This letter from my grandmother reminded me of more things I had forgotten! I have long been critical of my uncle Carman, but he could sometimes give marvellous presents that were spot on. (He could also give one that reflected an interest you had had two years before and out-grown.) As my grandmother suggests, sending me roses on my 18th birthday was a thrill, being totally unexpected for one thing, and also because when we had visited that summer and I had expressed doubts about going away to university, he had assured me that it was going to be a success, that I would enjoy it, in fact I believe the ‘best years of your life’ were mentioned. A bit sad if that’s really what he felt, but reassuring at the time in spite of the cliché.
18 Curley Street, Long Beach.
This is Labour Day & a holiday here, so I can’t post a long letter I wrote to your Mummy as I have no stamps – so have decided to enclose a note to you & to send you my verygoodwishes for Life at College. I don’t know when you go or what your address will be, so you must let me know, as I am sure you will enjoy getting letters when away from home.
That reminds me I heard from Aunt Muriel recently & she said “I’ve had such a nice letter from Linda- quite the best yet – she is growing up fast, so is Charlie, I can tell by their letters”- I was so pleased to have Cyn’s letter telling me all about your lovely holiday, I hope you enjoyed it all as much as yr Mummy did, she was especially raving about all the nice eating places & food you had all had. The island with the Zoo & performing whales & porpoises must have been fun – & that beautiful Butchart Gardens must really have been exquisite, or was there too big a crowd of sightseers for you to really enjoy them?
Monie’s roses are still flowering nicely, they had lots of rain in July & early Aug. so the roses are showing their gratitude, although it’s now very dry & hot & the lawns are turning brown. Cyn tells me your vegetables & flowers are flourishing – but so are the weeds – I hope you are helping to pull them up?!!
I enjoyed hearing a bit about your birthday – but tell me a bit more – did you wake up & lie & think – at last I am 18 & really grown up – or did you feel as usual? But I bet you must have had a big thrill when you were presented with a bunch of beautiful red roses by Carman – I was thrilled to hear about them!
Remember I wrote about books – I wonder if you have read- ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank – it’s a real life diary – written by a Dutch girl during the war. You probably have read it as it was a best seller. [I had.] I got it from the Highland Mills Library- do let me know if you’ve read it.
Monie & Gwen send their love, their dog ‘Penny’ is very sweet but getting to be fat & middle-aged like his master! They also now have 2 cats ‘Peppie’ is a big fine tiger – he is a smoky grey tabby & nice & very dignified, & as he comes stalking into the room he looks v. ‘tigerish’. Then the other one is still a kitten 5 months, & is a stray Gwen brought home, he is v. cute & playful & his name is SAM! Forgive my awful scrawl, hope you can read it. Give Charlie my love – he’ll be starting school this week, I do hope he works hard for a scholarship tell him. Hope you continue to get good news from your Dad – I hear your G.H. [the groundhog, my father’s bête noir] is growing fat on apples! He should have a name – Much love and all the Best from yr fond Grannie- PTO
P.S. I meant to ask you, how are you getting on with your contact lenses, I hope you are getting used to them- for folk to see your pretty eyes minus glasses! Love C.E.
More apologies for the gap in posting: Covid before Christmas, very minimal Xmas celebrations as a result, related health issues after, and a reluctance to attack the chronological problems caused by finding more material! However, this must be addressed, so a brief review of the events in the Costain family from August 1969 to December 1969. In August, the Ottawa family of Cec, Cyn, Linda and Charlie (17 & 16) went holidaying west to visit other Costains in Calgary and Penticton, then toured Vancouver and popped over to Vancouver Island before waving goodbye to Cec. He travelled to Australia and Japan for physicist meetings, catching up with friends and doing tourist things as well, and sending letters (already published) home too.
Cyn and the teens returned to Ottawa on the train- 3 days- painful for kids, relaxing for mother. Then Linda had her 18th birthday and focused on Going Away to University while Cyn and Charlie resumed their normal activities- September meaning Grade 13 for Charlie and the resumption of the church-run Nursery School for Cyn who was now in charge of finances, as well as teaching when needed. They took Linda and luggage to Peterborough, helped her settle, drove home, and very kindly wrote letters (already published) to keep her from feeling homesick! But both her grandmothers also had written to Linda, so back to August and September to include these, plus football details.
Grannie, (Carol Ewing, Cyn’s mother) had been staying a few months in Ottawa earlier in the spring and summer and had gone to her nieces, Milly, Marguerite, and Mona, in various parts of New York for August and September. She sent Linda a birthday airmail.
“Happy Birthday to You” Aug. 19th 69
It is time I was winging my good wishes to you- Darling Lindy I hope you will have a happy day & many many more – I have been looking at books (paper backs) & would like to send you one- (as an extra b.p.) but you seem to have read so many I’m afraid of hitting on one you have – so please send me a list, & when I go to Long Beach I’ll hunt for one for you – I am now busy reading ‘Island in the Sun’ & in some ways I am enjoying it, but I do think he is inclined to glamorise and exaggerate circumstances in the islands. It’s from the library here, so I must hurry & finish it, as I go to Long Beach on 25th when Mona & Owen are coming for a weekend, & and I’ll return with them. I am having a very enjoyable time with the Pems (Millie and Ford Pemberton). We went to the Barn Theatre last week & saw a musical ‘Guys & Dolls’ very amusing and the acting was first rate – some of the leading artists are from the big N/Y theatres – & although it’s a ‘Barn’ the seats are in tiers & it’s always full, although in the heart of the country.
Now tell me how did you enjoy your trip? I want to know all about the Rockies & the Glaciers & what about Penticton, is it a small place? I’m sorry I hadn’t your address there. How about Vancouver? I’ve heard that it is a fine city with lovely parks etc. I’m sure you must have enjoyed it, do tell me all about it when you have time! You must all have felt a bit lost when your dad flew off & left you on your own. Your train journey must have been quite an experience, I have no idea how long it would take you to get across Canada by Train – but I should imagine 2 days & 2 nights? Even Ford isn’t sure of that!
I’ve been out to 2 lovely restaurants, one called the ‘Fin and Claw’ & another which you & Charlie would have enjoyed called Helheah Turkey Farm Rest. where they gave us lashings of Turkey etc., I was real stuffed!! but it was a v. pretty place & most enjoyable. I spent most of Sunday with Monaliz & family – you would have loved her & her kids- they’re so sweet & friendly but not fresh!! The twins are like fish in the water & can dive well. How is your weather? It’s v. changeable here, but today is fine & hotter. I’d hoped for a card from Vancouver, I long to hear all your news; Love to you all I know how busy you must be getting ready for College. Best of luck- Grannie.
I started this blog as a means to transfer family archives to a more permanent format and share them with family and anyone else in the world interested in the past, living through what is now history, family relationships, and tiny details such as the price of a beef heart in the butcher’s shop in the 1950s. (Spoiler alert: 25¢) At the time, I had organized my grandmother’s horde of letters written to her by her daughter Cynthia into binders chronologically by date, from her childhood up through my childhood. I also had my grandmother’s photographs, roughly organized into albums in some cases, or into manila envelopes by my mother after my grandmother’s death. Another resource was my mother’s scrapbooks, kept from the time of her marriage, which have provided a visual element to many of my posts, and gave context and helped with the chronology of events when there were gaps in time from missing letters. With the help of my cousin Raey, I started this blog with a bit of family history told through my mother’s stories, and then transcribed the letters, learning how to dictate (which is maddening and requires constant correcting but is preferable than typing every letter out laboriously), add photos, and post the result- and getting great pleasure from it. Most of the letters are Cyn’s to her mother Carol, with a few from friends and family that were also preserved added in for interest. And that worked well until I reached 1969 when I left home for university.
This fall, 2022, I was happily transcribing letters from the fall of 1969 about Linda moving to Peterborough, Ontario- strolling down memory lane discovering things I had forgotten, and remembering wonderful friends I sadly lost touch with long ago- when I went rummaging for memorabilia to add to the pictures from the scrapbook, and discovered More Boxes! It turns out that I inherited some of my grandmother’s packrat tendencies to go with my forgetfulness. That first term at Trent was preserved in letters sent to me from friends, my grandmother, my father, my brother, and almost daily, my mother. I had committed the academic sin of publishing before I had organized my primary sources. And because I have been doing this in order by date, I must stop now- having published up to mid-November 1969- and go back to August of that year for 20 or more posts, to include the material I have just found. (Maybe WordPress would have a better way of doing this, but I am reluctant to delete already-published posts for the sake of chronology.) Then, for 1970 on, I have to integrate the rest of the letters from my university years with those already in the final binders, a difficult task since, unlike my grandmother, I did not keep envelopes, and my correspondents got careless dating them, so in some cases the year will have to be worked out by context. I thought I was nearing the end of my material, but I have just added a year more to my task!
So, my apologies to those who have been following this blog- we will now go back a few months to focus even more on the upheaval that occurred when the first child was leaving the nest. Let me assure you that the letters made this very much easier on the child in question!
November turned out to be a very busy month for the Costains- Cec had surgery, both children had Commencement, and Cyn had to manage it all. Her October letter to Carol had told about tests Cec was having in hospital the first week of November, and the planning and buying of new clothes for the children, but it is not until a month later that she gives all the details. [Next post: November 18, 1969] But, in keeping with the unspoken rules of writing-letters-to-mothers, she never shares the fears that the adults must have had, however relieved they all were after the diagnosis.
Meanwhile, Cec has been in hospital, Linda has come home for Reading Week, shopped, and been fitted for her new dresses, Cec then had a thyroid operation and spent another couple of weeks recovering- with excitement of the graduation ceremony and dance, combined with the visit of his nephew Bruce to accompany Linda, to entertain him. His friends and colleagues sent cards with messages of concern, as did his daughter (who had seen him the weekend before his operation that Tuesday, and was going home the next weekend for her graduation .)
Dear Daddy, Sat. even. Bruce hasn’t phoned yet, so I don’t know when he’s coming. I got my essay done in time (the very nick of time) and have been resting. But Sat. evening is impossible to sleep on, so I’m enjoying myself watching a group of very happy people just went through the hall singing “Jingle Bells” and pressed me to join them, but I was laughing too hard- and I’m a good little girl. I’m going to sleep in tomorrow, hope you are home & can do the same. Love to all. Linda Card Page: For Daddy Get Well Soon… I Sure Miss You. I’m glad I’m coming back on Friday, I’m going to have fun. I hope you’ll be well enough to enjoy it. Love Linda
This letter is the final one in the two month Linda-goes-to-university diversion, after which the letters go back to Cyn writing to her mother Carol instead of her daughter. (I’m sure she did go on writing to me, and that Grannie did too, but the first two months were the only bunch of letters I preserved, although a few from Cyn over the university years have survived.) At this point, Carol’s visits to relatives in Ottawa and New York are coming to an end, and she is going home to St.Vincent where she lives with her sister (Auntie Muriel). Cyn’s letters will continue the saga of Linda at Trent- most events long since forgotten by me- as well as her daily life and news, although when Carol got them is another matter, the cousin in New York having to send on her post to the West Indies…
Traill, Trent Wed. Oct 8.
Dear Grannie, This is the shortest of notes, just to tell you I’m doing fine and loving it here. I have lots of friends, and like all my classes. Tomorrow I’m going home though because it’s Thanksgiving this Monday in Canada, and I’ve managed to get no lectures on Friday this week so I’m leaving after my last lecture at 6 on the 7:15 PM for Ottawa. I haven’t really been home- sick – to cry my eyes out every night I mean – but I’ve missed everybody. And letters mean a lot to me so I’m very glad for yours. Mummy sent Alan and Donna’s picture to me & I think he looks a scream. Donna’s outfit is darling. A lot of the boys & professors here have beards, moustaches & long hair. Charlie is going to look scalped when I get home, after living with these types.
I’m looking forward especially to seeing Daddy, because I haven’t seen him since August. Also, there are lots of kittens living around here – although we’re not allowed 4 footed animals in residence – and we smuggle them into visit us, so I’ve been missing Saki too. You’ll be glad to get home and see your friends – both 2 & 4 legged – again. Say hello to June for me. I have Auntie Muriel’s book trough here with my favourite paper backs in for relaxation- everything from Jane Eyre to Elizabeth Gouge. And your teapot, (that is, my teapot that you gave me) decorates my bookcase – my table & shelves and walls are all cream coloured so I need a bit of colour.
I am taking English – all Shakespeare; History – Canadian only, darn it; Greek & Latin Literature in translation; Ancient History; and Psychology. I have about 12 hours a week in class – lectures or tutorials. We have these gowns – dark green, which doesn’t match anything, and they are an awful nuisance. We can wear whatever we want, so I can put on my slacks on cold days. It is very beautiful here now, with all the leaves turning – a perfect Thanksgiving weekend. A couple of West Indian girls are thrilled, and really looking forward to the snow – though I know they’ll get tired of it.
Well, it’s getting late and I’ll be in a bus for a long time tomorrow evening, so I think I’ll get to bed. Thanks so much for writing, if we don’t get at least one letter a day, we get awfully depressed (because everyone else seems to get mail when we don’t) so please keep it up. My love to everybody & have a good trip home. Bon Voyage. Love Linda
In the August of 1969, on the trip west, Linda and Charlie had stayed with their aunt and uncle in Penticton and met their four small cousins, David, Leslie, Robin, and Philip Costain. They wrote Linda letters in case she was homesick!
Monday 6th Oct.
Darling Lindy, These letters came for you enclosed in one from Leona, so I am sending them away at once as I know you will love them – what about being a “floter” and going to “gim”– aren’t they sweet! I also got your 2 lovely letters mailed 2nd & 4th – I always seem to get a nice batch on Monday & I enjoy them Hugely! I don’t want to stop to answer them now as I promised Charlie I would mail his today, so I will go & do so now & then come back & wash my hair etc. How wonderful to get a good haircut & only .50¢. I got fed up with mine about 2 weeks ago so dashed into S.C. Beauty Salon & got a trim only & was scalped! It is very short as you will see but I don’t mind – it will grow. I haven’t tried another Beauty Salon but don’t want to go back to Crista. I am enclosing the recipes the girls asked for & mail to the U.S. is .10¢ but Grannie leaves on 15th October, so try & get it off soon. I am also sending the picture of Alan & Donna & you can put it in your letter to Grannie – she wants it back for Auntie Muriel. I think Alan looks nicer than he really is in it – he’s 25 I think. Grannie says Donna is wearing a “peasant outfit” with flowered skirt & shawl to match & ruffly petticoat. She wears glasses with v. thick lenses but took them off for the pictures – got contact lenses for her wedding but finds smog in L.A. makes her eyes water. Grannie says Donna’s family are madly kiss-ey & she giggled at the thought of your & Charlie’s reaction! The picture is thick so may make your letter heavy, so you may need .20¢ stamp. Lovely that you can come on Thursday evening – we will all be waiting at the Bus Station with Big Smiles! I am so glad you are you & not Jean Craven! Or anyone else for that matter! The reason I must wash my hair is that Daddy & I are going to dinner at Phil & Alex’s tonight – Nancy stayed with Fanni’s sister Claire in Switzerland this summer & Claire is now here, hence the dinner party. I began to diet today so it’s sad, but I can begin again tomorrow! Must fly Love Mummy P.S. We’ll talk about jumpsuit & clothes at weekend – OK?
Dear Lynda and Charlie I am getting along fine in school. My teachers name Miss Johnson. I can write words like [printed words change to script] dog jig code add doc odd. I hope you have a Merry Christmas. Is there any snow at your house. Have you had any storms at your house. Is Charlie any bigger this year. love Robin [This may have been a later letter, given the decorative paper.]
Octber 1/69 1496 Balfour St Dear Linda My simming went quite well, but I have to stay another year in beginners. I have had trouble with my tonsils lately so may have to have them out soon. School has been going quite well lately.I spend quite a bit of time riding my bike. I have a friend Named Michele. She is just 3 years old and spends a lot of time here. I decided to stop going to Brownies because I didn’t like it. I am going to figure skating this year. I hope you have sittled in at university by now and are not too homesick. Charlie must find it quiet at home at home without you. Love from us all, Leslie
Dear Linyda I passed my swimming lesson Test. I am now in pre-juniors I learned to write [script] ccccccc My teachers name is Miss Johnson. She is very nice to me. I passed into grade 3 I am in a choir at school. We go to gim everyday on Friday. It is very at school. We have libary everyday on Thursday. My book I got on Thursday Oct. 2 is called PROUD PUMPKIN Love Robin
Dear Linyda [I think his older brother Robin helped him write this, with the words in capitals done by Philip.] I passed my swimming lessons test. I am in floters now. I am in grade 1. I can print words like LOOK up down LUCKY JANET JOHN. Those are some of the words I can spell. WITH LOVE from Philip
Darling Lindy, I just came home from taking Daddy to work and then to the Market – tomatoes, cauliflowers, peaches, limes, pears, green onions and silver dollars (dried things for my Fall floral arrangement!) – and to Ogilvie’s – pattern for a dress for me – and finally to the Liquor Store – rum, rye, white wine and Scotch – and having unloaded found your Cri de Coeur in the mail! No letters for 4 days! By now you will have the one I sent on Tuesday but I thought if I rushed this you might get it before the weekend. We got your nice long letter yesterday which we enjoyed immensely and Charlie got his too and was going to write, but he got involved in Chemistry homework which wouldn’t come right and he and Daddy were puzzling away with little sums on the back of envelopes etc. for hours. [Comment on letter in Linda’s handwriting: how familiar!] Yesterday was Dress Up day at school and Charlie went looking very elegant – he has got a new pair of trousers – dark green, very tight and slim, and he wore his yellow shirt and train tie and his gold sweater. They got their pictures taken so I hope his turns out well for a change. We went on Sat. to try to get him a new jacket, but had no luck. He thinks greenish would be nice and he tried on some which were quite nice but conventional and one which looks very nice but rather way out – double breasted and fitted waist – he didn’t know if his friends would approve! Then he tried on other more conventional double-breasted in which he looked very nice but they didn’t have green so we came home. It is a pity that you aren’t here to give your valuable opinion. Their class has been very enterprising and has tentatively booked a room at the Skyline Hotel for a dinner and dance after the Graduation – cost 10 dollars – all the boys nearly fainted! That is for a couple! Charlie doesn’t know if this is for your graduating Gr. 13 too or only theirs, but anyway he will have to have something high class to wear as the girls are going formal! Which reminds me, you must begin to think about what you want to wear for graduation. Don’t spend all your money because remember it is to buy you clothes as well as odds, bobs and books – have you bought more books that you have spent 80 dollars? Maybe it would be a good idea to keep an account of the big items – not every penny as you were trying to do before, but things costing more than the odd dollar, and then you would have a record of how much you spend on certain things. Daddy will be sending you your Oct. cheque next week probably. Fifteen dollars return for your bus fare doesn’t sound too bad, and it is lovely that you will be able to leave on Fri. afternoon and stay till Tues. morning. I have suggested to Daddy that we ask Dr. and Mrs. Shimizu to Thanksgiving Dinner and also a Swiss couple Dr. and Mrs. Jungen. They are young and if you recall we went to a party last winter to celebrate their wedding when she came over from Switzerland, and I liked her very much – he is madly quiet, but marriage may have made him more talkative. I had a call from Janet last night asking all about contact lenses and she said that she had heard from you and that she and Cathi were just green with envy because you were having such fun, and they were having such a dull time. She said that she was looking forward to seeing you next weekend, and Pat said the same about Joey. I had Pat and Edna Renault to lunch yesterday and I didn’t really get any news much as she only had a short time and Edna is such a chatterbox!
Before I forget the Moor’s address is: 62 Lorne Cres. Brantford. I don’t know if you are planning to go down to visit them before your Reading Week, but Uncle Dix did say that they could probably pick you up in Toronto so it shouldn’t cost too much! If you go down you could perhaps mention to Bruce about the Graduation weekend- Charlie says that it is on 22nd Nov. I think which is a Sat. evening, so it is probably the same set up as last year with the dance on the Friday evening. You must think whether you want me to make you a dress (dresses?) or buy because we won’t have all that much chance to choose patterns etc. and try on. I know you said that you didn’t want a long dress, but some of the short ones are very pretty and there are gorgeous materials. I am so glad that you and your friends enjoyed the cookies and fudge – of course your appreciation will spur me onto greater efforts! Re. Jean and the Cravens visit, Mrs. C. called me to thank me (I sent a small box of cookies etc. to Jean because it was nice of them to take yours) and it turns out that Jean had positively intimidated her poor family and told them that she didn’t want to have to trail family all around and didn’t want them in her room all the time etc. She was even out when they arrived and it was then that they took your parcel around to Traill as they didn’t know quite what to do, and when they were delivering it Lorna dashed out and said that Jean was in her room now and she just been talking to her, so they left it and went round. Jean did condescend to give them a glimpse of her room but never mentioned them coming to see you and your invitation, and when they took Linda Dowell’s parcel, she just waved at them out of the window and when they called out that they had a parcel for her she just called down thank you and they hung around the porter’s lodge but she didn’t come down, so I am doubly sorry that you didn’t see them as I’m sure your welcome would have made them feel very happy after their other casual receptions. Jean is a queer one though! Is she coming home at the same time as you? How extraordinary your meeting Rosemary Don! Nice that she thought you were stuck up for a change – it was always rather the other way around at school if I remember! I must fly as I am going to Margie Garrett’s to lunch and I want to write to Grannie, as she leaves on the eighth. I sent the t.p. stand to Granny C. a week or so ago but have heard nothing so far. We are having Fr. Graham and George Chapman to dinner tomorrow night – I know you will wish you could be with us, but I’ll try to remember if they say anything particularly funny! Mr. G.’s friend Michael went back to England on Tuesday so I thought he might be feeling dull – maybe he is glad to get rid of him for all I know!
Lots of love from us all – the groundhog has disappeared lately – just saw him once last week and Daddy hasn’t seen him at all so he didn’t do anything to him. Do hope that you get into the Mikado – it would be great fun I think. Much love Mummy.
I don’t know how extravagant I was, spending $80, but the Trent bookstore was in downtown Peterborough and was a wonderfully tempting place. It had vinyl records as well as all the required books, and prints and necessary stationary. I found a record of medieval music that sent me off on a new path, and over time bought prints of La Dame à la Licorne and Les Tres Riche Heures du Duc de Berry to decorate my room. I also had a big Pacific Northwest First Nations Sea Wolf, foreshadowing my future home!
It was a surprise for me now to read the last comment- by the end of September, I was already hoping to become involved in the Gilbert and Sullivan production of The Mikado! I hadn’t realized it happened so soon, but Cyn was right, it was great fun, and led to new friendships, and other music and choirs. I was so lucky to go to Trent at this time in its development.
This is the letter Cyn promised the day before, when she answered the questions in Linda’s letters, (some of which were the ones I had thought when I read her previous letters) about the Nursery School children’s behaviour!
49 Cedar Road, Ottawa 9, Ont.
25th Aug. [although she meant Sept!] Thurs.
I talked to Pat on the phone last night and she said that Joey had had a nice long letter from you yesterday, but had gone down to S. C. to work so she hadn’t heard any news. She said that J. liked her course but was having trouble with the transport. Apparently Janet has some classes of 300 and they all sit in front of a TV set, so she isn’t very happy about that. However, you probably have heard from one or other of them and know more than I do about it all. I had a letter from Grannie this morning and she is still at Long Beach and will be till the middle of Oct. so if you want to write it is c/o Mrs. W. Jaeger, 22 Curley St., Long Beach, New York, N.Y. U.S.A. She encloses a [wedding/engagment?] picture of Donna and Alan [Linda’s 2nd cousin] for me to see and send back – Donna looks pretty in a ballerina sort of style – you know what I mean – dark-haired parted in the middle etc. but you should see Alan – he is bald now and he has a droopy moustache a la Bruno Gerussi and mutton chop whiskers! His mother and Grannie are horrified, but actually in the photo I think he looks kind of amusing – I don’t know if this is his aim though! I hope that the heat in the residence has calmed down a bit now, I agree that it is horrid, but this time of year they seem to find it difficult to get it warm but not hot in bigger buildings. I hope that the false alarm Fire Alarm hasn’t recurred and that you have managed to catch up on your sleep a bit. It’s a good thing that you don’t have classes at 8 a.m. or some ungodly hour or you really would be worn to a shred. When you get all your classes and tutorials fixed send us a timetable so that we can imagine what you are doing when. I was tickled about all your lecturers having English accents except the one with an Australian accent. They sound as if they might be fun being young and I am glad that the few lectures you’ve had were interesting. Probably you will find the library less awe-inspiring when you get used to it – you might even find some light reading tucked away in a dark corner!
I have been doing very badly at the library lately but Dr. Watkins’ nurse phoned yesterday for Charlie to come in for his check up so I must rush him there and then I can have another go at that fascinating 2nd. hand book shop. I am taking Charlie down to get his 120 day license today – now that Daddy is home I have to drive him in to get the car so I am bustling around and have to go and pick him up of course. Mme Gemuss is here and Saki did her frantic retreat when she realized it this morning! I shopped this morning and bought your teabags and some of that hot chocolate powder that you don’t have to add milk, and also things to make your cookies with actually, read your roast beef diet, I can think of worse things to have every third day – imagine if it was beans or curry or something equally appetizing. I will try to remember the bra but as long as no one can trace it back to you it should be all right! At least it was a nice new one – like the lady who always put on her best underwear when she went out in case she was run over! I’m glad the washing went well – have you done your ironing yet and where do you do it? [Answer: probably never.] Now that I have left the Nursery School, I don’t know any more bits of news about the possessive mothers, but when I left Margie had managed to part with her mother and spend a whole morning without her so that was progress. Mabel said that you could sort of see her thinking ‘Come on it’s time to go now, and then I can put on my act and get it over with!’ The kicking and screaming I gather were getting more and more perfunctory! Re: Lynn McSherry in S.S. when I said no inhibitions, I didn’t mean anything terrible! Just a general take over and everyone get out of my way here I come attitude. She comes to N.S. 3 days a week and has a little friend Janet whom she bosses unmercifully! However, the meek ones usually rebel after a few weeks of N.S. atmosphere! I had a phone call this a.m. from a mother who had her child in Manor Park but on our waiting list, and I can now get her in, so she went down to see our school this morning. She told me that she liked it so much and was very impressed with the happy atmosphere and the fact that they were all busy and creative. She added ‘I don’t like to see them just playing around and fooling’ so I wondered what had been going on at Manor Park. Mrs. Kunce is there now you know. Did I say thank you for the funny picture of Cathy and Terry? Which reminds me that I have to take Daddy’s films this afternoon to the photo shop. On the phone on Monday he told you about how clever he had been to beat the airlines and get back to Ottawa on time even though his flight had been cancelled but Charlie and I thought we were just as clever to walk into the airport just as he got off the plane. We consulted 4 authorities – 2 by phone and 2 at the airport – and were told the flight had been cancelled and that he would arrive at 10:30, 6:30, 9:00 and 4:45 – so we ambled into the big foyer at 5 pm and there he walked through the door. He brought Charlie a boomerang from Australia, and for me a piece of amber on a gold chain and two long dangly amber earrings! The amber is fascinating – it has blobs of darker colour in it and is so light. Also for a souvenir he brought two lovely hand-embroidered pictures of Fujiyama which he saw being embroidered in a silk shop, and a little ‘peasant’ sake set made of grey pottery which he got from a pottery place Dr. Morino took him to.
He has a little gift for you here which you can get at Thanksgiving but your main one is the one from Australia which is coming by mail to you.
I am enclosing a picture from a magazine of a jump suit. It is a Simplicity pattern and I got it this morning at S.C. I also got some material- pattern enclosed- which I thought would look nice and match your winter coat, but if you don’t like it let me know.
I think the suit is cute, and if you did like it I could also make it up in a gay material for lounging pyjama type of thing. Anyway, I won’t do anything till I hear from you and if you like the pattern but not the material we can perhaps get something for Thanksgiving. Do you realize that it is 2 weeks tomorrow that you would be coming home?
This is Charlie. Will write to you on Saturday.
Monday morning. This letter has been sitting in the typewriter all weekend waiting to be finished, but I had N.S. pay cheques and money to do yesterday and it took me all afternoon and evening. You will notice that Charlie didn’t get written either. His team got beaten by Jim’s yesterday again but he didn’t seem too downhearted – perhaps he is getting used to it now. Then there was a football game on TV and then homework and that’s the way it goes. I drove Daddy into work this morning to get the car and then took pay cheques into the N.S. to be greeted with big hugs by Mary Anne and various others. Even Margie came up and didn’t actually hug me but grinned and chatted and my what a difference – she looked happy and cheerful and apparently her mother just says goodbye and pops off – aren’t Nursery Schools wonderful. The new teacher, Margaret Moffett was there – being very formal and polite with me – the Big Money Bags! They have a little white hamster with a little brown baby now, courtesy of Mrs. Greenwell, and in Noli’s old cage. How the poor little things will survive I don’t know as the children were all around and they were poking into the shavings trying to sleep. I am meeting Phil for lunch today – we are going downtown but haven’t decided where yet. I am to get tickets for Charlie for the Ottawa- Hamilton game next Sat. – he is taking Crystal – apparently Papa doesn’t object now. This is my week for lunches. Pat is back at work so I have invited her and Edna Renault to lunch on Wednesday in her lunch hour and then on Thursday Margaret has invited me to lunch at her house as her mother is staying with her. I forgot to tell you that Margaret Savic came to coffee on Friday and so far Michael is still going to Algonquin, but Peter drives him every morning and takes him home every afternoon! Then in the evening he is rehearsing a play out at Britannia and Peter does the same thing again – picking him up at 11:30 sometimes. How’s that for babysitting! And Margaret says he is very serious about the girl friend and they are even talking of getting married next year! We always thought he was immature, but he’s going to have to grow up with an awful bump if he gets married on the sort of job he will be able to get it after one year at Algonquin – if he lasts the year of course. I must fly and have a shower or I will be late for Phyl. It was lovely hearing from hearing you last night, love, and I’m glad that you finally got the parcel and that everything was OK. Will write again soon – lots of love from us all, Mummy.
I thought that I had lots of time to shorten my new bedroom curtains and then write to you, but it has taken me ages to shorten one so I have stopped and will write a short letter to mail this afternoon and then write more and mail tomorrow. I don’t know if letters I mail on Thurs. will get to you before the weekend, so you must let me know.
I am enclosing the pictures which came yesterday and you can send on the ones for A. Merle and U. Dix and then send the others back to us. Your little groundhog came out very well and the wedding pictures aren’t bad, but the ones taken at the Whitwell’s are a disappointment. I sent the film to that Mail Photo Place where I got them 2 dollars cheaper or something – anyway Daddy says that I got a cheap printing job too, but Charlie and I think that it was pretty poor light under the trees that day and that is why they are so sad. Anyway, here they are. Daddy brought back one roll developed and 3 more to do, but we haven’t had a picture show yet.
Already it seems quite proper and natural to have Daddy back. And boy! – lots more dishes to wash! You can imagine how Charlie and I have been doing lately! It seems incredible that you will have been gone 2 weeks tomorrow. It seems years in some ways and hardly any in others. I went to tea with Mrs. Craven yesterday afternoon – she had Marjorie, Betty, Ruth L. and Mrs. Martin, Mrs. James and Mrs. McNally all to meet Mrs. Craven Sr. so we had a really good talky time. Mrs. C. and Betty D. and I all compared notes about our Girls of course and we all seem to think that you were doing all right. Mrs. C says they will be leaving on Sat. a.m. to go down to Peterborough, so I will take her a box of cookies for you on Friday and she says that she would be glad to deliver it. Maybe they would like to see your room too – you said something about Jean’s not being very nice – have you seen it yet? I think that I will pack up Grannie’s tea pot and put it in the parcel as you have so many guests and the little brown one is so tiny, and I won’t forget to put in the teabags – girls at Traill likeTetley’s Tea! Lipton’s is just the same!
I met Marie Tweedle in Shoppers C. on Monday afternoon and had a great long chat with her – couldn’t get away! Heard all about dear David and how he just LOVES Teacher’s College and it was just his cup of tea. They were doing Gr. 1 Arithmetic or something – ‘You are having a party and you have 5 little friends. How many boys and girls are at your party?’ ‘Yes, that’s right –6 children. Now, how many paper cups will we need’ and they put out paper cups and then plates and napkins and sit down and have a party. Marie says ‘Arithmetic is not his strong point, so I told him he’d better watch that the problems don’t get too difficult!’ Anyway, who else do you think is going to Teacher’s College? Nancy Douglas. She had a wonderful time in Europe, and got back and started right in and is apparently in the same ‘shift’. as David –, so I told Phil to ask her if she knew him! I met Sandy Cooper in S.C. also on Sat. and asked how he was doing and he has changed from Algonquin to Carleton, so I don’t know how Joey will be doing for a ride. Dr. Savic drives Michael every morning because Margaret says it takes an hour and a half – dear Michael! Sandy said that he found the course at Algonquin wasn’t what he wanted and something about having to get an 80% average to carry on at Carleton, but I didn’t quite take it in. I have phoned Pat and got no answer and then Edna Renaud told me she has already gone back to work, so I have no news of Joanne to tell you. Have you heard from her or Janet yet? I guess that was a letter from Sandra which I forwarded to you yesterday. Your brother is going to write and tell you all about a glorious Gloucester football game – I shall tell you that 2 girls came in a car last night and asked if Charlie was in, but unfortunately he was still out at the football practice. When I described them to him he decided they must be Maureen and Lois – they were cute anyway so I don’t think he should discourage them! There is a dance this Friday – GAA etc. and Charlie is now on the BAA as the Officials Rep. so he is going to have to help decorate the gym and is actually going – STAG!
I must stop or I won’t get this mailed today, but I’ll continue and answer your letters and tell you what Daddy brought home. We all love your letters – very interesting and amusing. I must say life in Residence has changed since Daddy L.L. days – bring your own booze parties weren’t known then! By the way, thinking of Daddy L.L. and some of the funny illustrations playing basketball in bloomers, do you have to take any athletics? And if so, what? Also, did you ever meet your Amiga and what is she like? Much love from us all, Mummy
[handwritten] P.S. It is raining – very Nobel of me to go out and mail this. Love.
The references to other letters that I was sent were spot on- all my friends were very kind about sending me the news, at least in the month of September- I have no other letters from this school year, but obviously valued the connection and hung on to the first month’s correspondence, although they have no place in this collection. When it comes to Jean Webster’s Daddy Long Legs, I’m sure Cyn did not expect any similarities between an American girl’s college before WW1 and Traill, but if I had been expected to take part in any athletic activity, she certainly would have heard my outrage! The nicest thing about Trent was that they did not insist on any courses- no demand for a science to make me well rounded or anything- and I was allowed, after warnings that the essay load would be heavy, to take the 2 English and 2 History courses I wanted (as well as a basic Psychology course which I thought I might need as a future teacher and which resulted in the only D I ever got) so in the next 3 years I focussed on my double major to the exclusion of every other subject and enjoyed all my courses!
This is to let you know that I have transferred you to a group doing periods I and either II or III in History 10. This group holds its first meeting on Wednesday, October 1 in period 6 (2:00 P.M.) in President Symons’ office at Rubidge Hall. I trust this arrangement will be satisfactory; if not, perhaps you could call me as soon as possible at 748–1567.
Douglas McCalla Department of History
Yes, my first year History 10 seminars were with the President of Trent University, T.H.B. Symons himself, and 14 other students. We sometimes had tea around the conference table as we discussed Canadian History. He was a lovely man.