January to May 1966

The winter continued with family, work, school, and church activities in Ottawa. After their confirmations, the children took different roles at church. Cyn taught the youngest Sunday School class, 3 and 4 year-olds, and Linda took the next class up. The rector was now the Reverend Llewellyn Graham, a widower with a scholarly attitude, a love of England where he had studied, and a wicked sense of humour when among friends. The whole family enjoyed his visits and Charlie became an altar boy and helped during services.

In February, there was excitement in St. Vincent when the Queen and Prince Philip visited. Cec travelled too, to a conference in Texas. From Saskatchewan came the news from John and Sharon of the latest arrival to the family- Steven Moor- who was the first boy of the next generation, and everyone was sorry they lived so far away and couldn’t show off their baby. From B.C. there was a photo of Carman and Leona’s family, David, Robin, Philip, and Leslie. The Costain grandparents (who lived in Penticton near the Carmans) were coming to Ontario in the summer to visit and celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary, and we all hoped to meet the cousins if the western families came too.

Around Easter, Cec went to a meeting in Washington, staying with a scientist friend. Because the friend’s young brother had a part in the play, Cec saw Gielgud’s newest production Ivanov on its pre-Broadway tour when he went with them to see it, and actually met John Gielgud and Vivian Leigh backstage after the performance. Cyn pasted the Playbill into the scrapbook with the young man’s name highlighted: Miller Lide. Later, her mother would write about Gielgud and Leigh holidaying on Young’s Island in St. Vincent after the Broadway run had finished.


April was Cyn’s birthday, celebrated with a card from one of her New York cousins down visiting her mother in the West Indies, and, as the summer approached, it was the season for weddings. The scrapbook celebrates three: children of old friends of Cyn’s in England, and invitations from the young men in the Lab- Klaus Huber and Phil Bunker.
And at the end of May, the letters resume, and although not regularly preserved by Carol in St. Vincent, there are enough to give a more intimate look at the mid 60s, for which I am very grateful! The antics of the Golden Wedding that summer deserve a blow-by-blow description…

September to December 1965

When school started in September, Linda and Charlie were once more on the same schedule, both catching the bus for high school. Charlie had an additional bit of pressure from his piano lessons, because he was planning on sitting a Royal Conservatory of Music exam in the winter.

At the N.R.C. Cec was happy to welcome the Dr. and Mrs. Morino from Japan who had both come to spend a year in the Lab. They were very kind to the children and shared aspects of their culture with us. Cyn kept the charming ‘Thank You’ notes they sent after social events, and pasted the kanji that I assume were their names into the scrapbook.
Dear Dr. & Mrs. Costain,
Just a short note to thank you for giving us such a nice party. Everything about it was wonderful.
Sincerely, Yonezo & Yoshi.

Still with me, even with arthritic fingers!

Linda had an Origami book with papers included but had not been able to figure out the tenth piece, the iconic Japanese crane. I remember sitting on a lab stool being coached by Mrs Morino- “now the outside becomes the inside”- as she showed me finally how to achieve the 3D effect that had eluded me. It remained with me, as I whiled away the tedium of Grade 13 Biology 4 years later by folding cranes and penguins and stars under the lab bench.

Also of note to the N.R.C. was when Dr. Steacie, the President of the N.R.C. from 1952 until his death in 1962 who had introduced the Postdoctorate Fellowship program, was honoured by Carleton University that fall when their new Chemistry building was named after him. The Herzbergs and N.R.C. staff were happy with this recognition.

The entries for ‘Presents Sent’ and ‘Received’ and ‘Cards Sent’ for 1965 in Cyn’s ancient Agenda Book are the last lists. The records of Christmas from 1932 to 1965 filled a years’ worth of pages, and the actual 1965 gifts give a picture of the time- Cec got a Harry Belafonte record and fondue forks from the family, Cyn a projector for those slides, and both children got English Annuals from their Grannie this time- which they enjoyed, but now are very much of that time- not PC at all, in fact, offensive in many ways. Linda got more books, of course, including the next hardback in the Little House series she was collecting, and Charlie a Gloucester High School sweater. And with the Christmas cards received, the Costains got the usual adorable photos of their friends’ growing families.


The Moors- now with both older cousins married, reduced to Auntie Merle, Uncle Dix, and Bruce- came up from Brantford for the occasion, and probably Lorne, Liz, and Debbie were also in Ottawa, staying with Liz’s family in Rockcliffe. John and Sharon out west had another reason for staying at home besides Christmas being a clergyman’s busy season- they were expecting their first child in February.
There was a lot of planning going on for 1966 that Christmas- the summer would bring celebrations for Granny and Grandpa Costain’s Golden Wedding Anniversary, and the whole family would try to get all four generations together in Ottawa!

January to August 1965

A note about the new high school. I went into Grade 9 at Gloucester High School, along with students from the entire township, some living as far as 40 miles from the school. Some came from the French village of Orleans, other from farm communities with one-room schools, and they had a long commute on school buses. It was quite a culture shock even for us living locally- the high school had a cafeteria where one could buy lunch, an auditorium with a stage, and a library. There were 5 grades in High School, 9 to 13, and 5 different programs offered- 2 year Hairdressing for girls, and Auto Mechanics for boys, with a certificate after completing Grade 10; 4 year Business and Commerce for girls and Technology for boys, with Junior Matriculation and Graduation after Grade 12; and an Academic stream that continued into Grade 13 for those aiming for university with Senior Matriculation at graduation. There was a Francophone stream for the French-speaking students, and French or Français classes for the academic students, depending on their mother tongue. There were 10 Grade 9 classes when I began, so over 200 students in that grade alone, and the school grew every year I was there- a second floor added on above the original level; a new wing with more technical and shop classes; a tower with pie-shaped classrooms replaced the teacher’s parking lot; and after 5 years, a community swimming pool being built beside the school, so gym classes could take advantage of the facility. Meanwhile, the developments around the school continue to expand. In Grade 9, cows in the field separating the school from the new highway used to come and look in the windows. In subsequent years, there were townhouses, apartment buildings, and new roads covering the fields beside the school and between the Montreal Road that we had lived on and the Queensway a mile south. The village of Orleans was growing, new developments went up in the fields beside the Ottawa river, and were spreading to join up. It was the baby boom generation being educated and 10 years later, in my student teaching year and times of unemployment that followed in my 20s, I had 3 more English-speaking high schools to choose from in the area, with French high schools operating separately. Ottawa had grown.

The scrapbook page for 1965 shows invitations and Valentines, showing that the adult Costains were involved with friends both local and abroad. The computer card is an invitation from Cec’s new Post-Doctorate Fellow, Harry Kroto, and his wife Margaret. They were a marvellous young couple from England, interesting, enthusiastic and full of fun. I remember one party with people from Cec’s Lab. where Harry and Margaret played a magic game with their audience, using a blindfold and the poker from the fireplace as props. The blindfolded one of the pair knelt on the hearthrug, and was able to identify which person the other was pointing at- I presume by verbal cues- and the children thought they were the coolest couple ever.
Harry was always quite clear about his interest in the visual arts, and how he was torn between science and art as a career. The Krotos were in Canada in 1967 which was the Centennial Year, and visited Expo 67, with the geodesic dome as the USA Pavilion. His later work on Carbon 60, buckminsterfullerene, was linked to this, as he explains:

Cec did not live to see Harry get the the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996 but he was sure it would happen when he heard about Harry’s work with buckyballs. When Harry learned Cec was ill in 1991, he sent him a book- A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations by Alan L. MacKay, into which he had inserted a quotation from his time at the N.R.C. : Cec Costain- “If it doesn’t work, just kick it here.” to HWK in 1965 when the power supply did not work.
On the cover page he wrote, ‘To Cec and Cin, Two of our very best friends with love Harry and Margaret. Thanks for engineering my move to microwave spectroscopy- By far the nicest group of scientists due in no small measure to you and E.B.W. The quote on page 62 is one of my favourites. P.S. The rotational spectrum of C60 is too weak even for Jim W. to detect.’ The admiration and affection were mutual.
Other friendships are illustrated on this page- the third Sutherland daughter, Mary’s, wedding invitation, and a cryptic thank you card from a visiting Australian, Frank (Mercer?) whom they hadn’t seen since their Cambridge days.
The year continued with family birthdays, Spring Break and Easter, with school and work, but the big excitement of the spring was Carol visiting from the West Indies.

She was there for all the activities in June, the summer, and on into the fall- her usual long stay, having not seen the Costains since 1960, she would have needed to adjust to the changes in the children!
Charlie’s Graduation from Grade 8 was the final event of June, but there were other activities first. Grannie would have been very happy to be there for Charlie’s Confirmation in early June at church, and her best hat would have come out for the Governor General’s Garden Party.

Cec’s birthday and Father’s Day were celebrated, they enjoyed snaps from the Costains out west, and the whole family was pleased by the new porch at the back of the house- the open deck from the garage to the back door was now screened in with comfy chairs and tables, nice for eating in during the hot summer days when the mosquitos were bad under the trees!

The annual photo of the Lab on the steps of the N.R.C. shows Dr. Herzberg and Alec Douglas centre front, greying, Cec smiling in the second row end right, and Harry Kroto third row far left also with a big grin.

As the school year ended, the children wrote their exams- an intimidating exercise in high school for Linda, with the gym lined with rows of desks, fluorescent lights buzzing, invigilators prowling around, and hundreds of students writing earnestly in the hushed atmosphere. Both got their reports and were promoted, but Charlie’s graduation was a special ceremony because he not only got his diploma and the Citizenship Award, he also was the Valedictorian, speaking on behalf of all his fellow graduates.


After that, the family once more rented a cottage for three weeks in July at Lake Bernard.

There were beds, but not enough bedrooms, so the children slept on the open, but sheltered, porch. The renting family had asked the Costains to look after the raccoons, and Linda and Charlie found that this meant a whiskered face and a very hand-like paw, peering at them in bed.

The kits were adorable, and the children fed the family who went down to the lake to wash their spoils, which was a relief to all concerned- both animals and humans just as happy to keep a certain distance from each other.

In August, Cec went on a trip to Denmark and stayed with their friend Chris Müeller. Linda turned 13, finally a teenager, and she and Charlie got ready for high school- Linda assuring him it would be much better than elementary!

September to December 1964

The fall of 1964 was fun for Linda- she enjoyed high school: the increased independence, the variety of interesting classes and teachers, the library and cafeteria, and new friends- although the number of students took a while to get used to. Her marks remained good although she attempted without much success to follow her mother’s profession by taking Home Economics as an elective- making a blue flannel shift to wear in Sewing, and producing a sad liquid soup that should have been a chocolate pudding in Foods, which seemed to be more about the costing of the dishes than actually making them. She found learning Latin was more interesting.

In Grade 8, Charlie was once more in the Speech Contest, with his account of the eclipse that the family had witnessed the year before, and this time he was runner-up to the winner.
The Eclipse
Charles Costain
In ancient times, people were terrified when the sun was gradually blotted out and day turned into night. We know now that it is just an eclipse but people used to be frightened when this happened, because they thought that the world was coming to an end. Nowadays instead of being terrified, people are fascinated to watch such an interesting event. We are not taken by surprise because scientists can tell just where and when it is going to happen.
The last total eclipse predicted was on July 20, 1963. We were driving back from Quebec City and went off the main road to a farmhouse, and asked the farmer if we could set up our telescope. He said that we could, and we were soon ready for it. In a while, we could see a small black bite out of the sun, and it began getting a bit darker. Slowly the sun was covered and I realized that the birds had all gone back to their nests, and there was a hush that made me shiver. The eclipse was nearly total when suddenly a cloud drifted over the sun, and no matter how hard we looked, we could not see the total eclipse. The farmer and his wife who were inside watching television probably got a better view than we did because there were no clouds at Grandmère where the television cameras were but at least we made an effort to see the real thing. We soon were packing the telescope and getting ready to leave content, but rather disappointed at not seeing it all.

The speech went on to a more scientific discussion, and ended with the news of Prime Minister Pearson’s funding of a second telescope to be built in British Columbia in honour of the Queen’s visit, to be the second largest in the world. Since this was where our uncle, Carman Costain, worked, I’m sure it was good news in Penticton.

In December, the Christmas routine began again, with the card list now about 150 strong because of Cec’s travels and scientific contacts, and Cyn’s scrapbook reflects this, with cards from all over- India, Spain, Poland, as well as England. Of course news from friends came too, and a card from the Sutherlands- Dr Sutherland had been knighted in 1960, and this year, 1964, had become the Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge- included Kerstin’s wedding announcement with the news that they would be moving to San Diego. (Cyn and Cec realized the days when they babysat the Sutherland girls in Ann Arbor were long ago.) The parcels to friends and relatives were sent off but this year, there is no mention of J.M.G.E. in the list, so Cyn’s father must have died in Newcastle earlier in 1964.


Charlie’s 12th birthday was followed by Christmas, with Auntie Dottie sending the English Annuals we loved, Linda getting clothes and books, Charlie a tabletop hockey game, the cat giving us vinyl, and the adults getting more practical things. The Costains looked forward to 1965 with anticipation.

Summer 1964

The summer of 1964 was packed with activities and events. The major event was the wedding at the beginning of August, and everything else had to be fitted in around it. The first activity for the children was camp. Now I know that countless North Americans look upon their time at camp as idyllic childhood summer fun that they joyfully repeated year after year- but such was not the Costain experience. Going to camp was sold to us by our parents as a thing we ought to try- it would only be two weeks out of the summer, we would be able to have swimming lessons and canoe, we would have fun with friends. My friend Janet’s mother was working and her English parents probably thought this would be a chance to have a holiday instead of being home alone all day. But because of the time crunch, Linda and Janet were sent to the Anglican Church youth camp with girls 2-4 years younger than they were, with a couple of the mothers from the Women’s Auxiliary of our church working there too, for reassurance. We were miserable, two teens (but not teens old enough to be counsellors) in a sea of 9 year-olds, divided into wooden cabins full of bunkbeds, herded from dining hall to fireside singsong in a cloud of gloom. The activities were unexciting, the cultural appropriation of ‘Camp Pontiac’ was painful, the religion classes boring, the swimming a disaster of shrieking splashing little girls, there was not enough free time for reading! (and there was an enticing library) and the food- not what we were used to, somehow, coming from English backgrounds. Charlie’s Boy Scout Cub Camp seemed less well organized- when he returned home with a pack of wet, muddy, and mouldy clothes, it appeared from his account that he and other inexperienced tent mates were abandoned to set up their equipment themselves, and had been flooded out at the beginning, spending the rest of the fortnight in soggy surroundings. (Strangely, this was not enough to turn Charlie off camping- he’s just returned from a Labour Day weekend camping trip in Algonquin Park. It didn’t rain till Monday.)

When we returned from camp we were upset to find that we had missed the beginning of visits from relatives gearing up for the pre-wedding excitement. It was always fun having people to stay and we were glad to be home. John had completed his theology degree and was ordained, Sharon had trained as a teacher, Lorne had already been teaching that year, as were his parents, and he and Liz had baby Debbie who was adorable. Charlie and I had swimming lessons again and then in August, we were off to Brantford for the wedding, to be combined with a trip to Stratford to see King Lear, The Marriage of Figaro, and Yeoman of the Guard.

For the wedding, Cyn had made herself a dress out of a beautiful sari that the Kalras had been commissioned to buy years before in India. It was shot silk, a rich green in one light, brown in the other, with the ends embroidered with gold thread. Cyn took those ends for a wrap, and the dress from the middle yardage with the gold embroidery at the hem, and with it she wore a wonderful hat of long narrow iridescent blue and green feathers, close to the head. Merle, the mother of the groom, had a more commanding hat, pink petals outstanding, and Auntie Lily from Toronto represented the older generation. (John’s charge as a minister was ‘out West’ so the Costain grandparents, and uncles and families, could see the newlyweds once they had moved closer.) There were lots of Lees from the bride’s side, two red-headed younger brothers being groomsmen along with John’s two brothers, to escort the bride’s attendants. I was moderately pleased with my green dress, had white gloves and shoes (and nylon stockings) and a floaty headdress that blew about in the breeze. The bouquet was a surprise, being white carnations- with half of them dyed green- as if nature did not produce enough greenery for a bouquet! But I was thrilled wth a bridesmaids’ gift of a string of pearls to wear, and kept my opinion of the flowers to myself. The weather was lovely, the service went beautifully with all of us doing our parts properly, the pictures in one of Brantford’s riverside parks looked good afterwards and were relatively painless to take, and the reception was full of family and we all had fun. Then the Costains went off to Stratford and had a marvellous time.

We had been going to Stratford since I was 8, and Cec and Cyn had always bought tickets off to the side of the thrust stage down in the first couple of rows, thinking that the children would be fascinated by the actors brushing by them to enter and exit even if the plot was beyond them. (It never was, what with the summary in the programme and the play in front of us.) So on this occasion, Gloucester’s eyes were gouged out realistically above and in front of us, and I bet I was not the only one hiding my eyes! The Gilbert and Sullivan productions were always marvellous, and The Marriage of Figaro has, from that summer on, always been my favourite opera. It was a happy time and a lovely holiday.

When we returned to Ottawa, Merle and Dix joined us for a visit, and brought Liz and Debbie to stay with her family in Ottawa. I had a birthday, became a teenager, and then a new adventure would begin- Gloucester High School.

December 1963 to June 1964

The school year continued , and Christmas approached with the usual concerns of overseas parcels, cards, baking, and Charlie’s birthday. The plan to spend Christmas in Brantford was scotched, along with Charlie’s birthday festivities, when he came down with shingles- a connection from our earlier bout of chicken pox in 1957. However, he recovered in time for us to visit the Moors for New Year which was fun for the children staying up late watching old movies with their cousin Bruce, and necessary for the adults to discuss plans for the summer wedding of the oldest cousin John with Sharon- who had asked Linda to be a bridesmaid!

The winter of 1964 involved fundraising events for the church- Cyn’s Cookery Demonstration for adults, and for the young people a Sleigh Ride. This was not a happy, cozy, ‘jingle bells’ experience in my opinion. There was no ‘one-horse open sleigh’, instead a pair of horses dragged a flatbed strewn with straw on runners slowly though fields covered with knee-deep snow. The jolly companions on the wagon competed in shoving their weaker ’friends’ off the wagon into the snow, forcing them to run to the point of exhaustion to try to scramble on to the conveyance, sometimes aided by compassionate friends, or repelled by nastier bullies. The bridge of Linda’s nose received a lifelong bump when she was helpfully pulled on – along with several more victims who ended up on top of her and her glasses. The hot chocolate served at the end of the ride was poor compensation for the experience.

At school there were preparations for the musical play to be performed in the spring, and at home more personal excitement. It had been arranged that Linda would meet Sharon in Toronto during Spring Break to join the other bridal attendants for dress shopping. An air ticket was bought for Linda’s first flight alone- and I can clearly remember how I was dressed for that trip. I had a grey suit with a jacket and pleated skirt. With it I wore a white pillbox hat, white gloves (both nylon with stretchy elastic) and white socks with black shoes. John and Sharon met me at the airport and we joined the other junior bridesmaid and Sharon’s two adult friends at a bridal shop and proceeded to try on dresses. I was shy- I only knew Sharon of the party, and uttered no opinions on the outfits, but it was finally agreed that we would be wearing pretty green full- skirted dresses with white accessories. I went to Brantford with the party for the weekend, and presumably they put me back on the plane in Toronto, and I returned home with great relief. I wish there existed a letter giving Cyn’s take on the excursion (I expect I had plenty of opinions to express about it once I was home) but I remember nothing more. Probably Cyn had agreed to make sure my dress was fitted properly when it arrived, and now we just had to wait for the summer.

Easter was at the end of March, and Cyn’s birthday followed, with celebratory cards from her closest friend in England, Nancy Heslop.

The school play that year “Asses’ Ears” was a musical telling the story of the Greek King Midas, not involving his golden touch, but his later offence to the god Apollo’s music, punished with donkey’s ears. He hid these under turbans but his barber knew the secret, and whispered the news to the corn- and the growing corn rustled the news to the reapers. Grade 7s and 8s were involved in the singing chorus- and Linda and her friends were also the secondary singing-and-dancing barbers, with a jolly song “Midas has got asses’ ears” to perform. It was presented in the auditorium of the new high school that had just been built, and the Grade 8 students were very interested to see the school they would be going to after their graduation in June.

In June, there were exams, we passed, got our report cards, and Linda would be going into Grade 9 in the high school built beside the new bypass, the Queensway, a four-lane highway designed to relieve Ottawa’s traffic congestion, and link the growing suburbs being built east and west of the city.

Graduation from Grade 8 was a rite of passage that involved one of Cyn’s most successful dresses for Linda- a white sleeveless dress with a panel down the front, embroidered with pink rosebuds. This was the first time I wore nylon stockings- with garter belt and suspenders attached (pantyhose had not been invented then)- to be followed by the second time later that summer, as bridesmaid. I felt almost adult- I would be going to high school, and when I started there I would be a teenager.

Summer 1963

The Costain’s summer holiday was a road trip to Quebec City as tourists, followed by the exciting scientific event of a solar eclipse on July 20th.

We explored the old city of Quebec, stared at the Plains of Abraham where the British took over Canada- big, flat, and boring except for drilling soldiers- (by Grades 7 and 8 we had studied Canadian history covering the 18th century over and over again, while the 20th was never mentioned), took a river cruise on the St Lawrence by the Isle d’Orleans, ate yummy food, and enjoyed staying in hotels.

On the 20th of July we were on our way home, and left the highway for the back roads to find a spot that Cec had determined would be ideal for viewing the eclipse. Charlie’s telescope had been packed in the car of course, and we stopped at a farm outside Montreal and asked permission to set it up. There were no crowds, no one at the farm seemed interested, so in the laneway we had a solitary viewing of the phenomenon with the special lens, with time for each of us to see the sun disappearing as our surroundings became darker and darker, then reappeared. [I recommend the NFB film ‘Eclipse at Grand’Mère’ on YouTube which shows the interest the public had in this solar eclipse- and the boxy cars, and be-gloved ladies using their telescopes.]

Plus, at the farm, there was a puppy!

The rest of the summer was more local, with Cyn and Cec’s wedding anniversary at the end of July and Granny and Grandpa Costain staying with us for the rest of the summer.

In August, Linda’s birthday was celebrated with a family excursion to Upper Canada Village. I can’t help thinking that much of the ‘old- time’ pioneer atmosphere that the village attempted to re-create, such as the horse and buggy, must have seemed quite familiar to my grandparents, but there was a picnic table and birthday cake and Linda was 12!


A few weeks later, school started in September, with Linda in Grade 8, the top grade in elementary school, and Charlie in Grade 7. To get to school, they walked out the back door, through their garden past the old apple tree and Cec’s vegetable garden and compost pile, and crossed a fallow field to the highway. On the other side of the highway, there was a path down the edge of another field, then their church hall, and the school playgrounds. It took them 10 minutes, rather than the 30 or 40 minutes on the school bus which took them on a tour down to the river and back picking up students- and occasionally longer on icy winter days when it could not climb up the steep hill on the return journey!

A bit later in the fall, the family took the grandparents to Kingsmere, one of our favourite places to take tourists. William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th Prime Minister, was an eccentric man, whose personal beliefs in the occult only became known after his death, but one thing well known was his estate in Quebec, 24 km north of Ottawa in the Gatineau Hills. He bought this acreage in the 1920s and over the next 30 years, developed and landscaped it into a showplace modelled on English country estates, with lawns, hedges, trees, fake ruins, picturesque buildings, attractive vistas, stone statues… After his death, the Mackenzie King Estate became a lovely park with buildings and tearoom managed by the National Capital Commission, open year-round, and the Costain children always enjoyed exploring and having tea there. If you leave the pathways to walk on the lawns you realize that you are walking on thyme, not grass, and the scent is wonderful.

April to June 1963

Happy Birthday to Cyn!

Cyn’s friends in England, Anne and Jessie, sent cards!

The rest of the school year went well for all the Costains.

Linda and Charlie’s French classes in Grades 6 and 7 combined to put on a production of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” with the older students narrating, and Charlie being Pierre with his classmates as Grandpere and the animals!

Cyn managed his costume in spite of being very busy having her birthday and being featured in the newspaper.

As President of the Ladies Guild of her church, Cyn was designated as the opening Speaker for the 67th Annual Meeting of the Women’s Auxiliary of the entire country which was being held in Ottawa.

“Madame Chairman, my Lord Bishop, Ladies and Gentlemen-
I have a very great pleasure in welcoming you all to the 67th Annual Meeting of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Ottawa Diocese. I have been given this privilege as President of the Women’s Auxiliary of St. Christopher’s Church in Cardinal Heights, because we are one of the newest branches in the Diocese. I must admit that I have cast a longing thought back to Victorian times when the youngest member of the family was seen and not heard, but I am most aware of the fact that this is a very living part of Women’s Auxiliary traditions, that the new and young should be taken into the family and should share responsibilities and pleasures right from the beginning.

When the Ladies Guild of St. Christopher’s Church decided to become a branch of the Women’s Auxiliary we received a very warm welcome from the Diocesan President, Mrs. Johnstone and other members of the W.A. and I greatly appreciate the opportunity of passing on that welcome to you. A ‘warm welcome’ is such a happy phrase, which immediately makes one think of old friends being reunited and the meeting of new ones – of exchanging news of past doings and making plans for the future. I hope that this meeting will mean all of these things to you and that you will have a worthwhile, satisfying and rewarding time here.”

Cec, Boris Stoichef, Dr. Herzberg, and Don Ramsay

Meanwhile Cec was enjoying a visit from Dr Shimoda, one of the scientists he and his colleagues had met in Japan, who was presumably working with the N.R.C. spectroscopists. Cec was also invited to dinner at his College in Cambridge in June. He sent his regrets no doubt, but it was an honour.


The great excitement of June, however, was the first wedding of the young generation of the Costain family. Linda was the oldest girl of that generation, but she had 4 older male cousins and 2 of these, Merle’s sons John and Lorne, were engaged, with Lorne marrying Liz in Brantford, the Costains driving down for the occasion, and everyone getting dressed up on a lovely summer day.

John and Sharon- the next wedding couple in 64!

They were a lovely couple, I was thrilled by the whole occasion, and remember the hats as a key feature. Out west, the grandparents were enjoying the youngest members of the family, but no doubt their daughter Merle kept them informed of the festivities we all enjoyed.


After that excitement, the summer approached, the children advanced to Grades 7 and 8 and their holidays in the new house.

School Reports

Cec had plans for a large garden – there already was asparagus- and there was a lovely Manitoba maple tree providing shade behind the house, the site of a future patio. The summer was going to be fun!

January to March 1963

Our new house in the summer of 1963.

From January until March of 1963, the Costains were preparing to move to their new house, while leading their ordinary lives. Since the house was literally down the hill and around a corner, overseeing the renovations was not a hard job, but imagining living there was another matter. They would be living in a neighbourhood not on the highway, so it would be a different perspective, even though they already knew many families around. The school was closer, as the crow flies, but getting to it in a Canadian winter would have meant wading through snow over two untrodden fields, so the children left that idea until spring. Selling the Montreal Road duplex they lived in was an important part of the financing plan, so an ad was put in the newspaper. And packing began.

Cec and Cyn had planned the overall structural changes already, and Cyn had sent her mother the diagrams showing how the reversal of the orientation of the stairs made for better floor plans on all levels, but the renovation of the kitchen was Cyn’s pet project, and she was meticulous in designing it to suit her exactly- counters low enough to work at, enough cupboard space, efficient placement of equipment, pale blue paint, and a phone corner, making it her office!

Doors and old cabinets removed, wallpaper gone, new dining room wall added!

The living room already had a big window looking out on the road, and Cyn’s beloved stone fireplace with chimney was added on to the outside wall. The children were quite taken with the novelty but having always lived with central heating, it did not have the same associations for them that it had for their mother!

The children each had a bedroom upstairs, with the roof and the gable windows making the walls slope inside, and they were promised that they would be allowed to choose the colour of the paint to cover up the hideous wallpaper.
The basement was unfinished, with a concrete floor, a sump pump in one corner to deal with spring flooding threats, the furnace under the stairs, the washing machine and dryer that kind Dorothy Scott had included in the house price close by, and a remnant of the farmhouse origin- a cold room in one corner, insulated from the heated house, with wooden shelving for the jams and jellies and bins below with earth in, to bury the root vegetables for winter storage. Cec had his tools down there, (and added to them more farm remnants as they appeared from overgrown mounds in the neglected garden). There was lots of room for storage, a permanent table for Charlie’s train set, and all the boxes and extras that come with moving.

Grandparents and family out west approved!

Moving Day was March 1st, and the children’s Spring Break came a few weeks later so they could help more with the settling in and learn to climb the old apple tree in the back garden. They would miss the hollow down behind that flooded in spring, and the wide fields they had played in, but as the years passed the hollow was filled in, and the fields became covered with houses. Ottawa was expanding, and the move was an excellent choice. Altogether, an exciting time!

Our teachers were always confusing Janet and Linda- just because we both had glasses and braids?

December 1962

December was always a time of preparation for Cyn. She sent out Christmas cards with names from Cec’s travels added, and lovely unusual cards arrived in return, along with the customary pictures of the children of their friends, some quite grown- the adorable flower girl from their wedding with two children of her own!


Cyn also had to get her Christmas parcels for friends and family overseas off as early as possible, and she needed to get ready for Charlie’s birthday and the Costain Christmas as well. Presents this year had been made easier by Cec’s travel- her ‘Presents Sent List’ shows that Cec’s sisters and mother all got ‘Japanese silk material’, with sisters-in-law Errol and Leona an ‘Indian Scarf’, while the men of the family got ivory trinkets, and nephew Bruce a ‘Toledo knife’.


Cec’s bowling sessions with the Lab. led to a Christmas present of his own bowling shoes from Charlie (size 12 shoes may have been hard to rent) and prompted the activity for Charlie’s birthday party: he and his friends went bowling with Cec, followed by a celebration afterwards.

December also had local invitations, a funeral, and the birth of a Pembleton baby- Cyn’s cousin in New York very happy about becoming a grandmother.

And while all this usual Christmas activity was going on, with baking and wrapping and decorating part of the family life, Cec and Cyn were planning a real change- renovating and then moving to their new house. Excitement for all in the New Year!