May 26 1947

4229 Berwick Ave. 

26th May 1947. 

Dearest Mummy and Daddy,

I was so glad to hear that you had been having some nice summer weather – I do hope that it will last and that you will have it really warm to compensate for the fuel ban. I can just imagine how cold it gets in the evenings of even the hottest days so you must be careful and not catch cold.

The weather here is still being most peculiar and changeable- two days last week it suddenly got quite roasting hot – so much so that everyone wilted and was quite unprepared for it – then since it has been dull and cold and poured with rain most of yesterday. Today was fairly fine, but a cold blustery wind, I don’t think English weather is so bad in comparison after all!

Last week I had a fairly busy week- luncheons at school during the day and quite a few social events in the evenings! On Monday I went to Toledo University (my 1st visit) and spoke to the Mother’s Club there. I was quite pleased because I just went, and spoke and came away before their business meeting which was a great saving of time for me – usually they make me sit & wait through all their Minutes & Treasurer’s Reports etc. & it takes hours. They also sent me $5 afterwards too! Miss Marie Stoll’s sister was one of the mothers there, and from meeting her I can just imagine what Miss Stoll must be like.

On Wednesday the Senior Girls (all leaving school this summer) gave a tea at school for their Mothers, and I was invited with some of the other teachers. It was really a huge affair as there about 300 girls in the Senior Class & nearly all of them seemed to be there with their Mothers- and such Glamour! The girls were all lashed up in their best, so that I hardly recognized them. All the ladies (me too!) were presented with rose buttonholes as we arrived and there was a programme of music & one or two little speeches & then tea & gossip! I like all the senior girls I have very much, & it was nice meeting their mothers & seeing what they were like.

On Thursday I was invited to dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Dorman Richardson. They are a very nice couple I met in the winter at some Y.W.C.A. function. I have spoken at 1 or 2 things Mrs. Richardson has been at, and Mr. Richardson was president of the Men’s Club I spoke at before Christmas. Francis Kaya was there too & Mrs.?? ( a lady who used to teach at DeV. & now married to a Dutchman!) so we had a very nice evening.

On Friday I had a most hectic day. There had been some telephoning about my talking to the Toledo Garden Forum, but I didn’t realize it had been definitely arranged until I got in from the Richardsons on Thurs. night & found a note saying they would pick me up at 10:30 a.m. at school. I nearly had a fit as I had 2 classes making bread, & 4 girls giving a luncheon to some of the teachers! However I went to school- ignored my study class 1st hour, & helped the luncheon girls instead. 2nd hour I showed the girls how to knead & shape their bread & put it to rise, then left them to do it, & rushed off to speak at 10:30! The Garden Forum is made up of representatives of all the garden clubs in Toledo, & they were quite nice, but at 12:30 they all disbanded to go home for lunch & I was delivered back at school at 1 o’clock too late to get any for myself! Then I had to begin baking my bread! That wasn’t the end, because in the evening the Home Ec Club was having their annual Banquet, so I had to go to that and was I glad when that day was over!

The weekend, as I said, was cold & rainy, but on Sat. Til & I went down town & shopped & had lunch, and in the evening I went with Mr. & Mrs. Atkinson & Howell to a banquet affair. It was very crowded though & Howell & I were rather bored, so we left early & I was home in bed before 10.30!

On Sunday I got up & went to Early Service, & then it was very dull & rainy & I spent the time doing odd jobs. By late afternoon it had cleared up so Lois & Til & I went a drive & had dinner in a nice little hotel, & came home and went to bed early. I will stop now before I use another sheet as there is no more news. Thank you for your letter, Mummy, take care of yourselves. 

  With lots of love from 


May 20 1947

Letters get more formal when Cyn writes an Air Mail to both her parents- less gossip, fewer details, fewer ampersands, and much shorter!

4229 Berwick Ave.,

Toledo 12 Ohio

20th May 1947. 

Dearest Mummy and Daddy, 

I hope that you are both keeping quite well, and that the weather is nice for you, so that you are not feeling the fuel ban so badly. I had a letter from Anne in Cambridge yesterday & she said that they were having beautiful warm weather, so I hope that it is the same with you. Here, it is still very changeable- last Friday it suddenly got very hot, like midsummer, then both Saturday & Sunday were miserable – dull & rainy with thunderstorms & since then it has been fine, but cooler, & everyone is wondering where summer is!

As usual I have been busy since I last wrote, but mostly social activities with not many talks which is a blessing! Last Wed. evening I was invited to a Banquet given by a Home Economics Sorority (connected with the University). I had spoken to their group before & they were very nice girls & I enjoyed meeting them. The Banquet was very nice & there was a Speaker, so all I had to do was sit & listen- I was Guest of Honour! After it was over, they initiated some new members & initiated me as an Honorary Member – so now I am a Sorority Sister of Sigma Alpha Something-or-the-other! But still it was very sweet of them to invite me to join.

On Friday I was a Guest of Honour again at a tea given by the Toledo Teachers Association – (more corsages!) – so I went with Til, and we had a good time. After tea there was a man giving a talk “Music is Fun” Til & I didn’t think much of it, but we enjoyed criticizing! Afterwards we picked up Lois & went the pictures to see “It’s a Wonderful Life” which was very good.

On Saturday Til & I went shopping & had lunch in town, & of course thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! I got some cotton yarn & came back & spent the evening weaving a rug, which is easy & fascinating, but made my fingers awfully sore! 

Sunday morning, Mr. Atkinson came for me at 9 o’clock. He & Mrs. Atkinson were driving to Lorain for the day- a place about 100 miles east of Toledo along Lake Erie & when he heard that I hadn’t seen much of the Lake they invited me to go too. Unfortunately on Saturday night there were some very heavy rain & thunderstorms, & it was dull & grey all day Sunday, but even so it was a beautiful drive. Going, we went by the lake which was grey too, but we passed right through the peach growing district, but much to my disappointment the rain had spoiled the peach blossom, & it was nearly all gone. Coming back, we came through the country (more to the south) & that was just wonderful because we passed through miles & miles of apple orchards which were just lovely & made up for missing the peach. We also passed through Milan, Edison’s birth place. Jordan was quite a nice small town, & the Atkinson’s friends we were visiting were an old Tyneside couple- originally came from near Cowgate! He had just come out of hospital after an operation, & wasn’t very well, but she was full of go, & the Atkinsons had a good time talking away & exchanging news. I enjoyed the drive very much though.

Yesterday evening I went to Toledo University to speak to the Mother’s Club there & amongst the Mothers was Miss Marie Stoll’s sister. She was nice & must look very much like Miss Stoll I think, because even by the pictures I’ve seen, I saw a likeness. This evening I have been packing parcels & poking my rug again! 

Thank you very much for your letter, Mummy, which I got yesterday- I intend to answer all of them soon, & will try to get it going this week. I was so glad to hear the girls had such a good time when they visited you. 

Take care of yourselves now, 

    With much love from 


Friends and Fun

Cyn’s photographs are more successful in black & white than colour- sadly the colour of the marvellous azaleas have faded in yellowed snaps. But the friends she writes of and the gorgeous cars show up quite clearly! Of course in the days of rolls of film, pictures remained in the camera until the roll was finished, so her photos of her trip at Easter were not developed until July 1947, and include some of her visit to her New York relatives then. The black & white snaps start in September 1946 at Lois’ airport, show winter coat weather, and finish with the Easter trip. Also included are Easter Sunday snaps of her New York relatives- I’m assuming it was the same Easter!

Cyn at the airport in September 1946.
Cyn’s first flight!
Til, Bill, dog, and the car!
Bellingrath Gardens, Mobile Alabama, March 1947.
Bellingrath Gardens.
Til, Cyn, and Lois.
On the road: Cyn pointing, with Til and Mildred.
Mona and Owen visiting Highland Mills at Easter.
Hugh and Little Mona on Easter Sunday.

March 28 1947: to New Orleans and Back!

23 pages long!

Rushville.     Indiana.       

28th March 1947.

Dearest Mummy,

We have travelled about 220 miles since we left Toledo at 3:15 p.m. & it’s now 11 o’clock & we are safely in a nice little hotel in this small town. It was a nice morning, but by the time we left school it was raining, and after about half an hour we ran into an awful sleet storm! However it cleared up after a while and we arrived in Fort Wayne at about 6 o’clock & had dinner at a restaurant called the English Terrace! There was nothing very English about it but we had a nice dinner & I felt much livelier after it, because I’d missed my tea & was consequently very dopey all the time! After we left Fort Wayne it was dark, but very clear & moonlight & we drove on till we got here, stopping only in one little town, Newcastle, for me to send you a P.C!! The country from Toledo to Fort Wayne would’ve been lovely, along the river Maumee, but it was snowing and raining so it didn’t look very thrilling. The river was all brown & swollen with ice on the banks and there was still a lot of snow about & no signs of spring except the twigs of the weeping willows were turning yellow, but not even the grass looked green yet.

Til & Lois are sharing a room here & Mildred & me. We have twin beds & a shower, la- pomme & basin all in a corner of a room & a curtain around! Mildred is very nice and terribly agreeable- she teaches Maths & Science at school & is about Lois’ age. Mrs. Pasquier (you remember, my friend at DeV.) gave me an Easter present before I left- all prettily wrapped & with ribbons around, and & inside were three tablets of Morny soap- each one wrapped & tied up differently – wasn’t that sweet of her. You asked what the prize was I got at the luncheon a little while ago – it was a pretty little linen guest towel, woven by the hostess & I am only won it because I sat at the right place at the table!! Night, night – lots of love.

Decatur. Alabama.

29th March 1947.

Tonight we are in Alabama and since this morning we have travelled through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee & and Alabama- about 440 miles today, and nearly 700 from Toledo.

We got up at the crack of dawn this morning- Toledo time is one hour ahead of this time, so I thought I was getting up at 7, & it was really 6.0! The others had spent an awful night because the hotel was noisy & the rooms terribly hot, but of course your daughter slept soundly through it all! We had breakfast & set out about 7.30 & Lois drove all morning till we got to a place Elizabethtown, Kentucky where we had lunch. We were most surprised to find that all through Kentucky & Tennessee the fields & hills still had snow on them, & looked not much further ahead than Toledo, but in the southern part of Tennessee the snow vanished & we have seen lots of daffodils in gardens which looked lovely. The grass began to show greener too, although no leaves on the trees – the famous Kentucky “blue grass” doesn’t come till the summer apparently & Lois says it’s just as green as anything! It was a most heavenly day for driving- sunny & clear as can be, with a breeze, and everything looked just lovely. The country was all very pretty, especially Tennessee with wooded hills and mountains – I didn’t see any mountaineers (like in Hugh’s funny stories!) but I did see some of their shacks & I don’t know how they hold up! 

The lunch we had at Elizabethtown wasn’t much good, but the success of the party was when we all went to the Ladies Room & I got locked in the lavatory! I couldn’t get out & the others were laughing & laughing, so I climbed up & peeked over the top at them, at which they all had such hysterics they couldn’t do a thing to help me! Finally Til managed to open the door for me, but Lois & Mildred could only prop up the walls & giggle! I know that this will remind Nan of the song about the “3 old ladies locked in the laboratory” but they were there from Monday to Saturday! In the afternoon Til drove & I sat in the back & slept for an hour! It was quite hot in the car & it’s beautifully comfortable & easy to sleep. Lois drives sometimes at 70 m.p.h. & the car is so big & smooth that you don’t realize it’s doing more than 40. We stopped at Nashville Tennessee & had a chocolate soda for my “tea” & I sent you a P.C. Then we drove on to this town where we had dinner at one hotel which didn’t have room for us to stay & as the dinner wasn’t very good we weren’t sorry. This is a funny old place & we have two rooms with a connecting bath & a most peculiar sitting room & we climb 3 enormous steps from it into our bedroom which is in a kind of annex! Must stop as I’m sleepy again- Night night- Cyn.

Mobile. Alabama.

30th March.

Well here we are – 1010 miles away from Toledo! Isn’t that a long way? If we could drive over the Atlantic I’d be a 1/3 of the way home! We got up at 6 o’clock & had breakfast at 7, & were on our way about 8 o’clock & just drove like mad all day. We only had one big town to go through, Birmingham, & we had a coke there, at about 10.30 & then went on & there were no more towns till we got to Mobile. We had lunch at a “joint”! A hamburger & a glass of milk & once again I slept during the afternoon! All this morning we drove through hills with pine trees & woods over them, & as we got further south we saw the grass is getting greener & some of the trees had leaves. All the soil in Kentucky, Tennessee & Alabama is red- sometimes yellow or rust, but mostly bright or dark red, & it looks very amazing against the various greens. In the southern states too we passed masses of little shacks where blacks and poor whites live- junky Til calls them – some just tumbling down at one end. And then right next door you’ll get the smartest little modern house, & it looks so queer. Once or twice we passed beautiful big stock farms with marvellous modern barns etc. & white railings around all the fields etc. but mostly there are no hedges or fences at all. We arrived in Mobile at about 3.30, & had reservations at this lovely old hotel “The Battle House” where Til used to play in a little orchestra when she was about 17 years old! We have very nice connecting rooms & we got washed & brushed up & had tea & went for a drive around the town. Mobile is famous for its azaleas & this is just the right time of the year so we drove along what they call the Azalea Trail & it was really incredible it was so beautiful. Streets are lined with huge bushes of every colour- gardens of houses just masses of blooms- parks full. I never saw anything like it. Tomorrow we are driving out to see a famous Azalea Gardens near by & I hope it’s a sunny day because today was dull. After dinner we just lay on our bed & read magazines & everyone is in bed now so I’d better stop. Lots of love, Cyn.

31st March.

Today has been another dull day, but still we have had a nice time. Mildred and I slept until about 9.0 and woke to find Lois waiting patiently for us, as Til had left about 7.30 to drive to her Mother’s which is 30 miles from Mobile. We got up & had breakfast & then went a meander around the town & looked at some of the shops & ended up by going down to the docks by the river at & watching the ships & some people fishing for cat fish! There really isn’t much difference between the north & the south just to look at – I suppose I expected all sorts of exotic things, but the towns look pretty much the same, & although there are more coloured people, with it being cold-ish weather, they’re all wrapped up & look just like the ones in Toledo! Of course, I just love to hear all the people down here talk – some of them I can’t understand at all, but I’m getting a little bit used to it now. 

Til brought her mother to Mobile for lunch & she is a very spry old lady for 81. I somehow had imagined her an “old” old lady, but she is not a bit- more of the type of the old Bull, although she doesn’t look like her at all- white haired, with rather a hawk face & a twinkle in her eye & quite an uproarious laugh! We had lunch here at the Battle House, which wasn’t very good, then we drove out to the Azalea Gardens about 22 miles away & they were really lovely. Unfortunately the sun wasn’t really shining, but I took some pictures & I hope they’re nice. It was a great long walk around the gardens – they have a lake and lawns & a little waterfall, well as various walks, so Til & Grandma took shortcuts while we walked for “10,000 miles” Lois said! The azaleas were lovely & there were also great trees of camellias of every shade – white, pink, red & dark crimson & they were just beautiful. Lots of the trees have Spanish moss hanging on which looks most extraordinary & one of the black gardeners showed me how it grew & told me that they cooked it & the outside fleshy part came off, leaving a strong  hair that was used for stuffing mattresses, furniture etc.

After that we took Grandma home & saw her little house & the nut grove. There are pecan nuts & tunge nuts & the latter are used for making paint & varnish. Then we came back here & went out for dinner & then to the pictures & we went to the nearest place which had a picture of Gary Cooper’s called “The Wedding Night”. It turned out to be as old as the hills & must have been made in about 1928! We giggled like anything it was so Passionate & the clothes were so funny! 

Now I must stop and go to bed- night-night- Cyn

New Orleans 3rd April 1947.

Hello Mummy honey. This is my birthday & I know you’ll be thinking of me – isn’t it awful how old I get! Til & Lois don’t remember it’s my birthday, and I’m not going to tell them till this evening so that they won’t feel that they have to do anything about it. I’m writing this just before we leave New Orleans, so I have to go back and tell you what we did on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday morning we got up fairly early and had breakfast and left Mobile. It was dull & began to rain on the way, and we went driving on the road to New Orleans and had quite fun singing all the songs about rain that we could think of. We got to Biloxi and then from there on it was a lovely drive along the Gulf of Mexico, with some beautiful hotels & houses facing the sea, but it was just pouring most of the time. We got to New Orleans quite early in the afternoon, & it looked lovely even driving through the rain. The streets going into the city are wide and with trees and palms & flowering shrubs & it really was beautiful. Canal Street is the main street- very big & wide, & it leads right down to the Mississippi. On one side is the old French Quarter, the Vieux Carrée & on the other the newer part & the crossing streets have different names on each side. Our hotel, the Monteleone, is in the French part, one of the old narrow streets called Royal Street but it was big and modern & very nice & we had two lovely rooms with twin beds- & connecting doors.

We unpacked a bit & Til telephoned her ex-daughter-in-law’s home. Tony (the girl) wasn’t in, but she spoke to her Mother & Mrs. Breedy said Tony was at work & the children at nursery school, but that it would be all right for Til to come out & see them that evening. Til was very excited & thrilled, but later on Tony rang up & made all sorts of objections & so forth & was anything but friendly & said she couldn’t come that evening. However, after much palaver it was eventually arranged next morning that she go out that evening so she did see them after all.

We went out that first afternoon & looked around some stores, & I sent you a box of a special kind of candy they make down here called “Pralines” & I hope you like them. They are in a sort of little cake & I think there should be quite a few of them in the box, & I thought if there were, perhaps you could give Dottie one or two for Peter, & maybe send Anne one or two- but not if there aren’t a lot- you make a pig of yourself! We went into have a soda at teatime & it had been dull, but more or less fair when we went in, but it was now pelting down, & we tried to run from doorway to doorway on the way to the hotel, but we arrived soaking & drenched with me looking like a drowned rat! 

That evening we went to one of the famous restaurants in New Orleans called Armand’s & had a lovely dinner. All the time I was there (down south!) I tried to eat as many strange & different things as I could- hot biscuits, hominy grits, crayfish bisque, shrimp gumbo, oysters Rockefeller, & all sorts of fishy things! After dinner we went back to the hotel & found out that there was a tour of the Night Life of the city! So we took it – about 3 big buses with a guide & we set out at 9 o’clock & came back at 1:30 a.m. We went to a nightclub first, then 2 gambling houses, then 2 more night clubs & ended up having coffee (milk for me) & doughnuts in the old French Market. Actually it wasn’t 1/4 as exciting as it sounds & we were all disappointed! The first night club wasn’t bad- we just sat & listened to the band. The gambling places were really dull – I expected plush & gilt like a regular casino, but these were just wooden halls with roulette boards etc. I put 50 cents in a slot machine & that was my gambling! I got a silver dollar (exchanged, not won!) & am keeping it for good luck though! I got quite matey with our guide, who had been a soldier in England, & he entertained me & gave me a Coca-Cola while he had a beer! The 2 other night clubs were awful – not so bad in appearance, but the floor shows were all strip-tease efforts, which were pretty boring after we’ve seen the first 1/2 doz. girls take their clothes off! The doughnuts at the end, were the nicest part & we were all quite glad to get back to the hotel & go to sleep.

On Wednesday morning we woke up to find the sun shining & it was a glorious day. We decided that the only way to see the city at all properly in the short time we had was to take these tours, so we took one in the morning & one in the afternoon, & they were both lovely- a great improvement on the night life! The one in the morning was especially nice & interesting. It was around the old part of the city, & we saw the Cathedral & the Museum & the old streets & houses & heard the stories about them all. In the afternoon we went on a boat & had a tour of the river! It was fun – a big excursion boat, & the tour lasted from 2.30- 5.0 o’clock but actually it was pretty much like any other river with docks etc. I saw United Fruit Docks where Owen’s ship docks but I had no idea even of the name of his boat. In the evening we went out to one of the suburbs to see Til’s grandchildren. Tony was quite cordial & invited us all in & the little boys (aged 3 & 4) were sweet. Til had brought them Easter eggs & they were tickled to bits & excited. Mr. & Mrs. Breedy were there & they were very friendly too & the whole thing passed off quite successfully, except that Til was a bit upset after she left. We went to one of the other big hotels, the Roosevelt & had a drink they’re famous for called Ramos Gin Fizz which is lovely! I made friends with a man who came & sat at our table & talked to us & had also been in England during the war, & he wanted to buy us all another drink, but we were good & left! Til and I were the naughty ones & talked to the strange man, while Lois sat & grinned & Mildred sat! We went & had dinner at another French restaurant La Louisianne & it was nice too.

My birthday morning we got up earlyish & got the car done up for our trip home & walked around & looked at the shops. We left New Orleans at about 11 o’clock and drove up through Louisiana by the Mississippi along the River Trail, but actually we couldn’t see the river at all because it has big bluffs or Levees built up at the sides and we didn’t catch a glimpse of it for miles. On each side of the road was water though with trees & underbush growing alongside & in it, & in amongst that is what they call the Bayous. We got to Baton Rouge (the capital of Louisiana) in time for lunch which we had at a place which wasn’t very good. Baton Rouge was quite a nice little town, with the most beautiful big modern Capitol building, built by Huey Long & in which he was shot & killed. After that we drove along through more open country, which in the old days had been all big plantations. A lot of these old plantation houses have been restored now & are open to the public for a fee, so we went to two for me to see. The first was called “Greenwood” near a little town called St. Francisville. We had to drive miles off the main road to get to it, following signs all the way like a treasure hunt, & when we got there at last, it looked really lovely from the outside, but was very disappointing inside. It had no formal driveway but just parkland & a wild (rather muddy!) lake, but across the water it looked wonderful – a square white colonial house with a veranda all round & great tall white pillars. Nearby, you saw the paint was peeling off & the plaster from the verandah roof fallen down, & inside 3 of the downstairs rooms were furnished with some nice antiques but we were shown around by a very garrulous old man & there wasn’t much to see. The other big house, farther along the road, was really done in style. It was called Afton Villa, & at the gateway there was an old man in a top hat & breeches, who welcomed us. Then we drove up the driveway which was quite one of the most amazing things – it was big & wide & long- lined with trees which had Spanish moss dripping right down over the archway. Through the trees you could see the woods & parkland with azaleas & camellias growing & you can’t imagine how wonderful it looked. The house outside wasn’t very pretty because it was a copy of a French château & was a bit muddly & ornate looking and a dull gray colour, but inside it was lovely. The first owner had built a little 4- roomed house for his bride, then she died & he married again & his 2nd wife wanted a big house, but he wouldn’t do away with the 1st little one, so built the 2nd all around it & you can still see the way it is. A lady showed us round & was very interesting & the whole place was delightful & had just been newly done up & looked lovely. We saw the hall & Gothic staircase & stained glass windows – the sun parlour, the dining room & parlour from the first little house, the drawing room & a tiny powder closet, a beautiful spiral staircase, a bedroom with a dear little cradle, & the sweetest small ballroom. I just loved every minute of it & bought a recipe book of Southern Creole recipes! We spent that night in Natchez (in Mississippi) which is also famous for its beautiful Colonial (Ante-Bellum, they call them) houses, but after the two we’d seen we didn’t have much ambition to see any more! We got rooms in a house that night, as the hotel was full (it’s now Saturday 5th April) and we had dinner in a place called The Carriage House Tea Rooms. It is a restaurant in what used to be the carriage house at a big old place, Stanton Hall, & was very nice & looked pretty & was served by coloured girls. I told the others at dinner that it was my birthday, so they were all determined that we should have a drink to celebrate! So after dinner we went out to find one, but unfortunately it was a “dry” county! However after enquiring, they told us about a place down a side street, so we went & it looked just like a lowdown bar, but Til & I stuck our heads in & asked if 4 nice ladies could have a drink & they all said “sure, come on in”- so we did! There were no chairs or anything, just a bar with a rail for your feet but they (the men) were as sweet as can be to us. The men made room, & the barman gave us highballs & when we looked for a place to sit, he escorted us way around the back to a very moth eaten little booth where we sat & drank in seclusion! After a while in came a tall good looking young man in Army shirt & trousers who had been in the bar, & excused himself & begged our pardon in a very delightful Southern accent & asked if he could talk to us & buy us a drink! We declined the drink, but down he sat & the poor lad was just so tight he could hardly focus his eyes on us, or talk properly but he begged our pardon so nicely & told us that he promised he wouldn’t get out of line with us ladies, that we forgave him! His name was Willie Wood (he was 32!) & he had been in England in the Army too & said he just loved England, which made me love him. He had been in a Parachute Division, poor boy & was wounded in 1945 & has been in hospital ever since. He is still in hospital in Arkansas, but was home for a leave, & when Til told him he shouldn’t drink he said “oh yes Ma’am – it helps me” & he was so pathetic we all could have wept for him. He kept asking us to stay in Natchez longer & told us he would show us the houses & take us to the Country Club & told the others that I was the one he was interested in! However we finally bade them all farewell & left!

Last night Til was sick & felt awful all next day when we drove up through Mississippi to Memphis. It was very dull flat country, so we just drove on & on & spent the night at Brownsville, Tennessee in a Tourist Cabin, & that night Mildred too was terribly sick. They had both eaten a chicken salad at Baton Rouge which tasted queer, so they decided that must have given them food poisoning, & they certainly felt badly. Lois & I got up early this morning & got Mildred some stuff in a drugstore & she felt better & Til has been much better today, but it sort of damped our tour. We drove through Tennessee & Kentucky today & tonight we are at a little hotel in Carrollton, Kentucky, & tomorrow we’ll drive home thro’ Cincinnati & Dayton, both in Ohio. The last 3 days have been really hot & a bit uncomfortable for driving thro’ bare open country, but today as we went thro’ Louisville there was the most colossal storm with thunder & lightning & torrents of rain like a deluge & it rained till we arrived here- about 2 hours. It is cool now & of course tomorrow will probably be probably cold in Ohio. The hotel is nice here & I am in a bed in Lois & Til’s room & Mildred is in a connecting room by herself as she got absolutely no sleep last night. We had a very nice dinner & were lying here undressed & reading mags. when we heard such a noise up the street. Mildred was asleep, but Lois & Til & I rolled up pyjamas & put on coats & went to see what it was & it was the Holy Rollers! The man in the hotel told us to go in the Hall, so we did, and sat at the back & I nearly had a fit- white people, not black, screaming & yelling & lying on the floor & jumping about screaming. We only stayed a few minutes, but long enough for us – we were horrified. Night- night- Love from Cyn.


Sunday 6th April.

Here I am back again in nice old 4229 Berwick Ave! Even though the trip was lovely & I enjoyed it all it’s nice to be back again, although of course the thought of school tomorrow doesn’t appeal to me at all! We drove 2590 miles in 9 days- wasn’t that incredible? And 2 of the days (1 in Mobile & 1 in N. Orleans) we used the car very little, so most of that mileage was done in 7 days- Lois drove all the whole time except for about 150 miles Til drove one day, but Lois is a grand driver & she seems to take it all in her stride. 

We got up this morning at about 6 o’clock & got packed etc. There was no “Episcopal” Church in the little town, so the others had breakfast & I had a cup of tea & we set out about 7.30, with the idea of finding me a Church as we went along so that I could go to Early Service. Unfortunately all the little towns only had Baptist or Methodist churches, & then we crossed the state line between Kentucky & Ohio & we went back on Eastern Time & jumped an hour ahead so when we got to Cincinnati where there was an Episcopal church it was 9.0, instead of 8.0 & no service! So I had to wait & go at 11.0 at Dayton & nothing to eat! The drive from Carrollton to Cincinnati was lovely, all along the Ohio River (we sang “Beautiful Ohio” & I thought of Mr. Byrnes!) with pretty rolling wooded hills, & it was a lovely sunny morning, although very windy. None of the trees are out up here yet, so it doesn’t look as pretty as the south did, but soon it will be lovely. I forgot to tell you that I was quite sorry in the south because of course it was the wrong season for me to see cotton or tobacco or sugar cane growing, so I didn’t see any of those things. I saw some dried up remains of cotton fields, but on the whole I had expected the country to be much more cultivated than it was. Of course I only saw along the highways, but there was so much land just brush and rough woodland, & I had always imagined it would be all plantations etc. but I suppose I’m thinking of pre-Civil War days! Going back to trees being green down there, there was one tree I’ve never seen before which was so pretty – the Judas tree. It  grows wild in the woods, but is also in towns & gardens – it is about the size of a rowan tree, but not so sturdy & at this time of the year has no leaves but is absolutely covered with pinky- mauve flowers like tiny sweet peas. It looks lovely amongst all the other green trees & seems to flower before the fruit blossoms come out – there is some story about it being the tree Judas hung himself on, & now its branches are so thin they can’t bear any weight, but I don’t quite know the whole tale.

Cincinnati is one of the biggest towns in Ohio, but we just wooshed through, so we didn’t see much. Dayton is smaller, but looked a very nice town. We found me a Church & in I went for the 11 o’clock service, looking slightly dishevelled as it was so windy, & very plain in my camel coat & a little cap, to find myself in a packed, very fashionable elegant Church. They make a great fuss over “Easter bonnets” apparently & giving flowers, & all the ladies had on the most incredible new hats full of flowers & veils & ribbons, & were all wearing colossal corsages of roses & gardenias & what have you! However, I didn’t mind & enjoyed seeing it all & the church & service were lovely. They had all the altar decorated from top to bottom with white lilies & huge sprays of white flowers and I felt right at home because on the “programme” it said that 2 Easters ago the RAF in training at Wright Field paraded to the Church, and up by the altar was the RAF flag. The vicar preached a very nice sermon & said that the theme was taken from an article written by William Temple, the late Archbishop of Canterbury, so I felt pleased again. I stayed for communion & there were so many people it took a longish time & I wasn’t out till 12.30 to find the others patiently waiting for me. Then we went & had lunch & I was hungry!

We drove right up through Ohio & stopped only once for a milk shake, when I nearly had hysterics laughing at Til! She had an ice cream soda, & in some peculiar fashioned poked her spoon in & the soda sprouted out of the top of her straw all over her sleeve, so I began to laugh & laugh & every time I’d try to stop, she would say something funny, till I was just weeping & giggling! That was our last spree!

We arrived home at about 5.30 & found stacks & stacks of letters & cards waiting for me & it was lovely, but I shall tell you all about those in another letter- this is just about the trip. And what do you think Lois & Til & I have done ever since we got home? Sat and discussed Mildred! I haven’t mentioned it before, but she was an absolute bore from beginning to end & nearly drove us all crazy! Lois just knew her sort of casually for years, & she more or less invited herself on the trip originally, but we had no idea that she was like this. Things wrong with her were: – 

  1. She kept saying she loved doing this & doing that & when it came to the thing looked bored as anything. 
  2. Could talk only about A. Food (about which she raved all the time) B. Her appearance C. Her intestines! I heard more about how many times she went to the la-pomme etc. than I knew about myself. I was revolted!
  3. She sulked all the time she was in New Orleans & made no effort to be pleased with anything.
  4. She was jealous of Til & Lois being friendly with me, & didn’t like me much I’m sure although she goes around telling everyone I’m “darling”!
  5. When we ordered food in a restaurant, she always wanted to taste what we had & liked ours better than her own!
  6. She was quite tactless sometimes & when we went out to dinner at the places in N.O. was just like a wet blanket.
  7. She always had tea & kept telling the waiters she wanted it hot, & then made a fuss & got pettish when she got it.
  8. She was a “fusser” & insisted on keeping “account books” of every 1d. we spent & pestered us for hours over 5 cents she couldn’t place!
  9. She couldn’t bear it when we all bothered around Til when she wasn’t well, & we’re sure worked herself up into a state just to get in the limelight we’re sure! She was never actually sick, – just groaned & moaned & trotted to the la-pomme one night & had “cramps” she said- yet next day she was all bright & cheerful & ate huge meals!
  10. The last straw – she got her curse & told us all about it & strewed Kotex all over our rooms & the back of the car, to be ready for all emergencies!

So now you know all about it! Actually – it’s really all true, & she was a positive blight, but I had no idea Lois & Til felt the same as me till we were in N.O. & of course we had no chance to discuss a thing, because she was always there! So tonight we really let our back hair down & had a lovely time. Til & Lois & I got on wonderfully from beginning to end, & even despite Mildred it was a marvellous trip & I loved it all – even though I could have hit her over the head with a large pole, many a time. She talked about the “River Trip” from the moment she left Toledo, & how she’d die if we didn’t go & how she loved going on the river etc. & when we went she sat & filed her nails all the time & didn’t look at a thing & never saw anything or seemed to enjoy it at all! What a woman! She is Lois’ age, but seems 100 & has just about everything wrong with her – according to the way she talks! But still!

I must stop now Mummy- it’s bedtime and work tomorrow. I wish you could have come on the trip with us and seen all the thiMAngs we did, but I hope you have a little bit of fun reading my gossip. 

    Lots & lots of love 

        from Cyn. 

Happy Easter Day!                                           Finished on Easter Sunday 6th April.

March 13 1947

13 March 1947. 

Dearest Little Mama,

This is just a short note, as I am in the middle of writing you a long one that isn’t finished yet. I just wanted to say that I am so sorry I kept you all in suspense to hear the broadcast, when I don’t suppose it was on at all. I have didn’t know until just before it took place when I met a lady from the BBC in New York that London doesn’t actually re-broadcast it straight away but records it & then if it’s any good they put it out later. If you’ve heard nothing about it when you get this letter Miss Lang (the NY lady) said for you to ring up the BBC in N/C & ask them, & if they don’t know about it, they will find out for you when it is going to be broadcast, & if it isn’t to be broadcast, they might be able to let you hear the recording she said. I sent all sorts of messages so you should hear them! The lady in charge of the broadcast at the BBC in London is a Miss Miranda Dulley.

The whole thing went off very well really. I left school at 10:45 with Jim Villwock, the DeV. boy on the programme, & Til took us down to another school where we met Mr. Lamb (the moderator & in charge of the whole thing) Mr. Roulet (the mayor) Mr. Bowsher (Education Officer) the broadcasting announcer, Miss Lamb, & Ed (the other boy in the broadcast). We were all given our scripts & then we went & all had lunch together & then went to the State Cinema, where the broadcast was taking place. The audience was about 2000, both school children & adults – they could all get tickets just by writing for them & the kids got out of school for it, so it was very popular! All my homeroom seem to have been there, but the audience was dark, so fortunately I couldn’t see them! I wore my new navy blue dress  (with my white collar washed!) & sat up on the platform with all the rest of them. There was such a lot of fuss & confusion with microphones & wires & photographers all over the place & people rushing around, that you would wonder how it all came out right, but it did! They got London on time, & the Mayors spoke to one another, & then the Directors of Ed. & then the boys spoke- both English & American, & then it was question time- and London went off the air! Of course we were still being broadcast locally, so we had to go on, & kids from the audience came up and asked questions, & the boy speakers answered them & this went on for about 15 mins. with the engineer rushing around, & we in a fit, in case I wouldn’t get my chance to say my piece to England! However, at last London came on again, & Miss Stoll & I had our talk at the end & it all came out nicely. I was so scared when the time came & the microphone was too high for me & I stood on my toes & craned my neck & Mr. Lamb kept pushing my back to encourage me & my script I was holding shook so I could hardly read it! But I said it all & everyone who heard it here said that it was good & that I spoke very clearly – also that I sounded homesick! Miss Stoll came through quite well, & I could hear what she was saying, whereas, some parts of the other speeches (from England) you couldn’t, but the other teachers said it didn’t sound like her voice. I went down to the radio station afterwards & heard the recording, & I got quite a shock when I heard my voice, & it didn’t sound like me a bit! I am most interesting to know whether the reception in England was good, & whether they could hear us. I do hope that you’ll be able to hear it sometime, Mummy.

Tomorrow evening I am going to Tiffin, a town in Ohio, to speak at an Educational Conference at Heidelberg University – doesn’t that sound imposing?! I am using my Atlantic City speech with only a few alterations, but I’m beginning to think it must be more important than I thought because a reporter from the Toledo Times has just rang up to ask me about it! My my! After the conference I am going on to Pittsburgh to meet my friend, Roland!! – I just couldn’t get out of it any longer! I’ll let you know how I get on!

On Monday evening a terrible thing happened which has made everyone miserable all week. One of the teachers at DeV. – Mrs. Whaley was killed in a terrible car crash & her husband very seriously injured. I don’t know if you remember, about a month ago I went to dinner at her house on Sunday, & Pam Holbrow was there with Mrs. Whaley’s mother & sister from Fostonia, & we had the loveliest time. She was a really nice person, & everyone liked her, & she was just sweet to me – so you can imagine how sad everyone feels. Yesterday people were going to the Funeral Parlour & today to the Funeral, but I didn’t go – I wrote to Miss Eger in Fostonia.

I’m a stop now as it is bedtime, but I’ll soon be sending my next “saga” to you – it’s getting fatter every day!

I hope Mrs Johnny is keeping better – and that you’re taking care of yourself 

    With lots and lots of love 

    from Cyn

March 10 1947

Monday 10th March

Dearest Mummy & Daddy,

It has been a lovely sunny day today with quite a feeling of spring in the air, so I do hope that you are having some fine weather too, and that things will be getting better now.

I am getting quite excited about the Broadcast, which is tomorrow, so by the time you get this letter, it will be all over and finished with. It is at 1.20 in the afternoon here, and I am to go to one of the other schools in the city for a rehearsal at 11 o’clock, and then to have lunch with all the radio people & the mayor etc. before the broadcast. I got the script today, and my part is not very much, but instead of just having to read it there are parts which say “Enlarge on this”, so I hope that I’ll be able to think of something at the right time!

Thank you very much for your lovely long letter that I got on Saturday, Mummy – I was so pleased to get it, but sorry to hear about your having still more snow storms. I was also sorry to hear that Daddy still had a sore back, but you said that it was improving, so I hope that it is really better now.

I don’t know if you have had a letter from Alma since I last wrote, but I got one last week telling me that Aunt Maggie had died so I expect that you heard too. She said that she died very quietly in her sleep, so that is a comfort anyway. I must write to Alma but I haven’t done so yet. I was sorry to hear that little Mrs. Johnny was still poorly, but it is a good thing that Mr. & Mrs. Simon have come to stay with her – it will be much nicer for her, and relieve you of a lot too, Mummy. Please give her my love and say that I hope she’ll be better soon.

Last week I wrote on Wednesday & told you about the Mother-Daughter Banquet & getting paid $5 for it – and it continued to be my lucky week, because I got a present & a prize as well. On Thursday I went to dinner and to speak at a meeting of the Salesian Club. I was taken by a teacher from DeV. called Olive McHugh- she is about Lois’ age & small & friendly & I like her & we had tried to arrange to meet sometimes & never managed it. Then she asked me to this club of which she is a member. It is a Club for Catholic girls & they have a lovely old house as a clubhouse where some of the girls have rooms & live, & all of them use for meetings & for private entertainment if they wish. We had the dinner there- about 40 girls (i.e. from 20 to 40 in age) & then went into another room where I talked to them about Cambridge & Easter in England, & they all seem to enjoy it & seemed very pleased. Then the president presented me with a little box all tied with ribbons & inside with a lovely gold link bracelet – wasn’t that sweet of them? I was so pleased, as it is really pretty & I thought it was so nice of them.

On Friday evening Mrs. Atkinson gave a Baby Shower for Ruby the English bride who is staying with her. I was going to buy something but Til said she had some baby clothes put away that had never been used, so we got them out & I washed & ironed them & packed some up elegantly & took along- 3 little woolly jackets, 1 pr. booties, 1 bonnet & one pink wool cot cover. They had about 14 people there & they all took presents, so there was a goodly haul! Among others there was an English bride from the Isle of Man, who had twin daughters last November. Her husband was a Lt.Col. but is now out of the Army, & she is a lovely girl – reminded me so much of Mary Stuart in both appearance & ways & I really enjoyed meeting her. I hope I’ll see her again. We played games & ate ice cream & had tea, & it was midnight before I got home – I had no idea that a shower was such a party!

On Saturday Til & I were invited to a luncheon given by two teachers from DeV.- Mildred Schmidt & Miss Lerche. Lois was invited too, but was at the airport. All the guests (10) were DeV. teachers and we ate an enormous meal, that made me feel extremely sleepy, & then played cards all afternoon!- they suggested bridge, but fortunately ended up with something else that required less brain! On Saturday evening Til & Lois & I went down to a Show in town called the Sports & Home Exhibition – you know the type of thing. We had fun watching men demonstrate wonderful gadgets & peelers & slicers, & caught celluloid fish to try & win a free washing machine, & came home footsore & weary!

On Sunday I spent a quiet restful day until teatime when Mr. Atkinson called for me about 4. We went with Ruby & her husband Fred, to see their house (it’s nearly finished) & then to tea at the Atkinsons. Afterwards another friend of theirs, called Howell Thompson, came in. He’s about my age I think, was in England, France etc. during the war, teaches Agriculture at a Vocational School near Toledo, & originally comes from Tennessee – sometimes I couldn’t understand what he said! After we talked a bit, Mr. A. & Fred & Howell suggested bridge & made me join in- fortunately I got Mr. A. as a partner & he was very good, so I just sat back & didn’t do much!

Now it is getting late, so I must go to bed. Til & Lois & I spent this evening in the house listening to the radio etc. so it was nice. I do hope that you are both keeping well & not getting colds. Take care of yourselves – 

    With much love from 


March 5 1947

Wed. 5th March.

Dearest Mummy & Daddy,

I am so sorry that I didn’t write to you sooner this week but with being in Atlantic City I didn’t have time, and since I got back on Monday evening I have been in such a rush. Thank you very much for both your 6d.- Air letters, Mummy, – one I got last week, and one was waiting for me when I got back. I was so sorry to hear that it was still such dreadful cold weather at home when you wrote, and that the electric cuts and black out and everything was still going on, with no signs of getting better. I do hope that by now the weather will be better, and that by the time you get this letter, things will be getting better. It sounds so bad, from all the news and the things that people tell me in letters, but surely now it is March, the weather should improve.

I was so sorry to hear about your not being well lately, and having a carbuncle, Daddy. I can imagine how painful it must be and lasting such a long time too, but I hope that it is easier now, and will soon be gone. I was sorry to to hear about poor little Mrs. Johnson, and I hope that she is getting better.

Since I wrote last week, I have had quite a tour. I didn’t do anything except write out my speech and get things ready to go. I was quite worried in case the weather was going to be bad and the plane flight cancelled again, but although it was still cold & snow on the ground, it was clear and nice, so it was all right. Til & Lois took me to the Airport on Thursday evening, & I got the plane at 4.50 p.m. It was a big twin engine plane & held about 24 people I think. The first part was from Toledo to Cleveland – about 3/4 hour, & the plane flew fairly low, so that I could see the ground quite nicely, & all the lake frozen over. It was very bumpy, & the plane sort of waltzed in the air, which wasn’t very comfortable, but we arrived in Cleveland just as I was beginning to feel slightly peculiar! At Cleveland, Pat Ridley got on. She is from Bellingham, trained at Northern Counties after I left, & taught at Ipswich in England, & is at Ashland, Ohio, now. She is a blonde & reminds me a bit of Irene, & we got on very well together. We flew very high above the clouds after we left & it was a lovely & smooth & we had a most delicious dinner served to us – which we ate! As we neared New York we went down low again & it got bumpy again & poor Pat was air sick! I didn’t feel it too badly, but she did, & lost all her nice dinner into a neat cardboard carton which the Stewardess called a “Burp Cup”! We landed at La Guardia Air Field at about 8.30, & were taken to our hotel, the New Yorker, where we had rooms.

Next morning we went to the Airline Terminal to see about our flights back (we had to confirm them) then we rang up Cunard about our passages home, & did a little window shopping! We met a girl that Pat knew, the daughter of the people she stays with in Ashland, for tea at Radio City & had a nice time, then we caught the 7 o’clock train to Atlantic City.

We got there at 10:10 p.m. & went to this hotel where our “suite” was booked! Miss Sanger had got it for us, & Pam Holbrow was already there & it was lovely- a double room with twin beds, a bathroom & a single bed room. As we were having our expenses paid, we thoroughly enjoyed living in the lap of luxury, & we telephoned down for milk and sandwiches and had great fun! We read each other’s speeches and felt very girlish & as if we were back at College again!

Next morning at breakfast we met Miss Sanger & she told us we could do as we liked until a Luncheon at 12.30. It was a beautiful sunny morning, although cold, & we bundled up & walked along the “boardwalk” & it was lovely. Besides the Home Ec Conference there was a big Principals and Supervisors Convention which was lasting a week. We saw a programme, & who should be speaking at it, on the Sat. but our old friend Dr. Paul Smith, in the morning & Miss Edith Ford from England, at the banquet in the evening! We couldn’t go to the banquet, but we went along to the morning’s meeting & “gate-crashed”! There was Dr. Smith sitting on the platform, & when he saw us, he stared  & stared & then began to laugh! Unfortunately, he was the 3rd speaker, & we had to leave before he began (he was speaking about the exchange of teachers) so we were very disappointed, but we left him a message.

At the luncheon we found another English teacher there, an older woman called Holman that we didn’t like a bit, but we didn’t haveanything to do with her & we were glad. She didn’t speak at the meeting except for a few words, but a Dr. Kabat from Washington spoke 1st, then me, then Pam & then Pat. I thought the other 2 girls were very good, & as usual everyone was most complimentary & the woman, Miss Kreser, who had arranged at all, came & wept & told us we had saved the meeting! We were most amused! We went to a tea afterwards & were very social & got back to the hotel about 6.30 feeling very pleased with ourselves! The next morning Pat & I went back to N.Y. again & Pam to Philadelphia, but we all met on the plane again on Monday to fly back- and gosh! What a trip! It had snowed & rained since Sat. afternoon, but it was clear on Monday, but terribly windy, & every one of us was sick! Pat got off at Cleveland and we envied her so! Pam wasn’t actually sick, but felt awful & so did everyone, & we were so glad to see Toledo – Til met us at the Airport, & she had been ill over the weekend with kind of neuritis in her shoulder, so she wasn’t feeling too good either. She insisted on taking Pam back with us, instead of going on to Fostoria, so we all went back & had something to eat & crawled into bed & slept from 9 o’clock!

Yesterday Pam went back to Fostoria & I went to work, but in the evening I had to rush off again. A Miss Cooper called for me in her car & took me to Fremont (about 40 miles away) to a Mother Daughter Banquet, where I was the speaker. It was quite fun & afterwards they gave me $5 so I didn’t mind so much! 

I must stop now, or else this will be too fat a letter. Before you get this I hope you’ll hear me saying “hello” over the wireless next Tuesday – I’ll be thinking about you. I do hope that apart from Dad’s boil, you’re both keeping well – 

With lots of love 

            from Cynthia.

February 13 1947

13th Feb. 1947

Dearest Mummy,

This is the pretty paper that Lois’ sister, Mary, gave me at Christmas, so I thought you would like to see it. I am in the middle of writing you that great long letter I told you about, but it is taking so long that I thought I would just write a little letter tonight to say hello. I am enclosing all sorts of funny things for you to see:- 1.) A list of my Christmas presents. 2.) A picture taken on the Aquitania of the eight of us in the cabin. Miss Mitchell is the fat lady that Nan saw at the station & she sent me the snap. She is somewhere near New York. 3.) A newspaper cutting of Gwen that she sent me. 4.) Two Edison stamps that Mrs. Pasquier gave me. Mr. P. is a philatelist & I told him one day I had a collection, so yesterday the Edison stamps came out & he went & got some & Mrs. P. gave me 4- wasn’t that sweet of them? I sent 2 to Mr. Laing & 2 to you – I thought I’d better send them, rather than keeping them hanging around here.

I have been sitting writing letters all evening in my little room & Til & Lois have been out. I wrote to Dottie, the people in Long Beach, Anne & the Delta Gamma! The latter are a group I spoke to a week last Wednesday & this week I got a parcel from one of the shops all wrapped up with red ribbon, & in it a note & a pair of nylons! Wasn’t it wonderful of them? The stockings are a size 9, so I may keep them & send them to someone, or perhaps get them changed. I forgot if I told you that I had sent Ruth a pair for her birthday- size 10 1/2 I got- I hope they get there all right. I haven’t written to Amy yet, but I will really try this weekend, although I go out to a tea on Sat. afternoon – to Mrs. Pasquier’s Sat. night & to speak to a Church Fellowship Group on Sunday night!

Did I tell you that I had sent Allan Jaeger a book for his birthday – just a little kid’s book & it cost $1.  It is Valentine day tomorrow & they make such a fuss of it over here – I sent one to Allan, because all the kids love them, & one to Uncle Artie!   Also to Ruth’s kids (David and Mary L .) & one to Roland Purdy about being “screwy” with a screw attached! Hugh sent me one that got here this evening that is a hoot! It is a goofy fellow sitting saying “WIMMEN IS POISON” & inside he’s with a hayseed-y looking girl, saying “How about you and me getting POISON- AL”!! I am enclosing some hearts for you that I got at the luncheon I spoke at last Sat. We had one on our napkins & the other with John Alden on was to find our places at the tables- I matched up with Priscilla, but someone had to tell me, as I’d never heard of them!

Who do you think I had a letter from a little while ago? No one else but our old friend Mr. Byrnes! I am enclosing it for you to see, because I think it’s funny, & I don’t think it needs answering, do you? Poor Mr. Byrnes- he seems to remember all our shelter jokes, doesn’t he?

I haven’t bought anything at all this month, but somehow my money seems to go just the same! I got my clock mended- $2.50- 2 stockings mended-  $1.00- a coat and 2 dresses cleaned- $3.00- stamps & postage on magazines- $3.00- Allan’s book – $1.00- Ruth’s stockings & Nan’s & 1 pair for Marcelle (wedding present) $5.50. It mounts up! I will see if I can send Amy some stockings later on & Charlie a tie maybe (they cost $2.00 I think) Have you any bright idea for Pop’s birthday? Or should I send him another tie, or hankies or socks or even suspenders or what! Or braces! Don’t forget to let me know if the magazine “Holiday” doesn’t turn up, & I’ll see about it. I am looking forward to getting your dress for Nan’s wedding – I think it will be fun! Tell me if there’s any colour you prefer & if you want it plain or flowery – I think plain would be more suitable for all seasons, don’t you? I am so pleased that your dress fit perfectly – do you think it looks nice on you? If Nan’s parcel shouldn’t arrive by any chance, will you let her try on your dress & see how it fits? I got you a 14 & her a 16, so we should be able to judge, don’t you think?

I must stop now as it’s 1130, & I must go to my bed. I do hope that you are all right, my honey & not having trouble keeping warm with low gas. By the time you get this I hope so much the dreadful weather has gone. Both A. Muriel & U. Artie wrote to me about you. 

    With lots & lots of love 

          from Cyn

Christmas Presents

Mummy- Cami-knickers-Little glass dog  (cute!)

Nan- Photo of herself which I like, but I don’t think it flatters her.  Ballet calendar, with pictures of different ballets, which I love.

Nancy Allan

Dottie- Book “Even From the Law” by that girl Alison Lathom she knows who writes books. It is fairly good, & it’s about Durham & Lake District etc. which is nice. From Peter, a little tiny book about “The Sleeping Princess” ballet, which is sweet.

Bar – Book ” Pleasant Valley” by Louis Bromfield about when he lived in Ohio, but I haven’t read it yet.

Irene – A calendar of a bowl of flowers – rather á la Katie, but she said she sent one of spring flowers because it was very English.

Mrs Allan- Book “The Happy Prisoner “by Monica Dickens. Don’t tell anyone but I took it to N. York & read it on the way, & then at Christmas I didn’t have a thing to give Ford so I gave him the book! Margs knew & maybe some of the others, but Ford was so delighted that I felt quite embarrassed!

Anne- A little fair isle beret to match the pretty jumper she knitted for my birthday. 

Lillian- A little powder puff. 

Mrs. Johnny- Bella-  Hankies. 

Miss Lefroy – A little booklet. 

Mary Egan – Something which hasn’t arrived yet!

Til & Lois- The nightdress & dressing gown I told you about. The dressing gown is exactly the same material & everything as the nightdress. A bit like this!

Ruth & Ernie (Lois’ sister and brother-in-law) – a pink silk slip & a little box with three tablets of toilet soap. 

David and Mary L – (the children) A gold bracelet & earrings to match. The earrings are round rings that clip on the ear!

Mary and Bob – (Lois’ other sister and brother-in-law. They brought these presents for me & they were waiting when I came back from N.Y. Wasn’t that sweet of them?) A lovely big box of writing paper- pale green with a little flower in the corner. Also a tablet of toilet soap.Ettie- A set of “Chen Yu” lipstick & nail varnish to match! This morning I sat down & carefully put the nail polish on, & then carefully took it all off again because it looked so funny!

A. Ettie- A set of “Chen Yu” lipstick & nail varnish to match! This morning I sat down & carefully put the nail polish on & then carefully took it all off again because it looked so funny!

A. Muriel- A box of air mail writing paper & a silver brooch. The brooch is the fine filigree work & made in the W.I.- very pretty.

Margs – 2 prs nylons. 

Monie – pink silk slip with lace along the bottom. 

Mill & Ford – a box of writing paper- nice but plain. 

Hugh & Monie & Alan- Hankies- 

U. Artie – $40- trip to N.Y. 

My Home Room- Brooch and earrings – they are really sweet – the brooch is a coppery-gold bow with a pearl in the middle & little blue stones around & the earrings are just the pearl & blue stones around & look lovely – they are small & pretty just as I like them. 

Foods Class- a lovely leather manicure set. 

Miss Pasch- soap-

Mrs Perkins (teacher)- Red Xmas candle.

Mr. & Mrs. Atkinson- nylons.

68 Christmas cards received. I sent 69!

February 9 1947

Just a recap of the American Hazells here, since Cyn is describing her Christmas with them. Her mother’s older sister, Aunt Ettie, lived in New York and had three daughters, Millie, Marguerite and Mona. Cyn had met them as adults when she and her mother visited New York in 1939, and briefly visited when she arrived in America in August 1946, but she didn’t know their husbands well, or their children. Aunt Moo (Muriel) was visiting her sister from St Vincent, and Cyn briefly visited their brother, Uncle Artie and his wife Aunt Phine, in Central Valley, N.Y. between Christmas and New Year. Mention is also made of younger Hazell cousins Bebe, Pat, and Brenda.

4229 Berwick Ave., 

Toledo 12 Ohio 

Sunday 9th February 1947 

Dearest Mummy,

At long last I have managed to begin a letter to you – I am most ashamed of myself for taking such weeks and months over it, but I know that you realize what a whirl I am in most of the time and I really am sorry. Of course the longer I leave it, the more and more stupendous a job it looks and the less courage I have to begin, but here I am to tell you about Christmas now! Isn’t it awful- in February!  I don’t really mean to try and give you a detailed account now, but I’ll tell you all the special bits and answer all your letters that I have- it will probably take days!

  To go back to Christmas at Aunt Ettie’s- I arrived on the Monday morning, and as far as I can remember, we didn’t do anything that day except sit around and talk. We had lunch at A. Ettie’s, in her breakfast nook in the kitchen & it was very cosy. Her house is on exactly the same plan as Monies’, & in some ways I think it is nicer than Marg’s because Marg’s kitchen is absolutely minute! None of them do at all well for me as the cupboards are way high up! But Marg’s kitchen particularly seems so cramped & is usually untidy & lots of dishes to wash up, but Monies’ & A.Ettie’s with having the breakfast nook seems roomier.  A.Ettie and A. Moo both looked the same as they did in 1939.- I don’t notice any change in them at all. They were asking me if I noticed A. Moo’s deafness any worse, but I couldn’t remember that it was.  She is much worse than you, even with her aid I think – even when she has it on you have to speak right at her, but I don’t wonder that she gets tired and confused when the whole crowd is there- I did & I’m not deaf! There’s always so much going on & so many people that you hardly get a chance to sit & be peaceful! And as soon as we’d all get sorted out to our own houses & be sitting reading quietly, Margs would say “Now I wonder if Mother & A. Moo wouldn’t like to come over for supper” & off she’d go to buzz them (Bill has fixed up a little private telephone between the 2 houses, as A. Ettie has no real phone) & her Mother would protest & say no they wouldn’t come, they were both reading & Margs could never understand it! She thought they’d be lonely! Then of course in the morning it would be the other way round- there would be some plan of all going to A. Ettie’s for something & the girls would be doing this, that & the other & not dressed until A. Ettie would be about tearing her hair! What a crowd!

One of those days before Christmas A. Moo & Monie & I went shopping in Garden City for some last minute purchases. One of mine was a bottle of rum! I knew that they would all be having drinks on various occasions, & I didn’t want to be drinking their drinks all the time, so I got the rum & gave it to the family, & we all had drinks from it. I also treated A. Moo & Monie  to a soda, & we had quite a nice time.

That first evening I was there I gave the girls their wedding presents- at last- and they seemed very pleased with them. Allan apparently likes hats, so he was quite pleased with his fair isle beret too, but insisted on putting it on himself & cramming it on his head. (It was his birthday on 1st Feb. and I sent him a card & a book.) Little Mona was very taken with her tiny “ballerina” doll & kept me busy bending her into different positions, & I don’t know whether Hugh really liked “Black Beauty” or not, but everyone else told him how lovely it was!

All the houses looked very prettily decorated & both A. Ettie and Margs had lovely Christmas trees, which were up & decorated when I arrived. On Christmas Eve, Bill sat down & wrapped up all the presents & put tags on while Margs flapped around & made a cake & finally went to Church with us! Allan hung up stockings for us all, & Bill really did all the work of parcelling etc. & even wrapped some of his own presents! Monie & A. Moo & I drove down to the local store for something & of course I got myself entangled with a drunk ex-soldier, much to their amusement! He had been in the 1st Division & in England & when he discovered I was English, he wanted to kiss me – and did! – because everyone in England had been so swell to him! He then presented me with two very old, dry, prickly holly wreaths & with difficulty I got away without making a date!

On Christmas Eve Margs & I & A. Moo & A. Ettie went to Midnight Service – Monie stayed at home because Owen was coming. It was very nice but very long, because I think we left home at about 10.45 & didn’t get back till 1.30- Bill nearly sent out a search party for us. We had been invited to some friends of Margs & Bill’s nearby for an “egg nog” party, & Margs said we‘d go but with one thing another we never did & I was quite sorry because I have never had egg nog & the pictures in the adverts in the magazine look so tempting!

Allan was quite good on Christmas morning & didn’t wake up till nearly 7, so we weren’t awakened at the crack of dawn. He was very sweet opening his presents – not wild with excitement at all, but very intent! The family present-giving was to be at A. Ettie’s so, apart from one or two little things in our stockings we didn’t open anything but Allan had most of his. Then we had breakfast, & tried to clear away the mess, & I had kept asking Bill when the King’s broadcast was, & he would turn the radio on vaguely, & then Allan would want something & he would turn it off, & so it went until I missed it all together. I was really so disappointed I could have wept, & in a way it made me feel quite sad all day. I know that it was silly to feel so, but I had spoken of it so much, & I knew you would all be listening & I was looking forward to it as being my special Christmas piece from home – they were all very kind of course, but all busy with their own affairs, & I couldn’t help feeling a little bit homesick & left out. However, I survived! Of course it was hours before the whole family was organized at A. Ettie’s, but eventually the presents were opened & we had the dinner which was very good. The only other thing we did, I think, was to go to Margs’ neighbours’ that evening & we were given a hot Swedish punch to drink, called Glogg! Which amused me!

After Christmas I did nothing much until the Friday when I went into New York to meet Gwen, but I think I told you pretty much everything we did. We talked our heads off of course & Gwen was very grateful to me because I provided her with a young man!! You will wonder how on earth I did that, as Gwen is in Kansas City, but it is really quite simple! Remember Mary the nurse, in Cambridge? I wrote to her, & had a reply telling me that she was coming over here to marry her American boy friend Tony in January, & giving me Tony’s address in Kansas City! I wrote to him – mentioned Gwen- & Tony & his best friend called on Gwen & have since given her a good time! Aren’t I a little blessing to my friends! Since Christmas, there is a sequel though, as Mary has written to me to tell me that she’s not coming to the U.S. after all! At the last moment she got cold feet, & she has met an English boy, so there it is! Gwen said Tony was very vague & had no plans where they were to live or anything, so probably it has all turned out for the best!

When I got back to Margs that evening, Mill & Ford & the kids had arrived down & Margs was having her cocktail party that evening. She had quite a crowd of her neighbours – all rather “solid citizens”! A Jewish couple, & a fat old couple, & another man, whose wife had to stay at home to look after the kids, & then the family. It was quite nice without being riotous & I chatted to Ford. Bill’s idea at any party is to get a drink & another man & go in a corner and talk – no one could call him gay! But I got to like Bill quite well, although his lack of humour puts me off – you hardly ever see him laugh (never!)– but he was very kind to me really. On the Sat. after Margs’ cocktail party, Bill & Margs took me to another given by some old friends of theirs, & they kept telling me what fun they were etc. & it turned out to be the dullest party going! Lots of dull stodgy people, the host & hostess completely occupied with food & drink, no music or dancing & just nothing to do except eat or drink! Margs & Bill got quite high- out of boredom! – and I sat & ate solidly all the loveliest “snakes” until I was full & bloated! But I hadn’t seen such gorgeous things for years!

On Sunday we had another big dinner at A. Ettie’s- roast beef- & on Monday morning Ford was driving up to C.V, leaving Mill and the kids behind & coming back on Tuesday for New Year’s Eve. I wanted to see U. Artie, & he had written “sort of” asking me, then we telephoned him & told him I was coming up with Ford, & all the time, he never really said I must stay! Of course we knew he probably meant it, but with A. Phine you can’t be sure! So Ford said if I went & they didn’t take it for granted I was staying he would just call in the evening & take me to Cora’s, but everything went off fine- A. Phine had the bed fixed & all! Uncle Artie of course was sweet to me, and so was A. Phine really –I took their Christmas presents with me- cigars for him & hankies for her & they seem very pleased. U. Artie had a taxi come for him in the afternoon & I went down to C.V. with him to the Bank & P.O. etc. He asked me how much my fare to and from New York was and I told him $40- it was actually a bit more in the end but that seemed a lot to ask for as it was- & he gave me a cheque. It was so sweet of him & I thanked him very much, & felt that he was really being very generous to me – then, what do you think. He got a money draft to send to Pat- her monthly allowance – and how much do you think it was? $100! I nearly had a fit! He was supposed to send her an allowance until she got a job, & then she had one and still got the money- & more than a lot of well-trained people in England to get too. And still she’s not content- do you wonder those girls make me mad at times! Margs has just written to me & in her letter she says Pat has now given up her job & is taking this hairdressing course, & also that Bren & her baby are due in England soon! I heard all about Bebe from A. Phine of course, & from the way she talked I guessed that her engagement wouldn’t last long, & now I hear that it’s over. But from what I gathered Bebe was much more thrilled with being engaged than with Paul, so it seems as if this is the best thing.

Uncle Artie seemed as well as could be expected & he & A. Phine didn’t fight while I was there, but only scrapped occasionally! As I told you, Ethel had an awful cold & so wasn’t very happy, but she seems to fit in very well, & has really settled down. Margs was telling me such a scandal about Ethel figuring in a divorce suit, & she doesn’t have a home of her own so maybe she is glad to have such a comfortable place. Although I shouldn’t think it’s at all easy because U. Artie is quite deaf now, & his sight is poor too, & with A. Phine’s sight as it is, it is very difficult. I enjoyed the two days I spent there, & it was a nice rest but I was quite glad it wasn’t a long stay because we really don’t have much in common to talk about, but they were both very nice to me.

Ford came to lunch next day, then we left & collected Cora, & drove down to Long Beach. I think I told you I thought Cora looked just the same- but talk- golly! That evening was New Year’s Eve & I think I told you most of our adventures then. When we got into the city & were walking up Broadway, we went into Jack Dempsey’s Bar for a drink, & I was pleased to see it, as it’s a place you often hear about. After that we went to Times Sq. & home again. Now, I think I shall indulge myself in some catty remarks! As you know, I like Margs & Monie & Mill immensely – Mill not so much perhaps, as I don’t get a chance to get to know her so well as I do the others – but I have come to the conclusion that they are sloppy!  Don’t breathe a word to a soul! Maybe it is after living with Til & Lois, who are always immaculate & as tidy in their persons as if they were always on show – I know I don’t reach their level at all. But Margs & Monie get up in the morning, & slop around for hours in a dressing gown & pyjamas without doing their hair hardly, & then when they get dressed, they are usually garbed in a pair of old slacks & jersey or shirt! Mind you when they go out or go to town they dress up & look very smart indeed, but I suppose I have enough of Papa in me, to criticize! Millie, I think is even worse- not herself so much, although I don’t think she cares how she looks, she just dresses ordinarily – but I was really shocked in some ways with the kids Hugh and Monie – they don’t even looked clean half of the time! I know they were maybe wearing old clothes to play around in, but they were really old & dirty-looking- Monie in slacks of course – I’ve never seen her in a skirt! But Mill just doesn’t ever seem to bother, or to insist that they should dress up or look nice – probably nice for the kids, but again – I criticized! (Margs keeps Allan a beautifully!) A. Moo always looked so elegant & lady-like in the midst of all the throng – neat white hair, & she changed into pretty dresses if they were having a family party too, but not many of the others bothered, although I think Margs & Monie did occasionally. Now- having got all that off my chest!

On New Year’s Day we had another family dinner, & then the Pembletons set out for home, & we didn’t seem to be quite so overwhelmed! I forgot to tell you that Owen left on Monday, but after I left, Margs wrote that he was back again. On Thursday, Margs & I had a heavy date with Bill & Hugh in New York! In bed that morning, I got so worried- Bill was charging around getting ready for work, & shouting at Margs (sound asleep in bed!) & I was afraid he would get so mad he wouldn’t take us out! When I told Margs later she was most amused, & of course he did! Margs & I went into New York in the afternoon & I wanted a new hat, & so she decided to get one too – & so we had great fun. We thought the hats we got were lovely at the time, but next day we had our doubts & I have never worn mine since! They were both black and mine is like this: –

I don’t think I can attempt to draw Margs! We went to Bill’s office & met him there – he has just been made an associate member of the firm by the way, & is very pleased- & then we got a taxi to the Waldorf, where we went to a lounge called Peacock Alley, & Hugh joined us there. We had a drink & Margs began to feel gay & insisted she wanted to rhumba! So we went to another place for dinner called the Havana Madrid, where we ate & danced & saw a floor show in the South American style! After being there a while we went to the New Yorker, where we had another drink, & danced & that was where we watched the ice show. Quite an evening! Hugh left us at the station & Margs & Bill fell asleep in the train & I had to wake them up when we got there!! They both liked Hugh very much, & he liked them too.

Next day was the day I was leaving & Margs etc. were to take me to the airport, & she invited Hugh to come to the house in the afternoon, as he said he would come and see me off too. Then, first Hugh rang up next day to say he couldn’t come as he had some unexpected work, but would go straight to the airport, & then of course the darned Flight was canceled! Eventually after much rearranging of plans Margs & Monie saw me off at Long Beach, & Hugh met me at Penn Station & took me to Grand Central. Both of us expected that I could get a train as easily as anything but were we wrong! All the airlines were out of use, so everyone had rushed for the trains & the place was seething, with queues at all the windows. After waiting & waiting & finding everything booked up, Hugh finally called the Military Authorities! He said he had a British Government Official going to Toledo, & no reservation – could they help, & at once I had a bedroom at my disposal! Wasn’t that something! Actually I was quite alarmed in case anyone investigated who this official was, but it wasn’t so untrue, because all the girls who got their passports & visas in London got them free & stamped “Government Official”, so only us poor  provincials missed that & I don’t see why I shouldn’t pretend I have it too! I left N. Y. that night & got to Toledo next day & had a lovely comfortable journey – very different to the one going, which I hated!

Till & Bill met me in Toledo & I thought there was something strange but it wasn’t until Lois came from the airport later in the day that I realized there had been some sort of quarrel, & the atmosphere was very strained. I heard about it later from both Til & Lois – I think I told you want a haphazard happy-go-lucky fellow Bill is- well, Lois can’t stand the way he just drifts from one thing to another, & imposes on Til, & of course she is just the opposite, – very steady & would give Til just anything she has. Actually, she has given Til the beautiful new Buick, & is saving now to buy herself another one. Anyway – she is also, to a certain extent jealous of Bill, because I think his best point is that he is very fond of his Mother, but also, when Til and Bill are together they kind of shut other people out- you know? I felt it & it hurts Lois badly, but of course it’s natural that Til should see no wrong in Bill. However Bill had been there all the time I was away & finally there had been a big bust up, & Bill & Lois weren’t speaking to one another & Til was being very bright & hard & the atmosphere was just stretched on wires. Bill left that same week for Florida & was away 2 1/2 weeks & all the time it was the same strain. Lois & Til both told me their sides of the story, & I could sympathize with them both, & I love them both, so I just hated to see them that way. You know me when I’m in a house full of emotional strain- me noives were shattered as usual! & I felt quite miserable & depressed. However- Bill returned one Wed.- just for one night- & Lois went out & stayed at a hotel – so that finally brought things to a head. Bill left & has gone to Florida where he has a job now (his wife has just got a divorce, by the way) & the next night Til & Lois had a real do – I went up to my room, but I could hear them talking & talking, & at last they got everything settled & since then they have been fine. I was so relieved! Lois was all set to leave & go & live somewhere else & I just couldn’t imagine it happening, & of course now they are just back where they used to be & it is lovely! I do enjoy being with them both so much, & I enjoy staying in the house in the evening or going out with them to the pictures more than anything else. Til is the liveliest of course – she is full of fun, & we enjoy having tea in the afternoon & gossiping about things. Lois is much quieter, but she laughs with & at Til & me, & we all enjoy it. When I came at first they hardly ever ate dinner in the house, but went to a restaurant every day, & now we cook at home much more than we go out. Til & I go out shopping, & come home & cook, & it hardly takes us more than 3/4 – 1 hr & sometimes much less & we talk & cook & serve up dinners that we think are wonderful! The only complaint I have about Til’s cooking is that she & Lois like their meat very well done, & I think they overcook it! Til’s favourite dessert is Floating Island , so we agree beautifully over that! I can’t decide if I’m getting fatter or not – I weigh 108 pounds now, which is 10 pounds more than I used to be, but I think I put on most of that in Cambridge.

Since the Christmas holidays I don’t think there has been very much of vital interest to tell you, apart from the things I told you each week. Do you remember my Saturday night date with Norman Walker, the young man I met in Chicago? Well, this time too, I was bored stiff, & I think he feels exactly the same way about me! We had the silliest evening really – full of frustrations! He was supposed to be coming to take me to dinner at 8 o’clock, but it was more like 8.30 when he appeared as he lost his way! Then we drove downtown & he didn’t know anywhere to eat, so I mentioned two places I’d been to, & we set out to look for one & couldn’t find it. After a search we found the other & then couldn’t get a place to park the car! At last he found a parking lot – just a square of mud & melting ice, & he drove onto it & sort of over the edge onto the pavement to let me out onto a dry place- then, the car wouldn’t move back or forward- its wheels just spun on the ice, & it was sticking 1/2 over the pavement! Finally some fellows came along & helped push & got it back & we staggered off to have dinner – me just fainting with hunger by this time! We finished dinner at 10:30, & then went to the pictures- & had to stand in a queue inside, & when we did get in, we sat right at the front at one side & it was all peculiar. I got home at 1:30 a.m. & I’m not surprised I haven’t heard from the young man again!!

Another escapade I haven’t told you about was my proposed weekend at Niagara – with a young man no less! Just about the time I was feeling kind of fed up, I had a letter from the man English teacher, Roland Purdy, saying that he was going up to Niagara, Buffalo etc. for a weekend – how about coming & seeing the sights with him. So me- thinking, gosh anything to get away from this grind of hard work – wrote an enthusiastic acceptance! Finally after all arrangements were made I began to come to my senses & think what an idiot I was! 1.) Because we were to stay at the General Brock (the big hotel we had lunch at) & you know how expensive that was- and that + rail fare mounted up to quite a lot & I began to think I couldn’t afford it  2.) I had to go & make a speech in Fremont, Ohio, on the Friday which meant I wouldn’t leave here till Sat. morning & get to Niagara Sat. afternoon & have to leave to come back on Sun. afternoon 3.) I could hardly remember what Roland was like, & I didn’t want to get entangled with him anyway!!! However – my nice little guardian angels saw what a pickle I was in, & that turned out to be the very time we had the ice storm & the schools were closed & I sent a telegram saying the weather was too bad for me to come, with a clear conscience! Since then Roland has written & asked me to meet him in Pittsburgh (last weekend), but I wrote back & said I was booked up- quite true!

Do you remember my promising Anne’s Tadek to do what I could about seeing if he could come over here? Well last week I went downtown and saw a (Polish) Judge Grzezinski- Lois’s brother-in-law, Ernie, arranged it for me – but there is not very hopeful news. He says that someone here would have to put up a bond for Tadek & promise him a job & he didn’t offer any suggestions as to who would or how that could be accomplished. He also said that he didn’t know whether Tadek would be released to come. Anyway I wrote & told Anne & sent the judge’s name & address, so if Tadek wants to, he can maybe write himself.

Apart from that, I have done nothing else except my usual round of social engagements! I told you about going to my friend Mrs. Pasquier’s on Sat. night – what I didn’t mention was that I got home at 3 a.m.!! I went at 8:30, & we had drinks & talked & didn’t begin supper till 12.30, & then everyone sat & talked some more. They are very nice – I like both Mrs. & Mr. P. The young man who lectures at the University (in English) reminds me of Noel Coward & was a bit elegant! Otherwise pleasant!

Tonight, just as I was sitting writing, a young married, Marjorie Whiting, that I met at a place I talked, arrived to ask me to dinner tomorrow night, but I had to refuse, as it is Til’s Friends of Music Concert & Lois & I are going. I was quite sorry though because she is nice & friendly & new in Toledo & she said her husband had invited a friend to come, so it sounded as if it might be fun! However she lives nearby, so I expect I’ll see her again – she has two little girls.

Oh – I nearly forgot to tell you of another amusing incident. One of the boys who used to be in my cookery class, Bill Volk, left at the end of the semester. He lives just up the street & knows Lois & Til & Bill Burns & is a nice, friendly sort of fellow, (about 18) & was always quite matey with me, & gave me a lift home in his car one day when Lois wasn’t there. I know all about his sister & her divorce & all sorts of things! Anyway, one evening last week, Bill rang me up & I was in alone – he talked & chatted & asked me what I was doing & if I was by myself & I was just knew he was pining to ask me out or or come along & see me! In fact, he did suggest coming along & teaching me to play gin rummy, but I said Til & Lois were coming in soon & we left it at that. I told Til & Lois that I could just imagine their faces if they’d walked in & found me & Bill sitting there! He pops into school occasionally & has a chat, but he hasn’t phoned me since! I have no boys in my Foods classes now – they have either left or are taking something else, but I still have all the dear boys in my home room!

Now, at last I think I’ve told you ALL my gossip up to date! But I have a great pile of your letters here, that I want to answer a little bit. Thank you for them all, so much, Mummy. I know I don’t answer them as I should, but you know that I just love getting them & hearing all the news & the things you do & how you’re getting on, & thank you very very much for every single one. Thank you also for the lovely Valentine you sent me – I thought it was beautiful & I loved it. I got one from Cambridge next day, which I’m sure is from Anne.

I have been so worried about you all lately with this dreadful weather & the crisis you have been having. I am glad that you don’t have to depend on coal, but it was bad enough as it was & I hear on the radio that you are still having awful cold weather, but I do hope it will go soon. Some people here have been driving me nearly crazy by saying “My, you must be glad not to be in England now” or “You chose the right time to come over here” or even just glooming over the “awful news from England” until I could slay them, but I have one or 2 champions who protect me! – the main offenders are 1 or 2 teachers at school, & the others all tell me to take no notice or tell them to leave me alone! It is dreadful though, that this terrible bad weather should come on top of all the other things people in England have to put up with- it’s time you all got something nice instead of lousy things.

Now, at long last, I can get down to a gossip with you over Nan’s engagement! Well – I am really very pleased about it – I’m sorry I don’t know Dick better, but both you & Dottie seem to like him more & more & I think he & Nan are very well-suited to one another. I go so much by yours & Dottie’s opinion- & nearly always you coincide! One thing I must tell you – as a Deep Dark Secret – Dottie told me not to breathe a word! – but she doesn’t like Nan’s ring, & says it looks so small on her hand – but I had to tell you because you said practically the same thing! However, I suppose Nan just feels that she’d rather have something small but good, & of course prices are awful now. I had a nice long letter from her & she seemed very pleased with my cable & letter & present of stockings – & I sent a card too, but I don’t think that had got there yet. She seems to have a nice lot of things & she is certainly taking all the household things etc. very seriously & getting down to everything! Nan told me that they wanted to get married at the beginning of Aug. & asked me to be a bridesmaid most particularly so I shall try to make it if I can, although I just wish it could be a week or so later, but of course I know they want the wedding at the beginning of Dick’s holidays. The only reason that I would miss it would be if the trip to Jamaica came off, as it would be too good to miss, but I’ve written to Monie & told her that unless she can know for sure soon I’ll have to let it go. I must book my passage home now anyway, I had a letter from Washington telling me as it is going to be very crowded so I’ll have to know soon. I don’t finish school until nearly the end of June, so I won’t have much time for sightseeing which I’m very sorry about, but I suppose it can’t be helped – & maybe I won’t have any money left anyway! I must ask Nan what she wants me to bring her for a wedding present – I shall have fun buying your wedding outfit & Nan says for me to get something in blue & a viely- flowery headdress or hat – so I’ll see.

I don’t think Nan & Dick will ever be the sort of “matey” couple that Irene & Bill are – but then Nan is so different from Irene too- but somehow Irene & Bill just suit one another so well. I like to hear Irene’s housekeeping struggles (e.g.1/4 lb. potatoes!) & I love hearing about her settling down as a young married!

Thank you for telling me all Anne’s news – I had a letter from her too, telling pretty much the same thing. I am really sorry for poor old Miss Stoll & that old pig of a Howlett– she wrote to DeV. & said she hoped Mr. Nauts was being kinder to me than Miss H. was to her, & I felt quite badly because everyone here is so very kind. But Mrs. Brand (one of the teachers- a friend of Miss S’s) says that she likes Anne so much & the other teachers too & says everyone is very kind- but she is nearly collapsing with the cold! The fellow Jessie got jilted by for Blanche is called Bob, & she was going around with him when I left Cambridge, but I never liked him – a conceited stuffed owl! – so I don’t think she’s missing much! I had a letter from Lillian today (I wrote to her) & she says her mother is much better, & she tells me as a great secret (don’t you tell Anne!) that she has applied for, & think she has got- a job near home as a P.T. Organizer! I am so glad for her sake as she is very pleased. I thought I’d send her a parcel of a few food things for her Mother – one of the things Lillian asked for from the U.S. was a tin of tuna fish & one of salted peanuts, so I’ll include those! She has sent me a pound for black woollen dancing tights!! Everyone seems very pleased with my Christmas presents – Irene & Dottie both, & Anne & Jessie F. & Pam Hapgood. I never hear hear a word from Jessie Hall of course. I sent Lillian a pancake make up, but she didn’t mention it – perhaps in the excitement of the job! I do hope that Dottie’s birthday & Nan’s Xmas parcels turn up – but I am most relieved at Irene’s wedding parcel, as that was the most expensive. I forgot to tell Irene, so do tell her if you remember, but I got her wedding cake box all right! And on the outside was carefully written “Cake Removed”!! Wasn’t that funny! I was most intrigued, by the way, at all the Whist Drive Prizes you are collecting right & left! You must be getting an Expoit! I thought it was nice to give the breadknife to Alan & Mary Bain too- she must be a nice girl.

I am sure that in all the awful cold weather, Irene & Bill must be thrilled with their Warming Pad! I have one in bed too & it is lovely. By the way – I’ve often meant to ask – did Ruth ever get her present from me? The compact I sent for Xmas I mean.

I was sorry to hear of all Alma’s & A. Maggie’s troubles – I must write, but I don’t know about sending a parcel as you said Mummy, because any place over here has such lots of food I think. I might send her a nice tin of biscuits or something, but the little things I would send to England wouldn’t be any treat here. While I remember, will you please give my love to Bella & Mrs. Johnny & thank them for their letters. I won’t write to them but I’ll send P.C.s again. I am glad Maude got the food parcel & that the ladies liked the things. My love to old Winnie too- I owe her a letter still- I was most amused at her looking at the Xmas cards – I never got even a card from Joe, the skunk! By the way – everyone who writes A.M. to me now just puts 1/- on the letter except you! Has it been reduced?

I was sorry to hear about all Jane & Bill’s bad luck – they have been having a bad time, but I do hope that things will go well from now on for them.

I was amused at your comments about all my newspaper pictures! I think the “upswept” one is quite good, but Anne wrote that all the staff disliked it & thought I had changed & looked sophisticated, but when they saw the Red X they liked that & said it looked just like me!

I love the story you told me about Katie & Mrs. Paice saying I would make Frank a nice wife! I don’t think Mrs. P. has seen me since I was a sweet shy young thing in my teens, but even then I think I’d have bossed Frank around, so goodness knows what I’d do now!

I don’t think I ever told you how much I loved hearing about Irene’s wedding. I was pining for your letter to come & it told me all the things I wanted to know, then Dottie wrote all about it too so I got a wonderful “overall” picture. Irene sent me 2 snaps which were nice of her & gave me a very good idea of her outfit.

As you will have guessed by this last haphazard page or so, I have been reading through all your letters & commenting & it has taken me hours! I think after all I am going to have to send this by sea as it will be so heavy, but I hope it won’t take too long. Now that I have got this screed done I will write to Amy & get that off my chest! I don’t think I have ever said thank you for your idea of my buying something for Christmas & you paying for it- I think it is lovely, but that you sent me plenty, with a lovely cami-knicks & the cute little dog. Anyway I don’t want you to get the silly hat I got in New York! I had thought I might get a new grey-ish suit (to match my coat) in the spring, & now I have thought I might get it in time for the Atlantic City Conference if I see anything I like, as my blue corduroy can practically get up & make a speech by itself, it’s heard me make so many! I thought I could wear the suit with the blouses & hats I have now & at Easter I would get perhaps a pink felt hat, as they have some pretty ones, & a pink blouse. I am kind of scared to spend much on clothes although I’d love to get some new things, as I don’t know how my money will do, but at the moment I don’t seem to have much to wear at all apart from the blue suit, so I think I’ll have to get something. By the summer, I hope to know better how much I’ll have left to “frivol” with & be able to get some things then.

I must stop now as it is midnight & I’m in bed – love to any of the girls if you see them, & to Maude too & please thank her for her letter. 

    Lots & lots of love for my little Mama 

        from Cyn

Finished on 17th Feb.