January 1 1951


Jan 1st 1951

Dearest Mummy,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lois & Connie behind Cyn & Til.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        With lots & lots of love

                    from Cynnie & Cec.

Christmas 1950

Cyn and Cec had invited their friends, the Boveys, to come for Christmas- the latest physicist pair transplanted from Cambridge to North America, now living in Ottawa where Cec and Cyn expect to go within the next year, but not very happy about it. However, they obviously resumed their Cambridge habits, because this Christmas letter is written as they play bridge together, just as they had in England!  Connie and Len had known Carol Ewing from the time before Cyn and Cec were married, so they join in sending her a description of their day.  The handwriting switches whenever a new hand is played and someone else is dummy- all except for Len, who played every hand, and was left to send a message on the envelope!

Christmas day – evening.

Dear Mrs. Ewing – 

In case you don’t recognize my writing this is Connie starting a Christmas day round robin to you from we four –

Today Cyn & I coped with a turkey all alone without our respective mothers to give advice!  After an enormous meal of ‘it’ – or at least part of, plus stuffing, cranberry sauce, creamed potatoes, beans & tomato aspic salad we have retired exhausted for a game of bridge with a faint hope of having the plum pudding & hard sauce later.

This letter will become a bit disjointed because whoever’s dummy adds a bit.

CYN Hello honey bunny – this is Cyn! I am dummy and poor Cec is struggling away with a bid of 3 hearts and a Yarbrough except for one Jack, which was a present from me!!

We have been busy talking about our Mummies all day and hope that you have all had a happy, happy Christmas. I went to Church at 8 o’clock this morning- Connie was coming with me but didn’t feel well this morning – then just got home in time to hear the “round the world” broadcast & dear little Kingie! Cec made it – I go!

CEC Now I am the dummy. Cyn out to make 1 club to get us game. 

I am wearing my sweater. Do you know, the one she started sometime ago? Also a pair of blue slacks & a belt – presents from my little wife. We’ve been very practical this Christmas, -we needed clothes & have got them for presents. Fun.

We are having a lovely lazy loafing lounging time with the Boveys. (Cyn is way past her bid.)

CYN Me again! We are doing well just now – Leonard thinks the cards are being horrid to him!

We are having the nicest time – we were fair wore out by the time work finished on Friday, but Connie & Len arrived on Sat. morning (stayed a night with a friend in Detroit) & since then we have had a lovely time. Connie & Len are most helpful visitors & I just put my feet up! You would have laughed to see Connie & me coping with this enormous turkey (14 1/2 lbs.)  He was a beauty, but we were quite puzzled by his anatomy – we kept making more & more stuffing to fill him up, & then in the end he swelled so, that the stuffing burst out, but we all thought he was delicious!

Church this morning was very quiet. I drove down of course & found only about 20 – 30 people there, & although there were 3 Christmas trees – two very big – there were no decorations or lights on them, so it all looked rather dim and gloomy. We sang in rather a quavery way, but I piped up. 

I was so happy to hear the English programme- did you hear it? I cried & cried & was so pleased about hearing it all!! The King’s voice wasn’t very clear, but we could hear most of it.

CEC Yes Cyn enjoyed Georgie. We have been having a wonderful run of cards- three game bids in a row made.

McTavish is behaving quite well – a few things to be fixed. We are off to see Til & Lois on Wed., if the roads are good. We are being careful. (Cyn made 3 diamonds, so back to bridge.) She was stubborn and now has to play 4 clubs which she won’t make.

You mustn’t worry about (down one) Cyn’s dieting. (down two) I was keeping an eye on her, & she kept her good nature all the week. She lost enough & won’t be doing it again. (down three). But now she’s trying again with 2 diamonds.

How do you like the running commentary on our game. Cyn gave me a ‘dairy’ – and a lovely ashtray. One of these kinds loaded with shot which will stay anywhere you put it. (She made it!!!)  (Bridge)

We’ve got our Xmas tree with our little Angel on top, she still looks lovely, Cyn I mean. Lots & lots of love Cec XX XX

CYN Isn’t that a nice husband? My presents were lovely- a dress and a handbag from seats! The dress is a pale blue wool jersey & has a pinky-red & navy blue swathed belt. It buttons on each shoulder with 3 buttons (material covered) and the button holes are bound with the navy & pink – it’s pretty. The handbag is a thing I needed badly as I haven’t a brown one at all – it is “corday” like that black one I bought in Toledo & is the cutest boxy shape – I had a lovely Santa Claus! My other presents were a book by Simenon from Mrs. Allan, a pale blue hanky-puff from Nan, bath cubes from Irene & very pretty little cocktail mats from Amy. Cec & I together got a lovely book of photos of Cambridge & Oxford from Connie & Len, the Book Club from Dottie, & a sub. to Readers Digest for a year from Cec’s sister Merle & Dixon. We also got a cake & sherry from the S’s & an angel food cake from Mrs. Kaufman, & Cec got a lovely book of cartoons from Irene & Bill. Your parcel hasn’t come yet, but it is fun to look forward to & know it is coming. We got Bren’s lovely lacquer bowls & think they are beautiful.

Must stop now, & get it mailed. Poor Len never got to be dummy but sends his love & Connie too. I’ll write a real epic later in the week, but want to send this to tell you we are thinking of you & send hugs & kisses for the New Year. 

                                     Lots of love from


December 13 1950


Wed. 13th Dec. 1950

Dearest Little Mummy,

This is going to be a whale of a letter to wish you a happy, happy Christmas, so put your feet up, undo your corsets, loosen your belt & sit back! Cec is going to wash the dishes for me, the honey, so that I can sit & write & write & write all evening!

When I got home from work today there was a nice letter waiting from you (posted 5th Dec.) & Aunt Ettie’s with your page enclosed came yesterday, so I got a lovely spread-out mail even if it came in the wrong order! Thank you very, very much for them Mummy, & also for your great fat 50¢ letter (mailed 28th Nov.) which I got last week- I love getting them all & hearing of your doings & all the news & gossip. It is 10 days since I wrote you the air letter about our car, but we have really been buzzing! We have been having driving lessons & seeing about licenses & insurance etc. etc. & have been kept busy, but today Cec went & took his driving test & got his license, so we think he is a clever boy! I haven’t taken mine yet – mainly because they don’t give them on Sat. & I work other days, but I have an appointment for Monday & will take an hour off work.

I haven’t told you much news apart from the car for about two weeks, so will go right back to the weekend of 25th Nov. when we had that terrible bad weather. I was so glad you told me how Margs & Mil & their families fared, as Cec & I were wondering, & we worried about Bill when we heard of the terrible Long Island R.R. crash. They must have had a bad time of it, with all the flooding in the basements, etc. But I am glad that it was no worse & that they didn’t have any really bad damage. We had a regular snow blizzard here, & as it was the weekend & we didn’t have to go out, we rather enjoyed ourselves & stayed in & were cosy at home! The great of the event of the weekend in Ann Arbor, was that Michigan (University) were playing their great football rivals, Ohio, down in Columbus, Ohio, & despite the fact that it was snowing & no one could see a thing, they still played & Michigan won! We listened to the game on the radio & got ever so excited (I still don’t understand it!) especially as it was the last game of the season & when Michigan won, it meant they were the Champions! The winners of this League go to California for New Year’s Day & play a big match against the winners out there in a big stadium called “The Rosebowl” & it is a great honour, so all of Michigan was very pleased! The funny thing was that Columbus got completely snowed up so lots of people who went to the game got stuck there for days!

At the beginning of that week I finally got my last parcels packed & off, & then next weekend we sent all our Christmas cards to England etc. A few, we kept to put letters in, so of course they straggled on & we are finally having to A.M. them! Mrs. Allen’s birthday card was one, & Cec’s friends Cliff & Gwengar, & we still haven’t sent Frank’s to Australia! I already have cards from Dottie, Mrs. Johnny, Mrs. Allen, Auntie Trix, Bar & Geraldine, & Nan & Dick (their’s is a lovely colour photo of Moira Shearer as Cinderella in the ballet.) Dottie wrote & told us that she was sending us another Book Soc. subscription which is lovely, & Bar sent us a very nice little book on Chester with lovely photos, & a pretty hankie for me. I can still hardly believe Christmas is so close & that Connie & Leonard are coming a week on Friday! I have a list as long as my arm of things to do – make Christmas cake & pudding – clean the whole flat – finish shopping etc. etc. & don’t know when I’ll begin!! Oh well, if it doesn’t all get done, Connie will have to turn to & help me! By the way – we continue to get annoyed at Connie & Leonard’s letters – they are nothing but grumble, grumble all the time! They have a flat now but it’s not ideal, & living is so expensive – much more so than the U.S. from what they can see – after all even stamps there are 4¢ compared to our 3¢, & Connie has her old symptoms of depression etc. etc. etc.! However, we are trying to be tolerant & hope that at Christmas they will feel better & more cheerful – if not, by the end of the week we will be telling them a thing or three!! But I don’t think they have told us that even one thing is nice since they got there – can you imagine! 

To go back to my activities, on the Wed. (29) evening Cec & I were inveigled into going to a Committee Meeting for the Physics Dept. Xmas Party! The real members of the committee were Gordon & Gunborg – Cec’s pal Pete and his wife Mary Jo (who used to drive me shopping) & another young Prof. Hassen and his wife (the ones who had the funny modern 1/2 finished house – went to tea there in the spring.) We were sort of wished in by the Pete’s & Gordon & Gunborg, but it was a very pleasant meeting at the Pete’s, with drinks & eats etc. & we planned games & carol singing & a skit etc. The party is for faculty & graduate students, & half the entertaining is done by each, so we could shelve 1/2 of the responsibility on the students! Cec & I managed to get out without too much to do – my job is to type a stencil of carols & get about 200 copies run off, so I spent last night typing & Cec got the stencil run off today. I made one funny mistake- on my typewriter at work, the comma key is two commas above each other- a comma in ordinary writing & an apostrophe in Shift- on the portable it is a question mark above a comma, – a comma in ordinary writing and a question mark in capitals, so for one carol title I have “GOOD CHRISTIAN MEN? REJOICE”!!

The next weekend – i.e. last weekend- we bought the car! We began, you know, by seeing an ad. in the paper for an English Ford, 1949, for $495, & we thought, well golly – we could pay for that straight away! And a year old we thought it should be O.K, so on our way downtown to buy groceries, we stopped at the car dealers & asked about it. The man made an appointment to take us to see it next afternoon, as it was at their place outside town, so away we went next day & lost heart the moment we saw it! It was the most hideous mud colour to begin with- all scraped & battered along one side – no mat or carpet inside, just boards – no dashboard, just yawning holes, & to complete it all, it wouldn’t start!! So we abandoned it quickly & looked around & finally saw our pretty MacTavish – that is what we have christened the car, as it is a “Highlander Club Coupe” (with its tartan lining!) The “coupe” means that it has what is called a 1/2 back seat. i.e. it hasn’t much leg room compared to “sedans” & will only hold 2 in the back, but as it holds 3 on the front seat anyway, & is positively huge, we are glad it’s no bigger! We joined the A.A.A. (Auto Assoc. of America) & got all our insurance etc., through them & they give us all sorts of additional help, like free towing if the car won’t start & other things.

Gunborg & Gordon were giving a party for Gordon’s “group” of research students & wives that evening, so Cec & I went up early about 6 o’clock & helped them get ready. They were properly impressed with our car & so was everyone all evening long! There were about 30 there, & Gunborg served Mulled Wine (hot & spiced- nice!) to begin with, & then we watched some of Gordon’s movies. After that we played games & then had supper – a kind of Swedish smorgasbord with hot meatballs, & beet & herring salad & potato salad & green salad & stuffed celery etc. with trifle afterwards. Anne & Kirstin were out at a school party, so little Mary was allowed to stay up & open the door for the visitors & she was sweet- she has a new red corduroy velvet pinafore skirt with a little white blouse & she looks like a little Christmas! She stayed up & up & I eventually put her to bed about 11:30 after supper- very sleepy, but having a wonderful time!

We didn’t do much next day except send off our cards, so had a quiet day, & on Monday we saw about insurance etc. & on Tuesday we got the car. Neither of us could get licenses till we had a test, so we arranged to have 2 driving lessons each with a man from the Driving School to refresh our knowledge. My first lesson was straight after work on Tues. & this man came for me in his car & we drove around A.A. for an hour & I got on all right. (He looked just like Sherlock Holmes – pipe & all!) In the meanwhile Cec had asked his pal, Al, to drive the car home for us, & he stayed for dinner as his reward! After that, Al took us a drive in our limousine, & drove to his digs, where we left him & I drove us home – I was fine – except that we got ourselves lost twice, driving about 2 miles from one part of A.A. to another!! We even got onto little narrow country lanes & did we feel silly!! Cec had his 2 driving lessons during the next few days, but I had my next one on Sat. morning & the man told us to practice a little with our car before we took our test. So in the afternoon we drove around & I got groceries, & then we took our laundry up to Gunborg’s as she had told us to, as she wanted to see MacTavish. She was out shopping but I did my washing & Cec & Gordon washed their cars! They finally set out in MacTavish to collect Gunborg- & were our faces red – they stopped at a shop for Gunborg to get something & MacT. wouldn’t start & had to be pushed! We had to have him at the garage since then & they have fixed his battery so we hope he will be good now!

I forgot to tell you that we had Al to dinner again on Friday and afterwards we had another drive around & then all went to the pictures. It seemed ages since we were there last- we saw “The Next Voice You Hear”, which was quite unknown to us, but turned out to be very good. It was supposed to be that God suddenly spoke on the radio at 8:30 one evening & was heard all over the world in every language. You never hear the voice, but see what it does to an ordinary little American family- man, wife going to have a baby, & a boy about 12- & how they feel & what they do etc. It lasts for 7 days (Cec laughs at my description- you know what I mean!) & we thought the whole thing was very well done.

On Sunday Cec felt a bad cold coming on, so he stayed in bed till the afternoon. We had been invited to an “Open House” by Edie & the girl she lives with, Anne (!!) So I set off alone as we didn’t think Cec should go out, especially as it was snowing. There were all the Survey Research people there, so I knew everyone & had quite a nice time- got kissed under the mistletoe by my boss Charlie too! They had a piece very cunningly hung over the middle of the sofa, so each newcomer was caught unawares! There were hundreds & hundreds of Christmas cookies to eat- A. Ettie will tell you about all the different kinds with different German names- & they had a fruit punch, which wasn’t 1/2 so innocent as it tasted.  I got home about 7, & Cec was most amused because he gave me the key to get something from the car & although I made 3 trips to the car & back for advice (giggling all the time) I never got the car open at all! The key just wouldn’t go in!

Next day Cec’s cold had become a cough, but I felt a bit funny although I went to work. My eyes were burney & boiled feeling you know, so at noon Cec sent me home & I tumbled into bed & slept all afternoon & most of the evening too. It seem to do the trick because I was O.K. yesterday & today, but Cec still has a cough – must have been some kind of germ we got.

Cyn’s Plan.

This week at work we have been in a furore, as we had an Open Day today with invitations to all the University to come & see us. Each dept. had to have a display & after a meeting Sylvia & I were handed the job – a most thankless one! I planned it out, & apart from 2 posters we got done for us, we did the whole thing ourselves & after toiling all week got it up & ready for 1:30 today. Yesterday we were just about frantic as we were chopped & changed from place to place & no one would co-operate & the 2 posters weren’t ready, but finally we got it done & everyone said it was very good – I’ll enclose an illustration sometime! The Open Day was quite a success – Cec came & we looked about & then had free cake & coffee & enjoyed ourselves! He met all the people at work that I tell him about & I got the chance to show him off! We drove home in our car!

Plan executed.

I had intended to begin & answer all your letters, but Cec tells me it is bedtime, so I’ll close & mail this & then continue in my next! Now I am up to date I’ll plunge right into your letters next time.

You know that your little family here will be thinking of you such a lot at Christmas time, honey-bun, & wishing that we could all be together, but we hope that you have a very, very happy Christmas with your sisters and that you won’t be sad missing us, but get busy planning to spend next Christmas with us. I’ll write again really soon & answer all that lovely pile of letters here, so you will be getting another letter before Christmas I hope – But anyway – we both send all our love and all our good wishes for a merry Christmas – 

      Love to the Aunties & lots & lots for you 

                             from Cynnie & Cec. Family Chauffeur

December 3 1950

It was a pretty soft green colour!

3rd Dec. 1950.

Dearest Mummy,

What do you think? Your two kids have a CAR! An automobile! A horseless carriage! And a Chrysler, no less! It is a pale bilious green and has a red tartan lining – isn’t that elegant??? We are so excited with ourselves, and half scared too, and we don’t really get it till tomorrow, but then we will show the town!

We had planned that by Dec. 1st we would have saved enough to begin looking at cars, & on Fri. evening we looked at the ads in the paper (which we’ve been doing for months!) & amongst other cars saw an English Ford advertised at $495, & it was a 1949 car. We thought that sounded very good, & although we had intended to get a bigger car (mainly for Cec’s comfort) we thought if it was like my Austin used to be, we could pay for it all at once & it would do us fine. We were going into town to shop for our groceries anyway, so we called at the Motor Dealers & the salesman said that it was out at their “Lot” but made an appointment to take us on Sat. afternoon which he did. And there we saw the poor, sad, little old English Ford! It was mud-coloured to begin with & had been badly scraped & bashed along one side. Inside there was no dashboard & all the seat covers were wearing through & to crown at all it wouldn’t start!! So we said we’d like to see something else! This company is the biggest car dealer in A.A. & the man showed us about 6 other cars, amongst them this 1946 Chrysler. It was by far the nicest, & he said would we like to go a run in it, & we agreed so he took us a little drive & let me drive it too!

It is beautiful! It has a radio & heater & the gears change all by themselves – you don’t even have to do anything except step on the accelerator! We liked it, but when he said it was $995 we said that it was more than we wanted to pay, and he said perhaps we could arrange something. Anyway, we looked a bit more & liked it very much, then he took us back to town & showed us the car’s papers (it had had only one previous owner) & then said that we could have it for $850, so we jumped for joy & said “goody goody gum drops”!

We are paying $450 now & will pay the rest monthly & probably finishing paying in Feb., & not only did the kind man let us have it for $850, but he arranged that that included the tax & license & everything, & he is having it into the garage tomorrow & going to give it a thorough going over & change oil etc. & put in antifreeze & so on. Also for the first month we have a guarantee so that if anything goes wrong, they will fix it for us! Isn’t it clever & wonderful & exciting!!!! Of course neither of us have driving licenses!! We are going to get Learners Licenses tomorrow & then after a bit of practice we take driving tests – in the meanwhile we have to have someone with us!! We were at a party at the Sutherland’s last night & everyone was teasing us about owning a Chrysler!

Will write again this week about something else besides the car!! Thank you heaps & heaps for your letter of Nov. 21st- will answer it too. 

With lots & lots of love from


(alias the Chrysler kid!)

[Cec’s Handwriting:] Dear Mum, 

Cyn hasn’t done badly seeing she looked at it twice for about 10 minutes. We don’t “haggle” very well & were surprised when he said $850. (We’d have paid more but don’t tell him so.) 



November 21 1950

Field Office

 Survey Research Center 

21st Nov. 1950

Dearest Mummy,

I have a few minutes to spare at work this afternoon, and I thought it might make you laugh to hear a little bit about some of the funny people I deal with via the Post Office! We have about 200 interviewers or more, you know, scattered all over the States, & of course they write to us about all sorts of things, & we get to know them & I visualize what they look like & then usually look in my card index & find they are quite different! For instance, I visualized Carma Durban as being a beautiful tall blonde girl about 25, & she turns out to be a little fat woman of 57 with grey hair!!

One of our interviewers that you would be interested in is a gentleman called Erving B. Weeks. He lives in Syracuse, N.Y. & is 70 years old! In addition to that, he is quite, quite deaf, but lipreads so well that he is one of our best interviewers & turns in all his things beautifully written up & at the right time. Isn’t that amazing? Another old couple we have are Mr. & Mrs. Friedberg who both interview in New York – they are both about 60 or so, & yet they have done practically all our surveys & their writing is just beautiful, it’s so neat & perfect on all the things they send in.

Besides having some interesting people we have some awfully funny names- how do you like Miss Lavinia Derryberry? Or Miss Fidelia McLaughlin of Minnehaha? Or Mr. Julian Plant? Or Mr. Henry Arachtingi or Casimir Irmo? Aren’t they lovely? Some of the places are funny too- like Mrs. Fleta Fern Russell of Arkadelphia Arkansas!!

One of my favourite interviewers was a middle-aged fat man with a ruddy complexion (so his identity card says!) called George W. Puffer- he was always most enthusiastic & sent all his interviews & forms etc. in at the right time (is in Los Angeles) & even wrote at the bottom of one thing which had to be in on a certain date “Stayed up till 4 a.m. to get this done but sure enjoyed this survey”,!! Anyway, what do you think one of the Supervisors told Edie? Friend George & his wife are Nudists & invited this lady to go & spend a weekend with them at the Nudist Camp they visit!!

You remember my mentioning Edie before? She is secretary to Charlie Cannell, the Head of the Field Office, and is such a nice girl – so friendly & popular with everyone – well, anyway, she is leaving at Christmas. She has decided that she can get no further at the Center, & it is a very floating staff- people like me – coming & staying for a few months & then leaving while Edie stays on. She has the highest salary for secretaries now, & sees no future in it, so she is just going to pack her bag, and take a bus & go out to California! Out there she wants to get work in a big store, & see if she can’t work her way up to be a buyer or something of the sort, as she likes that kind of thing. I am most sad to see her go & don’t know what I will do without her, but I think she will do well & hope that she likes it. There has been all sorts of agitation, as to who will get Edie’s job, which is quite a terrific one, & even some probes as to whether I would like it, although I don’t take shorthand, but both the heads & I feel that it wouldn’t be much use training me & then someone to take my place in a few months time, but both Cec & I feel very pleased that they would even consider me for such a job- Cec says “from the bottom to the top of the ladder in 4 months”! But still, I am happy with my nice little un-responsible job & don’t want to become a career girl!

November 23 Thursday 

Thanksgiving Day.

I had to stop & do some work then, so I am finishing this off now before we go to the Sutherlands to eat our Thanksgiving Dinner. Wasn’t it nice of them to ask us? I have spent the day sleeping- writing letters- & washing my hair! I wrote to Connie & Len – Joan Cox – & my Father – & sent birthday to Joan & to Ruth Schatz & got one ready for Maude Allan. I got letters yesterday from AGL (thanking me for birthday letter & card), Bar & one from you – written Nov. 12th. Thank you so much for it, and for the P.C. of Villa – I remembered seeing it before, but it was much more interesting now that I know which bungalow you are in & that you bathe there & see the plane coming in. I was horrified about the sharks- you be careful!!

I am so glad that you are enjoying your holiday & the bathing, although the mosquitoes are so bad. I hope that the weather is cooler now & that you are enjoying it even more. It has been cold & a bit snowy here all week, but today was very bright & cold & sunny to begin with, & then suddenly got grey & has begun to snow quite hard. It seems to be wet snow, so isn’t lying, but it looks pretty. Isn’t it funny me being snowed on, & you being bitten & bathing?! You seem to be having a very gay time at the bungalow, what with entertaining & parties, & so on- I hope you aren’t wearing yourselves out, but really are beachcombing!

We had quite a gay time- for us! – last week, & went out 3 times, which was fun as a bit of a spree after Cec’s hard toil! On Tuesday we went to a concert in our “series” & it was Myra Hess, & we enjoyed it very much indeed. Gunborg & Gordon were there with Anne, & afterwards Anne wanted Myra Hess’ autograph, so we all trooped around to the stage door & got in & stood at the door of her room with a mass of people. There was a little man ushering people in & out & when he saw Anne’s pen & programme he said she wasn’t signing any autographs, so I told him Anne was English, whereupon he ushered us both in & up to the front & introduced us as “two girls from England”! Anne got her autograph as a special concession & I told Myra Hess I knew friends of hers (C’Zelma & Em) & she asked after them, & sent them her love. We felt very triumphant!

On Thursday evening Cec & I & Gunborg went to see a professional tennis match which was given in the big University Field House. Gorgeous Gussy was playing, & Pauline Betz- then Jack Kramer & Pancho Segura. We had a grand time & thoroughly enjoyed it- the tennis was wonderful – girls singles (Pauline won) men’s singles (Pancho won) then a doubles when Gussie & Kramer won. Besides the tennis of course we were all tickled to see Gussie who wore her lace pants & was a honey, but Pauline was bound & determined to out-do her & wore silver lamé shorts & then leopard skin shorts! We still liked Gussie best, & we thoroughly enjoyed the good sportsmanship & good spirit there seem to be. Pancho was the funniest little man – small & bowlegged (he had polio) but like a flash on the courts. It was a really good evening.

On Saturday evening – after a wild day Christmas shopping- we went & played bridge with Dawn & Burt (remember they were at my tea party?) They are a very nice couple- exactly “our type” & we had a lovely time- also played good bridge & won!! Burt was in Italy during the war & got thoroughly converted to opera, spaghetti and wine- so we drank muscatel wine all evening and it was nice. We enjoyed having a bridge evening again. On Sunday I packed my parcels, & got most of them off at the beginning of the week- I’ll tell you all I sent in my next!

Last week also I was on my diet! I was very good & didn’t lapse at all- till the weekend, a little! We bought our scales & I ate lunch at work each day & I lost a pound a day regularly from the Monday to Sunday- I was 125 to begin with & I am now 119! Isn’t that clever of me? I kept saying to Cec I didn’t know where it was going from as I saw very little difference in my clothes etc. but he said “Honey, you have no back porch now!” I’m going to send you my diet so you’ll see how wonderfully strong-willed I was all week- tea with no sugar and milk & not even one slice of bread all week!  Must leave it till next time though, as it is time to go now. We must buy Christmas cards tomorrow & try & get them off this weekend – hope all these things will be in time. I feel very relieved that my parcels are mostly all away – yours aren’t because I couldn’t get what I wanted, but they’ll go this weekend!

By the way – you asked about pictures we took this summer – we did take some in Saskatoon, but left them there for Carman to make some prints for us, & so far we have none yet. I reminded him last time we wrote, so I hope to have some for you sometime. Cec hasn’t been able to use his “gadget” to take pictures of us both yet – his cable release is the wrong size or something & he hasn’t got around to doing anything yet!! Sometime – we’ll send some pictures.         

With lots & lots of love to my little Mamma 

                    from Cyn & Cec.

[Cec’s handwriting:] These chickens are both stuffed with turkey- I ate too much, anyway. Cyn will probably gain back all she lost on her diet. You should see her now- real whistle bait.                                                

Love Cec.

A note about Carol’s ‘holiday’ in St Vincent that Cyn refers to.  In her stories about her Mother’s childhood, she told about the way the family would go on an excursion for the day, packing the children into a wagon with driver and servants to take hours to go from the town to Villa 6 miles away, while the ladies followed later in the carriage and the gentlemen rode horses. Once there, they would swim, picnic, the children would play, the ladies rest, and the gentlemen would inspect the Isolation Hospital on the tiny island opposite the beach, where the French fort from the Napoleonic wars remained. [The story ‘After the Hurricane 1898’ which I posted back in January.] Now it appears that bungalows have been built by that beach, and the Hazell sisters have moved out of town for a bit of R&R in one of them, enjoying the same things that they had done as children.  This was a tradition that Cyn & Cec were to continue- staying out there for part of our holiday when I was 6, and renting one for their winter holidays once my brother and I were at university!

By Sea- Oddments

This is basically a collection of pictures and notes, illustrating the back-and-forth between Cyn and her mother, Carol.  

Pictures from Carol: These are very sturdy, matt, and have her comments on the back. The big one was posted earlier, when the pictures were mentioned in a letter. (Nov 1 1950) It is stuck in the scrapbook, so anything written on the back is unavailable.

Carol Alone. Grannie’s writing: “Another of me with Moo cut off- I look rather soft – It’s my hanky I have in my hand and not my teeth as PWV suggested!”
Moo & Carol seated. “This was about the best of Muriel – and it’s not good- he made her take off her glasses which was a pity.”
Moo & Carol standing- in the shoes Cyn had never seen! “Muriel & self by the variegated hybiscus tree – its leaves are more white than green & the flowers bright red. Moo has her arm around me, & I am looking at a hen going to roost in a tree near by–”
“ ‘Noyack’-he couldn’t get in the front steps unfortunately – they are just at the side-” [see pencil marks meant to be steps] “I am sitting at Muriel’s window – my bedroom window is at the right- X”. 

Then there is the collection of oddments Cyn mentioned in her letter of November 7th, on three different types and sizes of paper, that she sent by sea, but referring to events she had already mentioned to her mother.  (Just in case anyone else needs educating, Cyn was used to having fun from childhood on November 5th, when the English celebrate the failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, with fireworks and bonfires that burn a stuffed effigy, ‘the Guy’.) She never mentions Hallowe’en on Oct. 31, which I would have thought would have been an equivalent event in Ann Arbor.

Dearest Mummy,

This isn’t a letter- it is just a collection of funny things to amoose you!

I thought that you would like to know a bit how Til & Lois’s & the Sutherland’s houses look, and you know what fun I get out of drawing plans! They are both lovely houses in their own ways, but Til and Lois’ is in such a beautiful place it is hard to describe it. The prices – wow!- S’s is $25,000 & T & L $23,000 – millionaires needed!

The other funny little things are the place cards & menu I am going to make for dinner on Sat. night! We are having my pal Edie from work & Cec’s Canadian pal Al MacNamara from the Physics Dept. (he is from Sask – very shy – he came to dinner once before) to dinner & to play bridge. I have decided to make it a Guy Fawkes dinner, & altho’ Cec says they won’t know who he is, I’ll educate them! The place card is supposed to be a rocket exploding, & the menu is a gibbet done on my typewriter! I’m going to try and make a tiny “guy” for a centrepiece – wish you were here to help me!

Dinner will be a bit fattening I fear, but we have been wanting an excuse to get a duck!!

Lots & lots of love from 


This is to give you some idea of what Til & Lois’ house (1 year old) looks like. It is only one story- no attics or cellar – & is made of wood & painted pale yellow outside. The living room is lovely with two huge windows- the front & back- it is panelled in pine & has a natural carpet & oyster-y curtains. The bookshelves are built in & have a green patterned paper at the back & the new furniture is to be in greens & reds. The kitchen is lovely too with the same reddish pine used for counters & cupboards above & the walls are a beige glass tile & so are the bathroom walls. The kitchen curtains are blue check, the bathroom curtains, mat, shower curtain etc. are grey & yellow, & the linoleum yellow. The bedrooms are nice too, but I’m blessed if I can remember the colours! The little study is sweet, with a green carpet, & they are going to get new curtains. The outside is beautiful of course – all the orchard in front, & at the back the most wonderful view of the river– wooded banks- & it forks just opposite them & goes around a big island. Their bank is still full of bushes and scrub, & has to be all cleared, but afterwards I have persuaded Lois to plant daffodils there, & I think it will be heavenly.

This now, is a plan of the Sutherland’s new house. As you can see, it is much bigger, older & more formal. It is white painted wood outside with green tiles, has big basement, & attics. The sitting room is a lovely big room which they need as they entertain so much – the study is the Doc’s & is painted grey (Gunborg did it). The whole kitchen has been remodelled & is elegant! The walls are a pretty soft yellow-the cupboards around the walls are natural wood, well the tops of the counters are a soft pinky red formica (hard linoleum-y stuff) & inside the cupboards are red painted to match. It sounds a bit odd, but it looks very nice indeed. Upstairs there are 4 bedrooms – the girls have one each- & a bathroom- then the main bedroom (over the front 1/2 of the sitting room) has a little bathroom with shower only, of its own. All the bedrooms have little balconies (on study roof, porch etc.) – very romantic! Apart from the kitchen which they had done, Gunborg is doing all decorating herself – study, downstairs cloakroom, 2 bathrooms etc. & some is old & needs plastering cracks etc.- a big job.

P.S. Little Mary was writing a letter to her Auntie in England the other day & told her they had a chipmunk in the garden – then wrote “He is a doorable”!! Sweet.

By Sea to the West Indies- posted the first week of November, back is postmarked November 23 0r 28…

November 1 1950


Nov. 1, 1950

Dearest Mommy,

I took this letter to Til and Lois’ at the weekend to write & tell you what their new house was like, and then we were so busy all the time I never got done.

Now I am at work as you can see & I am rushing this off so that you won’t scold me too much about being late in writing! With being away for the weekend I have been all behind hand with the housework & have been puttering around the last two evenings, & tonight Gunborg & I are going to see Charles Laughton give a One Man Show! He reads bits out of books & does acts etc. & is supposed to be very good.

Well – about our weekend! I took a half-day on Friday, so had a chance to pack & tidy a bit before meeting Cec for the 3:45 bus. We arrived in Toledo at about 6, & Lois was there to meet us in her tiny car & drove us 22 miles out along the river to their new house. It was dark of course, but it is a lovely drive all along the river in the country. Their lot is 200 ft. x 800 ft., so is big, as you can imagine and is right by the river – they even have a little dock! Between the house & the road is an orchard (14 apple trees) & between the house & the river is lawn then bushes etc. on a fairly steep river bank. The house is new (1 year old) & very sweet & small – I’ll tell you more about it in a longer letter- & Til had a great fire to welcome us & it was lovely. We were thrilled with it & so are they, & it was a heavenly warm sunny weekend- has been up to 80° then & since & today (Nov!) is the same. We spent all weekend helping in the garden & having such fun- also Mr. & Mrs. Pasquier came on Sat. & Lois’s relatives on Sunday. We ended by not getting home till 1 a.m. on Sunday & were we tired!!

We got your pictures which Mr. Verrell took & think they are lovely pictures, but that they don’t do you justice! The big one is the nicest we think, but he has taken it from below a bit, so you look as if you had a double chin- you haven’t I’m sure! You have a pretty dress on & shoes which I’ve never seen- I am quite surprised to realize that you have dresses I don’t know about!!

Tell Auntie Ettie I had a card from Mona in Wales- nice! My love to her & Auntie Moo. Must stop now & will write more tomorrow. 

    With lots & lots of love

            from Cynnie.

Carol Ewing in St. Vincent.

September 7 1950

Thursday 7th Sept. 

Dearest Little Momma,

Here we are in Ottawa, and staying in an elegant hotel, the Lord Elgin, for a few days. Cec is fixing money with the Bank, & is seeing all the people he knows at the National Research Council. It is practically certain he will work for them when he finishes in Ann Arbor, & they have given him a $1500 scholarship for this year – isn’t that nice of them? Dr. Herzberg is the head of the Physics Dept & Cec used to work under him when they were both at Saskatchewan, & they seem to have a mutual esteem for each other!

I like Ottawa very much from what I’ve seen- it is a bit like an English city, but not so big & not dirty & smoky! The Parliament Buildings are lovely – all granite with green copper roofs & in a lovely position in parks on a hill overlooking the river. You can see the Laurentian Mountains in the distance, & the countryside looks pretty & wooded. I am quite excited at the thought of coming here to live next year & think it will be very nice. It is much more like home than Ann Arbor & Cec has quite a lot of young friends here already. Did I tell you Connie & Leonard were coming here next month? So they’ll still be here when we arrive to live! We have been looking at the House for Sale Ads in the paper, & they seem to be more reasonable than Ann Arbor & sounded nice! We got quite thrilled over picking out the ones we liked!

When I last wrote to you we were on our way to Regina to visit Merle. We arrived there on the Wed. evening, & found her with the 2 boys, John (10) & Lorne (7) & the baby Bruce (3 1/2 mths) all waiting for us. Dixon was away at the time & didn’t come back till the evening we were leaving which was a pity, but we enjoyed visiting with Merle. The 2 boys were full of fun & out playing most of the time, & the baby was a pet. He is chubby & full of smiles & Cec & I had a lot of fun with him. We left Regina at 2 a.m. & arrived in Montreal at 2 p.m. & went out to Lee & Wendy’s where Lee was very proudly waiting to show us her son. He was a pet too, but only two months old, so of course seemed small after Bruce, but I got quite hot at changing nappies, & feeding bottles & burping! Lee also has a cat & 2 kittens, so we were always nursing a baby or a kitten & had a lovely time. We stayed in Montreal from Sat. till Tues. a.m. then flew here – only 50 mins. but it was bumpy & I was sick! We leave tomorrow & stay in Toronto with Cec’s Aunt & Uncle & then home on Sunday – it will be quite nice to be home again. Some of your letters should be waiting for me as we didn’t get letters forwarded after we left Saskatoon. Have just written Aunt Ettie, to wish her a happy trip on Sat. 

My love to Auntie Moo, with 

    lots and lots for you from


Cec’s aunt and uncle, Lillie and Milton Costain, lived in the same bachelor apartment in Toronto all their married life. Milton was a partner in a business that made custom cabinetry for commercial enterprises.

August 30 1950

The Costain Brothers: Cec, Russell, and Carman.

30th Aug. 1950. 

Dearest Little Mommy,

Thank you so much for your last letter, posted August 25, which Gunborg forwarded to me. I was so glad to learn that Jean had a son – I had been telling Mom Costain about it just that morning, & was so tickled to open your letter & see the news first thing! I was most amused at serious Peter rushing around blowing his horn after the birth of his son! Give Jeanie my love when you see her again.

I was sorry to hear that it was so hot & humid in St. V. now – it must be very uncomfy. Since we got here the weather has improved, & although it was so cold at first, it is lovely now, because the sun is warm yet there is a cool breeze & it gets quite cold at night. Just after we arrived we heard on the radio about a big hurricane heading for the W.I’s & we at once thought of you but it seemed to head further north & we didn’t hear of it doing any great damage. I hope that St. V. will escape & that you won’t have any bad storms.

Since I last wrote we seem to have been busy dashing around & today is our last day here. At 7 o’clock this evening we fly to Regina and stay with Merle & Dixon until Saturday, then we fly overnight to Montreal. I wrote last Wed. then on Thurs. Cec & I went into town again & I bought a pretty skirt – it is in pastel colours – sort of plaid in yellow, grey & pale blue. We also had tea in town & had cream puffs made in the shape of swans!! On Friday, Mrs. Costain had invited Mr. & Mrs. Moor & Pete & Lu to dinner, so she had a busy day. Cec & I went out & picked strawberries- yummy! – & I shelled peas & scraped potatoes & set the table etc. We had fried chicken which was lovely & for dessert we had Saskatoon pie! Saskatoon’s are kind of berry like blueberries a bit, & it was a lovely pie! Afterwards Pete & Lu had to leave early & Cec went with Pete to the University to see the work he is doing on the Aurora – he does things with it and radar & spends all his nights there & Lu is disgusted! He is trying to get Cec interested too & Lu keeps warning me, but I don’t think Cec is very keen! We saw the Northern Lights one night, very bright & lovely, but the night Cec was with Pete, they only got echos from 500 miles away & he came home about 3 a.m. That night Russell (the 2nd youngest brother) came home for the weekend, but he was late, so I didn’t meet him till Sat. He is big too, & tough as he works on the Govt telephones, but he doesn’t look like Cec & Carmen & Lee – he is brown haired & brown eyed & has a shorter, squarer face with a ruddy complexion!

Carman and Russell in formal dress!

Mrs. Costain & I washed that day & in the afternoon we were all so upset because Laddie, the lovely collie dog got knocked over by a car. He came home feeling very sick with a great scar in his head, his ear bleeding, his nose and mouth bleeding too & looking so badly. Cec washed his cuts & we tried to do what we could but his nose after we’d cleaned the cuts on his nose and ear so Cec called the Vet. (a lady) & she came & examined him, & put some sulpha ointment on, & gave him 2 great aspirins, so he finally laid down & went to sleep. He seemed to feel a bit better the next day, & by now is practically himself again. He is such a sweet dog – very affectionate & gentle & friendly & lovely looking – just like Lassie Come Home.

Elida, Henry, Russell, Cec, Carman, and Laddie.

That evening Cec & I went down to the Officers Mess at the Naval Barracks & had quite a nice little party & singsong & spent the night at Pete & Lu’s. We came home for lunch & to see Russell, & then in the evening Cec had work to do with Pete, so I went & sat with Lu. The next evening one of the Profs at the Univ. Dr. Petrie, & his wife (a young couple) invited Cec & I & Pete & Lu over for drinks & yesterday we went to lunch with an older prof Dr. Mackay & his wife, & Cec gave a talk to the Physics Dept on his work & I did the ironing! So we have been busy! Yesterday evening we spent at home & all had a jolly time playing Chinese Chequers!

We have had a very happy time here, & I have enjoyed it all so much. At first I was a little shy, but the longer we stay the more at home I get, & I feel quite sorry that we are leaving now. After we go to Montreal, we spend about 3 days with Lee, then go to Ottawa for about 3 days, then to Toronto & home about the 12th. The railway strike is still on, so we are very lucky to have our air tickets.

Must stop now & get the packing done. Love to A. Moo – Cec would send love, but is downtown just now. Lots & lots of 

               love from


August 23 1950

Russell, Cyn, Carman, Elida, and Henry Costain. All smiling at Cec taking the picture!

Wed. 23rd Aug. 1950

Dearest Mummy,

Here we are in Saskatoon at last! We’ve been here nearly a week now, & the time has flown although we haven’t really been doing very much, except having a wonderful rest & being very lazy!

I wrote from Windsor, so you should have our news up till then – at least I hope you got the letter all right, as I hadn’t any idea of its weight or the cost, & just stuck on a whole lot of stamps & hoped for the best!

We got up early next morning & got the bus to the airport at 7:30. We were quite annoyed, because we went into the Hotel dining room at 7:15 for a cup of coffee, & they were so slow that it arrived just as we had to leave, but when we were on the plane, we got a cup of coffee & some biscuits, so we didn’t starve! We got to Toronto about 9, & had about an hour to wait there, so we had breakfast in the Airport Cafeteria & it filled in the time nicely. The next plane we got was the big trans-continental four-engine liner, & it was very comfortable, but very noisy. There was only one stop at Winnipeg, & when we came down there, my ears popped so, that I was as deaf as a post, but when we went up again I was O.K, so when we got to Saskatoon I chewed gum furiously & it was much better! We had lunch on the plane which was fun, & arrived in Saskatoon at 3:25 – it was really 5:25 by the time we left Windsor, as we lost 2 hours on the way! Understand?

Mr. & Mrs. Costain & Carman were all waiting for us with a taxi, so we were home quite quickly & I soon got over the qualms at meeting my in-laws, & we get on fine! Gunborg had made us laugh before we left by telling us how nervous she was when Gordon took her to meet her future in-laws, that she had diarrhoea all the time! But you’ll be glad to hear I didn’t follow her example! Mr. & Mrs. Costain are both easy & jolly & very homey, so I don’t have any trouble feeling shy with them, & Carmen is just a slighter, younger edition of Cec, so he is fun, & Cec & he have a good time kidding each other. The other brother, Russell is coming home this weekend, so we will meet him then. Everyone of course is exclaiming about Cec’s size, & I feel quite proud of my accomplishment! Cec gets a great kick out of meeting people & watching recognition slowly dawning on them, & they all say it suits him to be fat!! Of course no one knew me in my slim days, so they just think I’m a natural podge!!

Sutherland is about 3 miles out of Saskatoon & is really in the country. There seems to be a great deal of sky to me, & it is most unusual for me to be able to look & see such a huge lot of land around, as of course it is flat prairie. The city is nice, built along the banks of the river, & I keep feeling surprised that everything is so new, but Cec says the whole province was only opened in 1905, so the city is younger than that. I’ve never been in such a young city before!

When we arrived it was bright & sunny but quite a breeze blowing, which was a nice change from the heat of A. A., but Mrs. Costain was saying that it was the coolest summer she ever remembered, & the previous night they had quite a frost which had nipped quite a lot of her garden. Since then it has been cold & windy, & yesterday the wind got icy & last night there was another bad frost, so Mrs. Costain is very sad about her garden produce. She says it has finished all the corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans & squash, which is such a shame as they have a great big plot, with all the things just ready to ripen. We have already had lovely strawberries, raspberries, peas & green beans from the garden, & Mrs. Costain has been canning peas & beans & rasps & peaches, but she says it is just nothing compared to what they usually have.

The very first night we had gorgeous fried chicken & fresh eggs every day, so we are living in luxury! You will probably have heard that there is a big railway strike on here which began this week, & everyone is very worried because there will be no coal, so that will curtail electricity, & eventually food shortages & so on, but with all the chickens & eggs here, we don’t have to worry! We are very lucky to be travelling by plane & to have all our reservations as we would be stuck otherwise. We went down to the Air Office yesterday to check our reservations & the man there told us they were worth their weight in gold, because of course everyone is rushing to try & get air passages now & they are booked solid for a month ahead.

The first few days we were here we didn’t do much, except sit about & talk, but on Sat. afternoon Cec took me to town & I was tickled to bits because I went shopping at the Hudson Bay Company! It made me feel as if I were in the outposts of the Frozen North, but they have a nice modern shop here, & I bought a yellow cardigan made of nylon! Also a new suspender belt & brassiere!! We went to the pictures to see “Twelve O’clock High” with Gregory Peck, & then had ham & eggs & chips in a restaurant & went home!

On Monday we all went to dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Moor- they are Merle’s husband’s parents & a very nice old couple. We had a lovely dinner, & then Mrs. Moor showed us her garden which was very pretty, but I got eaten by mosquitos! I simply love the gardens here, as they are so lovely & well-kept, with a beautiful show of flowers, whereas in A.A. now there’s not a flower to be seen. In that way it is very like England here, & I enjoy it so much.

Yesterday morning Cec took me up to the university to meet some of his old professors. He, of course, had been up before but he introduced me to Dr. Harrington, the head of the Physics Dept. & two other Profs & I met Pete there & some other fellows. I also saw the Betatron which is a great big thing they have there & with which they are experimenting with in the treatment of cancer & meeting with some success.

In the afternoon we went downtown again, & Cec went to the Bank etc. & then we shopped for him & got 6 shirts, 6 prs. pants, 8 prs. socks & 2 ties! We were to go to Pete & Lu’s for dinner, but we were so exhausted soon after 4 by all our shopping, that we phoned Lu & went out there early! Their little girl, Leslie, is 10 months now, & is the sweetest little thing – red-gold hair, lovely pink cheeks, & big, slightly slanting blue eyes like her Daddy! She can stand & walk holding onto things, & has 2 teeth & says Dada, & Mama & Baby! We loved her & she was cute, but a little doubtful of Cec!

Leslie Forsyth.

We had a grand evening with them, with lots of reminiscing & with drinks before dinner we got quite hilarious & thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! We are all going in a party to the Naval Barracks on Sat. evening, & expect to have fun – Cec was always telling me about the parties they used to have there! I have to let out my grey & yellow taffeta!!

Do you remember Cec talking about his lovely collie dog, Laddie? Well, he is just beautiful – so big yet as gentle & playful as anything, and of course just loves Carman, although he is devoted to the whole family. Carman has joined the Air Force Reserve this summer, so is away for classes etc. at the Airport each day except Sat & Sun. Mr. Costain is home though, as he is taking his holiday from the Hatchery which he manages, & is working amongst his chickens & garden all day.

Now for your letters – the first one was your last from Bequia & you were telling us about the hilarious party on your last evening & we thoroughly enjoyed it! Especially the bit about Uncle Fred emptying the flower vase of Bren etc. to get you a quiet audience for your song! I’m glad you kept up your reputation as a great singer – you’d probably have done even better though if you’d had 4 sherries! We were so glad that you had such fun though, & thoroughly enjoyed hearing all about your adventures, & the crazy ongoings!

We were pleased that you had a nice time on our wedding anniversary too, & had a nice sea bathe & drank our health! It seems an age ago now, as so much has happened lately. I was interested to hear about Alec going to N. Zealand & feel sorry for Peg that she can’t go too- I would be mad if I were her! But it’s a grand thing for him to be able to go. I’ll be interested to hear how Arthur’s job hunting goes & if they are going to stay out there. I wonder if Bren would really like to settle in England after such a luxurious life in St.V. – it sounds so wonderful, especially when you have children, but of course there are drawbacks.

I was amused to hear about Patsy’s diet sheet, & glad that it is having some effect- I’ll have to follow her example when I get back, but I don’t think my consumption of alcohohol can affect my weight much! I am sorry I didn’t get the typed copies of the paper you sent, done before I left home, but we had such a scramble, & I didn’t think you would want them in a hurry, so I will do them & send them off when I get home. I took the colour films to be printed, but they take quite a while, so I will have to send them when we get back as well – I look forward to seeing them. I had a letter from Dottie after her op. & she seems very cheerful & was going home next day, so I hope she will be all right. Poor Dottie – it sounded horrid & such a surprise too to find she had something like that. She said Pete had been better lately so that’s one good thing.

Was so glad to hear Auntie Mil’s house is so nice – I am longing to know if Jean has a son! I expect you will have written to tell me, but although Gunborg is forwarding letters, none have come yet. My love to Auntie Moo & the girls – with lots & lots for you 



[Cec’s hadwriting] 

Dear Mom,

Sorry to report Cyn went out like a light last night, tut-tut, I had to wake her to bring her home Lu was out as well & Pete & I had to do the dishes. Too much I guess, 

Love Cec.                        [Cyn:] Gross exaggeration! [Cec:]  oh yeah!