*The S.Sch. sent me a beautiful box of spring flowers.
Dearest Mummy, I meant to write you a long letter, but somehow at the moment I don’t seem to get around to doing things, so I thought I’d write one of these & hope to get going soon. Actually I am feeling much better this week & really like myself again. Before that I was tired & everything was an effort, but on Sunday I suddenly seem to pep up & have been fine since. I still go carefully & rest a bit in the morning & have a sleep in the afternoon, but I get up & get the family going in the morning & Cec is able to go to work at the proper time again. To complicate matters we all got colds last week – Cec & I very wooshy-harooshy ones & the children snuffly, so Linda was home from school & I suppose it sent me back a bit.
However Linda was well enough to go to school on Thurs. (St.Val’s Day!) & all seemed serene, & then on Friday after dinner she was quite subdued & then felt sick & lost her dinner! Sat. she didn’t eat much & on Sun. was better, but on Sun. Cec got a great stye on his eye! Can you imagine!! We were prepared for Charlie to come out in yellow spots, but everything passed over & everyone is well again now – but aren’t we the ones! Everyone has been most kind with calling* & phoning & bringing cookies etc. – Mrs. Rothwell quite embarrassingly so of course, but she really means well! Thank you so much for your 2 Air Letters of 10th – I got them last Friday. We were so sorry to hear of your poor little kittens & chicks dying – Cec says that D.D.T. poisoning affects the nerves so your idea may be possible but he says your vet. should be able to tell you. Our Nicki is a lovely big puss now but still very playful. She loves to go out & play with the children outside & if they are out & she gets shut in by accident she cries & cries till I let her out! What with all our ills etc. I have no news to tell you as we have done nothing & seen no one, but the Douglasses are having a party on Sat. & we’re going so I have something to look forward to! The funny thing is that the one thing I still find an effort is to talk to people! Isn’t that odd? And I usually like it more than anything! But quite a few of the girls have phoned Cec & I should call them back & have a chat, but I keep putting it off – a very peculiar thing for me. Probably when I go to the party I’ll talk my head off!
Charlie said tonight “I think everyone in my family is very cute & very lovely & very charming!” The other night he told me I was charming & then after a little pause “Don’t you think I’m charming too? “!! Please excuse this very dreary letter all about me – will try & be better next time. The cut glass decanters sound lovely & I would love to have them. Dare you send them? Lots of love from us all Cyn.
P.S. Charlie’s latest “Mummy – I am in haste”! Linda’s “Daddy don’t say that – you’re getting me so confused!”
Box 330 R.R.1 Ottawa
Dearest Mummy, The last letter I wrote was quite depressing I’m sure, with us all having colds & the weather so cold etc. etc. but by now we are all back to normal. The weather is just the usual Canadian snow & ice – the children got over their colds & are no more snuffly than they usually are & we are back in the routine! Charlie took his medicine very well & looks well & cheery now & is eating well again. Linda continued to be deaf for a few days after her shot, & then one morning when she came into the sitting room she said “My goodness, you have got the radio on loud this morning” & went & turned it down & everything was fine. She was at school all last week, much to her joy, & this morning both she & Charlie came to Sunday School – the first time since Christmas. As Charlie is now 4, he has been promoted into Linda’s class (4 & 5 yr. olds) which Pat Tomlinson takes & he is so proud of himself! He demanded that Linda should sit on one side of him & Joanne on the other & told everyone afterwards that it was much nicer than my class – the games were nicer & the stories better & everything was lovely!! I am very pleased as it was really no good my being his teacher – he just stuck to me & didn’t mix with the other children. By promoting 4 yr-olds I have gotten my class down a bit – under 20 anyway – Pat’s is now up of course!
I had promised Charlie, as he had measles on his birthday, that when he was all well again we would have his party, so the great day is tomorrow. I have lost enthusiasm for the idea by now of course, but we are not being too ambitious but having Joanne & Jimmy & Janek & Phyl Douglas is bringing Andy, so there will just be 6 altogether. We got a book with little invitations to cut out & place cards to make with tiny candy baskets to match & even games to play, so he and Linda have had quite a good time cutting all these things out.
I have drawn a very funny fat donkey & the book provides lots of tails & also gold paper money to hide for a treasure hunt, so I don’t have too much thinking to do! We made the birthday cake yesterday – a marble cake with choc. icing & a blue sea on top as he has 4 birthday candles in the shape of boats. Lila was to come to dinner today, but had flu & couldn’t come so Cec was in the Lab. & found Santiago alone so brought him home & we sampled the cake! But I will cut it into slices & disguise the gap tomorrow! Thank you so much for both your long letter of 14th & your A.M. & A. Moo’s which came this week. I hope by now the batteries have reached you & that you didn’t run short. You were asking about the colour of my twin set – it is a pretty soft turquoise blue & goes nicely with both brown or black. Last week I made up the brown wool material I got at the Mill in the fall into a skirt – it was quite a squeeze as it was 1 yard of 58” material & I made a plain skirt but with a slight flare
– supposed to be in 4 pieces but I had to make 5 and split one panel, so made the back so:-
it fits very nicely though & I only have shreds left – even the inside of the waistband is pieced out of about 6 bits! Thank you so much for the offer of a skirt for my birthday, but I don’t think I will take you up on it. I think I will get something here as I don’t really think it is worth getting things that must fit from England & the choice of material & colour is so difficult. I am particularly disgusted with mail–shopping at the moment as I got a bill from Harrod’s yesterday for over £4 for 2 shirts I ordered in 1954! I wouldn’t care but I returned one as it was the wrong size & told them at the time I had no bill! Pah! Actually I hate to tell you but what I really need for my birthday is hankies! Isn’t it awful? I couldn’t possibly buy myself any, so there is a suggestion – nice plain white cotton ones! Actually I also thought that I would love some W.I. delicacies – any chance of burney sugar cake or stewed guavas or cashew nuts? I would just love some & those with the hankies would be what I really really would like! What a lovely idea sending A.G.L. some gorgeous fresh grapefruit – I do hope that you can do it as I should imagine it would please her enormously as well as being a real treat. Since the very cold spell we have had all sorts of odd things – a few very mild days of pouring rain & then back to subzero again & now just normal snow & cold. All the rain ran down at the back & made a pond & froze so there is a lovely sheet of ice & the children have been having a wonderful time on it – sliding, pulling their sleds – coasting on their bottoms! By the way it was very sweet of the Miss Finley’s to give you the salt cellar & spoon for me – I could use it as I really have no decent ones except your little silver ones. Should I write & thank them now or wait till you send them? Poor old ladies – I’m glad they are settling down in the Home & will be well taken care of. Talking about ladies, Mrs. Ward went to Montreal to stay with her great-granddaughter for the winter & I was very pleased as the poor old thing – moving from one place to another every week was a miserable life for her & Myrtle always seemed to take no pains to hide the fact that she found her a nuisance. The g-g-daughter has children around L & C’s age & Mrs. Ward is very fond of them so I think she will be happy to be there. We have done nothing since I last wrote except one night I went to the Scientist Wives with Joan Stoicheff to a lecture on “Art & Creative Imagination”! It was much more interesting than I thought it would be! Do you remember the Swiss bride, Susi Dressler? We met her there and she is very preggy- due in April. I have been having fun ordering things from the Sales! The children were badly in need of bed linen & I needed towels so I had quite a spree – I ordered yellow & pale blue flannelette- yellow & pale blue sheeting – pillowcases with little flowers on – face towels with blue stripes, yellow stripes & pink stripes, striped bath towels & last but not least 2 red nylon & rayon blankets for the children’s bed! I will make them flannelette sheets & cotton sheets & pillowcases as their beds are smaller than an ordinary size & the idea is that Lindy has yellow things & Charlie blue so they will always know their own. The pink striped towels are for me! The 2 red blankets are very gay & are a special size for what they call “youth beds “so fit nicely & I felt they needed something extra these cold nights & they tuck in well. The pillowcases don’t follow the yellow & blue motif unfortunately as they were out of those colours, so to add to the gay colour scheme Linda will have turquoise flowers on hers & Charlie mauve!! I must stop as it is midnight & the end of 8 pages. I have a seamail letter to go too so will get them all on their way. Lots of love from us all – hugs from the children. Hope you keep well too – Lots of love Cyn.
Dearest Mummy, I am in the middle of a long letter telling you all about what we got for Christmas etc. but it doesn’t seem to be getting on very quickly so I thought I would write you one of these in the meanwhile. We are practically frozen! We talk of nothing but the weather up here as we are having a terribly terribly cold spell – Ottawa was 38° below zero last night – and Aklavik on the Arctic Circle was 40° above! It has been going on for 4 or 5 days now & no sign of a let up – in the daytime it has been about 15° below zero still although the sun is shining away. I wonder what Monie etc. say when they say “Ottawa – the coldest place” on their T.V. weather charts!! Our hot water pipe into the kitchen is frozen, which really isn’t much, but when you’re not used to it boiling kettles seems such a nuisance! Cec has a heating wire from work & is trying to thaw it out now. I have had 2 nice letters from you – thank you so much. One was an A.M. & one the registered letter with the $5.00 & as we paid Mr. P. by cheque I took your money & bought Lindy & Charlie new Vitamin drops! Thank you very much for it – I hope the batteries arrive safely & won’t take too long. Since I last wrote we have done really nothing – Cec is working hard & went back to work every evening last week & the children have had these wretched colds. I let Lindy go back to school last week as she seemed pretty good & Charlie’s eyes cleared up, but the cold seem to hang around without really developing you know. Charlie didn’t eat well & was sweaty at night & apt to be weepy, then at the weekend Lindy’s eyes began getting bloodshot & sore & she suddenly got very deaf, although her ears didn’t hurt at all. On Sun. I had the same thing with neuralgia & ear ache so I didn’t go to S. School. However, with all these symptoms we decided to take them to Dr. Whillans for their check ups & see what he said, so we went today. The children were both wonderful – not a squeak – even when Lindy had a big penicillin shot in her bottom! They had their 2nd polio shot at school last week with no trouble & are getting quite blasé about shots now! Hooray! Dr. W. said they were both rundown after the measles & that the colds on top had caused all the eye, ear trouble etc. He gave Lindy the Pen. shot as she is so bad about medicine but gave us a prescription for Charlie & thinks the infection should clear up. They have both grown a lot in the year but hardly any weight gain which is bad, but he says they probably lost a lot with the measles. They are both full of beans & v. cheery tho’ so I feel that it can’t be too serious! xx Cyn [And here she runs out of room and has to put the usual good-bye as a P.S. at the beginning.]
This letter is missing its first (and thus last) page so dating it is not possible. It discusses their respective presents, however, so it is written in early in January, after the measles quarantine and the quiet Christmas is over. The existing letter opens on page 2 with Cyn’s appreciation of the gifts that Carol had arranged to be sent by friends in England to Cyn and Cec.
… more than seven years ago or rather sad looking now & this one is very nice – not too thick, which he likes. Last but not least my twin set which I love. It seems such a long time since I had a really nice jersey & cardigan – as I wear them mostly in the house they are usually chosen for their economy & not their beauty, so I do feel luxurious! I am going to buy a good skirt & keep them for best – I will also make up my brown material from the Mill & wear them with it, but they definitely deserve a good skirt! All the family join me and saying thank you, Mummy. We also got your other parcel – you mentioned a book for Charlie’s birthday, but it hasn’t arrived yet, so I gave him one & two of the things out of the parcel then – the little dog for one. The others I put in their stockings – the fan & the kitty needle case in Linda’s & a little boat in Charlie’s (don’t know how to make it go, by the way!) & the white necklace in mine. How clever of Mrs. Y to knit it – it is very pretty. All the little things helped out the stockings a lot- we never seem to find a little things as easy as the big ones. We also got your cards & Charlie his B. card – thank you again.
We were so delighted to get your letter & know that you had got the photographs & liked them. Of course we had great fun keeping them a secret from you as we had them taken in August, so Lindy wasn’t yet five. I wanted to have them taken before she went to school, so that they would still be little children! Once they get to school & begin losing their front teeth they don’t look so sweet! Paul Horsdal, the photographer, is a wonderful man, & as you can see, the children really had a lovely time & enjoyed themselves. He took 12 poses & they were all so good it was really hard to choose. We decided on four we liked best finally & we got for ourselves a big one of the laughing picture we sent you & then the three others the same size as yours so we will have a group! For other people we mostly got the laughing one, & one or two of a more serious one of them together & then some small ones of a profile with Cec likes very much. I was sitting opposite to them & making faces to make them laugh & they looked sweet & I was making the funniest face so he cut me off! We sent to Cec’s family & all the godparents & small ones to Nan, Dottie, Anne etc. so we ran up quite a bill but we felt it was worth it! We are most glad that you got such a surprise & liked them so much – we had been just pining to hear how you liked them! I’m so glad that you all liked the other parcel too – it wasn’t much for you but I’m glad the brunch coat is useful – I hoped it would be. I still mean to send you a scrapbook but haven’t got one yet. I’m glad Doris and Luenda liked their little things – I thought the snowy picture would amuse Doris! Please tell A. Moo that I will write to her but just to let her know that the Canadian money was quite safe. I didn’t give it to the children as they seem to have so much but will save it for their bank account! Since I last wrote we have been entertaining nearly all our friends which was lovely but oh! – I did get tired of washing dishes! Charlie’s birthday, poor little fellow we could do nothing as they were still in quarantine, but I have promised him a party this month instead as he is quite taken with the idea of a party! We had his favourite dinner & a birthday cake & then on the Friday (when quarantine was over) we went down town & saw Santa Claus etc. I was so pleased as Lindy went up & spoke to him this year, for the first time & asked for a dolly. By next year I’m afraid she will know it’s pretend as she has heard a few things apparently from Jimmy & is quite full of questions now! Charlie asked for a doctor’s set & a new mouse for Pussy!! We put up the tree on the Sat. & then on Sunday we had an Open House from 3 – 6 for everyone at the Lab. It was quite fun & quite easy entertaining although hectic in spots! I thought they would be spread out but as Cec said there was a big overlap in the middle! I served tea & coffee & Christmas cake, shortbread, gingerbread men, cookies (Christmas trees, stars etc.) & hot cheese scones & then we had sherry & marsala & other drinks & snack things like potato chips, cheese, crackers etc. Altogether we had about 20 people I think – the Douglases & Ramsays couldn’t come which was a pity but as they have most children & the ones we had seemed to be all over perhaps it was just as well!! All together it was quite a success tho’ I think.
On Christmas Eve I went to Midnight Service & got there early for once & got a proper seat! It was crowded as usual & I didn’t get home till nearly 2 a.m. & what do you think? It was pouring with rain as I drove in & out! I was disgusted – rain in Canada on Christmas. By morning it was snow though & since then we have had it really cold 20° below zero at New Year & just 10° below zero in the middle of the day. We had a nice quiet Christmas day – looked at our presents all morning (will send a list) & in the afternoon the Indian couple, Dr & Mrs. Narasimham & their little boy Prussad dropped in for tea. They couldn’t come to the Open House as they were at a reception for Nehru that day. I got a small turkey (6 pounds) & we had it & a tiny plum pudding & hard sauce & all made pigs of ourselves! Cec went back to work on Boxing Day so Christmas seemed to end quickly, but on the Thursday we had Lea & Wendell & Darryl & Patty Lu to dinner & had a very nice time. Lea seems so well & happy & just delighted with her baby. She is a sweet little thing – all smiles & coos & Lindy is very intrigued. Charlie & Darryl play very nicely together now. On Friday we had Santiago to dinner, then Sat. Ken & Dot Scott came up for coffee & dessert after dinner. On Sunday Lee & Jim & Barry & Dougie came over for dinner & that was very nice too. It was a dreadful cold day & they insisted on coming in the bus but Cec drove them home. Dougie is so cute now – very dimply & still plump & babyish. On Monday we had the Forsythes over. They have just got a car & we were so pleased as now we feel we will see more of them. We invited… [We’ll never know- page 8 would have been on the back of page 1.]
At the top corner of the page in gold ink: Isn’t this pretty? We have been signing our Christmas cards in GOLD! HAPPY CHRISTMAS! xxx Love from us all – xxx Cec, Cyn, Linda, Charlie. and then holly leaves and a decorative border. Plus red dots all over the first page.
Box 330 R.R.1 Ottawa 17th Dec. 1956.
Dearest Mummy, These are not Christmas decorations – they are Measles! Hence this very late Christmas letter. I am afraid that it can’t possibly reach you in time, but I do hope it won’t be too very late as it brings all our good wishes for a lovely Christmas and lots of love. Well – the Measles! Isn’t that horrid? But at least the worst is all over now & the children will be fine for Christmas which is wonderful. Also they didn’t get a very bad attack and both the little dears had it at the same time, so altogether they did as well as they could! It is ages since I wrote I know, but I really do seem to have been busy with one thing & another for weeks so I hope you’ll forgive me. Your nice Christmas letter came on Sat. & thank you so much for it – also Charlie’s parcel – I hope ours reach you in good time to make up for this late letter. I was most amused to hear of Uncle Fred & his excuses over not visiting us. I thought something like that had probably happened & believe me, I feel we would have been very quiet & dull after all the cocktail parties & gaieties! Do ask him sometime if by any chance he sent us a subscription to “Harper’s Magazine”. It has suddenly began arriving each month from the US & we can’t think who our benefactor may be! [Her Christmas Records show it was sent by their friend Lila, who must have told them eventually!] I was tickled about the panties for the girls & Aunt Mil’s glamorous négligée – I wonder if he has brought you something frivolous too. I’m glad that you were enjoying A. Mil’s visit & that she is feeling cheery. I just made my Christmas cakes today – can you imagine! And I was really quite well on with my preparations a few weeks ago! However we have no plans for Christmas at all as the measles interrupted all plans – Lila is going home for the holiday & Santiago is going to the Moores’ so we will even be alone for Christmas dinner which I regret rather – I like to have a party! On the other hand I won’t have to bother whether I’m on time with the turkey or not! The last time I wrote to you was just after Bob Spellar’s visit & that weekend I had quite a sore throat & cold, so I managed to get someone else to take my S. Sch. class & had a nice peaceful time. The next week I was quite busy making my dress (the stripy grey) I’ll try to draw it!
You’ll be glad to hear I got a girdle to wear with it, but I was cunning – I got a nice big size, so it doesn’t slay me! The dress looked quite nice when it was finished & made me look taller as the stripes go up & down, but of course I had the usual trouble with the pattern not being an exact fit & having to make it shorter waisted etc. – such a pest! The Spectroscopy Party was on the Friday & it was very nice – quite talky- talky Cec said, but I never mind that! It was held in a house on the Driveway which is now an RCAF Mess & was very comfortable & pleasant & there was dancing, but most people just chatted – a very sober crowd! Linda was home 2 days that week with swollen glands under her chin! She had quite a puffy swelling & the Dr. said to put on hot fomentations which I did & they gradually disappeared. She was feeling fine & full of high spirits all the time, but it was amazing at the party, nearly everyone had sick children at home. It has been such a fall & early winter for colds & sickness.
The next week I was really busy. We had the Sunday School Christmas Party on the Saturday & Pat Tomlinson, Mrs. Dunn & I had the 5 & unders party on our own. We got $25 to spend & we got paper & made & mailed little invitations in the shape of bells to about 45 children. Then we made cookies for all, got ice cream & milk & I invited the mothers with my tiny ones & had tea for them.
Pat’s children got books as presents & I got jingle bells for mine & threaded them on red ribbons 2 lots for each child to tie on their wrists or shoes. They also got candy canes & we bought figures for a crèche, so altogether we spent our money quite freely! Actually there was quite a lot of work with all the shopping & making things & running around & preparations & so on, but all my children & mothers accepted ( 24 children) so we had a full house. I was glad when it was over though! And the next Sunday was the last S. Sch. before the holidays so I am having a breather now! That week Lindy got her first report – it says she is “a quiet capable little girl & doing very well at school”! I also went down to school & met her teacher, Mrs. Albrant and had what they call a ”Parent Teacher” interview, which was nice, but Lindy is really doing so well we didn’t have any difficulties to discuss! I had a couple of dentist appointments that week – one to clean & one filling & we went to Joan & Boris’ one evening for dinner, so altogether we were on the go. The dinner at Joan & Boris’ was very nice & we saw pictures of Boris’ trip to Europe & a few more details which was interesting.
On the Sat. when the S. Sch. party was I had another wretched cold & both children looked a bit droopy. However, they didn’t seem to be ill, so we went anyway & then that night Linda was sick in the middle of the night! Next day I had to go & organize a few things as it was the last day of S. Sch. but I left them at home & again they seem not really ill, but not really well. [They’d probably infected the entire Sunday School by then anyway.] Mary & Jerry Swalen (Cec’s Fellow from Harvard) had invited us all to dinner that afternoon & we didn’t like to call it off at such short notice, so after much dithering we went & the children were o.k. though they didn’t eat much. However next day I kept Lindy home from school & during the morning phoned Fanni to tell her & she told me Janek was also sick & with a high fever. Then Pat Tomlinson phoned me to say Joanne was out in spots – measles! Janek came out the next day, Tuesday – Charlie on Thursday & Lindy on Friday! Apparently practically the whole kindergarten had it – anyway about 15 or 16 away at once, out of 30! Janek & Joanne & some of the others were very sick though with temps. of 104° etc. for 4 or 5 days, but we were lucky – Charlie had a slight temp. for 2 or 3 days then went to 104 the day his spots came out & then no more & Lindy was just high one day (won’t let me take her temp. the little so-and-so!) & hers was very quickly over. Charlie had 2 or 3 restless nights with me up & down all night & last night Lindy had a bit of earache, but all was calm today & they were up for a bit & are sleeping peacefully now. In the middle of all this – on Wed. morning actually – poor Cec got a bad attack of gastric flu which made him very miserable for a few days. He slept most of the time & went into work a bit on Friday but today was really the first day he felt back to normal. It was very odd cooking meals just for me though for a few days & feeding everyone else clear soup & warm milk! As you can imagine I had myself a busy little time! The quarantine isn’t up until Friday so we are in the house all this week, but I hope we’ll get downtown on Friday to see Santa Claus. I feel so sorry that Linda is missing all the fun at school, but it isn’t so bad for her with all her friends missing it too! Charlie’s birthday is on Wed. of course & poor little fellow he was very set on having a party this year, but I have promised him we will have it sometime after Christmas instead – in some ways it will be better – for me particularly! I am still trying to write the last odd letter or so – which reminds me, I couldn’t send Jane & Bill a card as I forgot to get their address from you, but if you send it to me sometime, I’ll write to them. I wrote our last cards this evening & must turn my attention to cleaning the house. Then Christmas pudding & gingerbread men! I left Cec to cope on Sat. afternoon & went down town & finished off most of my shopping – things for Cec mostly. In my next I’ll tell you what I sent everyone – over 90 cards this year too – don’t know how it grows so! Lots of love to Auntie Muriel and we all hope you have a very nice happy Christmas together. Love and hugs & kisses from Linda & Charlie and much love from us all. Cyn.
Thursday 22 Nov. Dearest Mummy, I don’t think I have a letter to thank you for as it’s not quite a week since I last wrote. However, I plan to sew industriously & make myself a dress so I thought I’d write before I got myself involved! I don’t know if I told you I ripped up that grey & yellow taffeta dress I had in my trousseau – anyway it had 4 yds. in the skirt so I am making a slim style out of it. I have been busy finishing off all the Christmas parcels & took them all to the P.O. & mailed them this morning ($4.60 for postage – groans!) & I am so thrilled with myself as I am a whole week before the deadline & usually I am tagging a few days behind! I have also ordered most of the children’s presents, so we are pretty well ahead & I am pleased! I got the things for my mincemeat last week but haven’t made it yet.
Cec had a cold over the weekend so we didn’t do much, but Linda & Charlie had quite recovered & they are fine now. On the Sunday the Ramsays dropped in to see us & had a cup of tea & in the evening Fanni & Teddy asked us to come around for a late dinner after the children were in bed. It was just lovely – Fanni gave us all sorts of intriguing Swiss dishes to eat & wine to drink – first tomatoes stuffed with cheese, celery etc.; then wiener shnizel (veal stuffed with cheese & egg & breadcrumbed & fried) & veg; then zabaliogne with wafers & then coffee & a nut torte! We were stuffed! Yesterday I had such a surprise. The phone rang & it was Bob Spellar. Do you remember Grace & May Sutherland in Gosforth? Bob is Grace’s husband & it was they who introduced Dottie to her new husband & they live just nearby. Well, Bob is director of a firm in Birmingham & has been flying around the world for 2 1/2 mths & had just flown into Ottawa for a day, so I invited him & his manager who was with him, to dinner. I was so pleased to see him although as far as I can remember we had only met once or twice before, but he is an awfully nice man & it was such fun hearing first hand news of Dottie & her romance & everything. Incidentally he told me Dottie is preggy! Maybe it’s still a secret! We had a nice dinner & evening & all seemed to enjoy it. Bob thought Linda & Charlie were such a sweet good little children so he will take a good report to Dottie! It was the first person from the old N/C crowd that I had seen for 7 years, so it’s quite a time, isn’t it? He flies back to England next Tuesday – by the way their son is nearly 16 now & they have twin girls of 9. I must get going & wash the breakfast & lunch dishes. Charlie & I took Lindy to school this morning & then went & got meat at Orleans & then took all the parcels to the mail etc. so the chores are still to be done. They are “resting” now- ha!ha! Love to Auntie Muriel and lots of love for you from us all – Cyn xxxxx Linda xxxx Charlie
As the news of more vaccinations being available in May 2021, we who are older and vulnerable look forward to our second shot as further protection against Covid 19, although we know we will be wearing our masks, handwashing, and distancing for months longer. It is interesting to read about Cyn’s acceptance of the availability of the Polio Vaccine at Linda’s school- free for all children who wanted it, and because of the dire effects of polio, she and all her friends did want it for their children.
As I explained in my first post in this blog, I started reading my mother’s letters because of a conversation with my husband about the polio scares of the 1950s. Although there have been references in Cyn’s letters to friends with children catching it or altering plans because of outbreaks, this letter is the only time she mentions it as it affects her children. The vaccine was available and she made sure her children got it. Please, everyone, when the Covid 19 vaccine becomes available to you, get it! It will protect you, your children, and everyone in your community.
Box 330 R.R.1 Ottawa Wed. 14th Nov.
Dearest Mummy, I was all set to begin writing to you on Mon. evening – Cec was back at work & I was all ready & I couldn’t find my pen! I spent a solid hour searching for it & then gave up in disgust & went to bed. Yesterday of course I discovered it under a chair – little Niki had knocked it off the table & thought it was a nice plaything! She is as full of fun & frolic as ever despite her “operation”. We took her to the Vet. 2 weeks ago & had her spayed (don’t know how to spell it) & distemper shots. She was there for 2 days & I told the children she was having an operation & would have a mark, but they were horrified when they saw her as she had quite a big shaved patch on one side & the sewed up scar & to make it look worse all dowsed in yellow iodine! The children wouldn’t go near her for about a day but after that they got used to it! She should have gone back to get the stitches out, but I haven’t had a chance to take her yet as I’ve had both children in bed with bad coughs. They had been coughing a bit for a while but at the beginning of last week Charlie’s really seemed bad and he got a slight temp. & was very watery eyed. His temp. wasn’t much & went down in a couple of days but on Wed. evening Lindy got it & I kept her in bed & on Fri. & Sat. she ran quite a fever & the cough was very troublesome. On Monday her temp was down so she was up yesterday & is beginning to eat a bit although not much interest as yet. She is very sad at missing school but I think I will keep her home this week as she & Charlie both cough still a bit & it is right down in their chests. However tomorrow afternoon at the school they are giving free Polio Shots to the children & you can take pre-school children too, so Fanni is taking her 3 boys & I will take Lindy & Charlie too. Lindy is quite calm about the idea when I told her all the other girls & boys are having it done too, so I think she will be fine with all her friends, & I am very glad to get it done. There are 3 shots all together I hear. I got a nice long letter from you on Monday for which many, many thanks. It was written on Auntie Muriel’s birthday. I sent her a very belated card, but I hope she has it by now. I was so mad – I wrote a letter & sent a card to Miss Lefroy about a week before her birthday. Sent it Air Mail from Orleans as I was there at the butcher’s. That night the main Ottawa P.O. phoned me that they had the letter & it needed another 15¢. I had asked the woman in Orleans to weigh it & she said it was o.k., so I was annoyed & darn it – they wouldn’t send it back to me to put the extra on but wanted me to come down town to the P.O. with the stamp! I couldn’t as I wouldn’t have the car the next day & to make the trip for 15¢ anyway seemed silly, so in the end they sent it by sea but Special Delivery! Absurd! And it would be ages late. I hope A. Moo’s side is quite o.k. now. She told me when she was here about it but said not to mention it, but I didn’t realize how much it was hurting her. It was a pity it happened as it must have taken a lot of the pleasure out of the trip & must have been so painful even sitting driving in the car. I was sorry that I couldn’t show them more of Ottawa & felt I hadn’t really taken them to many of the sights, but the one day we had turned cloudy & quite chilly in the afternoon & I thought A. Muriel was feeling the cold. Mill seemed to be in a big hurry to get home but I’m glad they saw more at Kingston. I’m glad your Bazaar went well despite all the upset, & that you got so much money. I was interested in your young clergymen & his riotous living. The thing that strikes me about all these affairs in St. V. is that the principals – apart from any morals concerned – just seem to lose every scrap of sense & act in the most stupid way imaginable. You would think hearing these tales as I do, that all the people were living in a dream or drugged or something that they go away & leave their children & abandon their marriage vows & make love under the nose of Archdeacons. I am amazed. Talking of the Archdeacon’s Bishoply paunch makes me think of Cec’s – in reverse! Did I tell you that he has been dieting the last month or so? Not very strenuously but very steadily & he is down to 198 lbs. & is looking very nice. I eat the same as he (mainly no midnight snack!) but I am 122 lbs. – hope to go down a bit though! You were writing of your hot rainy weather & the belated hurricane, but winter has begun for us. The first weekend in Nov. was lovely – mild & warm & sunny but the middle of last week it turned cold & we had a sprinkle of snow. Last night we had another fall but today the sun was lovely & most of it melted away. I let the children out to play a little & of course they love it. Ugh! I have decided that either my writing is very bad or your imagination is very vivid! First, transposing Lu’s poor Mother’s amputation to Phyl’s Mother & then in your last you had me puzzled for ages over “Pam’s daughter Joan being a year older than Linda.” I finally solved it PAT Tomlinson’s daughter Joanne! Anyway she is only 3 mths older! I took the day off on Sat. (felt I needed it after being in the house all week with sick children) & went downtown Christmas shopping. I had debated phoning someone & asking about meeting me for lunch or tea & did mention it to Lu, but with the children sick I didn’t exactly know when I’d get away so I left it. However who should I walk into after about 15 mins. but Margie doing just the same as me! Of course it didn’t help my shopping but we had a nice chat & shopped a bit & had tea! I have been busy sewing in between whiles & have been making Christmas presents! Lindy’s Halloween sari was a pretty golden silky material, so after she was finished with it I washed it & have cut out & made a little stiff frilled petticoat for Janita (Anne’s little girl),
a petticoat for Leona, & a wide flounced one for Dottie. I also have cut out one for Lindy, but not made it yet. I have also cut out at & am 1/2 finished some luncheon mats for Nan in a gay white & red material. They are oblong & I have stiffened them & put a backing on & trimmed them with red rick-rack & they look very bright & cheery. I also made little Barbara a little tablecloth, napkins & dolly’s bibs when I made Lindy hers for her birthday, so that is done. I also made myself a skirt from one of the pieces of wool I got at the mills – it is just to wear around the house but looks quite nice. Do you remember the grey & yellow taffeta party dress I got in my trousseau? I have worn it so little but the material is very pretty I think so I have ripped it all up & have a piece of 4 yds out of the skirt. I am going to make a plainer slim fitting dress I think & that is my next job – hope it turns out nicely. I am going to try & do this carefully & well – I am too inclined to be slapdash! Lindy has just got a new snowsuit and wore it for the first time today. It has brown trousers & a pink jacket with a hood attached & the hood is lined with brown orlon “fur”! She looks very cute & thinks it’s lovely! I have no idea when Christmas parcels should go but I have your things all ready so I think I’ll get them off this week if I can & try to be in good time this year. I am sending my Father the Reader’s Digest again & will send a small parcel. By the way you asked about it for Cec, but don’t bother – sometimes Merle sends a subscription but he isn’t too keen anyway. I have heard nothing more from Uncle Fred since he wrote the weekend he spent with A. Moo & the girls – from what he said he expected to be going back about the end of this week, so I expect he found he didn’t have time for a Canadian jaunt, but we were sorry not to see him. I hope the medical check up was o.k. I am enclosing Dottie’s wedding picture & one or two of the children from the summer. Must stop – I’m getting sleepier & sleepier & more & more incoherent! Big hugs to you & A. Moo from Lindy & Charlie & lots of love from us all – Cyn.
Dearest Mummy, Thank you so much for your last letter of 26th Oct.! It came so quickly & in it you answered my last which had reached you quickly, so it was really up-to-date, but I’m afraid I haven’t done so well this time. It was funny because just a day or two earlier I had got one of yours postmarked August 27 on which you had put “Cardinal Heights” and it had been wandering all over – in it you told me all sorts of things, such as A.Trixie leaving, & getting the pictures & book etc. which I had been in a fog about. By the way, you were in rather a fog too- it is Lu’s mother who has had her leg amputated, not Phyl’s – Mrs. Wright is fine & always asks after you when I see her. We are going out to Pete & Lu’s for dinner tomorrow evening. You will have A. Muriel safely home now & I am sure that you won’t have finished talking over all the news yet! I am going to write her a rather late birthday note. I got a letter from U. Fred before he went into hospital & he said when he came out (in four or five days he thought) he would be able to make a plan for the rest of his time & would let us know. I can’t say I’m panting with eagerness to see Mrs. Moll, but if she turns up I guess we can stand it! The thing I’m recall most vividly about her is Jean’s story of Mrs. M’s indecent exposure adventure in the London blackout! Did A. Muriel get a big surprise with the breakfast room? It sounds very nice. We use a roller for the walls – we got it back from Margie & Cy after 3 years! We haven’t done any more painting as the weather has been wonderful & Cec has been gardening furiously. He dug out all that bulb bed & he & Ken got chicken manure from the farm & Cec dug it into the whole garden & then we re-planted the bulbs & split up all the lilies, irises etc. & re-planted them. It was a big job as you can imagine & poor Cec disliked it intensely! Last weekend we began on storm windows so I don’t know when the painting will get done! I have been very busy sewing as Halloween was a Big Excitement this year. Lindy got lots of fun out of it at school of course & they had a little party there yesterday. She wanted to be an Indian lady like Mrs. Narasimham (the wife of our Indian Fellow) as Mrs. N. is a lovely girl & wears beautiful saris of gorgeous colours, so of course this entrances Lindy. I got a remnant of a pretty golden yellow silky stuff & do you remember that old silk blouse of mine, brownish with horses on? I dyed it a pretty poppy red & made a little blouse for her & then we visited Mrs. N. & she showed me how to put on a sari. I fixed Lindy’s hair & put on earrings etc. & she looked very cute – (but not very Indian!) & she was thrilled! Charlie wanted to be a clown & I made him a darling little clown suit with a ruff & a big pointed hat & lipstick on his nose & he looked a honey! I took them & Jimmy (dressed as a lady) & Pat Tomlinson with Joanne & Susan (as witches) on the rounds last night & they came home with baskets of apples & candy! Today Janek had a birthday party & the children went in Halloween costume & had a lovely time. I was so thrilled – Charlie actually went without me & was as good as gold & joined in all the games! The first time! Cec is going to take their pictures on Sat. if it is fine in their costumes.
We just got a card from Joan & Ray & they have a son – Christopher. Otherwise no news from anyone. Must stop my fingers can’t write so small any longer anyway! xxx from the children. Nicki is at the vet’s – we get her tomorrow & she’ll no longer be “she” poor little thing! Lots of love Cyn Written upside down on the outside: Hope you’re well again.
The weather must have been bad on the weekend because no pictures of those costumes exist, although the little silk blouse and the clown costume lived on in the dress-up box for years. It has always bothered me that Cyn took such care with birthday cakes and Hallowe’en costumes but so few pictures made it into the scrapbooks- women’s work so ephemeral, and seldom recorded for posterity!
Dearest Mummy, I have just been writing to Auntie Muriel with an enclosure to Uncle Fred. I got a note from Auntie Muriel today asking for our phone number & I had intended writing to Uncle Fred and telling him how pleased we be to see him, so I did just that and gave him our phone number too. I have a feeling he will get so involved with his business friends that he won’t have time, but it would be fun if he did.
Thank you so much for your letter of Oct. 1st. You had just had A. Moo’s letter written here, but not mine yet, but by now you must have it. I don’t think that I have written since then and you will be having fits at me, but really – what a busy time! I don’t know how it is, but I don’t really seem to recover from one bit of excitement when the next bit pops up! However, before I begin telling you my saga, I must thank you for the book you sent “Antonia” which arrived last week. I read it the last few days and enjoyed it and quite understood why you sent it to me – cordon bleu, wonderful sauces & all! I must say that I thought it was a bit Cinderella-ish, local-girl-made-good etc. though, didn’t you? I must be getting cynical in my old age but all these pure poor maidens with whom handsome lords become enamoured make me feel very “oh yeah?” now! I wonder if you have read “Tender Victory” yet & how you will like it. The film of “The Bader Story” is on this week & Cec & I would so like to see it but I guess we’ll have to wait. Which reminds me, Lu phoned this morning & told me that she had just heard her mother has had to have a leg amputated. She has had the same circulatory trouble that the late King had and apparently one leg went gangrenous. Lu is very worried of course and wonders how she will get on with an artificial leg as she must be over 65 & is a big woman. Well when I last wrote after A. Moo and the girls were here I must have told you that Charlie was sick. He was in bed a couple of days with a temperature & then was up a couple of days & then developed the runniest, drippiest cold, poor little fellow. On the Fri. we had Santiago to dinner & Charlie didn’t even feel like playing with his bestest friend! With Santiago we had a Dr. & Mrs. Swalen – Jerry and Mary. He is Cec’s new post-doctorate Fellow from Harvard & knew Santiago there, & he & his wife drove up & apartment hunted a couple of days, then went back to Boston & packed up before coming to officially begin on 1st Oct. They seem an awfully nice young couple- both tall with round young ingenious faces! Mary is a teacher of small children – 6 and 7 yr. olds – & hopes to get a job up here & Cec thinks Jerry is going to be good and that they will get on fine. Cec has just had a big new tube (valve) which he invented at an exhibition in Toronto. A technician went down with it & other exhibits & was such a numbskull that he pulled out the cord & then got it back wrong & couldn’t get the thing to work, so Cec got an SOS on the Sunday before the exhibition opened & Brian, his technician, had to fly down to Toronto to fix it up! I think Brian thought this was great fun, but you can imagine Cec’s disgust at the other clot! Anyway, Charlie just got his cold going nicely when poor Cec got it and it really made him feel miserable. In fact it was the worst cold Cec had had for a long time & little Charlie had it for 2 weeks or more before he was clear. His eczema has flared up to, so we have got a new prescription to put on & have borrowed a sun ray lamp from Ken & are trying that. Cec was so disgusted over his cold as he had arranged to take the last week in Sept. holiday (before Jerry began) so that we could do some painting but he felt so lousy he said it should have been sick leave! He was in bed most of the weekend, but we began painting the spare room (was the children’s room when you were here) on the Monday. We painted the wall opposite the door rather a nice blue – not a pale blue, more like a larkspur or the darker shade of delphinium- and the other walls what is called sand beige, which is quite a nice neutral colour. The ceiling was cream, so we left it & I have hung those pinky–grey damask type curtains which you & I bought for the dining room in Acacia – remember? – & they go quite well. We then moved the children in there & painted all the other room pale yellow – dark blue ceiling, orange wall & everything! You can imagine it looks 10 times as light now, but it took 4 coats to cover the other- Cec cursed that ceiling! It is a rubber base, washable paint & looks very nice, but wasn’t too easy to put on over the shiny enamel. We then began to do the bathroom (a sickly green) the same yellow, but with having to do so many coats we ran out of paint half away & had to order more. We reached that stage on Thurs. evening & on Friday Cec had to go into the Lab. to see about another paper he’s publishing, & with one thing & another that’s where we still are! We must finish the bathroom & then there is the kitchen to do pale blue. On the Friday evening I went around and had a nice gossip with Fanni & on the Sat. evening we were invited to Margie & Cy’s & had a good chat with them, so we got all caught up with the news! Saturday was a lovely sunny autumn day so we decided to take advantage of it and drive out to a small town Almonte about 12 miles past Carp (actually 40 from here) where there is a woollen mill & Lu had been telling us about the wonderful bargains you could get. We called on Lea & family & had a mid-morning cup of coffee & everyone there was well, except Daryl who was in bed with a cold. The baby, Patty Lu is getting a big girl now & is full of smiles. Lea has just got a new sewing machine – the very latest Singer model of course with every new gadget under the sun! Hundreds of fancy stitches etc. etc. & at least $300 to add to their debts on the TV set & car! We went to Almonte & had lunch there & went to the Mill Store which was lots of fun. A big room filled with bolts of every kind of woollen cloth & tweed – they had blankets too & a few made things – men’s trousers jackets & coats mostly. We got Cec 2 pairs of slacks (1 grey-blue & 1 brown) & I got 3 lots of material- one remnant of 1 yd. (all the material was 58” wide) $1.95 of a nice soft dark & light blue material with a little orange fleck in to make a skirt; another brown $2.50 with red, yellow, orange flecks in for another skirt; & 2 1/2 yds $4.05 of a fine wool & rayon jersey to make a dress. It is a pretty soft aquamarine colour with a little fine grey thread in & is very nice & thin for a woolen material. So we were very pleased with our purchases & the ride was lovely. The trees were just at their best with most of the vivid colours of scarlet & gold. I got some branches & put them in glycerine & water hoping to keep them, but they all dried up as usual. Sunday School is going on apace & I have so many small children I am having fits! I had 20 & 21 two Sundays, but I am beginning to sort them out & move up the 4 yr. olds etc. & last week I got it down to about 15 & the crying ones had stayed away so I had a nice time! Fortunately I have some help as a teenage girl is coming to give a hand & another lady so we should do all right. Charlie is still leech-like but I hope will improve! After the painting I began washing the floor in the children’s room etc. getting paint marks off & so on & was hanging curtains & we rearranged the furniture so now it is like this & looks very nice.
I washed on Tuesday & ironed on Wednesday, so didn’t get around to the spare room & on Wednesday evening at 10 o’clock the telephone rang & this was Mom & Dad Costain down at the station!! You can imagine! We knew they were coming sometime of course & that they had left Saskatoon, but Mom wrote from Merle’s at Port Arthur that they planned to go to Prince Edward Island & they didn’t want to run into bad weather there so they might go straight on. Apparently they decided against it & wrote to me again from Toronto telling us when they were coming & train etc. but the letter has just never arrived! Cec dashed down to the station of course & I just flew at that room! By the time they arrived I had it swept & dusted, curtains up, beds made, towels out, but still that brick bookcase of ours sitting in the middle of the floor – I couldn’t budge it! However, Cec heaved it into place in a minute & all was ready!
They stayed with us till Sunday morning when Cec drove them to Carp in time for church – Cec didn’t attend & apparently neither did Lea! They are coming back here on Friday & will stay till Monday evening when they set out for P.E.I. I was quite glad of this little break in the middle of their visit as being taken unaware I seemed to be running to catch up with myself all the time, you know. We didn’t do much – Lea & family came through on Thurs. evening & Fri. Cec took them into the Council & around the Parliament Buildings etc. & on Sat. Cec & his Dad went to the Football Game. On Friday the Atchisons will drive Mom & Dad in & I’ll have them all to a Buffet Dinner – cold turkey as last Mon. was Thanksgiving Day. Doesn’t it seem an age since last year when you were with us? We had Leila & Santiago again & had a nice quiet day.
Before I finish I must tell you one or two of Charlie’s funny sayings – he is growing up but still talks in his own funny little way & says some amusing things. One day when the leaves were just beginning to turn he pointed to a lovely yellow tree & said “Look Mummy, that tree is getting ripe!” & he tells me that Pussy is “slapping her lips”! He is very observant about pretty clouds & sunsets & stars & so on which I think is nice, but one day he was talking about some pretty little white fluffy clouds & he said it would be nice to be up in the sky playing with them. Lindy then said that she knew the clouds had rain in them, so Charlie said he would just go “squish” & the rain would come spurting out & then he would go “pouff” & the cloud would go popping up & bang God on the nose! I couldn’t help laughing! I have just had the two of them here in bed with me – Lindy had a bad dream & came in for a minute & then Charlie woke & had to come too! We were all at Andy Douglas’s birthday party this afternoon – they moved into their new house last Wed. so this was our first official visit although I popped over with a cake the day they moved. The house is very nice, but of course they are still quite “camping” as it were & things are still not all done. I must stop now as it is nearly midnight. The children both send big hugs & kisses. Linda just loves school & brings home pictures she’s painted & sings little songs & tells me stories she’s heard- she really seems to get an immense satisfaction out of it all & I think she is more peppy & stimulated now. I only hope she isn’t catching another cold as she was a bit sniffly just now. Must stop – just sent Mrs. Allan a “Get Well” card & have a birthday card for Miss Lefroy, so must get it off too. Lots of love & hugs from Cyn.
Cyn’s New York cousins, known as ‘the Simmons girls’ though their married names were all different and they were a bit older than Cyn, had Auntie Muriel visiting them that summer, when their mother had another stroke and died. A month later, Millie and Mona drove their aunt to Canada to visit relatives- Cyn in Ottawa especially, since she hadn’t seen them since her exchange year in Toledo teaching, and had since acquired a husband and children!
20th Sept 1956
Dearest Mummy, What do you think I have just been doing? Sewing on Cash’s name tapes! Memories of York College! I ordered them for Linda ages ago but had to go to town & pick them up & what with one or other sick & not having the car, I didn’t get them till today. In the meanwhile I’d had to sew tapes on & write the names on that, so I’ve had a double job! Well, Auntie Moo & Millie & Monie have been & gone! You will know about their visit I know as A. Moo was writing while they were here, & I told you in my last that I was expecting them. It was funny as A. Moo said in her letter that they would probably arrive on Sat. but she thought that they should phone before they arrived. So on Sat. a.m. we were all up bright & early & I dashed to Steinbergs & shopped & we kept waiting for a phone call. Nothing happened, so I got lunch ready & Cec finished first & suddenly looked out of the window he said “Is this them?”! I could hardly believe they’d got here without instructions but they did & so of course they came in for lunch & we talked & then Cec took them down to a Motel by Steinbergs which was A.A.A. recommended & they got settled there & liked it v. much. A. Moo brought Lindy some sweet jigsaws which she loves & Charlie a little horse & cart & me 2 prs panties & the girls gave me dusting powder. Wasn’t that nice? They came back for dinner & we talked again- & they all seem just the same as when I saw them last! A. Moo is very sweet & the girls are so nice- we all enjoyed having them very much & both Lindy & Charlie took quite a shine to them all although I don’t think they ever sorted out who was which – all M’s! We were sorry they couldn’t stay longer.
Sunday was the first day of Sunday school so the children & I set out for 10 o’clock & I registered 12 small boys & girls of 2 & 3! And more to come! I have told Capt. Clark I definitely need an assistant! When we got home Cec & I discussed plans & when Mill phoned we suggested going to Rockcliffe Park as the sun was shining & it was quite a nice Fall day. We had hot dogs & ice cream cones from the little stall (the girls would pay) & fed a little tame black squirrel! Then Cec & the children stayed there to play & I took the others to sightsee. We went to the Parliament Buildings & ran into lots of Mounties in scarlet & a RCAF parade with bands & saluting base etc. for Battle of Britain Sunday. Very exciting but we didn’t get into the P. Buildings! It had turned grey & cool so we just drove out to the Champlain Island & round the Driveways & then home for tea. Afterwards Cec took them down to see Ken’s garden & I got dinner ready. Poor old Charlie began to droop but ate some dinner & then retired to bed with a temp. – sure enough, Lindy’s complaint & was in bed Mon. & Tues. & today has developed a cold – she did too a bit over the weekend but is fine & peppy now. I couldn’t leave Charlie so she & Joanne have been walking to & from school by themselves & I have just seen them across the highway & they are very pleased with themselves! Lindy really seems to love school & Cec & I were saying it seems to stimulate her – she is full of fun & high spirits! Poor little Charlie has wanted petting this week with not being well, but I hope he’ll feel a bit better tomorrow – you know him & a runny nose! I hope by now that you have got lots of my letters & thank you for your A.M. of the 10th. I wrote a long letter to Nan last night & answered all the questions – I am so excited about our sweaters – thank you! Tell Uncle Fred Cec & I would love to see him & that he really should see Canada’s Capital as well as us!! xxx from Lindy & Charlie- Lots of love from us all, Cyn.