Dearest Mama, Just a short note to answer some of your questions. You asked about my ribs etc. – they are fine now & I don’t feel any effects at all. When I am tired I get a bit of an ache in my back where the worst ones were & it is a little flat there, but it isn’t much & a rest puts it right again. As you can tell by all the wall-washing & painting etc. I am not incapacitated at all! You asked me about taking Charlie with his toe to the Hospital – yes, it was the one on Montreal Rd. – St. Louis-Marie de Montfort! It was just the Outpatient Department we went to, & we quite saw Life! – a father with 2 little children who had swallowed aspirins & had their stomachs pumped out! It seemed all right but all French of course & none of the Drs. seem to send anything serious there – the Civic has all the equipment & facilities I suppose. What do you think? Eve Proudfoot has a DAUGHTER! Born on the 11th, over 8 lbs. & called Laura Jane! You can imagine Mrs. Barltrop [the grandmother] – she is just popping!! She took us quite by surprise as Dr. Smith had said the end of the month but everyone is very pleased for her and Jim. Mr. & Mrs. B. have moved to a house in town, as they really needed the room I suppose. [The Proudfoots had 2 sons quite a bit older] There seems to be quite a spate of “second-thought” babies – when is Peggy’s due? Poor Pat Tomlinson is having another in August – Jamie is just 1 yr. now & she has so much trouble with varicose veins that I am really sorry for her. We have heard no more from our Insurance man & actually I feel I’d like to forget the whole thing now. We got about $150 rebate on our Income Tax & Ontario Medical Insurance as our Medical Expenses were so high last year – all my accident & Charlie’s business & Linda’s teeth – it was very welcome! L’s teeth are coming along fine- she has what she calls “metal work” all around her lower front teeth now, pulling them into shape & filling up the 2 spaces [I had had 4 teeth removed to make room] & she seems to get used to it quite quickly. Must stop now & get some work done. Hugs from the children – it is marbles & skipping season now! Love to Auntie Muriel – hello to Doris – With lots of love from Cyn.
I’m not sure why Cyn wrote the answers to her mother’s questions as a separate letter, but as she did, I published them that way. All of the questions are following up things Cyn had written about earlier that year or even the year before, and her mother would remember the friends Cyn wrote about from her stay in 1960.
The date on this post is quite misleading, since many of the photographs are from the spring as well as the summer of 1957, but Cyn recorded in her scrapbook the birth announcements of friends and relatives and pictures of their children, as well as important events in the family. It’s a pity we are missing the July letters describing the making of her new dress and the Garden Party- probably more important than the federal election- but we catch up in August.
And family events…
The Governor General’s Garden Party-quite an Ottawa occasion.
And preparations for the new school year to consider!
Just a note about people in the letter who haven’t been mentioned lately. Cyn grew up in Newcastle-upon Tyne from the age of 4 in the 1920s, and the Allans were close neighbours. Mrs Allan was Carol’s friend and her daughter Nancy was Cynthia’s- they played together as children, grew up together, and remained friends for over 80 years. Cyn’s Recipe Book from her college days in the 1930s includes ‘Mrs. Allan’s Sandwich Cake’, ensuring that English teatime lived on in Canada. Here Carol has told Cyn of Mrs. Allan’s death. On a happier note, Cyn refers to the wedding of her cousin Millie’s son, Hugh Pembleton, in New York, and the wedding present she hasn’t bought yet. She also needs to buy presents for all the babies that keep appearing in their friends and relations’ lives. There are no letters for July, so what she bought will remain a mystery, but I will post a photo page to cover July!
Wed. 12th June.
Dearest Mummy, Was so sorry to hear about your tummy cyst & hope that by now it is feeling much better. I can imagine you would find it very tiring trailing to the hospital every day for so long and that it would all leave you feeling very pooped. Such a pity after all your vitamins, but I hope that when it is over you will begin to get full of energy again. You seem to have had a bad time lately what with one thing & another – I do hope that it is all over now. I got your letter on Monday evening and was so very sorry to hear about Mrs. Allen. As you say she was a wonderful friend to us & quite one of the sweetest & best people I’ve ever known. Poor Nan must feel very sad even though she will be relieved that the suffering is over, but even after her mother being poorly for quite a long time it must have been a shock. I must write to her today.
I have just been writing our regrets for Hugh’s wedding – I must ask Monie [Hugh’s aunt] to put a carbon paper under her description of the Day to you & A. Moo & send it to me! I haven’t got the W. P. yet but will go shopping on Sat. Poor Cec has both his birthday and Father’s Day on Sunday so he should have a double good day!
I also seem to have 1/2 a hundred other presents to get – I haven’t got a present for Dottie’s babe yet & have the MacNamara’s baby & Paul & Angie Routly’s baby. Also Richard Haynes – I never can remember if his little brother is Michael? Anyway I have some yellow overalls for him & a pair of “baby doll” pyjamas for Barbara Heslop. It was Patty Lu’s birthday on Sunday (1 year old) & Lea invited us out to Carp for 1 o’clock dinner. We got her pink overalls & a little pail & shovel & dashed off straight after S. School, arriving at about 12:45 to find no Lea visible, no table set or anything! Wendell talked to us for about 1/2 hour then Lea & the baby appeared & finally about 2:15, dinner! It turned out there’d been a big wedding on the Sat. & they had all been to it, & so Lea had nothing ready – the cake made but not iced, & then she had invited more people from Ottawa in the afternoon & a few of Darryl’s pals for a Wiener Roast in the evening! You can imagine the chaos! Lea had gone to all sorts of trouble – paper hats, balloons etc., but nothing ready or organized. We finally left about 4:30 to miss the evening traffic as we had originally planned, not having had any B. cake – wonder how the rest of the celebrations came out! Called at Pete & Lu’s & had a nice cup of tea! Lu’s Mother is with her (leg amputated remember?) & is so nice & full of fun – you would like her. Was so sorry to hear that you have been having more trouble for the burglar – what an upset for you all. What a pity you can’t get the roof of the porch wired & give him a great electric shock! Must stop – love to A. Moo – hugs from the children – Lots of love – Cyn.
Dearest Mummy, I am ashamed of not having written for such a very long time – I don’t know how it is I seem to achieve so little these days & be constantly disorganized! However this morning I have got my washing out on the line early & Claire comes tomorrow to clean so I thought, “To heck – I’ll leave everything else & write to Mummy!” We are having the most beautiful Easter weather – it began on Good Friday & has been sunny & warm & heavenly ever since. Before that it had been dry but quite cold for so long – all the snow melted early but up until last week the ground was still frozen & we have had hardly any rain & with not so much snow as usual, the gardens are as dry as a bone already. The children are having a wonderful time out in the sandbox. Cec fixed Charlie’s wagon on Friday & he has been out with that wagon every available moment since, but I see he’s changed to sand now! His little face is quite pink & sunburnt & both of them look so well. Actually Lindy wasn’t too well at the beginning of the weekend – she was very tired & drooped & not eating on Wed., but Thurs. seemed quite perky & was very keen to go to school as it was the last day before the holidays. She didn’t seem too bad all day although no appetite, but on Fri. morning she didn’t feel well & stayed in bed. We were supposed to be all going over to Jim and Lee’s for dinner in the afternoon, so I had to phone Lee & tell her we couldn’t come & we were all disappointed. I was worried that Linda might be sickening for something as there are mumps & chickenpox around, but it turned out to be a little tummy flu I think as she had a bit of diarrhoea & a little temp. On the Sat. she felt a bit better & was out & about but she is just beginning to eat fairly normally now. I think I had a touch of it on Sun. as I had the trots & felt very tired – went to bed at 9 p.m. & slept for 12 hours & felt fine yesterday! We had quite a busy day on Sun. as I meant to go to 8 a.m. service, but had a restless night (this sudden hot weather!) & was wide awake at 5 & fast asleep at 8! So I went at 11 instead & had just got home & Cec had bathed the children when the phone rang & this was Joyce & Les Haywood & their 3 girls. They’d been to Montreal for the weekend & were in Ottawa on the way home, so they came right over & we had coffee & chocolate cake (which providentially I had made on Sat.!) They left about 1:30 & we had a scrambled lunch & Cec took the children over to visit Lila. She has recently gone to live with an old lady who was to be away for the weekend, so she had invited the children for the afternoon. We went & collected them about 6 laden with chocolate bunnies etc. Lila had had an egg hunt for them with those coloured candy eggs & they had enjoyed looking for them but then told her they didn’t like those eggs & didn’t want to take them home! Poor Lindy has had the worst time trying to pretend there is an Easter Bunny! I have never said much about it as we in England didn’t have it but this year in kindergarten they have heard the whole thing & although she knows we really give the eggs she has been pretending it was the Bunny! On Easter Sunday morning Charlie, who was rather confused by all this, said “Did you give me the Easter Egg or did the Easter Bunny?” & I – who had put my foot in it once or twice with Linda, said “Oh, the Easter Bunny gave it to me to give to you” whereupon Lindy gave a great smile & said “Oh I am so glad you told a lie about it “!!
Yesterday we had Fanni & Teddy & their 3 boys over for tea & I made a Simnel Cake – do you remember them? The last one I made was in College but this one was nicer – I had to grind the almonds myself for the almond icing though! In amongst all these activities Cec has been so busy, first tidying up the garden & fixing the long narrow trench where we had a few rosebushes & some chrysanthemums. We have ordered 6 more roses so he took out all the chrysanths & dug in manure etc. & got it all ready. Then he has been painting – finished the bathroom in pale yellow, very pretty & last night we began on the kitchen. We painted all that bright pink woodwork pale blue & it is a vast improvement & we will paint the walls pale blue too. The cupboard doors are still stained brown, so there will be some contrast & I am getting some material to make just a frill across the top of each window – blue & white I think. I have been making up the children’s sheets & pillowcases. I made the winter flannelette sheets as soon as I got the material, but just got the cotton ones done now. I also made Lindy a pretty little pink flared skirt out of the pink material Nan sent me. I had asked her to get Lindy a Viyella-type dress & pants & the little pink & blue dress she got had no pants so she sent a yard of pink Dayella. It was much too pretty for pants so I made this little skirt & it looks very sweet. We got Charlie a navy blue raincoat you know, & he is thrilled – “I’m just like a little man” he says “With a long draggy-down coat!” It’s nice & big you’ll gather!! I have begun making the slip cover for the big old sofa, but so far have only one cushion made, but it looks nice! I am going to try and get it done this week though, as once I get going at it I don’t think it will take too long. Another thing I made was a hat! Lu took millinery classes this winter & promised to show me how to cover a “hat form” if I got one. So I got one in Woolie’s for 29¢ – just a white buckram shape like a crescent moon & took it & some of the pale green material of my dress over to Lu’s & she showed me how to do it – you stick the material on with household cement! I lined it & trimmed it at one side with a few dark green feathers & it is very nice I think! Anyway with that & my dress I have a new outfit! I really have needed them as we have been really social lately. Last Thursday Boris & Joan suggested that we join them & Jerry & Mary to have a Chinese dinner downtown, so we all met & had a lovely feast! We then went to Joan & Boris’ & had dessert of fruit salad & coffee & it was a very pleasant evening. The Sunday before Santiago invited us all out to dinner, so we drove out to the island & had a Chinese dinner there too – except the children had chicken. It was very nice also & Dr. Velasco (who was there too) & Santiago came home & spent the evening with us. The week before was my birthday week & so we went out to dinner with Cy & Margie on the Friday. We went to the Château Laurier & had a drink & then went to the French Buffet & thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was the first time Cec had been there & he thought it was just as nice as we did. Actually on my birthday Cec redeemed a long time promise & had us all to lunch at the Council. [Government Cafeteria, nothing special.] This was the biggest treat to the children & they thought it was wonderful seeing so many people they knew all eating their lunch too! We were at Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg’s one evening & he had just recently returned from a trip to India & he had lots of lovely colour slides which he showed us & he also brought back all sorts of beautiful saris & stoles & carved things & turquoise jewellery etc. for Mrs. H. & Agnes, so it was very interesting, although he had so many colour pictures (& quite a few the same) that I had a hard time keeping awake while he was showing them! We have been trying to pay back some of our social duties too as with me being ill we were away behind & seem to owe everyone. We had Mary & Jerry & a friend of theirs from Harvard who was up working in Cec’s Lab. for about 6 weeks & a couple called Beer from Ann Arbor. He was in Gordon’s Group & we met them last summer (Cec knew him already) & he is now at the Council as a Fellow in another Dept. Gunborg assumed we would be great friends as Mrs. B. is English but this was our first get together! Then another evening we had another man from the Council in another dept. whom Cec likes very much. His name is Andy Dunn & we were also interested because his wife comes from Trinidad! They met in Halifax apparently where she was at school (her parents are Canadians living in Trinidad) but the funny thing was that I mentioned I had relatives in Trinidad & that one of my cousins owned the Coblentz Hotel & her parents live on that very street! Mrs. D. knew the house & the family who used to live in it years ago when she was a girl – wasn’t that funny? Actually we didn’t like her as much as him, although she was all right & we had quite a good bridge game. Do you remember me talking about a Swiss fellow at the council called Kurt Dressler and us going to his wedding to his fiancée last May? Anyway Susi was pregnant & about Feb. the doctor told her it was twins & that they quite likely would come early, so this was great excitement & at the end of March twin boys were born. They were quite big 6 pounds & 6 lbs. 3 oz. & I went to see Susi in the hospital & saw the little fellows & they looked very cute – dark-haired & nice & big, not little teeny things like most twins! They are called Lucius & Rainier! I took them little sunsuits made of terry towelling you know – one bound in blue & one in green. I am taking the children to tea tomorrow as Lindy is very keen to see the babies! Susi is kept busy as she is feeding them herself & they eat every 3 hours!
Talking of babies Dottie should have hers by now & I am most eager to know what it is – I can’t help but think a baby boy! I haven’t sent anything yet as I wanted to wait & see so that if it was a girl I could send a very feminine gift! Yesterday was your birthday & we all wished you many happy returns & thought of you. I do hope that my parcel isn’t very late – I had part of it ages ago but wanted one or two other little things & didn’t get downtown for ages. I’m afraid I still have the children’s card not mailed, as I thought we had one for them & then found it was an Easter card & by the time we got one the P.O .was closed for Easter but will send it- better late than never! I hope you had a lovely day & drank your health as nicely as you drank mine. We got all the Easter cards from you & A. Muriel & thank you so much for them. A. Muriel is so good about remembering us & I’m afraid I owe her so many thank yous but since I was ill I seem to have got so behind hand. When I rest every afternoon & go to bed early I get nothing done! By the way, while I was visiting Dr. Kastner I showed him the little bump on my hand that I thought had a piece of glass and & he took me in at the Outpatient Dept at the St. Louis Hospital one day & gave me a local anaesthetic & tried to get it out. Of course it bled so that it was like looking for a needle in a haystack so he doesn’t really know whether he got it out or not! Anyway he stitched it up & I had a bandage on for a week or so but it is all healed & all right now. There is still a sort of bump there but it doesn’t hurt to press on it as it did before, so I think it is an improvement. I am still taking my iron & am to go back to see him next month. How are your vitamins doing? Do you feel that they are doing you any good? You will be amused at one thing in your parcel – I sent you a little maple sugar to compare with your cane sugar. I was so pleased this year because I found a maple sugar farm not far from Orleans & took the children out one afternoon to see the sugaring off. It was such fun that we took Lila the next Sunday & it was the first time she & Cec had seen it either. We saw the sap collecting from the trees, but the most interesting part was the sugaring shed where it is boiled in flat open pans over wood fires and then depending on the length of boiling they make syrup, taffy on the snow, or sugar. The children don’t really like the sugar – it is so strong but when Lila was with us we came home & had pancakes for lunch & Charlie kept up with the rest of us. Lindy actually eats pancakes now, which is a great concession but she has honey on them! I must stop now & get my washing in & wash the dishes etc. etc.! I will write again soon & answer all your nice letters – I have them all here to reply to, but there wasn’t room in this one, but one thing – I would love a brunch coat – thank you very much! The children send big hugs & kisses – Charlie still has your letter under his pillow! Love to A. Muriel & lots & lots for you from Cyn.
Dearest Mummy, At last the long awaited letter! I don’t know how I puddle the time away these days! One thing is that the children are so keen on playing with Jimmy after dinner & Cec & I usually go out & mess in the garden, so that they are not in bed till much later; then when they are in bed after the story etc., I find that the evening is more or less gone! I have 2 funny stories about the children’s sayings – today Jimmy had his small cousin Glen (brother of the little Pauline I used to dislike) staying with him, so Linda called to Jimmy could she come over & play. Jimmy said yes, but Charlie said no he wasn’t going – Linda could go but he was staying, so Lindy & Jimmy got together & had a little talk & then Linda called “Come on – it’s all right Charlie – Glen’s face is clean today – you can come!” whereupon Charlie “Oh – is his face clean? Ogay! I’ll come!” Can you imagine Glen’s mother if she heard that? A few days ago at dinner Cec & I mentioned Miss Derouchie, the lady who now lives in Mrs. R’s apartment below the house. She is a “career girl” type you know – could be anything from 27 to 37, has her own car etc. & is very pleasant but with quite an opinion of herself! She has painted all through the apartment & bought new furniture & has it looking awfully nice now & is just the right person for Myrtle – can stand up to her & not let herself be bullied & yet not get mad! Anyway, she also has a boyfriend, in the Mounties who comes to see her frequently (not in uniform!) & when Cec & I were chatting at dinner this day Lindy suddenly said “We saw such a funny thing yesterday. Miss Derouchie was sitting in the car with her friend & she kissed him.” “Yes” said Charlie “They were gissing & gissing & gissing & we laughed”! It turned out that they with Jimmy had peeked around the corner this & thought it very amusing because they were just friends! [A bit of explanation here, in our defence. Story 1- Glen unfortunately had a permanently runny nose and no handkerchief. The result was unpleasant. Story 2- The boyfriend was an observant man, saw the children peeping, and said “Let’s give the kids a show!” So they did, and later told the parents about it with great amusement.]. There has apparently been no more buyers for the house & no one seems to think she will get the $21,000 she is asking – Ken says it cost her $14,000 – nice profit! Ken & Dot were up this evening to see our new curtains – yes we were rash last week & finally bought what are called “matchstick bamboo drapes” for all our sitting room windows. We have been thinking about it for quite a while & had gone to see them in the store & had wondered whether we’d like them or not & at last we decided to get them as they cost us $43.00 for all the windows floor length & the cheapest curtain material would have cost us more than twice that & then all the making, tapes hooks etc. These were all ready to put up & we got them on Friday & Cec worked all evening & got them all up & now we are so pleased with them. They are the natural colour & go so nicely with our furniture & exactly match the palm leaf table mats! Cec moved the curtain rail along at the end of the room & curved it around the corner to join the front one, so that now there is a continuous sweep of curtain around the picture windows right to the bookcase & then again at the other front window in the alcove.
We think it looks so nice & are delighted with them & everyone else seems to think they look nice too. We also got a new floor lamp, a tri-light as we needed more light in that big room & it really does look pretty. My idea now is to use what was my curtain material to make a new loose cover for the big sofa. The old navy blue one is just about in holes it is so thin & I think the patterned cover would look nice. Next year I’d like to paint the room, although Cec shudders at the thought & I have in mind a pretty light coppery tone – we’ll see though! We were really on the spree last week as we also bought a big new paddling pool for the children. It is really Linda’s birthday present, but it seems silly to wait & get it at the end of the summer, so we got it now & hope the weather will improve! It is oblong – about 6’6″×3’6″ & has steel bars to keep it rigid & little metal stools in each corner & is about a foot deep so Linda should have lots of fun in it – & we hope Charlie too eventually! Of course it has rained practically ever since we got it on Friday so it hasn’t had much use yet! Saturday was to be the Lab. Picnic. Margie Bedard had it all arranged & everyone was to drive up to her parent’s cottage in the Gatineau [hills on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, with lots of small lakes with cottages] on Sat. afternoon & everything was beautifully organized so of course we got up on Sat. morning & it was pouring with rain! It rained & was dull & miserable all morning & everyone kept phoning saying what were we going to do until finally at mid-day Marge phoned down from the cottage to cancel it, but to say come Sunday- rain or shine! Cec decided to go back to the Lab. & the children were a bit disappointed at no picnic & a rainy day so I decided to drive Cec to work & then to take the children to the Museum which was a great treat! We spent 1 1/2 hrs. there which I thought was pretty good, looking at lots of stuffed animals & birds & Indian & Esqimaux things & we had a hasty trot through part of the Art Gallery & then we drove down to the Lord Elgin Hotel & had tea! It just poured all afternoon which in a way was nice as it would have been so maddening to have cancelled the picnic & then have the sun shine! We drove around to the Lab. to get Cec & found him working there with Santiago & a Prof. Crooker from Vancouver who is at the Lab. for the summer, so we brought them home for dinner. I had cold meat (ham, liverwurst, baloney & chicken) hot rice cooked with tomatoes & fresh peas, salad & hot buns, & then a bowl of fruit (peaches, apples, grapes & cherries) & brownies & gingerbread, so I think a good time was had by all! By the way the children insist on calling the Museum the “Muspiffam” & Charlie was telling me he heard one of the stuffed birds say “cheep”!! On Sunday it was gray & dull, but at least it wasn’t raining so we got ready & set off straight after lunch. The place was about 25 miles up in the Gatineau & was very nice – not really too “cottage-y” as it was just outside a small village & had quite a big fenced in space around with the grass cut & chairs, tables etc. out on it. There was a big see-saw for the children & a horseshoe pitching game for the men – also they went & had a game of baseball in a field next door. The lake was about a 1/4 mile up the road & we went up & Lindy put on her bathing suit & splashed around & some of the others. Marge had gone to so much trouble – she had ice cream cones for the children & a big jug of cold fruit juice for everyone, then she made tea & coffee for when we ate & provided food for the bachelors – all the rest of us took our own food. Then she also had the children run little races & gave them little prizes. Charlie of course hung back but it was so nice to see Lindy – she wanted to be in everything & do what the others did & she ran in the races & played on the seesaw & had a wonderful time – sometimes looked a bit bewildered, but tried awfully hard! She got a little sandbox shovel & animal mould set for a prize & was very thrilled & when we had to go at about 8 o’clock she was so tired & yet didn’t want to go that she had quite a weep! However it was most successful & we all had a lovely time. Even Charlie ventured away from me & played with the children a bit & with his friend “Dr. Bolo” [Santiago Polo] so things are progressing! Last Thursday we were invited to spend the evening with the newly married couple- the Dresslers – you remember we were at their wedding a while ago. They have a small semi- basement apartment in one of those big new buildings behind where we were on Acacia & it is very nice really. They have bought their furniture & are both quite arty-crafty types so have gone to a lot of trouble & made it very nice. One thing she has not only made the curtains but for the ones in the sitting room she bought plain cream linen & printed them with a lino cut design she made of the cathedral at Basle (their home) & the dragon of Basle crest which is very effective. We took the Moores (the N. Z. couple) & had a very pleasant evening. Susie, the girl had gone to so much trouble – made candies & stuffed dates & salted almonds etc. & then coffee with sandwiches & a fruit cream dessert.
Since we came home I seem to have been buying so many presents & sending so many parcels – very expensive! I sent Til & Lois a “thank you” parcel with Bader’s book (I talked about it to them); a box of English chocolates; & a pair of silk stockings (Til thought she’d try some silk as nylon hurts her feet). Then I sent Barbara Heslop a little pink & white cotton dress for her birthday & a pair of gold latex swimming trunks for Sandy for his – a bit early! I had missed Richard’s birthday while I was away so sent him a blue & white cotton suit & a little blue, white & yellow suit to the new baby. I got Lea’s new baby girl a little frilly sun suit & Darryl had his birthday just then so I got him a T-shirt & some candies, & then I went to see the Spanish girl & her new baby & took him a tiny white terrycloth suit too- Phew! When I was down in the U.S. I got Margie (on sale!) a darling little quilted dressing gown for her baby – white with little flowers on, & she was so thrilled as she had none & had got literally dozens of tiny dresses. I also got Doreen Moore’s baby a wee white & red sun suit & she was very pleased. I got a few things for Carman & Leona down there too – a white blouse with lace insertions for Leona; a blue sports shirt for Carman; white bracelet & earrings; funny little wooden salt & pepper shakers; two lollipops – huge, with faces on etc. & had fun sending them a birthday parcel – Carman’s birthday is April & I don’t know Leona’s, but still! Oh, one more thing I got and sent was to Dottie. I hadn’t any idea what to send her as I imagine she would have household goods etc., so I got a really personal gift – a pair of scarlet nylon baby doll pyjamas!! They were the kind that have tiny panties & the top just comes down to cover them, so Cec thought they would be a source of amusement to both of them!
I don’t know if I told you about our shopping in Toledo – of course we didn’t do nearly as much as we intended – it was so hot & apart from the day Cec & I went in with the children I never actually got into the city again. However, we got shirts, underpants, & socks for Cec but didn’t get him a suit as we didn’t see anything we liked much. For the children I got winter jeans on sale which was nice & also socks, a slip for Lindy, T-shirts etc. & a very pretty little dress for Lindy to keep for school. It is cherry red with a white collar & cuffs – it is cotton & has a permanently pleated skirt & she is very pleased with it! We went into a booth & tried on 3 or 4 & she felt very grown-up!! For myself, I left it to the end of course & then in a great rush bought a blue & white cotton skirt & a pink blouse – neither very exciting, but just so that I would buy myself something!
I am wearing them now – this morning Margie came in her car with the baby & Peter & collected me & the children & we went to Doreen Moore’s for coffee. Margie had lent (through me) Doreen a couple of her maternity dresses, so Doreen was returning them & we had a nice chat & saw the babies. Janey is a big baby & very sweet & fat & full of smiles. Little Paul is still a wee fellow & slept most of the time we were there. By the way, Cy is in Mexico for a week & Tommy & Danny are out in Sask. staying with Margie’s parents – Cy’s parents took them & will bring them back – so Margie is feeling very footloose.
We drove out to Carp a week or so back & had dinner with Lea & family. The baby was only about 4 weeks old & seems so tiny. She is sweet but has colic & cried a bit. We got the pram fixed for them – it cost $18 but looks like new when it was done, so it was worth it. The parish are certainly good to them – they had given them a new fridge & a washing machine previously & when Lea came home with the baby they had put in a new electric stove & re-painted & papered the kitchen! I must stop as I have been writing this letter for 2 days. I know I haven’t answered some of your questions so I’ll try to keep on with the good work & write another long letter soon. Tonight Cec & I are going to a party at the Kleman’s – they are leaving for Sweden in less than a month & we will all be so sorry to see them go. Tomorrow is our anniversary & the Douglasses too, so we are joining together & asked the Klemans too & going out to dinner somewhere – frivolous us! I hope that you had a nice time at Jean’s & that A. Trix has better news from Bill. Poor Janie with the T.B. scare – how are totally horrid – particularly just then – but thank goodness it was o.k. Hope you have a good news of A. Ettie – I must write this week. The children send big, big hugs & kisses & lots & lots of love from us all – Will really write again soon XXX Cyn.
Tues.28th Dec. Dearest Mummy, Thank you so much for all our lovely Christmas presents. As you will know from my last letter Cec & I were so intrigued when your parcel came saying “picture”, but we were good & saved it & we were just bursting to open it on Christmas morning! I had imagined it would be a water colour, so it was a complete & absolute surprise to us & we think it is simply lovely. I remember seeing the pictures in wood in England, but how amazing that someone you know should actually make them – & so beautifully too. We were just saying that we would love to know what all the different kinds of wood are that he uses – does he prepare them himself from St.V. wood or does he get “sheets” of wood from England or somewhere? Anyway, we are simply delighted & both thank you very, very much for such a beautiful present.
Lindy has written you a “letter” to thank you for her darling little washing set, but I will enclose it in another of mine. I gave her some little notepaper & envelopes & she has been writing all her thank you letters! Much better than Mummy but she turns out 2 or 3 every minute! Both she & I are tickled to bits over the dear little washtub & pegs etc. & we have the clothesline strung between the table legs! Granny C. sent her some dolly clothes & they are all strung on the line! She loves the 2 little twin babies, but of course wants to take them out & so far I won’t let her! Charlie’s blocks are a huge success with both of them – Linda likes all the pictures & makes a big “castle” (with a very English “a”!) while Charlie likes to knock it down!! Also they love the birdies pecking & are having lots of fun with all their toys from Grannie – thank you so much, Grannie dear. Already Christmas seems ages ago, but we had a lovely time. It was a strange Christmas in some ways – I told you in my last that we had 10 inches of snow a week ago – well, on the Thurs. we had 7 more inches, so you can imagine! It was so deep & Cec got stuck in the car just at the entrance to the driveway & had such a shovelling to do. On Christmas Eve it turned very, very cold & went down below zero so I gave up the idea of going to Midnight Service. I would have had to drive in by myself while Cec stayed with the children & I was scared of getting stuck when I parked, so I just stayed at home. Then on Christmas Day we were all by ourselves – the first time we hadn’t had anyone with us & it seemed quite strange but nice – I didn’t have to worry about having dinner on time or anything! The children were really sweet- Linda was a bit dubious about having Santa Claus in her bedroom so they left their stockings outside & Cec took them in later! In the morning Linda called & here was Charlie taking everything out & Lindy just sitting looking at hers! They came into our bed & looked at them – which reminds me Cec put your wee cutters in my stocking & they were so cute. By good management we got the children to eat breakfast & then see under the tree! Charlie was entranced with the car – sat in it & looked at nothing else all morning! The horse was quite 2nd place! Lindy loved her dolly.
The weather has been gorgeous – cold, snowy & brilliant sun. Lea, W. & Darryl came on Boxing day & yesterday (Cec had to go to work) he brought Lila home for dinner, so we have been quite busy! Got your letter of before Christmas yesterday – so thrilled to know you’re coming in May – never thought there was a chance, you wrote it so jokingly before. Must stop – will write lots more later. Lots of xxx & thanks from all- Cyn.
After sending off their cards and parcels to friends and family, Cyn and Cec had a family Christmas to themselves. Cyn will tell her mother about it later, but let the list she sent later give an idea of what was under the tree.
Box 330 Ottawa RR1 19th Dec. 1954 Charlie’s Birthday. Dearest Mummy, I am afraid that I have left my Christmas letter to you very late, but I seem to have been so busy each evening, and I really felt so upset about poor Anne and Tadek that I couldn’t feel cheerful & Christmasy for quite a while. I still think about her so much of course & everything we do I can’t help contrasting with her and her little family, & feeling that we have so much. I had a letter from Anne last week – it crossed with mine to her. She thought I probably hadn’t heard as she realized that Smithy had sent her letter to Ethel Street. She was telling me more of the accident – it was a car coming up behind Tadek which knocked him off his bicycle – it was driven by a Baptist minister & there are no witnesses so he disclaims any responsibility so there will be no compensation. Tadek’s skull was fractured & he was taken to hospital & never regained consciousness but died 3 hours later – Anne was with him. Poor Anne – you know how desperately she feels things – I don’t know how she’ll carry on. It is Janita’s 4th birthday today & yesterday we got a card from her & little Chris to Charlie – so sweet of Anne to think of us in the middle of all her sadness. We had sent a card to Janita too but I’m afraid it would be late, as our local P.O. is still hanging fire – the grocery part of the store has been open for ages but they are still waiting for this, that & the other for the P.O. so in the meantime it is quite difficult to get things mailed & stamps bought, particularly as it has been very snowy.
We had a huge snowfall yesterday – on top of all we had before – and it was very wet solid snow so poor Cec has been shovelling hard for 2 days to get our driveway clear! Our garage being under the house the drive has quite a slope & if there is any big obstruction the car just sticks! One of Charlie & Linda’s presents for Charlie’s birthday was a pair of red snow shovels (quite big!) and so we thought it was silly to keep them one more day when the snow was so gorgeous yesterday so we gave them a day early & they were a huge success. Linda loves the snow – shovels & falls in it & rolls about, but Charlie is still very cautious if he falls down he is so encumbered with boots, snowsuit etc. that he just lies there & yells till someone picks him up. He hates a cold wind & he just cries to go in if there is one – I know just how he feels! Cec was to go down & get the tree yesterday, but the snow was so thick & he was trying to clear the snow all morning, so never got a chance. However I went downtown in the bus & had a good afternoon shopping & did everything I wanted to do. Ordered the turkey amongst other things – I got such a pleasant surprise – a turkey just over 10lbs. cost just over $5.00 – I thought it would be $7 or $8.00. Talking of turkeys reminds me of the beef tongue – 25¢ for the whole thing! But it is quite a joke – Mrs. Blachut & I (we go together, taking turns to drive) have discovered that it depends on which man is serving us as to how much it costs! I have had them twice & paid 25¢ each time but Mrs. B. gets them often & has paid up to 60¢ & 70¢ for them! It was a mess in town yesterday – crowds as you can imagine & ankle deep slush & water. I got my hair cut too & as everyone was really very cheery & good tempered despite the weather I came home feeling very pleased & as if I had done a good afternoon’s work!
Little Charlie had a nice birthday I think – he isn’t very conscious about things yet, but he knew something important was happening! When Cec & I said “Happy Birthday” to him at breakfast this morning I asked Linda if she would said it & she replied “Oh I said it to him in bed this morning!” She was very excited about everything & chose a card with a little boy on for him & helped me make the cake etc. The milkman set was a huge success – all it is, is a little red wooden crate with a handle & in it 6 little white wooden milk bottles, but Charlie just loves the real milkman! He always watches for him & I keep some little empty glass jars in one of my bottom cupboards & he plays that these are milk bottles. Well, I saw a little toy in some child’s house a while ago – a little wire crate with those little cream jars (glass) that you get cream in in the best restaurants here, so I sent off to tour the toy shops about a month ago, but no one had ever heard of such a thing! Finally I mentioned it to Esther Calaman (the girl with the baby to whom we’ve lent the playpen) & she had seen something of the sort in a little hardware store near her & got it for me. It was worth all the trouble as Charlie was entranced & has carried it around all day & given everyone milk. It was very sweet this morning – Linda took it away from him & wouldn’t give it back so finally when we took it from her & gave it to him she howled & was mad. Charlie watched her a while & then said “Linda not happy?” & when Cec said no, he said, “Make Linda happy!” & went over & gave her his precious milk bottles! They are beginning to squabble now of course & Charlie comes in tears saying “Linda bammed me” so yesterday Cec said “Well if Linda bams you, you should bam her!” So Linda then said indignantly “But then I would cry too!” Lindy has just invented a name “Miss Rabbit Mosing” which she either calls anyone or makes up someone to fit & Charlie has taken it up & it is so funny to hear him in his funny little deep voice, saying “Help me, Help me, Miz ‘Abbit Mosing!” To continue with Charlie’s birthday he wants me to thank you so much Grannie for his lovely blue T-shirt, his little book & the pretty birthday card. The T-shirt is sweet & he put it on straight away & looks so nice in it with his blue eyes just as blue as the shirt. The little Indians are cute too. He dressed up in it with a nice little pair of brown short trousers (with a bib & straps) which Lea Gander gave him ages ago & with blue socks & brown shoes & he looked a pet. Linda had on your last Christmas present – the pretty pink dress with blue smocking. She looks lovely in it now – before it was a tiny bit big but now it is just right, & she looks like a little doll. She wears her sticky out taffeta petticoat under it & it makes it even cuter. The little book you sent is a great favourite already – especially as it has in “The Owl and the Pussycat” which Cec recites to Linda sometimes – as there was a bit in the middle he never could remember, this is a big help! Thank you very much dear Grannie & a big, big kiss from your boy. Both he & Linda were saying good night to your picture & the Queen’s picture hanging on their bedroom wall tonight. Besides the milk bottles Cec got the children Sewing Cards which I don’t remember ever seeing before but Cec says they had them as kids. They are pictures with holes punched along the outlines & there are things like coloured shoelaces to thread through the holes [heavy cardboard dolls, as I remember them, with clothes to ‘sew’ on] Linda can do it quite nicely but Charlie likes to put the laces hanging around his neck best! Cec thought it might distract him from unlacing his (Cec’s) shoes which he is very partial to! The book for Charlie was about a puppy – he is beginning to listen to stories now but isn’t nearly as interested in books as Lindy. For her I got a dear little book of Prayers for Children. It has sweet illustrations of children & has all sorts of little prayers & graces etc. as well as The Lord’s Prayer, The Lord is My Shepherd, Gentle Jesus etc. I had been trying to explain God & saying prayers to her & a book seemed a good idea & she has been very interested in it. I made Charlie a white cake with chocolate filling, white boiled icing all over, & then round the edge choc. cigarettes to make a fence & inside some chocolate covered animal crackers! I wrote Happy Birthday Charlie in blue & he had 2 blue candles! Boris & Joan came to tea & brought little ice hockey sticks for both & a ball, so we had fun! We all just hope the sticks won’t be used as weapons! With not getting the tree we haven’t got our decorations up yet, but hope to do so tomorrow. One thing we have hung up is our Christmas stockings! I made them of green & red felt & they look very nice & are much admired! They are hanging in a line over our picture window so:
This is a very rough drawing but it gives you an idea. Cec & Bunny’s socks are green with red on, & Lindy, Charlie and mine red with green on. I have made my Christmas cake (by my old Cooking School recipe) but not iced it yet & want to make some gingerbread men. We will be spending Christmas Day by ourselves after all. We asked the Ganders but not long after they came to see us that Sat. (2 weeks ago) Lee had a lot of blood from the rectum & although Dr. Smith didn’t think it was too serious she is taking things quietly & staying at home. We have invited Lea & family for Boxing Day – we felt they could hardly leave Mrs. A. on Christmas Day & also, mean as it may sound, we didn’t want to spoil our Christmas & really they are not cheerful company. They came out last Sunday, Lea & Daryl in the afternoon & stayed to dinner & Wendell later & Lea had quarrelled with W. & she told me it all of course & although I am on her side entirely & agree with her & think she has a wretched time, it doesn’t make for a jolly party. I don’t think we have been anywhere or done anything since I last wrote – Cec has just about finished writing his paper & it will be off his mind before Christmas. I have been up to the ears with Christmas cards & letters – thank goodness they are all over.
Thank you so much for your letter (A.M. form) received yesterday Mummy- I do get one every week & always look forward to them. I know I should answer them more particularly, but I really mean to – please say to Jean when you see her that Charlie would be delighted with Charles’s suit! How exciting getting all ready for A. Ettie & Monie’s visit – they will be all in a thrill getting ready for it too! Your new Christmas kitchen floor must be very nice & such a help. By the way I have ripped up my English dress & by this-ing and that-ing think I can fix it – will let about 8 inches in the skirt to make it look decent & countless other things- take out pockets, shorten bodice, shorten hem etc. etc. – doubt if I’ll get it done for Christmas! Must stop – bedtime – I do hope that both you & Auntie Moo have a very, very happy day on Christmas Day. We will all be thinking of you & you can imagine just the 4 of us attacking our turkey! We are so intrigued with your present to us – it has arrived safely & is put away. Hope ours to you is in time. Hugs & kisses from Linda & Charlie & lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn.
In this letter, we finally hear something about this Bazaar that my grandmother has been preparing for! Both Carol and her sister Muriel (A.Moo) were very involved with the affairs of the church in St Vincent, not only attending services, but doing the flowers for the services, and helping enthusiastically with fundraisers such as the Bazaar. (Cyn will follow their example in the community she has now moved to, but needs to join in creating an Anglican Church in their area first!) All ages must be catered for, so besides Baking Stalls, Jams and Pickles, White Elephant, Handicrafts and Clothing, and, best of all, the Afternoon Tea, it seems that Carol’s task for the Bazaar was setting up some sort of Lucky Dip where children got a mystery prize for their pennies. Cyn’s little cars and doll’s bottles were probably wrapped in pink or blue paper and carefully handed out to the correct gender, or perhaps picked off a tree by the child in person while their mother shopped. A note of explanation about Sea Island Cotton- this was an export of St. Vincent’s that Carol’s father, J.G.W. Hazell, had started in the 19th century and it was obviously considered a high-end product!
Mon. 22nd. Nov.
Please thank A. Moo for her letter.
Dearest Mummy, Thank you so much for both your last letters (9th & 15th). I was looking forward to hearing about the Bazaar & was delighted to know how well everything went & that your tree was such a huge success. You must feel very pleased with yourself after all your hard work & it is so nice that your efforts have been both appreciated & rewarded & makes it all well worth while. I am glad that the little things I sent went well & another time I will know better what to send. I have been busy with my Christmas presents & have them mostly “pretty” wrapped & just brown paper to put on. The last date is 27th, so I have a few days grace & should get them away in time. Like you I am sending you 2 parcels & hope neither gets too battered. Did I tell you we have a new store opened nearby, which we are all thrilled about? It is a super market on a small scale, but has all the necessities & in addition is to have a P.O. I have been longing for it to open so that I could mail my parcels there instead of taking them to Dube’s, but they have been held up – however I hear it is to open this week, so I still might manage it. I have been longing for your Mrs. Larriere this past week! I have been toiling over some alteration jobs & with no sewing machine & no fitter, I have thought of her longingly many times!! The first job was a nylon shirt of Cec’s – his best white one actually, which has been languishing in my cupboard since spring. Reason? In a hurry one morning I put a hot iron on the collar! I felt so badly as it is a good shirt & of course Cec never has enough & instead of getting scolded, he was just sorry for me! So at last I set to & made a new collar all by hand except the final machined edge to make it look professional (I did it on Mrs. Rothwell’s machine) & to my joy it looks fine & Cec was so surprised & pleased when I showed him his resurrected shirt! By the way I got him a new shirt from the catalogue the other day & it is called “Our Finest Shirt” & is made of Sea Island Cotton. It has a great long blurb about how wonderful it is, so I felt that I was supporting home industries by getting it! My other alteration job was for myself. My Gor-ray skirt was such a success & so reasonable that I sent for a brown Gorray pinafore skirt which came a week or so ago. Unfortunately it was too big all over, so I started in & took the top from bottom, ripped underarms, took out the zip & did a wholesale renovation. Took in each side, shortened the waist & the hem & now it looks very nice & I am pleased with it, but with no machine it is a slow job. That is to be our next big buy. I have got a new blouse to wear with it – white with a silky stripe & short sleeves.
My Harrods dress is still hanging fire. I was quite annoyed at Willa as she left it well over 2 weeks & when I phoned & asked her she said no, she’d decided it was a little too tight. There is one other girl who says she’d like to try it, but after my success with the pinafore dress I feel ready to rip it up & try my hand at it too. Since I last wrote nothing much has happened. Cec had an official holiday on the 11th but went back to work just the same. Lea phoned about 4 & asked if they could come out to dinner that evening so of course I said yes. I only had sausages but made scalloped potatoes & scalloped tomatoes & corn & then a coconut cream pie so it spread! Things continue awkward with them, but at least Cec & I feel that Lee & Wendy are happier together now than they have been. Cec is still working all the time- every week night, Sat. afternoon & even last night. I had the car last week during the days & one day the children & I went to Joannise (still like to go there) another day out to Orleans to the butcher ( a beef tongue .25¢!!) & another to town. The latter was fun but exhausting! Linda won’t go in a lift so we climbed 4 flights of stairs to Freiman’s Toys (me carrying Charlie) then down, then upstairs again 2 to the Ladies!! Had a fellow from Cec’s Lab. to dinner on Friday – Canadian Chinese, Hin Lew, very nice. On Sat. went to Pete and Lu’s for a late supper & had a lot of fun. They have all new furniture etc. in their sitting room – we gasped!! xxxx from Lindy & Charlie – Love from us all – Cyn
Dearest Mummy, Don’t know how I got so behind-hand with writing to you – the time seems to fly & I have been Christmas shopping which takes me many evenings poring over the catalogues!! However it is mostly done now, just one or 2 little things I want to get in town & then only to wrap, pack & mail them!! I don’t know what you will think of your present – at least it is original! Cec says the colour doesn’t suit me but perhaps the sun will fade it & anyway I hope it suits you!! When I am a little more organized I will maybe send you a list of what I got to send people in England – some people, like Bar & Joan Cox I am dropping off the present list & just sending cards to- it seems crazy to send presents when I don’t even write to them except at Christmas! Well your Bazaar will be all over & I hope that it was a huge success. You worked very hard over it & I am sure that you must have had a great sense of achievement when you saw all the stalls arranged nicely & everything ready & I do hope that you were pleased with the results & that all the children enjoyed having something to spend their pennies on! I forgot to tell you when I was writing about Christmas that one day Linda said to me “Mummy, I think I’d like Santa Claus to bring me a new dolly” & little old Charlie came trotting up & said “ ‘anta Claus, ‘orsie!” so he has cottoned on to the meaning of Santa Claus pretty quick! Carol Appleyard had a lovely little rocking horse that played a tune as it rocked, so of course this was a big hit with Linda & Charlie & Charlie has remembered! We don’t think we can rise to such an elegant animal, but the catalogue has a plainer model for about $6.00 so we are contemplating! Talking of your Christmas present, don’t be disappointed that the mesh panties aren’t included – I will send them maybe for your birthday if you can last that long! (Do like A. Moo!!) but you can’t get summer things like that till the spring, so I thought I’d better wait rather than send you a substitute type which you mightn’t like so well. Had I had my “Ladies Night” when I last wrote you? Anyway I know you I told you I was going to have it & it passed off very well. I like Mrs. Blachut, the Swiss lady very much. She is slim & tall & dark & quite vivacious – in her 30ies somewhere. Mr. Blachut is nice too, but very formally polite you know, in the Polish way, but she is very natural & easy to get to know. Her name is Fanny & we now call each by our 1st names & it always makes me want to giggle thinking of the expressions about “your Aunt Fanny”! He is another Tadek, but she calls him Teddy. Flora, the girl married to the Englishman is nice but a bit odd! Very thin & gawky with deepset dark eyes & a big beaky nose – about 24 to 26-ish I should think. She talks on in a vague way, but not having children she isn’t up in the general mothercraft chat! Elaine is the English woman & she seems nice too – she hates cooking & loves gardening – but of them all I like Fanny best. Shirley Aitken (Hughes) is nice too, but a bit aloof I feel – I don’t know if it’s her manner or if she really is! She looked quite tummy-ish the night she was here, so either her muscles have gone to pot or she’s that way again! We had June to dinner a few evenings later, & poor girl. I do feel sorry for her. George has the most impossible job & they never seem to be able to settle down to a decent normal life with him dashing about all the time. He is more or less transferred to Montreal now & after Christmas when June’s Fellowship with the Council ends they will be moving there. June hates the thought of it as she is just beginning to like Ottawa and of course Montreal is so French & much more city-ish. We have been seeing quite a bit of Betty & Al McNamara lately. I introduced Betty to the little butcher out at Orleans & last week I had the car so the children & I went over and had coffee with Betty & then we all drove out to the butchers – it makes quite a nice little trip & the children love the car. They both go in the back now & are quite grown-up & independent. Cec & I went over to Betty & Al’s on Friday evening for bridge & coffee & had quite a nice time, but golly! both Cec & I think Betty is getting more & more like her Mother all the time! We feel quite sorry for Al (probably he doesn’t mind at all!) as the parents are over at least once a week & they go to the Burroughs on Sat. or Sun. & Betty just seems to quote her Mother continually! What Mother says is introduced into every conversation & as you’ll have gathered we don’t think much of Mother’s opinions anyway! Father is such a nice interesting little man, but he never gets a “quote”!! Their house is quite nice – actually quite big – sitting room, kitchen & 2 other rooms down & bathroom & 2 bedrooms up, but they’re not using upstairs as they have no need to & no furniture anyway. It has been all re-painted which is nice & the heater in the sitting room isn’t obtrusive. They are allowed 1 year there ($40.00 a month rent) & then must move, but they should have saved a bit & got organized by then. The Big event last week was that Linda & Charlie were invited to their 1st Birthday Party! Fanny called up about Tues. & invited them to come on Sat. as Janek was 3, so you can imagine! I was a bit dubious about how they would get on without me, but in the end Fanny asked if I would come too as there were to be a few Mothers there & she asked if I’d help give them tea while she was busy with the children. So I was there too & I don’t know if it was a good thing or not! On the Friday we went shopping & got Janek a paint box & Lindy a pair of party shoes! She has always had just the little brown lace up ones, so I got her a pair of black kid with a strap & buckle & a crisscross on the toe.
She was absolutely thrilled with them but believe it or not just yelled in the shoe store! I don’t know how or why, but she is terrified of any man touching her or coming near her even, & although I say I’ll put on the shoe, she still makes a fuss. I usually have the shoe man come out here & it’s still the same performance. Anyway on Sat. a.m. I bathed them & washed their hair & after their afternoon sleep dressed them in their best. Charlie blue & white Viyella romper suit from England & Linda in the little blue georgette dress with white lace insertions that Mary Egan sent her. Underneath she had a frilly taffeta petticoat (from Til & Lois) that made her dress stick out & a blue bow in her hair. They really did look sweet – just 2 little dolls – & so pleased with themselves! Well, off we all went & found 16 small children there – ages 1 1/2 – 8!! My 2 were just stunned! And so many of the children were the big fat round faced type you know & my 2 little blossoms looked like little frail small flowers in amongst them all!! They had tea first & as long as I was around things went quite all right, but as soon as I disappeared into the room with the adults one or the other came after me! They knew none of the other children except Janek, who of course was so excited he knew no one & anyway 1/2 or more of the children were Swiss or Polish & talked their own language! The worst moment was when everyone sang “Happy Birthday” – Linda burst into tears & howled! You know how she has always hated noise & I don’t think she had ever heard a lot of people singing before! Afterwards they played games like Blind Man’s Buff etc. which the little ones didn’t even notice. They just played around with toys etc. & mine were quite glad to come home with their balloons & I was exhausted! Really rather a doubtful pleasure, but I think 16 was a lot for their 1st venture! Next year we will begin having small parties here & they will get used to them – I hope! On Sunday afternoon Boris called up to say they were going for a walk around our district so could they drop in & so of course we were delighted & asked them to stay for dinner – roast pork, applesauce, baked squash, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, Tenby Cream & Joan brought a cake! We had a nice evening & Boris was very tickled with his godson – he says he has a million dollar smile! Gunborg said she thought Charlie had the most devastating personality of any small child she’d ever seen. He is still as cute & affectionate as ever & will go to all our friends & put up his face & say “Kiss me” & then “ ‘Ug” (hug!) – he even wants to kiss the milkman & bread man for whom he has a great affection! He talks a lot now of course, but not so clearly & doesn’t enunciate so well as Linda always has – he needs an interpreter! One night Cec was at work & Charlie woke up & yelled. I did everything I could think of & kept asking him what was wrong & he kept saying something & getting nearly in a frenzy because I couldn’t understand. This went on for about 1/2 hour & I had smacked him & left him & had to go back 2 or 3 times when Linda finally said “I think he wants a jellybean!” I ask you!!! He then said through sobs “Yes – bellybean!” – I gave him one – he said “Nank you. Bye Bye” & everything was fine!! At the moment he is the politest little boy you could wish to have- he says “Nankyou” & “Pease” without prompting at all – long may it last. He is also the laziest little lump – he turns his big blue eyes on you & says “Help me Mummeee” or raises his arms & gives a big smile & says “Mumee carra me”! If you refuse the lip goes down and great tears well up & he sobs his heart out & of course you feel a brute!! Lindy & he are now really beginning to have great fun playing together – they seem to me to be very imaginative for such young children – they play going in street cars & trains & driving the car of course & Charlie loves to be the milkman. He has always loved since he was about 7 or 8 mths. old giving you ‘pretend’ things- he will take your hand & carefully pretend to put something in it & you of course have to thank him. The other day he was pretending to pour tea in a little cup & Cec said “Mind, you’re spilling it!” & Charlie just roared with laughter — spilling pretend tea! I don’t think I have ever told you of Lindy’s little imaginary playmate have I? Soon after we came to this house Lindy told me that she had a little friend & her name was Banney! She lives in Linda’s closet & has a little brother called Jonaclo. Her mummy is called Joan and her daddy is Big Jonaclo! We have Banney with us all the time & whatever we do Banney does too – for instance Banney got party shoes too & went to a party of course! Banney is sometimes naughty – Linda will give a sudden slap on air & then turn to me & say “Banney was going on the road!” & of course whenever I say “Don’t suck your fist Lindy” or some other “Don’t”, the reply is “Well Banney does!” Lindy is quite intrigued with the “comics” in the evening paper now – like you she likes Ferdinand (the little man in the funny hat – remember?) & one about a dog & another about some little girls. Each evening Cec reads her these & then later on she gets the paper & reads them to Banney!! You can imagine how funny it is sometimes & Lindy also loves to make up words. She’ll come into the kitchen & ask “Where is my gunshi?” So I reply “Oh I threw it in the garbage!” & she says “Why?” & I say “It smelled so horrible!” & we both begin to giggle! I must stop now – it’s after 11- Cec is at work of course – every week night he goes back now, but we hope the end is in sight as he is writing a paper on his work now to be ready for publication at the end of this month & then we can all relax! We are having cold frosty bright weather but no snow yet. I take the children out a walk each morning as it’s so nice then & gets dark in the late afternoon. We have spent nearly 3 weekends on our storm windows – taking down screens, washing windows, washing storm windows & now painting the wretched things! Just have one or 2 more to do though. Thank you so much for last A.M. of the 1st – meant to send A. Moo birthday card but forgot till too late – please give her my love & belated good wishes. Glad you had such nice farewells for the Coutts, such a pity they’re going but hope you get someone else nice. Must stop. Lots & lots of love from us all. xxx from Lindy & Charlie – Lots of love from Cyn.
P.S. Had letter from Anne. Jessie F. back from Jamaica- not married yet. Trying S. Africa next!