October 1953

In the two previous letters, Cyn made references to her mother’s questions and promised to answer them soon.  In her first October letter, she had said she was writing the long letter but wouldn’t be finishing it until later.  Although that letter exists, it is lacking the first two pages, so the first questions and answers are unknown, as is the date it was started. It finishes just after Thanksgiving, so was probably mailed in the middle of the month and Carol would have no reason to complain that her queries had not been attended to!  

A word about Cyn ordering things from Harrod’s in England- she had a bit of money there that she couldn’t?/hadn’t? transferred to Canada, so she used it for things like children’s clothes and the gift to Ruth (who had been her bridesmaid) for her baby. It solved the problem of her English friends having to pay duty on presents she sent them, but she didn’t really know what she had sent, and she had to pay duty on the things she’d ordered for herself in Canada. 

The letter starts on page 3 with Cyn addressing  Question 3:

3. Do I ever hear from:

A. Til & Lois – haven’t heard in an age- they must be about the only people I don’t owe a letter to! Will write next month for Til’s birthday.

B. Gunborg- was over in England & Sweden this summer for six weeks- flew. The girls went to summer camp. Haven’t heard from her since she came back, but she sent Lindy a darling baby doll for her birthday. It was waiting when we got back from our holiday & when Lindy opened the parcel & saw it, she just lifted it out & cuddled it up & said “My baby!” in such a tender little voice! It has a little bottle & takes water out of it & wets its diaper! Lindy thinks it more fun to suck the water out of the wee bottle herself, most of the time!

C. Connie & Leonard – haven’t heard for a long time, cards only exchanged at Linda & Christophers’ birthdays! Leonard is working at Harwell (British Atomic Energy place) & they live near there – have no idea if it’s a house, flat or what.

4. Dan!

He is behaving all right but is still as big a bore and as stupid as ever! He went down to Columbus, Ohio for his holiday (1st 2 weeks in Aug.) to see some American girl he came over on the boat with & of course came back engaged! Unofficially as he has no money to buy a ring! Of course his ego is sky high & he blabs to any & everyone who will listen, but he gets no encouragement- from us, or anyone else as far as I can gather! He talks of her coming up & their getting married in the New Year- always with a pleased smirk & phrasing it as if the girl was just pining away for him! None of us can possibly imagine what she can be like because from what Cec knows at the Lab. & the other girls I talk to, everyone is as bored with him as we are & none of us can think how anyone could spend a whole day with him let alone a lifetime! However – if it comes to anything I’ll let you know! Phyl thinks she must be young & silly- I think she must be older & at her last chance (à la Jessie F.!) One thing I will say for Dan – he is really very fond of children & very good with them. He is awfully patient & kind with Lindy & on Sat. morning will read her stories & play horse-back with her & so on for ages.

5.  The house plants. 

Well   ——————-  ————————-  ————————— they have been out all summer & while the begonias have flourished the others look pretty sick! The African violet Mrs. B gave me in hospital died altogether- I think it was too hot for it– & I think the philodendron dried out while we were away! Oh well – we can’t all have green thumbs!

6. I will try to remember to send the christening films, if this letter is too heavy we will send them by sea.

7. The high chair for Ruth’s baby- 

Lalapalooza = Very, very, very elegant! Ruth & Amy both rave over it, so it must be something – especially as Ruth says it is the nicest present Richard has had. I asked them to send one of the kind that turns into a low table when the child gets older, & it is painted cream & that is all I know. 

Did I tell you that I got Harrods to send me some things? 

3 pairs Viyella rompers – 1 blue & white for Charlie; 1 red & white for Lu’s baby; 1 yellow for Margie’s baby.  1 green flowered Viyella dress & pants for Linda. 2 blue wool buttoned up cardigans for C. & L. 

I had to pay duty of course, but they are all very nice & I feel it is worthwhile as the equivalent here is ‘way beyond us. I am also getting them to send a winter outfit for Lindy- they sent a mag. of illustrations & I chose one in blue (pastel) tweed – coat, leggings, bonnet & beret. The latter is for Charlie when it’s handed down to him! I will get a cheap snowsuit for Lindy to play in & then she’ll wear the other for “best”! I have just got her 2 prs. of corduroy “jeans”, blue & green, to wear out to play with her little windbreaker jacket just now. She has a red beret & red mitts with snowmen on! Also some new brown shoes – proper little Oxfords – very grown-up!

I forgot to tell you that when we were away I finally got Lindy’s “Family Allowance”- back pay from Jan. 1st- so I got $30.00 altogether! I was so tickled & had such a spree with my Eaton’s & Simpson’s catalogues! I got a new garbage can for the kitchen (!!) (red & white); a combined bread & cake box (red & white); a mincing machine; a square cake tin; a weighted floor polisher; a brown skirt for me (cheap to wear around the house);3 prs. nylons for me!! Wasn’t that nice?

Talking of catalogues you asked me once about sending Eaton’s to you – well, they don’t mail them – you have to collect them & they are so enormous they would weigh a ton. Also, the one I get I use until the next arrives & then the 1st is out of date. However I am sending their summer sale catalogue just to show you a few things we got for Lindy etc. & you can tell me if it is any use. I am also sending another dress pattern- you asked me to send some once & I got these. Actually I was thinking if this one was any good & either you or one of the cousins tried it, I could use a sundress (for my birthday) next summer! I take about a 14 now, but a little shorter than yours. I put on weight during the summer cooking for Carman (130) so I am dieting now & will try to get down to about 115 again.

You also asked me once about the authoress whose books I used to get you – she is D.E. Stevenson. You also took told me about Frank Dobie’s “A Texan in England” – I read it in Cambridge long ago – before I even went to Toledo – & enjoyed it. I hope “Maclean’s” continues to come & doesn’t annoy you as much as it did pre-Coronation! Carman got Cec “The Saturday Evening Post” for his birthday, so it comes every week now without Cec having to go to the corner for it. 

This is now Tues. 13th Oct. & I have been writing this letter off & on for weeks. This past Monday was Thanksgiving Day & Cec had a holiday & I planned to write & do so much & in the end did nothing. Poor little Charlie got such a bad cold last week, all in his chest & nose & such a runny little wet bundle you never saw. He felt miserable to begin with, but by the weekend he was feeling quite cheery tho’ drippy & today seems much better – however Sat. & Sun. I felt sore-throaty & heavy headed & on Sun. Cec got it & yesterday & today has been sneezing & coughing & having such a time. So far Linda has been o.k. & we all seem to be on the mend, thank goodness.

We had roast chicken etc. & then mince pie for Thanksgiving Dinner – Lindy ate a bit of chicken & then plate after plate of plain mashed potatoes! Her diet is extraordinary just now – one night she ate nothing but green beans for dinner- another she’ll eat just meat- over about 1 week she gets a balanced diet!! After the very hot weather she ate very poorly for a week or more- would have nothing but milk & mushroom soup! She is so funny – one night she was fussing & wouldn’t have gravy on her potatoes but had it separately & ate it with great enthusiasm then turned to Cec & said in a conversational voice “This is lovely!” She was telling Charlie today “I’m going to school, Charlie” & told me one day that she was going to get married. She has discovered “mother” & “father” instead of Mummy & Daddy & also Cec & Cyn & uses them with a little grin! When Cec was busy one day she turned to me & asked “What is that gentleman doing?”!! She is used to seeing the picture of you holding an orange on a tree- (that P.V. took, I think) I have it in my scrapbook which she loves looking at (Yes – hold your breath- I am nearly up to date with my scrapbook – the one you gave me is full) & the other day I got out the framed picture of you now that we have 2 chests of drawers in our room again. Linda looked at it & I said “Who is that Lindy?“ & she said “That’s my Grannie” – then “Grannie not got an orange there?”! We’ve been talking about trains etc. since Carman went home & now she says “When I’m a bigger girl I’m going on a big train & a big ship to see my Grannie”. I try to tell her about your pussy etc. but it is most difficult. 

Me:- Grannie says her pussy jumped up on her bed & bit right through the handle of her bag.

Linda: – Which bed? 

Me: – Grannie’s bed. 

Lindy: – Which bag? 

Me: – Granny’s hand bag. 

Lindy: – Where’s pussy’s mummy? Etc. Etc.!

She has a definite mind of her own & is so funny- sometimes she is playing with her lunch or sitting on the potty & enjoying herself & I try & hurry her up & she will say “Mummy go away. I not need you here”!

Charlie has just learned to wave his hand “bye-bye” – he will be 10 mths. next week, so is still not quite as old as Linda when you left. It is very difficult to compare them – in some ways they are so different. For instance he plays with toys very well – turns the wheels of Lindy’s wagon or tricycle if he gets the chance- tries to pull things etc. – but of course there are lots of toys around now & when Lindy was tiny there weren’t. On the other hand Charlie doesn’t bother so much with books & pictures etc. but with Lindy there were 3 of us to show her things, whereas I don’t think Cec or I have ever gone through a mag. or book with him – partly time & partly he is so active & hates to sit still. Remember how frantic it was to get Lindy’s diapers changed? Well – he is just as bad!

Cec says the water is boiling, so I must go & have my bath! 

Lots & lots of love from us all 


XX from Lindy & Charlie.

October 5 1953

Mon. 5th Oct.

Dearest Mummy,

I am so frustrated I could spit! I got all my diapers washed nice & early this morning & also the big spread from our bed & went to hang them out. I put the spread on first & got it all arranged & pegged & pulled out, when the whole line slumped & sagged down to the ground! So I took it off & looked & could see nothing wrong with either end & so with great trouble undid the rope from the wire & tightened it & it seemed fine, so this time I pegged out all the diapers & children’s clothes & pulled it along & the whole thing collapsed! The pulley right off the post at the other end- grrrr!

Now having got that off my chest I can regain my equanimity. It is a gorgeous sunny autumn day – the leaves on the tree at the back are just pure gold & look lovely against the sky. All the tree colours are wonderful & the leaves are just beginning to fall. It seems so odd to think that Lindy was still sitting out in her carriage this time last year & throwing out the leaves as they fell on her. Richard & she have been having a wonderful time this past week & playing together so nicely. All the apartment buildings are up now & so all the noisy machines etc. are gone & only hammering etc. so Linda plays outside most happily. They pull their little wagons around & play in the sand & even slide down the builders piles of sand and little stones on their bottoms! I took Lindy & Charlie to have their haircut last week- mine too! – just to the little barber along Beechwood. I thought I would get Charlie’s done just on top as it was getting so long & straggly, & that if Lindy saw him getting his done, she wouldn’t mind so much. However, he just howled– all the time, so after that she wouldn’t go near the man! However she says she will let me do it at home, as it is so long now & a bit straggly & she makes such a fuss over brushing. Goodness knows what kind of job Mama will make of it! Charlie looks cute- quite grown-up! He hasn’t been well all weekend- a little temp & fretty & sicked up a bit yesterday. He has just cut his 4th upper tooth, so it may be that or a little cold as he seems much better today.

Cec is working like a fiend- has been back just about every evening since Carman left & both this & last weekend back both Sat. & Sun. He is getting his big thing working which has taken him the 2 yrs. to build. I am in the middle of a long letter to you answering all the questions, but in the meanwhile would love a new housecoat – patterned so as not to show the dirt if poss! – also respectable! – for wearing downstairs if necessary! I plan to give you one for Xmas too- o.k.?! Lindy’s measurements: Present length of dresses 20”. Chest & waist 21”!! Thanks lots for letter of 28th. Will see about batteries. xxxxxx from Lindy & Charlie.

Love from all Cyn.

September 9 1953

Wed. 9th Sept.

Dearest Mummy,

I wonder how many years before all my letters will have a different beginning from “I am so sorry, but we have had such a busy time!”. You will be wondering if our holiday wore us all out when I have been so long in writing, but the time has flown since we came home & it wasn’t until your A.M. of 31st Aug. came today that I realized it is nearly 2 weeks since I last wrote. Thank you so much for it & also for your long A.M. which was waiting when we got home – I promise to answer all the questions faithfully, but intend to write a proper letter as I can see the answers will be voluminous! Carman leaves in about a week’s time so I should be not quite so busy – I hope!

Your parcel to Charlie arrived last week & he says thank you very very much dearest Grannie! I was shattered at the size of the overalls of course! Isn’t it simply ridiculous? I did choose a stupid pattern, didn’t I? I tried the big ones on Linda & the legs are about 6” too long for her & the straps much too long also – even the bib is broad on her little chest so that the buttonholes are practically at her arms. I do think that you have made them beautifully though Mummy & they look very smart – it is only that I am sorry I sent you such a poor pattern- also, of course, Charlie being a bigger-made child he will probably fit into them better & sooner than Linda. The little cotton overalls are simply cute – they fit well, except for the straps & legs – the legs are a good 6” or 8” long for his little legs!- but I can easily turn them up until he grows. Linda was simply enchanted with her pretty petticoat & we all think it is adorable! – Clever you!! She had it on one day & I let her go downstairs in it to show Daddy & Carman & she was just wiggling her little bottom & as pleased as punch! Today I got out a cotton one to put on & she yelled with rage & demanded her pretty petticoat. She puts on her own shoes now, by the way & insists on trying to put on her own clothes! The shells & sponges were lots of fun for her – she had them in her paddling pool & she & Nancy (Douglas) played with them for ages – she likes the little basket too & altogether loved her presents. Everything now is “birthday” with her & so she tells everyone that “Grannie sent Lindy shells for a birthday”! Thank you also for my oven cloth – it is already much used!

We came home on Sat. 29th & it was a roasting hot day. We left about 2 p.m. & took Jim & Lee & Barry to their train in Pembroke & then drove on down to Ottawa & arrived here at 6:15. The children were very good, but next day Charlie wasn’t very well & sicked up a bit & had a temp of about 100. It was so hot & he stayed like that for 2 or 3 days – I called Dr. W. & he said it was just the heat. However that kept me busy- then on Thursday at 6:30 Joan & Ray Appleyard arrived with their little girl Carol from California en route to Chalk River. Did I tell you they wrote & told us they were coming to C.R.? I answered & invited them to stay on their way & when we came home there was a letter telling us when they were coming. They look just the same- except Joan 8 months pregnant & Ray a bit gray on temples! Carol is a curly headed little blonde- rather a funny little puggy face, but cute! We had 9 in the house that night! Ray went on next morning but Joan & Carol stayed till Sunday to rest a bit. The heat was terrible – 95° & over & humidity miserable – you can imagine! But thank goodness it broke on Sat. & is bright & cool now- so cool this evening we have a fire on! Charlie is cutting his 2 top teeth & is a bit nattery- also he can crawl – all over the place! He & Lindy send xxxs & hugs & lots of thanks. 

Love from us all Cyn.

A slight anticipation!

August 27 1953- # 2



Dearest Mummy,

The children are having a simply wonderful time. Charlie’s appetite is about 3 times what it was at home & he just gobbles up all his solids which he didn’t bother about much before. He is pulling himself up to stand now & in his playpen & crib & sits up as straight as a little ramrod without support. He has no sense of caution at all – bumps himself & bangs his head & falls off things – even out of his crib!- & yells for a minute & then grins when you pick him up! Both he & Linda love the water. It is gloriously warm & to  begin with they both paddled & Lindy would walk in up to her waist. Then last weekend Cec got an old inner tube from one of the car tires blown up & we all have such fun with it. Linda gets in at & holds on with her arms & we push her or tow her all over- way out of her depth & even waves splashing in her face & she shrieks with laughter! We took Charlie right in for the first time yesterday and he splashed & kicked & was practically swimming – they both screamed their heads off when we made them come in! Barry loves the water too, but doesn’t like to go out beyond his waist even in the tire. Lee & Jim are a grand couple to share with & we are all getting on fine. The big drawback of the cottage is that it is only partitioned inside to about 7 or 8 ft. & curtains on the bedroom doorways, so if one child cries it disturbs everyone. Linda & Charlie just seem to take such short naps in the day & get tired & fretty, & we feel if we could just leave them in a closed off bedroom they would sleep longer.

The bedrooms are very small – we have Charlie’s cot in ours & the bed & about 6 ins. between. Lindy & Barry’s beds are “sofas” in the sitting room, so they go to bed in our rooms & then we transfer them at night. In the a.m. we usually do chores- dishes, beds, sweeping, washing etc. & in the p.m. the children sleep & we have a little rest, then play on the beach & bed, then dinner, children to bed – dishes – & bridge for us. I rinse diapers in the lake after boiling- makes it more interesting! We have a boat & go rowing -all are sunburnt (Cec red back!) & Linda has a little peeling nose!

Cec got us all big straw hats & Lindy looks a hoot in hers. We are taking lots of pictures to send you. Forgot to tell you, we have tame chipmunks too- they are so sweet & eat peanuts from our hands.

Lindy & Charlie send big xxxxs & lots of love from us all – Cyn.

August 27 1953

Round Lake. Thursday. About 27th (?) Aug! 

Dearest Mummy,

I am so sorry that I haven’t written for such a long time. I brought a whole scad of writing things up here & this is the first time I have even had my pen out! I sort of imagined myself sitting back with nothing to do but read & write while the children played contentedly in the sand by themselves, but of course it’s not a bit like that! However, it is a glorious place & we are having a lovely, lovely time, so what does it matter if we don’t have much “sitting back” time!

The lake is big – about 7 miles across & even longer I think- it reminds me of Ullswater or some of those in the Lake District & has one or 2 little islands in it. The nearest town is Pembroke 24 miles away & only one little store near her, so you have some idea how isolated it is, but the milkman calls 3 times a week which is nice. There are pine woods all round the lake & our cottage is built in the midst of them – then a sandy track (not really a road!) then the beach & lake. It reminds me of Millie’s & Ford’s camp, but being right on the lake it is even nicer & the cottages are spread out & mostly empty now, so we are very private. The cottage itself is adequate but not fancy – we have a wood stove for cooking & a pump over the sink & a little “house” up the hill! It has electricity though, & there is a beautiful fridge & lamps & a hot plate which is nice.

The weather on the whole has been perfect. We drove up on Sat. 15th & that night it got very cold – Cec & I sat under a blanket & huddled in front of a little electric radiator all evening! Next day Lee & Barry arrived (Cec went into Pembroke & got them from the train) & Jim didn’t come till Wed. as he had work to finish. Between Sun. and Wed. it was dull & cold, mostly, some days bright and sunny, although at night it was icy! However, we kept the stove on all day & it was all right although Charlie’s 6 a.m. feed was a chiller! After Wed. however it got warmer & warmer & is now around 85 – 90 in the day & just nice & cool at night. It was sweltering this morning but now a wind is blowing & the lake is all waves. Carman came up on Fri. evening & stayed till Mon. afternoon & enjoyed it thoroughly & on Sat. afternoon Joan Gallagan (the pretty girl who was Dr. H’s sec at N.R.C.) came with her sister Kitty (their home is in Pembroke). They brought corn & we had hot dogs & had a nice picnic & bathed & had fun. 

Costains & Ganders at the cottage: Cec, Linda on Cyn, Barry in front, Carman, Jim, & Lee holding Charlie.

I am going onto another A.M. as I haven’t told of what fun the children are having. 

Lots of love- Cyn.

August 9 1953

Tea time.

P.S.  Finished “Mrs. Mike” & cried & cried!                                                            

Aug. 9th. 1953

Dearest Mummy,

Thank you so much for your lovely, lovely parcel which came last week – it was like a lovely big surprise dip or a great big Christmas stocking & Linda & I had the most gorgeous time opening it. I hardly know where to begin and thank you for it because there is so much & all such fun!

First of all I saved Lindy’s black dolly & the towels for her birthday, so she got the two little blouses on the day we opened it & she insisted on putting them on straightaway! I have a little pair of navy blue shorts for her with a little navy & white seersucker blouse, & your little blouses look so sweet with them as well as her jeans. I also think I will make her another little pleated skirt for the winter – red perhaps & they would look so nice with that too. They both fit her perfectly & are nice & long, so don’t keep popping out & they are both such cute little styles – I think you are so clever to make them out of your “oldies” & they are a great success I think. I like both the little red check & the blue one – the shade of blue is very pretty & suits her well. Lindy also loved the book you sent about the three little elephants, with the cute little elephants attached. Although it isn’t such a pretty little book as the flower fairy one, I really think it appeals to her more – she likes a story that you can read or tell her & she likes stories of animals too.  Just this last week she asks questions by the dozen – “What’s that?” “Where is Carman?” “What’s Daddy doing?” & even “Shall we go for a walk & see the pussy Mummy? Shall we?” Don’t you think that was sweet?

Lindy also just loves her basket from Auntie Moo & the hankie from Auntie Trix – also the little jersey for Charlie from Auntie Moo. Please thank them for me & tell them that I am writing, but will send them by sea. The little T-shirt you sent Charlie is just the sweetest thing I ever saw I think! It fits in perfectly now & makes him look a little precious. I put it on yesterday with Linda’s old blue overalls all fixed up & you never saw such blue, blue eyes & he just grinned & looked so pleased, you’d think he knew! The wee swan with the tiny baby is such fun. Of course Linda commandeered them at once, but Charlie loves them when he can get them & likes to sit & hold the little baby in one fat little fist! Since I last wrote he is sitting up beautifully — all of a sudden seemed to decide he could do it! He sits up in the pram on the porch & watches the cars go by & thoroughly enjoys himself. He also sits in Lindy’s table & I have to strap him well in as he has heaved his way through twice! The pram is a wreck with his activities  — I don’t know what Lea would say if she saw it! He once poked the hood & “mattress” apart & rolled right out onto the porch floor & another time got his legs right through a split in the side & stuck halfway with his legs & bottom out and & his head & arms in! Isn’t he a horror?! He is trying to crawl & gets backwards a bit! Before I forget, Lindy was playing with A. Moo’s basket the day the parcel came & took it & her baby in her arm & said she was going shopping. So I said to get me some bacon at the store & Cec said to get him cigarettes & she grinned & said “Bacon- cigarettes” & trotted along the passage. The next thing we heard was the screen door banging at the back so I rushed to look & here she was down the steps & setting out for the road, so I called Cec & he caught her up just as she got to the road & was looking a little doubtful! So he went with her to the corner store & bought her a sucker, but I can see we’re going to have to be careful of the commissions we give her!

And now for all the things you sent me, Mummy! I am just delighted with them one & all! The basket is so pretty & will be both useful & ornamental – it is so sturdy & such pretty colours too, as well as being an unusual shape. I look forward to taking it on my trips to the shops when I don’t have a pram to plonk everything in! The breakfast cloth & napkins are just exactly what I like & I have had them on the table for breakfast every morning since they came! They are so bright & Cec says they cheer the whole room up – the tablecloth is exactly right for the table & the join and flaws you talk about aren’t in the slightest bit noticeable. I do like a nice small tablecloth like this – so nice to wash & iron. The white napkins are absolutely what I need & I do like them so much – thank you very very much Mummy & for the nice initials too- I like having them different! I shall use them my first dinner party! The talcum powder is very welcome – I’ve been using Lindy’s of course! – but it’s so nice to have some of my own! Cec is delighted with his tie & his share in the other things & enjoyed seeing them all nearly as much as Lindy & me! We also loved all the little cards & instructions & Lindy went round saying “Where’s my birthday card?”!

We celebrated Linda’s birthday yesterday & all had a lovely time. We decided that it would spread out the excitement more if we had it now instead of waiting till we were away & also that she would probably enjoy it more at home. We got her a dear little red & white tricycle – just a wee one (but not wood- a real tricycle) – & a little red wagon (Richard has one & she loved it ) & a big beach ball & a book (the latter was a request!!) Cec & I could hardly wait till Sat. to give her the things, we were so excited!! When she woke in the morning, we went in & said “Happy birthday, Lindy” & gave her the book & she was just enchanted! She was so thrilled & kept saying “Lindy has a birthday book!” & when she saw Chrissy out of the window she kept calling “Look Chrissy – a book”! After breakfast we took her in the sitting room where we had all the presents & she just stood and said “O-oooh!” Then she ran to one & the other “A bicycle a (for) Lindy” “A wagon a Lindy” “A big ball a Lindy”! She didn’t know which one to go to first & it was such fun to watch her! Then she opened the parcels & was really so astonished at the black dolly!

The towels are known as “Lindy’s very own towels” & she has one in the bathroom now – they are sweet, Mummy & she loves having her own things. The tiny wee straw hat & purse are so sweet- I also gave her a wee tiny dolly and a little wicker pram (25¢!) (made a mattress, pillow & blanket for it) & the hat & purse just fit the dolly! Amy’s parcel had also come with a very pretty little blue & mauve lawn dress for Lindy (with pants) & cloth book for Charlie. Also their christening present for Charlie – a really lovely napkin ring with his initials & the coronation hallmark & Queen’s head! My high chair to Ruth was evidently a lapalooza so I don’t feel overwhelmed! By the way, Amy asked me to send her last letter on & I will, by sea, but the reason was that her mother had a Coronary thrombosis & was taken into “The Green” & died very quietly a few days later.

I must stop- it is 12! I made Lindy a choc. cake with white marshmallow bunnies on & she loved it – she calls it a “party cake”! We all send lots of hugs and kisses & thanks for all our lovely presents.   XXX Lindy & Charlie,     Love from Cyn.

July 27 1953

Costains in their best clothes!

Mon.  27th July 1953

Dearest Mummy,

Here are the christening pictures, so at last you are up-to-date on how the family is looking! Actually we are not often all so dressed up, but at least it shows we can do it once in a while!! Lindy & I both have our new hats & dresses on- our hats are white & my dress white with red & Lindy’s white with little brightly coloured flowers – she looks so grown up in some of the snaps, but not so much in real life! I was quite surprised that the christening dress still fitted Charlie quite well, but there was no such thing as draping it elegantly for the picture! He kicked & wriggled & stuck his feet out & didn’t approve of skirts at all! He is so different from Lindy in so many ways it is really funny – when he cries he still floods with tears whereas she rarely can squeeze a drop out; he just loves to be kissed & squeezed & cuddled & laughs & chuckles, while Lindy is quite an independent little piece & just likes to cuddle on occasion; at his age Lindy was sitting up by herself, but Charlie has no interest in sitting, he just loves to get on his feet! He is quite steady & needs very little help, but sitting by himself he wobbles around & can’t balance on his little bottom! Do you remember how Lindy used to wake up for her late feed with such a sweet little smile? Well Charlie is so funny – he’s just like his Daddy & has such a struggle to wake up – rubbing his eyes & screwing his face up & blinking for ages! Altogether, it is so amusing to compare them & in looks they vary quite a bit now – Charlie is a real honey-blonde with curly hair & his eyes are a very bright blue – Lindy’s hair is brown & her eyes are quite a different shade of blue – everyone says she is like me & Charlie like Cec- I don’t know, of course! It is sweet to see them together though as they are going to be such friends I think – Charlie loves to watch Lindy & laughs & gurgles at her whereas Lindy is getting fonder & fonder of him & talks to him & wants to hold him & bath him & even feed him! If he cries she runs to him & says “It’s all right Charlie” & of course if either of them really howl the other does too! She gets such a thrill if Charlie uses her things too- no sign of possessiveness at all – if Charlie is in her table or wears overalls of hers or anything she is so tickled & pleased about it! Lindy’s talking is really going on wonderfully we think – she is getting quite good at personal pronouns & says “I’ll get it” & “I’m tired” & “Charlie in his carriage” & also has began to use negative statements & says “That’s not Lindy’s Daddy” when she’s waiting for Cec & a car goes by & “Lindy can’t reach it” etc. which we think is very advanced. She has picked up some funny expressions from Carman- when he’s pleased he sometimes says “Oh, bully, bully!” & Lindy is always saying “Bully, bully says Carman”! One morning after breakfast she got on my knee & bounced & I said “Oh don’t do that – I’m full of breakfast.” so she grinned & said “Mummy full of breakfast – Lindy full of beans!”

I just wrote a note with the other snaps last week, but really I have very little news – it has been so hot that we tried to do as little as possible. It is pleasanter now – has been very damp & humid, but is now warm, but not so roasting hot. We got Lindy one of those plastic paddling pools – just a little one, but she loves it – has only been in it twice as it got a bit rainy for a few days, but I think will soon get very used to it. At present she is chary of lying down & doesn’t even sit much, but loves to stand & pour water on herself from a little pail! She has a little yellow terry cloth bathing suit & I tie her hair back & she looks a pet. We have all this on the front grass as there is no back now of course, so all the passersby enjoy it!

On Sat. Margie & I decided to go over & see Lu & the baby in hospital, so Margie drove me in their new car. She has driven her Dad’s cars for years & Cy was the one who’d never driven before, but they both have licenses now. It seemed very odd & “chuggy” after MacTavish! We had the latter all overhauled last month & various new engine parts & he goes like a dream now. Lu was looking wonderful- her entire labour lasted exactly 2 hours beginning with the water breaking & she had precisely 2 pains! We saw the baby too & I really think it’s not just my newborn babies who look funny!!! He is to be called Peter Alan after his Daddy- Lindy thinks baby brothers are all the go — she was reciting last week “Leslie has a tiny wee baby brother – Nancy has a baby brother – Danny has a baby brother – Lindy has a baby brother, Charlie!”

After I got home on Sat. I was just cooking dinner around 6 when the phone rang & this was a cousin of Cec & Carman’s called Cliff who was driving out to Nova Scotia, and had just got to Ottawa, so of course Cec asked him to come over & with a little judicious stretching (onion soup I had already made – bacon with the liver – a big salad + the veg I’d cooked & cake with the raspberry sherbert) there was enough dinner! He is in the Air Force (a Flying Officer) & is just Carman’s age (21) but he’s already married. You were surprised that Carman had a girlfriend at his age, but he thinks he’s a bit slow as so many of his pals are already married! Anyway Cliff’s wife is called Elsie, & although we all liked Cliff very much, none of us cared for her & I thought she was awful! They were stationed last in Saskatoon so Carman knew them quite well, but Cec hadn’t met Cliff since he was 4! He is quiet & pleasant, but she is loud voiced & has an annoying laugh & seems quite brainless & isn’t even pretty! What got me was that she was so gauche & seemed to have no kind of social sense at all – when I, as hostess, offered to take her upstairs to the bathroom she just said “Oh, I’ll just sit awhile” & then when I said I hoped they hadn’t eaten as dinner was just about ready she said “Oh well, we did eat sometime this afternoon – when was it Cliff?” & I could have kicked her teeth in! Apparently Cliff had dated her in Edmonton & then was posted down to London, Ont. & was lonely & fed up there & after 7 months wrote & asked her to marry him & she went right off & did- poor boy. Cec & I were just saying that she’s not going to be much help to a fellow in the Services with a career to make – Services’ wives always seem to have to fit in well, or else it reflects on him. They were just staying overnight in Ottawa, so we put them up on the sitting room sofa-bed. Cec & Carman were sweet though- Charlie has given us a few disturbed nights lately- more teeth, we think – so they packed me off to bed & washed all the dinner dishes & on Sunday morning Cec got up & got everyone’s breakfasts & brought mine to bed & I just got up to wave the guests farewell! 

Yesterday of course was our 4th wedding anniversary. We had thought we’d go out on Sat. evening & have dinner at the Château Laurier etc. but on considering our finances & the fact that we are going away next month, we decided to postpone the splurge until later, & actually with Cliff & Elsie turning up it was just as well & we really had a lovely day. As I say, Cec brought up my breakfast in bed & he’d decided (for no reason!) that the 4th Anniv. was china & so here on my tray was a lovely card & a beautiful china cup & saucer. It is English china – one of these cups just white with a gold rim outside & inside a lovely spray of yellow roses – the pattern is called “Golden Rose”. My present to Cec was much less enduring – a bottle of Graves! We had a yummy dinner – grilled steak with mushrooms & tomatoes, mashed potatoes, celery & radishes, then fresh blueberry pie with ice cream – & of course the wine! I was talking to Phyl Douglas on the phone in the afternoon & it turned out it was their wedding anniversary too- the 8th! They were going out to dinner, but we said they must come up & have a glass of wine with us before they went – Alec just got back from Europe last Tuesday. After dinner Cec & Carman & I just sat & chatted & then Carman washed up for us & Cec & I strolled down to the corner for cigarettes & seeing the Earle’s light on we phoned when we got home & asked Patsy to come over. Carman was feeling a little lonesome we thought, so Pat helped cheer him up – she is working in a Bank now & is really a cute girl. The Earles just had a big shock a little while ago – their son (22 or 23 I think) finally divulged that he got married last March! Another bit of gossip – remember the Orans who lived on the other side of the Grahams? There was the old lady, her daughter & her granddaughter – another Pat- anyway the Mama – a very bossy woman we think- just got married last week, so I heard Pat telling Mr. Labelle! We’ve seen her dating this old boy, but didn’t know he’d brave all the women!

I mentioned a page or two back that we were going on our holiday next month & I am getting quite excited. Phyl & Alec Douglas & family go on Sat. for 2 weeks to this cottage on Round Lake (up towards Chalk River) & we have it for the last 2 weeks in Aug. It is right on the lake, has a sandy beach & shallow water, a screened porch & all sorts of amenities like milkman calling daily etc. & Phyl & I are going to arrange to share baby equipment – i.e. she takes up playpen, crib etc. & then leaves them & uses mine here & we bring hers back. Lee & Jim & Barry are coming with us, so it won’t be so expensive ( it is $35 a week) & will be fun too-  there are 2 b’rooms with double beds & a couple of camp beds for the children. I was trying to explain to Lindy today about the holiday, but the only thing that registered was that we would “play & get all wet!”

Thank you so much for your long letter posted on the 20th- it arrived on Sat. so was quick. You asked about Boris – he is of Jugoslavian extraction, but came to Canada when he was 8, & you would never know that he hadn’t lived here all his life. His surname is Stoicheff & his home is Toronto- his parents (he is the only son & has 5 sisters) live in a kind of Jugoslavian community there- own church, school etc. & Boris & his sisters are some of the few who have moved out of the close national circle as it were & gone onto Univ. etc. He came to N.R.C. as a Fellow, but is coming on the staff this fall, much to his joy as he likes NRC & the work very much. He got the little silver mug engraved with “Charlie” & it is really sweet – Charlie drank his orange juice out of it today.

Ruth and Peter Haynes’s baby announcement.

About Ruth, Amy just sent a P.C. by sea, but I wrote back A.M. & have since heard from Ruth. She was quite upset as she couldn’t feed the baby, but he is thriving now. She chose a high chair from Harrod’s & should have it now so I hope it’s nice – Amy tells me she is sending Charlie a silver napkin ring- hope he uses it more than I use mine now! I am having Harrods send me a few Viyella rompers etc. & will see what the duty is. We are looking forward to your parcel which hasn’t arrived yet, but we are all enjoying “Mrs. Mike”. Cec has just finished at & I am 1/2 way through – I read a short version in some magazine once, but am enjoying the book very much. We have decided that it will be less confusing for Lindy if we celebrate her birthday at home before we go away, so we are going to have it the weekend after next & by then I hope your parcel will have come. We plan to get her a little tricycle & she will enjoy that at home & it will save taking it up to the cottage. Lindy is getting to know about birthdays now & I told her she was going to have a birthday soon & she is quite tickled & says “Lindy has a birthday – Daddy say “Happy birthday Lindy” – Charlie say “Happy birthday Lindy”!  By the way, we hope Lindy’s shyness is passing- she was quite friendly with Cliff & demanded to “Kiss Clip good- night “!


By the way- we did see the same coloured Coronation film as you & I thought it was absolutely beautiful – the colour was easily the most glorious I’ve seen, & I thought the whole thing was perfectly done- television was lousy compared to it.

Must stop or this will weigh a ton – Charlie’s o’alls (as Lindy calls them) will be lovely I’m sure. Kisses from Lindy & Charlie – Love to A. Moo & A. Trix with lots & lots of love from us all —


July 23 1953

Note plus snaps of spring and early summer.

23rd July

Dearest Mummy,

Just a very hasty note as Cec is coming home early & I am going to make a lightning dash downtown to look at the Sales! I was to go on Sat. but it was so hot – ever since I last wrote we have been in the 90˚s & only down to 70- something at night, so it has been pretty juicy — or rather I should say we have been juicy — oozing in fact!!

We are all fine & well except that little Charlie has a slight tummy upset with the heat I think & is only eating milk. We got Lindy one of those little plastic paddling pools yesterday & she is so cute in it. Your parcel of “Mrs. Mike” & Lindy’s fairy book arrived yesterday – thank you lots & lots. Lindy will hardly part with her NEW book!

Just got the news at noon that Lu Forsyth had a son this morning! Only 2 hrs labour- pretty good!! Boys are the fashion just now, aren’t they?

Must dash, but will write very soon.

Hugs & xxs from us all – 


July 14 1953- By Sea Mail

Jumping on Daddy!

14th July

Dearest Mummy,

This is a couple of pictures Dan took, printed, enlarged, & mounted for me (I have copies.) He thinks they are wonderful, but we don’t think there’s anything super about them except that Lindy is having fun & they show our “back” as it used to be- no nice trees now. They were taken on Sunday a.m. when Cec had dressed Lindy etc, so so she is not poshed up!! It was early June I think & the bits of girl visible are Leslie Crabtree!!

I am enclosing the “corners” you asked for- can’t think why I didn’t get more than one pkt. but will send more when you need them. 

                            Lots of love, 


Cyn was having a busy summer and it is obvious that her lodger, Dan, can do very little right in her eyes now.  The pictures are bigger than the snaps normally were, and are unposed and spontaneous, which Cyn doesn’t seem to like, but I think show a fun moment in time!  Dan’s picture of Charlie captures a charming moment too. This was written on the same day as the air mail letter that arrived in Kingstown, St. Vincent on July 24th, but I’m sure it got there much later!

July 14 1953

Tues. July 14, 1953. 

Dearest Mummy, 

Thank you so much for your nice long letter about your holiday in Mustique – I am so glad you had such a lovely time & that the trips there & back weren’t nearly as alarming as you expected. We were all very interested in your description of the island & tell A. Moo that the map is very clear! The letter arrived this afternoon & I am very sorry you were disappointed in getting no mail from me – I know by now you will have, but I have been slipping from one week to two lately I’m afraid. I like Carman very much at & I’m delighted to have him with us, but there is no doubt about it that I am kept busy with 2 babies and 3 men! I get up at 7 as Carman has only one bus he can catch & pack lunches for both him & Cec – he has no canteen where he works & it is ‘way out in the country – isn’t it silly? Of course with him here I cook & bake a bit more- cookies etc. & although I don’t do his personal washing there are extra towels, sheets, etc. & the children seem to wear more & more clothes all the time! Claire has been coming fairly regularly recently thank goodness, so that has been a blessing.

Carman’s present for his brother! I remember him as very good at presents, and am sure they enjoyed it.

Since I wrote last, who do you think we have seen? Your old friend Charlie Barnes & his wife! She is an Ottawa girl & they are here from B.C. visiting her family, so we had them over on Wed. evening. Of course I was very curious about Mrs. B (Phyl) (ex-air-hostess) & she is very nice- slim & dark with short hair- vivacious & slightly gushy!! But Charlie is FAT! Yes, & of all unbecoming things has a chin like a bullfrog!! But still nice! They have a little girl of 9 mths, Nancy. On Sat. evening George had a meeting of the ex- Cambridge Canada Club with Cec & Charlie & one or two others (Jim couldn’t go) so I had June & Margie over & we had a Girls’ Gossip! I knew Margie was curious to meet June, so I am now all ears to hear what she thought of her! But she is so much nicer & more content now. She has got a Fellowship at N.R.C. for next (academic – Oct.) year, so will be doing congenial work again too- is keen to start a family though!! Poor Margie has been having a bother again- she asked Cec & me & Carman & Pete & Lu to dinner last Fri. evening (Lu’s baby due a week today) & on Fri. morning had to cancel it as Danny had ‘flu. She was so fed up as the boys have had coughs & colds on & off & the baby has never really been good, so she has had such a time. However, as we had Donna (the babysitter) all ready & I didn’t want to cook dinner (!) we took Carman & collected Pete and Lu & went out to the Island & ate Chinese food & of course enjoyed it as much as ever!

I can’t remember if I told you in my last letter, but it is so important – your Grandson has 2 teeth! He was fretty for 3 or 4 days after we had him to the Dr. & we thought it was the shot & then Cec suddenly found 2 front bottom teeth! Don’t worry about the overalls being big – he is wearing all the clothes now that Lindy wore at 1 yr. & will soon be out of those! Lindy wears all the dresses she wore last summer- I turned down hems of 3 or 4 & then found they were all too long & the unturned ones looked far better!

I have been thinking of poor little Irene all week & know you will be too – I can hardly believe it yet. I wrote to Bill & Mrs. Scott, but there is nothing to say except that I loved her & miss her already.

xxxxs from your babies & love from us all – Cyn