July 23 1962

I have divided this letter into two because it is so long and deals with quite separate matters- the Costains on their Michigan holiday, and then Cyn answering her mother’s questions of the last few months of letters which she has saved up. (I shall put the pictures of the end of their holiday with the second half, since there are no letters to follow to explain how it went.) But before the letter, here is a quick review of Cyn’s life already covered by letters from the post-war years 1946- 1951, to explain some of the American friends the letter mentions.
Towards the end of the war, Cyn had changed teaching jobs and left her parents’ house in Newcastle where she had been stuck for the war years, and moved south to Cambridge. She enjoyed living independently and in 1946 took on a greater adventure by being part of a teacher exchange between American and British teachers designed to foster greater co-operation in the English-Speaking Union. Cyn was sent to Toledo, Ohio, where she taught high school Home Economics for a year, and also spoke to clubs and meetings, very successfully, about whatever aspects of British life her hosts or hostesses wished to hear! She was lucky enough to find a very happy home that year boarding with two other teachers, Til and Lois, who involved her with their families- Til’s adult son Bill, Lois’ sisters who lived locally- and took her with them on holiday with other relatives so that she saw a bit more of America. Her enjoyment of that year comes through in her letters home to Carol, but she was also happy to return to Cambridge for the following school year, where her mother joined her. They both met Cec who was doing his PhD. there, and Cec and Cyn married in 1949, with the intention of following Cec’s professor, Dr. Gordon Sutherland, to the University of Michigan for a couple of years before settling in Canada. Their stay in Ann Arbor was part of a transitory community- graduate students like Cec finishing and moving on, Cyn’s fellow workers at the University marrying or having babies and stopping work- but they were able to keep in touch with the ones who worked at the university and with Til and Lois, and made friends within academic circles that persisted as careers took off and families grew and grew up, because they met up over the years at conferences or during temporary work arrangements, such as Cec’s months work at the University of Michigan in July 1962. Back when the children were 3 and 4, the Costains had visited the States just as the Sutherlands were moving back to England, and also had stayed with Til and Lois while Cec attended the Spectroscopy Conference in Columbus, so it is not surprising that their friends thought Linda and Charlie had changed in the 6 years since then!

Portage Lake,

23 July, 1962.

Dearest Mamma,
Here I am sitting on the porch typing away – it is Monday morning and it is quite grey and cloudy and looks as if it is going to be a storm and we can hear thunder rumbling around in the distance. We have had quite a lot of thunderstorms in the last few days but they are not as spectacular as the Ottawa Valley ones and they pass over very quickly, but the weather has been very changeable.
Charlie has been having fun with a boy who lives a few cottages down. They have been getting bait for fishing, looking under stones for ‘crawdads’ and catching little minnows and catfish with a little net. Now he has gone home and some little girls from the next cottage have come over and Linda is sitting on the steps colouring books with them. The neighbours are very nice and friendly – I think I told you we had a nice family with a little 5 year old boy in the cottage next to us. Well, they were here for 2 weeks and were extremely kind and took me shopping into Pinckney etc., then we now have another family with 3 little girls – Kathy 8, Susie 5, and Carol 4, and they have a baby boy, Billy 1. Besides the mother and father there is a Grannie and Grandpa so they have quite a family not to mention all sorts of relatives with lots of children every few days, but they are nice too and have offered to take me shopping etc. The father is a great fisherman and goes out night and day, but he doesn’t have much luck – Cec and Charlie have been out a few times but they don’t do much either – Charlie caught a little one but put it back as it was so small! On the other side the cottage is owned by a man and his family from Ann Arbor, so they were only out for a few hours at a time to begin with but last week they came out for a while and we have had a few chats with them. They only have one boy of 14 and he is always dashing around in one of their two motor boats – the father took us out for a ride in one on Sat. and we went all around the lake and saw parts we didn’t know existed. It was quite blowy and we bounced around and got water splashed on us much to Charlie’s amusement!
The thunder is really on top of us now and it is pouring, so the children have moved in and are colouring happily. It is nice that there is someone to play with as Linda has run out of her stock of books and Charlie is getting bored with Patience! Cec has begun to teach them to play Bridge but as he is in at the University all day we can’t do as we did at Mill and Ford’s camp and play all day. Since I last wrote the time seems to have melted away and we can hardly believe that this is our last week here. We will leave here on Sat. morning but Cec thinks he will need a few more days at the University so we will probably go to a Motel until Tues. morning and then go straight to Stratford as we see ‘The Tempest’ on the Tues. night. On Wed. we see the matinee of ‘The Gondoliers’ and then we will go and spend that night with Merle and a couple of days in Toronto and home on Friday. The Klemans go to a cottage for two weeks.
We had a letter from Gudrun and all goes well at 2043 Montreal Rd. and Nicki seems quite happy and is presenting them with dead mice as usual! Thank you so much for your letters which Gudrun forwarded to me and also for the one which you sent to the Physics Dept. here. I was so sorry to hear about your poor little dog being killed. I know how much you will miss him and how sad you would feel to have him killed so suddenly when he was still so young and enjoying life. I hope that after a while that you will get another puppy for companionship and also as it is so useful for you to have a watchdog. At first though I know you can’t bear the thought of having one for a while. We are surrounded with dogs here and the favourite is a great big Basset Hound called Shorty. His legs are so small that he practically touches the ground but he is as solid as a rock and weighs about as much as I do. To see Charlie trying to move him is quite a sight, but he is very good-natured and doesn’t seem to mind how much he is pushed and shoved!
Not long after I last wrote we had some bad luck. Linda got a sore throat and an ear infection, and so she hasn’t been able to have as much fun in the water as the first week. She had one really bad night of earache and the next day I kept her in bed here on the porch and gave her aspirins etc. and after that she didn’t seem ill although the ear was still aching a little, so we let her get in the water but not put her head under (she wears a cap and protector band of towelling underneath but still her hair gets wet) and that was all right until suddenly last week it began to ache again, so she was out of the water for a couple more days and is so disgusted over it. It seems nearly better now so maybe she could go in for a little today, but it is such a pity as she loves the water so much and had such a wonderful time in it. Just after Linda’s ear ache began poor Cec woke up one morning with an eye infection and all his left eye swollen up. He gets this every so often if you remember and if he doesn’t do something about it, at once it spreads to his other eye, so he went to Pete’s Dr in Ann Arbor and got various drops etc. but it wasn’t until he gave him some antibiotics that it cleared up. Told him he was working too hard and should have a rest. He seems quite all right now, but the weekend before last he was feeling pretty miserable. Charlie and I have kept well and full of high spirits, and it is really lovely to see Charlie so well and happy. He is so good-natured and helpful and sunny and he has such a wonderful time in the water now – you wouldn’t recognize the boy who sees how long he can swim underwater and dives through my legs etc. as the little fellow you used to know!
We have been socializing a little bit as well as swimming around in our lake, and the first time we went out was to Mary and Arthur Dockrill’s for dinner. They have a nice new house in a new suburb of Ann Arbor, but not just a field with a lot of little houses in it but all trees, and winding roads and little hills etc. very pretty. Arthur is a real wizard with his hands you know, and he has fixed up their basement beautifully and they have everything very nice. Their one little girl Jill, is 4, and she is a little pet. She is small and has two little brown pigtails and speaks in a very English way in a funny little high voice. Linda loved her and both the children were fascinated because she had just about every toy going – Charlie said “I think Jill has everything!” We had a nice dinner and a really pleasant time, but we haven’t seen them since as they were going on their holiday at the end of that week. They had a Volkswagen bus like Hugh and Ginny and Arthur had fixed it up like a caravan with bunks etc. and they were going up into the Upper Michigan Peninsula.
Last week our big excitement was that we had a letter from Til saying that they would come up on the Wed. so we were very pleased. They arrived just after lunch – Til and Lois, Lois’ sister Ruth and the granddaughter from Florida, Cathie. Til and Lois and Ruth all look just the same and we had a wonderful time catching up on all the news of people I knew. They said I looked the same too and I said “Fatter though!” but they were kind! They were amazed at how the children had grown, but Cathie who is 11, made them look like little shrimps! She is a really big girl – big bones and then quite chubby too, and I think Til had quite intimidated her by telling her not to be wild and hoydenish as Linda and Charlie were so well behaved! All the Americans think Linda and Charlie are so good! However, after Cathie had got over her alarm she and the children had a good time in the water, and although she is full of bounce and quite exuberant she is not sophisticated and blasé which poor Til and Lois were quite worried about. But poor kid, what a life she leads – the mother is apparently no good and her own parents threw her out when she walked out on Bill, but fortunately the grandparents have Cathie most of the time, and they are nice people, but the little girl is chopped and changed from one to the other. Of course I was very interested to hear what they all thought about Bill’s marriage to Lois and Ruth’s sister Mary, because they all thought so much of Mary and so little of Bill – even Tilda, his mother! – but apparently although they were all shattered to begin with and tried in all ways to talk Mary out of it, she went ahead and married him and they are very happy – in fact, according to Til they are so in love it is rather nauseating! Cec and I roared as this is such a Til-ish remark. Cec came home a bit early from the University so he had a chance to chat too, and they brought all sorts of things to eat, so I had very little to do. They told me in the letter that they would bring corn and a ham, so I had rolls and made a potato salad and bought a coconut cake and had raspberries and cream, but they brought no less than 3 doz. ears of corn and two huge melons as well as the ham and jars of applesauce etc. so we had quite a feast. Til is taking Cathie down to see C’Zelma’s in Kentucky for a while this week so we won’t see them again but it was such fun to get the chance of meeting once more and we had as good a time as ever!

Do you remember when I was in Toledo some of the teachers took me on a trip one day up to Dearborn, near Detroit where we went to a museum which Henry Ford had made, and while we were there we saw him? He was in a wheelchair going around his museum, and he actually died not many months later, but I was always pleased that I had seen such a famous person. Anyway as well as this museum there is a Village – Greenfield Village, in which Ford collected and had set up the homes of all sorts of famous American people as well as all sorts of little shops and crafts which they used to have in the pioneer days. Thomas Edison was one of his best friends, and he has the house he was born in and all the original furniture and then all Edison’s Lab. and also the same for the Wright brothers and Stephen Foster and all sorts of other famous Americans as well as the house he himself was born in. It is all set out like a little old-fashioned village with brick streets and sidewalks and horsedrawn carriages and ducks and geese and peacocks wandering about, and a windmill and a forge with a blacksmith and beautiful old trees and lovely gardens for all the houses. I forgot to say that Mary Jo took us – we went into Ann Arbor with Cec in the morning on Friday and he dropped us off at the Peters’ house and then after a while everyone was collected and we set off in their station wagon. One of their boys was at camp, but there was Mary Jo and me, Linda and Charlie, Jody and Helen each with a girl of the same age, Vinnie and Terry – 10 of us! Mary Jo and the older girls have been before but none of the rest, so it was great fun, and it was a grey dullish day inclined to rain so we weren’t sorry to leave the cottage. We got there around 11, and they give you a map telling you which each house is and suggesting a route, and then in each place they have a girl who tells you some of the history of that particular house and shows you around. We were lucky and got ahead of the main crowd, but actually it is so big that you never feel you are in a mass of people. We had lunch in the Village Inn and we were amused as they said something about old-style American food, and it was cafeteria style and we had things like tuna fish sandwiches and potato chips! There was an old village shop and postoffice, and the children loved the forge where the blacksmith was making horseshoes and rings out of horseshoe nails! We also saw a silk mill with silk worms, a pottery and a glass blowing place, but during this time it had been getting very dark and thundery and suddenly it began to pour and we had to make a rush for the nearest building. This turned out to be a very dreary place with a lot of machinery in it so after staying there about 20 minutes or so while it poured down we decided to try and dash for the next building and of course we all got soaking wet! Eventually they sent around buses to take people back to the main gate, and as it was after 4 and we were all wet we decided to give the museum a miss and go home. We went back to the Peters’ house and Pete and Cec came and we had dinner there and eventually got home around 9 o’clock – we were tired!

Linda got some dry shoes and socks at the Peters that night, but yesterday she did better still. Dr. and Mrs. Hecht from the Physics Dept. live quite near here, in fact he is the one who helped Cec get this cottage and he has been very kind about driving Cec in once in a while to let me have the car. Yesterday they invited us to dinner and came over around 3 to show us the way. They live in a most fascinating house away off in the woods. A man had this as his summer place previously and built up the land around which a little river loops, and then built a bridge, cleared the undergrowth, built the house and made beautiful stone fireplaces inside the cottage and outside for outdoor meals and even dammed the little river to make a swimming pool in one place. The Hechts live there all year round and love it, and have added a furnace and a few improvements, but are thinking they must move into Ann Arbor soon as their little girl Liz, is six and they have the school problem. It wasn’t a good day for us to see it as it was quite dull and thundering and rainy which made it very dark with all the trees around, but it cleared up enough for Ted and Cec to cook our steaks on the outside fireplace although we ate inside – the mosquitoes were wicked. While this was going on Linda and Liz went to the little river where Liz had a small plastic boat and after a little while what should appear but two dripping wet little girls – the boat had tipped up and landed them in the water! They were both giggling and we couldn’t help laughing as they looked so funny but they were well and truly soaked. Fortunately, with a squeeze Linda could get into some of Liz’s clothes, and we had brought her an extra pair of shoes along, so she was all right, but we are making quite a collection of clothes here. I laughed at Lindy afterwards, she said to me with a funny little grin, “My dignity was hurt!” This reminds me of a remark of Charlie’s that amused me – not long after we got here one day we were all sitting on the porch reading except Charlie, and he kept making remarks until finally Cec said “Why don’t you stop chatting and get something to read?” at which Charlie replied “Oh I pride myself on being a brilliant conversationalist you know!” Apparently this is a quotation from one of his comics, but the way he brought it out just made us roar with laughter.
This week I don’t know if we will be doing anything much – I wrote to Mrs. Pasquier in Toledo and told her we were here and asked if she and her husband could come up one day, but they might be away for all I know, or they might not care for such a long drive. We usually have the car one day each week and we go into Dexter to the Coinwash and into Ann Arbor to the Library and any other shopping. The Peters lent us their Library tickets so we have been doing quite well, but Linda of course finishes her 4 books in the first day or so, but she doesn’t get them changed for a week. There is an ironing board here and I brought my old electric iron so I am able to do the ironing as usual – lovely!

Greenwich Village

July 9 1962

Portage Lake
9th July 1962.

Dearest Mummy,
Here we are in the U.S.A. & one week of our holidays gone already! I can hardly believe it as it has just flown by, but it is nice to think we still have 3 or 4 more instead of 1 as it usually is. Of course it isn’t all fun & frivol for poor Cec, but last week was so mixed up with Wed. being 4th July holiday that he didn’t really seem to be working very hard!
Our last week in Ottawa was a bit wild as the children had school till noon on Friday & Cec was working till all hours at the Lab. trying to get something going for Dr. Herzberg & leave all the people in his lab O.K. while he was away. I celebrated by getting a miserable cold & on top of that of course wanted to leave the house spic and span for Gudron, so I sniffled & sneezed & washed floors & waxed & had a gay time! However, all was left bee-oo-tiful & on Friday morning I went to the Coinwash & so got every last thing washed & left them with the beds all made with clean sheets etc. It was quite a job but I’m sure the house is really well spring cleaned this year!

Charlie’s Grade 5 report.

Cec was to come home about 1pm – 1:30 on Friday & we were to set off straight away, but he didn’t make it till about 3:00, so you can imagine how the children were champing at the bit! They both got good reports by the way & passed up into the next Grades, so Linda is now in Grade 7 & Charlie in Grade 6. Charlie was quite relieved as he was a bit worried about his exams but he did very well considering all his absences. I will have to give you the details of the reports when I get home. Linda was 9th out of a class of 31. Don’t you think I’m clever? L.C.

Linda’s Grade 6 report.

However, despite our late start we went about 200 mi. & stayed the night in a motel n. of Toronto & then next day we went on via Sarnia & Port Huron instead of down by Windsor/Detroit & it was much less crowded & v. pretty. We stopped in Stratford & booked seats at the Shakespearean Festival for “The Tempest” one evening on the way home & then a hotel that night & seats at the matinee for “The Gondoliers” the next day, so that will be fun.
We arrived at the cottage v. hot & dirty & tired around 6p.m. on the Sat. & found the family that owns it still here! The estate agent told them we weren’t coming till Sunday or Monday! However, we went to the nearby town & had a meal & then when we came back they were packing up to leave, but we didn’t get a dip that night!
It is quite an ordinary cottage, but has 2 bedrooms, a nice kitchen with electric stove, sink (cold water) 2 refrig’s, bathroom & toilet etc. It is just a step to the lake & there is a little beach & a dock & rowboat – nice big trees for shade & a lovely big screened porch. The drawback- which isn’t so bad – is that the whole lake is lined with cottages side-by-side all the way around – 40’ or 50’ fronts. This close to Detroit these lots were opened up about 1900 & some of the houses & cottages are 40 or 50 years old. Actually, we have a very nice family called Madison from Detroit on one side with a little boy of 5, Danny, & on the other the people only come out for the day on Sundays it seems, so the neighbours are no handicap but at the weekend the lake is wild – sailboat races, speed boats, water skiers, swimmers all in together & we expect a massacre any minute! It is quiet during the week though & the water is lovely – sandy bottom & only up to my waist for about 100’ out & then deepens fairly quickly, but ideal for the children.

We had one very wet rainy day – last Tuesday – after a pouring night, so we went into Ann Arbor with Cec & shopped & the children & I saw a movie in the afternoon “Mr. Hobbs takes a Vacation” with James Stewart, which was very amusing. We have a little wood stove to heat the cottage with, & lots of wood so we didn’t suffer! The Wed. holiday Pete & Mary Jo came out with their family – Jody (14) Helen (12) Brooks (10) Vincent (8) & Terry (4)!! They all had a grand time in the water & we cooked hot dogs & had a good time. It was quite exhausting though – next day we all slept in & Cec & I felt glad we didn’t have 5 children!
I phoned Til & Lois one evening & they are going to drive up to see us. Til’s granddaughter Cathie (11) (Bill’s second wife!) is coming from Florida to stay with them for 2 weeks so they will bring her & I am quite curious as they said she was spoiled 5 yrs. ago!
This morning we went into our nearest small town Dexter (8 mi.) & washed at the Coin wash (Cec drove into Ann Arbor with a friend – about 16 mi.) & this afternoon we are going in to pick him up & then go to dinner at Mary & Arthur Dockrill’s – they are an English couple who were here when we were – he was Prof. Sutherland’s technician but you probably won’t remember them. They have a little girl of 4 now called Jill.
Must stop & go to & unroller my hair & get dressed. We have the typewriter (I am to type for Cec) & I have all your letters to answer so I’ll get to it soon!
The children send big hugs and lots of love –
Love to Auntie Muriel & lots for you from

June 4 1962

2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2, Ontario

Dearest Mummy,

I have been meaning to sit down at the typewriter and write you a good old screed for ages, but somehow there is always something cropping up that just has to be done. This morning I drove Cec to work as Fanni and Teddy are in Quebec, then I collected my washing and Margaret Savic, and we went over to the Coinwash and did our washing. I washed all the children’s winter jackets and leggings so feel pleased that those can go away for a while, and it is so much cheaper to wash them than to have them all cleaned. Now I have had my lunch and sorted out the clothes, but I decided to leave the ironing and write to you instead. I won’t have all that amount of time as I pick up the children at 3:30 and take them up to the Château for their Swimming lessons. I don’t know if I told you that I was letting Linda go too – she was so keen and although she didn’t need them as much as Charlie she still could do with some and they are both doing very well I think. Linda can swim across the pool doing the crawl on her front and she can do practically the whole length on her back, and Charlie can do the width on his back and over half on his front, so I am very pleased. The Swimming Instructor is very good and has them jumping in at the deep end, and Linda even jumps off the diving board, and they both swim in the deep end as well as the shallow and they are very proud of themselves. Michael is much more tense than either Linda or Charlie and although he tries very hard and splashes a lot he doesn’t really do so well, but he is getting more confidence too. This week he is having exams so he is not going, but he will probably have his next week when Linda and Charlie have their exams. Linda is very disgusted as they are having 2 HOUR long exams this year, and this seems like an eternity to her!

I am hoping that the children will get a lot of practice with their swimming this summer, but we still haven’t got anything definite settled. I have been waiting to know for certain before telling you but I might as well go ahead as we are no further forward! Cec decided earlier this year that he would like to do some work on some special equipment that his friend Peters has at the Physics Department at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Herzberg thought it would be a good thing so Cec wrote to Pete and he wrote back very enthusiastic and it was arranged that Cec would go for the month of July and that Pete would try to rent us a house or cottage fairly near to the University and also to a lake or swimming place for the children. Cec would work most of the time and perhaps take a week off at the end, and it would be nice for all of us, and also perhaps I would get to see Til and Lois as well as some of our Ann Arbor friends. Pete, by the way, is called Wilbur Peters, and he is the one who has a wife Mary Jo and they had two little girls when we were there – now have some boys too. Anyway, we still haven’t heard anything from Pete about a place to stay, but Cec is going down to the Spectroscopy Conference in Columbus, Ohio, next week and on the way he will spend the night in Ann Arbor and see Pete and find out what is happening. In the meanwhile as I told you, Bengt and Gudron Kleman and their two boys, Bjorn and Johann are coming to Ottawa for the summer, – they were here about 5 or 6 years ago from Sweden on a Fellowship, and we liked them so much, and then last year when Cec was in Europe he stayed with them in Stockholm and they were very kind to him, so we suggested that they live in our house while we are away in July. It would be nice for them to have a place to come to and it would be nice for us to have the house looked after, not forgetting someone to look after Nicotina! Bengt is here now staying at a hotel, and Gudron and the boys arrive at the end of this month so it would fit in very well.

Tuesday, 5th June.

I just got as far as that yesterday when the doorbell rang, and it was a lady asking me if I would take a little package for Mrs. Rothwell as she was out, and it turned out that the lady was Mrs. Dupuis, the wife of the Dr. who is now living in Ken’s old house. I think I mentioned that when I came out of hospital in the Fall she sent a whole dinner over one day, and how overwhelmed I was as I had never even met her, so of course I had to invite her in and we had quite a little chat. Her husband, the Dr. works at the St Louis Marie de Montfort Hospital down the road, and he is from Haiti. She is French-Canadian from Quebec and they have six children! They, of course go to the Catholic school so Linda and Charlie don’t see much of them but there is a boy around their age, Jean, and he has been over a few times. Mrs. Dupuis seem very nice and has quite an amusing sense of humour, so we had quite fun and a few good laughs together. She left just after three and I apologized for not keeping her to tea, but explained about the children’s lessons, and she said she couldn’t stay anyway but I must come down and see her. I had a great old scramble to wash the lunch dishes and be down at the school by 3:30, but I did it!

This always makes us late with dinner, as we pick up Cec around 5:30 and then I have to get dinner when I come home, but I wasn’t very ambitious and we had cold stuffed roast pork and salad and rolls, then for dessert I had some cupcakes and jam tarts, but by the time I get it and clear it away and wash up it is usually quite late. Then I did some ironing, and promised myself that I would get to this this morning. So first thing, I dashed over to Myrtle’s with Mrs. Dupuis’ cake (she wasn’t in till late) and of course had to sit and chat, then trotted back and did housework and was in the middle of vacuuming when in came Myrtle – she had locked herself out! I gave her all the keys I had but none of them fitted, so back she came and phoned Ben and we chatted some more, and finally saw Becky drive up and went out and found her front door has been wide open all the time! She had found the side door shut and had never looked at the front door! Anyway that rather interrupted my morning, and then Mr. Pulker phoned that he would drop up to see me this afternoon about the Guild meeting tonight so I rushed and finished cleaning, hastily defrosted the refrigerator, had a shower and set my hair in rollers, had some lunch, and I am now sitting typing ready to rush and tear out the rollers the minute I hear him coming! Actually I think I had better do it when the clock strikes 2, then I will be on the safe side.

Now before I go any further I must thank you for my lovely birthday parcel or you will think that I am most unappreciative, but we were all so delighted with all the nice things and have really enjoyed it. Both the children and I have had the greatest fun with the cookie press, and although I am not yet an expert with it I am gradually getting better. For my big coffee party for the Guild I tried it out myself and then on Friday I was making cookies for a tea party on Sunday when we were having the Spanish Fellow and his wife, Dr. and Mrs. Herranz, and their two little girls Marie Isabella and Lucretia and Dr and Mrs. Shrivastava and their little girl Vinnie. We had a lovely time and made hearts and butterflies and all sorts of things and the children both enjoyed making them and eating them. Actually the tea party was funny as I tried so hard to make all things that the Shrivastavas could eat (Hindus – vegetarian – no eggs even) and made cheese scones and had things like olives and other snacky things and jam tarts and the cookie press cookies made without eggs like shortbread, and in the end when Cec went for them Mrs. Shrivastava was sick and they couldn’t come! However the Herranz came and they are very nice and the two little girls of three and four are very sweet and Linda had a lovely time playing with them.

Playing on the see-saw Cec had made for an earlier birthday- taught us a lot about physics I’m sure!

To go back to the parcel the stockings were most, most welcome. I wouldn’t say that the black seams and heels do much for my fat little legs, but they are very welcome just the same and the more conventional pair was worn right away. The children were very delighted with their CASH and will say thank you when they come home. My buttonholer turned out to be such a disappointment, but I hope that everything will turn out all right. I ordered the one in the catalogue – the only one actually, but of course all the machines are different models to the one I got – you know how they change them all the time over here, and when it arrived and Cec and I tried it it just wouldn’t fit on my machine. I phoned them up about it, and kept trying to get some help from the man in the sewing machine dept. but he was very vague, so I waited until I went over to Simpson Sears one day, and then they said they didn’t make one to fit my machine anymore. However, when I went to the catalogue counter to return it the girl said that if I sent her the serial number of my machine she would write to the Head Office in Toronto and she thought that they would be able to get me one, so I hope that this is what they will do. Such a nuisance as the machine isn’t that all that old, and when you think of the old old Singers and Whites that are still going strong after 20 or 30 years it makes you mad. Never mind, I may yet get my buttonholer! In the meanwhile I am still making them by hand. Last week I decided that I had to make Linda and myself sundresses, as neither of us have much in that line and it was very hot again. It looks as if this summer is going to be a scorcher as already we have had some very hot weather, and it has been so dry all May that people are having well trouble already. I planted some petunias and portulaca plants from the Market last week and the poor things are looking very bedraggled but it is cloudy today and we are hoping for some showers. I got a present of a plant when I came out of hospital in the winter and you will be amused to hear that it was a croton! It looked quite pretty when I got it, but gradually the leaves dropped off until now it looks more like a palm tree with a tuft of leaves on top, so last week I put it out in the garden hoping it would improve but the poor thing is looking more depressed than ever with the drought! However, to return to the sundresses, I cut them both out from some material I got in the sales last summer – it is what they call a tissue gingham, and I thought it was rather pretty – I shall include a little piece so that you can see – the blue is Linda’s and the pink is mine, and I got some blue grosgrain ribbon to match the darker stripe and made a belt and straps of it and got it finished in time for the tea party on Sunday. Linda was delighted and I thought she looked very sweet in it, but when she asked her Daddy he looked a bit doubtful and said “I don’t like the material much – it looks like pillowcase ticking!” so now I know we will always think of them as our pillowcase dresses! Mine of course is not done yet, but maybe this week, if we get more hot weather to spur me on!

It was so roasting last week, and on Sat. from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm we were having the Sunday School picnic over in the big Park, and what should happen but the weather changed on Friday night and it was grey and dull and cold, and we sat and huddled in rugs and froze! The children of course were fine, as they ran races and rushed about and kept warm, but us poor Mamas and spectators had a most comfortless time! Cec went into work, and when he came home about 4 he brought Bengt Kleman to dinner. I had planned to have cold roast pork if it was hot but instead I had a good old hot stuffed roast of pork and it was very welcome with the furnace going and the wind blowing! Bengt stayed till nearly midnight and it was nice to have him, but what with my cold morning in the open air, I was just about asleep.

I had planned to answer all your letters, but this has ambled on at such a rate and Mr. Pulker will probably arrive before long, so I think that maybe I should end and begin another letter-answering one another day. I don’t remember if I yet thanked you for the 2 A.M.s which did arrive together, but what do you think the ridiculous P.O. at Ottawa did with your previous letter. Redirected it out to Penticton under the impression that it was Mrs. H.H. Costain instead of me, so of course Leona sent it back, but what a roundabout route. They sent quite a few things out and in the end I had to phone the P.O. and complain.

Will stop for now then- love to Auntie Muriel and Peggy when you see her- hello from all of us to Doris,

Lots and lots of love from us all –

June 11 1956

Everyone says we have 2 beautiful children!

At Til & Lois’
Monday 11th June.

Dearest Mummy,
Does it look familiar to have a letter from Toledo? We have been here since Thursday & are having a lovely time. We left Ottawa in such cold weather a week ago & it poured with rain on the Sunday & then again on the Monday morning & now it has changed & we are having a real heat wave. We have had 3 scorchers & poor Cec drove down to Columbus yesterday & will be sweltering there as it is very hot & humid. Til & Lois have an air conditioner no less so we are in luxury!

The trip has really been very successful – the children didn’t really care much for the long drives the first 2 days, but we took it easily & had quite a few breaks & they slept once in a while, so it wasn’t too bad. Charlie definitely is carsick & the morning we left home it was a very near thing after a bit of bumpy road, but we stopped in time & as soon as he was out in the fresh air for a little while he was o.k. & after that we took care to keep him in the front & as soon as he had a “funny feeling” we stopped! We saw Les & Joyce Haywood on the first afternoon & had tea there, then we drove onto Toronto & found a Motel & had dinner. Next morning we went to see Aunt Lillie & Uncle Milton & had an early lunch there & then were on our way. It was pouring with rain so we ended by stopping quite early for dinner & finding a motel as we were all tired. The children had a room all to themselves with no communicating door – they were thrilled at their own bathroom & everything, but I was groaning at the thought of tripping out in the rain in my nightie if they yelled in the night, but the little angels never squeaked!

Gunborg Sutherland, my godmother.

We got to Ann Arbor just after lunch the next day & everything was fine except the dog. Lindy was terrified of him as he barked so it was awkward but they tried to keep him outside. Gunborg looked very tired & rather abstracted with all the packing & moving etc. looming over her, but she & Gordon were very nice & we really liked the girls this time.

All dressed up visiting the Sutherlands.

They were very sweet & nice with the children to & seemed much more friendly & outgoing than they were a couple of years ago. Cec spent a day up at the Lab. & we saw Mrs. Kaufman (owner of the apartment we were in) & Mary Jo & Pete & their 4 children. Gordon & Gunborg had some of the Dept. in on the Wed. evening. Cec knew the men but I didn’t know many of them except Mary & Arthur Dockerill.

Anne drew them while we watched!

We drove down to Toledo on Thursday & got rooms at a motel practically next-door to them. Til’s mother (aged 91) is with them & they only have 2 bedrooms, but when Cec left for Columbus on Sunday they insisted we move in here & they have fixed up the children in beds in the study & me in Lois’s bed while she is on the sofa. They have a dog too, a little black spaniel called Penny & unfortunately she is rather barky too. The first day Lindy was just about hysterical she was so scared, but she is getting over it quite nicely. Til & Lois didn’t finish school till Friday, so we spent a lazy day, then on Saturday we went down town & shopped & then dropped in to see the Pasquiers who are flying to France tomorrow.
Tomorrow we are all going to the zoo so I had better go to bed & get my strength – it’s to be 95° tomorrow!

XXX & lots of love from us all. Cyn.

With Til.

My First Journey

From Ann Arbor to Ottawa.

My first journey

On Thursday Daddy & Mummy & Grannie & I drove from Ann Arbor to Ottawa in MacTavish. We left late on Thursday evening & arrived there on Sunday morning. I was 5 weeks old & slept in my little car bed most of the way or on Grannie’s knee, & at night we lived in cabins. We stopped in Toronto to see Auntie Lily & Uncle Milton. It was 600 miles altogether and Mummy & Daddy said I was very good all the way.

Except for when I woke them all up pulling my hair.

It is funny to read about car travel almost 70 years ago- seat belts unknown, so the baby travels unrestrained in her car bed or on her grandmother’s knee. And I’m sure Cec was smoking throughout, totally discouraged around babies today- I can remember as a little girl MacTavish’s cigarette lighter which popped out when glowing, and the lovely smell of the newly lit tobacco, before the less pleasant smell of actual smoking took over.

They drove on Highway 2 all the way to Prescott, and Cyn’s markings show them stopping at Chatham, Hamilton, Toronto, Belleville, and Kingston before turning north to Ottawa at Prescott. In those pre-Hwy. 401 days it took much longer than it would now- the road goes through the towns rather than bypassing them- and there were no fast food rest stops then, so trips were more leisurely, with stops in towns for food and fuel. And the proud parents wanted to show off the first girl in the new Costain generation to Cec’s aunt and uncle so there was a social visit too.

The September account book shows details of the tidying up needed before leaving the States- the mundane housekeeping bills to Dairy, Detroit Edison, and the Trojan Laundry mingling with one-of-a-kind expenses such as a sum to the Michigan Department of Revenue, and the rather expensive cost of binding and mailing the thesis. However, there is no October entry dealing with the cost of the journey. Normal life resumes in November when they are settled enough to be getting a salary and paying rent in Ottawa.

My First Letter

In her teens, my grandmother Carol was sent from St Vincent in the West Indies to boarding school in England. As earlier posts have shown, her headmistress, Miss Lefroy, not only ran the school, but found families for Carol to stay with during holidays, met Carol’s brother and brother-in-law, and gradually became her friend. When Carol returned to England as a young mother, she and her 4-year-old daughter Cynthia stayed with Miss Lefroy in London before going north to live in Newcastle. When Cynthia went to boarding school in York as a teen, Miss Lefroy, visiting her headmistress, took the girl out to lunch, and remained involved in her life. Carol and Cynthia stayed with Miss Lefroy in London- on holidays, during the war, in times of crisis. Even though both left England, the exchange of letters continued, and at the beginning of September 1951, the third generation gets her first letter.

September 1951.

Dear little Linda Carol.

We are very glad to hear that you have arrived safely & we hope that you are well & happy & will like being here, & have a very happy useful life, making your Mummy & Daddy & Grannie very happy & proud of you.

Chris & I both send love to your Mummy & Daddy & Grannie- and we hope soon to hear that you are all safely now in Canada – in a very nice comfy home for you all, with flowers & pet animals near to amuse you.

We are not having a bit nice weather here – it is cold & wet, raining & blowing like winter not summer – & we see in the papers that USA has a heatwave, so we hope that you all will like it  we would not.

Very much love to you all four from two loving friends, 

                              Amy Lefroy & Chris Hall

Cynthia dear,

Very hearty congratulations on managing it all so well & happily, & I hope that having your mother with you will make things easier for you especially facing a move soon. 

I wonder if Linda will be tall like her Daddy or petite like her dear little Mama – or midway!!

Love & congratulations from Chris & me & greetings to Cecil. I expect he is a very proud papa! 

                  Yours always 


I’m pretty sure my parents were happy and proud of me at that stage of my life, and I’m sure Miss Lefroy would have been pleased that I followed her example and became a teacher. (Although not a headmistress!)

Leaving Ann Arbor

It is rather nauseating, but “The Book of Baby Mine” entitled all the events as ‘My First _______’ so Cyn wrote all the entries in the voice of baby Linda. These vignettes are interspersed with Family Tree charts; space for lists of Visitors, Gifts, Photos; a Horoscope chart (!); Average Weight Chart; Teeth diagram: Immunization Record; and a Checklist for baby development. At the end are helpful instructions on holding, bathing, feeding the baby and, of course, ads- baby food, furniture, photographers, drugs, shoes, and a Beauty Shop for mom, all specific to Ann Arbor.

My First Home. 

1022 Forest Ave. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Mummy & Daddy haven’t got a picture of my first home. It was just a small apartment & we only lived there 3 weeks after Mummy & I came home from hospital. This little squirrel used to visit us there & her name was Mrs. Molly Coddle. She used to eat peanuts & ginger cookies & took them from Mummy’s & Daddy’s hands. She climbed on Daddy’s knee & sat & ate peanuts there.

This is the charge for Cyn’s 9 day stay in hospital.

The Business of Leaving Ann Arbor.

Along with coping with a new baby, Cec and Cyn had to deal with the difficulties of moving- first to their temporary apartment, then with the trip to Ottawa.  The congratulatory telegrams and baby presents went to the old address-

the hospital bills had to be paid,

Costain account book for August, note largest expense- U. Hospital.

and goodbyes had to be made to friends.  

My First Outing

Went to see the Peters family. I was 2 1/2 weeks old, & Daddy & Mummy took me in the car to see Helen & Jody. They were having their afternoon nap & we waited for them to wake up until it was past my feeding time, but I was a good girl.

The Baby Arrives

When I first read the letters from spring 1951 a decade ago, containing the Costains’ plans to move to Ottawa in the summer, find a house, meet Carol off the plane August 6th, show off Cyn’s size, then find a doctor and hospital to have the baby in, I wondered whether I would ever know what had happened- because I knew that the baby beat the thesis and that I had been born in Ann Arbor!  But the last airform explains: Cec’s experiments were not complete, his professor Gordon advised he stay at the Ann Arbor lab until the end of September, and so Cyn and Cec decided to put off the Ottawa move for two months, finish the thesis, and have the baby in the University of Michigan hospital.  Relieved, they sent a telegram to Carol telling her not to book an air ticket to Ottawa, and followed up with the airmail letter explaining their decision.  And presumably she came to Michigan at the beginning of August, because there are no more letters.  

They had to find a temporary furnished apartment big enough to accommodate Carol and baby (Forest Ave.), and get their goods packed and shipped to Ottawa, while Cec continued working in his lab and writing his thesis until 4 in the morning, and Cyn typed his latest pages during the day.  But it all worked out- the baby was born and called Linda Carol; the thesis was finished, typed, and sent off to Cambridge; and at the age of six weeks, I accompanied my parents and grandmother in MacTavish over the border to Canada on the way to Ottawa.

The story that I was told suggests the journey was not all joy. They stayed overnight in a motel on the way, and in the middle of the night were awakened by SCREAMING from the baby.  Fumbling round in the dark to find out why, they discovered that she had wound her fingers in her shock of dark hair, yelled in pain, pulled harder, and screamed louder for rescue!  Untwining the fingers and settling the baby ensured that all were wide awake- possibly the schedule of 4-hourly feedings was disturbed.  

Eventually they arrived in Ottawa, Cec started his job in Dr. Herzberg’s Pure Physics Division of the National Research Council, the paychecks started, and they eventually settled in a duplex on Acacia Avenue in Ottawa.  Grannie stayed for months and we were all very happy.

The first baby gets the gorgeous baby clothes from friends and relatives; lots of snaps in the scrapbook of baby staring, yawning and sleeping; and a detailed account of their progress in a baby book!  There may not be letters to Carol (known mostly as Mummy, but now entitled Grannie as well) but there is documentation: bills from the hospital, telegrams from England, and stories in Cyn’s handwriting of the baby’s ‘First’s’- My First Outing, Christmas, and lists of presents, shots, teeth, and so on. I’ll include some of these thrilling vignettes from my first year.  However, since the second baby arrived 16 months later, only the first third of the baby book is filled in! Carol returned to the West Indies  before my first birthday, and the letters to Dearest Mummy started up after a year’s gap, in the 2nd trimester of Cyn’s second pregnancy. She might have been too busy for baby books, but not for the letters, so our story continues.

Cec’s Thesis: or, as Harry Kroto, the future Nobel Laureate, once called it- the bible.

July 8 1951

Cec and Cyn’s American work life achievements: a thesis and the baby present..

Sunday. 8th July. 1951

Dearest Mummy,

I know that you will have been having kittens ever since you got our cable, but I do hope that it won’t have upset you and your plans too much, and that you won’t be too worried. We are so sorry to be so upsetting at the last moment, but as I told you in my last letter, Cec has been having a wretched time with his work, and although he has been working so desperately these last months, things were just not coming right. His thesis does not actually have to be in Cambridge until the 30th September, but the writing was the least part of it as he could do that in Ottawa if necessary, – the results from his work were the really worrying part, as those he has to get down here where all his equipment is. So, on Thursday Cec saw Dr. S & had a long talk with him, & Gordon said that he thought Cec would have to take me up to Ottawa & get me settled there with you, & then come back here & finish his experimental work in A.A. Well- we talked about it, & instead I suggested that we stay here until the end of September & ask you to come here instead of Ottawa. In this way, Cec will waste no time, but can carry right on with his work; it will be less expensive; I will have no last minute rushing & travelling; and I will have the baby at the Hospital here, which I would like.

Once we made the decision, we both felt the most terrific sense of relief, because both of us have been worrying & wondering what we could do. Of course, there are snags- Cec will have to ask the National Research Council in Ottawa for leave for 2 months, & as he won’t be getting paid, we will be hard up- also we will have to find another flat here as this one is let, but the advantages are so enormous in our staying that we are both quite light-hearted! I am very happy about having the baby here, & Cec is relieved that I won’t have the long, tiring journey & all the big upheaval. Finding an apt. here on the spot will be less of a job than finding something in Ottawa, & altho’ it is a pity we have to leave 803 Granger, it would have been a squash & a bigger apt will be better. Gunborg dashed down straight away to say we could all come & live with them, but I don’t think we’ll do that!

Cec & I both got your letters yesterday, thank you very much. I’ll answer mine later in the week, & Cec says to tell you that he will see the Bank Manager tomorrow & send you the required letter- it is necessary for U.S. as well as Canada we think. If you concentrate on getting U.S. formalities ready we can complete Canadian ones here before Sept.- hope you don’t have too wild a rush with the change of plan & that you can change the flight O.K. Will send Bank letter tomorrow & write more details later. Don’t worry– we feel fine!! Lots & lots of love- Cyn.

July 4 1951

4th July, 1951

Dearest Mummy,

It is the 4th of July holiday today, but as I finished work on Friday it hasn’t meant a thing to me – sad! Cec has been up at the Lab. as usual all day, & I did the chores & this afternoon wrote letters – six of them! – so feel very virtuous! Then after dinner we went up to the Drug Store & had an ice cream cone & that was our celebration! Now Cec has gone back to the Lab. again & I’ve washed the dishes & made myself a “cuppa” & am writing to my Momee!

After I wrote to you last week nothing very exciting happened. Cec worked at the Lab. every evening & I didn’t do much, and at work was kept busy in finishing jobs and leaving everything ship shape! Charlie & Shirley & Lyons were all the way & things had been very quiet, then in the middle of the week the news came that the Center had got a new $100,000 contract, so that there would be lots of work & the whole place buzzing! Bob Peebles was cursing the fact that they hadn’t hired anyone in my place, because when they thought there wasn’t going to be much doing they’d said he could do my work, & now of course he was busy & there was no one trained to do my job! However, all I had to do was sit back! 

On Friday I felt quite sad at the thought of leaving everyone, & everyone was very nice & sad about my going! We had our last coffee together in the afternoon, & then when I got back to my office afterwards here was a lovely little parcel all prettily done up & a big envelope marked “Cynthia”. I was most taken aback as I really hadn’t expected anything as so many people have left the centre recently that everyone must be fed up with collections. Anyway, I trotted round to Jeanie’s office to have company over the opening & opened my parcel- and what do you think it was?

13 names on the card!

A perfectly darling little solid silver spoon & fork for the baby! I was so surprised & amazed I just squeaked & squealed because when you wrote to me about cleaning up my spoon. & fork & not letting anyone give me another, I thought to myself “Well, my goodness – who on earth would give me a silver spoon & fork!” & I just couldn’t think of anyone wealthy enough, & here the girls had collected together & done it! We’ll just have to save mine for the next baby, that’s all- this one obviously is going to be born with a silver spoon all ready to pop in its mouth! You will just love the sweet little things when you see them though – they are such a pretty shape & they are a “pattern” as you see in the ads. called Damask Rose” & have a little rose on the handle. The girls were very interested to know if it was my “silver pattern”, so I said we didn’t have such things in England! The other letter, I opened it afterwards, & got another huge surprise! It was from Bob Peebles telling me all sorts of nice things about what a good girl I’d been & telling me he had given me a subscription to a magazine “The Saturday Review of Literature” as a parting present. Wasn’t that nice of him?

How he came to choose that mag. was that he gets it himself, & whenever I could get a look at his weekly copy as it arrived, I did! He asked me one day if I liked it & I said “oh yes “because it is full of book reviews & about films & the theatre & so on- rather like the Sunday Times used to be – & I told him how we got nothing like that now as we thought we would wait until we got settled in Ottawa first. So he had remembered & got it for us – I thought it was so sweet of him & to write me such a nice letter too- particularly as Jeanie & I used to make fun of him about being such an old woman!! I spent the rest of the afternoon going around showing off my baby spoon & fork & everybody thought it was lovely! Cec was pleased too when he saw them!

That evening Jeanie & Al were having a little party and had invited us to come. Jeanie had her mother & younger sister staying with her all last week & the party was really for them – their home is in Connecticut & Jeanie’s mother is one of our interviewers there, so of course was interested in the Center & everyone there. They had been up & seen around earlier in the week, so I had met them before, & of course Jeanie had told me all about them beforehand too. We couldn’t stay very long at the party as Cec was going on to the Lab. to work, but we stayed a while & chatted, & then when we left Cec took me to the Sutherland’s & I stayed & had a gossip with Gunborg as Gordon was away- took my spoon & fork to show off too! Gunborg brought me home later, & we have arranged a shopping spree in Detroit to get nappies etc.!

On Sat. I had 2 more lovely surprises – or at least, not exactly surprises, but lovely all the same- your nice letter, and the second of the baby parcels- no nothing to pay! Thank you lots & lots for both of them – we enjoyed the letter immensely, & of course I loved the parcel. The little nighties are just so cute & Jeanie’s 2 little jackets are such tiny sweet little pets that I just fell for them at once. Now I am not working I hope to really get my letters off my conscience, but please tell her they arrived safely & that I will be writing. You said you knew I’d love them & I do – they are so cute & fat & little & quite different than any I’ve seen here – the double breasted one is my honey! The flannel square is a beauty & I never imagined anything so wonderfully made & embroidered when you told me about it- I just thought it would be a plain square piece of flannel. It is so elegant I can’t really think what we’ll use it for- to put over the cot do you think? Or to wrap the baby, or what? I have such a nice lot of things now – I’m going to pack them all in a case together & gloat!

Card accompanied a present of a Dry Duck bag!

I went downtown with my week’s pocket money on Sat. & bought myself a cotton petticoat! I have been wearing my 2 nylon ones, but in hot weather they stick & feel very hot – particularly over my fat tum! – so I now have a white cotton waist petticoat – I got a big size as I put it around my “waist” which is just below my bust & it is just right! I also got some stockings as I think they are dearer in Canada, & in a fit of madness also got a blouse made of sort of black cotton fish net! It is very alluring etc. but of course not with my present figure, but I thought I could always send it as a present if I decided it was too ultra for a mama!! 

On Monday I felt quite lonesome & lost all day with not going to work! I kept busy & did the chores & got the laundry ready & took it to the laundromat, & cleaned the kitchen windows & in the afternoon cleaned the tiles in the bathroom, but I still missed the girlish gossip at work! I had quite a sleep after lunch though, & again yesterday, so I am quickly falling into preggy ma habits! Today I sternly had a cup of tea to keep me awake & wrote letters! On Monday evening at about 11 o’clock I was just having my milk & about to go to bed when Cec arrived home. This was terribly early for him as recently it is more like 3 or 4 a.m., so I was expecting a scolding for still being up, but instead we had a little outing! Cec & Jean Levy (the Frenchman we once had to dinner) had both been working at the Lab. & were going out for a cup of coffee when they noticed there was quite a display of Northern Lights. That is quite unusual down here, & Jean had never seen them before so they hopped in the car & collected me & we drove about 2 miles out into the country away from the city lights & got a wonderful view. They were quite greenish coloured & very fascinating to watch. Afterwards we came back here & the boys had sandwiches & milk & then went back to the Lab. again.

Last night Cec took a few hours off & took me to the movies – the first time for over a month that we’ve been out! We went to see an Alford Hitchcock thriller called “Strangers on a Train” & it was very good & exciting although we missed a little bit at the beginning so were a little bit fogged for a while! We were greatly tickled because Alfred Hitchcock himself always appears somewhere in each of his films, and we spotted him in this one- a funny fat man struggling to get a great bass fiddle onto the train!

Now that seems to be just about all my news, so I’ll get back to your nice letter. It is so nice & cool tonight- last night was hot & close & all this morning seemed stifling, but now it has got very breezy & quite chilly, so I am delighted! I feel a hundred times more energetic when it is cooler, & I want to begin getting things cleaned up so that I can leave the apartment nice. Oh, I forgot to tell you- we have an unexpected guest for the weekend! Cec got a phone call from Washington last week & who should it be but Phil Hawkins from Baldock where Cec used to work. Do you remember Cec talking about him, & one Sunday he & his wife & little boy came to Cambridge & went on the river & then came home & had tea with us? Anyway, Phil is over here on Admiralty work & has to go to Chicago, so is flying here on Friday evening & spending the weekend with us. A good job it isn’t later when all our things are packed & sent away!

I was so glad that you had got my letter with the cheque in, & that it was O.K. about taking your money into Canada. I’m looking forward to hearing that you have got your passage all fixed & hope that the man has come back from his holiday by now! I was telling Cec that you were probably having collywobbles in your tummy already, although by now you should be a seasoned traveler! I was amused at your saying that your previous week’s letter had been quite an effort to write – you were very noble to write it then I think – I usually put it off if I feel like that! I did think it wasn’t quite up to your usual high standard, but we enjoyed it just same!

You were very optimistic over your good wishes that the thesis is all done & sent off. As you’ll gather from all my references to Cec working night and day, things haven’t been going very smoothly & the poor lad is having an awful time. He is working desperately against time at the Lab. to get results he wants before he leaves, so the writing is left for the moment, as he can do that afterwards if necessary, whereas he has to get results now. He has had all sorts of trouble & is so worried about it, but despite all that & hardly any sleep, he is so good to me, & keeps cheerful and is really wonderful. I am just hoping & hoping that he will have a run of good luck & get something good any day now.

I was glad that you spent a nice day with Bren out at Peggy’s & bet you had a whale of a gossip. I was delighted to hear Bren’s news about Arthur, & do hope that everything works out O.K. for them – it sounds just ideal really if it does come through, as Bren will be near enough to come home for visits & they will get their leaves in England too. I was most amused you & she coming to the conclusion that there must be something in the air at the Institute because of all the preggies! We are used to say that it was catching & the unmarried girls would get quite alarmed! I haven’t seen anything more of Milly or the baby lately, but will call around before we leave. Dawn saw her one day & said that she was fine & all over the fever, so that is a good thing. I don’t know whether she will ever dress Eric in that little dress or not- I should think the white & red would suit him, but it looked a bit “girly”! I wouldn’t be too worried about making her rompers if you are very busy – I think we are just about quits now really!! I was so glad to hear that my cute little patchwork is finished & look forward immensely to seeing it – hope the baby has as much fun over it as I’m going to!

Bren’s little blue knitted set must be sweet – this is going to be a lucky baby isn’t it?

I was glad to hear that you had been to see Mr. Verrall, & that he was up & about though not well yet. Hope he will soon be better.

I laughed when I read your apologies to Cec for forgetting his birthday! I thought you probably would as it never seems to really have registered with you, but I think he will forgive you! I was amused that our anniversary was to be a cotton one this year – we’ll have to get each other some curtains or something! Probably lots of cotton things we’ll be needing anyway- nappies for one!!

Re. the singing cake – before I forget! It is supposed to have stopped singing when you take it out, but I think for a sandwich-type-cake this makes it a bit dry. It is O.K. for a rich fruit cake but for any other I think you can take it out while it is still singing a little, & it is a moister cake – as long as it isn’t soft & bubbly in the middle still!!

I laughed about you laughing at me when we meet in Ottawa! I bet you do giggle too- Cec & I do on occasion when it suddenly hits us in the eye as it were! I have decided that my tummy is just about the size & shape of a good sized watermelon at the moment! My waist measurement (where it used to be!) is 36” & I weigh 131 lbs. so you can try to imagine me!!

Cec & I were most amused that you & Bren were pining to know our girl’s name! We just didn’t tell you at first because you were being coy over the names you thought of, & now Cec says you may as well wait another month!! We still have no boy’s name, but I tell Cec we can haggle over that all the time we’re driving to Ottawa!

Well, that seems to be about all now, so I’d better finish now & go to bed. Did I tell you we had given Len some money & asked him to have the Ottawa paper sent to us? Well, it is coming now & we are reading the ads. with great interest. There are quite a lot of furnished houses & apartments for the summer months, so we are thinking of writing to some of these & seeing what we can get, as it would be fine just to go to a furnished place & have a couple of months to look for somewhere permanent. There are masses of houses for sale quite reasonably, so we are quite hopeful.

Must stop- Cec has just come home for a sandwich as nowhere is open tonight – he sends his love and the baby sends a great kick which he just delivered on his Mama’s ribs!! 

Lots of love from