November 1 1956

1st Nov. 1956.

Dearest Mummy,
Thank you so much for your last letter of 26th Oct.! It came so quickly & in it you answered my last which had reached you quickly, so it was really up-to-date, but I’m afraid I haven’t done so well this time. It was funny because just a day or two earlier I had got one of yours postmarked August 27 on which you had put “Cardinal Heights” and it had been wandering all over – in it you told me all sorts of things, such as A.Trixie leaving, & getting the pictures & book etc. which I had been in a fog about. By the way, you were in rather a fog too- it is Lu’s mother who has had her leg amputated, not Phyl’s – Mrs. Wright is fine & always asks after you when I see her. We are going out to Pete & Lu’s for dinner tomorrow evening.
You will have A. Muriel safely home now & I am sure that you won’t have finished talking over all the news yet! I am going to write her a rather late birthday note. I got a letter from U. Fred before he went into hospital & he said when he came out (in four or five days he thought) he would be able to make a plan for the rest of his time & would let us know. I can’t say I’m panting with eagerness to see Mrs. Moll, but if she turns up I guess we can stand it! The thing I’m recall most vividly about her is Jean’s story of Mrs. M’s indecent exposure adventure in the London blackout! Did A. Muriel get a big surprise with the breakfast room? It sounds very nice. We use a roller for the walls – we got it back from Margie & Cy after 3 years! We haven’t done any more painting as the weather has been wonderful & Cec has been gardening furiously. He dug out all that bulb bed & he & Ken got chicken manure from the farm & Cec dug it into the whole garden & then we re-planted the bulbs & split up all the lilies, irises etc. & re-planted them. It was a big job as you can imagine & poor Cec disliked it intensely! Last weekend we began on storm windows so I don’t know when the painting will get done!
I have been very busy sewing as Halloween was a Big Excitement this year. Lindy got lots of fun out of it at school of course & they had a little party there yesterday. She wanted to be an Indian lady like Mrs. Narasimham (the wife of our Indian Fellow) as Mrs. N. is a lovely girl & wears beautiful saris of gorgeous colours, so of course this entrances Lindy. I got a remnant of a pretty golden yellow silky stuff & do you remember that old silk blouse of mine, brownish with horses on? I dyed it a pretty poppy red & made a little blouse for her & then we visited Mrs. N. & she showed me how to put on a sari. I fixed Lindy’s hair & put on earrings etc. & she looked very cute – (but not very Indian!) & she was thrilled! Charlie wanted to be a clown & I made him a darling little clown suit with a ruff & a big pointed hat & lipstick on his nose & he looked a honey! I took them & Jimmy (dressed as a lady) & Pat Tomlinson with Joanne & Susan (as witches) on the rounds last night & they came home with baskets of apples & candy! Today Janek had a birthday party & the children went in Halloween costume & had a lovely time. I was so thrilled – Charlie actually went without me & was as good as gold & joined in all the games! The first time! Cec is going to take their pictures on Sat. if it is fine in their costumes.

We just got a card from Joan & Ray & they have a son – Christopher. Otherwise no news from anyone. Must stop my fingers can’t write so small any longer anyway! xxx from the children. Nicki is at the vet’s – we get her tomorrow & she’ll no longer be “she” poor little thing! Lots of love Cyn
Written upside down on the outside: Hope you’re well again.

The weather must have been bad on the weekend because no pictures of those costumes exist, although the little silk blouse and the clown costume lived on in the dress-up box for years. It has always bothered me that Cyn took such care with birthday cakes and Hallowe’en costumes but so few pictures made it into the scrapbooks- women’s work so ephemeral, and seldom recorded for posterity!

April 17 1955

April was the birthday month for the Ewings- Cyn at the beginning of the month and Carol at the end. This letter is the only one from the spring of 1955 surviving, but luckily it deals, not only with the birthdays, but also with arrangements for Carol’s summer visit, and Cec’s business trip to New York, so there is some indication of what’s going on.

17th April. 1955.
Dearest Mummy,
I certainly hope that my birthday parcel reaches you in time, as I know for sure this will be late! I can’t think how things crept up on me so, except that so much seems to have been happening. Anyway, we all send our dearest love & best wishes for the 22nd even if we are very late about it. One reason I am late is that all last week I was sure your birthday parcel to me would arrive as your Bequia P.C.s to the children came just before Easter, (they loved them by the way & each knew their own & had me read them over & over & show them your window etc.), so each day I put off, thinking it would surely come tomorrow, but no, the Customs must be having a little sit on it.

Thank you so much for all your letters – particularly the last one giving definite details of your visit! We are all so delighted & think it sounds perfect. I intend to write & answer your letters properly later this week, but one thing- Cec & I were talking over your plan of A. Ettie coming & we would just love to have her, but we both think it would perhaps be better for you to come by yourself first. The reason being that the children are looking forward to & expecting you & if you come by yourself I think that in a day they would just be as used to you & have accepted you as if you’d always been here, but if there are 2 strange ladies I think they will be more inclined to be shy & take much longer to get over it. Don’t you think that A. Ettie & Monie might come up together after you’ve been with us a few weeks? They could drive up if they liked & the three of you could go a few longer jaunts than we could do with the children & it would be fun. Anyway we’d love to have both Monie & A.Ettie – together or singly – but we just thought that you coming by yourself at first would be nicer for the children.

Before I use up all the space, I must tell you our doings, as we have been busy! The Appleyards came as I told you & it was very nice. They arrived Mon. 5:30 p.m., Ray left at 11p.m. & came back 8 a.m. Thurs. & they all left at 4:30 p.m. Thurs. The house seemed very full of small children! But we got on fine & on Wed. Cec came home at noon & Joan & I went down town & shopped (a new hat for her etc.!) On the Thurs. Claire came for the last time (you can imagine with all of us there!) & I am now saving up for my sewing machine! On Friday Teddy Blachut babysat for us & we went & had dinner with June & George – leaving to live in Montreal at the end of this month.

Easter was lovely- our first spring weather. I went to early Church & we had the Douglasses & children to tea. On Tues. I did a huge wash & tried to catch up on my chores & on Thursday had a phone call from Montreal – Millie Shapiro who worked with me in A. A. & had a baby boy 2 mths before Linda. She was in M’al with her parents & she & Jerry & Eric drove through for the day leaving baby boy with Grannie! They arrived about 2 & left at 8 & I tried to show them Ottawa in pouring rain & fog!! Fun seeing her. That night Linda sicked up all over the bathroom floor at 1:30 a.m. but is fine again now!

Yesterday we bought a new dining table & chairs for the important guests we expect this summer & feel v. thrilled! This evening at 7 Cec left for New York & tomorrow I’ll begin spring cleaning. Whoops!! Busy did I say? Will really write properly in a few days. xxx & hugs from Linda & Charlie & lots of love from us all – Cyn.

September 9 1953

Wed. 9th Sept.

Dearest Mummy,

I wonder how many years before all my letters will have a different beginning from “I am so sorry, but we have had such a busy time!”. You will be wondering if our holiday wore us all out when I have been so long in writing, but the time has flown since we came home & it wasn’t until your A.M. of 31st Aug. came today that I realized it is nearly 2 weeks since I last wrote. Thank you so much for it & also for your long A.M. which was waiting when we got home – I promise to answer all the questions faithfully, but intend to write a proper letter as I can see the answers will be voluminous! Carman leaves in about a week’s time so I should be not quite so busy – I hope!

Your parcel to Charlie arrived last week & he says thank you very very much dearest Grannie! I was shattered at the size of the overalls of course! Isn’t it simply ridiculous? I did choose a stupid pattern, didn’t I? I tried the big ones on Linda & the legs are about 6” too long for her & the straps much too long also – even the bib is broad on her little chest so that the buttonholes are practically at her arms. I do think that you have made them beautifully though Mummy & they look very smart – it is only that I am sorry I sent you such a poor pattern- also, of course, Charlie being a bigger-made child he will probably fit into them better & sooner than Linda. The little cotton overalls are simply cute – they fit well, except for the straps & legs – the legs are a good 6” or 8” long for his little legs!- but I can easily turn them up until he grows. Linda was simply enchanted with her pretty petticoat & we all think it is adorable! – Clever you!! She had it on one day & I let her go downstairs in it to show Daddy & Carman & she was just wiggling her little bottom & as pleased as punch! Today I got out a cotton one to put on & she yelled with rage & demanded her pretty petticoat. She puts on her own shoes now, by the way & insists on trying to put on her own clothes! The shells & sponges were lots of fun for her – she had them in her paddling pool & she & Nancy (Douglas) played with them for ages – she likes the little basket too & altogether loved her presents. Everything now is “birthday” with her & so she tells everyone that “Grannie sent Lindy shells for a birthday”! Thank you also for my oven cloth – it is already much used!

We came home on Sat. 29th & it was a roasting hot day. We left about 2 p.m. & took Jim & Lee & Barry to their train in Pembroke & then drove on down to Ottawa & arrived here at 6:15. The children were very good, but next day Charlie wasn’t very well & sicked up a bit & had a temp of about 100. It was so hot & he stayed like that for 2 or 3 days – I called Dr. W. & he said it was just the heat. However that kept me busy- then on Thursday at 6:30 Joan & Ray Appleyard arrived with their little girl Carol from California en route to Chalk River. Did I tell you they wrote & told us they were coming to C.R.? I answered & invited them to stay on their way & when we came home there was a letter telling us when they were coming. They look just the same- except Joan 8 months pregnant & Ray a bit gray on temples! Carol is a curly headed little blonde- rather a funny little puggy face, but cute! We had 9 in the house that night! Ray went on next morning but Joan & Carol stayed till Sunday to rest a bit. The heat was terrible – 95° & over & humidity miserable – you can imagine! But thank goodness it broke on Sat. & is bright & cool now- so cool this evening we have a fire on! Charlie is cutting his 2 top teeth & is a bit nattery- also he can crawl – all over the place! He & Lindy send xxxs & hugs & lots of thanks. 

Love from us all Cyn.

A slight anticipation!

August 16 1950

Wed. 16th Aug. 1950.

Dearest Mummy,

Here we are in Canada! We arrived here this afternoon, after our usual Costain mad rush at the last minute, and now having got everything organized we are sitting back in our hotel room feeling that we are on our holidays!

  You will notice that we postponed our date of leaving, as Cec had some work to finish for Dr. S. and I was just as pleased as it gave me time to do everything I wanted to, instead of every other thing! I finished work on Friday, and since then I’ve washed & ironed all our clothes, mended them (!!!), cleaned the flat thoroughly including scrubbing all the floors, so I feel very virtuous now! I packed my case last night, & got all Cec’s things ready, but this morning what with washing up & cleaning the very last things out of the fridge etc. we had quite a scramble to be ready at 10:30 when Gunborg very kindly came & gave us a lift down to the bus depot. We got the bus into Detroit, which takes about 1 1/2 hrs, then took another bus through the tunnel under the river to Windsor. We had to get here before the banks closed to get our Canadian money, then we went to the Airline Office & payed for our tickets & at last had lunch & we were hungrey! We thought we would go to the pictures tonight to see “Kind Hearts & Coronets” which we missed in England, & then get to bed early, as we have to be ready to get the bus to the Airport at 6:30 a.m.! We go to Toronto, then change planes & arrive at Saskatoon at 3:25- isn’t it incredible, when it would take us nearly 3 days in the train.

I haven’t written to you properly since my Epic, although I did send a sea letter of funny things from Ann Arbor. In that time we got 2 letters from you, & thank you very much honey. I have them with me, & will answer them in this, or if I haven’t time, will answer them in my next from Saskatoon.

We don’t seem to have been doing very much but the time has flown, & of course I have been busy with my chores as usual. We had a grand day in Detroit with the Sutherlands, & I had lovely time. We drove there in their car arriving about noon, & as we hadn’t been able to book tickets for the Ball Game, we went to the stadium & found we’d have to go & get them at 6 in the evening. Gunborg & I were all for having a nice dinner but with having to go so early to the game, we decided instead to have a nice lunch, & we went to a very nice Swedish restaurant we had heard of, called the Stockholm. It was lovely & cool for which we were grateful as it was a sweltering day (I wore my new green suit) & we had an extremely nice lunch- there was a Smorgasbord first (a kind of hors d’oeuvres- all sorts of dishes hot & cold, set out on a big table, & you go & help yourselves) then steak, and I being adventurous had a peculiar dessert that wasn’t very nice, but I didn’t mind!

After lunch we left the S’s to go shopping, & Cec & I went & saw about our re-entry permits for coming back to the U.S. & then to the Airline & arranged about our tickets & paying in Canadian dollars etc. We had arranged to meet the S’s at 4 o’clock, & it was still early, so we went to the great big store, Hudsons, & shop gazed & didn’t buy a thing! We met the S’s, & they shopped a bit more, then we had tea & finally went out to the stadium. We had to queue till 6 o’clock, then dashed in & got tickets & tore up the ramps & got seats!

In no time for seats were all filled (unreserved) & the game didn’t begin until 8:30, so we had a long wait, but it wasn’t dull because all the players were out practising & we had our programs & picked out the ones we knew from the radio broadcast, & it was fun. We ate hotdogs & drank pop, & it didn’t really seem long to wait. The Ball Game was Fun! Detroit was playing the New York Yankees, & they are great rivals, so it was very exciting, & Detroit won! I stood up & yelled & got so excited right at the beginning that Cec was worried my voice wouldn’t last through the game – I had a lovely time & enjoyed it hugely & so did Cec. Gunborg didn’t think it was very thrilling, so we were a little bit disappointed in her! We got back to A.A. about midnight, & I felt very pleased with my nice day.

Jessie Forsyth came that weekend to say goodbye, as she was leaving. We won’t see her in Sask. as her home is in Medicine Hat, but we will see Pete & Lu.

Last week we were busy at the office, & one evening I even did 3 1/2 hrs. of typing at home for one of the men- got paid of course too! Then we suddenly got a card from Joan & Ray Appleyard saying they had been driving out West & were returning to Yale via Ann Arbor & hoped to see us on Thurs. So of course, we were tickled to bits, but they didn’t actually arrive till Friday mid-day. They look just exactly the same (Ray thinner) & had with them a couple Bid & Denis Manon with whom they used to play bridge in Cambridge & used to call the Porkers – I didn’t know them. They had been driving most of the night, & got lost, & the car broke down, so they were in a dirty, sleepy condition when they arrived. We all had lunch in town together, then Cec took Joan & Ray back to the flat while I went back to work. The Manons went to a hotel, but I asked them to dinner & we had quite a successful meal of steak with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, tossed salad & cantaloupe. We asked the S’s over for a drink afterwards & we had a very nice evening. Joan & Ray slept on our sitting room sofa which pulls out into a double bed, & said they slept very well, then after breakfast set out at about 8 o’clock to collect the Manons & go to Niagara & then back home. They are going to stay in Yale another year – they were both asking for you & sent their love.

We have been to the movie & are back & going to bed now. We didn’t see “Kind Hearts & Coronets” as it was a long way away, but went to see “Stage Fright” instead. It was quite good, but there was a stinker on with it, which we sat through to see the beginning of the other!!

Will write soon again from Saskatoon. 

     With lots & lots of love from us both

           Cyn & Cec

So Cyn and Cec were on holiday starting in Windsor, and there also in Windsor Ontario, was a red-haired 4-year-old boy who would grow up to marry their daughter!

Cyn may have been nervous about meeting her in-laws for the first time, but she also was interested in seeing more of Canada, going West, and then visiting more of Cec’s relatives, as well as their trip to Ottawa where they expected to be living in the future. And I’m sure the Costains liked her- Carman would spend a couple of summers living with them, and when Merle and Dix moved to Ontario in the 60s, the two families became close, and shared quite a few more holidays!