July 23 1956

Box 330 R.R.1 Ottawa

Mon. 23rd July

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!

Of course the shopping had to cross the border!


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.

December 28 1954

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.

Love to A. Moo – will write soon.

December 19 1954

The inside of Linda’s was in French, but since neither of us could read…

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:

The names were written in white pipecleaner, which also featured in the decorations.

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.

She’d already sent 13 parcels off in November, and included this page for Carol in this letter.
Hard to read, but not as bad as bits of the letter!


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.

November 22 1954

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

November 10 1954

Box 330 Ottawa RR1

10th Nov. 1954.

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!

October 29 1954

But first, a note enclosed with oddments sent by sea:

A sea note!

14th Oct.
Dearest Mummy,
These iron-on patterns might be of some use to you. You will probably wonder why I got funny birds, but most of the patterns here were very ugly & in this type were all in these rather strange colours, so the flowers looked queer.
I am enclosing a few of your stamps I have lying around – I have lots more, but still on envelopes – will send them to one day! I am just going to wrap up your earphone batteries to mail – just got one cord – hope that is O.K.
Cec is at work (10:30 p.m.) & I intended to write more letters, but my eyes are closing on me so I think I will retire to bed.
Lots & lots of love – Cyn.

Fri. 29th Oct. 1954.

Dearest Mummy,
A nasty cold rainy day, & the children are having their afternoon nap, thank goodness! Thank you so much for your last A.M. – it was the one you wrote in a hurry, remember – & it got here on Mon. Since I last wrote I have had a ceaseless round of activities!! Or so it seems to me! Actually nothing hair-raising, but much more than I usually do!
On the Thurs. of last week Lea (Atchison) & I went to the movies to see “Three Coins in the Fountain” which we both thoroughly enjoyed. It was quite an ordinary story of 3 American girls working in Rome but it was in beautiful colour with lovely shots of the city & was very pleasant & romantic! Of course Lee was additionally interested with Wendell having been there, & she enjoyed getting out for a little fun, so we plan to do it again.

On Fri. Cec was to go to the bank & phoned me in the afternoon that he hadn’t gone, but might go at 5. I had the car so finally we arranged that the children & I should go & pick him up then we’d all go down town & go to the bank & have dinner. We went to just an ordinary little restaurant on Sparks Street but I was thrilled not to cook dinner & we had fun. The children were both very good & slightly subdued as of course it was dark & Charlie hadn’t seen the bright lights of the city before! However when we left & were walking to the car they both just bubbled they were so full of fun & Cec & I just roared at them! Linda was jumping up & down saying “Look! Look! A streetcar! Lovely streetcar! Horrible streetcar!” & Charlie was shaking his head & yelling “Horribee! Horribee! No! No! Horribee streetcar” & they would both shriek with laughter! Such children!
On Sun. we had Mr. & Mrs. Shoosmith to tea. I don’t know if you remember hearing of them when you were here. They are an English couple – (45 to 50)- who came to Ottawa about a year before we did. He is a technician & works for Dr. Herzberg & is very nice – the wife was v. discontented at first but much better & nicer now. They have one son, now in University & have recently built new house, so we had quite a nice time talking gardens & houses! On Mon. morning Betty McNamara (now moved into a house not far from us) drove around for coffee. Afterwards we drove out to Orleans the little village where a good butcher is & we both bought our week’s meat. We had a nice chat & it will be nice having them fairly close.
On Tues. night I had a Ladies Night! Since Mrs. Rothwell has had me over a few times I felt I should reciprocate, & I asked Mrs. Blachut, Mrs. R., Flora Wansborough (lives down the road, married to an Englishman), Mrs. Aitken, (Mrs. Hughes’ step-d.) & Mrs. Duffield (English, married to Can. & have 4 boys- lives nearby). All came except Mrs. R, who was going away! Cec said I was lucky as it would have been her party! We had Marsala (wine) to warm us up & chatted & then had coffee, snakes & meringues! Quite pleasant, but a little strange as none of us knew any of the others well & I was the only one to have met all before.
On Thurs. (last night) Cec brought June home to dinner with him. She has been 3 or 4 months in Eng. & is just back. Saw Geo. one day, then he to Calif- coming home 2 days & then flying to Eng. so poor girl is fed up! Loved her time in England & still would like to live there but told Cec & I a long story of an appalling English couple she’d met here who loathed Ottawa & were so critical & the girl wept all the time etc.!! So June is changing for the better!! Must stop – Hugs & kisses from us all – xxx from Lindy & Charlie – Lots of love – Cyn.

October 19 1954

Box 330 Ottawa R.R.1

Tues. 19th Oct.

Dearest Mummy,
I have been trying to settle down to write you a long letter for simply ages, but somehow I always seem to be on the hop. These evenings when Cec goes back to work I never seem to get anything done- by the time the children are in bed & dishes washed etc. it is about 8, then Cec goes into work anytime from 8:30 – 9:30 so I feel I can’t settle down to anything till then, & afterwards the evening seems just about done & I might as well crawl into bed & read a little & go to sleep!
Lindy & I want to thank you so much for her perfectly beautiful pyjamas! They arrived yesterday & we are all so thrilled with them – they fit her very nicely indeed – not too big & floppy, but nice & loose & plenty of room for her to grow. She is so tickled with them & had a great time choosing which pair to wear first – the ones with the little animals won & she is wearing those now – I am so delighted to have them at it as it is cold, miserable, wet weather & she just had cotton ones. I had no idea you had got all 3 different materials – they are so sweet that I really can’t tell which I like the best – thank you very, very much for making them & sending them, Mummy dear – they are a real boon. By the way I mailed the batteries & cord last week – hope they don’t take too long – I still think I got the best of the bargain!!

Yellow crayon, perhaps?

Thank you so much too for your A.M. of the 4th Oct. which came on Sat. – so quick it seems. You were writing about being threatened with a hurricane, which fortunately had passed by, but I wondered if it was the same big one which came up through the U.S. & hit Ontario on Fri. We had terrific winds on Fri. night – trees & high tension wires blown down etc. but Toronto had a terrible time with the rains & floods – nearly 100 people dead. [Hurricane Hazel, October 15th 1954.] Our only damage was in the garden – in the spring Cec transplanted a lot of chrysanthemum cuttings along one side of the lawn & they have grown big & bushy & are just in flower – not particularly pretty (Cec is disgusted in fact!) – pucy-pink single daisy type – but they are so thick & covered with flowers they look very nice. Anyway the wind snapped whole bushes off by the root & we found them rolling around the garden, so the chrysanthemum border looks very moth-eaten now!
You must be having such a busy time over the Bazaar – I have forgotten when it is, but you certainly deserve to have a big success after all your hard work. I sent some “Iron-on” Transfer Patterns by sea last week – I don’t know whether they will get to you in time to be of use or not. Did A. Ettie sent you some nice things for the Bazaar? The parcel postage is awfully high, but how nice that you have 2 new dresses!! What are they like? Talking of dresses makes me think of the “Print Bundle” I sent – I thought you might give a piece to Doris to help compensate for her burgled material, but maybe if A. Moo is buying a piece for her Christmas you think that will be enough.
Charlie, the little pig, is howling his head off. They are having their afternoon nap & he woke & cried & I went & potted him & put cream on his eczema, but he will not shut up! He is really tired too as this morning I took him to get his haircut & he howled all the time of course & exhausted himself! His ex. has been so raw & irritable lately & someone told me a Dr. they knew advised taking children off homogenized milk & putting them on dried skim milk & 4 babies she knew had tried it & it cured the ex. so today I got some dried milk & a big shaker & have begun to give it to him. He gets plenty of fat now in the rest of his food so I don’t think it can hurt him & it is worth trying anything. I have cut out tomatoes & citrus fruits as they made his face blotchy, but it doesn’t seem to have made a bit of difference to his legs.
I am glad you wrote to the C. of Justice about the Memorial & said I would agree. As you say it seems a pointless thing to spend so much money on, but there is no point in opposing him & giving him something else to get agitated about. I wondered if A. Annie would write to him about Uncle Field. I had a letter from her about 2 weeks ago – I must reply sometime. I am glad that he left the farm etc. to Arthur’s boy even if he won’t ever farm it himself – much better than to the Australian family & also to Leta & children as after all he knows the rest of his nephews & nieces very little on the whole. I never thought of him leaving me anything till you said he hadn’t & then of course I thought, “Well it would have been useful!” But poor old fellow, he certainly didn’t know me very well.
You were asking about Lindy & Sunday school – well, I have attempted it, but when it came to the point she wouldn’t go! This girl down the road, Pat Tomlinson, is taking her little girl Joanne, & I thought “Oh goody” & was all enthusiasm – & so is Lindy if it is in the dim distant future!! But when it is “today” she gets all scared &, so I haven’t forced the issue. Actually she & Joanne don’t seem to cotton to each other at all, I don’t know why, but anyway I thought I would leave it for a little while & then try again as goodness knows she is shy enough without it getting any worse & I hope she will grow out of it naturally – & SOON! She still howls when even the shoe man comes with new shoes for her & I have to put them on etc. but one victory we’ve had is that she now doesn’t mind getting her hair washed & doesn’t cry over it!
Since I last wrote not much has been going on. Cec of course is still going back most evenings & this past week was the first in ages that he hadn’t gone back some of the time. I don’t know if I told you in my last letter that we were having Chris, our Danish friend, to spend a last weekend with us. He is so nice that we were very sorry to see him go – particularly as he just loved being here & would really have liked to stay. We were sorry he didn’t find a nice girl as he is so easy & good in a house & sweet with children, but he didn’t have any dates, & no girl in Denmark as far as we know. He will be in England now I think – he is spending about 4 days there. The weekend here was kind of queer! To begin with it poured with rain & was wet & cold & miserable. Then on the Sunday just after we finished a late breakfast the entire electric power went off, which is just disastrous for us – no furnace, no oven, no fridge, no water (electric pump)! You can imagine! I couldn’t even wash the dishes & I wanted to make a cake, & I had a duck to roast & stuff for dinner & an apple pie to make! Well, by 1 p.m. it still wasn’t on, so Cec trotted out in the rain in the back & built up stones & made a little fire! We heated soup & milk for the children & I got them fed & to bed, then soup & coffee for our lunch & I made sandwiches, so at least we didn’t start! The wretched power didn’t come on till 3:30 & of course then I had to 1/2 kill myself to get everything done – at least, I never did get that cake made!!
We were at Lee & Jim’s for bridge the Friday before & they are both looking very well now. Lee’s baby is due the end of Jan. or beginning of Feb. so she is showing now but she’s feeling fine – the first 3 – 4 mths she was miserably sick & nauseated & lost weight etc. but now she is all right. You know they are a funny couple!! For the past 2 years they have been talking of buying a house & they have money borrowed from relatives for a down payment. They have looked at houses uphill & downdale – one week they decide to build & look at lots & house plans & talk to builders etc. – then next week they decide to buy an older house & answer ads & go to estate agents & put names down on lists etc. Long before Pete & Lu began house hunting they were at it, & very busy too- going to see houses on weekends & in evenings, but always some little thing was wrong, till we all got just sick of hearing about it! The last thing was they thought they’d get the builder of Pete & Lu’s to build them one the same & they were looking at lots etc. & now it has all fallen through & they have signed a lease on the apt. for another year! It will be crowded with the baby I’m sure, & although it is not too much housework for Lee it is a 3rd-floor apartment which means stairs up and down & baby carriages to get up & down etc. I don’t know – people are queer, aren’t they?!!
Lu was out here one evening with another Sask. girl called Willa Woods. They were on their way to a butcher in a little village called Orleans. (Remember my letter with the postmark? It is the place where we nearly bought that house in March) about 3 miles past us, so I invited them to come & have coffee afterwards. (Incidentally, I go to this butcher too– they are good & v. reasonable!) We had a good chat & I think Willa is going to buy my silk dress from England – she looks very nice in it & took it home for her husband to see!
Al & Betty McNamara were here to dinner a week ago on Friday. Al has his PhD. from Sask. now & is finished there, but instead of working for Pete as expected has taken a job at N.R.C. which annoyed Pete as it was through him & for him that Al got a job at Sask. & could go there. However it doesn’t concern Cec & me so we keep out of it! The Dept. Al is in is at the N.R.C. on Montreal Rd. so it’s very close to us & they have been lucky enough to get an N.R.C. house close by at $40 a month- just for one year & a few disadvantages like no heat except for an oil stove in the living room, but for a young couple with no children it gives them a nice start. They will be quite close to us & were moving in last week so I expect we will see a bit of them. Al isn’t so shy & I like Betty so they will be a pleasant acquisition to our social life!!
Last Monday was Thanksgiving here & we had a roast chicken & a delicious lemon chiffon pie. We had no guests which seemed seemed strange, as we usually have someone in to share the celebration, but it was quite fun to be just by ourselves & Charlie sat up at the table too & thoroughly enjoyed himself. Now he goes to each chair at the table & says “My place? My place?” & is quite crestfallen when we say “Your place” & lead him to his little table!

On Friday Cec & I got Anne our Dutch woman to babysit for us & went to see James Stewart in a thriller called “Rear Window”. It was very good & we enjoyed it & enjoyed having a little outing. In addition, on Sat afternoon Margie & I took off & went downtown for tea & a spree so I have really been stepping out!! We went just to look, but Margie saw a very nice dress & little jacket reduced from $15 to $10 & it was just what she wanted so she tried it on & it fitted her beautifully so she bought it & I had to lend her $5.00! If Willa buys my dress, I too will go shopping!!!
On Sun. Lea Atchison phoned to see if we were doing anything & she & Darryl came over for dinner & Wendell came later. Lee seems a bit better but the situation is very difficult. Mrs. A. has always been a very possessive domineering mother & now her husband is gone she can hardly bear Wendell out of her sight. She has a very bad heart condition which she holds over him & I really feel sorry for the poor fellow. Lea is agitating of course for them to get a place of their own & the mother begins having heart attacks at the mention of it, so what’s to do? He has a job as salesman for some book company but it is on commission so that isn’t very steady, but he works very hard at it. Lea thinks she will nurse again & really I think it will be best as she sits there, doing nothing, bored stiff & she and Mrs. A. getting more & more on each other’s nerves.
It is getting near midnight so I had better go to bed – Cec is at work & I don’t know when he’ll be in. I still have some letters of yours to answer so will try & write a long sea letter soon.
Hugs & kisses from Lindy & Charlie (took him to get his haircut today – howled of course but looks very sweet).
Lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn

P.T.O. A Charlie story- One day Bunny, our (big) pussy, was feeling playful & jumped at Charlie’s arm & nipped it- Charlie didn’t mind & just pushed her away, but Cec scolded Bunny who went & lay down on the floor. So over trots Charlie, lies down beside her & says to Bunny “Say ‘Sowwy!’ Say ‘Sowwy!’”!!
A Linda story- yesterday morning I was getting Linda up & hugged her & said “Oh you’re sweet” so Lindy gives a big grin & says “I’m sweet as sour medicine!” We have such beautiful, clever, children!!!

Just a note about the Ewing family that Cyn mentions in this letter:
Her father, Gordon Ewing, or J.M.G.E. as she sometimes refers to him, was institutionalized with dementia after her mother had left him and come to live with Cyn in Cambridge, and although both Cyn and Carol had since left England, they remain connected through lawyers and money matters. Apparently he wants to spend money on some sort of Memorial and they agree not to oppose it.
A more serious matter is that one of Gordon’s older brothers, Field Ewing, who had run the family farm in Ireland, had died. Cyn had had a letter from her Aunt Annie, but is not sure her father will have been told about it. Cyn is happy that the farm will go to ‘Arthur’s boy’, a cousin who seems to live locally, rather than her cousin Leta who also lived in Northern Ireland but had married and had her own life, or the Australian cousins that they had lost touch with. And she acknowledges that she has had very little connexion with her Uncle Field since visits in her childhood, and letters!
However, in the 1980s, the Australian cousins got in touch! A Mr. Ewing started exploring his family’s roots, and through the Irish descendants, got Cyn’s name and actually came and visited her and Cec in Ottawa, and, I think, Leta in Ireland. Cyn gave him her Ewing heirloom tea cup and saucer- the one I thought ugliest in her collection as a child, and was cavalier about breaking while dusting until I learned its Victorian history- she had it mended- and he gave her the Ewing genealogy he had worked out after he added her children to it. When Cec and Cyn visited Australia in 1990 or 91, they visited his family and enjoyed the connection to her distant cousins, but I was in Vancouver, Charlie in Ottawa, both of us working, and we did not keep up the connection, and sadly, I can’t find the Ewing genealogy either.

October 1 1954

Friday 1st Oct.
Dearest Mummy,
I was meaning to write to you a long letter this week, but I have just realized that if I don’t right now I won’t have a chance all weekend, so I am dashing to it. Thank you so much for your 2 A.M.s last week & also your letter of the week before. I will really write properly next week & answer them. Linda & I were thrilled to know that the pyjamas were already made & on their way & we hope they come soon. It was sweet of you to get them done so quickly & I’m sure they will still be big enough really – the ones that I measured still fit her very well actually, but I just suddenly got a shock when I realized that they weren’t really as big for her as I thought! Both she & Charlie are sprouting so since we came here – both still with chubby little hands with dimples & fat little round arms, but Lindy is actually getting a little fair hairs on her legs so must must be turning into a girl & no longer a baby! Thank you so much for your reckoning of how I may pay for the pyjamas too Mummy! I really feel that I should have paid for something as I asked for them to be done quickly etc. but if you are sure it is all right we are delighted! Thank the sewing lady for me & I will send the earphone batteries next week.
I am sorry you have had so much bother over my bright idea of Canadian Real Estate! Please don’t worry about it really – it was just one of those nice ideas, but actually an awful lot of bother & probably not a bit practical! Even if we could buy a lot, goodness knows when we could build & maybe when we really do get to that stage, restrictions will be fewer & we’ll be able to borrow money from you more easily! (Giggle!)
I haven’t written to you since we went up to see Joan & Ray & although I have no room to go into details, we had a very nice time. Deep River is a pretty place right on the Ottawa River & although the weather was no great shakes we got out for walks etc. The children enjoyed the train hugely & were very good on the whole. Joan put the baby (Catherine) in with Carol & Linda & Charlie slept in Catherine’s room – a borrowed bed for L. & the playpen for Ch. so all was fine. I found they got a bit tired & slightly fractious, but this was due I think to 1) strange surroundings 2) slightly different food to which they weren’t used & sometimes wouldn’t eat & 3) more walks than usual, but as I said they were really very good & slept well & made no fuss. Catherine is a fat sweet contented baby & Carol is a nice friendly little girl. J. & R. are just the same – we had some great bridge battles in the evening & really had fun. We came home on the Mon. afternoon & with it being a short week I had lots to do – washing etc. Mrs. Rothwell had me in to play bridge one evening & Cec & I went to see an English film “Doctor in the House” another evening & laughed our heads off! I must have caught a bug somewhere as on Mon. & Tues. I had quite a tummy upset – of course we immediately thought “Jaundice!” But it wasn’t anything the same really & by Wed. I was feeling better & quite OK by Thurs., but I didn’t do much till then. Tonight we are going to see Jim & Lee – haven’t seen them in an age but Lee is feeling fine again – was deathly sick at first. Tomorrow Chris is coming for the weekend – he leaves for Denmark in a few weeks & we’ll be so sorry to see him go.
Must fly – Cec is working at night again so have a pile of dishes to wash – breakfast & lunch! The babies are sleeping but would send lots of xxxxs – Lots of love from us all – Cyn.

September 8 1954

8th Sept. 1954

Dearest Mummy,
Got your last letter on Friday & you were quite worried at not hearing from me – do hope that you have by now, as I was surprised my letter hadn’t arrived – it was fat so hope it wasn’t overweight & they sent it by sea. We are all well and chipper, but the weather continues to be cold & uninspiring. Last weekend was Labour Day weekend, which is the kind of official ending of summer! Schools began yesterday & everyone comes home from summer cottages etc. & with this weather it really makes me feel winter is around the corner!
We had Margie & Cy out on Fri. evening & had a nice time chatting & gossiping. They have recently acquired a television set – they have been quite keen for a while & lots of their neighbours have them. On Sat. morning Lindy & I went to Joanisse etc. & in the afternoon Lea & Darryl came out. Things are still very difficult & upset with them – Wendell has a kind of book salesman job, but they are still with the in-law & no money etc. Lea is all strung up & when she comes out here she talks & gets it all off her chest & when they leave I am a rag! Darryl is fine as long as the children are up & plays & is no trouble, but they go to bed at 7, & Lea stays till 10 or so & then he is a nuisance – & no wonder! On Sun. we went a little drive up to Gatineau Hills & had tea at a place called Mountain Lodge. We met Don Ramsay & his mother & the 2 little girls & he & Cec made arrangements for a dinner which we are all going to tonight up there. The fellows have got it up in honour of Alex‘s F.R.C.S. & it is a surprise party for him – Phyl knows all about it, but Alex nothing so far! Fun! I am wearing my Glamour Skirt! On Mon. we had Chris & a new girl at the Lab. called Leila for dinner. She is very quiet & conscientious – we think she will be nice when she gets human! Lindy is getting much less shy & quite took to her. You know, I looked at Lindy in her pyjamas this morning & she has grown enormously! Her legs have stretched! Better add inches on the legs, arms & jacket measurements I gave you! Canned peaches & made a little grape jelly last night- Cec working nights again, but things going well. Will write soon again.
Lots of love from us all – Cyn.

[Added at the beginning:] P.S. Put “Bazaar etc.” on parcel.