November 24 1969

I am posting this on the day of the Coronation of King Charles III, and so am moving from the memories of an event in my own life that this letter raises, to memories from this blog in earlier days, when I posted my grandmother’s Memoir and then letters to my grandmother from Cyn, about the royal occasions she witnessed which were important to her. If anyone is interested, search the blog for Royal Wedding- where Cyn experienced the crowds of London herself- or Coronation- where Cyn, 5 1/2 years later, is married, mother of two, and living in Canada. These are the documents:

Carol’s School Memoir (just scroll down to the Coronation postcard, 1911)
November 23 1947: The Royal Wedding;
Coronation Day 1953;
June 10, 1953.

I will be watching on television myself, although not at 5:30 am, partly because I love choral music and partly because I enjoy the pageantry but mostly because my mother and grandmother would have loved it.

Now, back to 1969, with the aftermath of our great graduation weekend.

49 Cedar Road

Monday – 24th?

Darling Lindy,
I hope that you had a good trip back, and that you and Bruce snoozed happily. Also that you got a nice welcome back and weren’t kept out of bed till all hours. You must have been really tired – I know that Daddy and I had an afternoon nap after you left and Charlie was in bed in fairly good time.
Now, before I forget:

  1. I found your little red umbrella in your closet under your dressing gown.
  2. You left your short brown kilt here – am I to do anything about it?
  3. You left your big score of the MIKADO here – do you need it?
  4. You mentioned taking your skates – now or after Christmas?
    I think that there is something like Parcels Express on the bus, so I could send the things by that I expect as they are too heavy to mail but let me know anyway. Perhaps if you are working hard and it isn’t too long till you come home you will just leave them till later.
    Daddy has gone to work this morning and it seems strange to be more or less back in the old routine after 3 weeks occupied with Daddy and hospital, etc. He seems to be fine, but he’s coming home early today to see the astronauts splash down, and will take it easy this week. [Apollo 12’s return to earth.] I have been doing the melancholy job of stripping beds, etc. and tidying up, which is always very dull after the fun of getting things ready for your visits, but I must fly around with Christmas parcels for England and Christmas cards and Christmas cakes and making things for the Coffee Party next Sat. week so the time will go quickly. Have you any particular yearning for a special thing for Christmas? If so, let me know and I’ll see if we can afford it!
    I just phoned the Arts Centre and asked about ‘Casse Noisette’. It is only going to be here 19th and 20th Dec. and the bookings open next week so I thought it would be nice for Charlie’s birthday on Friday 19th and will dash down and book the moment that I hear. It would be fun to go out to dinner and make a real celebration of it – I might even break down and get more expensive seats!
    I have been talking to Marjorie on the phone and we are having a Nursery School Committee meeting on Wed. morning, so I have to do some work on my accounts before that. I was offering to help Marjorie at her open house on 13th December (for her Silver Wedding but people aren’t supposed to know) as Jocelyn will just be just about producing then. I also said that if you weren’t booked, I thought you would like to help Jeanie with the passing around etc. One of Marjorie’s friends is going to be in the kitchen heating things, etc. and I will be there and I thought it might be fun. If you don’t think so, we can always make an excuse, but it will be mostly people you know from the Church I expect.

Well, honey – one of my questions was answered! I hope that you get the Mikado book soon – I mailed it yesterday afternoon, so it should reach you by Thursday at the latest. I spent all day yesterday doing N. S. accounts, and we had an N. S. meeting at Marjorie’s this morning. Fees and salaries up next year!
Thank you for your letter, and I am glad that you had such a welcome and enjoyed the bus trip more than usual. I am sure that you are bogged down with your essays, so I expect this will be a very nose-to-the-grindstone week. We aren’t doing anything very exciting, except that Margaret Savic has just phoned and said that they were taking a friend to the opera ‘Mignon’ tonight and she is ill and would Daddy or I like to come. Daddy isn’t interested so I am going with loud cheers – seems like a long time since I went out. It is at the Arts Centre – Theatre? I think.
Charlie told me yesterday that the Gloucester team had won the Debating at Merivale. Apparently Kiloran got best speaker, and Penny was just a point behind and they won the senior, and Penny Scoley and someone else were 2nd in the Junior, I think. Anyway, Mrs. Pierce said that K. and P. had decided to be funny and had kind of spoofed it – I don’t know what the topic was but the example she gave me was ‘A Rock Festival’ which they translated as being the Stoning of the Martyrs. Apparently they had the audience in gales of laughter, and afterwards all the other kids were saying ‘Did you practice a lot? Did your coach help you much?’ etc. etc. and in the usual Gloucester fashion they had never seen their coach and had been frantically writing their speeches the night before!
Charlie has been on the late bus the last 2 nights with Basketball games but he will be home soon, so I had better go and finish the dinner. Whoops – just caught the cabbage burning! Lots of love from the family and purrs from pussy.

Note included with the Mikado book:
Monday a.m.
Darling – Just got the mail – here is your book – hope it doesn’t take as long to reach you as Charlie’s from you did. Went to coffee at Fanni’s to say goodbye to Claire- she gave me a little green clutch purse – don’t know if it matches your greens [Trent’s colour, gowns and all.] –
Love Mummy

I had been on the Debating Team. Although I had never won a whole tournament, I could certainly relate to the Gloucester methodology (which I carried on with my essays at Trent) of last minute preparation and had always assumed that the coach existed solely to drive the team of 4 to the event.
As for the score of The Mikado, I must have brought it home to pick out a tricky bit on the piano, and now needed it for rehearsal!

November 18 1969

This is the second letter posted under this date- the first was Cyn writing to her mother, and this one is to her daughter Linda. I am finally catching up with the letters already posted and trying to integrate the cache recently discovered with the letters carefully preserved by my grandmother. By the end of 1969 I hope they will all be published in chronological order once again. (Although there are so many new ones with imperfect dates…)

In this letter, all the events of November 1969 in the Costain household are being reviewed in a hasty manner. In Ottawa, Cec is home on sick leave from work, after a 2 week stay in hospital and a thyroid operation. Cyn is looking after him, dealing with the Nursery School accounts and focusing hard on Linda’s Graduation outfits which she is making, and accessories, which she is buying. Charlie is getting on with his Grade 13 subjects- top in Math, having trouble with an English essay- while he and his friends get ready for their Grade 12 Graduation which will be celebrated at the same time as Linda’s Grade 13. (I’m sure Cyn would be ordering his date’s corsage along with the one my cousin Bruce was asking her to get for me.) Meanwhile Linda is away at university writing her own essays, but not yet getting feedback by having them returned. (Both she and Charlie will do just fine.) The big exciting Graduation Weekend is coming up and Linda (and Bruce) will be jumping on the bus on Friday in time to get to Ottawa for the ceremony.

49 Cedar Rd.
Tues. 18th Nov.

Dearest Lindy,
What a horrid rainy morning. Charlie has just gone for the bus, Daddy is sleeping, and Saki is sitting on the radiator with her feet up on the window sill. I hope that if it’s the same in Peterborough that you can borrow an umbrella.
I am going to sew today & finish your long dress. The other one is done & I will make you a headband. Are you getting excited? Audrey Haynes phoned me last night about Nursery School money, and Janet chipped in to ask me to tell you that she & Carol Anne Dologh are having a “get-together” at the Dologh’s after the Graduation on Friday & you & Bruce are invited. She says it isn’t a party really, but it sounds fun. I asked Charlie if any of his class had come up with parties, etc. after Commencement, etc. & he said “Oh yes – Pat Kemp is having a breakfast party at 6 a.m. after the dance on Saturday night!” He said he & Bob Hirsch were trying to figure out what to do between say 1:30 a.m. and 6 a.m.!
As I told you on the phone Brucie didn’t tell me any definite plans when he called. You had better not tell him you know about his asking me to get the corsage as it is probably supposed to be a secret! I will call Mrs. Sylvester at the Maplegrove Greenhouses this morning & see how soon they have to be ordered. Oh, I nearly forgot- I had a letter yesterday from your Grannie (E) enclosing some money to get you a really nice pair of pantyhose for your Grad- wasn’t that sweet of her? I thought I would ask around town about the toeless ones & if I can’t get any I would just get you ordinary ones. I looked at gold earrings & got one pair, but they were too red a gold when I got them home, so I will have another look.
Daddy seems to be getting on pretty well. He is sleeping & eating well since he came home, but I think he had a kind of letdown. Perhaps he felt when he got home he would be OK but of course, he’s not & his nerves are jittery, &, he’s restless, but I thought that yesterday he was more relaxed, so perhaps it is improving. The scar on his neck is healing, & I got him a beautiful silk cravat to wear, so he should look very distinguished. He goes to see the surgeon on Thursday.
How is the English essay going? I hope that you were satisfied with Sparta when you got it finished & that you get this one done in time to give it to the typing lady. Charlie is struggling with his “Elizabethan audiences” & complicated matters by leaving his English notebook (plus essay outline) in the Rideau Street Library! However, he continues to top Grade 13 in Math so we can excuse his groans over English! Did you by any chance see Wayne & Shuster on Sunday evening? [Canadian comedians on TV. Their skit ‘Rinse the Blood off my Toga’ (Julius Caesar was on the Ontario Grade 10 curriculum so everyone was familiar with it) was a family favourite.] We thought they were very funny. Did you get back your 1st essay yet? Have to get Daddy’s breakfast so I must go. See you SOON.
Lots of love

November 10 1969

49 Cedar Rd.
Ottawa 9.
Monday 10th

Darling Lindy,
Just a short note to send your cheque and to say thank you for your sweet little note on the sewing machine. I am glad you had a nice time honey & it was lovely having you at home. I’m sorry I was cross sometimes but I was worried about Daddy & tired with dashing about.
It seemed awfully quiet when both of you had left last night & there was just Charlie & me, & pusskins left. I went to bed & read Little L. Fauntleroy!
This morning I talked on the telephone to Phyl, Fanni, Ruth L. a Nursery Sch. woman, Johnson Motors, Betty D. Mrs. Davis & Mary Catto, so I didn’t get much work done! Some phoned me about Daddy & some I called about Marjorie & Dick’s Silver Wedding.
I also measured at & pinned your blue skirt & will have it ready for you. I am going to go down town now on the way to see Daddy. I want new white frilly for my red dress as the other has lost its oomph & I will go into Astor Chapeau & look for the purse while I’m there.
Did you have a good trip back & eat all the goodies? I wonder what the hot cookies did to the fudge. I hope they were all edible anyway.
Must run – will phone tomorrow night, so I’ll be talking to you before you get this probably.
Lots of love

P.S. Had a letter from Grannie (E.) this morning & she had got your letter forwarded from New York.

September 15 1969

I have the nicest brother.

Brief review to put this letter in context: Linda has just been deposited at university and is feeling homesick although enjoying herself too; Charlie has just started Grade 13 and is involved with coaching a young kid’s football team; Cec (Dad) is away at conferences in Australia and Japan; and Cyn (Mom) has been getting the church’s Nursery School off to a new year, and fixing up the house, which involved Charlie in painting outdoor nursery school furniture and indoor walls and ceilings in his spare time.

15 Sept., 1969
49 Cedar Rd,
Ottawa 9, Ont.

Dear Lindy,
I have just finished reading your letter. First of all, I will dismiss the subject of the football game against Jim in one line.
Next – things around here have been pretty quiet with the exception of Saturday. That is one of the worst days that I can remember.
We had a football practice in the morning, which was exasperating. I had planned to listen to the football game on the radio (Toronto at Ottawa) while painting Mom & Dad’s room. However, I couldn’t find brushes, the roller, or the pan for the roller. Mummy & I chased around the parish for them, but couldn’t find them – we finally borrowed a roller & pan from the Greenwells.
The game was a close one, and gave me several heart attacks while painting the room. There were only a couple of minutes left in the game & Ottawa was winning by 6 points; I was rolling the ceiling – then suddenly I stopped rolling the ceiling, because I had just knocked the pan for the roller full of paint off the top of the headboard and upside down onto the floor. I screeched and Mummy came running, and she began to clean it up. She had her back to me. Then Toronto threw a long pass, got a touchdown (6 points) and it was a tie game. Then they try for the convert (1 point) which would put them in the lead. The convert was good, and I put my fist through the bedroom wall. I was extremely displeased. Mummy didn’t see the hole – she thought I had just hit the wall. I said “I’m going down to the Church to get the polyfilla.” (I had been using it on the slide.) Mummy didn’t know why I wanted polyfilla, but I stormed off to the Church, and she kept mopping up the paint. When I left, there was still 90 sec. left in the football game.
By the time I got back from the church (with polyfilla) Mummy had finished clearing up the paint, seen the hole in the wall, recovered, and told me when I walked in that Ottawa had won the football game (they kicked a field goal [3 points] in the last second of the game). This time I restrained myself because, even if I hadn’t heard it, Ottawa did win.
Murray came over that night, and by the time I went to bed I was 1/2 way to feeling human again. The hole is now patched & waiting to be painted.
Laura & the Greenwells have asked me if “Linda has settled in” about 5 times already, and Maureen about 2 times. I haven’t seen any of your other friends except Joey & I didn’t say anything to her as I was in a hurry.

I hope your day hasn’t been as bad as mine has – hope your profs are O.K. I have to do my homework now, I’ll be hearing from you.

P.S. Roller & pan turned up – we had roller & think the Grahams had the pan.


Yet another binder!

I started this blog as a means to transfer family archives to a more permanent format and share them with family and anyone else in the world interested in the past, living through what is now history, family relationships, and tiny details such as the price of a beef heart in the butcher’s shop in the 1950s. (Spoiler alert: 25¢) At the time, I had organized my grandmother’s horde of letters written to her by her daughter Cynthia into binders chronologically by date, from her childhood up through my childhood. I also had my grandmother’s photographs, roughly organized into albums in some cases, or into manila envelopes by my mother after my grandmother’s death. Another resource was my mother’s scrapbooks, kept from the time of her marriage, which have provided a visual element to many of my posts, and gave context and helped with the chronology of events when there were gaps in time from missing letters. With the help of my cousin Raey, I started this blog with a bit of family history told through my mother’s stories, and then transcribed the letters, learning how to dictate (which is maddening and requires constant correcting but is preferable than typing every letter out laboriously), add photos, and post the result- and getting great pleasure from it. Most of the letters are Cyn’s to her mother Carol, with a few from friends and family that were also preserved added in for interest. And that worked well until I reached 1969 when I left home for university.

This fall, 2022, I was happily transcribing letters from the fall of 1969 about Linda moving to Peterborough, Ontario- strolling down memory lane discovering things I had forgotten, and remembering wonderful friends I sadly lost touch with long ago- when I went rummaging for memorabilia to add to the pictures from the scrapbook, and discovered More Boxes! It turns out that I inherited some of my grandmother’s packrat tendencies to go with my forgetfulness. That first term at Trent was preserved in letters sent to me from friends, my grandmother, my father, my brother, and almost daily, my mother. I had committed the academic sin of publishing before I had organized my primary sources. And because I have been doing this in order by date, I must stop now- having published up to mid-November 1969- and go back to August of that year for 20 or more posts, to include the material I have just found. (Maybe WordPress would have a better way of doing this, but I am reluctant to delete already-published posts for the sake of chronology.) Then, for 1970 on, I have to integrate the rest of the letters from my university years with those already in the final binders, a difficult task since, unlike my grandmother, I did not keep envelopes, and my correspondents got careless dating them, so in some cases the year will have to be worked out by context. I thought I was nearing the end of my material, but I have just added a year more to my task!

So, my apologies to those who have been following this blog- we will now go back a few months to focus even more on the upheaval that occurred when the first child was leaving the nest. Let me assure you that the letters made this very much easier on the child in question!

October 6 1969

In the August of 1969, on the trip west, Linda and Charlie had stayed with their aunt and uncle in Penticton and met their four small cousins, David, Leslie, Robin, and Philip Costain. They wrote Linda letters in case she was homesick!

Monday 6th Oct.

Darling Lindy,
These letters came for you enclosed in one from Leona, so I am sending them away at once as I know you will love them – what about being a “floter” and going to “gim”– aren’t they sweet!
I also got your 2 lovely letters mailed 2nd & 4th – I always seem to get a nice batch on Monday & I enjoy them Hugely! I don’t want to stop to answer them now as I promised Charlie I would mail his today, so I will go & do so now & then come back & wash my hair etc. How wonderful to get a good haircut & only .50¢. I got fed up with mine about 2 weeks ago so dashed into S.C. Beauty Salon & got a trim only & was scalped! It is very short as you will see but I don’t mind – it will grow. I haven’t tried another Beauty Salon but don’t want to go back to Crista.
I am enclosing the recipes the girls asked for & mail to the U.S. is .10¢ but Grannie leaves on 15th October, so try & get it off soon. I am also sending the picture of Alan & Donna & you can put it in your letter to Grannie – she wants it back for Auntie Muriel. I think Alan looks nicer than he really is in it – he’s 25 I think. Grannie says Donna is wearing a “peasant outfit” with flowered skirt & shawl to match & ruffly petticoat. She wears glasses with v. thick lenses but took them off for the pictures – got contact lenses for her wedding but finds smog in L.A. makes her eyes water. Grannie says Donna’s family are madly kiss-ey & she giggled at the thought of your & Charlie’s reaction! The picture is thick so may make your letter heavy, so you may need .20¢ stamp.
Lovely that you can come on Thursday evening – we will all be waiting at the Bus Station with Big Smiles! I am so glad you are you & not Jean Craven! Or anyone else for that matter!
The reason I must wash my hair is that Daddy & I are going to dinner at Phil & Alex’s tonight – Nancy stayed with Fanni’s sister Claire in Switzerland this summer & Claire is now here, hence the dinner party. I began to diet today so it’s sad, but I can begin again tomorrow! Must fly
P.S. We’ll talk about jumpsuit & clothes at weekend – OK?

Dear Lynda and Charlie
I am getting along fine in school. My teachers name Miss Johnson. I can write words like [printed words change to script] dog jig code add doc odd.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas. Is there any snow at your house. Have you had any storms at your house. Is Charlie any bigger this year.
love Robin [This may have been a later letter, given the decorative paper.]

Octber 1/69
1496 Balfour St
Dear Linda
My simming went quite well, but I have to stay another year in beginners.
I have had trouble with my tonsils lately so may have to have them out soon.
School has been going quite well lately.I spend quite a bit of time riding my bike.
I have a friend Named Michele. She is just 3 years old and spends a lot of time here.
I decided to stop going to Brownies because I didn’t like it.
I am going to figure skating this year.
I hope you have sittled in at university by now and are not too homesick.
Charlie must find it quiet at home at home without you.
Love from us all,

Dear Linyda
I passed my swimming lesson Test. I am now in pre-juniors I learned to write [script] ccccccc
My teachers name is Miss Johnson. She is very nice to me. I passed into grade 3 I am in a choir at school. We go to gim everyday on Friday. It is very at school. We have libary everyday on Thursday. My book I got on Thursday Oct. 2 is called PROUD PUMPKIN
Love Robin

Dear Linyda [I think his older brother Robin helped him write this, with the words in capitals done by Philip.]
I passed my swimming lessons test. I am in floters now. I am in grade 1. I can print words like
LOOK up down LUCKY JANET JOHN. Those are some of the words I can spell.
WITH LOVE from Philip

My intentions may have been good, but I’m afraid looming essay deadlines prevented a reply from being sent…

September 22 1969

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa. 9.

22nd Sept 1969

Darling Lindy,
Such a foggy morning, but supposed to be sunny later so I hope it won’t do anything to delay Daddy’s flight from Vancouver. It will seem very queer to be meeting him this afternoon at the airport without you. I am picking up Charlie from school at 3:45 & we are going out to meet the plane.
Daddy phoned from Vancouver last night about 10 (Charlie was out at a hockey game with Alan) and was fine but sleepy. It was about 7 pm in Vancouver on 21st & he had left Tokyo at 6 pm on 21st & had already been 6 hours in Vancouver, so the 21st had gone on an awful long time.
As you can imagine Charlie & I had a busy time getting everything ready. Charlie cut the grass & finished painting our bedroom, so I washed & waxed the floor & we have everything looking elegant. I don’t know if you keep up with the football games now that you are away from your brother, but maybe some of the other students are fans – if so you will have heard all about Ottawa’s big victory over Toronto on Sat. evening. You can imagine the rejoicing in this house!
I am looking forward so much to hearing how your first week of lectures went & how you are getting on. I hope there will be a letter in the mail today and anyway we will be talking to you on the phone tonight which will be nice. I am listening to Max Ferguson & feeling quite luxurious as this is the first weekday morning I haven’t had to dash out to Nursery School. I shall miss the poppets, but it’s lovely to stay home. One thing I meant to tell you is about funny little fat Douglas MacMartin painting a picture. To begin with, he is so little that the paint pots are about at chest level on him, so the wooden handles make a kind of fence which he peers through. He took a big brush full of orange paint & began painting, around & around on one place (head level) – he didn’t take more paint, just scrubbing around & around, so I said “Douglas, wouldn’t you like to try another colour?” & he very carefully put the orange brush back & took up the blue & proceeded to scrubble on top of the orange & then the red on top of the blue! The resultant picture was like this: top out of reach, bottom very thin and wet!

This makes him sound rather unintelligent but he is the whiz kid with the jigsaws & has the same static penguin charm as Robbie!
Laura asked for your address yesterday, but I really didn’t see anyone else to talk to as I didn’t get a helper for S.S. after all & by the time I had cleared away nearly everyone had left.

My pen has passed out – hence this. What do you think? 3 letters came from you in the mail! Isn’t that lovely? I hope mine to you aren’t doing the same. I will answer all the questions when I write tomorrow. Thank you so much darling – we follow your doings with enormous interest & it was fun getting the picture of Cathy & Terry so that we see what some of your friends look like. We’ll get busy with cookies later this week.
Lots of love
P.S. Will remember the bra. Very funny!
P.P.S. Thank you for the Youth Allowance card- have sent it off.


September 18 1969

Just a little note.

Wednesday [Although I believe this was actually written on Thursday the 18th of September, a week since Cyn and Charlie had taken Linda to university.]

Darling Lindy,

Thank you so much for both your nice letters – Charlie and I really enjoyed them. I will write properly when I get back from N.S. this afternoon, but I went down town yesterday afternoon & got your panty-hose changed at Morgan’s so thought I would post them straight away in case you need them. Also went to the Market & bought pickle-y things & made chutney last night – dill pickles today.

Today is horrid & rainy – better take popcorn for the little kiddos.

Lots of love –

P.S. Re: washing – it’s OK to wash white & colours together except for dark things like jeans etc.

P.P.S. How about phoning home on Monday evening to say hello to Daddy? Phone collect after 10 like you did last time & then you can ask him about phoning perhaps once a week or every other week or something.

September 5 1969

These letters on the occasion of the first Costain bird leaving the nest were already complicated by the fact that one parent was travelling and the other parent was handling the departure and all the attendant details. These included almost daily letters not always dated properly! This note from Cyn to her daughter should have been the first posted- it was written the day after Cyn and Charlie drove Linda to her university and installed her, Friday September 5. The errands Cyn plans to run that day are reported on in the subsequent letters. My apologies for the mis-filing that messed up the chronology.

49 Cedar Road
Ottawa 9

Darling Lindy,
Here I am back from Nursery School and writing a note with the extra cheque for $40 which I promised you. See how things go and if you find you have enough to cover the initial expenses, we’ll wait and send the next $40 in October, but if you are running short, let us know.
It was lovely to have your phone call last night and to know all was going well. I hope that you got to sleep all right as you must have been really tired. Charlie and I haven’t been in bed so early for months, but it was quite a long drive back and so we toddled off to bed. We stopped once on the way home & I had tea & a piece of lemon pie while Charlie had a hamburger, and my pie was homemade & delicious so Charlie had apple pie which was just as good. It was only a small place & seem to be run by a family & the lady did the baking. We felt very lucky. We had tea when we got home & I had bacon & eggs & Charlie had bacon & toast. I guess you weren’t able to make a cup of tea last night, but maybe you will find a kettle etc. nearer your room. If you have to get your own kettle, you could either see if you can get one in Peterborough or wait & get one here at Thanksgiving. Which reminds me, I re-addressed the Traill Booklet & mailed it by the 9:15 post this morning so you will get it on Monday when you get this I expect.
The phone keeps ringing – Mrs Martin for me to pick her up at the Hospital this afternoon & a Sunday School mother registering her children over the phone! Nursery School was quite quiet this morning except for Lynn McSherry who has no inhibitions & made the place her own! One very clinging mother who appeared each time we got Mark interested in something, & so brought on new tears & prolonged the agony!
I am going down town to the Bank now & will take back Library Books. Then at 4 I pick up Charlie for a haircut at St Laurent. We’ll have an ice cream cone & think of you. Saki is sleeping soundly on her chair but would send a little nibble for you.
Much love Mummy.

Speaking of libraries, this is Trent Library in pre-computer days.

It is hard to look back and remember how money worked in pre-plastic times. I opened a bank account in Peterborough, but I hadn’t really had a summer job that year after high school, so had no earnings of my own to fall back on. I gather from this note that the initial expenses settling me in that Thursday had been a bit more than expected, and Cyn was making sure that I would have enough cash for anything else that might turn up. (Such as a tea kettle. I expect I ventured down town in Peterborough, cashed the $40 cheque and immediately bought an electric kettle. My grandmother had sent me an early morning tea set all the way from St Vincent and fortunately the teapot, milk, and hot water jug, and a plate had survived the journey, and were carefully included in my moving-to-Trent box of essentials. Because tea is essential.)

A decade later when I was teaching high school, there were scams focusing on getting new college students to take out credit cards and go into debt without realizing it, and teachers were asked to enlighten future victims- but in the year 69/70, no one wasted time targeting students like me!

September 17 1969: Linda’s Letter

The Library.

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa 9, Ont.
17th Sept.

Darling Lindy,
I have just finished writing to Grannie as I haven’t written for weeks and got a letter today asking all about you and when you went to College. I gave her your address and told her about us driving you down and what we did that day, but she would love to hear from you if you have time. Her address at the moment is: – c/o Mrs. W. Jaeger, 22 Curley St.. Long Beach, New York, N.Y. U.S.A. but I don’t know how long she will be there as she doesn’t say when she is leaving. I also had 2 (continuous) letters from Daddy today, written from Japan, and he asks about you and says he will write to you so perhaps you have got a letter too, by now. It will be lovely to see him on Monday and I’m only sorry that you won’t be here too, but you must telephone anyway. Today has been a very newsy day, as I also had a phone call from Maureen asking for your address and saying she had written you a long letter – she sounded as if she had a cold, but we didn’t talk long. Then Mrs. Craven called and asked me to tea next week to meet Jean’s Grandmother, so we had a nice gossip about our Girls and Trent etc. Oh, while I am on the subject of your friends and acquaintances, Mrs Haynes phoned on Monday (about the computer course Charlie was interested in) and I asked how Janet was, but apparently being her first real day, she still didn’t know what was really going on. She had gone to one or two discussion groups last week, but found them not very entertaining, I gathered. I was in the Rideau Library yesterday and Mrs. McNeely was there so I asked her how Tom was getting on and he likes Carleton so far and says there are lots of kids he knows. Who else? Oh, yes – I was telling Fanni about your room to yourself, and she was telling me that Janek had to share a room and the Univ. wrote and asked him if he had any preferences about a room-mate, so Janek, thinking of his French said, oh, he would quite like someone from overseas, so what has he got but an Egyptian!
A break for tea and blueberry pie! I went to the Market yesterday afternoon and bought all sorts of fruit and vegetables. Last night I made Peach Chutney (had a long chat with Mrs. Pierce on the phone and the chutney caught on the bottom, so it is a bit Strong, but otherwise OK) and tomorrow I will make the Famous Dill Pickles. Today I made Charlie a blueberry pie, so I had to taste a piece to see if it was all right.

My window is hidden by the car.

Charlie and I really enjoyed hearing all about all your doings in your letters. I hope that you got the handbook I sent back to you but I don’t know if you would find it much use by the time it arrived. I’m glad that even if you miss breakfast you can make out on apples and toast and tea and don’t starve! I do feel very pleased that the brownies were so much appreciated- did you want me to send you more cookies? I don’t know how fresh they would be by the time you got them but we can always try. Let me know. And by the way, about typing your essays – Charlie came up with the idea, that if you got them done in time you could always send them home and I could do that! Actually, if you wanted them typed somewhere in town you would have to get them done in good time and it would be quite expensive I imagine, so it’s a thought. I wouldn’t mind it if you gave me time to get them done! [As it turned out, the idea of me ever getting an essay done before the due date was laughable and my professors had to make do with my handwriting.]
Can you believe that tomorrow will be one week since you’ve left home? As you say, it seems months already and this week with me at the Nursery School each morning seems to have gone on for ages. Nothing very exciting has happened there – yesterday it rained and we couldn’t take the children out to play which was rather trying, but everything is going quite well and all the children have now begun. The mother who kept coming back to wave to dear little Mark, brought him the next day and then halfway through the morning phoned to see if he was all right and of course he hadn’t turned a hair and this morning he dressed up in all the dress up clothes and roared through the rooms like a tornado! We now have a mother even worse than that though. She belongs to a little girl called Margie and apparently took her to Betty Hyde’s N. S. last year and sat with her every day for 3 months and then took her out. Well, Tues. she came with her and the 2 of them sat together all morning – Margie dragging her mother from paint to dough to jigsaws and mother tagging along. Then came circle time, and when I gave Mother a chair Margie wanted to stay with Mummy, so Mummy sat on the floor in the circle with Margie on her knee, so you can imagine how delighted I was! Today Mother and Margie arrived late with Margie dressed in old corduroy jeans and an old flannelette pyjama top fastened with 1 button! Nothing underneath – Margie hadn’t wanted to get dressed. GRR-r-r! This time Mother had been invited out to coffee so come circle time she told Margie she was going and you should have heard the screams and heard the tantrums! All the kids stood around and watched as she rolled and kicked on the floor and Mary Anne said to me “Why is the little girl doing that?” She didn’t go into circle, but in the end took a cookie and eventually went out to play and was perfectly all right. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow! The Saga of Margie.
I hope that you have got your gown by now – you really seemed to have trouble finding out about it and finding the place open. How does it feel wearing it? I am so glad that everyone is kind and helpful and that you have got to know so many of the girls and are feeling more at home. The picnic sounded fun, even if the dance was a bit of a bore, but after all the first one everyone must have been feeling strange, and they will be more fun as you get to know more people. Saki and I are very sorry that Gary has put you off Puss in Boots Cat Food, because it is the only one she will eat. In fact they have just brought out a new KIDNEY cat food which is deeelicious! I can’t imagine anything less appetizing than a cat food factory – how can he bear to eat anything now? How nice of Cathy to promise to lend you her hairdryer – you’ll have to see what Santa can do about it I guess. From that Traill booklet I gather that record players are quite acceptable, so have you had yours on much? Also don’t forget that pink card to be signed for your 20 dollar Youth Allowance – it would go nicely towards a hairdryer! I am enclosing your Library Card which came today – I thought you might as well keep it in your wallet as it might get mislaid if it just lay around at home.
I had a good little chuckle over the dry sherry and Andrew Aitkins bottle of sauterne. Did Andrew know you or say hello or anything or are you too low and meek for him to notice? I’ll be interested to hear if you see anyone else you know when the other students return.
This afternoon I had a Mrs. Johnson to tea– the person who is taking over my job in Scientist’s Wives, poor dear! She’s very nice and I like her – apparently she worked at NRC for 18 years and has only been married for 4– knows people like Kim and Beulah. I must ask people about her and find out what her romance was like! The first Scientist Wives notice came today and the Sept. meeting is up at Kingsmere and the Oct. meeting is a lunch out at the Seignory Club at Montebello – I’m not very interested in either and it is lovely to think that I needn’t go if I don’t want to.
I must stop now as I have to draft a letter to the N. S. parents from the committee – gently reminding them to pay their fees among other words of wisdom!
Saki sends lots of purrs and bites and scratches! She really misses you because she is demanding lots of attention from Charlie and me and at the weekend she was wandering around looking for something or someone to play with.
Hug from Charlie and lots of love from

I was interested in the tone of this letter – Cyn has written the same news on the same day [Carol’s letter already posted] to her mother and her daughter, but this letter is more intimate somehow, with small details included that add to the sense of home. The comments from the parents of other people going to Trent are amusing- I can’t remember ever interacting with Linda Dowell or Andrew Aitkin who lived in our Ottawa neighbourhood but were a bit older, and although Jean Craven had been in the same classes as I for 13 years, I really never saw her until our 4th year when we rented rooms in the same house. The college system and the different disciplines really separated students so the friends I made at Trent were the ones with whom I lived.