Dear Linda, My time in Japan is down to 1 1/2 days, and while I’ve been too busy to be lonely I’ll be glad to be off.
My hotel is just outside the moat of the Imperial Palace, and on the grounds opposite is a Buda – kan, -sports gym for judo events etc. Looking out of the window I could see the roof outlined against the sky, and realized what I must have heard and known – that the traditional roof of Japanese architecture and pagodas, is in the exact line of Mount Fuji.
My visit to Mt. Fuji, (or Fujiyamma,) (yamma is Mt.) was a great success – clear except for a cloud cap on the top 2000 ft. It was very clear for this time of year, but disappeared completely two hours later.
Thurs. was spent at the Kabuki theatre 11am to 4pm – lunch 20 minutes. The staging, acting costumes etc. were wonderful. The program was parts of 4 different plays, but each complete in itself. It is much like Shakespeare – a mixture of tragedy & comedy. I found it difficult to identify with the tragic scenes without the language – some like opera where the hero takes 15 min. to die after six sword thrusts, but the comedy was wonderful – more in mime. I’d never have known the actors were all male if I hadn’t been told.
My abject apologies for not noticing your birthday – I knew it was due & told the Mercers & Egans etc., but I’m afraid dates & days lose all meaning except for appointments, meetings, talks, planes, etc. I heard you were safely installed and have a nice private room. I do hope you are enjoying your new life – I expect the first while will be hectic & by the time that’s over you will be used to it. Don’t forget to do some work – like 12 hours a day. Good luck & lots of love Daddy
In Sydney I received a letter from Professor Morino suggesting a long itinerary for my trip to Japan. Part of it was to go from Fukuoka (University of Kyushu) my first stop to Beppu by train. Hirota- who was in Ottawa last summer and at the big party in our garden – was to come with me and yesterday he showed me all around Beppu. It has hundreds of hot springs & geysers – the whole side of the mountain has rising jets of steam.
Today I am on a large liner, going to Takamatsu. We started at 8:10 am, and I land at 5:30. The tickets – first class deluxe, were a present from Professor Morino. I am writing this letter in my private cabin. Professor Morino is meeting me and we go by boat and car to Kurashiki. He has my next ten days planned – and I suspect – paid for. He told Hirota that he can never repay our kindness when he & his wife were in Ottawa 5 years ago – and he had the operation in Ann Arbor. But the hospitality is almost embarrassing.
My trip to the Great Barrier Reef was a bit disappointing because the weather was too rough to land on the reef. We had one short trip with a glass bottomed boat. The coral was 3-10 ft down, and it was like looking in a continuously changing aquarium early millions of fish of all sizes & colours swimming in & out of the coral branches. Wish we’d seen more & been able to snorkel.
I hope you are finding your new life exciting & not too lonely. I expect they will keep you busy. I know I’m busy, but often wish I was home.
Now I have to go back a bit chronologically, and interrupt the flow of Cyn’s letters to her mother, because I discovered that, like my grandmother Carol, I am a packrat. I may not have kept ALL of the letters Cyn wrote me, but I discovered, while looking for pictures of my university buildings, a stash of letters from that first month of Trent, when I had begged for lots of letters from home. Both Cec, while travelling, and Cyn had responded and so I have nine loving communications sent to 18-year-old Linda to add before Carol gets an overview of the Costains’ life in October ’69.
Cec mailed these in August from Hawaii on the 18th, and then from Australia and marked them HOLD so they waited for Linda in her mail slot at Traill for her to arrive on September 11th.
Dear Linda., This reminds me of your picture in St Vincent. I didn’t see much but flowers here, at four in the morning 1/2 hr stop. Love Daddy
Dear Linda, They are just as cute as the picture. It’s too bad they can’t live on Puss n’ Boots [cat food], I’d bring one home. Hope these find you in college. Lots of luck, Love Daddy
And a month or so later there arrived a large box in the Porter’s Lodge from Australia containing a surprise present sent by Cec who had arrived home weeks before. It was a lovely soft huggable stuffie of a koala bear just like the postcard! An instant hit in residence.
In August, with Grannie Ewing visiting her nieces in New York on her way home, the Costains took their last family trip together, flying out west to meet family members- Uncle Harry Costain in Calgary, Granny and Grandpa Costain in Penticton, along with the whole Carman Costain family- and see the Rockies, the Okanagan, and Vancouver as they drove. At the end of their stay in Vancouver, Cec had flown off for a lengthy working trip to Australia and Cyn and Linda and Charlie had taken the train across Canada home to Ottawa. It was a three-day trip and the children did not enjoy it. Charlie was bored, and Linda not only ran out of reading matter, but found that inserting her new contact lenses in a moving train was nerve-wracking and challenging. Cyn enjoyed the rest, and wrote to her mother the week after they returned.
49 Cedar Road, Ottawa 9, Ontario.
24th August, 1969
Dearest Mummy, Here we have been home for over a week and this is the first time I have managed to write to you – or even to Penticton to say thank you for having us. First of all, we stepped out of the air conditioned train into typical hot humid Ottawa weather last week, and it was just breathless for 3 or 4 days, then on Monday we had most violent storms with pouring rain and the temp. went down to 45 one night! It was nice and cool for a couple of days and now it is back up in the 80s today, and I don’t feel at all ambitious! The weather wasn’t the only surprise we got when we arrived in Ottawa – when we got home Merle phoned from Brantford to say that they were coming to Ottawa that weekend to a wedding, but if we couldn’t put them up they would go to a motel. Of course we said for them to come, so next day (Friday) we rushed around and bought some food and they arrived for dinner with little Debbie. Lorne and Liz were also invited to the wedding but couldn’t get away till later, so Merle and Dix brought Debbie and they would bring Cyndie when they came and stay with the Whitwills – Liz’s family. Charlie was back in your room, so we made up his bed in the family room for Debbie and Merle and Dix had the big pull-out sofa bed, so it worked out fine. The wedding was on the Sat. afternoon, and in the morning Lorne came for Debbie, and then they all went off to the wedding – I felt quite sorry for them all dressed up, as it was about 90 and so still and sticky, and the reception wasn’t even in some air-conditioned hotel, but in the garden of the bride’s family. Merle was exhausted when she came home! While they were away I had another phone call and this was Carman! He was at the airport, and although I knew he was coming to Ottawa sometime to a meeting I hadn’t bothered to even ask the date, as he said that he had a room booked at the Château Laurier, as he didn’t know when we would be back. However, it turned out that he had been another meeting in the US and when he phoned the Château the booking was from the Sunday not the Saturday so he came along too and we had a full house that night! It was nice that Merle and Dix and Carman got a chance to chat and as it was another hot night Charlie quite enjoyed sleeping on the porch! Next day we all went to the Whitwills to lunch, and then Merle and Dix set off home as Dix had to be at work next day. Carman had dinner with us and then I drove him downtown to his hotel, and then my goodness, when I got back didn’t the house feel strange and empty with no Cec! Before that we had really hardly had time to notice! We had two postcards from Cec on Friday – one from Hawaii where he spent an hour (4–5am.) and another from Sydney, so we know that he has arrived safely. I was so glad as he tells me that Frank Mercer (his Australian friend from Cambridge) came to meet him at the airport because Cec had written to Frank and had no reply and I know he would have been disappointed not to see him. I don’t know if he was staying with the Mercers but it would make a big difference having a friend to show him the sights.
I feel that I should go back now and tell you what we did at the end of our holiday. I wrote from Penticton when we were staying with Granny and Granpa Costain, and then we moved over and spend 3 or 4 days with Leona and Carman. Their house is about 2 miles from Granpa’s and fortunately it is quite big as we were a big family! Penticton is quite a nice small town – very much a resort town with 2 big lakes for swimming etc. and lots of motels and tourists. It is in a valley with hills all around and they were absolutely burnt brown, but in the valley where they irrigate it was all green and lovely. It is in the middle of a famous fruit growing area, but unfortunately they had a very severe winter and all the fruit trees were harmed and there was very little fruit this summer – no peaches or apricots or cherries, but the apples were all right. Leona took her children for swimming lessons at one of the lakes every day, so Linda and Charlie got quite a lot of swimming, but unfortunately Linda got a bad cold, and so had to keep out of the water the last few days.
We left Penticton on the Thursday (7th.) and drove to Vancouver where Cec had booked a downtown motor hotel for us. It was very convenient and the first evening we walked down the street and found a very nice German restaurant where we had a marvellous dinner, so we thought we were very lucky. We were so fortunate in the weather in Vancouver – it was sunny and lovely all the time, although there was a haze over the mountains around the city, but apparently this is quite typical. I was quite taken with the weather in Penticton too – it was very hot and sunny during the day, but if you sat in the shade it feels lovely with a little breeze, and as soon as the sun went down in the evening it got really cool and you needed a sweater. I may tell you that I never once had my pretty white spotted raincoat out of the case, so weren’t we fortunate? After dinner that first evening in Vancouver, Cec phoned a few people and I phoned Olwen Wright. Do you remember her? She was at College with Dottie and me and eventually married a boy in the Army called Noel. Anyway they now live in Vancouver, so I called and we had a chat and arranged for us to go out that evening for a drink. They live in a very pretty house with a stream running through the garden, but it was nearly dark when we arrived so we didn’t see much. I don’t know if I would have known them, as Olwen is now blonde and Noel is plumper, but we had quite fun catching up on news. Olwen has 3 children all older than mine – the oldest girl is married then a boy of 19 going to University and a girl a bit older than Linda still going to school. We didn’t see them as one sister was visiting the other and the boy has a job. Owen was telling me that she had had cancer, which I didn’t know, but she had had an operation and it had been OK for a few years now. She didn’t say where it was – anyway she was having a check up that weekend so was booked up with the Drs etc. and we didn’t see them again. It must be over 25 years since I saw her, so it really was interesting – they have bought land in Antigua and Dominica I think when they were there on a holiday a few years ago and are talking of moving there when their family is off their hands. On the Friday we went up to the University of British Columbia where Cec had various people to see. It is a beautiful campus with lovely lawns and gardens and fountains in amongst the buildings. One of the Professors took us to lunch at the Faculty Club and then we went and sat for a while in a Japanese Garden while Cec saw some other people. Afterwards we went to a lovely park on an island in the harbour called Stanley Park where they have a Zoo and also a big aquarium where they have a big outdoor pool with a dolphin and a whale who give a show every few hours. It was fascinating, and the whale had the most amiable looking grin on his face and looked as if he were thoroughly enjoying it all! That evening we went out to dinner to a ship anchored in the harbour which has a famous Seafood Buffet. They have a great big buffet table with over 58 different kinds of fish and various salads and things as well as all sorts of hot dishes on a hot table, and you can go back and back and eat as much as you want! Our only complaint was that our capacity wasn’t big enough as we would have liked to try even more, but what we did have was delicious. It was a lovely setting looking out of the water at the lights in the city and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Next day we went across to Vancouver Island. I hadn’t realized that it was such a trip or that the island was so big, but the ferry took us about 4 hours. We arrived at Nanaimo and went north to a National Park where there are some wonderful old Douglas Fir trees some 800 years old and absolutely immense. We then had to drive back south through Nanaimo again and down to Victoria which is at the southern tip of the island.
It is a very pretty city with lovely gardens and lovely hanging baskets on all the lamp posts. We only had that evening to look around a little and then next morning we went to the Buchart Gardens which are very well known and absolutely beautiful. I sent you a folder of pictures of it and although the colours weren’t very good you would get some idea of how lovely it was. We had lunch there, and then went and took a different ferry back to Vancouver. That evening we went to dinner in Chinatown and had the best Chinese dinner I have ever had. Even Linda tried the Chinese food and enjoyed it and Cec was amazed when we got the bill that it came to less than 2 dollars each! We had been sent there by a friend of Cec’s in Vancouver and it was definitely a place for Chinese to eat and not a tourist trap, so we did very well and enjoyed it very much.
Next morning, Monday 11th, we got up early and all went with Cec to the airport and saw him off on the plane to San Francisco at 8am. We had handed over the car the previous night, so we took the bus back to the motel and had a rest and packed and then took a taxi to the station and left our bags. The train wasn’t till 7:30pm so we had lunch and shopped and went and sat in Stanley Park, then had something else to eat before we went back to the station. We had three berths and I thought the trip was quite fun but Linda and Charlie were bored stiff! Charlie couldn’t read because of the motion, so he played patience, and of course we had two dome cars and could go and look at the scenery, but as Linda says, the scenery in Canada goes on for so long! Linda and I enjoyed the meals and I definitely felt stuffed, but Charlie wasn’t very hungry so they were very glad when the 3 days and 3 nights were over! As for me it was a nice interlude before picking up the daily cares at home, and I enjoyed it!
We found our pussycat very well and plump as usual and Beulah had looked after everything beautifully. We have loads of lovely tomatoes and corn, but of course the veg. garden is covered in weeds and although I have worked at it on and off I haven’t begun to make an impression yet. You’ll be glad to hear that the seeds you planted – the phlox – have come up and I have a few sweet peas and some morning glories. The nasturtiums are doing well and the sweet little groundhog hasn’t touched anything but is getting bigger and fatter on apples dropping off the trees. He sits up and eats them and throws the cores away just like any other person and doesn’t seem to have touched the garden. From all you told me you must have had a lovely time with Mill and Ford and I enjoyed getting your two letters and hearing all about what you were doing. I am glad that you bought a hat and another dress or two and it sounds as if Ford had taken you to some very nice places. You will be going down to Long Beach this weekend and I hope that Monie and Owen had a nice weekend at Camp and that Marga’s leg is better. I know you will be sorry to leave Mill and Ford but you will enjoy being with the Banners and Jaegers too. Please give them all our love. Of course I have been hopping with the Nursery School all this past week – all the parents are phoning, and I am buying supplies and Charlie is painting some of the outdoor equipment and Marjorie and I have been repainting some of the indoor furniture, so we have been busy. Linda’s birthday was on Friday too and Cec and I gave her a suede jacket and a dressing gown and slippers while Charlie gave her a nice little alarm clock. She got various things from her friends but will probably be writing to tell you all about it. We asked Carman to dinner to make it more of an occasion and he really hit the spot by arriving with long stemmed red roses in a big florist box for her! And I must stop now and get to bed. Charlie has gone to the Exhibition (big annual Agricultural Fair + Grandstand Show + Midway) with some of his friends so I don’t know when he will be home. I don’t envy him in the dusty paths amongst the crowds on this hot night! Much love to the Banners and Jaegers from us all and lots for you too from Cyn.
This letter may have arrived after Carol had gone on to Long Beach, or even back home in St.Vincent, because written on the bottom of the letter is a note from one of the nieces:
Carol dear – Your letter arrived. So glad to hear from you. Come back soon again. I wish I was in nice, warm green St. Vincent! Love M.
As the summer approached, the Costains celebrated Carol’s arrival in Canada. After all the planning, Cyn could relax and enjoy having her mother to chat to, have lunches and teas with the ladies that Carol had met on previous visits, and watch her adjust to the grandchildren, older and taller, and changed?
Cec had a vegetable garden to put in although he would not be around to enjoy the harvest this year, since at work he was preparing for his trip on August to Australia. It was something he was looking forward to, but meanwhile, he enjoyed his colleagues and his research.
June was an eventful month – we were excited to show Grannie the new National Arts Centre by the canal in downtown Ottawa- 3 theatres, with ballet, plays, concerts and restaurants.
There were family celebrations as well, for Cec’s birthday and Father’s Day and then the end of the school year.
Linda was finishing high school, and had been accepted into Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario- a new university based on Oxbridge (lectures, tutorials, gowns, and a college system accommodation). Charlie would be going into Grade 13 in September at the age of 16. They both had exams to sit in June and then a month of summer before their family trip. Charlie had signed up for a senior swimming certificate and Linda had a part-time counsellor job at a day camp in the high school grounds.
And at home, friends and neighbours joined us for parties in the garden.
In August, Carol said goodbye and flew down to New York to visit her nieces, and the Costains packed up and went west on their family trip.
After a leap of a month, during which Cyn was back working as a substitute at the Nursery School, she catches up in November with her mother’s letters and the events in the Costain family. In St. Vincent, Carol is planning her visit to Ottawa next spring, and she and her sister Muriel seem to have suffered a burglary, something that happened again and again over the years. In Ottawa, Cyn fills in the details of past events- Linda’s birthday presents, Charlie’s fundraising walk- and then goes on to present activities, and alludes to the preparations for Christmas. There will be little to mention about that, however, because there are no more letters until March and April 1969, and then a gap until August.
49 Cedar Road, Ottawa 9, Ontario.
22nd Nov. 1968
Dearest Mummy, Thank you so much for your last letter and the cheque for 30 dollars for Christmas. I was going down town shopping yesterday so I went to the Bank and cashed the cheque and had your book made up, and you have 677.34, which of course is in Canadian dollars, so you can change that into W.I. dollars and you must have well over a thousand W.I. Surely that is enough for you your fare and stay here, so you should not have to worry about money. Cec and I laughed and laughed about you hiding your money in the tea cosy so that it wouldn’t be stolen and then forgetting all about it! It was a nice surprise to find it I am sure, but I hope that the police find poor Auntie Muriel’s silver too. Please thank A. Muriel for her letter to me. While I was in town I went to a handicraft shop where I had ordered a lamp shade months ago. I don’t know if I told you that I gave one to Cec last Christmas, which we both liked very much – it is off-white translucent stuff with real maple leaves and ferns etc. embedded in it, and when the lamp is lit it looks lovely. The one I gave Cec is big, for one of the standard lamps, and we liked it so much that we decided to get a small one for our wall lamp as the shade for that is quite brown now with age and the heat of the lamp! [and because Cec smoked.] However, the one I ordered wasn’t there but they gave me the choice of two others which I brought home and tried and have decided to keep one, so I suddenly thought that this would be a nice Christmas present from you to Cec and me, so that is where 10 dollars of your money has gone! Thank you very much – we both think that it is lovely. I also had always meant to write to you about Linda and her birthday money which you sent her – she wrote to you, but I didn’t think it was one of her better efforts in letter writing. For heaven sake don’t tell her I said that though! I told her what you said in your letter about buying some book of prayers or something of that type, but she had no idea of anything she would like. We finally managed to go down town one day to the Canterbury Book Shop but couldn’t see anything she wanted in the religious line, and it seemed to me that it was pointless to buy a book she was never going to look at, so I let her buy one or two paperback books of Elizabeth Goudge etc. which she wanted [‘The Dean’s Watch’- totally ‘in the religious line’ in my opinion, still love it] and she was very keen to get this song book, so she spent the rest of the money on that and a pair of ‘pantie Hose’ in a kind of mesh which are fashionable just now. The song book is a very nice one and she does a lot of playing out of it and singing too, so she is using it and enjoying it. I don’t think that you need to worry too much about her religion – there aren’t too many 17 year old girls who go to church every Sunday without fail, teach Sunday School and sing in the choir and go to choir practice every week. She has also been going to classes for Sunday School Teachers, so she is fully occupied, and likes doing it.
You have kept asking for news of the Miles for Millions Walk, but I never could tell you much until last month we finally got the enclosed little paper and our receipts for income tax purposes. I know you will be interested to see that St. Vincent got some of the money but amused I expect, that it was for Family Planning! But wasn’t that a fantastic amount of money from one city? Over four hundred thousand dollars. I have been teaching at the Nursery School for over 3 weeks and finally finished on Tuesday. I must say that I felt delighted when it was over, although I really enjoy it while I am there and it was fun getting to know the children, but I seem to have so much to do at home and it all gets behind hand when I am working. Of course I had Christmas parcels to do too and there is sewing I want to get busy with and of course the job of Treasurer and Registrar for the Nursery School takes a lot of time. It is really a big business now and we have over 1000 dollars in the bank, so I really have to work over the accounts. I was busy with them this morning and I am 3 cents out with the bank, which is very annoying! I have decided that I shall have to get Cec to check my figures on an adding machine at work and see where I have lost the pennies!
I don’t know if I told you that Linda is learning to drive. The age for getting a license is 16 here, but Cec would not let her do anything last year, but this year they have a Driver Training Course at the High School, run by the Safety Council of Ontario, and she is taking this. It is an excellent course, and the statistics show that young people who have taken it are involved in a big percentage less accidents than those who haven’t, so we felt it was a very good thing for her to take. It cost $68, so it isn’t exactly cheap, but for that she has 12 weeks instruction – 2 hours a week classroom instruction and twice a week driving, so when that is over she should be able to pass her Drivers Test. It involves US in a lot of driving right now, as we have to drive her down to the high school at 7 o’clock on Mon. evenings, and back at 9, for her classroom work, and then down again on Wed. for her driving lessons and back again, and on Sat. at 8 o’clock in the morning for more driving lessons and back again! I know that 8 am is nothing for you early birds, but it is usually the only morning we get to just wake up when we want to, and now I have to get up at 7 as usual and get Lindy up etc. Very trying! However, I am glad that she is learning this way, as I don’t think that she has much natural aptitude, and I think that Cec would have gone grey rapidly if he had had to do it all! Of course she has had no experience, and it took her an age to learn about to ride a bicycle too! [In my defence, I would like to say that Cec was not a good teacher about anything- I got help with my maths and science problems from my brother a year behind me in school, because Cec was just so amazed that child of his could be so obtuse about things that were so clear to him- and, that the bicycle problem came from living on a major highway so not given one until I was older than most kids.]
The BIG event of this month was on the 1st Nov. when Lindy had her Graduation at the High School. With having 5 years of High School here, but some students only taking 4, it means that ones like Linda graduate from both Grade 12 and Grade 13 – the former is Junior Matriculation and the next one, next year it will be her Senior Matriculation. So this wasn’t the Real Big Graduation, but still it was quite an event and there was a lot of excitement about it. The actual Graduation ceremonies were on the Friday evening at the High School and there was a dance on the Sat. evening, but it was a queer thing, neither Lindy nor any of her pals were invited to the dance, and I don’t think many of the boys in her class went either – if they did they took little girls in Grade 9! I thought it was a pity and I know Linda would have liked to go, but when none of the girls were going it really didn’t worry her and she was excited about the graduation and enjoyed it.
Of course she had to have a new dress, but she wears party type dresses so little that I couldn’t see spending 30 dollars or so on something she would probably wear only two or three times. On the invitation dress was ‘Informal’ but most of the girls wanted something a bit special, so I took out one of the dresses Margs sent me by Monie last year – I think I told you at the time. They were both party dresses with big full skirts, and one was a very pretty cornflower blue chiffon, so I unpicked the skirt which was yards wide and asked Lindy how she would like a dress of that. She was all enthused – she really is a pet – a lot of girls would have turned up their noses at a homemade dress out of passed on material, but she was just as pleased as if it were from the most exclusive shop! We chose a pretty pattern – very simple straight style, with a cowl neck line and full sleeves gathered into a cuff, and we got lining and lined the whole thing except the cowl and the sleeves, so it really looked very dainty and pretty and the colour suited her beautifully. I am enclosing a piece of material and a picture of the pattern so that you will get some idea I have what it is like, and Joanne’s Uncle took some pictures of them so that later on I will send you one.
The graduation was great fun from our point of view – Cec said it was a long time since he had been to such a fashion show. Some of the girls looked so nice and others so odd, and the last year’s Grade 13, who were going on to a party of their own afterwards were mostly attired in elaborate long evening dresses. One of them was a real shocker – the whole auditorium nearly collapsed – this tall good-looking girl swept onto the stage in evening dress with a V neck down to the waist in front and extremely bare bosomed, and then lo and behold when she walked across the stage and we saw her back it was bare down to her tail bone! Cec’s only regret is that he was gazing at her so hard he forgot to look at the Principal and see how he was looking! If we had seen her in the Château Laurier we would have been stunned, but at a High School Graduation it was really something. Her parents were sitting not far from us – very respectable members of our church, but I don’t know what they thought of it! I must stop now as I have to get dinner and L. and C.will be home soon. I have some stamps off your letters to send and some seeds but I think I will wait till after the Christmas rush. Lots of love from us all to you and A. Muriel, Hello to Doris and June and Luenda. Much love, Cyn.
From this point on, the letters preserved are sporadic, with 2 to 6 month gaps. The scrapbooks, however, provide a record of events in the family, and I will use them to link up the letters.
After the success of their trip to the UK, the Costains settled back into normal life in Ottawa. Cec returned to work, the teenagers returned to school, and Cyn prepared for and entered working life again, even if only temporarily, at the new Nursery School. Cec travelled for conferences and Cyn audited classes, and Linda and Charlie, now senior students in high school, became involved in various extra-curricular activities that suited them.
In November, the Centennial project that Cec had been involved with, the Science Museum, had its official opening. It was an exciting place, with interactive exhibits designed to appeal to the public, especially children. One exhibit that has lasted over 50 years is the Crazy Kitchen, tilted to confuse the senses and alter perceptions. (Fifteen years after this opening, Linda’s future stepsons enjoyed the kitchen and then climbed all over the trains in their outside exhibit. In this century, during the pandemic, the museum took advantage of the closing to update, refurbish, upgrade and expand- Cec would have approved.)
At Christmas, there were adult parties at home, then the Costains went down to Brantford to spend the holiday with their favourite relatives, the Moors, who now had adorable grandchildren as a draw. Cyn’s scrapbook shows the international greetings that came at Christmas, new photos of friends’ children and grandchildren, and includes a card from the old days from Uncle Harry Costain out in Calgary.
In the New Year, Cyn’s scrapbook celebrates a teen party, then the fact that as a Nursery School teacher she gets Valentines!
A booklet shows Gloucester High School’s summary of growth since its opening in 1963. The Centennial project of an adjoining community swimming pool would be available for the next school year, Linda’s Grade 13. The education system in Ontario meant that students in the 5 year Arts and Science Academic Program, preparing for University, stayed for a 5th year while all those completing 4 years, Grade 12, graduated. (The commencement ceremony for both 4 and 5 year graduates was held the following November, so in the middle of Grade 13, the students still at school celebrated with those out in the world- and looked forward to a second celebration the following year when they would return from their universities to party and get their Grade 13 diploma.)
I’m not going to tell you about our stay in London and in Cambridge in great detail. We did the things everyone else does in London and you know Cambridge yourself. And another thing I’m running out of space.
However, in brief: In London we went to Buckingham Palace on Sunday. Mummy and I went to the National Portrait Gallery, and I have many lovely postcards of the portraits – including my lovely much maligned Richard the III. Have you read Josephine Tey’s ‘Daughter of Time?’ Concerning him, it is my Bible.
I bought a mint green and white mini dress in London and stacks of books. I bought a book (one of Jane Duncan’s I like her, do you read Jane Duncan) and eyeshadow (she’s mad about it) and a mood pen for my friend Janet, and leg paint!!! and a book and a necklace (oak leaf) for my friend Joanne. As well as little things for various other friends. We went to “Hello Dolly” at the Drury Lane Theatre with Agnes & Mrs. Herzberg and went to the Palladium to see Ken Dodd (I was shocked!)
We had dinner in a lovely “Dickens” restaurant – marvellous atmosphere. I love London.
I love Cambridge too. The Sutherlands were so nice to us! We were shown all around Emmanuel by the Master himself!
Auntie Gunborg gave me some birthday money and I got four more books. We shopped a bit- (Charlie got a deerstalker!) (He looks priceless in it!) We sightsaw, I want to come back. I get “home”sick when I think of England. I had a marvelous, wonderful holiday. Goodbye, Grannie Love Linda.
On reading this Travel Diary over, I feel I should explain a little about my personal reaction to England and Scotland. We had been brought up reading English books- Beatrix Potter, A.A.Milne (family story, baby Linda at the age of 18 months, got the point when her Daddy was reading about Pooh knocking on Rabbit’s door and being told that there was no one at home, and laughed, thus impressing her father with her accuity…), Wind in the Willows, the William books, Robin Hood legends, Narnia, Noel Streatfield, and so on. Yes, I read American books too- 19th century Alcott, Coolidge, and series like Nancy Drew, and Sue Barton: Nurse, but I liked ‘Jean Tours a Hospital’ and the rest just as much and enjoyed the contrast between the hospital cultures (dated though they were). My favourite series came through my mother’s keeping of the first three of Elinor M.Brent Dyer’s Chalet School books from her childhood, and I added to them whenever I could. (I now have them all. Yay internet.) The 15 year-old bookworm writing the travel diary had read countless teen historical novels- Hilda Lewis, Cynthia Harnett, Geoffrey Trease, and gone on to read her parent’s adult books set in England, Agatha Christie, Dornford Yates, Maurice Walsh, C.S.Forester, Georgette Heyer; and in Scotland, O. Douglas (Anna Buchan, sister of Canada’s wartime Governor General) and Jane Duncan’s ‘My Friend…’ series, and in doing so absorbed all the lore of the countryside- without ever having seen a bluebell (let alone a bluebell wood) or heather, or lavender growing, or a stile to cross a fence, or, in fact , a hedge- yes, we had one separating our lawn from the neighbours’ but it was nothing like an English roadside hedge! So while we visited friends, Linda dug around in their bookcases, and when we went sightseeing she was recognizing and enjoying things she had read about, and connecting with the history she had learned.
On Saturday we left Canterbury for London, left luggage, dropped off car and saw Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton in Taming of the Shrew – lovely. We took the sleeper up to Glasgow – and hardly a wink of sleep did I get it, though my family did better – and grabbed our hired car and headed off for Kelvin & Mary Tyler’s for lunch. This visit was rather a farce – we had expected to have fun with their two little girls but they were at their grandparents so Charlie & I just sat.
In the afternoon we went up to Loch Lomond and stayed the night at Luss. It is a village which is very pretty but too “ye olde worlde picturesque cottagee”– perhaps this impression came because large number of trippers but I felt that they had gardens for effect rather than enjoyment.
There was a nice little church there but we felt that we couldn’t just march in like cathedrals so we didn’t see the inside. The hotel was crowded & noisy. Charlie & I wanted to walk on the hills around & Daddy came with us. Just as we had got away from civilization and the path began to be exciting he got tired and we had to take him home. He said it was too dangerous for us to go on without him! He, who was puffing & slipping while we ran, was protection but us alone would have been danger! I went to bed in a temper – the hills (I can’t call the mountains really) are really beautiful.
On Monday we went up through the Trossachs. I didn’t envy Sandy his Pennine Way walking tour, but I would love to tramp up there, I saw heather close, both kinds and I approve. We walked along Loch Katrine and threw pennies in to come back. We went on to Edinburgh. And the Firth of Fourth that I’ve so often read about. On the way we saw the Wallace Memorial on a hill against the sky and here in Edinburgh there is another of the same type to Scott. It embodies for me the statement in O. Douglas’s ‘The Setons’ — “We have all of us, we Scots, a queer daftness in our blood. We pretend to be dour and cautious, but the fact is that at heart we are the most emotional and sentimental people on earth.” I am getting horribly sentimental myself, I hope you like it. Paper lures me on sometimes. I find we have no picture of either memorial- Bother ! – Yes I do, I found one. Will stick it in. LC
In the Shetland Shop I bought a beautiful dull gold kilt & sweater (10 £). All my friends admired it greatly. Kilts are all the fashion. We saw over Edinburgh Castle – sweet tiny chapel, walked down the Royal Mile to Hollyrood but Daddy got angry at the guide and stalked out, leaving us to trail out behind miserable but obedient. What it is to be ruled by an autocrat! We got on the train and went to Newcastle. We had tea at the Sheedy’s. Bobby & Patrick were very nice. Old Mrs. Sheedy made a great fuss of me, she said she didn’t have a granddaughter. Aren’t you lucky? Then we went to the Coopers and I had a lovely time with the three little boys. Then we went to Pam & Sam Fay’s for dinner. We got on the train and went to London. On the train we saw Durham Castle lit up – lovely.
It’s Tibb’s Eve in Newfoundland and here on the opposite coast it is cold with icy roads and fresh snow. Time for another look at Linda’s favourite sight in the summer of 1967 and maybe a Regency romance by the fire!
Then in the Victorian era, about forty years later:
And the twentieth century take on it, which Linda loved: