March 5 1951

Monday 5th March

Dearest Mummy,

Just after we had mailed a whole ream to you on Sat. morning, another lovely fat letter arrived at noon, & we were so pleased! Thank you very, very much – we loved hearing all about your visiting day around the island & Lady B.P.’s visit, but must tell you to take great care of our Grandmama, & not go getting scraped by anymore buses!

By the same post we got a letter from my Father – quite nice & chatty & not complaining either (I wrote to him yesterday & told him about the event)- and also a letter from Frank. He sounded just the same funny fellow- not engaged or married, but very fed up with boarding-house life in Sidney, so says he is looking for a widow with a house!! He had heard from Al & says that he & Barbara seem to be getting on all right & that Barbara likes S. A. It was nice to hear from him again. I was glad that you’d heard from Mrs. White – Mary wrote to me after Christmas & told me about the baby & house etc. & seemed very happy & to like Perth very much, but it was Winnie told me about Mrs. White going out there- she is a brave little woman, isn’t she? It seems such a long way to go, & she is always ailing in one way or another. However, you’ll probably be coming to just as hectic as a household as she is! – one thing- we won’t be feeding the twins sherry this Christmas?!! (Silly Winnie about the cable!!)

Now, before I go any further – about the nighties! I went & “shopped around” today – didn’t have much time as Millie & I sneaked 1/2 hour away from work! – but we went to a big store with a good baby dept. They had two kinds of baby nighties- one was a kind of fine cotton stockinette – very thin & stretchy I thought – with a drawstring bottom, & cost $1.50. The other, which I would have chosen any day- was a white flannelette – very plain, with an opening all the way down (the other was a pull-over-the-head type which I wouldn’t have,) – it had a little lace around the neck and sleeve I think, & cost $2.95. Now the present exchange is about 7/- to $1.00, so it seems to me that to buy the material & make them will be very much better. I got a pattern, which I will send by sea (it is just a plain style- & it is supposed to take 1 3/8 yds. it says.

I thought tho’ if you made shoulder tucks & a good hem, they would last so much longer than the bought ones & be much much nicer too. I think if A. Trix can get Dayella it would be just as good for me as Viyella & a bit cheaper I think, & over here it isn’t necessary to have such warm things – all the nighties etc. are cotton of some sort, & only the little knitted jackets etc. of wool- & blankets & so on, of course, but even some of those are cotton. I haven’t been able to get an illustrated baby layette book yet, but will send a layette “list” in one baby mag. They say about 3- 4 nightgowns & 3-4 kimonos or sacques, but I am just going to have the open up nighties to do for both & think I should have 6 – does that kill you?!! I thought four Dayella ones, & 2 crinkle cotton, as it will still be v. hot in Ottawa in Aug. – & by the way, I am going to pay for the material if you make them – it’s a bargain! I’ll send a cheque on Martin’s in Cambridge & will never feel it!! 

Have to stop now- Cec has gone back to the Lab. & I promised to go to bed at 10:30! Good preggy ma! Will answer the rest of your letter later, but want to send this off straight away. 

                            Lots & lots of love from Cyn (Just 5 1/2 months!!!)

March 1 1951

1st March. 1951

    [Cec’s handwriting, with an arrow pointing to ‘Grand’:] you always were that!

Dearest Grand Mummy, 

Cec & I have been laughing because I have a Craving! At least I call it a craving, but Cec says that I should choose something much more exotic & this is such a nice, easy, pleasant, little craving- guess what? Nothing but a nice cup of tea! I have had one every evening since Saturday & do enjoy it so much, & feel slightly wicked at having it, which makes it very much more exciting!! I haven’t touched coffee since before Christmas, & for a while used to retire from the kitchen when Cec put his on to perk, but now the smell doesn’t worry me although I still don’t feel inclined to drink it. At first I didn’t care for milk much either, but the Dr. told me to try gradually & the taste would come back, so I began by putting chocolate syrup in it & drinking chocolate milk & now I can drink it straight! We get skim milk for me, so that I won’t get fat & also it has all the nutrients I need- I am supposed to have a quart a day, but so far only achieve about 1 1/2 pts- a glass for lunch, one for dinner & one before I go to bed. Cec suggests I take some in a thermos to work & I think I will as I don’t seem able to drink it in the early morning. I have continued all along to have tea for breakfast, but haven’t been drinking my orange juice lately as my tummy seems a bit too acid at that hour. At mid-morning at work Milly & I have tea (share 1 tea-bag!) but we have no milk so I really don’t like it much! In the afternoon we eat apples, so do our best to get our vitamins & keep our weight down. Millie is 2 months further on than me & is having her baby in June at the Maternity Hospital here. Her husband, Jerry, is the one I didn’t care for much at first, but I like him better now & they are a very devoted couple. Millie is only an inch or two taller than me- if that – and used to be about the same weight, but of course is quite a bit more now! She is well into maternity clothes, and I was saying to Cec that I would have to get something this month – I don’t exactly show- I don’t think! – but the waists of skirts & zips of dresses are getting slightly uncomfortable! I am most pleased because I don’t know if you remember me telling you that I altered the skirt of my brown suit some months ago as it was too tight!? Anyway, when I altered it, in making the ‘ips bigger, I also made the waist bigger I found when I was finished, but of course couldn’t be bothered to redo it – and am I glad now! It’s just right & quite comfy!! (I only gained 3/4 lb. in 5 weeks between my 2 visits to the clinic.)

I forgot to tell you, when I was talking about foods etc. that there are really very few things I don’t want to eat & we are on a fairly normal diet, except I don’t eat much that is starchy or sweet. The funny thing is, that the foods I don’t like the idea of, are all things we had around Christmas- turkey, stuffing, baked ham etc. & poor Cec is so sad because he loves them all!! However, I will doubtless recover & he hasn’t pined for them too much yet. The nausea & sick feelings I had earlier on are all gone now, but I still need lots of sleep & feel lousy & tired if I don’t get it. I have indigestion quite a bit, but that is to be expected, I imagine, & it is better than it was too. I told Cec that I must tell you that you would be horrified if you heard me now – you were disgusted when Cec taught me to belch loudly, but now I far & away outdo him & reverberate through the house!!! Cec says it is good for me, because otherwise all that wind would stay inside of me & make me feel much worse! [Cec’s handwriting: I sometimes wonder what our neighbours think!]

So far I don’t seem to have done anything except tell you about my symptoms, but you were asking how I was, so I thought I would give you a blow by blow description! When we got home tonight we were delighted to find a letter from you written on Feb 21st – we do enjoy your letters so much & get such fun out of hearing what all the aunties and cousins say, & all about everything. Thank you very, very much for writing us such lovely letters so often – we look forward to them each week, & when we come home & find one lying on the doormat Cec is just as pleased as me. I have not been very good about answering your letters lately, but will try to do better now, especially as I don’t have to spend so many evenings sleeping! Cec is very sweet & is washing the dishes for me now, so that I can write to my Mummy!

Talking of letters, we heard from Cec’s Mummy this week, & were quite disappointed as she wasn’t as wildly excited as we are! Of course this will be her fifth time of being a Grandmama so it’s nothing new to her, but she took it all quite calmly – even the idea of twins! I finally got around to writing to everyone N/C – & mailed them (air) this week, so now you can go ahead in your letters! I saved them & posted them all at once, so hope they arrive together & no one is hurt – I wrote to Dottie; Nan (asked her to tell Mrs. A.); Irene; Amy & Ruth; Denis, Dorothy & Winnie. I owed both Denis & Winnie letters, so wrote a combined effort, & I owed Ruth a letter so wrote to her & Amy, via Amy. I also had sent Ruth a birthday card, & have a present for her which I have ready to send- it is a very pretty cotton sports shirt – it is plaid in soft pinks, greens, mauves etc. & has a white piqué trim on collar & short sleeves – I’m hoping, being cotton, there won’t be a killing duty this time. When I was writing to everyone in N/C, Cec & I talked about telling my Father the news – I didn’t know whether to tell him so soon or not, but as Cec says, he might hear from someone else, as he seems to hear things somehow- so we think it would be best if I write & tell him now. I’ll probably write this weekend, & I am collecting some chocolate mints, tins of biscuits etc. to send a parcel for his birthday. We are also going to send a little parcel to Joan (Cox) with a tin of meat or so (for Joan!!) & some cat food for poor Spivey!! The people at 37 de Freville have been very kind about sending mail onto us etc. also, so we are sending them a box of candy to share & feel we will have discharged all our obligations!!

Before I answer your letter, I’ll bring you up-to-date on our doings this week. Last week I think I told you that we were having some nice weather for a change, & we had a lovely weekend. We went & shopped for our groceries on Fri. evening & on Sat. I cleaned the flat & cleaned the silver (and how it needed it!) & got snacks ready, as we were having Cec’s friend from work, Pete, & his wife Mary Jo in for bridge (they are the ones we had dinner with near Christmas with the cute little girl Jody). Cec spent the afternoon washing & polishing McTavish & he looked just beautiful (i.e. McT. looked beautiful- Cec always does!) The Pete’s came around 8:30 & we had a nice evening of bridge – Pete had a lay down Grand Slam in the first rubber though & we never recovered from it!

On Sunday we slept – of course! – & in the afternoon as it was nice & sunny went out for a drive in McTavish & took some snaps of him, so hope they will turn out all right & will send you some. On Monday morning I had my second appointment at the Mat Clinic & went at 8:45 & then onto work. This was a much less thorough going over than the first time & I had a different Dr. – there are apparently 3 Drs. & you have whoever is on duty at the time. Dr. Johnson was the first one I had & this one is Dr. Bivens, but the thing that impressed me very much with both of them was how kind & friendly & interested they seemed. I thought being a Clinic they would be inclined to rush you through, but they seem to give you plenty of time & really make an effort to put you at your ease & make you feel that they were taking a personal interest in your case. Dr. B. told me the results of all the tests they had taken the previous time & everything was O.K. – x-ray negative- blood count normal- haemoglobin normal – RH factor positive etc. etc.- everything ordinary & normal. He spent quite a while poking my tummy & was very interested in the twins proposition! The thing is that my uterus is apparently larger than is normal for the time I’m supposed to have gone – so either, the baby is a month older than we think, which doesn’t seem likely, or else it is twins! In case the baby was a month older than expected Dr. B got his short stethoscope & listened for heartbeats, but could hear none yet. He says that next time I go back ( Mar 26) he should be able to hear them & that soon after that they’ll give me an x-ray to make sure! He told me not to make plans yet, but that it seemed quite likely! (I only gained 3/4lb. in the 5 weeks- the Dr. said I was good!)

On Monday evening, Millie was having a girls Bridge do, but what with the visit to the Clinic & then work I felt tired so begged off & spent a lazy (sleepy!) evening! On Tuesday, after much sleep, I felt better, & in the evening washed jumpers & stockings & socks & finished my N/C letters! On Wed. evening I went to a Mother’s Class!! They run the series of classes (7) & the clinic advises you to go- Millie had just finished her  lot, so I began this one. One of the fellows at work, Bob Bruinsma (he used to give me a lift sometimes before we got McT.) had told me a little while ago that his wife, Elaine, was expecting too (in Sept.) & we chat about her symptoms etc. She wanted to go to these classes too, so Bob took us both up & brought me home which was v. nice of him as McT. broke a spring on Tues. & is in the garage- sob! sob! The class was quite interesting- we saw a film which was good, but the nurse woman who talked seemed silly to me & didn’t speak well, so I didn’t think much of her! This class was on conception etc. – next week is the hygiene of pregnancy – & they have ones on the layette etc. etc.

Cec is chasing me to bed, so we’ll say nighty nighty & finish this tomorrow. Sleep tight!

Friday.

Cec has gone up to the Lab. this evening to work & has made me promise to go to bed at 10:30, so I am hurrying to finish this! We went to the store this evening & bought all our groceries & then when we came home we had our monthly finance meeting & wrote cheques & balanced our account etc.! We thought we might finish paying for McT. this month, but we have decided to wait till next month, as it makes no difference to the bank, & we just might need some money for something, so it is no good letting ourselves get too short.

Did I tell you that I had a little letter from Milly about a month ago? She enclosed $5 for us to buy ourselves a wedding present – wasn’t that sweet of her? I wrote & thanked her & told her our news, but wondered if she would hear first via St. V!! I had a letter from Janie today with congrats etc. & it made us laugh because she said that she & Billo would love to see their little Half-Pint overflowing!! She enclosed some snaps of the boys & they look very sweet – the little one toddling around now. Talking of cousins, poor Monie – what a disappointment to have Owen home for so short a time. She must be so fed up with all the long waiting & then so often a disappointment at the end of it, but I am glad that she will see him in Baltimore before too long. Margs must have been busy with Allan ill too- I expect he is a real big boy now, at school & everything – I can hardly imagine how they all have grown up.

I loved hearing of all the things you are busy making! You are so energetic & put me quite to shame as I have really done nothing yet – I am knitting this little jacket but promised it to Milly before my news was public so I must keep my word!! Your baby jacket will be sweet I know, as the ones you used to do before were always very cute, but I am entranced with the idea of the little patchwork quilt! I think it is lovely & I am so glad that you remembered it – as a matter of fact I was mentioning the idea to Milly & Dawn a little while ago & saying what fun I thought it would be, but of course I have no bits & not enough time anyway. I can imagine it would take an age, but don’t worry – just persevere, & if you don’t get it done just bring it to Canada & we’ll finish it there – the babies will probably be in a clothes basket to begin with anyway, so we’ll have time! Don’t let anyone laugh at you – I know the twins will love it & I do already!

Cec & I laughed ourselves silly over all the conflicting advice you are getting from the relatives & hope that you’re not getting too confused with it all. It is very sweet of them all to take so much interest but it is funny that they all have their own ideas. About the vests, I am going to solve the problem of hand-knitted versus bought ones, as over here the babies wear cotton vests, & I shall buy some little wrap over ones here! Jeanie forgets that the houses here are so much warmer than in England & all the baby books (and people too) say cotton vests. I hope Bren hasn’t got wool for them – anyway we could use it for something else. Talking of vests I have never been able to wear the two woollen ones Anne knitted for me – it is just too warm indoors & you begin to tickle madly, so I was seriously thinking of pulling them out & knitting baby things. It seems a shame to undo all her work, but better than just leaving them there to get mothy. I haven’t heard a word from her since the baby was born, by the way.

Please thank Auntie Mil for the offer of a little dress – I should love it, & if it was a 6 months size it should be all right. I seem to remember Dottie turning some of Pete’s baby dresses into rompers, so if it is a boy (or boys) I could always do that! I should love to try my hand at a smocked baby dress, but don’t know whether I’ll ever have the time.

I was interested to hear of the Polish Dr. & his wife moving to St. V. & I am glad that he is doing well, and that people like him. Poor Peter must be having a bad time with his leg, but they must be thankful that there is a competent Dr. not far away. I hope that you all enjoy your day visiting around the island & don’t return home too worn out with such a plethora of social activities!! I hope that you liked Lady Baden Powell’s speech too & were able to hear well – I’m glad that you still use the earphone occasionally to keep in practice as it were, but I think that as long as you get on all right without it in everyday life, why worry! And it is much easier for you, not to be bothered with it I know.

I am glad that you wrote & told little Mrs. Johnny & hope she is tickled with the news & feels able to make the shawl. I don’t think anyone I know will offer to make another, & I am not worrying as the Layette Books here never mention shawls but use blankets and “flannel receiving squares” so I can use those when the shawl gets wet!! Anyway, if we have to bundle both twins in it, we’ll need something else to help out! I’m going into town tomorrow & will get a baby nightie pattern & will write again soon. Take good care of Granny now! Lots & lots of love & hugs from us all 

        from 

                        Cynnie & Cec.

Received in this condition at the St.V. P.O., but the letter inside was quite unchewed!

From California

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

January 29

Noon.

Dear Cyn,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rest of the letter is handwritten.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                 Love,

                                       Edie.

From Poland

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

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

Warsaw, Poland.

 1. J. 1951.

Dear Cynthia, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Your friend 

                      Ludwik.

P. S.

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

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

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

                       Your friend Ludwic—— 

This letter is giving two weeks.

February 21 1951

21st Feb. 1951.

Dearest Little Gran’ma,

I was going to write you a great long screed, but instead I fell asleep after dinner & although Cec waked me as I’d requested, it took me about an hour to come to! Now I have finally washed the dishes but it is 9:30 & near my bedtime again! This sleep business is really amazing – I just zonk! out, & get nothing done at all, but everyone says that it passes after a while, so let’s hope it won’t be long!

I have three letters to thank you for & did we enjoy them!! The first I got last Thurs. noon when we came home for lunch & when I saw it I tore upstairs & ripped it open full of excitement, only to find that you hadn’t got ours yet! Actually, I hadn’t got one from you the previous week & this was it, delayed somehow. However, it was fun to get & we enjoyed reading it. Then the next day, Friday, we rushed home again- & there was another letter & this was it! We dashed upstairs & I read it aloud to Cec while he got lunch ready & we laughed so much & got such a thrill because you were so excited! We are so delighted that you are coming to be in the fray, & Cec has decided that if it is triplets you can have one – nobody else, just you!! We don’t know why you are against the twin idea – we think it is lovely & anyway we think that it would probably be much easier for me to have 2 little weasley, measly twins, than 1 big bouncing effort!! Shirley at work keeps asking me how Squidget & Midget are?!!

Today at noon I got your next nice letter & it was lovely. Thank you very, very much for writing a lot – we like it- the more the merrier! I am absolutely overwhelmed with all the offers of knitting and baby things – it is gorgeous & I think everyone is very sweet to be so thrilled & energetic. I will find out more about the layette etc. & write full details as soon as poss.- thought I’d buy a nightie pattern & send you! As you will gather, I told at work & also Dr. and Mrs. S. & have written to Cec’s family. At the weekend I was going to write to everyone in N/C, but ended by not doing so well. On Fri. evening we went to an Ice Hockey game with the Dockerills, – the Univ. here v. Toronto Univ. & Michigan won. We then went to the Dockerills & had tea etc. so were late home & so slept late Sat! I cleaned & we went shopping & then at 7 p.m. met Dawn Hendrix (a friend from work – her husband was away for the weekend) & we went to the pictures to see “Whisky Galore”. It was called “Tight Little Island” here, but as we missed it in England we were longing to see it & it was gorgeous- funny, so that we laughed & laughed! Afterwards Dawn came back & we had snacks etc. & she stayed till 2 A.M.- I was dying of sleep! Sunday I did write various letters – poor Mr. Cooper for one- he wrote me just before Christmas (sea mail) and told me Katie was very ill, & said he hadn’t your address, but then you told me you’d heard of Katie’s death & had written. I also wrote Denis, Dorothy & Winnie, but I’m holding it till I get Nan, Dottie, Irene & Amy’s done! I intended to continue the good work Mon. evening but slept till 10!! Last night we went to a v. good movie “Born Yesterday” which was most amusing-  A.Ettie will have heard of the play in N.Y.  What do you think – I had a note & cheque for $5 from Mill- wasn’t that sweet of her? Wedding present she said- must write to her tonight. Will write a real do at the weekend! My love & thanks to Aunties & cousins. Cec is back at the Lab. but would send love to Grannie – 

                       With lots & lots from your little 

                                     Mummy+ [Cec’s handwriting:] the old man.

P.S. What do you mean “there are no twins in the Hazell family”?

Love the tone of indignation in the Postscript! However, she was quite right, until (spoiler alert) one of the New York cousins had grandchildren.

February 4 1951

Sunday 4th Feb.

Dearest Grandmama-to-be,

Or would you prefer to be called Granny or Grandmother or Nana? Take your choice – we don’t mind! But we thought we better break the news to you gently that you were to be a grandmama in August- about the 20th to be exact! [Cec’s handwriting:] Twins- no less- at least that’s the Doc’s preliminary diagnosis! Cock-a-doodle-doo!! [Cyn’s handwriting:] What do you think of that? Aren’t we clever! We have been giggling around ever since the Dr. mentioned the word “twins” & we’re so tickled with ourselves we could bust! Actually he also said that it was too early to be really sure, and he couldn’t promise them to us, but we’ll be quite disappointed if we get a single instead of a double now! [Cec’s handwriting:] I am very intrigued with the idea of getting anything for half price in this day & age. 

We are so pleased we don’t know what to do. And you should see Cyn. Her back porch has completely disappeared, and and since she hasn’t lost weight, it’s been distributed to other places. What a figure! Real whistle-bait. [Cyn’s handwriting:] Just wait till I developed a front porch instead! At the moment I am all bosomy me which astounds me!

This is all been a bit incoherent, so I’ll begin & tell you all about it. We have been panting to tell you and have had the worst time not popping out with the secret, but we wanted to wait till I’d been to the Dr. to make absolutely sure. Even now I have quite a lot of difficulty really realizing it’s true but the Dr. says I’ll get more & more convinced as time goes on!

We began to suspect about a week before Christmas & while the Boveys were here & Connie was drooping around & talking about being preggy I wasn’t feeling any too bright myself! I’ve not had any morning sickness at all – in fact all along I’ve felt fine in the morning, but wilted a bit in the afternoon & evening! I’ve only been sick 2 or 3 times, although my tummy hasn’t felt very happy sometimes, but on the whole I have been fine. All last month I felt very tired – particularly the first two weeks- remember my telling you of feeling tired! (did you suspect?!) – anyway I spent most of the evenings sleeping & retired to bed at 10 o’clock to sleep some more! I’m better now & have more energy, but still go to bed early.

There is a huge University Hospital here & it has a new Maternity Hospital, so I rang up the Clinic there & made an appointment. Along I trotted feeling quite scared, but the nurses & Drs were very nice & apart from being examined inside & out there was nothing alarming! Of course we will be in Ottawa when the twins (!) appear, but the Dr. said they would take care of me as long as I was here, & then send their report to the Hospital in Ottawa when we leave. I am so pleased that they will be little Canadian buns & not American buns!

I had two Doctors make the examination- one was an intern I think, & they certainly gave me the once over! However, they said that I was in good physical condition & that everything seemed fine – the only thing was that something or other seemed bigger than was usual which was a sign of twins!! They gave me prescriptions for Vitamin tablets & iron pills (which everyone gets) & a little book with diet etc. – I’m to eat lots of proteins & 1 qt. of milk a day. Milk is one of the few things I turned up my nose since Christmas, but the Dr. said to try to drink a little each day & the taste will come back, so I began drink chocolate milk & am up to 1 pt. a day now. He says that my weight is fine, so I am pleased- still 116- haven’t put on any more yet, but have a slight bulge fore! All my clothes are fine – isn’t it a good job I lost some weight first, or I’d be busting out all over!

Milly, at work, is “expecting” as I told you & I am having the worst time, not bursting forth with my news when she talks baby! We’ll wait till you have the news & will then shout it from the housetops- figuratively speaking! I have bought wool & baby books, but so far have only knit a pair of baby bootees for Millie! I’m relying on you for nighties & on Mrs. Johnny for The Shawl! I was shattered at the price of baby wool over here – the equivalent of £1 for 3 balls of baby wool & a knitting pattern! Expensive little brats!

You asked about our plans for this year – well, Cec’s thesis is due in Cambridge in June – we don’t know the exact date yet. Then we’ll have to wait here till he has his Oral Exam.– probably with Dr. S & one of the Mish. Profs. as examiners. Then we head for Ottawa – probably early July, & find ourselves an abode.

[Cec’s handwriting:] We expect to be settled somehow by late July. The important thing is, we think Grandma ought to come & look after the parents in August – especially if it’s twins! We don’t know what sort of a place we’ll be living in, but we thought it would be best to start making plans & we can settle details in the next six months.

[Cyn’s handwriting:] How’s about coming to see your Cyn looking like the back end of a bus & catching a first glimpse of your 2 screaming little grandchildren?! (One of each, Cec says- one with & one without!) We do hope you’ll be able to plan to come to us – we promise we’ll keep you busy, from morning till night as we will be busy househunting & furnishing too probably! Such excitement!

We must stop now or will bubble on for pages! Write soon & tell us if your chicken wishbone wish is on its way to coming true! Thank you heaps for 2 lovely letters yesterday, written on 21st and 28th- I sat with my feet up all afternoon & read them. We are so delighted that you are having such a lovely, lovely time.

Will answer your letters & write again soon.

                  Lots & lots of love 

                                      from 

                                the Proud Parents!

                                     Cyn & Cec.

P.S. Will write to Les Girls in England sometime this month- better not mention it in letters till I tell you I’ve written.

Definitely Air Mail material- first news of me!

January 31 1951

31st Jan. 1951

Dearest Mummy,

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

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

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

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

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

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

              With lots & lots of love 

                                           from Cyn & Cec

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

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

January 20 1951

20 Jan. 1951

Dearest Mummy,

Cec and I have just been up to the Drug Store for my weekend treat- a chocolate milk shake! It is a really cold night & everyone else was drinking coffee & hot chocolate & warming things, but it was so long since I had had a milk shake that I defied the weather & enjoyed myself! We used to go up to the Drug Store nearly every weekend, but when I was dieting I was good & haven’t had more than 1 or 2 since then – now I am 116 lbs. with hardly any back porch so I am beginning to relax!!

We didn’t get a letter from you this week, but maybe you are like me- I meant to write to you this week earlier, but there was just no news as we hadn’t done a thing. We got a letter from Irene saying that she & Bill had done very little since New Year except sit by the fire & that they were getting into a rut, but Bill said it was a lovely comfy rut! Well, we are just the same- certainly Cec works each evening, but I am so loathe to go out & just love to stay at home! Cec had a great work session on with late nights etc. until he finished what he was doing at the beginning of the week, then the poor boy got a really horrid head cold & has been poorly with it ever since. He stayed in bed on Wed. but had to go & take his class on Thurs. but stayed in again Fri. & it wasn’t until today that it began to clear a bit so that he could breathe more easily & taste things again.

We did go out once last week – on Monday to one of our concert series which was the Don Cossack Choir. They are a choir of men- originally from Russia after World War I, & so are no longer very young, but they were fun & we enjoyed them. They sang all in Russian- some sort of Church music, some folk songs etc.- their conductor is a little, wee man ( 4ft.10in.) and in a tight uniform & riding boots he looks so minute!

I don’t remember if I had got your letter telling about your New Year when I last wrote- anyway thank you so much for it. Cec & I both enjoyed so much your Christmas & New Year letters & loved hearing all that you had done. It all sounded so much fun, & as if you had had such a good time & we were so happy. I was disappointed that you hadn’t got my parcel yet, but goodness I do hope that it has arrived by now.

Contents of Parcel!

All my parcels to England seemed to get there in good time – I had a letter from Ruth written before Christmas & she had got hers then- no mention of duty!! I also had a letter from my Father- the first I have had since I left England. Thanking me for the parcel & quite nice & appreciative of all the things- he mentioned them all & which he liked best & he was particularly taken with the patience cards, so I am much encouraged to send more. He wrote of playing chess, draughts & bagatelle & doing crossword puzzles etc. & is still very full of his RC religion.

I had a letter from Dottie & she was down staying with the Burtons near L’pool & poor little Pete had caught this horrid ‘flu & was quite ill for a while & still very peaky. It seems really serious in England & must be very worrying for everyone, & doesn’t show any signs of improving yet. I’ve heard nothing more from Anne & how she and baby are getting on, but hope they are all right. Must stop now & go to bed – Cec sends his love & a snuffly hug – hope all the aunties are well & you too, honey bun – 

                             With lots of love from 

                                                           Cynnie

January 10 1951

Jan 10th 1951.

Dearest Mummy,

We got your parcel this week and it is lovely! Thank you very, very much for the beautiful luncheon set – it is really a wonderful piece of work, and both Cec and I are so impressed at the immense amount of work you have done for us. I am panting for the day that we have a really nice dining table, so that I can display it in its full glory, because it will look so lovely on a beautiful shiny wood.  Thank you also very much for the bamboo mats – they are so nice and will be awfully useful. I had meant to say to you in one of my letters after you mentioned sending some to people in England, that I would love some for my birthday, but you forestalled me & I am so pleased.  It was really a lovely parcel Mummy, & both Cec & I are thrilled with the luncheon sets – by the way – I thought I had better tell you – there are 8 little mats & only 7 big ones – Cec thought he should enquire at the P.O. but I didn’t think there was much hope of finding it there- also I wondered if perhaps the 8th mat was still in the making! Anyway don’t worry because there are lots, but I thought I would tell you just in case you had one more to send.

When we went to collect your parcel (the postman puts a note in the door as we’re out & we go to the P.O. to collect) we found one from Joan Cox too, with bubble bath for me & braces for Cec & a cute little wooden kitchen calendar, then next day we got one from Cec’s family, so our Christmas lasted a nice long time.  Cec got cigarettes from Carmen & I got a little fat woman with a kitchen pad & pencil from him, & from Mom & Pop we got a pretty plant pot holder – Devonshire ware- in the shape of a duck- I must get a nice little plant to fit in it. 

Since I last wrote we have been very quiet – Connie & Leonard left us exhausted! We had a letter from them by the way – very formal – & no word of how Connie was feeling! Each evening after dinner I just lay on the sofa & read & dozed & was sent to bed by 10 o’clock, so this week am feeling more like myself! Cec has been having one of his terrific work sessions, so has been toiling away at night while I slept, but last week was still holiday, so he was able to work at home. I drive to & fro in MacTavish and he is being a very good car.

Last Thurs. Pete & Mary Jo asked us to dinner & bridge with 2 other couples so we went & had a very nice evening. Their little girl, Jody, aged 3, stayed up to receive us & was so sweet & such a little chatterbox. Her Mummy & Daddy come from Baltimore & she has a real Baltimore accent & made Cec & I laugh by saying the flowers were so “purty”!! 

On Sat. Bob Peebles, one of my bosses had Cec & I to dinner along with the rest of the Field Office. He is a middle-aged bachelor, but cooked & served a very nice dinner & we had quite a pleasant evening. I don’t like work 1/2 so much now my friend Edie has gone & miss her a lot, but part of my feelings may be post-holiday reaction!!

Thank you lots & lots for your lovely, long newsy letter written at Christmas – we loved it & were so happy that you had such a nice time. I will answer your letter & will write more at the weekend & must go & wash dishes now! Thank you again, honey, for our lovely present –      

With lots & lots of love from Cyn & Cec.  

Mats from the West Indies! I don’t have my grandmother’s beautiful crocheted luncheon set, but we always had everyday mats- not bamboo, palm leaf-from St Vincent, and I still do.

                     

January 1 1951

Visitors!

Jan 1st 1951

Dearest Mummy,

Happy, Happy New Year!  Cec and I send our love and all our good wishes for a beautiful 1951, and hope that you have a lovely time.

We have had the laziest New Year’s Day! In fact, since our guests left on Sat. we have been in a state of collapse and exhaustion, and have done very little except sleep and rest! That sounds bad, doesn’t it, but the fact is that we were really tired when Christmas came, and visitors are a bit of a strain anyway, so it’s nice to relax and have this weekend to ourselves. 

I’ll begin at the beginning though, and tell you all about Connie & Leonard’s visit and what sort of a Christmas we all had. Actually, the week before Christmas was hectic – we were busy at work, and each evening at home I had jobs to do- scrubbing the kitchen floor!- icing the cake – ironing- finishing Christmas shopping- making cookies etc. so when we got a letter from C&L saying that they would spend Fri. night in Detroit & come to us on Sat. I was very pleased. We scurried around & were more or less set when they arrived at about 11:30 on Sat. – the friend they’d stayed with brought them in his car. Connie & Leonard looked just the same as ever – their shoes beautifully polished!! The friend, Howard, is an ex-Englishman from Plymouth (knows L’s uncle) who married a US exchange teacher before the war & came over here with her. He is naturalized now, but his wife died recently & he is very nervy & strung up, poor man. He was going on to spend Christmas with his in-laws, so only stayed for a cup of coffee. We gave C&L our bedroom, so they unpacked & we had lunch & in the afternoon the Simpsons, Joan & Oliver & their little boy Christopher, came to tea. They knew the Boveys of course, so we all had quite a gossipy time, & Christopher was very cute & very intrigued with a gum-drop tree which we gave him! They finally went, & we had dinner & by then were all a bit tired, so just chatted till bedtime. Cec & I slept on the sitting room sofa which pulls out into a double bed & wasn’t bad at all.

On Sunday we had the Sutherlands coming to tea, so after our morning breakfast & chores we were all buzzing around when Connie had a nosebleed & eventually fainted. Apparently, she has these nosebleeds sometimes but this one was very violent & she just passed out & scared us to bits. Fortunately, we had some brandy (for the Christmas cake!!) & she came around quite quickly, but looked poorly. However, she was up when the S’s came & we had quite a nice tea party & Connie took the rest of the day quietly.

She was going to go to Church with me on Christmas morning but didn’t feel too well, so I went by myself, & when I got back we had breakfast & then opened our presents! I can’t remember what I told you in our funny Christmas day letter so I’ll tell you the presents again anyway. Cec & I thought C&L so queer as they didn’t give each other anything! Connie had a pair of new shoes with her that she said were from Len, but there was no word of what she given him, & she told us at great length one day of how they took very little notice of Christmas at home etc.! Anyway, Cec & I gave her a pair of nylons, & some plastic bowl covers for the fridge, & Len a pair of gaudy nylon socks & an Esquire calendar of 1/2 clad girls(!!), & a box of sweets to both. They gave us a book of pictures of Oxford & Cambridge & gave us another book of pictures of England when they left, the photos are lovely.

Cec gave me a dress! It is pretty pale blue, & a lovely brown cord boxy handbag. I gave him a pr. of slacks(!) – they are a nice gray–blue, & finally finished that gray- blue sweater!! & a new belt & an ashtray & a diary! We had a nice time anyway. We also got the Book Club from Dottie, & a sub. to Reader’s Digest from Merle & Dixon, & some pretty little square mats with flowers on from Amy & I got a book from Mrs. Allan & a hankie puff from Nan & a little diary from Miss Lefroy.  The S’s gave us a bottle of sherry (fair exchange- we gave them one!) & Gunborg gave me a cake, & Mrs. Kaufman made me a lovely sponge cake. Irene sent me a box of bath cubes & Bill sent Cec a book of cartoons, so we really had a lot. Your parcel hasn’t come yet, but it is lovely to have it to look forward to.

Connie & I stuffed the turkey & put it in, & then Mr. & Mrs. K. came up for a glass of sherry during the afternoon. We finally had our dinner & the turkey was grand, but we ate so much we couldn’t eat any pudding! It was one Mrs. Atkinson gave me ages ago, so I don’t know what it would have been like anyway, but when I went out later, I had forgotten it & it had boiled dry & was like a hard stone! we threw it out!

Next day we took C&L to town & they shopped a bit, but it was very cold (snow on the ground all the time) so we didn’t stay too long. In the evening we went to the S’s “English” party- us & the Simpsons & Dockerills & had a lovely time. We had a buffet style meal, & then looked at colour photos & had Swedish “glögg” (a kind of hot punch) before we went home. We all got presents from under the tree – mine was “foam baths “& Cec got a cigar! Little Mary got Santa’s Candy Store & was thrilled to bits!

Next day we went for our first long drive in the car – to Toledo! We set off at about 10:30 in the morning & Cec drove about 1/2 way, & then I drove the rest. We had a cup of hot chocolate in the middle, but it was a very cold day, with bright sun on the snow, so it wasn’t too good driving, but we managed fine. We arrived in good time for lunch & Til & Lois were pleased to see us, & it was fun showing Connie their pretty house. We had a drink & a nice dinner of roast beef & floating island, & felt very bloated! We took Til a rolling pin & pie plate for her Christmas present! They were very pretty cream oven proof ware, with a wreath of green ivy leaves & she thought they were cute & so did I! We took a Lois a beer stein for her evening beer & she liked that too. They gave us our Christmas & wedding present & so did Ruth, & they were lovely. Ruth’s was towels – gorgeous tomato & lime green ones! Til & Lois’ was a waffle iron and grill combination – yes, I know we have one! And we had to confess we had, (we got it with Marie’s money, remember?) – but this one is twice as big & very nice, so we will have to see if we can sell the other. That reminds me, we got an invitation to Bebe’s wedding, so will have to send something, but haven’t her address – will you send it to me? And of course give her the embroidered tablecloth – I think it is a very good idea & don’t mind a bit. I have one of your table cloths, & at the moment don’t get a chance to use it much, so don’t mind doing without the other. 

Lois & Connie behind Cyn & Til.

Ruth & Mary & the children came to visit while we were there, but we left between 4 & 5 & Cec drove all the way home & was very good. My clever little husband.

Next day I went to work for the morning- Cec drove me – & then met the others for lunch in town. They then went shopping & Cec & I came home & I baked a big mince pie & got dinner ready as the Dockerills were coming. We had cold turkey & ham, stuffed baked potatoes, vegetable casserole, salad, cranberry sauce etc. then the mince pie, & everyone seemed to enjoy it. Instead of a jigsaw puzzle this year, Cec got us a game- at least 4 games in 1- & one is Chinese Checkers & we played that & had quite fun. 

Friday I went to work 1/2 day again, & then Cec took the Boveys shopping again & I washed! In the evening after dinner we went to the Simpsons for coffee, & then on Sat. morning we drove C&L to Detroit to Howard’s & we all went out to lunch. They were going back by train either yesterday or today. We got back here about 5 & Cec got a cup of tea ready & then I fell asleep on the sofa till 8 o’clock when he woke me for a sandwich! Then at 9 he took over the sofa & slept till 11 when we tottered to bed & slept till 11 next morning!!

We hadn’t made any plans for New Year’s Eve, but Gordon came around & asked us to see it in with them so we did, & Anne and Kirsten sneaked down & joined in too! We called in at Pete & Mary Jo’s on the way home & Gordon came & first-footed us so we had fun. Today we got up late & Cec had a grand time listening to the big football game in the Rose Bowl in California- California v. Michigan & we won!

As you can imagine our visitors weren’t all joy! We decided that one trouble was that they stayed a bit too long for our small flat, & by the end we were all a bit too much on top of each other. They were very good about helping, but Connie was poorly off & on all the time – she didn’t know whether it was the “debility” thing she’s been having or if she was “preggy”! She was only 1 week overdue, so I don’t know if that was much to go by, but she made me laugh by saying that everyone had been trying to make her pregnant for the past 2 years!! Anyway, apart from that Cec & I think she is very spoilt, & gets peevish on the slightest provocation, so she annoyed us a bit. Another thing that annoyed us was that they are absolutely obsessed with money & could talk of very little else. They constantly were comparing prices with Canada, & every other thing they would say we can’t afford that, and actually they are getting just what we were before I was working & what we still live on (as my pay goes for McTavish) so they are not so poverty- stricken as all that! However, the visit is over & we all parted on friendly terms!

Talking of babies & being preggy, I had a letter from Anne written on the day hers was born- the 19th. A little girl Janita Margarita – 8 lbs 1 1/4 ozs- after only 3 hours labour – Anne very thrilled & pleased of course! We also had news that Jean & Graham are having one in May- Joan & Ray in June- & Millie at work in June! Isn’t it amazing? We were also very thrilled to hear from Jennifer – the D.Sc. teacher from London who travelled over on the ship with us last year. We had often wondered & she writes to say that she & Ben (the ex-RAF fellow who was on the ship too) were married in April, & they have bought a holiday camp in Ontario & are having a baby this summer too! I am so happy to have my curiosity gratified!

I forgot to tell you that your letter with the maps & plans of the island came on the 29th (posted 27th N.) & thank you very very, very much honey. I enjoyed them & am keeping them with me for reference in future – it is much more fun to actually have some idea where everything is.

Must stop now & go to bed – work again tomorrow – I feel quite unaccustomed to the thought! My love & good wishes to Aunties Moo & Ettie- got A. Moo’s Christmas card & your card to the Boveys – 

        With lots & lots of love

                    from Cynnie & Cec.