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


June 26 1951


June 26. Tuesday.

Dearest Mummy,

I thought I would just write an A.M. this week, as we have very little news after my epic of last week! Your letter of June 17th arrived on Sat. & we enjoyed it & say thank you very much! I had meant to write to the Aunties etc. & be quite energetic over the weekend, but it was hot, so all my energy oozed away & I hardly did anything except the usual weekend cleaning & cooking. Yesterday was hot, but with a nice cool breeze so I ironed all evening, but today is hot & humid again, darn it so I sit & mop my brow & get nothing done!

I went to the Clinic again yesterday- I go oftener now- & had yet another doctor – but nice! I had been a good girl & not gained too much weight & was quite OK. We talked a bit about the trip etc. & my getting a dr. in Ottawa & the clinic sending my “particulars” to him etc. but nothing much really, & I’m to go back in 2 weeks. I was most amused & pleased to hear of Patsy & Tony’s news, & hope that everything goes well for her. It has worked out very well that she will have the baby in England, & long enough there afterwards to get really strong again for the journey. I laughed at Bren’s remarks re. the “overtime” & couldn’t help thinking of Jeanie’s statement one time that she was so fertile a man had only to look at her & she got pregnant! It doesn’t seem that way with Patsy, or else Tony’s been having a hell of a long look!

Talking of babies, I went to see Milly & her son on Sat. morning & took her some flowers from the market. She went home on Wed. evening, but her Mother was down from Montreal, so she had good help, but poor lass she got a temperature (due to her breasts the Dr. said) & was very poorly for a few days after she got home & had to go to the hospital each day for penicillin shots. Dawn saw her yesterday & said she looked fine & I am glad as she looked a bit pale & tired when I saw her. The baby was awake & cute, but so funny with all this long dark hair- Milly had it parted at one side & said she was going to have to clip it over his ears! He is good she says, but of course the 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. feeds weren’t too popular with Mama & Papa!

I hope Bren has good news about the job from Arthur – she must be very fed up with the worry & indecision poor girl. Richard’s birthday party sounded very funny with all the little boys fighting etc.! I can just imagine them all waiting to bat & being most uncooperative! The tea sounded nice though! Was glad you had got a bit further with your money arrangements etc.& hope it is all OK & that you have definite news of your flight booking etc. We have telephoned moving companies & freight stations etc. but have made no commitments yet. (Plenty of etc.s!)

I hope your 2 new dresses are going to be smashing! You will put Cec & me in the shade, as we will probably be looking shabby as A. Moo says! However, Costain Jr. should do us all proud in all the new clothes! Looking forward to your next parcel – the first one was so nice! Laughed over the silver spoon etc.- nice of Doris to polish so hard for us, but guess the baby won’t be using it himself for a little while!! Always have a squash the end of these A.M.’s.  I still owe Edie a letter, & haven’t heard from my Father lately. Will write again soon. Cec is at the Lab. but would send love & a hug- Lots & lots from Cynnie+

June 19 1951

18 pages!

803 Granger Ave., Ann Arbor, Mich.

Tuesday 19th June

Dearest Mummy,

Ever since Sunday I have been saying to myself “I must begin a letter to Mummy”, but we have had such hot weather the last few days that I have felt quite limp & very unambitious. This evening it has to begun to rain & is better than it was yesterday, but it still feels quite close & humid, although that is probably partly because the apartment has not had time to cool down yet. I just have one more week of work after this one, and although it isn’t really bad & I feel quite all right, Cec and I were just saying we were glad that I was finishing soon & won’t have the really hottest weather to go through at work.

Now first of all, your lovely parcel arrived on Friday, and I am just thrilled with all the darling little things! We didn’t have to pay any duty & it arrived in perfect condition – not even opened I don’t think – and I had a wonderful time opening it up & looking at everything. Cec was there too, of course, & kept laughing at me squeaking & squealing over everything, but it is all so fascinating – just like playing at dolls again on a much more intriguing scale!! All the little nighties are beautiful – they look so much prettier than the pictures on the pattern I sent you, & the little lace edging & the embroidery make them look so sweet. The two little pink cotton ones are very pretty, but it is the little white ones which I think are so cute – I think the Costain baby is going to be the best dressed baby in the neighbourhood- thanks to its Granny’s beautiful sewing! You really have put a tremendous amount of work into them honey, & I do appreciate it – I think they are all lovely, & that you must have worked very hard not only to make them, but to do all the little extra touches which make them look so sweet. The little jacket from Auntie Trix is very cute too, & I can just imagine the little thing looking really elegant and its nighties & bed jacket! I will write & thank her this week and also Auntie Moo for all the perfectly sweet little booties, but in the meanwhile please say thank you to her for me. I think it was such a good idea to make different sizes, & I feel that the baby will be well-stocked for a long time & will have nice warm tootsies! Cec made me laugh because he kept worrying that everything looked so big, that our tiny baby would be swamped- little does he know how quickly the little horror will probably grow, & begin popping out of all its clothes!

I have left the little silk dress to the last thank you for, because I think it is quite the pièce de la résistance of the whole parcel – and I am just enchanted with it! I keep bringing it out to have another look and another gloat over it, and I think it is absolutely the darlingest little dress I ever saw. I can see what a job you must have had making it out of those small pieces, but your faggotting [This is an embroidery stitch used to attach one piece of material to another- to lengthen a hem, for example] is lovely and no one would ever know that it was done with any ulterior motive- Cec said “My— open-work seams!” when he saw them. The silk is really lovely, isn’t it, and it is amazing to think that it has lasted so long and is still so perfect, and I think that soft creamy colour is very pretty for a baby, don’t you? Altogether, it was a simply wonderful parcel, Mummy, & thank you very very much for everything – I am getting quite thrilled at the “layette” now – there seems to be quite a lot of different things, even though I haven’t got the nappies etc. I intend to buy here. I got 2 little cotton vests, but they are 2nd size & at the time they had none of the smaller size, so I decided to wait & get them when they came in. Another present which I just got on Monday was a big surprise. When I came into my office, here it was a dear little parcel all wrapped in baby paper on my desk, & inside was another sweet little pair of white booties. They were from a girl, Janet Jackson, who worked here, but although she gave me a lift sometimes before we had MacTavish I didn’t know her very well. Her husband graduated this month & got a job in Illinois, so she left about a fortnight ago & I gave 25¢ towards a present for her as we usually do, but never thought about her giving me anything, so it was a real surprise. She had been in A.A. over the weekend collecting the last of their things & had got one of the other girls to put the little parcel on my desk – I thought it was so sweet of her, and as they are bigger than Auntie Moo’s, they will just fit in nicely.

This little letter has lasted from Tuesday till today which is Thursday, but it is so much cooler & pleasanter that I feel a new woman! I didn’t get much written on Tuesday evening as I was tired, but brought the letter to work yesterday & got a little more done until Cec rang me up at 5:15 & said “Let’s go home now- my feets hurt!” so I picked up the letter & left, only to find later in the evening when I settled down to write that I had left both my pens behind, & Cec had left his at the Lab. too! I am writing this at work now – the place is very quiet, & as I only have a week more to go I am not killing myself!! Charlie has had to go to New Hampshire to see his father who is very ill; Shirley & Lyons are both on holiday; Sylvia has left as there was no work for her, & she has got a job in another university department (we wonder how she’ll get on!); so that leaves Bob Peebles & Jeanie & me to hold up the Field Office, so we aren’t straining any muscles! Jeanie had 3 wisdom teeth out yesterday so was away for the day (one pen ran dry!) [The ink colour switched from blue to black] but is back today with a slightly “mumpy” face but says she feels O.K. However, Bob & I were alone in our glory yesterday & as he says he’s leaving early today, Jeanie & I will be on the loose!

I got your lovely long letter dated June 10th on Sat. (16th) and just loved hearing about your weekend in the country. I am so glad that you had such a good time & enjoyed yourself so much – it sounds very beautiful and you certainly had a great time with all the people visiting & going out to tea with 8 children! I am glad that you are getting into practice singing babies to sleep – you’ll probably need to make great use of that accomplishment! I was very interested in hearing all about the peculiar, but beautiful Eileen, but curious to know if she is fair or dark or what. I was wondering if Jeanie is still as pretty as she used to be – of course I know all those girls will still be attractive when they are 100, because they have such charm, but Jeanie was so nice looking too. I was also wondering about Peggy- she was such a little podge when we knew her, then she got thin and we saw some snaps of her before she was married in which she looked very pretty, so how is she looking too! After all these enquiries about everyone’s looks, I might say that I think my face looks pretty (?!) much the same as when you last saw me! The last month or so, I think it has gotten thinner, but it may be that my hair is getting a little longer, & is due for another cutting off.

I was amused at your remarks re. Mrs. Young’s home being full of Doulton figures, and that she was rather Bella-ish!! It definitely doesn’t sound much in my line – with all my ideas and criticism of other people’s decorations, it’s going to be rather intriguing to see what kind of a place we have, isn’t it!! Cec & I agree very well on furnishings etc., so we shouldn’t find it too difficult – the only thing we disagree over is pictures! When we look in art shops we squabble over which pictures we think are nice, but doubtless we will be able to compromise when it comes to the point! Pictures will be about the last thing we’ll be worrying to get!

I hope that the patchwork is progressing satisfactorily, & that you’re not finding it too fiddly! I was delighted to know that Mrs. Johnny’s shawl had arrived safely, but I was so sorry that you had to pay duty on it, because probably if she had sent it straight to me I wouldn’t have had anything to pay as they seem to be very big-hearted over baby’s things. Talking of Customs & so on, reminds me that we wrote to the Canadian Consul in Detroit about what formalities etc. I would have to go through to enter Canada (remember all the x-rays etc. before) & we were so glad to get a letter back this week saying that there would be none as I had been in the U.S. for over a year. We were very pleased as that is one less thing to do. Will you have to have inoculations etc.?

You end up your letter with various queries etc. about our health, so I’ll answer those before going onto our doings. We are all fine really – the baby is getting more active all the time & pushes me like mad! I am quite O.K. & being a good girl & keeping my weight under control! I go to the Clinic on Monday & think that I have gained less than they said I could, so I am pleased. I had a letter from Anne , telling me all the Cambridge news- so much & poured out so breathlessly, that I’ll have to send you the letter – I can’t possibly repeat it. Anyway – she tells about 2 babies being born- one nearly 9lbs and one 9lbs 10ozs, so I think it is a good thing the Drs. are being strict with me- none of the babies I’ve heard of here haven’t been more than about 8lbs, at the most, & it must be so much easier than having a whopper! Her baby is doing fine, by the way, but she doesn’t mention Tadek getting a job or anything.

Cec has been keeping very well, I’m glad to say. He doesn’t get enough sleep of course, but he is looking well in spite of that & is cheerful & just as sweet as ever! He works all the time & things have been very discouraging in some ways, but he just goes on. He is still doing his experimental work as well as writing the thesis, & he will just keep plugging away at it. He takes great care of me all the time & helps me all he can, & we have decided that we will have our “good” things- china, glass & silver packed for us. We thought at first we might pack it all ourselves & hire a trailer & take it all with us, as we thought it would be so expensive to get it done for us, but we find that it is not so much after all, & as I couldn’t do too much, & Cec has plenty to do otherwise, it will be a saving in the end to have it done for us, so we are going to see about it this weekend. The time is coming so close, & we both have the kind of shivers about it, as we have such a lot to do! I expect you get the shivers too!!

Last week we seem to have such a lot of things happening – there really wasn’t much, but we lead such quiet lives now that it seemed extraordinary!! I told you that Milly’s baby was born on the Monday (11th), well – on Wednesday I went over to the hospital to see her. It is quite close to the Institute, & the visiting time is 3:30 – 4.0 so I just popped over. One of the other girls came with me, but they would only allow the husband & one other visitor & although Jerry wasn’t there, they still would only let one in, so Gilly was nice & let me go. Milly is in a room with another girl – it has a little bathroom, with shower etc. & right next door is a little nursery with the babies in. Milly was up the very day after the baby was born, (they get mamas up as soon as poss now) & can go in & see her baby anytime, & change its nappie herself etc. She was just up when I arrived & looking very well – pale, but not unduly so- & she took me at once to see the baby. She went in the nursery & wheeled him to the door & I looked through the glass & made comments!  He was so cute, with masses of black hair about 1 1/2 to 2” long! (Jerry is very dark). He wasn’t at all red, quite creamy coloured & quite a distinct tiny Jewish nose! He was asleep & had his little face all screwed up & looked so sweet. He isn’t a fat baby, but looks strong & healthy. I laughed at Milly because here she was, combing away at his hair & trying to put a parting in it & the little thing only 2 days old! Like a little chicken, his hair looked still dampish, & stuck out in tufts, & the combing had no effect, but Milly was just so thrilled & proud. We went into a sitting room then, (Milly was in her dressing gown) & sat & talked & she told me all! She had had this codol (don’t know how to spell it – spinal injection anyway) – & she said it was wonderful. She had a small cut about 1” long with stitches, but they do that to everyone now practically to prevent tearing, & she said it was a bit uncomfortable but not bad. She walked awkwardly of course, but I was surprised at how well she got around & how well she said she felt. She said it was nice to be up, because if you lay for long you got stiff & sore. She is just thrilled with the whole process of having a baby! Each moment is more wonderful than the next- seeing the baby – holding the baby – feeding the baby etc. – it’s all incredible & wonderful to Milly – it’s really sweet to hear her. She is probably going home today, so I’ll be going over to see her again.

Last week was a big Physics Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, & nearly all the Profs etc.went. Cec couldn’t go as he was too busy, but Gordon read a paper of Cec’s, so at least some of his work went. Leonard wrote that he was coming down with another fellow from Ottawa, so I sent him a note saying to call & see us, or stay with us if he had time, & sure enough, on Thursday evening when we came back from our week’s shopping, there was a little car in front of the house & here was Leonard & another English fellow we didn’t know called Peter. They had left the meeting early, so were sooner than we expected, but it didn’t matter. They came in & we had cool drinks & talked (physics, mostly!) & at about 10 or 10:30 I cooked them bacon & eggs & then I left them all the sheets, pillows etc. & went to bed about 12 leaving them still talking! They made up the sofa bed in the sitting room & shared it & found it quite comfortable. Next morning I got up and had breakfast, then woke Cec, & left everything ready for them to get their own breakfast & I trotted off to work! I met them all at noon, & we had lunch at a nice place, & the two fellows paid for Cec & me! Then Peter left to go & see friends in Detroit & Leonard stayed with us till the next day, when he went back to Ottawa by bus. He wanted to shop, so Cec went back to work, & as I was a bit tired (& anyway I still had 2 days of sick leave left!) I called up & told them I wasn’t coming into work that afternoon. I had a bit of a rest, then tidied up & prepared dinner & had myself a cup of tea! The next day was Cec’s birthday & we were having a few people in to a buffet supper you know, so I wanted to get a few things ready if I could, & so I boned my chicken!! All in one piece, & then stuffed it with sausage & stuffing, rolled it up in a cloth & boiled it gently for about 1 1/2 hours then I took it out, put it in a clean cloth & pressed it between two plates. [Chicken Galantine] I was glad to get that done & out of the way, as it was the biggest thing to do.

After dinner (I fed Leonard stuffed heart, baked potatoes, mixed veg, then strawberries & cream) Cec was going back to the Lab. & the idea was that he would leave Len & me at Gunborg’s & pick us up on his way home. However, when I heard that he wouldn’t be ready to come home till about 11 o’clock I said I’d stay at home & go to bed early & Cec thought it was a good idea, so he took Len to Gunborg’s alone. I had asked Len about Connie of course, & from what he said I think she has been pretty much like me & has had an easy enough time- but being Connie probably grouched a bit! She wasn’t sick at all – just had nausea at Christmas (as we both did!) & didn’t seem to have the tiredness I did, but of course she probably had more opportunity to rest. She gets a bit of backache now, but what can you expect! Most of her baby things have been sent from England from parents, so she is all set.

On Sat. we were up quite early & had breakfast & took Len to his bus at 9:20. Then Cec & I went to the Farmer’s Market as we were in town & then came home & Cec got his birthday presents!! I gave him a compass for the car, which he had been wanting badly; a tie clip to keep his tie from hanging in his soup; a duster for MacTavish!; some plastic ice cube holders- very cunning- we have been wanting some; & some swizzle stick things we have been wanting too!! And a funny card of course!! He had fun with them all & put his compass on MacTavish, & then went to the Lab. while I cleaned the apartment. After lunch, Cec went to work again & I fixed the buffet supper. We had the boned chicken which I glazed & decorated – stuffed eggs- tomatoes cut in waterlily shapes on lettuce & watercress- my hors d’oeuvres dish with radishes, Sp. onions, sweet pickles, cucumber, pickled beets & olives- hot rolls – then strawberry tartlets with whipped cream & coffee. We made a bowl of punch with burgundy & fruit juices & ice & served it before & during supper & it was very cool & nice. Oh, I forgot- we had potatoes au gratin too- it was the one hot dish besides the rolls.

The guests were to come at 7, but I was delighted when they were late! Mary Jo & Pete came & Cec went & collected Jacqueline & Bill Baker- the latter are a very nice couple- we liked them both. We gave them punch & then they all helped themselves to the food which I had set out on the table on the landing, & they ate in the sitting room on their knees or on the card table etc. Everyone seemed to enjoy it all very much & had 2nd helpings etc. & Cec & Mary Jo raved about the chicken particularly, so I was pleased! We cleared & stacked the dishes & I rinsed them off, so it was all nice & tidy, then we just sat & chatted & later on Gunborg & Gordon came in after the theatre & had a drink & then they all left about 12 o’clock. We all enjoyed it, I think & Cec & I felt that it was the nearest we’d come to having a party in Ann Arbor, but believe me- 6 people eating in our sitting room & it was full!!

At home now.[different coloured ink!]

Next day- Sunday – of course we slept late, and I, at any rate, had a lazy day! It was Father’s Day, so I had a funny card for Cec & a little present of a propelling pencil & he didn’t have to do any chores all day!! He went to the Lab. & worked, & as I say, I didn’t do much as we ate party leftovers! We took a trip to the Sutherlands in the afternoon just for a minute, as they have got a puppy! Grunberg took the children to see the new County Humane Society Animal Shelter which has just been built & is apparently the last word, & they came back with this little puppy! It is black- 1/2 Cocker & 1/2 dachshund, but at the moment he just looks roly-poly puppy & so sweet! He staggers about & his little fat tum weighs him down & he slithers to one side! He is very cuddly & affectionate, & of course the girls are crazy about him – & Gunborg is just as bad!

When Cec brought me back home, Mrs. Kaufman called me in to meet her sister & a friend who were there.  Sat. was Commencement Day for the University & Mrs. K.’s younger daughter & her husband were both graduating – Fay got her M.A. & Morris his M.D.- so the K.’s had had lots of excitement & quite a big party, & the sister etc. were the remains! Fay & Morris are going to live in Detroit now, as Morris is doing his internship at one of the hospitals there, so Mrs. K is quite sad as both her daughters will have left A.A. She had the other daughter’s 2 little boys to look after when I was there on the Sunday – they are about 1 yr. & 2 yrs. old, I think – & the sister (unmarried!) I thought was such a silly woman! Every single thing the kids did she had to interrupt & correct or tell Mrs. K. to see what they were doing, so that she wore out herself, Mrs. K, the boys & even the other lady & myself! We never got a chance to talk as she was rushing around after them all the time, & of course they were just the centre of attention, & really it wasn’t their fault as they were good little boys.

It was hot on Sunday & apart from visiting I didn’t do anything, but had a good rest. I don’t remember if I told you that our apartment is let to a fellow in the Physics Dept. called Lewison. Cec doesn’t know him well, but he seems a nice chap & when he heard we were leaving he asked Cec about the flat as he is getting married in Aug. Cec told him to come over one evening, which he did, & he saw Mr. K. & made arrangements. His fiancé was away at college, so he asked if he could bring his Mama-in-law-to-be to see it, so of course we said yes, & then last week the girl came home & he brought her over on Monday evening, so we have had a thorough inspection & everyone seemed pleased! He is a nice jolly young man & obviously very much in love with the girl, whereas she took it all quite calmly & cooly, as if it were all her due in a very American-wife-ish way! Cec says he hopes they’ll enjoy our squeaky bed!! Poor newly-weds!

I must stop now, as Cec is at the Lab. & I promised him I’d be in bed at 10:30- good, aren’t I?!! I have done some typing for him too, so I have done my duty!!

Hope you got your passage fixed up O.K. without any bother – will write again soon, although don’t see that I’ll have any news!! Love to A. Moo & thank you all again for my lovely parcel.

                A big hug & lots of love from us all to our Grandmummy-


P. S. What do you know? The latest person to come to the West Indies is a great friend of yours! Anne tells me Jessie Fisher has a job in Jamaica & sails in Aug.!! I wonder if she’ll find that a happy hunting ground! Rosemary & Sheila are both married. 

P.P.S. Forgot to say that we laughed at the cutting from “Tell me Doctor” about the girl feeling as if she had quintuplets inside. I feel as if I had hundreds sometimes – all squirming! Also I feel that I look immense! Cec looks at me now & shakes his head & says “Yes, I really think you’re going to have a baby, Cynnie!”

June 10 1951

This letter has been chewed upon by St Vincent insects- pinholes right through!

Sunday, June 10th

Dearest Mummy,

Thank you so much for your nice letter which came yesterday – quite my Saturday treat now! It was mailed on June 1, so wasn’t very long in coming. You haven’t got many blue-pencilled remarks this time, but I will answer what there are later, & I also went through some of your old letters this afternoon, & red-pencilled (!) places to answer so will do that also!

Cec went up to the Lab. this afternoon, & has gone again now- after dinner – but I have been quite busy. We slept till nearly noon, of course – it is Cec’s one chance to catch up on his late nights during the week, & I was late late last night too, so was just as sleepy as he was this morning! You would have laughed at us at breakfast time. Yesterday I was in town in the afternoon & happened to be near a special shop which goes in for foreign delicacies & also fish. We had been talking about missing kippers the other day, & although we’d had tinned ones, they weren’t the same, so I went into the shop & sure enough they had kippers & I bought some as a treat for us this morning! So up we got & on opening the package I found two huge kippers (1/2 lb. each!) & I grilled them & they smelled very kippery & good! Then we began to eat them, & after a few mouthfuls we both said they didn’t taste like English kippers, & after we’d waded about 1/2 way through, we both confessed we didn’t like them! They had a very odd flavour- as if they had been cured in some funny way,- & they were very oily – So we didn’t enjoy our kippers much! Cec decided he wanted an egg to take the taste away, so he fried one & put it on a slice of toast & tried to eat it in his hand. I giggled so at his egg dripping through holes in the toast, that I leant forward & put my elbow in my saucer & spilled tea all over the table & myself – so you can see we had a very hilarious & messy time!!

This afternoon I baked a cake. After the Dr. said my weight was O.K. last week, I wanted to come right home & bake a chocolate cake, but Cec wouldn’t let me! However, it is his birthday next Sat. & we are having Pete & Mary Jo to dinner & a couple from Saskatoon- Bill Baker & his wife Jacqueline. Bill is head of the Agricultural Dept. at the University in Sask. (I met him when we were up last summer) & is down in A.A. for about a year, & Cec ran into him one day by accident, & since then we’ve met him and his wife once or twice. We asked Gordon & Gunborg to come to dinner too, but they have tickets for the theatre, so will just come in for a drink afterwards. Anywayas we are having the dinner on Cec’s birthday, I made his cake this weekend – just a white cake with lots of chocolate icing! The oven is tilted slightly though, so my cake is lopsided, but otherwise looks good! I also made a mince pie, as poor Cec hasn’t had any pies or puddings for ages, and boned & stuffed a breast of veal for dinner. I was very pleased with myself as it only cost 73¢ & the usual roast of beef is $2 or over for just a small piece & altho’ pork is cheaper, it isn’t as cheap as 73¢!!

You will probably be suspecting me of gaining weight again by leaps & bounds with cooking all these things, but Cec has made me a graph which we have on the bathroom wall, & each morning I weigh & mark it.  It is entitled “Cyn’s Giraffe” & is like this

The red line is what I should gain, & the humpy back line is how I did gain! At the moment I am below the red line & haven’t gained any since Mon. so am pleased with myself!

Cyn’s Giraffe- she put the graph in the scrapbook later- with both of us on it!

Actually I am having to be good as I am taught a lesson if I’m not! On Thursday Millie went to the Clinic & came into the office afterwards – it was the day the baby was due, but there were no signs, & as it also was Dawn’s last day at work before going on holiday, we decided to go out for coffee to celebrate. We went to a place nearby & as a real treat I had coffee & a chocolate iced doughnut & had a good time, & we enjoyed ourselves. Then back at the office I began to get indigestion, & by the time I got home for lunch I just sicked it all up!! I felt fine then, but I was so annoyed! On Friday afternoon, the Institute had their annual picnic – I didn’t go & as it was rather a chilly grey day, neither did a lot of other people, but the office closed around 3 o’clock & I came home & had a cup of tea & 2 slices of toast & raspberry jelly & I’m darned if the same thing didn’t happen – except this time I just had indigestion & wasn’t sick! Anyway, I’ve decided it’s just no good me trying to give myself a treat!!

By the way- Mary Jo told me over the phone when I called to invite her & Pete to dinner that she is expecting another baby in September. They already have 2 little girls- Jody & Helen- the latter 18 months & Jody about 3 I think, & they are an awfully nice family. Cec likes Pete very much – he is a big, quiet fellow, but very amusing, & Mary Jo is very nice. The little girls aren’t pretty, but they are very cute & Jody is quite a little chatterbox & most attached to Cec. I expect they’ll be hoping for a boy this time. I am wondering if Millie’s baby has come yet- the Dr. said it could be anytime, & she was hoping it would be the weekend while Jerry was home & could take her to the hospital. I went around to see her on Thurs. evening & saw all her little things – she really hasn’t much at all-just nighties & nappies mostly, & has borrowed a crib. When she left work her Dept. gave her a baby scale which is nice to have. Her mother is coming down from Montreal when they send the wire, so she is bringing things from the family & friends up there.

I told you Dawn was going on holiday – well, actually, Burt has finished his exams so they are visiting their respective families & Burt is also having interviews for jobs, so they are combining work & pleasure. He is an engineering lawyer & is through now but hasn’t got a job as yet. Millie’s Jerry is also through now – a teacher – & has got a job in Long Island & they are very pleased, as it is a good one & a nice new little town, (not so far out as Long Beach) & as Jerry’s people live in N.Y. so it suits them fine. They are spending the summer here though, as Jerry has a temporary job. It is very queer at work now with both Dawn & Milly gone, & also Shirley from the Field Office is going on holiday & Lyons has already gone, so the place seems empty. Another thing is that Sylvia is leaving too- she has hardly done any work for the past while, & last week Charlie told her that as there was no more work she had better go to some other job, so she is leaving the Institute. We are wondering how on earth she will get on, as she is so careless & undependable, & everyone here was nice & kind to her, but we don’t suppose they will be everywhere. My job will be empty of course at the end of the month, but she was never suggested for it – she’s been in the same room with me for nearly a year, but I don’t think she has any idea of what I do!

I meant to tell you that on Sat.when I went shopping in town (for my hubby’s birthday present- couldn’t find what I wanted) I was in Woolies & saw “catnip mice”, so of course got one for Spivvy & we are going to send it to him! It is a little grey cloth mouse with a pink wool tail & eyes & a funny smell, but we hope he’ll like it!

Yesterday evening I went with Ann Sutherland to the theatre to see “Mary Rose” by Barrie. Gordon & Gunborg have tickets to a series of plays which are on for about 6 weeks, & when they heard I hadn’t seen “Mary Rose” they pressed me to take Ann, as Gunborg had seen it twice & Gordon was very busy. I wasn’t too keen, as I’d read the play long ago at school, but went anyway & Anne thought it was lovely! I thought the acting was poor, & didn’t enjoy it much, but of course didn’t say so! 

I don’t remember if I ever told you much about Amy’s parcel – it was really lovely & no duty to pay. The pram cover is very thick & warm & quite big enough for a cot cover if you wanted- it is white, & the two little jackets, one is pink (quite bright!) & one is blue & they are a very cute pattern. They are a small size too, which is nice, as the ones I made are bigger & so is yours. Did I tell you I finally made & smocked Millie’s baby dress two weekends ago? I sewed & sewed & got it done & it looked very sweet, but it was a wretched pattern & made the smocking very difficult. It was a fine white cotton material & I smocked in red, but it came very big – nine months- one year size I should think – so if it’s a little boy Millie will just have to put it by! All the girls at work raved about it- none of them seem to do hand sewing at all- they machine & knit & crochet, but my sewing a dress by hand was something extraordinary! I have cut out one the same for me, but as it is such a big size & I’m so busy anyway, I’ve decided to leave it for the time being. Millie made & gave me such a nice thing – a bathing apron made out of Turkish towelling. I thought it was such a good idea & so useful- it has big pockets & is green & has a rick-rack trimming- wasn’t that nice of her?

As you will see, I am enclosing the cheque for £50, & hope that it will be enough- if not I can let you have more quite easily. You ask if U.S. dollars are O.K. in Canada & Cec says to tell you Yes – very much so! We both giggled at the thought of you smuggling dollars about the place of course, & Cec says to tell you we’ll probably have to bail you out, but I hope it is O.K. I am glad that you have booked your passage for the 6th – don’t worry, we’ll have a bed of some sort for you, some where – we’re just not sure where at the moment! Tell me how the plane goes after Barbados – where do you stop & how long does it take? We will be waiting at the airport at Ottawa for you, & you will get such a surprise at your little fat daughter! No matter how much you imagine me pregnant, I’m sure the actual sight will be a shock!!

I hope that you had a lovely weekend with the Fraser’s & enjoyed being out in the country. It was a pity Auntie Moo couldn’t go too, but when you are away she will probably enjoy visiting even more, & it wouldn’t be much fun for her if she was worrying about her earphone.

I am glad that you got my long letter- this looks as if it might be a rival to the 17 page effort, but I don’t know why except that I seem to be very hare-brained & skip from subject to subject! I am so excited about the parcels of baby clothes & hope they come quickly, as I am longing to see them. Millie had all little bought nighties & I thought how much nicer mine would be! I am longing to see the little silk dress especially & all your faggotting! I’m sure it will be cute. I felt for Jeanie knitting a wrong side for the little cardigan – I would do just the same sort of thing! I will write to her & tell her how good it is of her to knit for me. I hope when Bren gets back that she will feel better for the change, & that her teeth will be all O.K. Poor Jeanie must be in a flat spin about Hazell Ann & the wild Barbadians! It seems kind of incredible to think of Jean as a worried Mama, when really it doesn’t seem so long since she was at school & probably up to girlish tricks! Not that I think she would do the equivalent of nipping into dormitories, but just tricks in general!! Cec was very amused to hear that Barbadians were a wild lot even in your day!

We were both shattered at your suggestion for a boy’s name for us! Hercules Horatio – poor little horror! We have given it up for the time being as we have other things to think of! Cec is writing away, & I typed most evenings last week & have caught up now, so can rest as Cec is working at the Lab. and has nothing new for me. I can’t say your suggestion of Sidney really thrills me – Sid- ugh! & your 4 girl’s names aren’t the top of our popularity list either!! Aren’t we horrid? Actually, I think you’ll like our girl’s name, which is all settled, but it’s these boys that are the difficulty! 

Was glad to hear about Dottie, although from your account of her letter she seems to have had sad news about other people. I haven’t heard from N/C for a while, as I was a long time in writing & then wrote to them all at once. I’m glad Dottie is going to Mary & Bill for Race Week – she always enjoys going there, & I hope it’s nice weather.

Poor little Mrs. Johnny sending the shawl to you – I hope it doesn’t take too long to arrive & that you don’t have a huge duty. I haven’t heard anything from her – should I write & say thank you now, or wait till you get it or till I see it or what? It will depend on whether it takes a long time to get to you, as to whether you will have time to post it to me or will have to bring it with you.

You ask what “Decoration Day is for- well “Memorial Day” is another name for it, & it began as a memorial day for the soldiers in the Civil War, & people used to go & decorate their graves. Now it is supposed to be for all soldiers killed in battle, I think, but it is just a holiday mainly although they do decorate various places with flowers etc.


Well – Millie did have her baby!! At 2 o’clock this afternoon – a boy! He weighed 7 lbs. 10 ozs. & is 20” long and has lots of black hair! Jerry rang me up at work & told me & he was so excited, & I got wildly excited too & we practically squealed at each other over the phone! Then I rushed around telling everyone & Charlie said you’d have thought it was my baby, I was so thrilled! Apparently, Jerry took her to the Hospital on Friday evening, but they sent her home on Sat. morning as it was false labour, but she had pains off & on all weekend. Then at 5 a.m. this morning he took her in again & at the Univ. hospital they let the fathers stay with the mothers until they actually go to the delivery room, so he stayed at the hospital. I can go & see her any afternoon, but will wait & go on Wed. as I expect she will need a rest tomorrow. The baby is to be Eric – I don’t like that either!! There are 5 of us preggies left at work now- 3 have produced & another is about to! The men are doing pretty well too, as last week 3 of them had babies & brought round chocolates & cigars! Prolific crowd!!

You mentioned Connie- we have heard no more, but may see Leonard this week. There is a big Physics Meeting in Columbus, Ohio this week & all the Physics Dept. here & from all over the U.S. & Canada are going. Gordon is giving a paper of Cec’s, as Cec is too busy to go, but isn’t my husband clever? Leonard is driving down with another English fellow from Ottawa while Connie stays with his wife who has 2 little girls, & we may see the 2 men for a little while on their way back, so should collect the gossip then!

I am intrigued to know how you are getting on with “our” little patchwork quilt- I think it will be just sweet! Do you think babies need sheets? I always vaguely thought you just bundled them up in blankets! Anyway, I’ll be doing my shopping in Ottawa, so needn’t worry yet!

What news of Patsy lately? You haven’t mentioned her for a long time, except a while ago you said she seemed depressed. Apparently no news of a family for her yet. Also you haven’t said how Percy Verrall is getting on- I hope he is better now. Has Uncle Fred made up his mind to sell Fernside to the nuns yet? It seems a pity after having it so long, but as you say it is very big for him by himself. I was glad the dog bite wasn’t much after all.

I went to try & get your Felt for Feet on Sat. but couldn’t get it at the places I tried. I’ll go back to the place I got it before during the week & will send it off then.

You asked about my Father in one letter, & I meant to tell you I did have a letter from him about the baby. He was quite pleasant about it, – not excited, you know, but quite nice, & suggested some names etc. Also a few weeks ago I got a book from him- a historical novel about Bury St. Edmunds which he had told me about, & it suddenly arrived with no name inside or anything. I wrote & thanked him but haven’t heard since.

Must stop now, as Cec says it is way past my bedtime – glad you are having fun with your bathing suit, & hope you have been to the Club again with Miss M’s man!! She sounds a pain-in-the-neck! Too- too- for words! Cec sends love & so does Junior & a big kick! 

                          Lots and lots from 


                                                       Me too. Cec

I want to add a note or two commenting on Cyn and Cec’s life in Ann Arbor at this time. When she describes the ‘Prolific crowd’ she works with, 5 pregnant women and 3 proud fathers all in the same Institute, you realize how young they all are and how transitory their working life there is- the student husbands have finished their degrees and, like Cyn and Cec, are moving on with (no longer working) wives and babies, to homes and jobs elsewhere. The difference was that Cyn, pregnant at 36, was probably a decade or so older than her colleagues, although it’s possible that no one knew this. Cec was 7 years younger than she was, and as a PhD. student, fitted in to the age group but Cyn only occasionally mentions a man who was a veteran like Cec. Her war years had been a holding pattern in her life, and now it is fun to read of her obvious delight in her marriage, baby, and future home!

June 4 1951

June 4th 1951

Dearest Mummy,

After a hot damp humid weekend, it has been quite cold and grey today – everyone has been grumbling about the horrid cold day but am I glad! Over the weekend I felt so tired & weary with the heat & damp, & now it is cool again I am once more full of cheer.

Another reason I am full of cheer is that I went to the Clinic this morning & had yet another Dr., but he was one Millie had had often & she liked him, & I thought he was so nice too. I lost 1 1/2 lbs in weight over the 5 weeks & he said I was O.K. now & needn’t be so careful anymore – could even have an odd ice cream cone without feeling guilty, so I was most pleased! He said definitely it is just one baby and it is doing fine! So you will be relieved. I told him all my girlish troubles of swollen feet on hot days etc. & he reassured me & was so friendly & jolly I came away feeling very satisfied with me & him & everyone! I am to go back in 3 week’s time, so I am stepping up the pace!

We got your letter written on 27th May on Sat., & thank you so much for it – although you certainly seemed “all of a do” when you wrote it, & fussed at us!! You must remember we are submerged in thesises & work & typing thesises etc. & will have to let other things wait till we get that out of the way. Babies? Pooh! We have to produce a thesis first! I will scum through your letter & answer the vital questions, so that you won’t accuse me of procrastinating anymore (!) & will answer the rest later. About booking your passage, Aug. 6th should be fine- by then we should have a place for you to sleep. Of course we won’t rush & buy a house the minute we get to Ottawa – we’ll rent something – but we hope to buy as soon as we can, when we find something suitable. We can’t be anything except vague until we get there & see. I asked the Dr. about getting in touch with the Ottawa Hospital & he said it was not necessary. To wait until I get there & get a doctor & he will make arrangements & the hospital here will send him all my records. He says it will be much the best, & there is no need to worry about being late and booking at the Hospital. You will have heard from me by now re. the baby clothes & that I think to send them here. Amy’s came safely with no duty (they are lovely- the cover big & warm & the 2 little jackets very cute) & I don’t see that there is anything to worry about. If by any chance they are late Mrs. Kaufman will send them onto us – no need to bother about Gunborg. The only address we have in Ottawa is the bank:- The Bank of Nova Scotia, Ottawa, Ontario.- as Cec won’t be at work till Aug. there’s not much point in giving you that address. About the layette we are not getting anything here at all, except nappies & vests, as there is no reason for us to load ourselves up with more luggage etc. than we already have. We will get them in Ottawa when we know what accommodation we will have, for one thing. Nappies etc. are cotton, so cheaper here, & I will get them in Detroit before we leave.

A baby basket would be sweet if you have the time to get it done & it isn’t too bulky to bring. I haven’t seen any over here so can’t tell you the price – the nurse just had an enamel dish with the things in so perhaps that is what they use. Anyway, I haven’t really looked in any baby departments in any stores at all – there is only about one in A.A. & they are v. expensive & we haven’t had time to go shopping in Detroit. You ask about whether we want a boy or a girl – we don’t care a bit, altho’ we thought one of each would be nice if we had twins! However, we’ll try to achieve both in time!

Bedtime & Cec is shooing me off- he’s working & I’ve been typing for him – Lots of love from us all – Cyn & Cec.

Love the exasperated tone that creeps into Cyn’s answers after the ‘full of cheer’ mood of the beginning- seems very familiar somehow…