The letter continues with the events of July 10-24 …
Mom and Dad went up to Lea and Wendell’s cottage on the Sunday evening (10th) and on the Mon. I baked the anniversary cake. I made it in my 3 square Christmas tins and used a very nice birthday cake recipe I had. I made the big one at the bottom white and the two smaller ones pink just for fun. On the Tues. I iced them all with a gold coloured icing and put the smaller cakes on foil covered cardboard squares, and made dozens of different sized gold coloured sugar bells, and then finally on the Wed. I put it all together and decorated it and stuck on the bells and then put the whole thing in a big plastic bag and put it in the freezer! In the meanwhile, on the Tues. evening I was in bed and just asleep when the phone rang and here it was Carman – they were at Renfrew about 50 miles away and would arrive in about 1 1/2 hours. What a to do! Of course they had a big tent and the idea was that they would sleep in it, but it was about 12:30 then and the thought of trying to put up a tent and put tired children in it at that hour of the night was a bit much, so I rushed upstairs, and woke Lindy and Charlie. We took Linda’s things into Charlie’s room and made up the sofa for her, then in her room we had two single beds, the sofa and an extra mattress on the floor for the 4 children. Then the family room with the new sofa bed was all ready there as Mom and Dad had left the day before, so I decided that Leona and Carman could just crawl in there. They finally arrived about 2:30 with all the children asleep on a mattress in the back of the station wagon and they were very good, all woke up smiling and we tucked them up in bed and they were very lively for a while. David is 8, Leslie the little girl is 6, Robin is 4 – 5 soon, and the youngest Phillip is 3. They are quite nice little children, but maybe it was because they were all together in one room, but there seemed to be an awful lot of argument and tears and telling tales! Perhaps I’ve just forgotten what little children are like. I certainly had forgotten how early they wake up, and every morning I was awakened at 7 or earlier with bangs, thumps and bumps from above while their parents slept happily through it! Leona is very calm and good tempered with them – perhaps too much so, Carman is the disciplinarian but somehow they didn’t strike me as too happy a family. Carman is very self-centred you know and not at all easy-going and nice mannered as Cec and he is quite horrid to both Leona and the children at times we think. As for being a help while a lot of people were around, he needed a full-time slave of his own all the time – I got used to finding his shoes, sandals, dirty glasses, coffee cups etc. each morning when I went into the sitting room (he never went to bed before 3) but the day I found his dirty socks in the middle of my living room carpet as well, I nearly said what I thought! However!
Mom and Dad were coming back from Lea’s on Thursday afternoon, and Linda and I were to stay home that evening and babysit while the rest of them went to the first Football Game of the season. In the afternoon Leona and I went down to Shoppers City for me to do my grocery shopping for the weekend. You can imagine – I filled cart after cart and ended up with a bill for over 100 dollars! We arrived home with all this – a roasting hot day – to be met with the news that while we were out Russell had called and they would be arriving in about 1 hour! We dashed and got all the food put away – quite a job – and then there they were. Now in this family there is Russell and Errol, and then Terry who is about 3 months younger than Linda (14) – he is a very nice boy – in fact the whole family is really nice, and Terry and Charlie (13) got on like a house on fire and were buddies straight away. Then there is Brian, Brent and Bobby- the latter about 9 and the others in between, and then a little girl Barbara, who is 7 or 8. The little girl is cute, with front teeth missing, and very sweet and affectionate, whereas Leslie is the most self-centred young lady you would ever meet! They all piled in, tired and hot, and they would have been here sooner but Errol got sunstroke in Winnipeg where they stayed a few days with one of her sisters, and had to go to hospital, and was still headachy, and not feeling too good. Just after they arrived, here drove up Wendell with Mom and Dad, so there we were, 19 for dinner! Wendell wouldn’t stay but set off to drive back to the cottage to get Lea, saying he would be back about 8, and the idea was that the Russells would go over and sleep at the Atchison’s 5th Avenue house – they have no rooms let now. I had been going to have chicken for dinner but I couldn’t manage that but fortunately I had bought dozens of frozen meat patties, so I cooked them and had corn and French bread and salad then ice cream cones and grapes, and I think everyone had enough to eat. At least everyone got one helping always as I was last in line over the weekend and I always found something to eat! We hardly got everyone fed when they had to begin going to the Football Game as they already had the tickets, and fortunately, Charlie (who is now a regular paper boy down at the NRC like he used to do for Johnny) was given a ticket by one of the papers, so they were able to take Terry with them. Errol and I cleared up and she is a marvel that girl. I liked her very much and talk about a help – all weekend if there was a job to be done – Errol did it. She didn’t wait for me to begin or to ask, she was just right there working and was the most efficient and practical helper. Leona would help but she would dash off to do something for the children in the middle, or sit talking and forget there were dishes to be done, but Errol would have them finished before anyone noticed if she could. Frankly, Leona is a nitwit, Cec and I decided, but Errol is very nice and we liked Russell too – he is much more like Cec than Carman is and he and Cec got on very well together. He would give Cec a hand with things too, whereas Carman would sit under the tree and read while Cec cut the grass around him, sort of thing. Anyway, that first evening we sat and waited for the Atchisons to come, and Linda and I put the little Carmans to bed and as time went on we decided that the Russells might as well sleep that night in Carman’s tent which he had put up under the old apple tree – where the children used to sling the hammock. Errol was keen to get her children in bed as they were all tired, so eventually they unpacked and put the children to bed in the tent, and still no Atchisons.
Finally the others came back from the Game, and poor Errol was just about dead on her feet so off she went to bed, and of course then, at about twenty to 12 Lea and family appeared! Well, we finally got to bed about 2 or 2:30 and awake at 7 of course – the little dears! With Mom and Dad back in their own room we put Carman and Leona on the porch to sleep – and of course they heard their children even less! We had 19 sleeping that night and breakfast was from 7:30 till noon! Leona annoyed me madly by rushing to make everyone bacon and eggs as they appeared whereas I reckoned that anyone wanting breakfast after 10:30 could have coffee from the perc. and make themselves some toast and marmalade. I might say that I was having a baking morning and had cleared everyone outside as it was a lovely morning and I made pies and cookies and a cake and could really have done without the bacon and egg activities!
The Russell family were to go over to Lea’s that afternoon and take their luggage to stay, but I said for them to come back to dinner as I was sure that Lea wouldn’t have a meal ready – anyway she is still hobbling around with her back, so I had said why didn’t they all come but Lea said Oh, no, they wouldn’t, but I suggested that they come for coffee and dessert later, and she said they would do that. I had a big 7lb. roast of beef, so we were going to have that with roast potatoes and green beans, then sponge cake with raspberries and ice cream for dessert. I decided that the children could eat on the porch and as my table will hold just 8 adults, which we would be, I set the table in the dining room nicely, and was all organized when at 5 o’clock Lea phoned could they come to dinner after all as they had nothing ready and Errol had persuaded her I wouldn’t mind. Grrrr! This was 4 extra, and believe me, there was no roast beef left for sandwiches next day! Merle, Dix and Bruce were arriving that evening, but we didn’t know when – so Errol said they wouldn’t wait so that she could get the children to bed in good time, and they and the Atchisons left about 9. I had got ready Charlie’s room for Merle and Dix, and Linda and Charlie and Bruce were to sleep out in the tent – they had air mattresses and sleeping bags and it was a lovely big tent. Lindy and I had a good laugh – before they all came, I told Linda that they were probably all too old to sleep together like in the good all days, and she would have to sleep somewhere else, but when it came to the point there just didn’t seem to be any other place, and none of them seemed to think a thing about it, so in they all went together and had some very good bedtime chats! The Moors finally didn’t come till after midnight as Dix had to work that day, so we had another late night. 15 sleeping that night!
The next day was the Golden Wedding! Everyone was supposed to be here at 5 o’clock, so that we could take pictures while it was still nice and sunny, so I suggested that the families all go swimming in the afternoon, so that I would be left a clear field, and that is what they did. They all went to Lea’s and the youngsters went to a nearby beach on the Rideau River with some of the adults, and Merle had a chat with Lea, and Mom and Dad stayed here and had a rest and Cec and I got things ready. I set a buffet table on the dining room table with the Wedding Cake as a centerpiece, and gold candles and it really looked lovely. I had bought a huge 24 lb. turkey at Shoppers City and for an extra 15¢ a lb. they roasted it for me and had it all cooked and piping hot at 5:30. This was a great blessing as it saved having the oven on all that hot day and saved me such a lot of trouble. Besides that I had a big ready cooked ham, and I made a tomato aspic salad, a potato salad, a macaroni salad, a green salad, and a mixed bean salad which I had got Leona to make for me the previous day. Then I had hot rolls carrot sticks, celery and radishes etc. and then the cake with ice cream for dessert. Everyone was back in good time, and I was all ready and beautifully organized, and we all got dressed – Lindy in her blue linen which I had made and which looks very nice, and me in my new shaded blue dress for the first time. Leona had a white linen sheath, and then when the Russells and Atchisons came, Errol had had her hair done and had curled Barbara’s and they had on Mother and Daughter dresses of a very pretty pink and white lace which Errol had made them for her sister’s wedding. They looked so pretty and the dresses were lovely. Bruce and I rushed and got the turkey and put it in the oven while we took pictures outside, and then we went in and Russell and his family gave Mom and Dad a big bunch of carnations and the Atchisons a bottle of ‘Golden Wedding’ Canadian whisky, and Merle and Dix gave them a card with the present of the trip to Prince Edward Island. Cec and I had been shopping at Birks and we got Mom a lovely little gold brooch of a spray of tiny maple leaves made of 3 kinds of gold – yellow, white and red, and for Dad a tiny little tie pin of one small gold maple leaf with a wee diamond dewdrop on it. They seemed very pleased and we thought they would be nice mementoes for them. We then had dinner, with Russ carving the turkey, and Dix the ham, and there was plenty for everyone – we sat some in the dining room and some out under the tree and it was just lovely – the weather couldn’t have been more perfect – not even any mosquitoes! Afterwards Mom and Dad cut the cake, and then Cec produced champagne (we found we could rent glasses from the wine shop for 25¢) and we all drank their healths, the children in coke, and ate cake and ice cream. It really went beautifully, without a hitch, and everything was so pleasant and went so smoothly that I really felt much less tired than the 2 previous evenings.
The next day, Sunday, we invited everyone to come for a Wiener Roast to christen Cec’s new barbecue, so the Russells came after lunch – at least poor things, I don’t think that they got lunch at Lea’s and I rather doubt if they got any breakfast either from what I’ve heard, but anyway they brought Darryl and Patty Lu with them, and they all had a good time, playing badminton and baseball etc. We had planned supper for 6 and of course Lea and Wendell didn’t appear until 7 or after but we didn’t wait for them. We had hot dogs and salads and Potato Chips and afterwards watermelon and the 2 pecan pies I had made. Cec was very pleased because his fire worked beautifully and the hot dogs were lovely. We sat around and chatted and then bade farewell to Russell and his family as next day they went with the Atchisons up to the cottage for 1 day and then on the Tues. Merle and Dix left with Mom and Dad to drive down to Brantford and Russ and family were driving down the same day and spending a day or so with them then heading home again as Russ only had 2 weeks. He has another week’s holiday but he is a great hunter you know and some friend of his had arranged a week’s hunting in the Fall with a plane, so he was keeping time for that. He left us some moose sausage in the freezer, but we haven’t tried it yet!
This left us with just the Carman family, and it was a bit of a mistake, as we were all so tired after the weekend, that I would really have been much happier if they had all gone! However, they did go to Lea’s for 2 nights and then came back on Sat. evening and took Cec and me out to dinner and to another football game. I had actually never seen a football game in Canada, so it was quite fun as it was a lovely evening but although Ottawa won it wasn’t a very good game. I enjoyed the dinner which we had at an Italian Restaurant, and we had yummy pizzas. The Carmans left the next morning and really we all collapsed in a heap! Quite a visitation.
Our next excitement was our own Anniversary, on the Tues. and Cec and I went out to dinner at a German Restaurant and had a very nice dinner and then went on to a movie “Walk Don’t Run” with Cary Grant, which was quite amusing. I forgot to tell you that before the crowd came, we all packed into the car – Mom and Dad and us 4, and went to the Drive-In to see it “Born Free” the film about Elsa. It was really marvellous and we all enjoyed it so much – if you ever get the chance, you should see it.
After all my own excitement, I had to gird my loins and get down to work again, as there was a wedding in our Church on the Sat. afternoon, and the WA were catering to the reception, and I was in charge. It was a young man who lives here in Rothwell Heights and comes to our church, although his parents go to the United, and his bride comes from a small town not far from Ottawa, but apparently her parents didn’t approve of the wedding as they didn’t even come to it, and the young couple paid for everything themselves. We felt so sorry for them as they are very nice -not young and silly and dashing off to get married in haste, but had gone together since High School and she is a teacher and he has just got his BA and is specializing for a year and then going to teach Gym etc. Anyway, it ended in being a very pretty wedding, and we served them a nice cold buffet and it all went very well. The only bridesmaid was a disappointment though – her dress was rather an ugly shade of dark gold – more like a Fall wedding.
All this time Linda and Charlie were toiling away at typing – we did let them have 2 days off while all the family were here, but otherwise they went every morning and seem to have done very well. They are not madly fast yet but seem quite accurate – more than me! – they finished on 4th of this month and apart from having a Czech. Dr Poldus from work to dinner one evening, and Mr. Graham and the wife of a new Fellow of Cec’s who hasn’t come yet another evening, life has been placid and I have been slowly getting the washing and ironing done and tidying and cleaning gradually. Linda and Charlie’s rooms were just shambles after the little Costains left – no other words describe it. They had every toy in every cupboard all over the place, although we told them certain things weren’t to be touched, and some of Charlie’s things will never be the same again! Lindy thinks we were very silly to have the whole house so clean and beautiful before they came, but at least I can remember that I had it looking nice once this summer!
I forgot to tell you a very important piece of Costain news! Charlie has just reminded me that on our wedding anniversary I was standing next to him and suddenly said “You are taller than me!” We immediately dashed and measured, and sure enough he is about half an inch or more taller, so here I am the smallest member of the family! Linda is about half a head taller than I am now and whereas last year she was about the same height as Janet and Joanne was much taller, I now notice that she is as tall as Joanne and that Janet is left behind.
Now to get back to some of your letters. You were talking about the Test Matches in one of them and asking if we were interested, but really we never even hear of them hardly. Last week I heard a BBC news broadcast and they said that the WI were beating England hollow and since then Cec has been talking to a Fellow at the Lab. who is going down to the University in Jamaica or Trinidad – I forget which – to teach for a year, and he has been getting the local papers and is very interested and told Cec how well the WI team are doing. This man, Barry Morrow got his PhD in Cambridge and has a nice English wife, and they have just got a little baby. I expect everyone is now very interested in the Empire Games, about which we do hear something, but mainly how Canada is doing so it is very hard to get a good overall picture. Cec probably knows more as he hears the late night sports review on TV but I don’t watch. We have just been watching the TV news now at 7 o’clock, as a big new bridge being built over the Rideau River partially collapsed this afternoon, killing about 6 men and more than 50 more seriously injured. It seems fantastic that in this day and age such things could happen but earlier this year a new building under construction did the same thing, although fortunately not so serious. You feel that something must be very wrong.
You mentioned earlier that you had heard that Vivian Leigh and Sir John Geilgud were at Young’s Island, and we were interested because Cec met them when he was down in Washington at Easter. He stayed with a scientist friend and his wife and while he was with them they took him to the first night of Sir J.G. and V.L.’s new play, as the young brother of Cec’s friend was in the cast. At the moment, I can’t remember the man’s name or the name of the play, but it was going on to New York after Washington, and it must have been after the New York run that they came to St. V. After the play Cec was taken backstage to meet the cast and was introduced to V.L. and warned that she didn’t enjoy being told that she was remembered in ‘Gone with the Wind’. Cec said that she looked beautiful on the stage, but older and very tired near by – she hadn’t been well during the run, and they were quite anxious about her, because of course she had TB once and so I don’t suppose is very strong. [See post January to May 1966]
You were answering my letter and in it talking about Harry Kroto and his wife up at the cottage, and getting him all confused with one or two others who were there! Harry is a very dark vivacious young man and he is from England and his wife is English too – he has a strange name because his parents were refugees from Germany before the war but he was born and brought up in England. They are leaving NRC at the end of this month after their 2 years and he is going down to the US for a year. We will have a farewell party for them when we come back from Brantford. You were asking about Linda and Charlie’s reports – they arrived about a month ago and were both good without being wildly outstanding, but that is fine with us! We hear that Darryl failed Grade 9 again, which means that he, at 16 is behind Charlie who is 13. He is certainly one mixed up boy, but you couldn’t find a nicer, more polite boy during the time he spent here with all the visitors. Lea is dreadful with him I think, but she always has been and this is the trouble we gather – he is resentful and uses school to get his own back.
While we had our guests we were so pleased because our garden looked very nice. It has been so hot that everything has bloomed and finished in no time at all, but just then we had masses of delphiniums in flower and lots of yellow and gold and orange day lilies and it really looked lovely. Even our centennial rose was blooming madly, but we were disappointed because it turns out to be a multi-flora so the flowers are small, and although they bloom in clusters and make a nice show we prefer the bigger blossoms. It is a lovely orangey-red colour though, so we are glad it is doing well, and even Charlie’s poor little dug-up rose put forth one flower!
Our little Saki is growing into a lovely little cat and is lots prettier now and just as playful and sweet. Linda throws her around like a little bag and the children play with her by the hour and she is so good tempered and will jump at your feet as you go by or pretend to pounce on you, but never a scratch or bite, and always little soft paws without a claw showing. We got some pictures yesterday of her when she was tiny and we all had to laugh as she was so funny and tiny and wispy with a little straggly tail! Now she is really pretty and so white and clean, but still a little cat – an appetite like a baby horse though. The hamster is as fat and cuddly as ever, and his appetite is pretty good too – a bathtub full of pablum twice a day – a doll’s bathtub that is! Also sunflower seeds and peanuts and some lettuce or celery or apple. Ruth Lockwood is going to look after them for us when we are away.
My sewing came to a halt when our visitors came, but as I told you I did finish the pale blue linen for Lindy and she looks very pretty in it as it is just the colour of her eyes. She thinks it is too plain, but I think it is very nice. She finished her yellow shift too and then I made the material you sent me for my birthday with the big navy blue flowers on it into a very nice dress for me with a front opening, which is a nice change from struggling with a back zipper. And I like the pattern and think that I will make another like it but I find the material very crumply – you know, you wear it once and then it has to be ironed again, even if I have starched it. You say that you don’t think I like the materials which you sent me much, actually I do like them, except for the fact that they both have the kind of mauvy-pink colour which I don’t care for too much. I was going to make the pique into a sundress, but I have no time now, and think I’ll keep it till next year. I have worn the dress you brought me from New York last year all summer long. I don’t know what made you think I didn’t like it – I do, but if you remember last year we didn’t have much weather for sundresses, whereas this year I have worn hardly anything else. The one you gave me is lovely as it doesn’t show the dirt much, and when I do wash it it opens out and is so easy to iron!
Thank you so much for the cheque for $18. I told Linda that you had sent her $10 and she is very thrilled. She has been so good this summer, with only 3 dresses really, as nothing from last year would fit her, so her pale blue dress, the yellow dress, a grey and white dress we bought and a couple of summer skirts is all she has had apart from a pair of jeans and a couple of pairs of shorts! Anyway, with her birthday coming and going away too, I thought she could do with something else, and we went shopping and got her a very pretty two-piece. The skirt is a nice soft sage green and the top, which comes over the skirt at the waist is a cream colour with a little half belt in front of the green. It has a plain round neck and is sleeveless and she looks very nice in it. It is made of a laminated jersey – like the mauve coat, you know, but a finer thinner material, so should look nice, both for best and then when she begins school next month. I suggested to Linda that she use your money to get two nice blouses and she is very pleased with the idea. The linen one you saw sounds lovely, but perhaps it is just as well that you didn’t get it as she is so tall and long waisted that we have to be careful that blouses which are slim enough for her are also long enough. The ones she wears for school are the shirt type with good tails that tuck in well, and she thought she would get one with a green print (which she has already seen and had her eye on) and a nice white one. She can wear them with the green skirt. [Note: in 1966, girls were not allowed to wear trousers to school. We didn’t wear uniform, but there were rules!] And I will send you some green string and fertilizer for your violets when I get home from the cheque too, and you didn’t say if you wanted batteries now or not. Let me know.
I must stop, as I have been typing all day off and on, and my fingers are sore! At the moment I can’t think of another thing to tell you but probably I will sooner no sooner seal the letter that I will think of all sorts of interesting things. Anyway, much love from us all and say hello to Doris and Luenda and Mr. Cox and Dowers from us. One evening when everyone was here we had a film show and Merle asked to see our West Indian pictures, and it took us back quite a while! [Since the trip had been a decade earlier!]
Love to Auntie Muriel and Peggy and much love to you from