July 2 1954

July 2nd 1954

Darling Mummy,

I have just finished writing to Nan to congratulate her on the birth of her daughter – isn’t it fun? I am so glad as I feel that they will be so thrilled & Mrs. Allan will be over the moon to have a little girl to pet. I expect Nan will have let you know, but if not she is to be Barbara Jane & weighed 8 pounds & Nan had a lovely time which was nice, wasn’t it?
Thank you so much for your nice long letter mailed 21st- it came on Friday 25th, so the mails are really being quick now. I have a whole bunch of stuff to send by sea this week, but thought I’d send this A.M. in the meanwhile. I don’t seem to have much news to tell you – the weather is still queer with one real hot day & then a storm or something & dull weather for a while. On Wed a.m. we had an eclipse of the sun here – did you read about it? It was at about 7 a.m. & Cec & I got up & saw it – it wasn’t quite complete in Ottawa – the total eclipse was some hundred miles north at Goose Bay & tribes of scientists went up for it & of them all the N.R.C. plane with Alex in charge of the recording machine & various others from the Observatory were the only ones to get it as it was so cloudy & they just happened to hit a clear patch at the crucial moment. Wasn’t that good?
Yesterday was a holiday here, Dominion Day & Cec was at home. Claire came & as the Nursery School was closed for the day she brought Jerry too & he & Linda had fun playing in the sand & the paddling pool. Joan & Boris came about 6 & we had a buffet supper after the children were in bed. Last Sun. we had Mr. & Mrs. Blachut & family to tea. He is the man who drives to work with Cec & they take turns with their cars – they have built a new house near here. We thought they were Swiss but it turns out that she is Swiss & he is Polish – was interned there during the War. They have a nice little boy just 2 months younger than Linda called Janek & a wee 5 wks. old boy called Danny – Linda was most intrigued with both! They seem very nice people. I have been weeding & am eaten by mosquitoes- have been bad this week after some rainy days, but they don’t seem to bother Linda at all – isn’t it strange? Must dash & put this out for the mail man – Hugs & kisses from us all –
Lots & lots of love from Cyn.

June 25 1954

Cec’s birthday in Columbus at the Spectroscopy Conference.

25th June. 1954.

Dearest Mummy,

I said I would write you a great long letter while Cec was away & here it is, he’s been & come back & been home a week & I still haven’t written! Actually I was kept busy while he was away & we gallivanted off in the car, so I really didn’t have much time & since he came back I’ve had to catch up on all the work I didn’t do while he was gone!

Thank you so much for your letter mailed 14th – I got it last Sat. (19) so the mails are being really good now. Cec got your birthday letter before he left & was so pleased with the pictures. I have been scolding him for not taking more – there has been a film in the camera for months & months & it just doesn’t ever seem to get finished- last Sat. I persuaded Cec to get the camera out & then Charlie began acting up & crying & fussing to go in the car until Cec got so disgusted with him that he just put it all away again! However I hope we will get them soon.

A happier car occasion!

It is so nice to have Cec home again & Columbus was terribly hot & steamy so he was doubly glad to get back! He enjoyed it though & as all the Michigan crowd were there he renewed a lot of old acquaintances & of course among the others, saw Gordon. There has been talk & vague rumours about him coming up here all year, but nothing definite till just lately so I didn’t mention it. Now, the idea is that they will all come to Ottawa for 2 days in Aug. on their way home from holidaying at Cape Cod, so that Gordon can see Dr. Herzberg & plan for a future longer visit. I have written & told Gunborg we want them to stay with us (could put the double couch thing with the single bed in the spare room for the girls – us on the sofa & G & G in our room) but have heard no more. It will be such fun to see them again & can hardly imagine how big the girls will be– Anne has graduated, so is going to England for a year at the Perse School in Cambridge where she was before & will stay with her Aunt.
To return to our doings – we all drove Cec to the airport on the Sunday afternoon & Phyl & family were there to see Alec off & Joan to see Boris off & various other families, so there was quite a group – oh & dear Dan – but no Lyn thank goodness! We saw them all away- Charlie’s word for plane is “woo-woo” & “Dada woo-woo” was very exciting!! Cec got a seat at a window & waved to them, so they got a good look & were thrilled, but didn’t much care for the noise of the take off! The day before was a big Air Force Day & Rockcliffe Airport is just behind us so Cec & Charlie sat on the little back porch & watched planes all afternoon! Cec thought it was such fun to have a son who enjoys the same things he does!! Linda didn’t much care for the noise of the breaking of the sound barrier which we’d heard at the rehearsal the day before (shook the house!) so she stuck to me inside mostly!
After the Daddys had gone we went back to the Douglas’ & had a cool drink for a little while & then came home. On Monday – rainy, dreary day – we went to town. The weather has been so weird – as soon as we get a nice day there are violent thunderstorms & the rainy days & then the whole thing over again. We parked the car at Friemans & had apple juice there, then went to the market & got 6 tomato plants & some seeds & then to Woolworths. It was a great success & I was surprised at Charlie- I thought he would want “Up-up” all the time, but no, he toddled along & the only times I carried him were when I wanted to hurry – across roads etc. Unfortunately we had one mishap- when the car arrived for us to go home I lifted Charlie into his chair & George, the doorman, lifted Linda in! Well – she has this mania against strange people lifting her & she screamed & kicked & yelled & nothing I did would quiet her, and she kicked & yelled most of the way home, which was a pity as we had such a good time otherwise.
On Tuesday we drove across to see Lee & Barry & what do you know- Lee is pregnant again! Poor girl – she is feeling pretty rotten & looked awful, but she insisted that we come as we hadn’t seen them for so long. Jim was there as he stayed to do the washing, but he left soon & instead of coffee or anything Lee got an early sandwich lunch & then we left about 1- got there at 10:45. The next day we went to tea with Esther Calaman & the baby – she was so lonesome as John was away too & it was their first parting! Then the next day we went for groceries to a Loblaw’s store and they have wee carts for children as well as the big ones for mummies so Linda was very thrilled! I gardened quite a bit while Cec was away- weeding & planting seeds – & on Wed. evening Mrs. Rothwell had a bridge party for me! As I couldn’t go out, she & her guests came to me & she brought a basket with china, food, coffee & all – wasn’t it sweet of her!? Becky, her daughter-in-law, was there & a girl Flora, young married from down the road & we played the silliest chatty bridge, but it was funny! They are all old Ottawa families, so the conversation was very “Do you remember so-&-so” & “How is so-&-so” but it was fun anyway.

Cec was to arrive home at about 3 a.m. Friday, but the plane was grounded in Toronto for bad weather so they came on by train from there which was better really as they had berths & slept & didn’t arrive till breakfast. The children were so thrilled to see him- Charlie all over him at once – Linda quite standoffish for an hour or so, then climbed onto his knee & kissed & kissed him!!
Sat. we celebrated as his birthday & Sun. was Father’s Day, so Cec had a really pampered weekend! Chocolate birthday cake & roast chicken & strawberries & a pair of bathing trunks & books!
The children are awake so I must finish & dash to post this. It is a lovely hot day & I have their paddling pool out. Cec has made them a beautiful big sandbox in the back & they are in luxury! I have begun a “letter answering” letter, but will send it by sea & answer all your questions!
Lots & lots of love from us all –

I’m pretty sure Cyn held our hands!

June 1954

This long letter is disjointed because the first three pages are missing. Cyn writes the first 9 pages on one side and then turns and writes page 10 on the other, up to the back of page 4, where the letter ends at page 15. It was mailed in an Air Mail envelope but because of the stamp collector, half the postmark is missing- it was sent in June and appears to have arrived in Kingstown, St. Vincent, on June 19th 1954. The Costains seem to be settling into their new neighbourhood nicely- keeping up with their old friends and making new ones, and discovering connections that show how small a world the Ottawa of the time was.

June 1954.
[starting page 4] imagine what it is like, but Cec says it will undoubtedly make up for it! We have been gardening quite busily – with the rain the weeds have been sprouting badly, so whenever I am out with the children I am busy pulling & in the evening Cec & I have been planting a bit. There is an old man with greenhouses just down the road so we have bought some plants for our front big bed from him – canna lilies – nicotina- blood-red petunias – asters & white & purple sweet alyssum for a border. We have roses & big oriental poppies & iris just waiting for some sun & Cec has transplanted chrysanthemum slips – I plan to plant a few seeds in the bare spots but haven’t got them yet! Do you have Balsam & Portulaca? They are supposed to flower all summer & be very pretty so I thought I would like to try some – also do you remember that pretty plant you tried to find the name of when you were here? It had green ferny leaves & a spray of pink flowers? I think it is Love-Lies-Bleeding & will get some seeds & see!
Our doings haven’t been very exciting lately, but on Sat. evening we had Alec & Phyl to play bridge & had a good time. Alec has just been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada which is a big honour – particularly at his age – & was away in Winnipeg to their annual meeting. Everyone is very pleased at his success as he is so well liked & so helpful at work as well as being very clever. Next week is the big Spectroscopy Meeting down in Columbus, Ohio & Cec is going down to it with most of the others from the Lab. They will fly down on Sunday & back on Friday – all expenses paid! We had vaguely talked about driving down with all of us & me & the children visiting in Ann Arbour & Toledo, but apart from my illness & the move discouraging us, I really hate the thought of travelling much with the children & staying in other people’s houses. They are so much happier & better at home & it would be no holiday for me – in fact much more wearing. When Cec is away we’ll have the car & hope to visit Lee & Barry & a few others maybe.

Last week Cec & I went to the pictures to see Walt Disney’s nature film “The Living Desert”– our 2nd time this year! There is a Dutch girl called Jo Vanderbruk who is a maid with some people not far away & if her “family” don’t need her, she will sit for us & seems very good & capable. Our egg man, Martin – also Dutch – found her for us & her sister works for Mrs. Aiken (Mrs. Hughes’s d.) across the road. We liked the film but were a little bit disappointed as we had heard so much about it & probably expected too much.

It had won the Academy Award the year before for Best Documentary.

The weekend before we had invited Joyce & Les Haywood out on the Sat. evening, but in the morning Les phoned to say Joyce had a bad cold & they couldn’t come. It turned out to be a pouring wet dreary day, so on the spur of the moment we phoned Chris & Phyl (as Alec was away) & said “how about some bridge? “& they were both delighted, so Cec drove in & did my grocery shopping & brought Chris home to dinner & Phyl came later & we had a nice evening. On the Sunday it was quite pleasant & we went over to the Ramsays to tea. Their older girl, Shirley is about 5 & Wendy just 3 mths. older than Linda, but both so plain! Nan is expecting again in September & is very well but dreading the heat. Don’s parents arrived this Sat. for their first visit to Canada, & Don is taking them a 6 weeks tour of Canada & the States beginning with the journey down to Columbus this weekend. Chris is going with them to see the sights as he will be going back to Denmark this Fall & it will be a lovely chance for him. I don’t envy poor Nan left to cope with the 2 children alone for 6 wks. but she says that anyway it is so much better than taking them on the trip she doesn’t care!
I told you about the previous weekend when Chris was with us, so I won’t tell you anymore about that except that we did enjoy it. He is so nice we all wish he would marry some nice Canadian girl & stay here, but there doesn’t seem much chance as I don’t think he has even dated anyone. The weekend before that was Boris’s wedding & I really can’t remember if I told you much about it. Joan looked very nice & had such a pretty net and lace crinoline dress and a long veil – the only thing was that at the reception I didn’t feel she matched the dress! She was full of bounce & kept dashing around whereas I felt she should be stately & dignified! Her matron of honour was small & fair in a pinky-mauve taffeta (Cec thought an awful colour & I’m not fond of it either) & Boris’ 2 sisters – dark & tall – as bridesmaids in a fairly deep blue taffeta. They wore bandeaux of the taffeta with pearls on their heads & the bouquets were pretty- pink carnations & blue hyacinth blossoms threaded on pink pipe cleaners as trailers & the whole frilled with net to match the dresses. My outfit was admired also & I think it is nice too!! My hat is so- just a little poke bonnet affair but a pretty red & the dress is very plain but the stripes go in a nice way & the frills make it pretty.

I am so glad that you like your birthday dress too & that the cousins approve – I hope you find it really useful. Joan & Boris have a furnished flat for the summer near N.R.C. but we weren’t able to go to a “Present Display” they had just before the wedding so we haven’t seen it. The fellows had a stag party for Boris a day or two before the wedding & they had a good time except that Dan repeated his birthday party behaviour & made an absolute fool of himself. Drunk & sick & revolting & Alec & Cec had to bring him home & put him to bed. Cec was so furious & disgusted with him that he has hardly spoken to him since & thank goodness they have moved now. They have rented a house for the summer & it is over the other side of the town, so I don’t intend to see much of them in the future.
Talking of the other side of town reminds me that a few weekends ago we had a phone call from Mrs. Burrough – remember – Al Macnamara’s m.-in-law? Al was in Ottawa for the weekend on business, & as it was such a short time they were inviting his friends to come & see him, instead of his trying to get around & would we come to tea on the Sun. It turned out that they had just built & moved into a new house right next door to their old one. They had a big garden on a corner before- an extra house lot & were offered $3000 for it, so instead they built themselves a bungalow & sold their old house. It was a pouring wet day, but we drove out & ploughed through a sea of mud to the house which was still quite unfinished inside – they had been in 2 weeks & there were no cupboards yet & lots of finishing to be done & afterwards we discussed it with Pete & Lu who were also there & couldn’t imagine why they condemned themselves to such discomfort. We had a very nice tea – about 6 or 8 of us there – it was Lu’s first meeting with Mrs. B. & she told me afterwards that each time she looked at her my description of her as having a face like a Pekingese jumped into her mind & she nearly giggled! Al has just got his Ph.D. from Sask. & he & Betty will be back in Ottawa in the Fall – Al going on working for D.R.B. under Pete.
I have all sorts of letters to thank you for, but as this letter is getting so long already I won’t try and answer them this time, but next week when Cec is away perhaps I’ll have an orgy & go through them all! You asked a few questions on Lindy’s little letter so I’ll answer those- about 5 miles to Cec’s work at NRC I think – just 15 to 20 minutes drive anyway. I haven’t heard a word from Jessie all year- sent a note with a new address asking for news & if the baby had arrived etc. but no reply as yet. Had a note from Anne early in the year, but nothing since. She was back teaching again & the baby was doing well, but she seem to be finding it pretty hard work & I don’t wonder. Janie was at nursery school. No word of Jessie F. in her letter & I can’t recall anything startling about anyone else. I never hear from my father now & haven’t written since I was ill. Keep meaning to make up a parcel to send, but haven’t done so yet.
You ask if I had met Mrs. Hughes’ daughter, Mrs. Aiken, yet & I did – just last week. My neighbour, Mrs. Rothwell, took me over one evening & then just left me on the doorstep as she had a man coming to do the garden! She is a funny old lady, but it was quite embarrassing as we had only met in front of the television set on Coronation Day so our acquaintance was of the briefest & Mrs. R. had invited us over! However we chit chatted about children & living out here etc. & then I asked something about “Was her mother up at the cottage now? “& she replied “Oh well – she’s in Toronto at the moment – but you know Mrs. Hughes isn’t my mother. My father has been married twice & he & my mother were divorced & Mrs. Hughes is his 2nd wife!” Well – I was amazed! Of course, I passed it off & we talked of other things, but when I came home & told Cec, we were both so astonished! I think Mrs. H. always just talked of them as “the girls”, but I had so taken it for granted that they were hers & now to find she really has no children. Mrs. Aiken (Shirley) has 3 boys – 5, 2 (Charles) & 8 mths. & she seems very nice. Their house is very, very, modern as I told you & she showed me over & I found it most intriguing. It is big & has its back to the road & a lovely view over the fields behind through one entire wall of glass. Very nice in many ways, but still a lot of work I think.
I have never mentioned my neighbours much to you, but they are worth it. On one side of us is an old wood house which has obviously been here for years & has a big garden. It belongs to an old country dame who works away in the garden wearing a most aged sunbonnet. With her live two daughters – one with a little boy Jimmy & the other, Mrs. Hansen, in the upstairs with her husband & two children, Pauline (4) & Glyn (2). The latter were the children we saw at first & thought it would be nice for Linda to have company, but we were soon put off! A.) Mrs. H is one of those talky- talky- talk women – completely unexpressionless face, but gabs continually- about my age or younger I suppose. The first 2 weeks we were here I couldn’t put out a diaper on the line or pull a weed out of the garden, but she was over talking to me. All full of plans of how I would take her children a walk one day & she’d take mine the next etc. & if I set out a walk, she’d dash & say to wait she’d come too. You can imagine! I was SICK of it! I knew all about her pregnancies & that she thought she might be going to have another baby & really her conversation was not edifying! B.) The children both are runny-nosed & dirty most of the time & although the little girl seems quite a good little thing she mostly looks a sight. C.) Pauline has an accent & before long Linda – the little copy cat – was saying “Yeah “& “Hellow” & “Paulaine” & worse! I, of course, corrected her, & then I heard her saying “Say ‘Yes’ Pauline – not ‘Yeah’” “Can you say ‘Yes’ Pauline?” etc! Anyway, as you can imagine, we weren’t enthusiastic & apparently Mrs. H realized it & took the huff as she never comes near now & yells at Pauline if she comes near us! Just as well. Also – she is having another baby apparently & hasn’t been out much.

Charlie on our lawn with Mrs. Rothwell’s front steps in the background.

My other neighbor, Mrs. Rothwell, lives in the tall 1/2 of our house & is very different. She is a “Lady” just in the way Chris & Miss Lefroy are & in fact reminds me of them a great deal in many ways – about 65 to 70, I imagine. In appearance I have an idea that she looks as I remember Mrs. Maconachie looked- wavy white hair & a roundish face with blue eyes. She is so funny in many ways, but a real dear – her son, Ben, inherited Grandpa’s big old farm down the road & all this was once his land, but now of course he is selling part of it for a building & making lots of money. Mrs. Rothwell’s husband was something quite important in the Agric. Dep’t. Of the Gov. & they are all well-known Ottawa people, so she is quite the Grand Old Lady of the district. Ben is married to Becky (I have just met them casually!) & have two little girls, 5 & 4, Cathie & Margo, & Georgie 2, the latter with very bad eczema, poor little fellow- also gets asthma etc. & can’t touch dogs, cats etc. or have flowers near or anything. Mrs.R. also has a daughter with 2 boys & 2 girls – and who is their father – none other than Dr. Goldwin Smith – Charlie’s producer!! Mrs. R. & I were so amazed when we discovered! She & I chit chat most days in the garden & she is a lot of fun & likes to be Lady Bountiful, Cec says! She drops in with custard or jellies for the children or something or the other & I am so far behind in returning favours I’ll never catch up! She likes the children & Cathie & Margo come to see her quite often & Linda likes to play with them. Once in a while Mrs. R.will drop in for a chat & it always amuses Cec as she will one day bring me a book about the painter Cezanne, or another day something else & he says she is trying to educate me! But like Miss Lefroy I think she is very interested in everything!
I also have made an acquaintance down the road – a girl called Pat Tomlinson with a little girl, Joanne just 3 mths older than Linda & a 3 mths. baby girl, Susan. We chatted one day when she passed with the children & have met a few times since & she seems a real nice girl & Joanne is a sweet little blonde. So far she & Linda don’t do much except gaze at each other, but they should get to know each other soon. I had them up to tea last Fri. & Pat & I were talking & she said her husband was in the Gov.- working for the Veteran’s Admin in a certain building. I said, oh yes, Cec & I had gone there once as he got D.V.A. help of course & when we came to Ottawa he had called. So Pat said “Oh, my husband worked in that dep’t. with fellows who studied abroad” so I said “How funny – maybe he remembers Cec – all I can recall of the visit was that there were 2 men & the younger one wore a hearing aid” & she said “Well – that’s Bill – my husband!” Wasn’t it a coincidence?
I must end now & mail this – it is now Wed. & a lovely hot day so we will go in the garden when the children wake up. Next week I’ll answer some of your lovely long letters & thank you properly for the knives – they came safely & are a blessing. Lots of love from us all,
xxxx from Linda & Charlie- Cyn.

May 5-31 1954

Box 330.
May 5th.

Dearest Mummy,
My big pad of A.M. seems to be done, so will have to do with little pages, but thought I would begin & answer some of your letters. I have just finished a letter to you, but filled it full of Costain chatter, so didn’t do much answering.
Your letter of 17th told about going to Church at Belair & the little black girl who was so good. There were quite a lot of children at church on Easter Day here – none as small as Linda though, but I was thinking I would hate to have to try & keep her quiet & good all through a service! I think in the fall, when she is 3, I will ask about Sunday School at Saint Margaret’s. They have such a sensible system over here of having Sunday School for the children during the morning service, & they have special classes for tiny children, so I think I might see how Linda likes it. Barry goes & loves it & so does little Leslie Forsyth & the Garrett boys so I think she should. It doesn’t take me long to drive to Saint Margaret’s & it is still the nearest Anglican Church, so I am pleased as I like it & Mr. Stewart too.

I was glad to hear that the news was good about A. Mil & Patsy, but I am amazed that they should get such a thing, when it seems so compulsory nowadays to have vaccinations – particularly having travelling to & from different countries. [This seems to refer to the fairly illegible Postscript about smallpox in a previous Airmail letter.] I hope the little boy doesn’t get it & that they will soon be all right. I was so glad to hear that Jeanie seems to be back on the straight & narrow again & that the Dr. affair seems to be over. She may pity me for having such a lot to do at times, but I certainly pity her for not having enough to do, which I am sure must be at the root of so many of these flirtations. They are so pointless & yet can make so many people miserable that I hope Jeanie keeps clear.
Cec & I were most shattered at your description of the Mannequin Parade & the prices paid for the dresses! What a lot of money people must have! It must have been great fun to watch though & the dresses sound lovely. Did Hazell Ann look pretty in her $24 evening dress & was she very thrilled about it all?
Talking of dresses, Boris’ wedding is on 15th so on Sat. I am to go to town & buy a dress & hat for it – delayed birthday present! I think I will get a fairly plain dress – I had thought of navy or something like that – but a really frivolous hat- red or pink or something! It is so long since I bought a silly hat! We got his wedding present from Harrod’s – a tray just like the one Maud gave me except a size smaller. We got pale green & instead of the flowers, a hunting scene & it is really very pretty. I got one of the little Harrods catalogues the other day & have sent for a dress from it- from their “Budget Dress Dept.”! It is a silk print with 3/4 sleeves & looks pretty but I’ll have to wait & see! I also wrote to Gorray a little while ago so I’m anxiously awaiting their reply!
In your letter after you heard of our new house you ask how far out it is – well it is just 1/2 mile outside the city, but about 1 1/2 – 2 miles from Saint Margaret’s I think. Cec drives to work in about 15 min. so it isn’t really far you see. There is another NRC man living near by- a Swiss called Blachut, & he & Cec are going to share the driving if they can arrange it which will be nice. It will save money a bit & also mean that on certain days the children & I can use the car which will be fun. Charlie particularly loves the car – he sits in the car seat in the front now & if I’m driving Linda sits in the middle- if Cec is driving she & I usually sit behind. You ask if we have to collect our letters but no – we have a mailbox at the side of the road. Do you remember seeing this type of thing along the roads? The mailman drives around every afternoon & pops the mail in & takes any of ours to be posted. One big difficulty in not having a proper number & street address is to describe to friends & tradespeople how to get here! Mr. Scott had his name painted on a board on the house, but we thought the name was rather ostentatious, so Cec has had made a very neat sign C.C.C. ! It is black initials on white & the house is white with black paint, so it really looks nice. We got the phone in about 10 days which is a blessing. Joanise deliver out here twice a week & Eatons & Simpsons too, so I am able to do a lot of my ordering by phone. I just sent off 3 birthday presents I got from Eatons – pr. of navy nylon gloves with white spots for Nan (she sent me an apron & Dottie a yellow silk square) – a red necklace for Anne – & a very belated pr. of pink nylon spotted panties for Ruth! Very risqué for the curate’s wife! Actually I am wondering whether I should have bothered about the latter as they just sent me a card, but I had written at the time that I would send a present when I was well, so I felt I should. However, they seem to be concentrating on the children now, so maybe I can cut out Ruth! In the snaps Amy sent, Cec was horrified at Ruth- thought she looked so fat & sloppy! I didn’t think she looked at all bad but we both thought Amy & Charlie had aged so much- Amy particularly looks fatter & kind of flabby I think. I guess we think we stay the same – they probably say just the same about me!!

The Haynes family- Ruth looks very happy!

You will be glad (as we are!) to hear that Dan + wife are moving at the end of the month to a furnished house leased for the summer! I didn’t see their apt. but apparently it is very crummy ($95 a month) & a most disagreeable landlord so they are moving & we don’t mind a bit- I see very little of them, but poor Cec has the pleasure of giving Dan a ride each day again. He talks about buying petrol someday!
You ask about our entrance – well the house is really on about the same level as the Ethel St. house was, but our apt. there is the basement here with windows at ground level. So when you come in the front door you go down some steps to the basement & up some stairs to the “house proper”. All that waste space above just seems to be ceiling – I don’t know why! There are ceiling lights in all the rooms except the end of the sitting room. The kitchen & bathroom have those great long tube lights that give daylight lighting which is wonderful – such a nice change to see in the kitchen! I am busy ripping & making over the sitting room curtains for the big picture windows. I have three widths in each of the 2 curtains, so I am separating them & making 6 curtains. Margie says I can use her machine, but I still have to tack them. When they are up I think we might change the furniture a bit & put the desk by the windows at the other end & bring the smaller sofa over in its place as the big windows are so pleasant in the summer, but at the moment with no curtains up it is a bit naked! We have the armchair we bought at Ethel Street there at the moment & a box Cec made for the children to stand on & they are up & down at that window all the time.

The chair was in Dan’s room & had some hard wear so I will have to try & re-cover it. One day last week I was busy in the kitchen & Charlie kept marching solemnly in – opening the cupboard under the sink – putting something in the garbage can & then marching out again, & so on! He was so busy & pleased with himself I left him to it & only discovered afterwards that it was fluff from the arm of the chair that he was pulling out of a hole & then taking to the garbage! There is now a big bare gaping hole in one arm!!
The oil furnace is wonderful – it is hot air like the Richer’s, but the registers are at ground level here & we have a thermostat & thermometer & can regulate it as we like, so it is much better. We have no fireplace, but in a house like this you don’t really miss one so much.

Mon. 31st May.
This letter is nearly a month old & I have kept thinking I will add to it, but now I think I had better send it off & begin all over again or I will never get it away. We have been busy as the weekend before last was a holiday (Queen’s b’day on the Mon.) & we asked Chris (the Danish Fellow) to come for the weekend. We like him so much & as he & Boris were in digs together we thought he might be a little lonesome. We had such a nice time as he is a grand guest & so good with the children & kitten!

We had Lu & Pete out on the Sat. evening & on the Mon. a Prof. & Mrs. Lausett (Danish – over for 4 mths.) to tea & all had such a good time that we asked them to stay on to supper, so it was fun. They are older, but reminded us of Gordon & Gunborg, so interested & full of fun. Last week seemed very short though & I never got caught up with washing etc. so hence my not getting this letter finished. This weekend we had 2 rainy days but today is nice thank goodness. Will write again very soon & send this off now. Kisses from the babies – Linda is growing tall!
Lots of love from us all,

Grannie was clearly giving the Canadian stamps to a collector!

May 17 1954

May 17th. Mon.

Dearest Mummy,

I am in the middle of a longer letter to you which I began on the 5th, but it is taking so many weeks to get finished that I thought I had better get this off. Thank you so much for your A.M. of the 3rd & the 2 Air Letters of the 10th- they arrived on Fri. (-or maybe Sat.) but it was quick! I was glad to hear that your holiday was a success & that you enjoyed it, but also that it was nice to be home again! The primitive life is all very well, but it is uncomfortable & often hard work too, so home is quite a holiday too when you come back!
Great excitement last week! Your parcel with my Glamour Outfit arrived!! I was so intrigued & could hardly wait to get it open & try it on! And it is a huge success! Cec was giving great wolf whistles at the “top” & declared that you would never have made me such a décolleté garment before we were married! The skirt fits perfectly & is so pretty I think- & the top fits beautifully in front but is a little wide in the back, so I will take it in a little. Of course I don’t know when I will wear it, but I told Lu that if all else fails I would invite her & Pete over & wear it then! I told Lu all about your making it in one of our lengthy phone conversations & she was very intrigued & told me I had to phone her & tell her all about it the minute it arrived! She had been telling me of getting what she called a “cinch” belt to wear with a skirt of hers – they are all the fashion here – wide elastic with a clasp in front, & in all colours & Lu says they are so good in keeping your blouse tucked nicely in & making your waist look neat, so I was thinking a black one would look nice on the skirt, don’t you think? Thank you so much Mummy, for both the skirt & top – I’ll think they are both lovely & the top must have taken such a lot of work, but it looks very professional. I love the colour of the skirt & hope I have better luck than Jean in not marking it!
I was “making” last week too — the big sitting room curtains – & I was fed up with them. It’s not much more than a year since I got them finished & put up before & now to have to rip them & sew them all up again is disgusting! I went to Margie’s & used her machine one evening, but they seemed endless! We will be glad to get them up, for although we are not overlooked much, it looks a bit naked & also during one or two hot days we had last week we found the sun poured in & made the sitting room very hot, so we need something to pull & keep us in the shade.

On Sat. we went to Boris & Joan’s wedding. It was at 1:30, so we got the children to bed & then got Claire (and her little boy Jerry) to come & stay the afternoon. Apparently Charlie roared when he woke up, but was soon quite all right. It was a lovely day & the wedding was very pretty – Joan had on a white net crinoline, really lovely & had a M. of Honour & 2 b’dsmaids- one in pinkie mauve- the 2 b.s. in blue taffeta. The reception was at a restaurant a mile or so out of town & they had the “receiving” part on the lawn which was very nice & the eating part inside. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves except that I had decided to throw my liver to the wind and drink their health & then all we got was fruit punch! The babies are fine & blooming. Love & xxxs from us all – Thank you again – Cyn.

May 5 1954

Before I begin this letter, I want to say a few things about Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, in the 50s, and the area I grew up in. It has changed so much during my lifetime! But when Cyn and Cec moved to their new home- about 5 miles east from the Parliament Buildings- they had moved outside of the city limits, and were writing letters from ‘Rural Route #1’. (Now Ottawa extends 40 km. further east and south, with all the farmland turned into residential suburbs, apartment buildings, malls and highways.) Their duplex was on the Montreal Road- literally the highway between Ottawa and Montreal- and it was a good thing it had a clearly defined front garden screened by lilac bushes to mark the boundary for the children, because the road was a danger. The highway separated two suburbs, new since the war, existing only of single family dwellings- no shops or other amenities. On the other side of the highway was Cardinal Heights, with old Mrs Cardinal and her daughter living directly across from us in a low white house, and behind those houses, a gentle hill with roads, houses, and space for schools and churches as yet unbuilt. On our side was Rothwell Heights, built on the old Rothwell farm land, and it descended behind the 8 houses along our side of the highway, in three built-up levels down to the Ottawa River- the hill between the second and third level being quite steep, with modern houses clinging to the slopes, (and in the future, school buses getting down to the third level on a particularly icy day and being unable to get up either of the roads out again! Fun for us!) The original Rothwell farmhouse was a lovely stone building on the Cardinal Heights side of the highway, about 4 houses east at the bottom of the hill we were perched on, and after it, there were only fields and occasional farm houses on either side of the road and surrounding the 2 suburbs, until the village of Orleans, predominately French-speaking, 5 miles further east. Within Rothwell Heights there were amazing ‘modern’ feats of architecture, as well as ordinary houses, and because of the levels, tree-d areas left wild.
At the edge of these suburbs, just within the city limits, the National Research Council had a vast area adjoining the Canadian Forces Base, where they were expanding and building (white buildings) more offices and laboratories as well as structures for their experiments- a wind tunnel being the most obvious, although the NRC headquarters remained on Sussex Drive in downtown Ottawa, where Cec’s lab was. City buses came out as far as the N.R.C. and turned around, so Cyn would have had a 1/2 mile walk if she wanted a bus. And no sidewalks anywhere, along the highway or beside the roads in our areas, so wheeling prams would have been a challenge! Cyn had to drive a few miles into town to buy groceries, and if she needed the car, they loaded the children into the back seat (no car seats or seatbelts then!) and drove Cec in to work along the loveliest route through Rockcliffe Park and along the river cliffs to Sussex Dr., passing the Governor General’s and the Prime Minister’s houses before reaching the NRC building. (The road through the park wound along the cliffs and Charlie and I would kneel up on the slippery back seat of the Chrysler facing backwards and urge the parent driving to go faster, as we slithered from side to side around the corners.) Then we would return at 5 o’clock and pick him up from work. This trip had the advantage of having few traffic lights, so Cec’s commute was much less of a problem than the traffic Cyn describes when she writes of visiting friends in the west end of the city. However, until the Queensway was built in the early 60s (?) there was no way to bypass the tangle of lights and traffic in Ottawa, and so Cyn was, at this point, separated from her friends- the Douglases and Garrets and other NRC families in the Rockcliffe area, and the Ganders and Forsyths in the west end.
That was the Ottawa of my childhood- a small city, with stores, cinemas, public libraries, a CN Hotel- the Chateau Laurier, a museum or two, schools and two universities, but no proper theatre, and not much diversity- a lovely Italian restaurant was the height of sophistication! In addition to the government buildings, there were embassies and their ambassadors’ residences, and it was a civil service town- but directly across the Ottawa River in Hull, Quebec, was E.B. Eddy, an odorous paper mill, with log booms floating constantly down the river. With my Baby Boom generation growing up, Ottawa and Hull expanded continually- as did the rest of the country! The schools I went to were only a couple of years old when I started- and grew bigger as I attended. My high school, built beside the new Queensway Highway, was surrounded by green fields my first year- cows came and looked in the windows- but by my fifth year, there were apartment blocks on one side and a strip mall/grocery store/gas station on the other, and the school had a second floor and a tower, having grown each year. My university, Trent, was the same- smaller in student population than my high school and only five years old in my first year, 1969. It was a positive, forward-looking time to be growing up, the government investment in scientific research made it a Golden Age for the NRC, which was nice for my father and his fellow scientists, and Canada would gradually develop a social welfare net over time- Cyn is getting Family Allowance for both children in 1954, and, given her propensity for ending up in hospital, it is fortunate that a universal public health care system came along in the 60s. But this is getting ahead of myself- back to our new house!

Box 330

Ottawa R.R.1 (Rural Route)


Wed. May 5

Dearest Mummy,
First of all, I got the batteries from Mr. Pridham today & have just packed them up for mailing tomorrow – at least I hope tomorrow but it depends if Cec can get to the P.O.- he has been working so hard lately – goes at 8:15 & often isn’t back till after 6 & then back again after dinner- tonight left at 7.0 & then isn’t back till after 12.0,- so he doesn’t have much time for stopping on the way. However, he hopes that the worst will be over in 2 weeks time, so we will both be thankful! He has everything working now & is hoping to get results – just to get the whole equipment working is so complicated – sometimes as long as 2 days to heat the big valve up to the temp. he wants & certain pressures etc. before he actually begins to use it & of course it isn’t safe to leave for long without attention, so it is a very demanding business!
I have so many things to thank you for & have been so long in writing I’ll thank you first of all & then make my excuses! Three letters actually- 2 A.M. forms, 7 & 26 & one nice long letter on 22nd, & we all enjoyed them so much-particularly your adventures at your cottage by the sea- the animals!!! I nearly screamed just reading about them! Linda is just like me & goes into hysterics over a fly or a little beetle, so what the pair of us would do I can’t imagine! Also I want to thank you so much for Charlie’s 2 parcels- he was so pleased to have a parcel for himself & Lindy was very intrigued & not at all jealous! The little red plaid overalls are so cute, I think- Charlie looks sweet in red, whereas it is inclined to make Lindy look a little washed out, & I have just ordered him a little red “windbreaker” jacket like the green one I got Lindy last year, so he should look very smart! He is as pleased as Punch when he has on something new & strokes his fat little tummy & struts along! They are a very good fit by the way- I have to move the buttons on the straps to make them a little shorter & the legs are just a shade long, but the waist is fine & his legs will grow!

Ruth and Richard Haynes.

Talking about making them for Ruth’s boy – have you seen a picture of him? Amy sent me some snaps & he looks a lovely boy, but huge! He must weigh more than Linda let alone Charlie!

Amy and Charlie Stainthorpe with their daughter and grandson.

The little white T-shirt is so nice & just what I like best for Charlie & I must tell you that the make “Ladybird” is quite the best I have come across. Margie told me about it ages ago, & said they kept their shape so well & the necks didn’t stretch or anything & I got one for Linda & have certainly proved it as most of the others go shapeless in no time, so I was particularly pleased with your choice.
The little packet with Charlie’s Sudermo & the wee purse for Lindy came a few days after the other & Lindy was so tickled with her purse! We have been using the Sudermo on Charlie- actually his eczema has been better these last 3 or 4 weeks but we have come to the conclusion that nothing he eats or nothing we put on it really makes any difference. Suddenly for no reason it all dries up & then suddenly he gets another patch – we have tried 2 prescriptions of ointment from Dr. W. & your Sudermo & they all relieve the itch & stop him scratching which is the main thing, but I think the real cure is the fresh air & sunshine & now he’s out more it’s having effect. It was awfully sweet of you to send it though & it has a much nicer smell than the others!
I must tell you about Lindy and her purse – she was so tickled with it & I gave her pennies & Cec gave her 5¢ to put in & she was very pleased with her money. Cec said she could put it in her penny bank, but I’d said something about “you could buy things with money”, so she told her daddy no- it wasn’t for her penny bank, it was to buy things with. Then Cec asked “What things?” so Linda thought for a long time & then said “Groceries”! In the end she came shopping with me on Sat. & Cec & I gave her a bit more to put in her purse & she decided she’d buy herself a book, so we went to Mr. Dube’s & she settled herself down in front of the rack of children’s books & you can imagine! She is really too young to choose & got quite confused & just picked up anyone – then she saw a “Little Lord Jesus” one, as she calls it but as she already has 2, I dissuaded her from that! Any one I suggested she would say “No” & grab another & I would look at it & find it was much too old for her or something & we had quite a time! In the end she finally attached herself to one called “Please Come to my Party” about a little boy having a birthday party & took it to Mr. Dube & gave him her purse! She had enough for a chocolate bar too!!
If you remember when I wrote last I was saying Lindy was getting a cold I thought. Well it never did turn into a cold, but she got very miserable, poor little thing & was really very poorly all week. On the Thurs. evening her temp went up to 103 & we decided to call Dr. W. if it wasn’t down by the morning, but when we lifted her at 11 p.m. she was quite cool again & in the morning it was normal. Such a business to get her to stay in bed, but Thurs. & Fri. she was in bed most of the time, & by Sat. felt better. She didn’t eat anything for 3 or 4 days but got back her appetite fairly well & is now eating very well – for her! Actually she was poorly & not like herself for about a week or more, but by the end of last week she suddenly seemed to get really well & full of pep! It was such a lovely change- her eyes sparkled & her cheeks were pink & she was running around – & even her hair curling more than usual! It made us realize that even though she has been well all winter it was a long time since we’d seen her so full of fun. Of course the weather is getting nicer all the time & she is out more & it all makes a difference.
Poor old Charlie has had a bad time too – the Friday Linda was ill in bed he was playing on the sofa in the afternoon & I just went into see Linda & I heard a bump- not very bad – but ran & here was Charlie on the floor just about to yell. I picked him up & he cried and buried his face in my shoulder & I shushed him & then feeling rather damp- from tears I thought – was about to move his head to my other shoulder when I found it was blood! My blouse & his shirt & overalls were drenched & it was pouring from his mouth. I took him & bathed it at once, but it was bleeding so I couldn’t see what had happened until that evening, actually. Linda’s little chair was by the sofa & when he fell he must have bumped his chin on it (there was a bad bruise under his chin) & his top teeth went inside his front lower teeth (not having any side teeth to stop them) & cut a great gash right through his gum. After the initial shock he didn’t make much fuss about it- we gave him soft foods for a few days & it healed well, but I think it must have loosened his lower teeth as he is still very wary of biting & will give back a cookie for me to break into pieces rather than bite it. Also, the shock seemed to quite upset his usual contented little nature & he has been quite weepy & wanting “Up! Up!” all the time which is most unlike him, but he is gradually getting over it. However, all these events & demanding little children have kept Mama on the go, so that is why I have been so long in writing!

Remember my mentioning the Calamans? He (John) is English from Oxford & Esther is Swiss, & they were married last summer & came over here in Sept. Anyway, they had a son 10 days ago so we had John to dinner on the Monday. They remind me a little of Gordon & Gunborg – not at all in appearance, but he is quiet spoken & she is very vivacious & lively. That same Monday we had snow again, but on the Wed. the temp. began to rise & we had some gorgeous spring weather – in fact on Sat. & Sun. we were out all day without coats – right until 9 p.m. Sun. evening – & not a leaf on a tree yet!

You will be amused to hear we are gardening busily!! But this is the first time we’ve had a decent garden & we are going to do our best! Actually this hill is just rock! Mr. Scott had to cart in soil & manure etc. & has built the garden up with beds of soil, held by a little stone walls, but he has worked hard over it & has made it very nice. The front is like this:

the single bed on the right of the drive is empty and we are digging that up & going to get plants. Cec is very keen on canna lilies – do you know them? They are a red lily which flowers all summer & we thought they would be nice as a centre with maybe white flowers on either side & a border. The bulbs are lovely- the bed is packed full- crocuses are over now but the scillas & grape hyacinths are out & a little pink & white hepatica, the daffodils are just coming & the tulips are in bud. The other bed at the side & along side of the house has masses of poppies & irises & lilies & seedlings of marigolds etc. The back has just a little bed along the edge of the terrace, but Mr. Scott says the hillside is a mass of wild poppies. We have bought a lawnmower, spade (small size!) & clippers! Really going into business!
Must stop now, but will write again soon – a great big hug from Linda & Charlie & lots of love from us all- Cyn.

April 21 1954 Part 2

In dressing gowns with our Easter eggs and the kitten!

Continued. Wed. 21st.

Well, hello again! Now to tell you of our weekend – up till Friday, we really did nothing much except “settle in”– we haven’t a phone yet, which I miss a lot for my chats with Lu & Margie etc. & Cec has been going back to work a lot, as his machine is running now & he is trying to get results for the big meeting down in Ohio in June. However, Lindy has been learning amongst her nursery rhymes “One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns”, so I told her I would make some, then I said to Cec that if I was going to the trouble we might as well have people to tea! We debated between the Garrets & our nearest neighbours, the Dan Boyds!! & thinking how tickled Margie would be to see the bride, we asked both! I made the H.C. buns & a chocolate Swiss roll with icing filling & as the Garrets came in full force & the Boyds brought a girlfriend of Lyn’s who was staying with them, we had 7 adults & 5 children!! I giggled to myself- Lyn is the type of female who takes a cup of tea with no milk or sugar & one bit of something & then grabs a cigarette as if dying & ignores the rest of the food. Well, Dan it has always been very school-boyish over his food – in fact childishly & greedily so at times – but now! He is so socially insecure that he copies anyone or anything, & there he sat, sipping his milk-less, sugar-less tea, & refusing buns & cake because Lyn did, but with such longing in his eyes! They are just as nauseating as ever, & Margie was highly entertained, but the girlfriend was quite nice – we thought she must have had a loathsome weekend!!
On Sat. we shopped for groceries & I did the ironing & Cec went back to the Lab in the afternoon. When he came home for dinner, he just opened the door & popped in a little brand new Costain!! A teeny – weenie black & white pussy, no bigger than my hand! You can imagine the excitement! Charlie just squealed & Linda was thrilled & of course Cec & I were quite tickled too!! He was our Easter present so he is to be called Bunny! He is so tiny, but right from the beginning he used his little sandbox & has been so good. The first evening he cried a little & wanted petting, but he slept all night & hasn’t been the slightest trouble – Linda calls him “My pussy” & Charlie says “Cat – cat”! He loves him (Lindy is inclined to be timid) & is very gentle, but lies down on the floor to watch him & pats him & tries to stroke his whiskers! On Sunday I went to Saint Margaret’s at 9:30 & they had a very nice service with choir & absolutely packed. We gave Charlie a tiny pail with a little eggs in & a wee chocolate hen on top & before we turned around he was 1/2 way through it! Linda got a wee baby pram with eggs in & she was sampling them all! I tried to write change-of-address letters & got most of them done. Feel we have been here a year already!

On Monday we invited the Ganders over for the day. They came at 2 o’clock & at 3:30 we had tea & date loaf & at 6 we had our Easter dinner- ham, peas & corn- cranberry sauce – m. potatoes & then apple pie & coffee. The children had a good time playing together & it was so nice seeing Jim & Lee again – only the second time since New Year! Both they & Margie & Cy thought we’d got a lovely house & of course Barry was thrilled with Bunny! Barry lay down & slept after dinner & we had a short game of bridge, then Cec ran them into town (they came out on the bus). Yesterday Lindy was a little bit runny nosed, but seemed O.K. then suddenly at dinner time she began to fret & cry & all evening she woke about every hour & had to be petted & settled. She seem to have a little temp. but not much, but the crying was so unlike her. Today she was listless & a bit miserable, but again suddenly at dinner time she brightened up – ate her dinner & went to bed laughing!! So all seems well!
I am going to write again soon as I have lots of letters to answer, so I will say bye-bye.
Love from us all. Cyn xx Linda xx Charlie

[Squashed in on the top:] Horrified about Ruby’s [?] smallpox. How awful. Was she vaccinated? Will answer letter in my next! So glad Pussy is better.

April 21 1954 Part 1

Scrapbook recording!

Wed. 21st April.

Dearest Mummy,

Many happy returns of tomorrow! Here it is your birthday eve, and I had meant to write a long letter to you at the weekend so that you would get it not too late for your birthday but somehow we had such a busy and eventful 4 days that it just flew. Anyway, I do hope that you will be having a really lovely time at the sea & that your birthday will be very happy with lots of nice bathes & fun! It is so nice that you are having this little holiday just at your birthday so that it is like an extra present, & I hope that both you and A. Moo will really enjoy it & enjoy having Angela with you next week.

I am afraid that my correspondence lately has been mostly cards but before I get down to telling you our doings, I want to tell you how much the children enjoyed your Easter cards – particularly Charlie! His was the one with lots of dear little rabbits if you remember & he calls it his “book-book”, & when I am reading Linda a bedtime story he will go & take it from the table where all my birthday cards etc. are & sit & “read” it – gabble– gabble – gabble! He loves it & carries it around with him & won’t let anyone else have it. In the children’s room there are dozens of picture hooks (Mrs. S. must have had pictures of her children at every age!) so I have made cutouts from the pretty Christmas & birthday cards and put little loops & hung them up & they look very cute. Lindy’s little girl Easter card is already up, but I’m afraid Charlie’s little bunnies will be worn out before they ever get there!

I have been meaning to tell you that I sent your birthday parcel over 2 weeks ago, so I am afraid it will be very late, but I know you will forgive me. It is disguised with a parcel of old clothes so I hope that you won’t have to pay duty on it & that it won’t be too squashed. A. Moo gave me such a wonderful idea for a b. present a while ago when she suggested material for an evening dress, & I was all enthused over it, but then of course I was ill so long & when I finally went down town with Margie one Sat. I was thoroughly disillusioned. I don’t know if it was just the wrong season & pretty, summery materials weren’t in yet, or if they don’t have much of the “evening” type of material as it is worn so little here, but anyway, we didn’t see a single thing that we liked at all. I got quite tired & discouraged, so we retired & had a nice cup of tea & a gossip & I bought a pair of red shoes! However, I have shelved the idea & will keep on looking at materials & in the meanwhile have sent you a compromise! That is, not an evening dress, but a pretty afternoon dress which Cec & I hope you will like & find useful. We chose it from the catalogue as I haven’t been down town again & I got a 14, which I do hope will fit. I am a little worried about the waist, but think it will be fairly long, so hope if it is too tight that you will be able to get it fixed. If you are only 122 you should be sylph-like though! I am tackling curtains at the moment – dividing the big sitting room ones (3 widths in each curtain – going to make 6) & then I am going to fix my pretty birthday dress all ready for the nice weather. We have 6 crocuses out in the garden & masses of other bulbs popping up & are so thrilled! So far not many other signs of spring except lots of rain! Continued in my next xxx Cyn.

[Written at the top:] Thank you so much for your letter mailed 12 – got it Mon. My skirt & top sound scrummy!

April 7 1954

7th April. 1954

Box 330
Ottawa R.R.1

Dearest Mummy,
See!! How did you know that we would get a house all of a sudden like! But this time we really surpassed ourselves – saw it Wednesday night at 9 p.m. & moved in on Friday!! So as you see the whole thing happened less than a week ago & already we are settled in & feel as if we’d been here for ages! In my last letter I told you that we were putting an ad. in the paper for a house – very alluring we thought “N.R.C. professional wishes to rent unfurnished 2 or 3 bedroom house or bungalow with garden before June 1. East side within 15 miles of Château.” We were most intrigued to see if we got any answers at all & in the end we got four- one at $125 a month; one at 135 a month; this one we took & one more after we taken it so I got no particulars, so we felt we got our money’s worth very satisfactorily! We got the phone call about this one on the Wed. evening as I told you & it sounded so good that we got a sitter & went to see it at once & then took it on sight! It is on the Montreal Road, but right out past Eastview & then past the city of Ottawa limits. I have a vague idea that you & Cec came a drive along here once & if you remember there is a great big N.R.C. building – very modern – & we are about a 1/2 mile further on. The house is about 2 yrs. old & is right on top of a hill (the highest point in the county) & has a wonderful view- it has a lawn & flower beds & lilac bushes in the front & at the back a kind of stone terrace & then quite a steep hillside down to some meadows (all snow, ice & water at the moment!)- an acre of land altogether. The house is white stucco with black trim & is very modern looking – it is actually semi-detached but the other half is twice as tall, so the whole thing looks a little odd!!

Mrs. Rothwell had the taller half and rented out a basement suite at the back of her half.

I have drawn you a plan so you can see how it is inside- the living quarters are all upstairs as it were & in the basement is a huge garage – washroom – shower room & toilet- cold storage room & big room that the owner used as a work room as well as a furnace room – & all beautifully clean as it is an oil furnace thank goodness. There is a water softener as it is a hard water area, & everything is as convenient as can be. The owner, Mr. Scott, is a very nice man – he has built another bigger house within sight of this one & he & his wife seem such a nice friendly couple & ready to be so helpful. This is a “restricted” building area (all houses must cost more than a certain amount) & there are all sorts of wildly modern looking efforts within sight- one with all glass on one side- one long & low- one built in a kind of deck out one side with no supports underneath – all very odd & interesting! Just about opposite us is a queer angular wood & glass house & one of Mrs. Hughes’ daughters lives there – I haven’t met her, but Mrs. H. is coming to introduce us one day, so I shouldn’t be lonely!
Inside the house is very nice – the kitchen is a dream – so many lovely cupboards & a beautiful modern stainless steel sink! The floors are all inlaid linoleum tile, which is nice & easy to keep clean & it is wonderful not to have to rush madly up & downstairs for bathrooms etc. I say bathrooms, but as you’ll see we have no bath- just a shower downstairs. Cec & I love it of course, but we are going to get a little bath for the children till they get used to it – in the plan something has gone wrong with my proportions as it (the bathroom) isn’t really nearly as big as I’ve made it look! The decoration is all nice & new- some of the colour is funny though! The sitting room walls are a very pale grey–blue with a peach ceiling & one yellow wall! The children’s room has one raspberry pink wall, 2 cream walls & one pale blue, while the spare room has a dark blue ceiling, one orange wall & 3 cream with a blue & orange floor!!! We are paying $100 a month which we don’t mind as we feel it is just what we want & we are getting our money’s worth.
As you can imagine, we had a hectic time moving at such short notice. Mr. Labelle had made an agreement with us only the week before that we could leave at a moment’s notice if we allowed him to change the house. The only way he could get us out was to have his parents come in at & he’s not supposed to change it or re-let or anything within a year, but he said he thought he might make it into 2 apts. as it was too big for his parents & we didn’t care! Now he says he is going to have his parents in the sitting room; someone else in the kitchen & dining room; someone else in the 2 front upstairs rooms; & someone else in the 2 back!! Can’t you imagine the slum it will be in a short while!
Cec took Thurs. & Fri. off & as Claire came on Thurs. we packed etc. & then on Fri. the movers came at 2:30 & we were all here at 6.0. Linda & Charlie went down to Phyl Douglases’ for the actual furniture moving but actually thought it was all very exciting & fun! On the Sat. Claire went & cleaned up the old house & Cec went & helped & I sorted out here, so really it was a funny birthday – I bet you didn’t in your wildest dreams imagine that!

We agreed to pretend Sunday was the day, so on Sunday I got my breakfast in bed & cards from my family & a big bouquet of tulips! My present is to be a new dress & hat which I shall choose later when there is more time! Thank you so much for my lovely dress from you Mummy – I really do like it very much & so does Cec. The material isn’t my usual type, but it is pretty, I think, & in the summer green & white always look nice & cool. It is a bit big I am afraid, but I think I can fix it without too much trouble. It needs about 1-1 1/2” taken in under each arm & the little jacket is very loose – you must be deluded about my boost thinking of me as a nursing mama or pregnant as it’s no outside in grapefruits now! I think I will take in the jacket down the front where the buttons & b’holes are as the neck is too big altogether, but then I think it will look lovely & I am longing for nice weather to wear it. I think the jacket in white was such a good idea & will look very nice – the covered buttons are natty too. Thank you very very much, Mummy. Thank you also for all your nice birthday letters – I won’t answer them at the moment as I am quite disorganized as to where everything is & also it is getting near bedtime & I am yawning my head off. For my birthday on Sunday, I made a cake & we had roast chicken for dinner so it was quite a celebration & I think we all had a lovely day.

You would laugh at your little grandson if you could see him tucking into his meals! He loves to eat (not greedy though!) but will eat anything we have & is much more adaptable than Linda. Yesterday we had Spanish rice for dinner & then pineapple pie & he loved them both whereas Linda toyed with mashed potatoes & a piece of meat & had banana for dessert. They both went for the birthday cake in a big way – Charlie saying “Mo’- mo’ ” every time he finished a little bit! He says “Oh dea’!” now & is actually walking around in a very careful slightly crablike fashion!!
Since we moved we have had every kind of weather! Snow & mud as we moved- icy cold over the weekend- 2 mild days & a mad thaw & floods of rain & cold again tomorrow! However when spring comes it should be lovely & already the children like to go outside – there is a little girl of 4, Pauline, next door & she is very eager to be friendly with Linda.
I must stop now & go to bed. This letter is all house & I’ll try to write of something else next time! Lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn.

March 30 1954

This note was sent with newspaper clippings etc. by sea and mailed at the same time as the Air Mail March 26th letter.

Tues. 30th Mar.

Dearest Mummy,
This was the house in the country we thought we had! It was nice & now I am mad that we ever saw ir as nothing else looks so good! We have put an advertisement in the paper tonight so wonder whether we will get any answers! Washed this morning & have just given the children their lunch & put them to bed – both runny nosed today – darn it! Which reminds me – Linda has begun to say “Oh Dan!” when anything annoys her!! Can’t think who she ever heard swearing! She makes me laugh – whenever I correct her over anything she will say “Don’t talk to me, Mummy!” & the other evenings Cec said something to her about the way she was eating a cookie & she didn’t say anything for a minute then announced “It’s better in the kitchen!” & marched off there to finish in peace!

“Do you remember Mary Moore who wrote the cooking column in the paper? I was interested in this article about her & thought you might be too.”

This isn’t a letter really – just a bunch of junk!! Must stop now & have my lunch – still on my diet, but I called Dr. K. yesterday & he said that if I felt fine & was eating well I needn’t come to see him. I am to diet till end of April & can then eat anything – but not drink! Charlie’s abscess is much smaller & Dr. W. says he needn’t have any more penicillin, so that is a relief. Just realized I’ve sealed up your A.M. letter without my measurements, so must squiggle them up & stuff them in!

“This is Mary M.’s column this week! I was so amused particularly about the 3-handed bridge!”

Lots & lots of love from