this point.]
The little braid clips for her hair are so cute too, and she has them on. I got her to admit one day that it may be nice to have shorter hair in the summer, but I don’t know if I will really be able to get her to have it cut! I got her a black velvet hairband with pearls across the top, no less, and so she had a wonderful time doing the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with flowing locks all the Christmas holidays!
Charlie enjoyed all his presents too. He and Bruce had great fun with the racing car and were zooming it around all day, and he was very taken with his arrow pencils and got them all ready to take to school the first day. Mummy was very pleased to see that T-shirt and come summer it will be so nice for him to have a new one to wear. I had decided to get the children some new clothes for Christmas as they had not add anything new in the ‘best’ line for some time, and then I thought I would give them at Charlie’s birthday so that if they needed any alterations or anything I could get it done in time for Christmas. For Charlie I got a tweed sports jacket! He needed something for going to Church and dress up, as the little blue blazer he inherited from Bruce is too small now, and it was between a suit, another navy blue blazer or a sports jacket, and we thought the latter was the most sensible. He looks nice in the navy blue but with Nicki in the house [white cat hairs] it seemed a difficult choice and I didn’t feel like investing in a whole suit now that he is growing so fast, so it had to be the jacket, and I got a very nice one in a blue-y gray tweed and he looks very smart. A bit swamped as it is rather big for him at the moment, but I hope it will do him for a good long time. Linda wanted a velvet dress for Sunday, and I looked at quite a few, but such odd colours – purple or a dull sage green or old gold, and of course red, but the last one she had from Leslie Forsythe was red so I wanted a change. In the end I got a pinafore type in a lovely sapphire blue with white lace around the waist, and I got a very pretty white nylon blouse with a collar edged with a frill and long bishops sleeves also edged with a frill at the wrist, and she looks very elegant and is delighted with herself. Her Auntie Merle and her big boy cousins told her that she was a picture on Christmas Day, so she had an extra Christmas present!

Uncle Wendell and John Moor on Christmas Day.

I got her a new snow jacket to wear to school earlier, with the leggings she had last winter. It is a bright turquoise blue with a lambswool edging around the hood, but she had nothing to wear on Sunday except the blue Spring coat, which is not really at all warm. I hate to pay a lot of money for a Sunday coat which she doesn’t wear out, so I thought that I might be able to make her a coat out of the one you wore last winter. The colour is quite suitable for a child and it wasn’t too worn, so I got a pattern and of course didn’t get any further with it. However, Granny Costain came to my rescue, and ripped it up and then I took it to the Coin wash and it washed very well, and now she has cut it out and is making it for me. I have got a windproof material for the lining, and I am trying to get some gray velvet to make a little stitched velvet collar, and I think that it will look very pretty. Grandpa Costain is into a project too – he and Cec have begun to make the headboard for our bed! Do you remember us talking about it? It is a regular piece of furniture, with cupboards behind and doors which come out to form backrests, and bedside tables on either side. It will be lovely when it is done, and she says that he only hopes that there is room for us in the room to when we get it on the bed! I hope that in the spring we will re-decorate the bedroom and I will get new curtains and bedcover because the old ones are going in holes all over, so we will be very elegant! Anyway, you see that we are keeping our guests busy!

Western Costain Cousin!

I seem to have digressed from the subject of Christmas presents, but while I thought of pieces of news I thought I might as well put them in. Cec wants to thank you so much for his presents too. He was very amused with his ‘Genius at work’ notice and hung it on the front of his shirt, and we will have to put it up in his study when he gets one. He likes his new tie and was very impressed with the new shell you sent him. He was showing it to everyone, and likes it so much – we really have quite a collection of “West Indiana’ now and it is so interesting to have and to show to people. We both like to the St. Vincent map Air Mail that you said to Cec and plan to put it either in our scrapbook or up with our other maps in ‘your’ room.
Last but not least – thank you so much for all my lovely presents. When we opened your parcel and Cec kept handing out package after package for me the Moors were astonished and kept saying ‘How many more?” I love them all – the pink shirt blouse is so pretty and I think that I will have to get a nice new skirt to wear it with. I am quite out of spare skirts now, and I really need one to wear around the house, but which is nice enough to wear for coffee etc. too. I have already worn the pretty little white sweater with the skirt from my pinky suit, and had it much admired. It is very cute and is quite new here as yet, so you are ahead of the fashion for me. I was really delighted with both the blouse and sweater and you know how much I like to get things to wear. The little earrings are so pretty and you couldn’t have chosen better as I had written on my request list “gold and pearl necklace’ as they are all the fashion now – gold chains with pearls interspersed, and Linda gave me a very nice one, and here are your earrings to match perfectly. I wear a gold belt with my bright green wool dress, so they all go beautifully, and on Christmas day I was just like a Christmas tree! Merle had on a pretty red suit dress, so together we looked very seasonal! Last of all the fascinating wash-cloth sponge which Linda is longing for me to try! So far I have kept it for something special, but I can see that neither of us is going to hold out for long. It was a really lovely parcel, and we all enjoyed it so much. The burney sugar cake from May and Nora was a lovely surprise, and I will be writing to them in a little while. Tell Auntie Muriel too that I will be writing soon, but in the meanwhile that I am enjoying her talcum powder and that over New Year weekend we all had a great fun doing Charlie’s jigsaw puzzle! I did want to tell you though that I thought you did wonderfully with all the presents – they were all cute and unusual nice little things for everyone which we all had fun with. I also want to thank you for your cards and all your nice letters. I am sorry that I won’t have time to answer them today, but I was so glad that you and Auntie Muriel had a nice Christmas dinner at Uncle Fred’s and that you had a happy day.
I wanted to tell you that I got Mr. Olmsted’s bill the other day for your glasses, $9.25, including the cost of Airmail to you, so I took your cheque and made it out for $11.25, got the money and paid him and then bought the enclosed cord for your earphone. I couldn’t remember how much they were, but I did recall that last time I underestimated, so this time I got the extra $2.00 to be sure, and found out that it was $1.75! I had parked the car in the parking building and it was 25¢ so I told Mrs. Costain that you had treated us to our parking that day! It was a bitterly cold day too, last week, but we had quite successful shopping. The material shop where I got my pure Italian silk was having a sale of woolens, so we went and got Mrs. Costain a very pretty soft wool material to make a dressmaker type suit. It is a nice soft shade of dark turquoise and we got a pattern, and when she has finished Linda’s coat she will have to start on this. I had got Cec a warm blue shirt for Christmas and when he came to try it on the sleeves were much too short, so I took it back and got him another – red this time, so he not only is warm, but he looks warm too!
I must stop now as I am getting to the end of the paper, and I don’t want to get onto another sheet as I am sending the cord. Charlie has written you a letter though and I have our list of presents to send so we will write again soon and I will tell you all are doing over the festive season! I feel I am just beginning to get back to normal now, as last week after the holidays I had a huge washing – 8 machines full at the Coinwash!
Lots of love from us all and big hugs ,

December 17 1961

17t Dec. 1961

Dearest Mummy,
Did your ears burn or anything this morning? I ask because we were all thinking of you in church when the Rector dedicated your “Fair Linen” which was on the altar and said it was “a gift from the mother of one of our members Mrs. C. Ewing who lives in St. Vincent West Indies”. The children were very pleased that he did it when they were in church and it looked awfully nice.
Your package arrived yesterday morning just as Lindy and I were getting ready to set off to Ballet, so I opened it to take a peek and then took it straight away and left it at Mrs. Cravens’. Mrs. Pierce who is now Pres. of the Altar Guild, phoned to say how delighted they were to have a new altar cloth for Christmas & that Mr. Pulker was going to dedicate it today & she also said that the heavier linen hung beautifully, so you needn’t worry about that.

Mom and Dad Costain arrived on Friday at 5:15 and are both looking very well. We had planned to have Charlie’s birthday party that day so had to hastily change it to the Thurs. Cec took Charlie and 4 of his friends to a movie “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby & Danny Kaye & they loved it.

White Christmas

Then they came home to dinner – roast chicken with hot rolls, relishes, potato crisps etc. – then cake & ice cream. They were wildly excited & poor Cec was exhausted! Charlie’s real day is Tuesday of course – your parcels came & I am saving them. We have a little steam engine for him that really works!!! Also I have a new tweed jacket for him & a blue velvet dress for Lindy!
Must stop & send my last Ottawa Christmas cards.
Love to all from us all,

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?