October 31 1955

Box 330
Ottawa R.R.1.
Monday 31st.

Dearest Mummy,
Peace – with the children asleep in bed! I washed & polished the bathroom floor & down the stairs this morning, so I was a busy woman and glad to sit down & put my feet up for lunch. The children were supposed to be playing outside but were out & in, you know! We took down bread for the birds & I cleared up the garbage that your old friend the skunk upset again! The weather is lovely just now – sunny & mild, but we’ve had quite a bit of rain & the bottom of the hill at the back is all wet & swampy. One morning last week we woke to snow & I was so disgusted! The children were thrilled of course but practically as soon as I had them all snow-suited & booted & out, it had melted!
Thank you so much for your letter all about your weekend at Marie’s. High life, indeed! I had to giggle over Marie & Bebe hunting & told Cec these were my huntin’, shootin’ & fishin’ relatives! It sounds lovely – the farmhouse & country, I mean, but somehow a bit depressing. With Marie there all by herself I suppose. The theatre must have been lots of fun – as you say, ages since you saw a stage show. Also very satisfying to the curiosity to meet Bebe & all her family etc. Is she still a glamour girl or has she let herself go like your daughter? All those martinis! – I can’t say I envy you – horrid drinks I think!
We have been very quiet & abstemious & hard-working! Yesterday we began covering the sofa – having set ourselves a deadline again by inviting some people for a buffet supper on Friday! In the morning I took Linda to S. School & also Pat Tomlinson with Joanne. On Sat. Cec went with Ken up into the Gatineau & helped him bring back lots of little fir trees. He is replacing all the ones that got killed in the drought & Cec got a few for us – he put 3 little ones by the gateway in the bed the bulbs were in & another one on the grass near the house where there used to be a clump of poppies & they look very cute. I went around to Fanny’s on Fri. evening & we sat & sewed & chatted – her baby is due any minute or overdue I think – she says Teddy doesn’t believe in it anymore! I have made the little skirt for Janita’s Christmas present & I’m making Anne one to match. The material is very gaudy – grey & green with rivers & fishermen & Mounties & moose! I have also made the youngest Ramsay daughter a frilly pillowcase which I must deliver sometime.
We got lots of news from various people last week. First of all a parcel for me from Carmen & Leona of a very pretty red handbag – with not a word enclosed, just their address outside! We were so frustrated! However 2 days later a letter came & they seem to be settling very nicely. They enjoyed the crossing & only had one rough day. They shook me to the soul by saying they took a taxi from London to Cambridge – £7!! They found when they arrived the flat wasn’t ready but Mrs. Moore had got a furnished house for them nearby for 3 weeks. The lady next door to it had them in to tea & Mrs. Moore had them to dinner, so everyone seems to have been very kind to them.
The next news we got was a “change of address” card from Hugh Brown! Just changed from one APO number to another, so we have no idea where he is, but I must write & find out – funny if he’s in England too.
On Friday morning we had a phone call from Joan & Ray wanting us to buy them an electric dryer! They had seen an ad. in an Ottawa paper, so Cec went to the shop & got it for them – we’re just sorry it wasn’t for us! They are well, but we hadn’t much time to chat.
Today is Hallowe’en & we have a pumpkin Jack o’ Lantern sitting on the windowsill. Linda is quite excited about it, but doesn’t want to go out – just stay at home & hand out apples! Dorothy Jane has been talking about it on the radio & I think Linda is a bit wary of all the witches & goblins etc.!
I thought that I might go downtown tomorrow with the children & buy a hat! Or at least look at some – how I will succeed with the children’s assistance, I don’t know! So far, the weather has been so nice I haven’t worn my coat much, but it can’t last too much longer. I think it will be very nice if you stay with the Sims. till Thanksgiving – after all, two Thanksgiving dinners won’t harm anyone! Even though it is late it will be even more excuse for not staying with A. Trix! Talking of her there is a letter from her or A. Gee which I am enclosing, also one from my Father – I hope the latter won’t be too miserable. Cec intends to get the colour pictures today I think, so I’ll enclose them too, if he does.
I think that is all the news, so I had better stop & cut out some sofa cushions. Lindy & Charlie still miss you & talk about you a lot – they are just the same – sometimes sweet & sometimes horrid!
Lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn.
P.S. Fanny had another boy this evening – a Halloween boy! No pictures yet.
Love Cyn.

Now that Carol has been to Ottawa for 4 months, Cyn has less explaining to do about her friends and her house, and Carol knows what her grandchildren are like too, but a few words of explanation seem in order.
In New York, Carol has a choice of places to stay- with the Simmons sisters and their families, and their mother, Aunt Ettie, on Long Island; the third sister upstate a bit; as well as her sister-in-law Marie, and her daughter Bebe, who seem to live the high life with martinis on occasion! Staying in New York for a month seems to make it easier to avoid a long visit in Trinidad, where her elderly sisters Trix and Gee live, on the way home to St. Vincent.
I wasn’t surprised to hear that it shook Cyn to the soul to hear of the 23 year old newly-weds spending the equivalent of her monthly rent in Cambridge 10 years before, on a taxi from London to Cambridge! When she went up to London to see a show with her friend Hugh Brown (a major in the US Army, thus the change of address) back then, there were trains for 12 shillings.
And finally, the CBC had a radio program for children called ‘Kindergarten of the Air’ where Dorothy Jane entertained Linda and Charlie in those pre-TV days.

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!

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 2 1954

July 2nd 1954

Darling Mummy,

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