July 23 1962

I have divided this letter into two because it is so long and deals with quite separate matters- the Costains on their Michigan holiday, and then Cyn answering her mother’s questions of the last few months of letters which she has saved up. (I shall put the pictures of the end of their holiday with the second half, since there are no letters to follow to explain how it went.) But before the letter, here is a quick review of Cyn’s life already covered by letters from the post-war years 1946- 1951, to explain some of the American friends the letter mentions.
Towards the end of the war, Cyn had changed teaching jobs and left her parents’ house in Newcastle where she had been stuck for the war years, and moved south to Cambridge. She enjoyed living independently and in 1946 took on a greater adventure by being part of a teacher exchange between American and British teachers designed to foster greater co-operation in the English-Speaking Union. Cyn was sent to Toledo, Ohio, where she taught high school Home Economics for a year, and also spoke to clubs and meetings, very successfully, about whatever aspects of British life her hosts or hostesses wished to hear! She was lucky enough to find a very happy home that year boarding with two other teachers, Til and Lois, who involved her with their families- Til’s adult son Bill, Lois’ sisters who lived locally- and took her with them on holiday with other relatives so that she saw a bit more of America. Her enjoyment of that year comes through in her letters home to Carol, but she was also happy to return to Cambridge for the following school year, where her mother joined her. They both met Cec who was doing his PhD. there, and Cec and Cyn married in 1949, with the intention of following Cec’s professor, Dr. Gordon Sutherland, to the University of Michigan for a couple of years before settling in Canada. Their stay in Ann Arbor was part of a transitory community- graduate students like Cec finishing and moving on, Cyn’s fellow workers at the University marrying or having babies and stopping work- but they were able to keep in touch with the ones who worked at the university and with Til and Lois, and made friends within academic circles that persisted as careers took off and families grew and grew up, because they met up over the years at conferences or during temporary work arrangements, such as Cec’s months work at the University of Michigan in July 1962. Back when the children were 3 and 4, the Costains had visited the States just as the Sutherlands were moving back to England, and also had stayed with Til and Lois while Cec attended the Spectroscopy Conference in Columbus, so it is not surprising that their friends thought Linda and Charlie had changed in the 6 years since then!

Portage Lake,

23 July, 1962.

Dearest Mamma,
Here I am sitting on the porch typing away – it is Monday morning and it is quite grey and cloudy and looks as if it is going to be a storm and we can hear thunder rumbling around in the distance. We have had quite a lot of thunderstorms in the last few days but they are not as spectacular as the Ottawa Valley ones and they pass over very quickly, but the weather has been very changeable.
Charlie has been having fun with a boy who lives a few cottages down. They have been getting bait for fishing, looking under stones for ‘crawdads’ and catching little minnows and catfish with a little net. Now he has gone home and some little girls from the next cottage have come over and Linda is sitting on the steps colouring books with them. The neighbours are very nice and friendly – I think I told you we had a nice family with a little 5 year old boy in the cottage next to us. Well, they were here for 2 weeks and were extremely kind and took me shopping into Pinckney etc., then we now have another family with 3 little girls – Kathy 8, Susie 5, and Carol 4, and they have a baby boy, Billy 1. Besides the mother and father there is a Grannie and Grandpa so they have quite a family not to mention all sorts of relatives with lots of children every few days, but they are nice too and have offered to take me shopping etc. The father is a great fisherman and goes out night and day, but he doesn’t have much luck – Cec and Charlie have been out a few times but they don’t do much either – Charlie caught a little one but put it back as it was so small! On the other side the cottage is owned by a man and his family from Ann Arbor, so they were only out for a few hours at a time to begin with but last week they came out for a while and we have had a few chats with them. They only have one boy of 14 and he is always dashing around in one of their two motor boats – the father took us out for a ride in one on Sat. and we went all around the lake and saw parts we didn’t know existed. It was quite blowy and we bounced around and got water splashed on us much to Charlie’s amusement!
The thunder is really on top of us now and it is pouring, so the children have moved in and are colouring happily. It is nice that there is someone to play with as Linda has run out of her stock of books and Charlie is getting bored with Patience! Cec has begun to teach them to play Bridge but as he is in at the University all day we can’t do as we did at Mill and Ford’s camp and play all day. Since I last wrote the time seems to have melted away and we can hardly believe that this is our last week here. We will leave here on Sat. morning but Cec thinks he will need a few more days at the University so we will probably go to a Motel until Tues. morning and then go straight to Stratford as we see ‘The Tempest’ on the Tues. night. On Wed. we see the matinee of ‘The Gondoliers’ and then we will go and spend that night with Merle and a couple of days in Toronto and home on Friday. The Klemans go to a cottage for two weeks.
We had a letter from Gudrun and all goes well at 2043 Montreal Rd. and Nicki seems quite happy and is presenting them with dead mice as usual! Thank you so much for your letters which Gudrun forwarded to me and also for the one which you sent to the Physics Dept. here. I was so sorry to hear about your poor little dog being killed. I know how much you will miss him and how sad you would feel to have him killed so suddenly when he was still so young and enjoying life. I hope that after a while that you will get another puppy for companionship and also as it is so useful for you to have a watchdog. At first though I know you can’t bear the thought of having one for a while. We are surrounded with dogs here and the favourite is a great big Basset Hound called Shorty. His legs are so small that he practically touches the ground but he is as solid as a rock and weighs about as much as I do. To see Charlie trying to move him is quite a sight, but he is very good-natured and doesn’t seem to mind how much he is pushed and shoved!
Not long after I last wrote we had some bad luck. Linda got a sore throat and an ear infection, and so she hasn’t been able to have as much fun in the water as the first week. She had one really bad night of earache and the next day I kept her in bed here on the porch and gave her aspirins etc. and after that she didn’t seem ill although the ear was still aching a little, so we let her get in the water but not put her head under (she wears a cap and protector band of towelling underneath but still her hair gets wet) and that was all right until suddenly last week it began to ache again, so she was out of the water for a couple more days and is so disgusted over it. It seems nearly better now so maybe she could go in for a little today, but it is such a pity as she loves the water so much and had such a wonderful time in it. Just after Linda’s ear ache began poor Cec woke up one morning with an eye infection and all his left eye swollen up. He gets this every so often if you remember and if he doesn’t do something about it, at once it spreads to his other eye, so he went to Pete’s Dr in Ann Arbor and got various drops etc. but it wasn’t until he gave him some antibiotics that it cleared up. Told him he was working too hard and should have a rest. He seems quite all right now, but the weekend before last he was feeling pretty miserable. Charlie and I have kept well and full of high spirits, and it is really lovely to see Charlie so well and happy. He is so good-natured and helpful and sunny and he has such a wonderful time in the water now – you wouldn’t recognize the boy who sees how long he can swim underwater and dives through my legs etc. as the little fellow you used to know!
We have been socializing a little bit as well as swimming around in our lake, and the first time we went out was to Mary and Arthur Dockrill’s for dinner. They have a nice new house in a new suburb of Ann Arbor, but not just a field with a lot of little houses in it but all trees, and winding roads and little hills etc. very pretty. Arthur is a real wizard with his hands you know, and he has fixed up their basement beautifully and they have everything very nice. Their one little girl Jill, is 4, and she is a little pet. She is small and has two little brown pigtails and speaks in a very English way in a funny little high voice. Linda loved her and both the children were fascinated because she had just about every toy going – Charlie said “I think Jill has everything!” We had a nice dinner and a really pleasant time, but we haven’t seen them since as they were going on their holiday at the end of that week. They had a Volkswagen bus like Hugh and Ginny and Arthur had fixed it up like a caravan with bunks etc. and they were going up into the Upper Michigan Peninsula.
Last week our big excitement was that we had a letter from Til saying that they would come up on the Wed. so we were very pleased. They arrived just after lunch – Til and Lois, Lois’ sister Ruth and the granddaughter from Florida, Cathie. Til and Lois and Ruth all look just the same and we had a wonderful time catching up on all the news of people I knew. They said I looked the same too and I said “Fatter though!” but they were kind! They were amazed at how the children had grown, but Cathie who is 11, made them look like little shrimps! She is a really big girl – big bones and then quite chubby too, and I think Til had quite intimidated her by telling her not to be wild and hoydenish as Linda and Charlie were so well behaved! All the Americans think Linda and Charlie are so good! However, after Cathie had got over her alarm she and the children had a good time in the water, and although she is full of bounce and quite exuberant she is not sophisticated and blasé which poor Til and Lois were quite worried about. But poor kid, what a life she leads – the mother is apparently no good and her own parents threw her out when she walked out on Bill, but fortunately the grandparents have Cathie most of the time, and they are nice people, but the little girl is chopped and changed from one to the other. Of course I was very interested to hear what they all thought about Bill’s marriage to Lois and Ruth’s sister Mary, because they all thought so much of Mary and so little of Bill – even Tilda, his mother! – but apparently although they were all shattered to begin with and tried in all ways to talk Mary out of it, she went ahead and married him and they are very happy – in fact, according to Til they are so in love it is rather nauseating! Cec and I roared as this is such a Til-ish remark. Cec came home a bit early from the University so he had a chance to chat too, and they brought all sorts of things to eat, so I had very little to do. They told me in the letter that they would bring corn and a ham, so I had rolls and made a potato salad and bought a coconut cake and had raspberries and cream, but they brought no less than 3 doz. ears of corn and two huge melons as well as the ham and jars of applesauce etc. so we had quite a feast. Til is taking Cathie down to see C’Zelma’s in Kentucky for a while this week so we won’t see them again but it was such fun to get the chance of meeting once more and we had as good a time as ever!

Do you remember when I was in Toledo some of the teachers took me on a trip one day up to Dearborn, near Detroit where we went to a museum which Henry Ford had made, and while we were there we saw him? He was in a wheelchair going around his museum, and he actually died not many months later, but I was always pleased that I had seen such a famous person. Anyway as well as this museum there is a Village – Greenfield Village, in which Ford collected and had set up the homes of all sorts of famous American people as well as all sorts of little shops and crafts which they used to have in the pioneer days. Thomas Edison was one of his best friends, and he has the house he was born in and all the original furniture and then all Edison’s Lab. and also the same for the Wright brothers and Stephen Foster and all sorts of other famous Americans as well as the house he himself was born in. It is all set out like a little old-fashioned village with brick streets and sidewalks and horsedrawn carriages and ducks and geese and peacocks wandering about, and a windmill and a forge with a blacksmith and beautiful old trees and lovely gardens for all the houses. I forgot to say that Mary Jo took us – we went into Ann Arbor with Cec in the morning on Friday and he dropped us off at the Peters’ house and then after a while everyone was collected and we set off in their station wagon. One of their boys was at camp, but there was Mary Jo and me, Linda and Charlie, Jody and Helen each with a girl of the same age, Vinnie and Terry – 10 of us! Mary Jo and the older girls have been before but none of the rest, so it was great fun, and it was a grey dullish day inclined to rain so we weren’t sorry to leave the cottage. We got there around 11, and they give you a map telling you which each house is and suggesting a route, and then in each place they have a girl who tells you some of the history of that particular house and shows you around. We were lucky and got ahead of the main crowd, but actually it is so big that you never feel you are in a mass of people. We had lunch in the Village Inn and we were amused as they said something about old-style American food, and it was cafeteria style and we had things like tuna fish sandwiches and potato chips! There was an old village shop and postoffice, and the children loved the forge where the blacksmith was making horseshoes and rings out of horseshoe nails! We also saw a silk mill with silk worms, a pottery and a glass blowing place, but during this time it had been getting very dark and thundery and suddenly it began to pour and we had to make a rush for the nearest building. This turned out to be a very dreary place with a lot of machinery in it so after staying there about 20 minutes or so while it poured down we decided to try and dash for the next building and of course we all got soaking wet! Eventually they sent around buses to take people back to the main gate, and as it was after 4 and we were all wet we decided to give the museum a miss and go home. We went back to the Peters’ house and Pete and Cec came and we had dinner there and eventually got home around 9 o’clock – we were tired!

Linda got some dry shoes and socks at the Peters that night, but yesterday she did better still. Dr. and Mrs. Hecht from the Physics Dept. live quite near here, in fact he is the one who helped Cec get this cottage and he has been very kind about driving Cec in once in a while to let me have the car. Yesterday they invited us to dinner and came over around 3 to show us the way. They live in a most fascinating house away off in the woods. A man had this as his summer place previously and built up the land around which a little river loops, and then built a bridge, cleared the undergrowth, built the house and made beautiful stone fireplaces inside the cottage and outside for outdoor meals and even dammed the little river to make a swimming pool in one place. The Hechts live there all year round and love it, and have added a furnace and a few improvements, but are thinking they must move into Ann Arbor soon as their little girl Liz, is six and they have the school problem. It wasn’t a good day for us to see it as it was quite dull and thundering and rainy which made it very dark with all the trees around, but it cleared up enough for Ted and Cec to cook our steaks on the outside fireplace although we ate inside – the mosquitoes were wicked. While this was going on Linda and Liz went to the little river where Liz had a small plastic boat and after a little while what should appear but two dripping wet little girls – the boat had tipped up and landed them in the water! They were both giggling and we couldn’t help laughing as they looked so funny but they were well and truly soaked. Fortunately, with a squeeze Linda could get into some of Liz’s clothes, and we had brought her an extra pair of shoes along, so she was all right, but we are making quite a collection of clothes here. I laughed at Lindy afterwards, she said to me with a funny little grin, “My dignity was hurt!” This reminds me of a remark of Charlie’s that amused me – not long after we got here one day we were all sitting on the porch reading except Charlie, and he kept making remarks until finally Cec said “Why don’t you stop chatting and get something to read?” at which Charlie replied “Oh I pride myself on being a brilliant conversationalist you know!” Apparently this is a quotation from one of his comics, but the way he brought it out just made us roar with laughter.
This week I don’t know if we will be doing anything much – I wrote to Mrs. Pasquier in Toledo and told her we were here and asked if she and her husband could come up one day, but they might be away for all I know, or they might not care for such a long drive. We usually have the car one day each week and we go into Dexter to the Coinwash and into Ann Arbor to the Library and any other shopping. The Peters lent us their Library tickets so we have been doing quite well, but Linda of course finishes her 4 books in the first day or so, but she doesn’t get them changed for a week. There is an ironing board here and I brought my old electric iron so I am able to do the ironing as usual – lovely!

Greenwich Village

April 20 1962

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

Good Friday

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

April 13 1962 Part 2

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

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

March 2 1962

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

2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2 Ont.

2nd March.

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

February 2 1962

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

2043 Montreal Road,
Ottawa 2, Ontario.

2nd Feb. 1962.

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

A better picture than the one she sent Carol!

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

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

January 18 1962

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

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

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

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

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

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

P.S Hugs and Kisses. L.

2043 Montreal Road,
Ottawa 2, Ontario.

7 January, 1962.

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

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

November 13 1961

I would not normally include the children’s work in these letters but this speech addresses Cec’s war experience, one of the few times we, as children, ever heard him talk about it. There was a picture of the H.M.S. Indomitable on the wall, some musty smelling epaulettes and a hat with a tropical white cover in the basement, and that was all we knew. In fact, until my husband and I visited 30 years later, I had never known him to tell anyone details about his service- and he didn’t talk to me, but to Pat. There certainly was a lot of parental input into our speeches- Linda’s was based on one of Carol’s childhood experiences, as told by Cyn- but given that this was all happening while Cyn was in hospital and then home recovering, Charlie’s success was a commendable effort!


My father had a Faithful Friend on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This friend was a little monkey called Stoopid, who was so small he could sit on a man’s hand. He had greyish fur and a beautiful long tail. But his eyes were sad and he had a little worryed face.
Every morning my father would take him into the shower and give him a good scrub. Stoopid didn’t like this and scolded when he was getting dried. He was friends with everyone except the ships cats. He would sneak along and pull their tails then run away as fast as he could, climb over the edge of the ship into a port hole, and sometimes come up with a pen in his mouth. He used to like to visit the officers’ wardroom where there was a notice board. Stoopid thought the notices made lovely parachutes. He jumped at them and rode down as they tore. He liked to look at the letters and sorted them out as he thought, with some in the wrong places and the rest on the floor. The officers had a terrible time finding their mail.
Every morning when the smell of breakfast was around Stoopid would go to the table and sit on my father’s shoulder and wait for his food. One day there was a bowl of fruit in the middle of the table. After everyone had left the room Stoopid jumped up on the table, grabbed a banana, and ran away behind a coil of rope to eat it. When he was finished he through the peel on the deck. Soon the captain came along deep in thought. Suddenly there was a crash and all 250 pounds of the captain was sitting on the deck. The captain was furious and wanted to keep Stoopid locked up in a cage but my father said he would keep an eye on him.
One day the captain saw him running along the deck and said to a sailor “You know how to knit?” And the sailor said “Y- yes sir” “Well, said the captain you had better get busy and knit that little monkey a sweater.” He looked so sweet in his little red sweater and cap when they sailed south into wintery weather.
Stoopid was a very sad little monkey when my father had to leave. He was well looked after by the other men, but to no one else was he such a faithful friend.

October 26 1961

In her October 12th letter, Cyn promised to write Carol a follow-up, telling about the overnight guests they had while she was trying to make herself a new silk dress, the Thanksgiving weekend, and the Gander’s new cottage they had visited. Alas, we will never know the details! Accidents will happen.

26th Oct.?

Dearest Mummy,
I am sorry that I have been awhile in writing to you but I have a real good excuse this time! You know how we have a joke that every 2 years I pay a visit to the Civic Hospital – well this year I thought I missed it, but no such thing – it was just waiting around the corner for me & here I am sitting in bed surrounded by lovely flowers, candies & get well cards!
And of all things, what do you think is the matter? A nice selection of broken ribs! I am all taped up but Dr. Kastner is taking off the tape tomorrow & says I am doing very well & will be home next week sometime.
I took Charlie down to the school at 8:30 on Sat. a.m. to go to a show for the Cubs and then on the way home I turned to go into our driveway at the top of the hill and a panel truck coming from Montreal way slammed right into the side of the car. He was right off the road on the shoulder & going very fast & of course my main feeling was amazement & surprise. I was thrown out of the door on the driver’s side & rolled under the car but wasn’t touched. I was so lucky especially that little Charlie wasn’t in the car as the whole side is demolished. Also, that we had safety glass as my hair & all my clothes were just impregnated with little crumbs of glass, but I only got one tiny little scratch on my hand. I have 8 or 9 broken ribs but no other damage at all & Dr. K. says Someone was looking after me. He says I’ll be home in a week & I am doing fine so don’t worry & I will write soon again. The children & Cec send love-
With lots from

As I said in the essay that opened this project [Family Letters] distressing events that occur are minimized in the letters that follow because no one wants to upset their mother, and the writer has obviously survived the crisis! Cyn’s car accident was seriously upsetting for the whole family but Carol, far away in St. Vincent, couldn’t do anything but worry about her daughter, so Cyn gives the facts here, emphasizes the recovery, and doesn’t mention the pain or the emotions she must have gone through. Certainly both Charlie and I, aged 8 & 10 at the time, remember it- Charlie because she was hurt after driving him, so it was partly his fault! and Linda because I was there, dressed for my ballet class in tights and leotard waiting for my turn to be driven to my Saturday activity, when two of our neighbours carried my mother in, groaning with pain! My father was sleeping in, and I rushed to wake him as they jostled her up the stairs and laid her on the sofa. What a rude awakening for him. Cars in those days had no seatbelts, and obviously ‘not moving the crash victim’ was unknown or ignored, perhaps because she’d crawled out from under the car on her own, but I can’t help thinking now that she was lucky they didn’t cause a punctured lung. I was removed to a neighbour’s house at a distance, so I have no memory of ambulances, police, or crashed cars, only of the girls at the friends’ being curious and Charlie turning up in the afternoon, and I presume Cec collected us later with the news that Mummy was in hospital but would be all right.

Years later when new housing developments had been built further east and the houses at the top of the hill on the Montreal Road were demolished, Mrs Cardinal’s replaced by a strip mall on one side of the highway, and a dental service surrounded by parking on the site where we had lived, the road was widened into 4 lanes and they somehow flattened the hill, so that it sloped more gently and visibility was better, with turning lanes that made left turns safer. Not that Cyn didn’t have a few more accidents turning left… when she was older… and they might have been her fault then… but she was never injured as badly, thank goodness.

October 3 1961

Historical events pop into these letters about personal lives and domestic details very briefly and without explanation. For example, the defecting Soviet chemist, Dr Klotchko, that Cyn mentioned in her August 21 1961 letter, would have been connected in Cyn and Carol’s minds with the defection of the ballet star Rudolph Nureyev in Paris the previous June, but neither bothered mentioning it, knowing that the other would have been interested and informed about it and would make the connexion. In her September 20th letter, Cyn makes a brief mention of the West Indies Federation, which had been formed in 1958 as a political union that would achieve independence from Britain as a single confederation, but was gradually shaking apart in the summer of 1961. Canada, as a colonial power that had achieved independence, was sympathetic and had given the Federation two ships to be a link between all the islands, and in this letter, Cyn thanks her mother for an article about one of them- The Federal Maple. But foremost in their lives was the parish supper that their respective churches were hosting, and those details feature much more prominently in their letters!

3rd Oct. 1961

Dearest Mummy,
Thank you for your last week’s letter and the enclosures about the “Fed. Maple” and your supper. I was tickled about the “Dinner – Dancing – Bar”– I can imagine our church advertising that!
Our supper was a great success though – and only .25¢ each! We are going to be about $5 in the hole but as it was to welcome the Reverend Pulker and his family we don’t feel that it matters. We had 220 people buying tickets – more than 1/2 children & it was from 5:30 to 7:00. I expected we’d get them coming gradually. We set up long tables with the food on at the top & card tables & chairs all around the hall to seat 92. We had cold turkey & ham, hot casseroles, (mac & cheese, beans, meatballs, scal. potatoes etc.) salads & rolls, then on a separate table desserts – cakes, pies, & little tubs of ice cream. Milk for children – tea & coffee for adults. To my horror everyone poured in between 5:30 & 6:00, so we were kept rushing to replenish the table with food. Cec & the children came just after 6:0 & I was afraid there would be nothing left for them! However, everything was just fine even though we found some of the boys did help themselves to 6 & 7 desserts! Our greatest trouble was water – the pump was broken & I found this out the day before, so you can imagine my agitation. The plumber worked all day & got it going just at 6:30 as the dirty dishes began coming back!
I have both children home this week – Charlie with a bad stye & snuffle & Lindy with a real wooshy cold. Two are easier than one though! Made apple jelly yesterday & spiced crab apples & chutney at the weekend – my cupboard looks nice! Love to A. Muriel & lots for you from us all –

September 20 1961

2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2, Ontario.

20th Sept. 1961

Dearest Mummy,
I can hardly believe that it is really just 2 weeks since the children began school. It already seems like two months and I am sure that they feel the same! They seem both seem quite content with their new teachers though – Charlie has the English teacher, Mrs. Cripwell, that Linda had last year – Cec and I did not think too much of her as Linda seem to get worse in Arithmetic after having her instead of better, but the children like her all right. Linda has Mrs. Tyler and all summer she was moaning and groaning about how much she hated Mrs. Tyler, but of course after the first day she has changed her mind and thinks that she is O.K. now! Of course they both have homework now and so in a way it is easier than when only Linda had it, but they are both still quite slow and what with half an hour’s practice on the piano they seem to have no time for play much to their sorrow! However they both like their piano lessons and Mrs. Scott says that they are doing very well – Linda is more self-confident and goes at it as if she knows all about it, but actually they are both doing just the same so far. I go down and listen to them practising most days, and they are really very cute with it and I am learning something too! They go every Thursday for their lessons – Linda 4:30 – 5:00 and Charlie 5:00 – 5:30 – it is a dollar fifty a lesson, so we’re paying by cheque every month.
Fortunately our weather has abated, and is now more like Sept. weather – nice cool nights and lovely sunny days. We had a very slight frost one night but not enough to damage anything – in fact the gardens are all looking lovely and everything is still so green and pretty – hardly any of the trees are changing yet and it looks fresher and greener than lots of our usual summer months. I hear that there is another hurricane heading for the U.S. and might even reach Long Island, so I expect Monie and Margs will be anxiously watching the weather news – it seems to be a bad year, but I hope none of them will be heading your way. In the news this morning I heard all the worry the W.I. Confederation are having about Jamaica – I wonder what will happen. It hardly seems as if they had given it a fair trial yet.
I told you in my last letter that I had begun a letter to you, but when I came to continue it today, it was so disjointed and garbled with many interruptions, and not even getting on very quickly, so I decided that I might as well begin all over again, and try and get this written up this afternoon while the children were at school. When they come home what with practising and homework and dinner, and then when that is over scrub Charlie with his soap every night and bandage his legs up, so that I seem to be fully occupied from 3:30 till about 9 o’clock! Did I tell you that just as school began poor old Charlie broke out in a wretched lot of boils again? I took him back to the specialist, Dr. Jackson, and he told me to continue using the ointment he’d given me (it has cortisone in and some antiseptic) and to keep his legs bandaged all the time and wash him every night with a special soap, and wash all his clothes and towels every day – including his trousers. He had some horrid big boils but they did drain and heal quite quickly, and now I am only bandaging his eczema at night so he won’t scratch, but continuing to scrub him and his clothes every day. I took him to Dr. J. again on Mon. and he says he is getting on fine and gave him some type of new treatment for his eczema – like x-rays he says – just for a very short time and we are to go back next week for him to see if it did any good. What with the skin specialist and Linda’s Orthodontist we are really busy these days! We went last week to the new Orth.whose name is Dr. Bradon and he is to do Linda’s teeth- they will take at least 2 years! Fortunately Linda likes him – he is young looking and has a bit of a look of Hugh P. and has a very nice way with children. Linda and I were horrified in a sort of giggly way, because after examining her teeth, he shook his head and said “Linda, you have got everything wrong with your teeth that it is possible to have!” Apparently, her teeth are big and she has a dainty little mouth he says and they are just all pushing each other out of shape. Her back teeth have got pushed forward till they don’t bite against each other and her front teeth are pushed out and her bottom teeth overlap! She is to begin by having bands on the back teeth to pull them back into place and then will have some incisors out to make room for the others and will then eventually have bands on the upper and lower front ones. Isn’t it a performance? Of course this will be done one thing at a time, so she won’t find it bad, but this is why it will take so long, but by the time he told me all the things to do I was relieved to hear it would cost around 750 dollars – I was expecting thousands! Cec and I are wondering if we’ll have to enjoy Linda’s teeth instead of a trip to England! She begins next month with three appointments to make the bands and fit the first one and then after that we go every three weeks – we pay $175 deposit and after that $60 a quarter. Let us hope she will be a raving beauty before she begins High School!
Apart from rushing back-and-forth to Dr. and dentists we have done one or two nicer things this month! Before the children went back to school we went to see a film that we all enjoyed very much “The Parent Trap”– a Walt Disney film with Hayley Mills in it – the little girl who played Pollyanna. It was very funny and the children really laughed and had a lovely time. [Linda already had the book the film was based on but decided she could live with the Americanized changes.] Afterwards we went and had a Chinese dinner – or at least Cec, Charlie and I had Chinese and Linda had roast pork!

On the very day that school began Cec and I went to hear the Red Army Choir sing. They were in Ottawa for 2 performances, and of all places they held the performances in the Auditorium – a dreadful old barn of a place where they have Ice Hockey and Circuses etc. Of course it holds a lot of people but it is due to be pulled down and it is dirty and smelly and just temporary old wooden flooring over the arena part and wooden chairs and for this we paid six dollars each. On top of this it was a roasting night and there wasn’t a slightest bit of ventilation! I sat with perspiration dripping off my brow so how the choir and dancers could stand it I don’t know – I was ashamed for Canada! The singing was wonderful and the dancing too – it was really a first class show, but Cec and I were slightly amused at the Russians singing “God Save Your Gracious Queen” and asking to send her victorious! —
Cec took Charlie to his first football Game the Sat. before last. It again was a terribly hot day and their seats were on the sunny side of the Grandstand, so it was very uncomfortable, and sad to say, Ottawa lost! Ken and Mr. Watt went with them, and old Mr. Watt thoroughly enjoyed it, sitting in his waistcoat and thick suit, and never minding the heat at all! Cec has been working away at his outside chores every weekend, but it wasn’t until this past one, that the weather was bearable. He has taken down the old clothesline and cemented me in one of those new umbrella type, that can be lifted out of its socket and brought in during the winter. Then he has replaced all the flagstones along there and cemented them and now he is painting the window frames and puttying the windows and painting the black roof trim. He has to do some work on the roof but is going to do only part this year.
My big job of course has been the Guild. [Cyn is now President of the Ladies Guild.] Our new rector and his family have arrived and are settling down. They all wear glasses, Linda says! Mr. Pulker seems very nice – a more practical man than Mr. Bowen, but not with the same charm, but I think he will be easier to work with. Mrs. Pulker is a little dark-haired lady, and reminds me a bit of Merle, and she also seems very nice and friendly, and there is a High School boy, a 12 year old girl and a 10 year old boy. We invited her to our first Exec. meeting, but she couldn’t come as there was a choir practice and she is going to help the choir. However both she and the rector came to our first Guild Meeting and seemed very pleased with it and thought the Guild was a busy bee! Both meetings went well I think, but of course I seemed to hear an awful lot of my own voice! Our first big effort is a Parish Supper to welcome the Pulkers and introduce them to the people and I am organizing this with a committee of 4, so you can imagine the phoning and to do. It isn’t only the Guild, but the Parish, so we have had to phone over 100 people and take bookings and everything. We are having it on the Pot Luck idea – each family is bringing something – a salad, pie, cake, rolls or casserole, as well as paying 25¢ per person, and with the money we are buying a turkey and a ham and cooking them and serving them cold with other things, and also milk for the children and ice cream, tea and coffee. It is our first attempt at this so I hope that it turns out all right and we have enough to eat! We are serving it Buffet style from 5:30 to 7:00 with a long serving table and eating at card tables, and by tonight we should know the numbers, which should be interesting! Greta Cooke, the treasurer, nearly made me faint by making 450 tickets, whereas I planned on about 100, but we shall see who is right!
What with the Guild meetings and going to send out notices about the supper and committee meetings, my time has vanished, so I will be glad when the supper is over next Wed. and things will be calmer – I hope. However I had coffee with Fanni this morning, and it was nice to be away from Guild for a little while. Also on Mon. evening I went to Scientist Wives Meeting, but I was very disappointed as it was supposed to be pictures of Upper Canada Village, the newly opened sort of village museum of old Canada, but instead the man just talked about it, and I’d already read so much that nothing he said was new. I took Margaret – poor Eddie is back in hospital again, and we went to visit him first. Finally last week they took x-rays of his tummy and found he had a new ulcer, and also the scar tissue on the old one which had healed had nearly obstructed the passage from the stomach so this was why he could take nothing but milk. They put him in hospital right away and are giving him some treatment – tubes down his nose to drain the acid from the stomach and a special formula every hour and are seeing if this will heal the ulcer quickly, but if not he will have to have an operation to remove part of his stomach. Isn’t this dreadful for a 16-year-old boy? Poor Margaret and Peter are so worried, and having to trail over to the Civic twice a day to see him is quite a thing too. I had the car yesterday so I took Margaret in the afternoon, but of course she doesn’t drive and it takes one hour there and one hour back by bus – if you’re lucky!
Cec and I still admire your typing and really looking at some of your older letters and then at your last the improvement is immense and I am so glad that you are persevering. I am so glad that at last you got the parcel of shoes and batteries. I always meant to tell you that I was so sorry that I had not had time to get you something for the Bazaar. What happened was that it was all done in a rush to get it off to you as soon as possible, and just after your letter and cheque came I found myself just outside your bank, which is usually out of my way, so I thought “Here is my chance – I’ll go in and cash it”. So in I marched and thought “How much will it all be?” And in my hurry I thought “Oh $10 will be enough – and Mummy said she hadn’t much money in her account!” So that is all I took out. Then when I went for the batteries they came to over five dollars I think and the shoes were about seven, so my guess wasn’t very good! However, Cec and I still owe you $50 on top of the Bond so don’t think about that, but it just happened that with the bank, the batteries and the shoes are being in different places, it took me longer than I thought to get them all, and also I couldn’t see anything much in the way of novelties, so I sent the parcel off and hoped you wouldn’t mind. The two nets were really for you, but I don’t mind a bit if you sell them at the Bazaar if you don’t need them. I just thought they might be something new. I am glad the shoes were O.K. and that hope that you will find them easier to get into as you wear them. I’m glad you approve of my scuffing them up! Linda is now wearing my shoes! She wears a five Missy and I wear a five Adult, but she puts on my slippers and is pleased as punch!
I am so glad that your supper went so well – hope that it is a good omen for ours. Ours of course is not to raise money, we just hope not to lose!
I see it is 3:30 so the children will be home soon, so I will finish this I think and answer about the Christmas parcels in my next, and now I will get this mailed. Not that I have any bright ideas about Christmas yet!
Love to Auntie Muriel & hello to Doris. Lots of love & kisses from us all to you – Cyn

I can’t imagine what you told that poor girl in Toronto about me. I have had a letter from her but haven’t answered as I don’t know what to say. I see no point in her spending her money coming to Ottawa to see me when I’ve never even met the girl. You’d better write & tell her I’ve moved to Timbuctoo!

I can only think this ungracious Post Script refers to the family mentioned a few letters back, where the mother (whom Cyn apparently knew) was settling her daughter in a job in Toronto with Bell Telephone after another had fallen through. [June 3 1961] I suppose the small circle of relatives/acquaintances in St.Vincent had encouraged Carol to assure the lonely young woman in her 20s to get in touch with her daughter who would be delighted to befriend her- but Cyn, in her 40s, busy with all her responsibilities, was anything but delighted. And I don’t think Carol realized the distances in Ontario- a bus trip to Ottawa and back on a weekend would have taken practically the whole 2 days!