I’m not going to tell you about our stay in London and in Cambridge in great detail. We did the things everyone else does in London and you know Cambridge yourself. And another thing I’m running out of space.
However, in brief: In London we went to Buckingham Palace on Sunday. Mummy and I went to the National Portrait Gallery, and I have many lovely postcards of the portraits – including my lovely much maligned Richard the III. Have you read Josephine Tey’s ‘Daughter of Time?’ Concerning him, it is my Bible.
I bought a mint green and white mini dress in London and stacks of books. I bought a book (one of Jane Duncan’s I like her, do you read Jane Duncan) and eyeshadow (she’s mad about it) and a mood pen for my friend Janet, and leg paint!!! and a book and a necklace (oak leaf) for my friend Joanne. As well as little things for various other friends. We went to “Hello Dolly” at the Drury Lane Theatre with Agnes & Mrs. Herzberg and went to the Palladium to see Ken Dodd (I was shocked!)
We had dinner in a lovely “Dickens” restaurant – marvellous atmosphere. I love London.
I love Cambridge too. The Sutherlands were so nice to us! We were shown all around Emmanuel by the Master himself!
Auntie Gunborg gave me some birthday money and I got four more books. We shopped a bit- (Charlie got a deerstalker!) (He looks priceless in it!) We sightsaw, I want to come back. I get “home”sick when I think of England. I had a marvelous, wonderful holiday. Goodbye, Grannie Love Linda.
When reading the somewhat infrequent letters that survive from 1960-61 after the 3 year gap, the thing that strikes me is how things have changed. The children have grown, of course, and are more independent, involved in outside activities and performances, but also the community has grown. Both the Anglican and United Church congregations have now got their own ministers living locally- Mr and Mrs Bowen with daughter Deirdre in my class were the Anglicans- and have buildings near the school- the United Church building a modern church with rooms on the sides, and the Anglicans have a Hall, dedicated in December 1960, with an altar that could be screened off leaving a space for other activities, with a choir balcony over the entrance. There was a vestry, kitchen, and nursery off to one side and a a second story above those rooms, for the Sunday School classes. As well as taking the littlest ones in Sunday School, Cyn was very involved in the Ladies Guild which took fundraising seriously, and Carol was interested in hearing all about it.
Cec has professional travel plans that take him further afield- Europe in May and June of 1961- where he can meet and catch up with colleagues, former Fellows, and their work- and families. As for neighbours, Joanne and Susan had a baby brother now, and the Savics who lived a little beyond the Blachuts and had 2 older boys, had become friends through the NRC and church, so Margaret Savic had coffee with Cyn, Fanni and Pat, and Charlie played football with Mike. Friends further afield had had changes too. Charlie’s godfather, Dr. Charlie Stainthorpe, was a widower now, and was going to visit Ottawa and see us in June; and my godfather, Dr. Gordon Sutherland, had been knighted, and Cec was hoping to visit Sir Gordon and Lady Sutherland while he was in England.
2043 Montreal Rd. Ottawa, Ontario
17th May, 1961.
Dearest Mummy, You can probably type better than I can now, but I thought that as this was going to be a long letter it would be more economical on the postage to type it! Do you have fun using your little typewriter? You must be getting pretty good at it now as you seem to be practising regularly. You asked in your letter once how long it took me to learn to type fairly fast, but you must remember that I was at that Secretarial School for a year, and typed every day for quite long periods, so we can’t really compare. We have two big topics of conversation today – the Ottawa weather and the visit of President and Mrs. Kennedy. The weather is quite extraordinary – at the weekend it was simply beautiful, warm and sunny and like summer – all the tulips came out and the leaves and grass were so lovely and green, and then it got so hot that it just about finished us and the flowers! On Sunday it was over 90 degrees, and Sat. and Mon. it was up to 80, then of course on Mon. evening we had a tremendous thunderstorm with a tremendous lightning flash which hit the telephone pole just across the road outside Mrs. Cardinal’s house and put all the telephones in the area out of order all yesterday. I know you will think this was a great hardship for me, but I didn’t even know it till first Myrtle and then Miss Sproule came and asked me! After the storm it began to get cooler of course, and by the evening yesterday it was really cold and the furnace was on, and now this morning it is down to 40 degrees, and we are all back in our winter clothes again! Such a shame to be so cold for the President’s visit, but apparently there were thousands of people out to welcome them yesterday afternoon when they arrived and they said on the radio that there were crowds already waiting around Parliament Hill. We had thought that we might go to N.R.C. yesterday and watch them drive past to Gov. House, but Charlie got an invitation to a birthday party for 5 o’clock, so this was just the wrong time. Linda had to be at Brownies at 6:30 too, so it would have been a rush. Today Cec is taking the car to have a check up, so our only chance will be to go this evening and watch them drive to the American Embassy for dinner at 8 p.m. which actually will be rather nice I think, as Jacqueline will be in evening dress, but I hope it isn’t a dull evening or we won’t see much. They leave tomorrow and of course I could see them then, but the children will be in school. Charlie’s party was a big success. They had dinner at the little boy’s house, and then the father took them to the movies to see a funny film “The Absent-Minded Professor” which Charlie thought was uproarious! – They didn’t get home till nearly 10 o’clock, so he was feeling very much the worse for wear this morning! I am feeling very relaxed now because all our big events are over for the time being. Of course, Cec leaves a week on Friday, so he is as busy as a one-armed paper hanger, as Til used to say, but although he is going back to work a lot and working very hard he seems to be fairly content with the way things are going. I am content because I got him to come down town with me last week and we bought him a new suit and a new pair of shoes, and I have got his raincoat and his other good suit cleaned so I feel that I am getting my jobs done! The suit is very nice – a mixture of wool and dacron, and is dark blue – not quite as dark as navy, but a nice colour and Cec looks very nice and clean in it!
The last big event I was talking about was Linda’s Ballet Recital on Saturday afternoon. I think I told you that their class was doing “Mistress Mary and her Garden” and Linda was one of Mary’s friends in a red and white striped skirt, white blouse with puffed sleeves, white apron, wide red belt and big red bow in the hair. The theme was that the garden wouldn’t grow, so the little friends call in the bees, butterflies, birds, sun and rain to help, and all these are little children in costume and they all do a little dances, then the silver bells, cockle shells and pretty maids all perk up and do their dances, and last of all Mary and her friends do a joyful dance. It was very sweet, and of course the tiny ones who were bees and butterflies were a riot! They always forget what they are supposed to do and try to see their Mummies and drop their wings and other antics which greatly add to the enjoyment! The other teacher’s class did a ballet too about ‘The Magical Cat’ or something, but of course it wasn’t so good! As I told you it was a roasting hot day, and the children were all there all morning rehearsing and then all afternoon for the show so they were all tired.
Sunday was Mother’s Day – do you remember “Fresh, I am your Mothaw”? [reference to a comic strip, as I recall- Dick Tracy perhaps?]– but as Cec had been at work the previous night till 2 or 3 o’clock I didn’t get breakfast in bed. Instead the children and I just had tea and toast before church, and then afterwards when Daddy got up we had brunch with Daddy cooking the bacon and eggs. Charlie had made me a raffia frame with a picture of himself at school and Lindy gave me a clip she bought at the White Elephant stall at the Bazaar and a bottle of eau-de- cologne and Cec gave me a very pretty pair of baby-doll pyjamas, so I did very nicely. I hadn’t the strength to make a cake, but I made a Swiss roll with a chocolate filling and as I had a chicken, we took it outside, and cooked it on the charcoal grill. I forgot to tell you, that on the Friday I was asked to come down to the school at 3:30 to see Linda’s teacher, and at first I thought “Horrors, what is the matter?”. Then I discovered all the mothers had letters too, and little things began leaking out, and in the end when we went, here it was, a Mother’s Day Party! We were all ushered to our children’s desks to find a card for us and a corsage no less! Then the children served us tea and cookies and then a big Mother’s Day cake! They were all very attentive and so thrilled with themselves! All last week I spent trying to catch up with myself after the Bazaar. The house needed cleaning and I had letters to write and washing and ironing to do and I wanted to begin making some summer clothes for Linda and myself, but of course I haven’t got around to that yet. Just to complicate matters, the day before the Bazaar our water heater burnt out, and we had no hot water. It just did it all quietly in the night, but Cec had quite a time getting the old element out and then chasing around town trying to get a new one to replace it. However, he managed and it is fine again. Then last week I was in the middle of a big wash and went downstairs to find the whole thing silent and still and a horrible burning smell – not to mention all my sheets sitting half done! Fortunately, it was a nice sunny day, so even if the wash was very drippy when I got it on the line it did dry before too long. Cec says the motor must have burnt out, and as we don’t feel like spending money on repairing the old machine we are going to shelve the matter until Cec comes home from Europe, and in the meanwhile I was down at my old friend the Coinwash yesterday! Of course we had to have three things go wrong and the last was our toaster, which began toasting only one side of the bread, but clever Daddy soon fixed that. Now, I only hope nothing else decides to go wrong while Cec is away! Are you and Auntie Muriel interested in a recipe for a delicious lemon cake? I got it last week and tried it yesterday and could eat it all, it is so good. It is baked in a loaf pan, has 2 eggs, and while it is still warm you pour a mixture of lemon juice and ordinary sugar over the top which makes a lovely sugary crust. Yum! I had such a busy day yesterday- Pat Tomlinson was going to walk up with the baby so I asked Fanni and Margaret to come and have a cup of coffee and see the baby too. However, I had the car so decided I must make full use of it, so I got everything ready for the coffee and then drove over to Orleans and got my meat before my guests arrived. After they left, the children came home for lunch and then I collected the washing and went to the Coinwash, and afterwards to the cleaners with Cec’s things and to the Library and to get Charlie a birthday present for his little pal. After tea I drove Charlie to his party, then got dinner, saw Linda off to Brownies, and set off for a Guild Meeting at 8:30! I yawned through most of it, but managed to sell quite a lot of my left-over aprons to the girls! Most of the meeting was a hash-over of the Bazaar of course, and although we still haven’t all the ticket money in, we think we will have made around 600 dollars. Actually this is about 60 dollars less than last year, and one year we made about 750 I think, but I think on the whole money is tighter this year. Another thing too, is that we have put on so many things during the year that on the whole year’s achievements we are way up, and after all you can’t expect either the Guild or the visitors to spend as much at one thing or work as hard if they have been giving all year long. Also, it was in our new hall, and although it looked lovely, it isn’t nearly as big as the school was and so we were more crowded, and some of the stalls that we had to put up on the balcony didn’t do well at all, because people just didn’t go up there. Our stall, the Handicrafts and Aprons did much better than I ever hoped, because we made nearly $80 after the expenses were paid. I didn’t think we would do it very well because at my suggestion we had put it all the little children’s things that I had sold so well the previous year on a special stall for children, so actually we had no small cheap selling things, and we really didn’t seem to have very much, but we made the stall look very pretty – Joan Mainwood’s husband made us a thing like football goal posts which we put over the stall and covered with green crepe paper, and then we had a pink sign ‘Handicrafts’ hanging from this and we decorated it with pink paper roses and leaves and it really stood out and attracted the eye. The tea room had to be in the hall too of course, and you know where the red curtains in front of the altar were? It stretched from there back to the other side of the opening into the kitchen. They had screens across the hall there, with entrance and exit, and they covered these with green paper and they looked very nice but of course it took up a lot of the space.
The hall did look very nice as we kept all the decorations in white, green and pink, so that they harmonised, and then do you remember Emil the hairdresser’s wife went in for artificial flowers? Well, Edna Thomas who looked after the tearoom is a great friend of Ruth Arndt’s, so she had the idea of renting flowers from Mrs. Arndt and it worked out very well. She made a pretty little vases of small flowers for all the tables in the tearoom, and of course they not only looked very sweet, but did away with the worry of spilling water and children knocking over etc. and then she made up two lovely sheaves of big flowers – gladiolas etc. in shades of pink and fastened these to the wooden grills that are on either side of the altar, in front of the red curtain. Then along the green covered screens in front of the tearoom she put trails of ivy draping over the top and on the Front of the balcony clusters of fern and hydrangeas, so that looking up it looked very attractive. Mrs. Arndt came and arranged all the flowers and worked for hours on the Friday evening and for all this and the rental of the flowers it came to less than 4 dollars, and even this we covered because we sold the little table vases at enough profit to pay for it. Wasn’t that good? They really did help to make the hall look very gay and spring- like and quite a number of people remarked on them. We had our M.P.’s wife, Mrs. Paul Tardiff, to open the Bazaar and she was very nice – a fairly small plump French woman in a smart black suit and a most fancy hat composed entirely of pale pink silk gladiolas! Mr. Bowen introduced her and then she made a short speech opening the affair, and then I thanked her, and little Glen Ashton (the little son of the one you used to call “the pretty girl” – she has a baby now too) presented her with a corsage of pink rosebuds which exactly matched her hat! Wasn’t that clever!? I wore my navy and white dress and jacket and my pink hat. Talking of babies, Mrs. Cook, the United Church Minister’s wife has a son – a huge baby I hear, but apparently they are both doing well. The Bowens are leaving at the end of next month but so far we have heard of no one else coming. We have been busy in the Guild deciding what to give Mrs. Bowen for a parting gift – it hung between an electric kettle and a pewter tray, and the tray won, although personally I would far prefer the kettle! The Church will also be giving something, but I haven’t heard anything about it yet. Our kitchen is still only partly done and all the men have begun working on their gardens, so goodness knows when it will be finished. Discouraging! The Guild even offered to pay for someone to come and finish the cupboards etc. so that at least we could put our china away, but no, they said they were going to do it! Mrs. Barltrop came back from England just before the Bazaar, and brought her Mother back with her no less! The old lady is 87 I think, but apparently full of go and was at the Bazaar, although I didn’t see her. I was talking to Eve [Eve Proudfoot, the granddaughter] on the phone the other day and she was saying that they were going over to Simpson-Sears and Carlingwood Shopping Centre that day and going shopping and having lunch, so she must be pretty spry. Mrs. B. said something at the Exec. Meeting about going into the hospital in the fall, but I didn’t enquire about it. Your friend, little Mrs. Davis, is going to be on the Exec. next year – we don’t have our elections till next month, but it is hard work getting one candidate for each job, let alone an election, so we don’t have much competition. It seems obvious that I will be president, willy-nilly! I am answering all sorts of odd questions you have asked from time to time, so this will be very disjointed, I’m afraid, but at least your curiosity will be satisfied! Re. Pauline Johnson on the stamps, she was a Canadian poetess, apparently, and either Indian or half-Indian. She lived near Brantford where Merle lives, and when we were there last summer we went to the Six Nations Indian Reserve there to see a Pageant, and I think Pauline Johnson lived there long ago and her father was some big chief or something! By the way, Cec’s Mother and Father aren’t coming down this summer after all. They seem to like it so much in Penticton and be happily settled there, so it would really be a pity for them to give up the apartment and make the long trip down here and visit from one of us to the other, which after all is very tiring. Also, I think they are very happy to be near Leona and Carman and the children, and we had a letter from Leona not long ago telling us that she is expecting again. We laughed, as Leona said “Carman and I were quite horrified at first, but we are used to the idea now. I used to think I wanted five children, but no longer – three will be enough!” She was in the hospital when she wrote, as she had been having quite a lot of trouble, and I think had had a rupture, but was going home soon, so I am sure they will be glad to have Mr. and Mrs. C. near by. This has changed our plans for the summer somewhat, as Merle is going to finish her Summer Course in Toronto during the vacation, so this finishes our idea of sharing a cottage with them somewhere, but we are thinking of trying to get a cottage somewhere about halfway between them and us, so that they could perhaps come and spend the weekend with us. We don’t want to spend much money this summer on holidays as Cec will probably have to spend a bit on his trip, and also we want to save money for 1963 and our European Jaunt! [never happened.] You will have to consider trying out one of those nice banana boats and we will have a reunion in London.
You sent me Jean’s address for Cec but I didn’t even mention it to him as he is not going to Oxford, and his time in England is so crowded that it will be a toss up as to whether he can see half the people he wants to. He will be less than a week in England and he will be in Cambridge and Birmingham as well as London. One person he himself suggested that he would try and visit is Miss Lefroy, [Carol’s former headmistress, and family friend] but if he does find he has time to go he will telephone first. I haven’t even told Anne in Cambridge because he isn’t sure if he will have a spare moment. He is staying in St. John’s College the two nights he will be there and is pretty well booked up with people he has to see. He leaves here on Friday 26th and arrives in Brussels (jet) where he sees men who were Fellows here and sees a little of Brussels and Namur.
Then on Sunday he goes to Amsterdam and is there for the whole week at the conference and gives his paper. He goes to Denmark for the first weekend in June and visits the University of Copenhagen, where he will give another paper and sees two Professors who were over here and whom we know. About the Tues. or Wed. he goes to Sweden and stays with the Klemans in Stockholm – they were here for two years a while back. He visits the University and sees some people there and then flies to Frieborg in Germany for a day and night. After that on the Friday to Berne in Switzerland where he spends the night with a Swiss couple, the Fishers, who were here two years ago and sees the Univ. and then to England.
He hopes to go out and see the Sutherlands on Sun. afternoon, and then the rest of the week he will be visiting the National Physical Laboratories, the University of London, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Cambridge. When he is in Birmingham he will stay with a Prof. Sheridan and his wife – the Prof. was here last summer and came to dinner with us and sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers afterwards – were you here then? No, I think it was before you came. Then on the Sat. evening he flies home, and arrives in Montreal on the Sunday, and as there is no flight to Ottawa for hours, the children and I are going to drive to Dorval Airport and meet him. Do you remember us passing the Airport the day we went to Montreal? It is on this side of the city, so I don’t have to go through. The day he comes home, 18th, is Father’s Day so we will be able to have a nice celebration. Cec’s birthday will be while he was away, so this weekend is a public holiday for the Queen’s Birthday (24th but we get a holiday on the 22nd to make a long weekend) and we have decided to celebrate Cec’s birthday on the Monday too. This is also the day that Canadian children have fireworks, so I have got a bag full that will be one of Daddy’s presents!
How is Judy getting on and have you got any of the puppies left? The children always like to hear news of them and think it a great pity that you can’t air mail one to us! Just as well that you can’t as Mrs. Martin’s Siamese cat was killed on the highway on Sunday, and I just hope Nicki can survive, but I don’t think there would be any hope for a puppy. I have been meaning to write to you about the Will, and say that I certainly agree with you that it would be much wiser for you to have one of the Banks as executor. I can just imagine that me here, and things in England and St. Vincent would make for a great muddle. I said to Cec “Which bank do you think?” and he just grinned as he doesn’t have much opinion of either, but personally I think you might as well make it Barclay’s as you can talk to them about it instead of writing, which is always unsatisfactory. Also they have a big organization in England which will be able to cope with the English side whereas if you made it Martin’s they would probably have to get Barclay’s to cope with the St.V. side anyway. Cec is sorry that he has never written to you about the letter from Martin’s about your shares and transferring them etc. He has meant to, but has really been so busy with his work and writing letters in connection with his trip that he hasn’t had a chance. He was quite disgusted with the letter, and the Manager saying that he “thought” this was so, and that was so, you would think that he could have made the effort to find out the information completely before writing, because we really don’t know much more yet as his opinion don’t mean a thing. However, I think Cec feels that you might as well leave things as they are for the time being, but he will write himself and be more definite when he has not so busy. I haven’t written to Mr. Carnegie, but still mean to. Actually, what he and Mrs. C. say is not so much different, except that J.M.G.E [Cyn’s father] seems to be withdrawing all the time now instead of having moods of withdrawal and moods of outgoingness. But I think this is only to be expected, and if he sleeps a great deal of the time this is to be expected too, as he is an old man, and I don’t mean only in years, but has been ageing in his mind as well as body all the time he has been in the hospital. It doesn’t seem much good sending things or magazines or anything now, but one feels that one should.
You will be amused to hear that I am still hanging on to your 5 dollars! Now that Cec’s clothes are bought I hope I will be able to get a coat at last, and then I will spend my 5 dollars on a handbag! Of course both the children need summer shoes now, but I really must begin and replenish my wardrobe as I am very low in both summer and winter clothes. I plan to make Linda a school dress out of the flowered material you brought from the Miss Finlays, then I will at last get on with my pink suit. I think I have been so long about it because I don’t much care for the material now, but I had the idea that I might make the suit with just a “cardigan” jacket (loose – no buttons) and then get a linen–like moygashel type material in a plain pink to match and I could wear the jacket with that too, and so make two outfits. The material is very loosely woven so I am going to have to line both skirt and jacket, so I must get the lining material this week. I plan to get a flimsy black hat to wear with the pink, so I think it should look quite pretty. I have never been out to Carp to see Lee [her sister-in-law] since she had her operation, and Cec has no time now before he goes, so I am planning to drive over tomorrow morning. I want to do some baking now as I have to make cookies for a Home and School Meeting tonight and I thought I would take a few things out to Lee as I am sure she won’t be feeling like doing too much yet. I hope that you and Auntie Muriel are having a lovely time at your cottage and really enjoying the sea. Can you bathe just there at the cottage or do you have to go further along to the Breakers? Anyway, I hope that it is doing you both a world of good and that you are recovering from all the giddy social round and getting rid of A. Muriel’s cough. That errant parcel has not turned up yet, and Ruth Lockwood was saying last night that it must be lost, but I said no, two months or more wasn’t too unusual! The children have been home from school for their lunch and send a big hugs and kisses. They both have homework now, and what with that and the nice weather there isn’t much hope of letter writing just now, but maybe when the holidays begin! Much love from us all and I hope I remembered to answer all the questions! Love Cyn.
A reminder note about the family members mentioned in the letters of 1956. The previous letter referred to Lee, Wendell and Daryl Atchison. Lena was Cec’s second sister, older than he, and trained as a nurse. When Cyn first met them in 1948, they were living in a manse in small town Ontario, Wendell was the minister, and Lee worked as a nurse. Daryl is now 5, and after some family- and money- troubles, with Wendell being a salesman, he seems to have a new charge: they are now living in Carp, a village near Ottawa, and Lee is expecting a baby. Cyn’s father had been hospitalized in Newcastle after his separation from Carol a couple of years before Cyn’s marriage, and remains in an institution. Carol and Cyn had lived in Cambridge where Cyn taught, and where Cec met her while getting his PhD. Now his youngest brother, Carman, who seems to be as brilliant as Cec, has also won a scholarship to Cambridge, (although in a slightly different field, radio astronomy) and has married Leona. The 23 year-old newly-weds are experiencing life in England, and had enjoyed a visit from Pete Forsyth, a friend of the Costains from Saskatoon, with whom Carman had worked the summer he lived with Cec and Cyn in Ottawa.
Box 330 R.R.1 Ottawa 19th Feb. 1956 Dearest Mummy, I am sending you this funny “mixed bag” by sea. Cec promised to send you one of the re-prints of his last paper when they came out, so he brought this home a week or so ago & solemnly presented it to me to send to you! I hope that you are much, much wiser when you have read it through! I am also enclosing the letter of my Father’s which you asked me to return. I had a short note from him a little while ago saying he’d got the first Reader’s Digest & thanking for it. The other thing I’m sending is an article on the Queen’s visit to Cambridge which I found in a New Yorker. It is a very pedestrian account I think – you or I could have made it much more interesting! – but I quite enjoyed reading it & thought you might.
We heard from Peter Forsyth that he had seen Carman & Leona & then on Friday we had a letter from them. They seem to be getting on fine – Leona got her R.N. exam in Nov. & has a job 4 days a week at a Chronic Hospital not far from Chesterton Road. Carman is playing in the Ice Hockey Team & they are both enjoying life. Pete said Carman’s work was going very well & that they were pleased with him.
Yesterday was snowing hard. I sat down with the Catalogues & the telephone & had a lovely morning’s shopping! Their spring sale is finished at the end of this month, so I ordered some materials which they had on sale – 2 yds. yellow broadcloth to make jackets for the sundresses I’m going to make of the white & yellow material I got last summer! 3 yds. gingham to make shorts for the children & maybe a little blouse for Linda; 3 yds. yellow orlon/nylon shantung (45 inches wide) to make a best summer dress for me! Aren’t I ambitious?! I also bought a hand embroidered pillowcase for June’s baby; a pair of frilly nylon rubber panties for Connie’s baby; & 2 prs. plastic panties with pictures on for Fanni’s baby. Also a pretty maternity smock for Ruth’s birthday! The latter is a “big” present – partly because Amy sends such generous (& expensive!) presents to the children & partly because I feel sorry for Ruth after Amy’s accounts of their poverty!! The smock is a summer one – sleeveless, of white cotton with a flower pattern, & has a nice little collar & bow & big patch pockets – I thought it might boost her morale! I have just had a long, long chat with Lu [Forsyth] on the phone! We talked mostly about sewing & all our big plans for our future wardrobes! We were giggling wildly because Lu was talking of “sheaths” & “caftan coats” & all the latest ideas from Paris, and I was holding forth on my summer colour scheme being pale blue & yellow with black accessories & after our dearth of clothes during the last few years we had to be amused at our big ideas! But we are both enthusiastic & even if just 1/2 our plans are realized we should do pretty well! I must stop now as I have to write to Auntie Muriel & do my accounts! Will write to you by airmail this week anyway, so you will get it long before you get this. Today Linda told me I was the prettiest of all the Sunday School teachers! Wasn’t that nice! Hugs & kisses from the children & lots of love from us all- Cyn.
It is likely that Cyn got photos of her friends’ children with their Christmas cards, but she put them in her scrapbook in amongst her fall events, although they have a summer vibe. No doubt she sent pictures of Linda and Charlie looking one year older as well!
First, however, her friend Anne sent pictures of the previous spring and summer, before her husband’s tragic death in Cambridge.
The summer of 1955, they seem to have gone to the beach! Cyn, enjoying her new sewing machine, was busy making mother-and-daughter skirts for Anne and Janita for Christmas.
Meanwhile, in Newcastle, the Sheedy boys were getting older too.
And Nan and Dick Heslop were obviously proud of their daughter!
Back in Canada, after their working summer, Merle and Dix sent a picture of their boys, John, Lorne and Bruce.
These would be the cousins we were closest to, but it would be a few years before we met them.
While the Spectroscopy Section was busy at the NRC, their friends in Chalk River were gaining international recognition. Canadian atomic research was to result in the development of medical isotopes in the 50s, CANDU nuclear power reactors in the 60s, and Ray Appleyard’s continuing visits to New York, to the UN.
Meanwhile at home, Cyn got some modern technology that she’d been wishing for for years!
Out in Saskatchewan, another Costain scientist, Cec’s youngest brother, Carman, completed his Master’s and, following in his brother’s footsteps, was headed for Cambridge to work on his PhD in the field of radio astronomy. During the summer of 1953 when Carman had stayed with them in Ottawa, they had gotten to know him and Cyn’s knowledge of rooms, landladies, and houses in Cambridge was now put to use on his behalf. And he was not going alone!
Carman and Leona were visiting Ottawa before sailing to England, the family would get to meet the bride, and Carol would get to meet yet another of Cec’s family.
Although Cyn and her friends in England were occupied with their growing families, they kept in touch. I am publishing only one side of Cyn’s correspondence with her mother here- but all of these women wrote to each other back and forth and it is hard to imagine the volume of correspondence Cyn generated in a year!
While Cyn was experiencing cottage country in Ontario, her friends in England were also on holiday with their children, and sent her pictures. Although some are wearing swimsuits as brief as the Costain children, somehow it looks a little bit colder. Cyn, Dottie, Mary Stewart, and Nan Heslop (Sandy’s mother) knew each other from Newcastle days.
Anne Winnick and Cyn were colleagues teaching in Cambridge before their marriages, and I assume Rosemary is another. Janita is Anne’s daughter, and Rosemary has another Charles!
I don’t know who these two are but they look sweet. Possibly this is from Newcastle, where there was another Bobby Sheedy, named for Cyn’s childhood. friend killed in the war.
I’m sure all the children had a happy summer so long ago!
Cyn had close friends to keep in touch with, as well as her mother, and she was so fortunate that Dottie, Nan, Anne and others wrote to tell her about what was going on in their lives and to gossip about what was happening with friends and acquaintances. In her letters to her mother she mentions Joan Cox’s wedding and hopes that she will hear about it soon. The letter telling her survived and is presented here, showing quite a different voice and tone! Anne Winnick was a colleague from Coleridge in Cambridge where Cyn had taught, and since she was still teaching, caught her up with all the gossip from the school as well as the details of the wedding. And she finishes with a personal bombshell, probably why the letter was kept. Anne had married Tadek, who had come to England as a Polish soldier during the war, but has now become a British citizen and got his degree. Joan Cox’s sister also seems to have married a Pole, and they are the hosts at the wedding, with their son as the entertainment, apparently.
12 Haskington Grove
My dear Cyn,
First I must – or rather we must congratulate you both on your wedding anniversary and wish you all joy for many dozens of years to come. Thank you very much for your letter – you let me wait so long that the news piles up and by the time I write I forget it nearly all, anyhow I have such a pile today that I have to spend a shilling on the letter – an email letter would not be enough. By the time you have read it all you will be all out- flat out-exhausted – so you had better find a really comfortable seat & have a glass of something handy & a fan full on- you’ll need it!! Joan’s wedding- Tadek & I both went, it was a glorious day, the best day of the summer so far. Cambridge was even mentioned that day on the B.B.C. for having the highest temps. & the most sunshine. Joan looked very nice indeed in a white lace gown with a train & a little crown & veil – a very pretty frock, no bridesmaids. The groom & all the other gents wore morning suits & looked quite handsome. There were lots of children around and in the church little Stefan Cembrowicz kept on chanting after the parson & when the choir boys kept on kneeling down he called out “we all pop down”! The people were in fits as you can guess. In fact little Stefan was the centre of attraction all day – he is a cute little kid. The reception was held in De Freville Avenue- the house of course – & the garden which looked very nice for a change. The food was excellent & Jerome & Gwen made a good host & hostess- they had about four waitresses from somewhere – plenty of drinks & ice creams- & Stefan running around – once in the nude because his shoulder straps fell off his trousers – you should have seen & heard the dear old ladies – they were afraid to go to the rescue- Tadek had to go to the rescue in the end. When Tadek asked him in Polish where he lived he answered correctly. A telegram from your mother was read out with the others. Edward has some lovely pictures of the wedding in his window-big ones- taken at & in the church & at home. After the wedding they went off in Don’s little car with an assortment of cans & junk tied underneath by the wedding guests. The whole afternoon was really a very enjoyable affair & had a very amusing sequel for me – would you like to hear it – here goes. During the reception I recognized a girl who I thought was a teacher I had seen somewhere & apparently the same went for her because she came up to me & asked me whether she was right in thinking I taught at Coleridge as she was once on the Boys Department etc. & she sent her love to Waddy & Kay Harper. She had come up for the occasion especially from Surrey or Sussex. I gave the message to Waddy but forgot her name it was so funny- Bridie Elmper [?]. After describing her Waddy guessed it & said – “whatever is she doing here – she lives with her husband in Surrey & has no relatives here – the only person she knows lives in Royston where she taught once & on whom she was crazy in spite of being married to a fellow in the army – Don Humphris!!” “Well – that was the fellow who got married” said I- “Good Lord”– said Waddy “he ran around with Bridie even came to Coleridge to take her out when she came here & then met Kay Norman & took her about & the two women had a dreadful row over him & in the end he married someone else who was killed last year by lightning on the Royston golf course”! All this was news to me & I gasped as you can guess especially when Waddy said lots of women were crazy on Don- she apparently even went with the party to a pub now and then because she was very fond of this Bridie. Fancy Bridie coming up to the wedding & tagging her husband along too!! Did you know Don was a widower- do you remember that woman getting killed last year summer- I do. It certainly seemed funny that Waddy should give me the lowdown on this romance. Well so much for Joan.
Marion Knight is getting married in September to a R.A.F. chap from Bassingbourne whom she apparently knew from Blackpool days. She brought him to the school sports & he seemed a jolly nice fellow, not like Marion’s usual types. He is big John, little John is going into a boarding school after Xmas & Wimpole Park of course closes down in Sept. all works out very well!!!
Pearl Cutting is leaving at the end of term- this week & is going to teach in the Open Air School here – she gave in her notice here like Jessie Fisher & had no where to go – but now she has taken this job – I don’t envy her. Jessie Fisher by the way is still in her Naval school, she wrote to Pam the other week that she went to the Ascot races but but does not say whether she was in the Royal Enclosure!!! Pam searched through all the Society Magazines but could find no picture of dear Jessie!!
Do you remember meeting Brenda Brine- the new P.T. in the staff whom you said looked nice – well her life has been one eternal row with Howlett & she has told the office she can’t stick it any longer & is going to walk out at the end of term. I had a letter from your mother the other day saying how happy she was & wanting to know all about Joan’s wedding – I must answer her sometime. I met Ethel Pasquier who came over on a brief visit to England en route to the Continent, she came to Cambridge to see me (or Mrs. Desely who was away) & spent only a couple of hours here. I whisked her around the famous spots & she wrote a few postcards, one to you, gave my two pairs of nylons Marie had sent Mrs. Desely & I, & rushed back to London. She is a sweet little thing- told me of you & Cec & how happy they all are you are back in the States. Ruth & another America friend of hers Mary, were here last week Mon- Wednesday. Ruth is just the same- she came to school one afternoon to see the grand Historical Pageant the kids were giving to the public afternoon & night – you can guess how old Howlett was-Ruth thought she was awful, of course she had quite a lot of information from me first. Pam & Waddy are off to Austria on Sunday but are desperately worried as they have not heard about their passage, ticket, money, passport etc. They went to see about it today & Pam got hers, not Waddy & you ought to have seen Pam, she was more upset than Waddy about it – in the depths of despair & on the verge of tears. Sheila & the other D.Sc. Irene are very good pals now and I am so glad- you ought to hear Sheila tell old Howlett off- she went to her room one night after school & told Howlett she strongly resented her interference in her cookery lessons as had been going on lately. Old H. was so taken aback she began to soft soap Sheila & say how good she is & how grateful H. is to her for everything etc. Her Bob is still going strong – one weekend he comes to her- the other she goes to him – but poor old Sheila is worried lately about her father he has gone to a nursing home for mental trouble & strain – although he & her mother have just spent a long holiday in Norway & Sweden. Well the bigger news is coming up- Rosemary & Bill are still going strong, so strong in fact that Rosemary is going to get married! Not official yet but everyone knows! Bill is just looking for a house & Rosemary for a job in Essex near Saffron Walden where he works! What d’ye know!! She took him to the Pageant the other night- I did not go, I had Ruth etc. here but the others say she would not introduce him – he looked handsome enough with long fair hair plastered down & rather a village type – in fact Sheila says she thinks he smells!!! she could not bear to go near him. Poor Bill- poor Rosemary – but she is terribly excited- she takes him home & she goes to his home & by the things she says to me it is high time they married, if I knew Cec would not read this I would tell you a few juicy tales!! my ears flap and my eyes pop out when I listen!! Well how are you feeling- exhausted yet- well beware here comes the final knockout blow, steady yourself- take the glass in your hand for I am going to have a baby in December yes you read right – I am – Xmas Eve- but no one at school knows yet except Sheila, I dare not to tell old Howlettt I am leaving at the end of September- I shall have to go to the Office in the holiday & tell them the news- I think I shall only ask for a leave of absence now and then they won’t be so mad at me not giving in my notice before. Anyhow I really may have to go back if Tadek does not get a permanent job. Yes – it took us by surprise too – let it be a warning – don’t risk anything- not even once!!!! And to think that Jean Reed is going to all that trouble!! I’m beginning to get a bit bulgy but so far the weather has been cool & I have worn a short jacket, thank goodness only 3 more days of term, no one has noticed yet I think although this is my fifth month- but they soon will- now. Better start knitting old gal – I haven’t yet – in fact I dare not think of it. I have had to go to the hospital for lectures etc. etc. & once went to school only at 3 o’clock after hospital- saying I was not well! Luckily I have been very well- not once sick – so no one can guess. I dreamt you were having one in January – what fun!!! I think I’ll wind up – enough news for one letter & I think it deserves a speedy reply don’t you. Very much love as ever – all best to Cec. Hope you will soon revive after reading this- Anne.
P.S. Keep my baby a secret too.
P.S. Rosemary has had to move digs twice since I last wrote about her new digs – her landladies have told her to go- I wonder why!!!
As Cyn told her Mother, she and Cec had plans for Christmas! Their Goodbye Cambridge Party was postponed until January, but I’m sure they had Carol to stay and fed Cec’s hungry friends on Christmas Day. And Cyn’s Christmas card list was colossal- 127 names listed! As it appeared Cec had done in the past, they sent a card with a photograph- his had been scenes of Cambridge, but this year, they sent their wedding photo. To Cyn’s list of relatives in Ireland, America, England, and the West Indies and her friends in England and America, was added all Cec’s friends and relations in Canada and England, their wedding guests, plus ‘professional’ names- professors, and Admiralty contacts. Some they were saying goodbye to, some they would be seeing in the new year.
Cyn’s teaching career was ending, with the usual Christmas task for the Cookery teacher, her student’s decorated Christmas cakes.
And, as with schools everywhere, there was the Christmas Concert, with musical numbers and what seems to be a Nativity Scene. I’m sure there was also a farewell tea for Cynthia, with good wishes from her colleagues.
And at home there was a happy domestic Christmas, with a tree, presents, Cyn’s lists, a good dinner with friends, and, of course, a cat.
Throughout their final term in England, Cyn and Cec were planning and preparing for their move to the University of Michigan. This included lots of paperwork, booking passage across the Atlantic for themselves, packing and arranging for the transport of their belongings, and, in Cyn’s case, saying goodbye to her life in England and her family and friends there. I think it must have been during her half-term holiday that they are planning in this letter to go north to Newcastle to say goodbye to her father and her friends, with their husbands, wives, and new babies! Business was also necessary: as Carol Ewing was also leaving England, Cyn was going to see her lawyer, Mr Kirby, and sort out her money for the future. And she was taking up what seems to be a wedding present for her friend Joan. Included in the envelope was a note that accompanied the parcel of clothes Carol had left behind and Cyn has found and sent to her on the next day.
37, de Freville Ave.
I was going to get this written last night, but I went & had my bath & washed my hair first, then who should arrive but Frank & Al! I think every man I’ve ever met has seen me with my hair wet! So I didn’t get anything done at all.
Thank you so much for both your letters – I will begin & answer them first, then tell you our doings. I was silly not to think of paying the cheque straight into your account, but maybe you would have to endorse it anyway. I will put it in, & ask about that. I will keep all the questions you want me to ask Kirby & will go and see him on Mon. or Tues, morning- anytime between 10.30 & 12.0. Will you write & make the appointment for me? We will go up to N/C overnight on Friday (28th Oct) & will try & get sleepers, so as not to be too worn out on Sat. Then I have suggested to Dottie & Irene that we spend Sat. & Sun. with Dottie & Mon & Tue. with Irene. We will be travelling back Tues. but we won’t have to leave till the afternoon. I had meant to stay this time with Dottie & maybe later with Irene, but she seems so keen to have us, & Cec is very doubtful whether he will have time to go up later on, so I thought we had better split our visit & make sure this time. We are going to have a party at Tilleys when we are up! We have written to Tilley’s & booked a table for Sat. evening, & I have asked Dottie to invite herself, Nan & Dick, Irene & Bill, Joan, Pam & Sam. We thought it would be fun, & a good way of seeing everyone while we were there. I will drop a line to Denis and Dorothy & try to see them Sun. evening. I wrote to Joan Turnbull & I have got her two little maps (like my little ones) of Durham & Westmoreland, & am getting them framed & will take them up when I go.
About seeing my Father, I think I will wait & ring up when I get there & ask again. Do you think I should write to him & ask him if he wants to see me? I could tell him if he doesn’t want to write to tell Dr. Murphy to let me know when I phone. It may be that he has told the Drs he doesn’t want to see us again, & if so I will leave it. It is a pity that Bar is coming so close to when we go up to N/C because it would be nice for you to come through for the day, but if we get sleepers we will go to N/C via London & will maybe have time for you to have dinner with us. Cec is thinking of going up earlier in the day & I will come straight from school, so we could all meet. Anyway, you can come & see us after we get back.
Cec & I were talking about Christmas the other day & we have allsortsofplans! First of all, we want you to come here – say on Wednesday 21st or 22nd. I finish on 16th, so have a nice long time beforehand & we plan to have a Christmas party- probably on 21st, so it would be nice if you could come for that! Then we have asked Frank & Al to come for Christmas dinner, as they both think they will be in Cambridge. On 27th, we thought we would come to London & if Miss Lefroy wouldn’t mind having us, then we would love to stay with you. We would stay until the Thurs. or Fri. & plan to book seats for us all to go to the Ice Show (let me know if AGL & Chris will be there & would like to go) & to take you to the Ballet “Sleeping Beauty”! Then we will come back to Cambridge for New Year! After that, will start a round of goodbye parties, because not only us but Al & Frank & maybe George are all going, but we reckon our Christmas party will be our contribution! Then packing of course!
I’m glad you & Ruth had a nice tea together. I had a letter from her & one from Amy, but of course haven’t got anywhere near answering them yet! I am glad that you enjoyed “Hamlet” again, but can just imagine how Chris and AGL would discuss it, and I can imagine that they would find it tiring. I am enclosing 2 W. Present Lists- I haven’t sent anyone except Cec’s mother, but thought I might take one to N/C if Irene or Nan wanted to see. I laughed & laughed about Irene’s remarks re. Sandy! I gathered from her letter to me that she didn’t think he was anything much! I will have to give you my opinion!
I haven’t excavated the things out of the trunk yet, but will do so tomorrow & send the dress & skirt to you. I laughed at your suddenly remembering your dress, but I haven’t the faintest idea of what it looks like! Far from not buying any more clothes, Cec is encouraging me to buy more! He says clothes (woollen particularly) in US & Canada, are so dear that we had better get them here, & also we will probably be hard up in Ann Arbor! So I have got some grey & pink woollen material for Beryl to make me a dress & some cheap silk jersey too! I think I might get a tweed suit too before I go!!
Thank you for Bella’s money. I have written to A. Moo & to A. Mil as well & thanked them for the nighties. I was sorry about poor Aunt Ettie. I have finished my Thank You Letters! Cec told me not to breathe a word to you & see if you asked again!
We had quite a quiet week last week until Friday when I had a nice day. Sheila & I took 60 kids to a Food Hygiene Exhibition at the Guildhall (very boring!) had lunch in town, went back to school for 1 hour, & then to a D.S. course which turned out to be a flower arranging demonstration!
On Sat. I had coffee with Rosemary & lunch with Cec, then home. Anne had been absent from school for two days, so I was going to see her, & had a card from Len cancelling our date for that evening as Connie wasn’t well, so I visited both. They both seemed to have the same type of thing- livery, gastric flu type. Anne was still in bed, but is at school today, but Connie was up & feeling much better & decided she could go out all night. So we all met at the Union at 7.0 o’clock & had dinner & then went & played bridge at Connie’s. Sunday was a horrid day, & Cec had been kept awake with Connie’s coffee so I let him sleep & I got up & fed Spiv & did some chores & went back to bed again! We had a cup of coffee at about 12 o’clock & breakfast about 1.0! Then we cycled into town in the rain as Cec had to go & leave a message about Canada Club with Dr. Grace, then we went on to Bob & Veronica’s & invited them to tea next Sunday. Then we had a cup of tea when we got home & our dinner at 6:30! (Veal stuffed!) (With trifle with sherry in!)
Next weekend we have a proper do! Rosemary and “her” John come to dinner on Sat. & Bar to stay on Monday. I have invited George & your friend Charlie to dinner while Bar is here, so that she can help me cook & they can entertain her! Cec said the boys were very pleased- he was having tea with them at the time- & George was just going to have another cake when he drew back his hand & said “No- I’m going to start saving up right now!”
I must stop- I finished this at school dinnertime (Tues) & the girls will be here in a min.
Lots & lots of love
Here is your parcel of Ole Clo’se! I was most disappointed to find it was that blue dress – I thought it was a new one I’d forgotten about! The skirt wasn’t in the trunk- it was in an old box in Cec’s room & I had quite a search for it – I also found the blouse etc. & I am enclosing them. There are 1 or 2 old aprons & bed jackets & your fur coat still here – and your feather hat of course! I am enclosing a piece of wool from Cec’s sweater if you could get it matched for me (4 ozs). Also I have been meaning to ask you- would you like me to send you on any of McCalls? It seems a pity that you shouldn’t see them.
Must stop now & go to bed – I made tea for 60 for one of Howlett’s do’s & am fair wore out!
Thank you so much for your letter which we received this morning. I meant to write yesterday, but what with unpacking & eating we didn’t seem to have a moment! Today has been busy too, but Cec is now doing the washing up for me while I write. Isn’t he nice?!
As you will see, we are returning Cliff’s snaps to you and are sending Cec’s for you to see. We went to see Edward this afternoon, and he is doing us some prints and enlarging some, so we will let you have some later. We also ordered our pictures & the ones for N/C & some for Cec’s people, but decided we would order what we wanted for relatives etc. later, & might even send some at Christmas as Ray suggested. We weren’t sure of what size the N/C ones were to be, so we ordered postcard size, Edward said that he had sent you yours yesterday, so you will have them to show Mary. He had a big picture of the group with you & Charlie in, & a little one of the kids throwing confetti, in his window. I have just been telling Cec that you & Charlie look like the little man & woman on the weather gauge- like little Noah’s Ark-y people, & he thinks it is rude, but I mean it nicely! Edward said that he had sent you a different picture of you & Joan where you look nice, & that he could cut off Joan, so let us know if you like it & we’ll have some done that way.
It was quite all right about our picture, by the way. We noticed it after a while & looked all about, for it, but more or less guessed what happened, as Cec had his doubts about the plaster at the time. We will go into the shop this week & see about it – we would like to get it done again I think, & Cec is going to fix rawlplugs for it & the mirror in the bedroom. We did see Joan, but it was before we noticed it had gone, so we were quite puzzled for a while, but I thought maybe you had forgotten to tell us! I’m glad it came to you in a flash, though!
Since we saw you on Friday, we seem to have done such a lot, but really we haven’t done much at all. We went & got the snaps on Sat. A.M. & went to the Shipping Co. & took Cec’s watch to be mended, then back to the Gr. Eastern for lunch & caught the 2:15 train. We were home by 4 o’clock & found Gwen & Jerome still here to our surprise, & the new people in too. We dumped our things- found bread & veg. from Joan & lovely, beautiful gladiolas from Mrs. Ewing – thank you very, very much, Mummy. I looked up as I got out of a taxi & saw them & knew you had asked someone to get them for us. We went shopping straight away & Claude greeted us with great joy & quite compared notes on married life with us! Also gave me all my back rations, so we got masses of nice frying steak! On our way back we called in & said thank you to Joan & Ray & have invited them to dinner on Friday as it isn’t long before they go now.
We had Gwen & Jerome up for a drink of Cherry Brandy that evening as they were leaving next day. Joan is going on to them for a week when she returns and in the meanwhile the man downstairs is looking after Tilly & we are looking after Spiv!
Sunday we slept late – despite the bed which is rather hard & lumpy & very small! In Cannes we had 2 big divan beds pushed together to make one – here it is so small & the sides slope so that we roll into the middle. Sat night Cec won and got in the middle first, but last night I did! We didn’t seem to do anything except unpack & sort dirty clothes & cook & eat meals & take Tillie a walk, but we were busy all day! I forgot to say that Gwen has brought us the dearest kitchen cabinet. It is not very big, but so nice & neat & useful- I am delighted with it & don’t know how we would have managed without it. Also Jerome stained the other floors for us & they look very nice.
Today I sent off the cake & a note to Bebe. We decided not to send the other one to Canada, but if it is still OK by the time we go we will take it with us & deliver it ourselves. I think it should keep till Feb if Dottie says we should keep it for the christening! Cec did up the laundry & we had lunch & then went down to the Bank, Food Office, etc. & then on to Edward & Mr. Ward & home for tea. I also shopped this a.m. & washed my hair & so was busy again! Mr. Ward gave me all my back rations too, so we are wallowing! I talked to Mrs. Lock this p.m. & did the kitchen fire out & now I am going to have my bath & go to bed. The Locks are coming up for a drink tomorrow evening – they seem nice.
I forgot to say thank you too, Mummy, for my dear little stool – it is cute & so useful – thank you very much. By the way, let us know which day next week you will come- any will suit suit us, & stay overnight too if it is convenient. We will have a gossip!
Must stop now – love to AGL & thank her for her letter.
With lots & lots of love
[Cec’s handwriting] Dear Mum,
We are settling in and it is really beginning to feel like home – it’s a wonderful feeling. See you next week.