I just want to say that the building of the National Arts Centre in the middle of the city near the canal, the downtown shopping district and market, the Parliament Buildings, and major hotels was a game-changer for Ottawa. All of a sudden in one building there were new restaurants, boutiques, with an attractive green space around the building and parking below, housing the three state-of-the art theatres of different sizes with lovely art inside and world class shows coming to or being created there in the nation’s capital. It made my Ottawa summers a dream- I could get last minute unoccupied seats for $1 with my university student card, and so it happened that where the well-dressed members of the audience circulated in the lobby before descending to the most expensive seats, happy but possibly scruffy students joined them and enjoyed the play or opera that much more!
49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa 9, Ont.
Monday, 1st. Dec. [The day after Ottawa had won the Grey Cup! (Canadian football)]
I wonder how you are feeling today and if you stayed up ALL night to finish your essays. I hope that you didn’t have to as I am sure that you will be very tired anyway, poor lombkin. Charlie stayed up till 3 am with his Elizabethan Audience, typing it out, so the two of you are one as bad as the other! Of course he was held up during the afternoon with THE GAME! Did you see it and wasn’t it gorgeous? Lovely Russ Jackson going out in such a blaze of glory. Phyl had phoned and asked us to go over and see the game with them on their colour TV and said that it wasn’t a party but just them, so Charlie excused himself from staying to dinner afterwards, but said he would like to see the game. He was serving at the 8:30 so I went too and then he worked on his essay, and I made the Advent Wreath (with many thanks to you) and took it to Sunday School. Sue had had a great argument with her Mother as to whether Advent began on Sunday or Monday, Mother saying Monday, so she hadn’t got one, so I said that after we had done it in my room, I would lend it to her and that is what we did. I had 17 little children, so it was enough without joining either Sue or Debbie and of course the kiddos enjoyed it. I gave Nancy the 3 year olds to show pictures in a very simple story, and I read the 4s a proper story, and it worked better as the 3s don’t even pay the littlest bit of attention when there are so many children.
Anyway, I got back at about 12 and we rushed and had some lunch and I washed dishes and made beds and we left for the Douglases with Charlie at 12:30, and then who should arrive as well after us but Cy and Margie Garrett complete with big Saskatchewan Roughrider green and white colours on! Andy was there too, so it was quite a large and partisan company. Charlie was very well behaved and subdued, but Phyl and Margie screamed and yelled, so I did too, and it was lovely to have Ottawa win. Cy and Margie and Alex, who had been shouting for Sask. weren’t too broken hearted so it turned out to be a very jolly party. Andy took Charlie home after the game (he was doing an essay too on LOGIC), but we stayed and had a very nice dinner and arrived home at about 8:15 feeling as if we had been there for days.
Thank you very much for your letter which arrived this morning and also for the one last week. I am so sorry that you didn’t get one from me last week, but the mail is so weird – I was sure that if Daddy posted it on Thurs. morning, it would reach you on Friday, but apparently not. I am sorry that you were so disappointed over the results of your Essay, but it isn’t surprising that the first one would be more difficult as you don’t know exactly what they want or anything. At least he did say that you hit on the root of the problem, even if it was just in the last two pages, and maybe the first part wasn’t so unnecessary after all. Anyway, you will probably find out each of the profs. has idiosyncrasies and want different things, so you can’t be expected to know all this right at the beginning. I am sure that although tired you must be feeling very lighthearted and gay to get both the English and Psych. ones off your hands, and maybe they will be more encouraging. You had a busy week with tutorials etc. last week so maybe this won’t be so hard. I am glad that you found your silver ring in your bed and I’m looking forward to seeing your Trent one. I hope that you have fun at the Hockey Game on Thursday, and the Peterborough wins!
Charlie had a big boost to his morale last week – he brought home his Report and it was straight A’s! The first he ever got. Only Mr. Lafrenière spoilt the beautiful symmetry as he gave him a B for effort in French after giving him a mark of A. It was a glorious sight! He is now spurred on to even greater efforts and I do hope that all goes well.
He has to fill in the form this week saying which universities he wants to go to, so time is creeping on. Today is Election Day in Ontario so Daddy and I will be going out to vote for Mr. MacQuarrie when he gets home. There was a meeting of the candidates are down at the High School last Thurs. and Daddy went for a while and was given a big MacQuarrie notice which he was supposed to stand up and wave when the CANDIDATE stood up to speak, but you know how much waving Daddy would do! Maureen tells Charlie he is very worried about the result, but Daddy thinks he will get in. The MacQuarries are having Open House tonight after the polls close and Charlie told Maureen that he would be there, but I THINK he was joking!
Daddy had a phone call on Friday from Surin Kalra, and he is going to be in Ottawa for a couple days with another Prof. from Waterloo, so Daddy is having a Men’s Party tonight for them. I have decided to make Quiche Lorraine in little tartlets and goodness knows what else. What do you think – I made Christmas cakes on Sat. and for some unknown reason I put in double the quantity of butter. They were oozing in the oven and I couldn’t think why until afterwards I looked at the recipe and thought golly – I didn’t put in half a pound – I put in a pound. Don’t tell anyone (here I mean) I didn’t! Fanni and Teddy came over on Sat. afternoon to see the pictures I took up the Gatineau the afternoon Fanni and Phyl and I went up with Claire for lunch. The pictures were lovely and I was very pleased with them and Fanni is going to get me some copies and send the lot to Claire for her talk to the English Club! Anyway, I had made some little cakes of the Christmas cake mixture and they had them and both said how nice they were, so the extra butter can’t have done any harm!
I went to town on Friday morning to get money from the bank and various shoppings, and had a very interesting time. I parked on Albert St. right at the top near the Art Gallery, and suddenly thought I would go see what the Arts Centre Boutiques were like. I didn’t go into the Bistro – a kind of coffee place I think, and then there is a French Bookshop, but I went into the English bookshop and boutique and it is a lovely place and you will love it. The only thing against it is that it all smells violently of incense, but maybe they will run out of it before you come home. The bookshop has both paperbacks and big books, and is very well arranged and most suitable for browsing, and they don’t seem to mind a bit if you wander around and peer and read bits and then don’t buy! The boutique has gift-y things, some cute and all nice to look at, so I know you will enjoy going when you come home. After that, I went and shopped along Sparks St. and then dashed into Morgan’s to walk-through to Queen St. and so to the car. Lo and behold I was just dashing past the hosiery when a nice polite voice said “Can I help you, madame?” and here was Joey, doing her week’s selling there. She said it was nice and she was enjoying it and was getting paid. She also said that she was writing to you, so maybe you will hear from her first.
Ruth L. and I are going down town tomorrow to try and get the Silver Wedding present for Marjorie and Dick. I am leaning towards a cut glass decanter now – no I know it isn’t silver, but you can get those little silver labels on chains saying ‘Sherry’ and we could get one of those to make it more silvery. I looked at all the things in Birks on Friday and silver bonbon dishes and ittybitty silver trays, etc. leave me cold, not to mention sauceboats and the like!
Did I tell you that Margaret and Peter Savic had asked me to go to the Ottawa Opera Company with them last Wed? They were taking a friend and she was sick so they took me and I really enjoyed it immensely. It is ages since I saw an opera, apart from the Mozart ones we saw in Stratford, and actually, I don’t like his operas so much. [Such blasphemy from my own mother!] This was ‘Mignon’ which I had never seen before, but it was such fun, as soon as any of the important arias began I realized they were very familiar and I knew a lot of the songs. Do you remember in Little Women when Jo gets to know the Professor and he is homesick for Germany that he sings a song in German something like ‘Kenst du das landt?’ Well, to my surprise, it comes from ‘Mignon’ apparently and here was the girl singing ‘Connais-tu sa patrie?’ I was quite tickled and wished I’d had you there to poke and say ‘Do you remember?’ then and there. It was all in French, but there was an English synopsis and anyway I could understand one word in every ten! The people at the Arts Centre were as usual lots of fun to watch. There was a girl, tall and slim in a bright pink long evening coat, and when she took it off, she had a long, slim white evening dress, all covered with shimmery beads or sequins, and she had a long feather boa! With her was a very elegant young man in a dark suit, very mod, with a gorgeous flowery tie. His hair was longish but neat, and then in the paper a few days later, there was quite a write up about the Men’s Boutique Michael is working for at Carlingwood, and pictures of some of the clothes and the young designers of the things, and 2 of them looked very like this couple at the theatre. I asked Margaret how Michael was getting on but she just said OK, but the shop hadn’t yet opened, but was opening later in the week.
Must stop and make goodies for Daddy’s party. Will continue later.
SNOW SNOW SNOW snow, snow snow! That’s what is busy happening! I wonder if you were having it in Peterborough too- lucky that you have your boots. I wore mine yesterday for the first time this season when Ruth L. and I went shopping, and the soles are rubber, and have begun to perish, so I ticky-tacky as I walk along!
We had a nice morning and bought Dick and Marjorie a really pretty wine decanter – cut glass and a nice shape, but quite small and neat looking. We got a silver label saying ‘Sherry’ and I think that they will like it – I would! I now have to try and collect the money from everyone so I think that I will I take it down to the Coffee Party on Sat. and have people see it surreptitiously and sign the card and PAY ME. I am not doing anything too violent for the Coffee Party, but I will make gingerbread men on Friday and some candy or something. I have been having great fun, making funny little santa clauses out of the small wooden beads and funny small shapes of wood that the Nursery School have. I have painted them red and given them white bunny rabbit fur beards and made faces and they look very funny ha-ha and funny peculiar! Maybe some child will yearn for them.
After Ruth and I had shopped, etc. I had arranged to pick up Daddy at 4pm and when I got there found him waiting outside and he came rushing up and said ‘Do you want to park the car at the back and come and see the astronauts? They are due here in a few minutes.’ So we parked and dashed back and Gisbert was there with his movie camera and we waited on the front steps and in about 2 minutes along came the cavalcade of cars and motorcycles down the road with a big black car in the middle flying 2 blue flags with APOLLO 11 on, and they drew up at the bottom of the steps, and Bill Snyder came welcoming down the steps, and all of us clapped heartily and beamed as they got out. Of course they looked so familiar from pictures and TV that you felt they were old friends and as Daddy said they weren’t big and heroic looking but just nice ordinary fellows that you could imagine coming to dinner. Their wives were in Ottawa with them but this was a press conference they were coming to at NRC so the wives must have opted out and gone to have a rest before the dinner and big do in the evening. They were in Montreal this morning and there was a big press conference on TV at 11 o’clock which I watched – I wonder if you saw it or if you didn’t know it was happening. Poor men – it was very stiff and starchy, and they must be bored to tears with such things. Talking of TV, did you see Simon and Garfunkel, one evening? A special – Sunday I think it was. Tonight there is Alec Guinness in ‘Twelfth Night’ but I wonder if you will be able to see it. There is no doubt the colour TV is a very great improvement – even the football game on Sunday looked twice as exciting. Twelfth Night would look lovely in colour!
Surin and the other men came on Monday night and chitchatted until all hours. Surin looks just the same and exclaimed at the thought of you in University and was amazed at Charlie’s size.
I must toddle along now and take this to the post. I am determined that you will get this letter before the weekend. I am enclosing the cheque, which no doubt you will be glad to see! I have been giving myself writers cramp with Christmas cards and have finally got off those to England, Spain, Poland, Sweden, etc. which should have gone 2 weeks ago! I think I am supposed to send parcels to the rest of Canada this week, but I am paying no attention!
Lots of love honey bun – we have a fat, sleepy white pussy here who says prr-p. This morning Charlie left his big grey mittens on the radiator in the hall, and when he went to get his jacket on, here was pussy lying on top of the radiator with her front feet stretched out into the mittens!