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.

September 1 1954

1st Sept. 1954

Dearest Mummy,
I sent a sea letter last week (not a long one – mostly odds & bobs!) so thought I had better get to work & write an A.M. so that you don’t get all behind in the Costain news – so momentous & exciting always!! Thank you so much for your A.M. of 23rd & also for Lindy’s birthday card, which arrived the day after her birthday, and also the enclosures for me. I was amused at the beginning of your letter which recalled the day of Linda’s birth, as I was doing the same thing to Cec & saying “Oh, I’m glad it’s not 3 yrs. ago!” Not because of Lindy but because of all the wretched time we had with the thesis & moving etc.! It’s nice to feel we are a bit settled now.
Lindy had a happy day I think & of course we had fun too! I had debated whether to have a birthday party for her, but she isn’t too interested in other children yet & the only ones she thought she’d like to have were Cathie & Margo (Mrs. Rothwell’s little granddaughters who live down the road – five & 7, I think) but they are away at a cottage so I gave up the idea – with great relief, I might say!! On the Sunday after breakfast we gave her the presents & she was very pink & pleased! Not so amazed & rapturous as she was last year, but now she knows a little bit more about getting presents! She got: –
from Mummy & Daddy – a humming top (requested), a baking set (complete with board, rolling pin, egg beater, bowl, pans etc.! ) a small blackboard & chalks (really like a school slate) a book about animals, & a little watering can
Grannie – two new T-shirts (she is very proud of them & has worn them both- the little black people & crocodile one is so cute!), dolly (christened Clarabelle! We have such a time changing her clothes!), guitar!
Nan – a wee tiny china cup & saucer, a little book
Amy & Charlie – a very cute bear all dressed in a dress & apron & holding a baby bear. Amy got it at a sale of work – the bears are velvet. Lindy & Charlie are both very intrigued!
Gunborg brought them both plastic pails & shovels when she came & also for Linda a little shoulder bag for “Baby’s Diapers” just like Mummy’s! It has a little bottle in, a wee diaper, clothes pins etc.!
Mrs Rothwell– a hankie

All of the above sent cards too & she also got one from Anne & Tadek so she was very pleased. We also gave Charlie a few things so he wouldn’t feel left out – a wee wheelbarrow & a little watering can & a book about animals too, so they were both as happy as could be. Of course Linda commandeered the wheelbarrow & Charlie adored the top, but on the whole things worked out very well! We also gave Charlie the little “Prince Charles shirt” from you & I dressed him up in it this week & he looks such a little pet! The little trousers are a bit too big, but with the tiny red shorts that Dottie sent him he looks such a little man! He still has a very rolling gait & it makes him look quite the “drunken sailor” at times! The birthday was a lovely hot sunny day so they played outside in the sand & with their watering cans etc. & had fun. I made a birthday cake of course & iced it like the one I saw in Good Housekeeping- the whole top like one big flower –

it is just done with kind of blobs of icing shaped into petals & looked very pretty with pink candles, but I made the icing they told you about & it turned out to be very gooey & marshmallowey. I didn’t care for it too much & neither did Linda, but Charlie & Cec did! We had some out on the grass & we gave some to Mrs. Rothwell & her sister & next day I took some down to Mr. & Mrs. Scott, so I managed to dispose of it! On the Monday I invited Mrs. Blachut with Janek & baby Danny to come to tea & also Pat Tomlinson (wife of fellow with ear phone) & Joanne & baby Susan, but the latter family couldn’t come as Joanne was sick, so we just had the Blachuts. It was hot again, so we had tea & cake outside at the back & the children played in the sand & swing & Mrs. B & I talked. I like her very much, she is the Swiss lady married to the Polish man who drives to work with Cec. Janek had never seen a swing before & was fascinated – he is very like his Daddy – fair & the kind of wide Polish face Ludwik had. He talks Swiss-German to his Mummy & Polish to his Daddy & a little bit of English to other people but not much as he’s shy! They brought Lindy some pretty Swiss hankies too.
Last week we had the hottest days of the whole summer & I put the paddling pool in the sandbox (it is shady on that side of the house) & the children just played in & out of the water but it suddenly got cold one night & this week we had 3 days solid rain & so cold. Today was fair, thank goodness- yesterday was the big hurricane which hit new England – got the rain but no more. I wonder how Long Beach got on.
I spent Monday evening making a parcels – a jumper one of the Sutherland girls left behind; a box of mints for my Father – haven’t written in an age, but send a little candy or a Reader’s Digest now and then; a parcel to the Heslops & one to Mrs. Ewing! I was very late with Sandy’s birthday present, but I really get down town so little nowadays & I wanted to get something for baby Barbara too. I got a “Tinker Toy” one of those things with sticks & wheels that you make things with & I intended to get something sensible for the little girl – warm & woolly!! But anything nice in that line seemed so expensive and I ended by getting a wee blue nylon dress – adorable & tiny & probably useless too!! However it looks sweet! I put in some little paper cocktail napkins Gnborg left behind for Nan & Dick for their next party! Your parcel, Madam, is a Con-glom-er-ation!! To begin with there is the “Print Bundle” – and as far as I can see I think you will have to give most of it to Doris or make things for the bazaar! Actually, the prints aren’t so bad, but they’re not very pretty & not very suitable for children except one pale blue with roses which would make a little sundress or something. However, you do just what you like with them & I hope they are useful. Then I put in an old pair of trousers for the old man & also one of my old dressing gowns – the pink silk one- remember? The nighty that goes with it is on its last legs, but the d.g. is still good, but was always a nuisance with so many buttons. I thought maybe you could put a long zip in & use it or give it away or something. Then there is a small present for you (a box) & a small present for A. Moo (a packet) & last but not least, one dollar’s worth of toys for the bazaar. The most expensive items were the two tiny teddys at 10¢ each, then the dolls & whistles 5¢ each & the cars 40 for 50¢! The latter I think are the biggest value – I had them in mind, but had such a search to find them – it is a bad time of year for toys – when summer is over & Christmas in sight there’ll be more & if you want some more let me know. I tried to get a few different things to show you what I could get, but there wasn’t much.
You mentioned in one of your letters that there was some pretty flannelette in the stores & asked if I would like some winter pyjamas for Linda. I would love some! So would she! Her last winters are very skimpy now & never were very nice – they were cheap & inclined to be tight over the chest & not enough room for her fat little bottom! (just like mine, alas!) so she is very hard up. She has one cotton pair her Granny C. made her last year which fit her very nicely, & one pair I bought her thinking it was going to be hot, with low neck & frills for sleeves & she’s hardly had them on. What I would really like would be to send you the money for them though Mummy, as I would really like 3 pairs & that is a tall order, especially as it would be nice to have them fairly soon, so I suggest you get someone to make them & let me pay for the whole thing. Granny C.’s pyjamas are quite plain with fairly high neck, long sleeves & elastic in the waist of the pants, but they seem very sensible if you can get a pattern a bit like them. The measurements are:- Jacket. Shoulder to hem. 14” Width 15” Sleeve 11”
Trousers. Waist to hem. 19 1/2” Inside leg to hem. 11”
As I said- this fits her perfectly now, so you had better make yours bigger. Talking of Lindy’s bottom, I chuckle every time I see her & Charlie undressed for their bath – their back views are so dis-similar! She has the fattest roundest little smacky bottom & little old Charlie just has none! Do you know, it’s so funny – both Lindy & Charlie are developing the odd little mole here and there – also like me! Neither had any originally but Lindy has two on her legs now & one tiny one on her arm & Charlie one or two also – just flat & freckly you know. Lindy’s birth marks are fading out gradually, but you can still see them – Charlie had none.


We haven’t had much social life lately as Cec is still working quite often at night (is away at the Lab. now) but last weekend we had quite a spate! On the Friday we had the Forsyth’s over – I don’t know if I told you that Lu had her mother staying this summer – a very fine looking imposing “blue” haired lady, but full of fun & jolly. She lives in Vancouver & has been separated from Lu’s father since Lu was at school girl – she had a job in one of the hospitals & retired this spring – is over 70 now. Anyway she has just left. I wore my elegant skirt & Lu was in raptures & we had great fun & chatted & talked our heads off as we always do. On the Sat. we had Ray Appleyard for part of the day- he’d been to N. York for some meetings & phoned us on the way down that he’d have a train wait in Ottawa, so at about 11:15 he called & we drove in & got him at the station. We had lunch & a good chat & a cup of tea & then drove him down to catch the train for Chalk River at 5.0o. We have a tentative arrangement to go up to see them for a weekend – a kind of painful pleasure we feel, as goodness knows how the children will react to sharing beds etc. but still we can but try & Lindy wants to go on a train!! On the Sat. evening we went to the Douglases (Phyl & Alex) & Esther & John Calaman were there. Alex and Phyl just got back from 3 weeks at a cottage on a lake the week before- a bit further away than we were last year – but the weather wasn’t too good & it was awfully cold at night apparently. The Calaman baby is 4 mths. old now & is a big, big fat boy – which reminds me- Linda got a card from Christopher Bovey & of course we didn’t send him one!! Little Calaman is nicer than Christopher though. Nan Ramsey just had her 3rd baby last Saturday – another girl! But they don’t seem to mind! Another bit of Lab news is the Dan has left – one person no one will miss I’m sure! He has a job somewhere in the States.
By the way, I have been meaning to tell you that at long last I had a letter from Jessie Aldridge & she had a son! In Jan. of course, so he is quite big now – called David. Norman is well again & was home just before the baby came & she says the girls love the baby – particularly Zinnia who is now as tall as she is! Can you imagine! Did you know that Dottie was sending Peter to Bootham School in York this term? It is funny to think of him trotting along those old familiar streets!
Well, I had a better pot my babies & put out the light – I am writing this in bed and it looks as if Cec is going to have an all night session at the Lab- things seem to be going very well there though & he & Dr. H. are pleased.
Oh, one other thing I meant to ask you. You know you said Hazell’s was so badly run now that once Peter left you didn’t know how things would go – well Cec & I are so thrilled with living out in this part of the town that we are becoming quite enthusiastic about buying a lot & eventually building on it. The lots are some 1 acre & some 1/2 acre & are about $1000 & up – some are lovely with trees – the Blachuts have an acre of woodland which is just beautiful – a place you’d choose to picnic in any day!! Anyway all the lots are being sold now & seem like a very good investment – the taxes out of the city are very small & we feel that if we bought one it would be an incentive to build or at the worst you could always sell it again- & at a profit. However, we haven’t enough money of course! And I wondered if Hazell’s was kind of rocky whether you would like to invest some of the money you have there in something else – namely Canadian Real Estate! Whether we could get the money here is another matter, but if you remember I was allowed to bring over £1000 altogether – £250 a year for 4 years. Well – I brought £250 a year for 3 years, then none last year, so there is a possibility that I might be able to get permission to bring over another £250. If you considered it, I would make enquiries through Martin’s & if it all went through we would pay you either the 5% loan interest, as it is here or if you get money from Hazell’s we would pay that. There would be no trouble about sending you the dollars & we could either send you all the interest or start a Savings a/c for you here & either repay the loan so much a month as well, or go on paying you the interest & keep the loan as long as you wanted it to go. It would mean you would have some dollars & if you had an a/c here it would be a nest egg for your next Canadian visit – as well of course, as helping us buy a lovely piece of land. It is all very vague & in the air of course, but you think about it & tell us if you think it’s worth finding out if I can bring some more money over- money my kind mother is giving me of course we’ll say!! All very illegal, probably!!
Do you know – I am so disgusted – my dress arrived from Harrod’s yesterday & it doesn’t fit! It is a long sad tale, with the moral that I should have had more sense!! The dress I first chose & ordered had a full skirt & I asked for the smallest size – 12. Well, it was out of stock but they wrote they had another similar but in bright colours (I had wanted primrose with black fern design) – so this didn’t sound too good- mushroom background they said! So I wrote & said I’d leave it to them but I wanted it to wear with black accessories. Finally I got another letter & a little catalogue with a dress marked & saying they were keeping this one for me in blue & white & black & was that all right. Well, it was pure silk & a bit more expensive & it had a narrow skirt, but it looked pretty so I wrote all right & here it is! It is very pretty, but it is size 14 & while the shoulders are too big, the waist just fits & the skirt is like this –

& miles long!!! It is all together too much of a problem to try to alter & it won’t even fit my Mother! – so I am going to try to & sell it to Phyl or some other tall slim female. Because of the duty I don’t want to send it back but will try & sell it here & get myself something else. So annoying though.
Must stop now – the crickets & grasshoppers are making such a row outside – we have so much insect life just now! The crickets come into the basement & sounds like foghorn’s they’re so loud. I was ironing this morning some clothes I’d piled in a box down there & imagine my horror on finding a cricket in one of Charlie’s overalls! They look revolting to me! We have spiders hopping around too & did I tell you I killed a snake in the basement? About 2 feet long – it was the first I’ve ever seen “loose” & I was stunned into action with a broom! Since then I’ve seen 2 or 3 around outside – grass snakes – quite harmless!
Must stop! Hugs & kisses from us all
xxxxxxxx Linda & Charlie
Love from Cyn

One other August event I’m sure Cyn & Cec were happy hearing about: the NRC Fellow Rudolph, back home and getting married!

August 1954

Dearest Mummy,
This is a funny plan of our back “garden” – it is very nice for the children now as the sandbox Cec made is huge- room for all the family & I even put the paddling pool in it on hot days & they get all wet and sandy together! Cec made the swing too & hung it from the little porch jutting out from the kitchen door – they just love it & I am looking forward to the day when they can swing themselves & I don’t have to stand & push & push & push!!
These last few days have been the hottest of the summer & then last night the temp. dropped to 42° & so I am sitting now with cold feet! Cec is in bed after working till 3 a.m. last night, the children are asleep & I must go & let our Bunny- cat in. She is big & beautiful now & very sweet – has a beautiful black glossy coat & a lovely bushy tail – I hope she doesn’t begin producing kittens too soon!
I’ve just written letters to Amy & Ruth – Amy sent Lindy a cute “Mrs. Bear” of brown velvet all dressed in dress, apron etc. & carrying a little baby bear – got it at a Bring & Buy- Lindy is very intrigued!
Must stop & crawl into bed & warm my feet on my husband – ha-ha!
Lots of love from us all-
Cyn

I’m sure this note/plan was included in a sea mail collection of ‘odds and bobs’.

The plan is not as my brother and I remember it, because things changed as we grew older. Over the 10 years that we lived there, the swing moved down the hill and was hung from the beautiful elms that grew there- remember when we had elm trees? The sandbox moved to shelter under the little porch leading off from the kitchen, and a flight of stairs was added to connect the top floor to the ground outside. The cold room, heavily insulated from the warm basement, with its built-in bins containing earth for storing potatoes etc through the winter, and lined with shelves for Cyn’s jars of pickles and fruit, seemed a link with a farming past. The bathroom, on the other hand, was updated over the years, and the laundry room with its tubs and (electric) washing machine with mangle were replaced by a more modern washer and dryer, while half of the basement was turned into a rec room. But these projects were in the future- in 1954, Cyn is very happy with her existing empire!

August 15 1954

A word of explanation before this long letter: Since Cyn’s year teaching in Toledo in 1946/7, her interest in canning- bottling, as she called it then- has cropped up before in her letters to her mother. However, a thing well known to Carol then, and the rest of her family as we grew up, was her dislike of vinegar and anything that tasted of it. Which explains the capital letters, the underlining, and the exclamation marks when she tells her mother about making dill pickles! Carol would have been amazed.

Another note about the houses in the area they have moved into, which comes up in this letter, is that every house had to have its own well and septic tank- being outside the city limits, there were no water or sewer systems available. I must have been in my teens before the Gloucester Township, with new subdivisions being built, invited the existing residents to pay to join a municipal system.

Box 330
Ottawa RR1.
15th Aug. 1954

Dearest Mummy,
I haven’t written for ages & I have a million things to thank you for, but oh!- life has been SO Busy! Mom Costain left on Fri. night (6th) & Cec worked each night & all night over the weekend, then on Tues. the Sutherlands arrived & stayed till Fri. so you can imagine that this weekend we took a rest we needed!!
Both your parcels arrived a week ago & I was so excited! Fortunately they came when the children were asleep, so I was able to open & sort at my leisure & have fun, & I hid away all the birthday things & just kept out the others for them to have then. My dress is just darling & was such a surprise! When you said you were sending me a funny present that would amuse Cec I never thought of a dress but I am simply delighted & thank you very, very much. Cec doesn’t think it is at all peculiar, but nice & so do I – as you will gather we aren’t taking a holiday this year, so I put it on here at home & felt holiday-ish instead. Cec says I remind him of the Tattooed Lady in it-
“Round her hips
Were fleet of ships
And right above her kidney
Was a birds’eye view of Sydney”!
Cec says there are lots more rude words, but he has forgotten them!


I loved all the things for the children & already they have been wearing their overalls hard! They are so sweet & fit them perfectly & the children do look cute in them – I dressed them up in them when the Sutherlands were here & they all exclaimed over them & were most taken with both the children & the overall! Please thank Auntie Muriel so much for the dear little bibs – Lindy & Charlie just love them & they are quite the prettiest I have seen- Charlie really needs one hanging down to his knees practically, but we use the pretty one for special occasions & give him something tidy to eat!! Lindy was most taken with her little petticoat – she is very intrigued with having lace & pretty flowers on & is very feminine! She has had it on & it fits nicely – although a pretty clinging fit to her little chest, but at least I doubt whether she will spread much there for sometime!! I haven’t put the little trousers on Charlie yet as he still looks a bit funny in little trousers – his legs are too short or something! He looks cute in rompers or sun suits or long trousers but you know he has no hips & shorts slide down & he looks so funny! I hope he will wear them soon & yours will be better as they button onto the blouse – the pair I tried was a little red pair Dotty sent him & they have elastic in the waist. I have kept the dolly & the banjo – so cute – & the 2 little shirts for Lindy’s birthday & the little Prince Charles’s shirt for Charlie then too, as we are giving them both a few presents, so he won’t feel left out. I will write & tell you all about how they like them when they get them. It was a simply lovely parcel, Mummy darling, & thank you so much for every single thing. I haven’t planted the flamboyant seed yet – I had no plants as the few survivors had died while I was in the hospital! – but the Hayworths bequeathed me a couple of African violets & a loathesome looking rubber plant & Lindy & I are growing a grapefruit pip, so we will add the flamboyant seeds & see if we can’t get something exotic! I thought I might give Mr. Scott (our landlord) a flamboyant seed as he is a madly keen gardener & loves to try everything new, so I know he will think it’s fun.
Another thing Lindy wants to thank you for dear Grannie, is the dear little book “The Sleeping Princess”. I read it to her straight away & although I think it is a bit above her head, she loves it.


Just looking at the list of things in your parcel, I see “scraps” & it is such a good thing you sent them, because Jean was right after all & the straps of the dress were too short! Actually it wouldn’t have mattered too much except that it made the waist too short & even the skirt a bit short, but when I added about 2″ to each strap it was just right & looks so nice. The children are very taken with it & Lindy at once noticed that it was just the same as my green one! The weather has been so queer this summer, that I haven’t worn sundresses as much as usual but with having the little white jacket the green one has been so useful & looks so nice. Do the girls all wear strapless bras in St. V.? I have such shoulder strap trouble with sundresses! As you will gather I altered the green dress very successfully & have worn it so much. The dress itself I just took in a little under each arm, but the jacket was so big right in the front, (where I should have a large bust!) that I ended by cutting about 1 1/2” off each side of the opening & putting on the buttons again & making new buttonholes. It looks lovely now & the neck fits nicely as well as the waist part & I am so pleased with it.
While I am on the subject of my clothes I must tell you about the glamour skirt you sent me. While Mom Costain was here I dashed downtown one afternoon & got myself a black blouse, a black cinch belt & a nylon net crinoline petticoat & I now have a gorgeous outfit!! The blouse is sleeveless (black cotton) with a low round neck with scallops around the neck and sleeves & otherwise quite plain but has a side zip and fits nicely.

I got it reduced a dollar in the sales & the belt reduced to 75¢ so felt delighted with my bargains. The belt is black with a gold thread running through & a gold clasp, so looks very nice & I have a black & gold necklace Nan sent me once which matches exactly. The crinoline is fun! I have been hankering after one all summer, as they make the skirts look so pretty & finally I got this teenage one which is just the right length & I feel so bouncy & flouncy! The skirt really does look lovely & we had a little party while Gordon & Gunborg were here & I wore it & they all remarked on how lovely it was & even the girls said I looked nice, so that was a big compliment from the critical younger set!!
Just before Gordon & Gunborg came we had another big project which has been a great success – we covered a chair! It’s the one we bought when we first went to Eastview you remember, well it got used well there & then we put it in Dan’s room & he wore it more & Charlie finished off its beauty with pulling the wool out as you know! Anyway, the same day I went to town, I went to Ogilvy’s Furnishing Dept. & got a sample 54” square of a very nice material- a nice reddish brown with a gold (plastic) thread woven through. Mom C. helped us cut it out & we pinned & sewed & tacked & stuffed the holes etc. & have finally turned out a very neat job & are thrilled with ourselves! It always had a slight forward tilt so Cec cut a little off the back legs & it both looks elegant now & is nice & comfortable. We are so inspired that we think we may try the other big arm chair we have- it is wearing thin on the arms too & it & the sofa are a winey red which I have never cared for, so I think it would be fun to try. It is so much easier re- covering than making a loose cover, as you can pull it to fit, but of course you can’t take it off to wash, but without a machine I can’t make loose covers anyway.


19th Aug.
It is now Thurs. & you will never guess what I have been busy doing- making PICKLES! I told you about Mr. Scott, our landlord, being such a keen gardener – well at his new house just down the road he has a big garden which he has just really begun to cultivate this year of course, but he works like a slave at it & already has it looking very nice & his vegetable garden is beautiful. He has just about every vegetable you could think of & since things began to ripen he has just about kept us in vegetables- lettuces, radishes, wax beans, green beans, kohlrabi (have you ever seen this? – I was fascinated with it. When I cooked it & we had it for dinner Linda said “Why is it hot rabi now?”!!) spinach, green peppers, eggplant, corn, tomatoes & cucumbers! Lindy & Charlie & I all go down carrying our baskets & come back laden. Anyway a week or so ago Mr. Scott (Ken from now on – he is one of those thin, sparse, sunburnt men that could be any age) came in & asked me if I had a recipe for dill pickles. His wife was in hospital (op. for varicose veins) & his cucumbers were ready & he wanted to make pickles. Of course I had to tell him I’ve never made any but I got out my recipe books & Mom C. was here & she found one like hers & we gave it to him. It was so simple, I was amazed & Ken said that he’d give me some cucumbers & dill later & I could make some for Cec. Well on Mon. evening he phoned me that he had some ready for me & I went down & got them – had to make two trips there were so many! And I have been pickling ever since! The weekend before the Sutherlands came I canned about a dozen jars of fruit – plums, seedless grapes, cherries & blueberries – no rasps. this year, they were very expensive – 65¢ a quart- so I only had 1 dozen jars left & I filled those all with dill pickles & still had dozens of cucumbers left! So today I got 2 doz. more jars & have just made 6 jars of bread & butter pickles & still have more left & think I will make a cucumber & onion pickle with those! I think Cec will have a wonderful pickle-y winter as he has never had 18 jars of pickles in our 5 years of marriage & now he has 18 for 1 yr!! I want to can peaches next week, so will be glad to get the pickles over. The funniest thing is that Mr. Scott & Mrs. Rothwell are not on very good terms – she is very domineering & must have her own way & will never admit she is wrong & although he is the nicest man going, she drives him crazy over certain business things – for example we share a well with Mrs. R. here & you have to remember not to be too careless with water or it runs dry, & Mrs. R. has 3 or 4 times done this & will not admit it’s her fault! Anyway- every time I come up from the Scotts with vegetables of course I bump into Mrs. R. & I feel most embarrassed! Finally the other day she asked me if Mr. Scott would sell any!! Mrs. Scott is rather shy quiet person – they have a grown-up married daughter with a baby & a young (20-ish) son & now Mrs. Scott has gone back to teaching – music & singing at lots of different schools. We had them up to spend an evening when Mom C. was here & they are awfully nice – he reminds me of Ford in that he is so interested & enthusiastic over everything.
Talking of Ken’s garden reminds me of ours, which is really looking very nice now. The petunias & asters & nicotina have done very well & have been blooming steadily for weeks. We have a big border of portulaca which looks beautiful just now but the balsam has done nothing nor nasturtiums & just this week the canna lilies have at last produced 2 buds, but of course we were late getting them in. I have lots of tomatoes – all very green though! & the back has been lovely with a carpet of wild poppies for ever so long. We are very pleased with it on the whole though & will know more about it next year.
I was so pleased today – my Gor-ray skirt arrived & it fits perfectly & I had no duty to pay. Of course the material is quite different to what I expected! They sent me little patterns to choose from & I chose a brown & blue & thought it would be quite gay, but seen in the skirt the weave is so fine that the general effect is a kind of mole-y color! However, it looks very nice & fits me like a dream, so I am delighted- thank you Mrs. Ewing! Do you know, my dress from Harrod’s has never come yet! The one I ordered was out of stock & by the time we wrote back & forth & they sent me another catalogue & I chose another it was months, but I hope it comes soon.

A close-up shows the colours, but the whole skirt must have been a dull charcoal- or mole-y!


I have told you nothing about the course of events in this letter & haven’t answered one of yours, but I will try & do better next time, now that my spate of visitors is over. You were asking me about a long sea letter I said I was writing you – well I must admit that I am sorry to say it never got done! But I still plan to do it one of these days! We liked having Mom C. very much – she is a nice person, quiet but a sense of humour as you can imagine knowing her son!! She helped a lot with the children & I think liked them very much, – although she never says, you know! Lindy was fine with her & of course Charlie is friends with everyone but I think Lindy is getting over her shyness a bit now too. Anyway Mom C. told Mrs. Rothwell (who told me!) that she thought I was a very good mother!!
I will tell you more about what we did & about the Sutherlands visit- it was lovely to see Gordon & Gunborg again – they are just the same- but it was hectic with so many people & such a short time. Gordon is coming back to N.R.C. sometime this coming year for a month or so & maybe Gunborg part of the time so we’ll see more of them then.
Kisses to the dearest of Grannie’s from Lindy & Charlie- & thank you lots & lots. With much love from us all
Cyn.

July 27th 1954

27th July. 1954

Dearest Mummy,
Thank you so much for your long letter & good wishes for our 5th wedding anniversary – as you say, such a lot has happened in those years & although it hasn’t all been fun I still feel just about the luckiest person in the world. I do enjoy being a wife & mother!

I didn’t write last week as I have been busy with my visitor – Mom Costain. She arrived last Tues. evening (a week ago) & although we haven’t done much, I still seem to have been quite busy. Lea & Darryl came out on Thurs. afternoon & stayed for dinner, then on Friday I had the car & we went to town & took the children & went to the Market & for groceries etc. On Sat. afternoon we were invited to the Blachut’s to tea- we were very interested to see their house as it is modern without being extreme, & we liked it very much. They brought their furniture from Switzerland & it is lovely- beautiful polished wood. They have a wonderful big wooded lot & we went out & sat under the trees & had cold drinks when we arrived. Then Mr. B. lit a wood fire between two big stones & toasted buns & hot dogs which was great fun – you should have seen Linda & Charlie wolfing them down!! Then it began to get dull & rainy looking so we went in the house & then tea & a wonderful cream cake appeared. We waddled home about 7, just stuffed! We had a long-standing date that evening to go to Pete & Lu’s to meet a couple from Montreal who were in Ottawa for a few days, Doug & Pat Watson. He was a Navy pal of Cec & Pete’s & was at the Univ. in Sask. with them after the war- they never liked him much apparently! Anyway he married this girl Pat during the war & it turns out that she once lived at the Sutherland’s in Cambridge when she was a student. Poor Lu was just going to have the 4 of us as their sitting room isn’t furnished yet & they use Pete’s study, but Pete’s sister Jessie arrived the night before for a few days & the Watsons brought his mother, so Lu’s mother who is staying with her but was just going to say ‘hello’ & then go to bed, had to stay & in the end there were 9 of us squashed in & kind of an awkward party. We were glad to see Jessie though – we met her 2 summers in Ann Arbour – remember?
On the Sunday we took Mom & the babies out to dinner- quite an experience! We went to the restaurant on the island in the river & gave Mom her 1st Chinese food & got a 1/2 order of roast chicken for the children & shared it between them! They loved it & just ate away & behaved very nicely – one anxious moment when Charlie took a mouthful of stuffing & didn’t like it & gagged, but all was well!!! It was the first time we’d taken them both out, but it was fun! We stayed at home for our anniversary as Mom was going to the Atchison’s for dinner, but we old married folk didn’t mind! I was glad to hear that A. Ettie is now going to have some money to enjoy- poor old Phine. Was sorry to hear about Peter resigning – a pity that U. Fred & he can’t get together & clean up the joint. Will write again soon. Kisses from your babies & lots of love from us all – Cyn.

July 12 1954

Box 330
Ottawa R.R.1
Mon. 12th July

Dearest Mummy,
How awful to be burgled! Like Auntie Moo, I am so glad that it was no worse, and that your valuables weren’t touched, but it is a very scary thought that strange people were prowling around while you were asleep. I am glad to that the police (though silly!) got some results, as you would have felt even more uneasy I should think, if the men hadn’t been caught. Poor Doris would be very upset at losing her materials and other things – it is really pathetic that people should go to such risks for such small rewards, but to them they mean a lot I suppose. Over here, robbing banks for thousands of dollars seems to be the fashion – a larger award for their labours!

Talking of Doris’ losing materials makes me think that in the Eaton’s catalogue there is always a thing which fascinates me- a bundle of cotton material remnants– it tells you that none are smaller than 1 yd. I think & some more of course, & as I see there is one in the new sale catalogue. I think I will get it & send it to you. Some of the patterns etc. may be hideous, but some should be O.K. & you could maybe make some thing for bazaars or give them to deserving people, as well as using some for yourself & your grandchildren, I hope! That sounds as if I expected to get a lot for my money, doesn’t it?!! But anyway it should be fun to see what comes! This seems to be reminding me & reminding me, but bazaars make me think of your asking about little toys from W’worths, which I have been meaning to mention. I am sure I could get some for you very cheaply – do you remember the tiny plastic cars you took to Bill & Janie’s David? They have bags of those & all sorts of wee dolls feeding bottles & rubber pants, shoes, coat hangers etc. When I go downtown I usually bring some small thing back & one day I brought for Lindy a pr. of blue panties for her doll Susie. Afterwards Linda said sadly to her Daddy “Cigarettes for Daddy, a car for Charlie, panties for Susie, but nothing for Linda!”

Although commenting on your burglary, I didn’t say thanks for my letter – both Cec & I read it with great interest – Cec always enjoys your letters unless they tell about a lot of people & then he gets lost! He is back at work tonight – a horrid rainy night – I am sick of the weather – 2 fine days & then rain for a week is what it seems to do – so maddening. I was going to answer your letter sooner, but Cec seemed to have 24 hr. tummy flu over the weekend. He came home on Friday feeling lousy & spent the evening going to the bathroom & finally was sick as well. He had a restless night & felt low all Sat., but a bit better Sun. & today seems to be O.K. again. While he wasn’t feeling well he told Linda he wouldn’t kiss her as he had germs, but would hug her instead, so last night about 1 a.m. Lindy woke crying with a dream I think & I went in to her & settled her again then went back to bed. In about 5 mins. I heard her again & went & said “what’s the matter honey?” “Sob! Sob!” said Lindy “I have a little germ!”

With Cec not feeling well the weekend just seemed to go, but one thing we did yesterday I know you will be interested in- we drove over to see Wendell & his parents! Yes, he is back from Italy- 2 wks. ago & such a muddle the whole thing is- his parents are both old – Mr. Atchison has had one stroke & Mrs. A. has a bad heart & was in hospital 2 mths. with it last winter. Lea had a job as a matron of a hospital in Rosthorn- a small town outside Sask. where is Cec’s brother Russell & his wife live, while Mrs. Costain looked after Darryl. She (Lea) liked it very much, but had to have her appendix out & must have got run down & anyway lost her job; got her migraine headaches again & she just about had a nervous break down. Poor Mrs. Costain had flu, Darryl had bronchitis & what with one thing & or another, I don’t think anyone knows what’s going on. Mrs. Costain was coming a trip this Fall to Merle & family in Port Arthur, then the Aunt and Uncle in Toronto & then to us, but now she has put it forward so that she can travel with Lea & help her. Wendell tells us that they are on their way now – spent this past weekend with Merle & that Mrs. C. will stay in Toronto while Lea & Darryl come here to the Atchisons and Mrs. C. come to us presumably at the end of the week although we’ve heard nothing! Cec says he hopes we can keep it out of the Atchison’s difficulties, but Lea, poor girl, what a situation! & the Atchison household will be most depressing I think – both the old people seem to talk & think of nothing but their illness & weakness etc. & I don’t know how Darryl will manage. Cec asked Wendell what his plans were but he just said he didn’t know what he was going to do! We only stayed about 3/4 of an hour- the big hit with Linda was the piano! She saw one for the 1st time at the Ramsay’s when we were there & Don played a little for her so when she saw this one she wanted to “make music”! She & Charlie sat up on the piano bench & plonked & she loved it! Afterwards she said to me “Why didn’t I play “The Drunken Sailor”?”!! which was one of the songs Don had regaled us with.

The only other thing we did last week was to have Joyce & Les Haywood here on Thurs. evening – they were due to come at 9 & didn’t arrive till 10, so you can imagine how bright we were all feeling by then! They are leaving– next week to be exact – to go to Vancouver. Apparently ever since they came here Joyce has been very unhappy & discontented – I knew that they didn’t seem to be settling very quickly, but Margie says Joyce has been miserable- nothing good in Ottawa etc. until she & Cy were fed up with it – the whole thing being, we think, that in Chalk River, a little place, she was a somebody, & here no one takes any notice! Anyway her people & Les’ are in Vancouver & Les got an offer of a job there (less salary) but they finally decided to go. We have seen very little of them – the once they invited us I was still ill & then we dropped in one night and had a cup of tea, but that was all the visiting we did. The week after Cec came home from Columbus Margie & Lu & I & Joyce & Willa Woods met & had an evening out it – I think I forgot to tell you about it. Lu & I had been talking of this since Easter & we finally organized it & had a good time. We went to dinner at a place called the Green Valley just out of Ottawa (where Joan & Boris had their reception) & just ate & talked. Then a week ago Friday Cy & Margie had Les & Joyce, Lu & Pete & us over for the evening, so that is about the sum total of our meetings with Haywoods. Les I like- he is quiet, but humorous, but Joyce, though nice is very nervy & shrill & highstrung & not nearly as nice as Margie & Lu, so I don’t really mind one way or another about their leaving.


Cec was busy all last week on our back “terrace”, & it really is going to look nice I think. I told you he made the children a lovely big sandbox – the sides are nice smooth round pit props which are lovely for the children to sit on & it is big enough for about 6 children. Then he made & put up a swing for them – it is suspended from the little back porch outside our kitchen door & they just love it! The first few days the screams to get them to give each other turns or come in for meals! There was crazy paving all on the ground there, so Cec took it all up & made a path along the edge of the flower garden & put sand under the swing – most of the terrace part is crushed stone, so the path looks very nice. We have masses of wild red puppies growing all amongst the stones & everywhere – they look so pretty.
xxxxxx from Linda & Charlie. Lots & lots of love from us all.
Cyn.

Carol’s reminders of what to ask Cyn about when she next wrote!