From California

Cyn shared letters of interest with her mother, and this one, from her colleague Edie who had moved to California in December 1950, and was missed and mourned by Cyn at work, was annotated and sent on by Cyn. It gives an interesting impression of Los Angeles 70 years ago, as well as a rather sad impression of loneliness that I hope Cyn responded to.

January 29


Dear Cyn,

It was wonderful getting your letter Friday. I am so glad you ran out of things to do Monday afternoon. I started to answer Friday night, but found there was so much I wanted to say that thought I’d better wait till this noon to type it or I’d have to pay parcel post rates.

Might’s well begin from the beginning. I still don’t remember exactly what happened from the time I bid farewell to So. Bend and I boarded the El Capitán- one mad dash after another and me struggling with two bags and a hot box. What a time!

The El Cap is a beautiful train- soft music, comfortable chairs, lunch bar, courier nurses with descriptions of the scenery, etc. The porters, conductors, & waiters were ever so friendly. Most of the passengers had time schedules & every time we passed through a town there was a mad swishing of papers to find out where we were.

I liked Colorado ever so much – Dot Hendee is so right about those wonderful mountains – huge mounds of sifted wheat flour sprinkled with pepper. Nex Mexico was not quite so interesting – too much flat, brown, dry, land. Saw a great many deserted rodeo fences. Friday night was exciting – the poor little engine puffing along about 30 miles an hour up and around the mountains. I could see the engine and eleven cars ahead make the turns before our car reached them. We forgot about the last time change and were up at 3:30 to beat the last minute rush for the john Saturday morning. Our first sight of California – orange & lemon trees, vineyards, and palm trees. I couldn’t get over the palm trees – long handled feather dusters stuck in the ground. We went past a tenement district and the “Tree Grows in Brooklyn” was an overloaded orange tree. The mountains are always in sight – on cloudy days they look like fairy castles or a mass of fluffy clouds. It is truly beautiful – the sunsets are just like the pictures you see of them.

There was a huge mob waiting at the station for the Easterners. Keith Brown, the sockman’s friend, met me, took me to coffee, gave me all sorts of advice about jobs, people, & California, and then deposited me at the Windermere Hotel in Santa Monica. It was a wonderful introduction to California. [Cyn’s note of explanation: The sockman is a man Edie is keen on- she knitted him socks for Christmas!]

The hotel is old but nice – had a lovely room with bath for not too much. I could see the ocean from my window. In front of the hotel ran Ocean Blvd, then a very narrow parkway, a steep hill, Ocean Front (another street), then the beach and the OCEAN. The people at the hotel were ever so nice to me and never suspected that it was my first stay at a hotel. I slept most of Saturday and the rest of the day was in a daze of disbelieve – I had really arrived in Calif.! Sunday I took a long walk still not believing that I was actually here. Had dinner at Bennett’s – recommended by Duncan Heinz in his book “Adventures in Eating”. It was located on Yacht Harbour – a pier extending out into the ocean. The place was packed with atmosphere – the host wore a seacaptain’s cap, the salad and chowder were served in sea shells, and the menu was carved on a wooden fish.

Monday started the job hunt. Tried getting into selling, but even with pull I still have had no experience in it and after Christmas is not so good. I finally settled on a steno job in the J. C. Penney Company West Coast Buying Office. The pay is not so good but they give us insurance, a Christmas bonus, discounts on things bought in Penney’s, a chance to buy clothes from here wholesale, and lots of experience (they say). My boss Mr. J. W. Parker Fox is the buyer for women’s coats, and suits, and children’s coats. He has been ever so nice to me- his bark is much worse than his bite. Don Hill- young, handsome, & married, is his assistant and has been nice, too. Then there are Nancy & Alicia. Nancy is older & Alicia just out of U.C.L.A. They are ever so nice too. I take dictation mostly, file, work on casters – flyers giving the “hotest” buys. I like it better than I did at first. It’s a mad rush all the time. We go out for coffee morning and afternoon (miss AA coffee times terribly).

I started work January 16 and that same day I moved from the hotel to a room with private entrance, some cooking privileges, use of the phone, & washing privileges. Mrs. Jones, a grandmotherly sort of person, has been very kind to me. But I am moving February 10 to an apartment with Alicia and her friend. It is a cute apartment – just like you expect to find out here. A huge bedroom, front room, bath, and kitchen and a patio. The furniture is all new and is very attractive. I hated to leave Santa Monica and the ocean, but I’m going to save .40 a day on bus fare so I guess it’s more than worth it. My new address will be 517 South Commonwealth, Los Angeles 5, Calif.

We have had grand weather – upper 60’s and 70’s. Had several days of rain, but not many. The fog was bad Friday morning but not nearly what I expected from rumors.

Cyn, the distances out here are unbelievable. There are five telephone directories in Los Angeles county and long distance rates between directories. Santa Monica is one of the many neighbourhoods that make up Los Angeles- Hollywood, Westwood, Beverly Hills, Glendale, Burbank, San Bernardino, Long Beach are a few of the others. Los Angeles itself covers over 400 square miles and Los Angeles County covers over 4000 square miles. Santa Monica is 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles. (I leave the house at 7:30 get to work by 9:00). Long Beach is 27 miles on the other side of downtown Los Angeles. It is truly amazing. They have Grey Hound service between some points of L.A. No one seems to know too much about where places are. I just start out with plenty of time – wait on the street corner until the bus comes along – ask the driver how I get there and he will say to take one of these- blue bus, red bus, yellow & green bus, one of the street cars, one of the trolley cars, the Pacific Electric, or the subway. More fun. You can’t be in a hurry.

Parts of Los Angeles are built on the mountains and it is very pretty at night with the lights on different levels. The sockman arrived in L.A. Jan 12th and has shown me Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Restaurant Row, Miracle Mile- shopping district, the Cock & Bull- had their specialty Moscow Mule- hard to tell what was in it.

The rest of the letter is handwritten.

(noon hour is over.) All sorts of flowers are out here- Easter lilies, geraniums, iris, glads, crocuses, & poinsettas – these haven’t been so good this year – they lost all their green leaves. Cyn, it is truly a wonderful place. I haven’t been disappointed at all in it. I think I’m going to stay.

Although I’ve made the hour drive to downtown Los Angeles twice a day for over two weeks, I still see things I haven’t seen before. There is a shop I’m anxious to visit – the London Shop. It looks so interesting. They have bright red carpeting (a fellow was vacuuming it the other day when we passed) which made it look like a royal uniform of some sort. I’ll let you know what it’s like.

Riding back & forth so far makes my evenings so short; and there is something about the weather here that you feel best if you get to bed early. These have delayed my writing but the real reason for my not writing before was that I missed you folks so much – you wouldn’t have been able to read my writing for the tear blotches. Cynthia, it has been terrible – I liked the place but I ached to see someone I knew. Did you ever feel that way when you first came to Toledo? Why, in sending stuff out from work – the mere typing of “Lubbock” or “Portland” made tears come to my eyes. Isn’t that awful! I’m getting used to work now, but mornings I dreaded going to work for it was so different from the Field Office.

Say, the Coffee Room really sounds spacious. How does the coffee taste? Do they serve doughnuts or are you all still on diets? For coffee here we down down on the elevator from 10th floor to Angeles- half cocktail bar & half restaurant. Oh, & most tragic, California does not know long johns or bismarks! Yes, really, they look at me as though I’m mad when I ask for a long john. I’ve been eating doughnuts. Once in a while we go to a juice bar- you dash in & stand drinking a glass of juice- orange, lemon, coconut, sauerkraut, carrot, etc. Round on the walls are signs – coconut juice is good for ulcers- businessman rush in every morning for their coconut juice. Funny! The people are friendly here but casual. I ran into an oddity Don Hill from our office is a Californian of two generations. Ran into a number of people from Detroit – was talking to all sorts of people.

So nothing exciting is happening round the Field Office – have to do something about that. Should I send another telegram?

Have you had any more conversations with Miss Muir over in Payroll? Or things rolling smoothly? Hope so. 

I was so glad to hear about Milly’s baby coming. Can just see you folks working away on little things & talking about them. My sister’s baby arrived early – surprised us New Year’s day. Kathleen Marie Cooney – Irish! Hear she is quite a darling. [Cyn’s note: Scandal!! Sister only married last July!]. How is Jerry taking it- still so careful? Have they decided on names as yet? That semester certainly went fast! Doesn’t seem possible Les will be back. How did the Sampling get through after Christmas any rushes then? Who all was at Pete’s for bridge? Wish I could have been there. We surely used to have fun – you would have liked it, Cynthia. Tell Millie & Dawn “hello”. Good to hear from them, too. Tell Dawn Pall Malls are 17¢ here. Yes, in spite of the fact that Calif has a 3 1/2% sales tax, too. Don’t understand it. Was sorry to hear about Dawn’s unrestful vacation. Glad she can take it easier at work now. Is her father better now & her brother, too? Glad to hear about Leen’s changing. Marie certainly sounds nice. She is tall! I like the green sweater Millie is knitting – that little rayon thread is so pretty in it. Oh, it was so good to hear from you all & about everything. Tell Bob Bruisma “hello”. He was so nice that last day- driving me all around – don’t know what I should have done without him. I used to pester him so for supplies. Wish I could see his tables in the coffee room – bet they’re ever so nice.

Cynthia, what have you been reading- anything exciting? I saw “Tom Brown’s School Days” on TV last night & liked it very much. My, the pranks they used to pull at Rugby! Do they still do it? Have you seen the January issue of “Flair”? It had some interesting things about England & all the coming summer activities. Did you know that Mr. Sadler of Sadler Wells discovered a well in 1693. It was located in the garden outside his music studio. Thought that was interesting.

Tell Milly & Dawn to tell Jerry & Burt “hello”. I could go on and on here but think it’s best I stop until next time. If you ever run out of things to do again, Cyn, I’ll be ever so glad to hear from you- every day. Tell Cec “hello”. It was so good of him to come with the Field Office to see me off. I love to watch you two together- teasing each other all the time. It was such fun that Guy Fowlks (sp.)? evening. Don’t you suppose maybe you folks could go to Canada via California? I’d love to see you. It’s a wonderful place & I’m sure you’d enjoy it. How’s the driving coming? Is MacTavish (that doesn’t sound just right) behaving well? Yes, I finished my socks in time & they were appreciated. How was the sweater? Get it into shape? Thank you for missing me, Cynthia. I surely have missed you. Tell Shirley I’m writing to her. “Hello” to everyone. Don’t work too hard & let me hear from you. 



From Poland

During the war, Cyn, her family, and friends in Newcastle had come to know some of the Polish officers who were part of the Polish Armed Forces in the West.  Her friend Anne had met and married Tadek Winnick, who had become a British citizen, and they were now living in Cambridge with their baby daughter Janita. But her friend Ludwik had a mother in Warsaw, to whom Cyn had sent parcels, so he had returned there, presumably after the forces were disbanded in 1947, and in 1950 Cyn had sent a Christmas card to his mother’s address, explaining her marriage and move to the States. This letter is his reply, alluding to their mutual interest in philately- see the envelope!- and giving interesting details of his life. The shadow of the Cold War hangs over this letter.  I hope she answered and sent him his requests.

I have transcribed this as faithfully as I could, but some words gave me trouble, although the general sense is clear.

Warsaw, Poland.

 1. J. 1951.

Dear Cynthia, 

After the long interval, who was about one year, I have got desired letter and erlier two “Lifes”. Thans ever so much. I thought that you being somewher in a big World completely forgot after me.

I am enjoying to know that you have a happy married life and to know that your Mother lives quietly in her native country. Please write to her, that in Poland is very cold winter, snow, wind and that I envy her tropical sun, warm, tell her that we in Poland see the coloured people only in the pictures except Paul Robeson, an american singer who was twice in Warsaw.

Dearest Cynthia, the cardinal differance in the mood of life, there where you are and here is, that you can organize your life as you like and wish but our life is bound with realization a great idea which is called socialism. In our country are performing the big transformations in all kind of life, social, political, cultural and economical. It is very difficult to be out of those changes. One must deal with them.

As you know I am living in Warsaw with my mother who keeps our small house. I have a dog name “Azor” he is very funny dog and attached to our home. I get up very erly in the morning at 5:30 and go by bus to my office. The communications in Warsaw are difficult problem. It takes me one and half hour to get office. Work begin at 7:30 up to 18:00. We have many conferences, meetings and akademies[?]. I am welfare officer in a big cooperative which has establishments in many cities in Poland. I like my new job, because social welfare helps many people especially women children. When I am at home I read very much. Histori of political system, teorie [theory?] of Marxism, art, philosophy. My hobbies is collecting the new one Polish stamps. I have many of them and I would like to send you some of them.

I am not get married yet because the times are unquiet but I appreciate the married life and I am longing for. I fear the war because I have to go away.

My thoughts are travelling to those times when I was abroad and I am longing for friends.

Dear Cynthia, the post is going well, always put adress in the same way as last (my mother). I have got all the magazines which you sent to me. Do not fear, please send them as much as you can. “Lifes” are very interesting lecture[?]. Excuse me my asking but if you can send me some coffe. Unfortunately there without coffe for a while. My mother remembers that you were so kind and during the war sent her some tins. She keeps them as a souvenir, but they are empty. Please write to me as often as you can. Maybe soon we could see once again. I think that independent of which side we are, we always could be good friends. You know, the world is divided, but not really. Please write me, your husband knows foreign languages. In the New Year the best wishes and I wish be peace. I send you and your husband my best regards. 

                    Your friend 


P. S.

Excuse my English, it is very bad, because for a long time I did not speak at all and not read. Please, let me know, if you read the nice book Somerset “On the Edge of a Razor”. I am enchanted of this book. What you thinks, Larry was a communist or not, because as you know, he left all his things and went to America to be a chauffer. I read this book in Polish but I would like to have original copy to compare.

I send you some Polish stamps for your friends, if you want more I will send more, because I have many of them.

Once again I send for you and your husband the best regards and please write to me as soon as possible. 

                       Your friend Ludwic—— 

This letter is giving two weeks.

January 31 1951

31st Jan. 1951

Dearest Mummy,

We are in the middle of a Cold Wave and you basking in the sun & a bathing twice a day!! Since the weekend it has been so cold- the night before last was 5° below zero, & another place in Michigan not far away was 43° below! Last night and today weren’t quite so bad as it was snowing but plenty bad enough for me! We were very pleased because MacTavish has been a good car & has started off each morning without a murmur, & lots & lots of people were stuck & couldn’t get their cars to go at all.

Since I last wrote your two kiddies have been poorly bad with colds. I told you that Cec had an awful cold the week before last, but it seemed to be getting better, then on Tues. of last week I began to get a sore throat etc. & stayed away from work in the afternoon. However, Wed. it was really in full swing & continued so & to make matters worse, Cec’s cold got bad again too, so there were the two of us snuffling away & feeling mis. together! I stayed at home all the rest of the week & Cec worked at home most of the time, but it wasn’t really till Sunday as we began to feel at all cheery again, & even now we still sound coldy & are snuffling & blowing away. It’s the most horrid cold I remember having for a long time, but being back at work this week we feel quite cheery again & in our usual spirits!

You can imagine there’s not much Noos with our being in the house most of last week. I used to stay in bed most of the mornings & Cec would bring me my breakfast, & I would get up around lunch time. Cec worked, but I felt so heavy and fractious! that I would read for a bit & then get fed up & knit for a little etc. etc.! I was finally reduced to “Set in Silver”& (s-sh!) “Jo of the Chalet School” & they kept me amused! On Sunday Cec went up to the drug store for a paper & came back with a jigsaw puzzle!! Quite like old times! Millie (from work) & her husband Jerry called in to see how I was on Sat. and mentioned they were doing one, so it reminded Cec as it were & it really was fun. We began it on Sunday evening & got about 1/3 of the way when I was sent to bed. Then on Monday morning lo & behold- it was all done except the sky- my naughty little husband! We finished the sky on Mon. evening, & now Milly & Jerry are going to swap theirs with us! Cec & I were saying though, that it doesn’t seem right doing jigsaws without you & Frank here too!

Last week to cheer our colds we got your nice long letter begun on Jan 12th, & telling about going to the bungalow, & also that at last our parcel had arrived. I am so glad that it did get there safely, though late, but sorry that you had to pay so much duty – I suppose the bag & galoshes would be the worst offenders. I was sorry the silly little snapshot album got there first as a false alarm! It was supposed to be just an oddment in the big parcel, as you had mentioned you needed another album, but when I was packing it just wouldn’t fit in, so I sent it separately. You needn’t worry that I am still holding out over the snaps we took in Canada – I still haven’t got them – probably Carman is busy just like his big brother!

This week I got your little fat envelope with the John Hazell diary in it, & I was so pleased! It is lovely & I am delighted to have it – Cec was going to get me one, but hadn’t done so yet, so I hadn’t got one & was feeling the need- thank you very, very much – & also for the cute Christmas card with all the little “cards” in. I didn’t say thank you for your letters yet, but we both love them, as we always do, & say thank you very much.

It is my bedtime now, so I must stop, but will write more at the weekend. Have a lovely time at the beach – we’ll be thinking of you.

              With lots & lots of love 

                                           from Cyn & Cec

I want to add a note about the ‘comfort’ books Cyn was ashamed of reading while she was ill.  I have mentioned my library before- 5000 + books- which I built up by hanging on to all my books from childhood on up, and those of my parents, and then adding to the collection.  So besides battered Agatha Christies, Sayers, Simenon, and sundry other murders from the Classic era, I have Cyn’s “Set in Silver”, a copy originally given by her to her mother in the 20s judging by the handwriting, and suffering from mold due to our occasionally flooded basement in twentieth century Ottawa, when the sump pump broke down.  C.N and A.M. Williamson wrote mild romances about the early days of the automobile (even one about the air)- a sub-genre with a brief life, but one shared by Dornford Yates, whose books had more adventure in them, with car chases that I believe influenced Ian Fleming. Would James Bond films be the same without Yates and the Williamsons?

I have been a bookworm since childhood, and was always puzzled by those questions about hobbies since if you had a book to read, you did not need a hobby, but now that I think about it, I have to admit my hobby from my teens on was ferreting out books for my collection from secondhand bookshops!  The Chalet School books, of which Cyn had three, were English school stories by Elinor M. Brent Dyer, set in Austria in the 20s- to me, an exotic, unfamiliar setting (as to the mountains anyway, Ottawa had plenty of snow); a completely different sort of school life- only girls, living at school, speaking different languages; and I wanted more!  So while Cyn had a few books by these authors, I collected as many as I could, helped by the reprinting of the Chalet School books in paperback in the 60s, the bookshops in England with the discards of the decades, and then the internet with access to discards across the former empire. (I should mention that the Chalet School books have a very solid fan base, some of these books are very expensive now, but the writers on fan fiction sites keep the school going for free!) Now I may have a dozen Williamsons, all the Chalet books, and all the Dornford Yates, Maurice Walsh- not literature, but the genre junk of Cyn’s day, plus a lot from my own day.  My excuse for carting around this library all my life was that I invariably lived in places without book stores and with limited libraries- and libraries throw out their old books (some of my best acquisitions result from this habit) so they aren’t always available to reread, which is what Cyn and I wanted to do. Now there are ebooks, so the present generation will not have the packing problem I had whenever we moved, and can read privately without going s-sh like Cyn…

Christmas 1950

Cyn and Cec had invited their friends, the Boveys, to come for Christmas- the latest physicist pair transplanted from Cambridge to North America, now living in Ottawa where Cec and Cyn expect to go within the next year, but not very happy about it. However, they obviously resumed their Cambridge habits, because this Christmas letter is written as they play bridge together, just as they had in England!  Connie and Len had known Carol Ewing from the time before Cyn and Cec were married, so they join in sending her a description of their day.  The handwriting switches whenever a new hand is played and someone else is dummy- all except for Len, who played every hand, and was left to send a message on the envelope!

Christmas day – evening.

Dear Mrs. Ewing – 

In case you don’t recognize my writing this is Connie starting a Christmas day round robin to you from we four –

Today Cyn & I coped with a turkey all alone without our respective mothers to give advice!  After an enormous meal of ‘it’ – or at least part of, plus stuffing, cranberry sauce, creamed potatoes, beans & tomato aspic salad we have retired exhausted for a game of bridge with a faint hope of having the plum pudding & hard sauce later.

This letter will become a bit disjointed because whoever’s dummy adds a bit.

CYN Hello honey bunny – this is Cyn! I am dummy and poor Cec is struggling away with a bid of 3 hearts and a Yarbrough except for one Jack, which was a present from me!!

We have been busy talking about our Mummies all day and hope that you have all had a happy, happy Christmas. I went to Church at 8 o’clock this morning- Connie was coming with me but didn’t feel well this morning – then just got home in time to hear the “round the world” broadcast & dear little Kingie! Cec made it – I go!

CEC Now I am the dummy. Cyn out to make 1 club to get us game. 

I am wearing my sweater. Do you know, the one she started sometime ago? Also a pair of blue slacks & a belt – presents from my little wife. We’ve been very practical this Christmas, -we needed clothes & have got them for presents. Fun.

We are having a lovely lazy loafing lounging time with the Boveys. (Cyn is way past her bid.)

CYN Me again! We are doing well just now – Leonard thinks the cards are being horrid to him!

We are having the nicest time – we were fair wore out by the time work finished on Friday, but Connie & Len arrived on Sat. morning (stayed a night with a friend in Detroit) & since then we have had a lovely time. Connie & Len are most helpful visitors & I just put my feet up! You would have laughed to see Connie & me coping with this enormous turkey (14 1/2 lbs.)  He was a beauty, but we were quite puzzled by his anatomy – we kept making more & more stuffing to fill him up, & then in the end he swelled so, that the stuffing burst out, but we all thought he was delicious!

Church this morning was very quiet. I drove down of course & found only about 20 – 30 people there, & although there were 3 Christmas trees – two very big – there were no decorations or lights on them, so it all looked rather dim and gloomy. We sang in rather a quavery way, but I piped up. 

I was so happy to hear the English programme- did you hear it? I cried & cried & was so pleased about hearing it all!! The King’s voice wasn’t very clear, but we could hear most of it.

CEC Yes Cyn enjoyed Georgie. We have been having a wonderful run of cards- three game bids in a row made.

McTavish is behaving quite well – a few things to be fixed. We are off to see Til & Lois on Wed., if the roads are good. We are being careful. (Cyn made 3 diamonds, so back to bridge.) She was stubborn and now has to play 4 clubs which she won’t make.

You mustn’t worry about (down one) Cyn’s dieting. (down two) I was keeping an eye on her, & she kept her good nature all the week. She lost enough & won’t be doing it again. (down three). But now she’s trying again with 2 diamonds.

How do you like the running commentary on our game. Cyn gave me a ‘dairy’ – and a lovely ashtray. One of these kinds loaded with shot which will stay anywhere you put it. (She made it!!!)  (Bridge)

We’ve got our Xmas tree with our little Angel on top, she still looks lovely, Cyn I mean. Lots & lots of love Cec XX XX

CYN Isn’t that a nice husband? My presents were lovely- a dress and a handbag from seats! The dress is a pale blue wool jersey & has a pinky-red & navy blue swathed belt. It buttons on each shoulder with 3 buttons (material covered) and the button holes are bound with the navy & pink – it’s pretty. The handbag is a thing I needed badly as I haven’t a brown one at all – it is “corday” like that black one I bought in Toledo & is the cutest boxy shape – I had a lovely Santa Claus! My other presents were a book by Simenon from Mrs. Allan, a pale blue hanky-puff from Nan, bath cubes from Irene & very pretty little cocktail mats from Amy. Cec & I together got a lovely book of photos of Cambridge & Oxford from Connie & Len, the Book Club from Dottie, & a sub. to Readers Digest for a year from Cec’s sister Merle & Dixon. We also got a cake & sherry from the S’s & an angel food cake from Mrs. Kaufman, & Cec got a lovely book of cartoons from Irene & Bill. Your parcel hasn’t come yet, but it is fun to look forward to & know it is coming. We got Bren’s lovely lacquer bowls & think they are beautiful.

Must stop now, & get it mailed. Poor Len never got to be dummy but sends his love & Connie too. I’ll write a real epic later in the week, but want to send this to tell you we are thinking of you & send hugs & kisses for the New Year. 

                                     Lots of love from


November Christmas Parcels

At the end of November 1950, Cyn sent her friends in England, who were still under post-wartime scarcity and rationing, Christmas parcels- nylons for the women, toys or outfits for their children, and raisins and candy tucked in for a treat.  She and Cec sent out 75 Christmas cards- 50 fewer than the year before when they were newlyweds, but their student life had changed- they were in a different university in different country, and, as Cyn’s letters have shown, Cec’s university friends had also left Cambridge and dispersed to universities and research positions around the world. 

Here is Cyn’s List:

I meant to tell you my diet the other day too- this is it.

It is Friday today (24th) & is so cold! Went down to 1°F last night & was around 15° today – we are so happy it is the weekend & we can hibernate for 2 days! We went shopping at the grocery after work & bought in our week’s supplies, so won’t starve even if we get snowed in!

Packed a parcel to my Father tonight & will post tomorrow – I put in sweets, chocolate, sugar lumps- two pkts Patience cards – 2 books – 1 book X-word puzzles-soap- dates – raisins & 2 little pkts of tissues for colds etc. Hope it gets there before Christmas.

My bulbs I planted are doing fine (paper whites) – there are 5, & they are like this- all different heights! But they are nice & green & fun to watch!

Must stop now & get us a “snake”! Hot cocoa tonight I think – but no sandwich for me – must watch my figure! 

            Lots of love love and hugs 



Postmarked Nov. 27, the back is stamped 22 Dec.- must have gone by sea!

November 21 1950

Field Office

 Survey Research Center 

21st Nov. 1950

Dearest Mummy,

I have a few minutes to spare at work this afternoon, and I thought it might make you laugh to hear a little bit about some of the funny people I deal with via the Post Office! We have about 200 interviewers or more, you know, scattered all over the States, & of course they write to us about all sorts of things, & we get to know them & I visualize what they look like & then usually look in my card index & find they are quite different! For instance, I visualized Carma Durban as being a beautiful tall blonde girl about 25, & she turns out to be a little fat woman of 57 with grey hair!!

One of our interviewers that you would be interested in is a gentleman called Erving B. Weeks. He lives in Syracuse, N.Y. & is 70 years old! In addition to that, he is quite, quite deaf, but lipreads so well that he is one of our best interviewers & turns in all his things beautifully written up & at the right time. Isn’t that amazing? Another old couple we have are Mr. & Mrs. Friedberg who both interview in New York – they are both about 60 or so, & yet they have done practically all our surveys & their writing is just beautiful, it’s so neat & perfect on all the things they send in.

Besides having some interesting people we have some awfully funny names- how do you like Miss Lavinia Derryberry? Or Miss Fidelia McLaughlin of Minnehaha? Or Mr. Julian Plant? Or Mr. Henry Arachtingi or Casimir Irmo? Aren’t they lovely? Some of the places are funny too- like Mrs. Fleta Fern Russell of Arkadelphia Arkansas!!

One of my favourite interviewers was a middle-aged fat man with a ruddy complexion (so his identity card says!) called George W. Puffer- he was always most enthusiastic & sent all his interviews & forms etc. in at the right time (is in Los Angeles) & even wrote at the bottom of one thing which had to be in on a certain date “Stayed up till 4 a.m. to get this done but sure enjoyed this survey”,!! Anyway, what do you think one of the Supervisors told Edie? Friend George & his wife are Nudists & invited this lady to go & spend a weekend with them at the Nudist Camp they visit!!

You remember my mentioning Edie before? She is secretary to Charlie Cannell, the Head of the Field Office, and is such a nice girl – so friendly & popular with everyone – well, anyway, she is leaving at Christmas. She has decided that she can get no further at the Center, & it is a very floating staff- people like me – coming & staying for a few months & then leaving while Edie stays on. She has the highest salary for secretaries now, & sees no future in it, so she is just going to pack her bag, and take a bus & go out to California! Out there she wants to get work in a big store, & see if she can’t work her way up to be a buyer or something of the sort, as she likes that kind of thing. I am most sad to see her go & don’t know what I will do without her, but I think she will do well & hope that she likes it. There has been all sorts of agitation, as to who will get Edie’s job, which is quite a terrific one, & even some probes as to whether I would like it, although I don’t take shorthand, but both the heads & I feel that it wouldn’t be much use training me & then someone to take my place in a few months time, but both Cec & I feel very pleased that they would even consider me for such a job- Cec says “from the bottom to the top of the ladder in 4 months”! But still, I am happy with my nice little un-responsible job & don’t want to become a career girl!

November 23 Thursday 

Thanksgiving Day.

I had to stop & do some work then, so I am finishing this off now before we go to the Sutherlands to eat our Thanksgiving Dinner. Wasn’t it nice of them to ask us? I have spent the day sleeping- writing letters- & washing my hair! I wrote to Connie & Len – Joan Cox – & my Father – & sent birthday to Joan & to Ruth Schatz & got one ready for Maude Allan. I got letters yesterday from AGL (thanking me for birthday letter & card), Bar & one from you – written Nov. 12th. Thank you so much for it, and for the P.C. of Villa – I remembered seeing it before, but it was much more interesting now that I know which bungalow you are in & that you bathe there & see the plane coming in. I was horrified about the sharks- you be careful!!

I am so glad that you are enjoying your holiday & the bathing, although the mosquitoes are so bad. I hope that the weather is cooler now & that you are enjoying it even more. It has been cold & a bit snowy here all week, but today was very bright & cold & sunny to begin with, & then suddenly got grey & has begun to snow quite hard. It seems to be wet snow, so isn’t lying, but it looks pretty. Isn’t it funny me being snowed on, & you being bitten & bathing?! You seem to be having a very gay time at the bungalow, what with entertaining & parties, & so on- I hope you aren’t wearing yourselves out, but really are beachcombing!

We had quite a gay time- for us! – last week, & went out 3 times, which was fun as a bit of a spree after Cec’s hard toil! On Tuesday we went to a concert in our “series” & it was Myra Hess, & we enjoyed it very much indeed. Gunborg & Gordon were there with Anne, & afterwards Anne wanted Myra Hess’ autograph, so we all trooped around to the stage door & got in & stood at the door of her room with a mass of people. There was a little man ushering people in & out & when he saw Anne’s pen & programme he said she wasn’t signing any autographs, so I told him Anne was English, whereupon he ushered us both in & up to the front & introduced us as “two girls from England”! Anne got her autograph as a special concession & I told Myra Hess I knew friends of hers (C’Zelma & Em) & she asked after them, & sent them her love. We felt very triumphant!

On Thursday evening Cec & I & Gunborg went to see a professional tennis match which was given in the big University Field House. Gorgeous Gussy was playing, & Pauline Betz- then Jack Kramer & Pancho Segura. We had a grand time & thoroughly enjoyed it- the tennis was wonderful – girls singles (Pauline won) men’s singles (Pancho won) then a doubles when Gussie & Kramer won. Besides the tennis of course we were all tickled to see Gussie who wore her lace pants & was a honey, but Pauline was bound & determined to out-do her & wore silver lamé shorts & then leopard skin shorts! We still liked Gussie best, & we thoroughly enjoyed the good sportsmanship & good spirit there seem to be. Pancho was the funniest little man – small & bowlegged (he had polio) but like a flash on the courts. It was a really good evening.

On Saturday evening – after a wild day Christmas shopping- we went & played bridge with Dawn & Burt (remember they were at my tea party?) They are a very nice couple- exactly “our type” & we had a lovely time- also played good bridge & won!! Burt was in Italy during the war & got thoroughly converted to opera, spaghetti and wine- so we drank muscatel wine all evening and it was nice. We enjoyed having a bridge evening again. On Sunday I packed my parcels, & got most of them off at the beginning of the week- I’ll tell you all I sent in my next!

Last week also I was on my diet! I was very good & didn’t lapse at all- till the weekend, a little! We bought our scales & I ate lunch at work each day & I lost a pound a day regularly from the Monday to Sunday- I was 125 to begin with & I am now 119! Isn’t that clever of me? I kept saying to Cec I didn’t know where it was going from as I saw very little difference in my clothes etc. but he said “Honey, you have no back porch now!” I’m going to send you my diet so you’ll see how wonderfully strong-willed I was all week- tea with no sugar and milk & not even one slice of bread all week!  Must leave it till next time though, as it is time to go now. We must buy Christmas cards tomorrow & try & get them off this weekend – hope all these things will be in time. I feel very relieved that my parcels are mostly all away – yours aren’t because I couldn’t get what I wanted, but they’ll go this weekend!

By the way – you asked about pictures we took this summer – we did take some in Saskatoon, but left them there for Carman to make some prints for us, & so far we have none yet. I reminded him last time we wrote, so I hope to have some for you sometime. Cec hasn’t been able to use his “gadget” to take pictures of us both yet – his cable release is the wrong size or something & he hasn’t got around to doing anything yet!! Sometime – we’ll send some pictures.         

With lots & lots of love to my little Mamma 

                    from Cyn & Cec.

[Cec’s handwriting:] These chickens are both stuffed with turkey- I ate too much, anyway. Cyn will probably gain back all she lost on her diet. You should see her now- real whistle bait.                                                

Love Cec.

A note about Carol’s ‘holiday’ in St Vincent that Cyn refers to.  In her stories about her Mother’s childhood, she told about the way the family would go on an excursion for the day, packing the children into a wagon with driver and servants to take hours to go from the town to Villa 6 miles away, while the ladies followed later in the carriage and the gentlemen rode horses. Once there, they would swim, picnic, the children would play, the ladies rest, and the gentlemen would inspect the Isolation Hospital on the tiny island opposite the beach, where the French fort from the Napoleonic wars remained. [The story ‘After the Hurricane 1898’ which I posted back in January.] Now it appears that bungalows have been built by that beach, and the Hazell sisters have moved out of town for a bit of R&R in one of them, enjoying the same things that they had done as children.  This was a tradition that Cyn & Cec were to continue- staying out there for part of our holiday when I was 6, and renting one for their winter holidays once my brother and I were at university!

By Sea- Oddments

This is basically a collection of pictures and notes, illustrating the back-and-forth between Cyn and her mother, Carol.  

Pictures from Carol: These are very sturdy, matt, and have her comments on the back. The big one was posted earlier, when the pictures were mentioned in a letter. (Nov 1 1950) It is stuck in the scrapbook, so anything written on the back is unavailable.

Carol Alone. Grannie’s writing: “Another of me with Moo cut off- I look rather soft – It’s my hanky I have in my hand and not my teeth as PWV suggested!”
Moo & Carol seated. “This was about the best of Muriel – and it’s not good- he made her take off her glasses which was a pity.”
Moo & Carol standing- in the shoes Cyn had never seen! “Muriel & self by the variegated hybiscus tree – its leaves are more white than green & the flowers bright red. Moo has her arm around me, & I am looking at a hen going to roost in a tree near by–”
“ ‘Noyack’-he couldn’t get in the front steps unfortunately – they are just at the side-” [see pencil marks meant to be steps] “I am sitting at Muriel’s window – my bedroom window is at the right- X”. 

Then there is the collection of oddments Cyn mentioned in her letter of November 7th, on three different types and sizes of paper, that she sent by sea, but referring to events she had already mentioned to her mother.  (Just in case anyone else needs educating, Cyn was used to having fun from childhood on November 5th, when the English celebrate the failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, with fireworks and bonfires that burn a stuffed effigy, ‘the Guy’.) She never mentions Hallowe’en on Oct. 31, which I would have thought would have been an equivalent event in Ann Arbor.

Dearest Mummy,

This isn’t a letter- it is just a collection of funny things to amoose you!

I thought that you would like to know a bit how Til & Lois’s & the Sutherland’s houses look, and you know what fun I get out of drawing plans! They are both lovely houses in their own ways, but Til and Lois’ is in such a beautiful place it is hard to describe it. The prices – wow!- S’s is $25,000 & T & L $23,000 – millionaires needed!

The other funny little things are the place cards & menu I am going to make for dinner on Sat. night! We are having my pal Edie from work & Cec’s Canadian pal Al MacNamara from the Physics Dept. (he is from Sask – very shy – he came to dinner once before) to dinner & to play bridge. I have decided to make it a Guy Fawkes dinner, & altho’ Cec says they won’t know who he is, I’ll educate them! The place card is supposed to be a rocket exploding, & the menu is a gibbet done on my typewriter! I’m going to try and make a tiny “guy” for a centrepiece – wish you were here to help me!

Dinner will be a bit fattening I fear, but we have been wanting an excuse to get a duck!!

Lots & lots of love from 


This is to give you some idea of what Til & Lois’ house (1 year old) looks like. It is only one story- no attics or cellar – & is made of wood & painted pale yellow outside. The living room is lovely with two huge windows- the front & back- it is panelled in pine & has a natural carpet & oyster-y curtains. The bookshelves are built in & have a green patterned paper at the back & the new furniture is to be in greens & reds. The kitchen is lovely too with the same reddish pine used for counters & cupboards above & the walls are a beige glass tile & so are the bathroom walls. The kitchen curtains are blue check, the bathroom curtains, mat, shower curtain etc. are grey & yellow, & the linoleum yellow. The bedrooms are nice too, but I’m blessed if I can remember the colours! The little study is sweet, with a green carpet, & they are going to get new curtains. The outside is beautiful of course – all the orchard in front, & at the back the most wonderful view of the river– wooded banks- & it forks just opposite them & goes around a big island. Their bank is still full of bushes and scrub, & has to be all cleared, but afterwards I have persuaded Lois to plant daffodils there, & I think it will be heavenly.

This now, is a plan of the Sutherland’s new house. As you can see, it is much bigger, older & more formal. It is white painted wood outside with green tiles, has big basement, & attics. The sitting room is a lovely big room which they need as they entertain so much – the study is the Doc’s & is painted grey (Gunborg did it). The whole kitchen has been remodelled & is elegant! The walls are a pretty soft yellow-the cupboards around the walls are natural wood, well the tops of the counters are a soft pinky red formica (hard linoleum-y stuff) & inside the cupboards are red painted to match. It sounds a bit odd, but it looks very nice indeed. Upstairs there are 4 bedrooms – the girls have one each- & a bathroom- then the main bedroom (over the front 1/2 of the sitting room) has a little bathroom with shower only, of its own. All the bedrooms have little balconies (on study roof, porch etc.) – very romantic! Apart from the kitchen which they had done, Gunborg is doing all decorating herself – study, downstairs cloakroom, 2 bathrooms etc. & some is old & needs plastering cracks etc.- a big job.

P.S. Little Mary was writing a letter to her Auntie in England the other day & told her they had a chipmunk in the garden – then wrote “He is a doorable”!! Sweet.

By Sea to the West Indies- posted the first week of November, back is postmarked November 23 0r 28…

Costain Genealogy #2

Elida Eakin Costain, 1st left.

It is the premise of this blog that in the twentieth century LETTERS kept a wide-flung family together.  Cynthia and the women of the family on the Hazell side did write letters and keep in touch with the day-to-day events of their lives, probably because they had done this in previous generations- the colonial outposts of the empire looked to England and the family was wealthy enough to have the leisure to write at length, and visit, even in different countries.  I’m not sure that this was true for farmer families in North America, who moved across the continent in the hopes of a better life for their children, and who lived in a different economic bracket. Elida Eakin was born in Nebraska but must have moved in the 1890s or 1900s, because she and her immediate family lived in Ponoka, Alberta, in Canada, where her first 3 children were born.  Her husband, Henry Costain, moved from Prince Edward Island where he had grown up, to the West before World War 1, and married and lived in Ponoka before moving his family to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the 1920s.  Elida kept in touch with her immediate family in Ponoka, Henry with his, but the familiarity with the more extended members of his Costain family in P.E.I. was lost- something that wouldn’t have happened if he had continued living there and had bumped into distant cousins as one does in a small community.

I’m sure Elida wrote to and occasionally visited her sisters; my Auntie Merle did the same with her cousins but they were not as close as the Hazells were. The Costain children knew their aunts and uncles who visited occasionally, but not the P.E.I Costains.  The families were as large, but it was a different culture; a busier, more hard-working lifestyle; and letters were probably infrequent and concerned with the major events of life, rather than minutia.  Also keeping in touch seems to have been the business of the women of the family rather than the men- certainly Cec’s letters indicate this- I doubt he ever wrote much to his aunt or cousins.  Both Cyn’s parents were the youngest of 12 children, but on her father’s Ewing side, she seems to have been in touch with only 3 or 4, and a couple of cousins.  (There’s a distant Ewing cousin in Australia who visited Cyn and went to Ireland, and sorted out that genealogy- I assume some of Gordon’s generation, or earlier ones, moved to America and Australia- and she gave him the ‘Antique cup and saucer’ listed in her Wedding Present List as coming from Uncle Jim.) When you look at the wedding presents on Cyn’s list, there were gifts from aunts, uncles, and cousins- 9 Hazells, 6 Ewings, 2 Costains, and the 1 Eakin aunt.                                                                                                                                                    

So I know very little about the Eakin side of my father’s family, having only met one of his cousins, Evelyn Abbott.  This rough sketch is all I know of my grandmother’s family- any corrections welcome!  

Costain Genealogy #1

The Costains emigrated to Canada from the Isle of Man sometime in the first two decades of the nineteenth century and settled in Prince Edward Island. My cousin Sharon Moor did a thoroughly researched family tree that runs to 248 pages in a PDF file that I find hard to navigate- if you know the name of the Costain you are looking for, no problem, but finding his father- I couldn’t. 

However: Thomas Costain married Jane Brydson in 1793 in the Isle of Man and they died in P.E.I.  John, Paul, Thomas, and Richard Costain were born in the Isle of Man but died in P.E.I. after marrying and having lots of children, so I assume they emigrated as a family, leaving a married sister behind and bringing the unmarried ones with them.  John married Isabel Leard, a P.E.I. girl, in 1823, the rest followed suit, and they all proceeded to populate the island.

A generation later, Job Costain married his first cousin Mary Costain in 1877 and they had 7 children, one of whom was my grandfather.  So that is where my amateur tree will start.

There was one other son, Stephen Darrell, born to Henry and Elida in 1937 with Down Syndrome, who died in infancy.

Henry Hudson Costain had grown up on a farm in Prince Edward Island, had gone to university but not taken his degree, and went west as a teacher. He married Elida Eakin, a teacher, and they started their family during the First World War. Henry’s brother Harry joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force and fought overseas, being seriously wounded in 1918 and not returning to Canada until 1919. Henry and Elida moved from Ponoka, Alberta to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the 1920s and farmed there- perhaps because that was where the provincial university was. Harry moved west also, and lived in Calgary.

Although the Depression was hard even on poultry farmers, Henry’s children were able to go to university- Merle got her B.A. before she married and later became a teacher. Lena became a nurse, and kept working during her marriage. Cecil got his B.Sc. and became involved with the new invention, radar, during the war, and served with the British Navy as a radar officer. His wartime letters home have been posted. He emerged as Lieutenant Commander and went back to the University of Saskatchewan for his M.Sc. and then got a Commonwealth Scholarship that sent him to Cambridge in England for his Ph.D. where he met and married Cynthia.

In 1950, he is still working on his Ph.D but at the University of Michigan, where his professor, Dr. Sutherland, has moved. Once he has his degree, he expects to be working in Ottawa at the National Research Council, and this holiday trip includes some ‘business’ he has to see to in Ottawa. His brother Russell is working in Saskatchewan, and expecting to get married soon, and the youngest Costain, Carman, is still at school-or university- and has classes during the summer with the Air Force Reserve.

Cyn and Cec will meet the first members of the next generation on this 1950 holiday- Merle’s 3 sons and Lee’s baby- and I will attempt the next part of this genealogy once I’ve been born, the brothers are married and all my cousins safely arrived in the 60s!

August 16 1950

Wed. 16th Aug. 1950.

Dearest Mummy,

Here we are in Canada! We arrived here this afternoon, after our usual Costain mad rush at the last minute, and now having got everything organized we are sitting back in our hotel room feeling that we are on our holidays!

  You will notice that we postponed our date of leaving, as Cec had some work to finish for Dr. S. and I was just as pleased as it gave me time to do everything I wanted to, instead of every other thing! I finished work on Friday, and since then I’ve washed & ironed all our clothes, mended them (!!!), cleaned the flat thoroughly including scrubbing all the floors, so I feel very virtuous now! I packed my case last night, & got all Cec’s things ready, but this morning what with washing up & cleaning the very last things out of the fridge etc. we had quite a scramble to be ready at 10:30 when Gunborg very kindly came & gave us a lift down to the bus depot. We got the bus into Detroit, which takes about 1 1/2 hrs, then took another bus through the tunnel under the river to Windsor. We had to get here before the banks closed to get our Canadian money, then we went to the Airline Office & payed for our tickets & at last had lunch & we were hungrey! We thought we would go to the pictures tonight to see “Kind Hearts & Coronets” which we missed in England, & then get to bed early, as we have to be ready to get the bus to the Airport at 6:30 a.m.! We go to Toronto, then change planes & arrive at Saskatoon at 3:25- isn’t it incredible, when it would take us nearly 3 days in the train.

I haven’t written to you properly since my Epic, although I did send a sea letter of funny things from Ann Arbor. In that time we got 2 letters from you, & thank you very much honey. I have them with me, & will answer them in this, or if I haven’t time, will answer them in my next from Saskatoon.

We don’t seem to have been doing very much but the time has flown, & of course I have been busy with my chores as usual. We had a grand day in Detroit with the Sutherlands, & I had lovely time. We drove there in their car arriving about noon, & as we hadn’t been able to book tickets for the Ball Game, we went to the stadium & found we’d have to go & get them at 6 in the evening. Gunborg & I were all for having a nice dinner but with having to go so early to the game, we decided instead to have a nice lunch, & we went to a very nice Swedish restaurant we had heard of, called the Stockholm. It was lovely & cool for which we were grateful as it was a sweltering day (I wore my new green suit) & we had an extremely nice lunch- there was a Smorgasbord first (a kind of hors d’oeuvres- all sorts of dishes hot & cold, set out on a big table, & you go & help yourselves) then steak, and I being adventurous had a peculiar dessert that wasn’t very nice, but I didn’t mind!

After lunch we left the S’s to go shopping, & Cec & I went & saw about our re-entry permits for coming back to the U.S. & then to the Airline & arranged about our tickets & paying in Canadian dollars etc. We had arranged to meet the S’s at 4 o’clock, & it was still early, so we went to the great big store, Hudsons, & shop gazed & didn’t buy a thing! We met the S’s, & they shopped a bit more, then we had tea & finally went out to the stadium. We had to queue till 6 o’clock, then dashed in & got tickets & tore up the ramps & got seats!

In no time for seats were all filled (unreserved) & the game didn’t begin until 8:30, so we had a long wait, but it wasn’t dull because all the players were out practising & we had our programs & picked out the ones we knew from the radio broadcast, & it was fun. We ate hotdogs & drank pop, & it didn’t really seem long to wait. The Ball Game was Fun! Detroit was playing the New York Yankees, & they are great rivals, so it was very exciting, & Detroit won! I stood up & yelled & got so excited right at the beginning that Cec was worried my voice wouldn’t last through the game – I had a lovely time & enjoyed it hugely & so did Cec. Gunborg didn’t think it was very thrilling, so we were a little bit disappointed in her! We got back to A.A. about midnight, & I felt very pleased with my nice day.

Jessie Forsyth came that weekend to say goodbye, as she was leaving. We won’t see her in Sask. as her home is in Medicine Hat, but we will see Pete & Lu.

Last week we were busy at the office, & one evening I even did 3 1/2 hrs. of typing at home for one of the men- got paid of course too! Then we suddenly got a card from Joan & Ray Appleyard saying they had been driving out West & were returning to Yale via Ann Arbor & hoped to see us on Thurs. So of course, we were tickled to bits, but they didn’t actually arrive till Friday mid-day. They look just exactly the same (Ray thinner) & had with them a couple Bid & Denis Manon with whom they used to play bridge in Cambridge & used to call the Porkers – I didn’t know them. They had been driving most of the night, & got lost, & the car broke down, so they were in a dirty, sleepy condition when they arrived. We all had lunch in town together, then Cec took Joan & Ray back to the flat while I went back to work. The Manons went to a hotel, but I asked them to dinner & we had quite a successful meal of steak with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, tossed salad & cantaloupe. We asked the S’s over for a drink afterwards & we had a very nice evening. Joan & Ray slept on our sitting room sofa which pulls out into a double bed, & said they slept very well, then after breakfast set out at about 8 o’clock to collect the Manons & go to Niagara & then back home. They are going to stay in Yale another year – they were both asking for you & sent their love.

We have been to the movie & are back & going to bed now. We didn’t see “Kind Hearts & Coronets” as it was a long way away, but went to see “Stage Fright” instead. It was quite good, but there was a stinker on with it, which we sat through to see the beginning of the other!!

Will write soon again from Saskatoon. 

     With lots & lots of love from us both

           Cyn & Cec

So Cyn and Cec were on holiday starting in Windsor, and there also in Windsor Ontario, was a red-haired 4-year-old boy who would grow up to marry their daughter!

Cyn may have been nervous about meeting her in-laws for the first time, but she also was interested in seeing more of Canada, going West, and then visiting more of Cec’s relatives, as well as their trip to Ottawa where they expected to be living in the future. And I’m sure the Costains liked her- Carman would spend a couple of summers living with them, and when Merle and Dix moved to Ontario in the 60s, the two families became close, and shared quite a few more holidays!