Christmas 1952

There were two events to be celebrated. The first was the birth of the baby, and a son at that, so that now they had one of each. Congratulations-such as ‘Clever girl’ on the telegram from her 5 Newcastle friends; best wishes; plants; and chocolates arrived at the hospital for Cyn.

When she and Charlie came home from hospital, and Cec and Linda returned from their stay at the Ganders, the Costains celebrated Christmas a bit late, and Cyn later sent her mother the usual list of the loot!

Cec, Cyn, & Lindy’s Christmas Presents 1952


Grannie.    You know!

Gunborg.   Blanket holders– they are green plastic ducks & their beaks open on a spring & hold the blanket & then there are ribbons attached to tie it to the top of the crib. (We don’t need these now- she keeps under the covers nicely)

                   Coloured wooden toy shaped like this [see above] There are coloured wooden rings to fit over the post & she loves putting them on and off.

Dan.           “Stripey to the Rescue”-a nice little book but a bit old for her, so I have put it away.

                   Wooden Build – a -Train – this is a dear little train which takes apart & puts together very simply & with big pieces. Linda quite can’t quite manage the building yet, so she can “unbuild” it very successfully! She pushes it along and says “Woo-hoo” like trains here do!

Amy etc.    3 woolie jackets for Charlie- all the same pattern as the ones she sent before – two little blue ones & one bigger white one with a blue edging. A white lamb for Lindy. She is quite fond of it but prefers her old pink bunny & the Teddy Dottie sent her – but on the whole she doesn’t bother with that kind of toy much.

Connie & LeonardA scarf for Lindy – very nice & soft & warm – camel hair coloured.                      Illustrated for us – a year’s subscription I presume & am I embarrassed as we only sent a card!

Mrs. AllanHankies for Lindy- they are done up so cutely to look like a little folded umbrella.

Jessie & NormanPanties for me – very pretty white ones with frills! 

                    Diary for Cec. 

                    Dress, cardigan & toys for Linda! The dress is a sweet little white silk one & fits her nicely now. It is quite plain except for a little embroidery on the skirt & has a little round colour & buttons down the front. The cardigan is just lovely – the prettiest one I’ve seen.

It is white with pale pastel pink, blue & green knitted in every few rows like those jumpers Anne made for me ages ago. It is a bit big which is nice too. The toys are really a little young for her but will come in nicely for Charlie- a rattle like a bird in a cage & a pink plastic phone which is a rattle two & a comb & ring in pink to match.

Miss Lefroy – “Animal ABC” for Lindy & a little book for me.

Irene – Diary for me.

            Tie for Cec– dark red & gold – a bit startling I think but not too bad & Cec is wearing it!               

Bib for Charlie. 

            Blue sandals for Lindy. These are rather sweet little things made of kind of plastic material but unfortunately are too small for her. She got so mad when we couldn’t get them on & tried to take them away – she howled & demanded them back & kept trying to put them on, so we had to make them disappear! Hope she will have forgotten them by the time Charlie gets them!

Nan.      Play Balls– this is a clever toy to0- a stick on a stand & hollow coloured plastic balls which thread on it. This is a bit like Gunborg’s but more difficult so I put it away for a rainy day! Nan said in the letter that my present was coming with a little one for Charlie, but they haven’t arrived yet.

Granny & Grandpa Costain – Socks for Cec- nylon. 

              Gloves for me – very pretty white wool ones with a tiny bit of red embroidery with pearls! Writing paper for me too. 

              Panties for Linda – very sweet little pink ones with embroidery! Did I tell you Granny C. had also sent her a pair of white overalls to match her white corduroy coat & a sweet little lace trimmed bonnet? Two little bonnets really-  a tiny one for the baby.

Margie, Cy etc.Cigarettes for Cec. 

             Chocolates for me (in hospital)

             Blocks for Linda – these are hollow square ones with pictures on, that fit inside each other.   

Rattle for Charlie.

Mrs. BurroughPlant for me (in hospital)-pretty African violet.

DottieMagazines for me- Vogue- Ladies Home Journal etc. 

              “One Upmanship” for Cec- a funny book 

               “Peter Rabbit” Hankie, Toothbrush Apron for Linda. Lindy just loves “Peter Rabbit”- she calls him “Petey” & he & “Baa-Baa” are her two favourites & I’m afraid are getting a little worn looking!! The apron is a little big, but sweet.

After 68 years, it is a little worn!

 Auntie Muriel–  Calendar for us all.

Bar–     Brooch for me- pretty & small

            Golliwog for Lindy- just tiny (about 4”) and made of pipe cleaners- has a red & yellow coat.

Til & LoisPetticoat for Linda – so sweet & grown-up – white silk with lace edge & shoulder straps!!    

Tile & ashtray for us a greeny-yellow pottery. Cec & I think they are rather horrid, but apparently C’Zelma does them & sells them.

Lu, Pete,etc. Panties for Lindy – just like Granny C’s but white! 

                     Notepaper for me. 

                     Crackles for Charlie.

Phyl DouglasNotes for me (in hospital)

A Trix–       White baby jacket for Charlie – very nice – a bit big & in fact Linda has been wearing it although the sleeves are short!

Lea, Wendy etc.- “Mother Goose”– a nice little nursery rhyme book with pretty pictures.

Mary & Bill StuartDress & panties for Linda. These are really lovely- handmade by Mary of pale blue, white-dotted Dayella with white smocking – just right in size- maybe a little big.

Daddy & Lindy to Mummy.

                 Sweater – long sleeved, buttoned down the front- dark red with tiny white pearl buttons & very nice. 

                 Nylons– goody-goody! 

                 Slippers– I got these early to go into hospital. They are black quilted satin & are both elegant & lovely & comfy. 

                Cutting out scissors– a lovely pair from Singer’s.

                Pulley Cec made for me in the basement. Did I tell you about it? He made it & fixed it up all as a surprise for me while I was in the hospital – wasn’t it perfectly sweet of him?

Mummy & Linda to Daddy

                Cigarettes box of 50 

                “Murder Must Advertise” 

                 Wool scarf (grey)               These were surprises!

                 2 Shirts- u.shorts & 3 prs socks he had to have & we got together!

Daddy &  Mummy to Lindy – 

                Cleaning Set – Cec got this while I was in H. It is just cute- a little mop, carpet sweeper, broom, dustpan, hand mop & duster – also a tiny apron – so that she can help me clean! She loves them & carpet sweeps with great energy!

                 Rubber car with Donald Duck in.   

                 Blocks made of wood with alphabet & pictures on. 

                 Doggie playing a little xylophone which pulls along on a string and goes “plink-plonk”! She gets a lot of fun out of this & is just beginning to get the idea of pulling – she much preferred to push things at first but will do both now. 

                 Dolly – a cloth doll with a rubber head about 1 1/2 feet long – it is a boy doll in blue pyjamas & she has him in bed with her. Before Christmas she seemed crazy for “babies” but now she seems to like her wooden toys more. [I always thought, after I started reading Dr. Spock at the age of 8 or so, that this doll, Tommy, was psychological genius on my parents’ part. Tommy was about the size of my brother, so not only did I now have cleaning tools to help my mother, I also had a baby to dress and cuddle and put to bed.]

                 Musical book – this is a musical box in the form of a book with the story & pictures in the front. We chose “Mary had a little lamb” & think it is lovely- Lindy is a bit doubtful! she can’t quite turn the handle yet.

Lee, Jim, & BarryWooden toy to pull – it has a little bell & tinkles as she pulls it.

I think that is all! Aren’t we all lucky? Particularly our little daughter! Poor little Charlie didn’t get anything from Mummy and Daddy you’ll notice, but we’ll make up for it later!

December 9 1952

14 pages- the last long one for a while!

31 Acacia Avenue. Ottawa. Ont. 

Tues. 9th Dec. 

Dearest Mummy,

Your parcels arrived yesterday- no duty to pay – all safe & sound & causing much excitement! I put away the one addressed to me, but of course as soon as Cec came home, we had to investigate the other one & make sure that it was all right & that the contents hadn’t gone bad or anything! Actually we waited until later in the evening to have a “taster”, & I had some lime juice & we mixed up a drink & ask Dan down to share it & we all thought it was wonderful & slept like tops! Cec is just delighted at the 2 great big bottles & we are so tickled at getting it all “for nothing”, as it were- thank you very, very much, Mummy – you can just imagine what fun we will have with it. Auntie Muriel’s calendar came too, but I didn’t open it – I have quite an assortment of parcels put away already & have decided to wait to open them – it is so much more fun than just opening them as they come & even if it is a little before or after Christmas, I’d rather sit around the Christmas tree & do it in style!

You will be glad to hear that we are all organized for the event- at last! Actually, we have been waiting to make final arrangements with Lee & Jim, as they had asked Linda & Cec earlier you remember, but we hadn’t seen them for a while & didn’t know if their plans had maybe changed. Lu & Pete also said they would be very pleased to have them, but Lindy is so happy with Lee & Barry that I thought it would be best if she went there, but actually if Jim’s mother comes from Toronto for Christmas (which is doubtful) Cec can go and sleep at Lu & Pete’s as it is just across the way- 100 yds or so. When I go into hospital, Cec will take Lindy over there & her cot & as it is very near the hospital it will be very convenient- much more so than here. We have broken the news to Dan that he is to be abandoned, but I will leave food in the fridge & he is agreeable to looking after himself. Cec will come in every day & fix the furnace etc. When we all come back home after the event, we had thought of having a “housekeeper” – they are women you can get through the Nursing Registry, who will come every day & look after the house, cooking, “light housework” etc. while you look after the baby. I had even phoned & made arrangements about it, then Cec & I began talking & considering that he still has a lot of leave to take- also that he will get from Wed. till Mon. on both Christmas & New Year & what a lot of other help we could get for much less than the $4.50 a day we’d have to pay this woman – & we’d only be able to have her for a week or so. So we are not having her after all. Cec is going to take time off work; we are having diaper service- $2.00 a week- beginning for Lindy when she is at Lee’s; I’ll send Cec’s shirts to the laundry; & last but not least, I think Phyl Douglas is going to let me have her cleaning woman for a day every 2 weeks ($5.00 the day). Phyl & I just talked about the latter yesterday – I hadn’t intended to have anyone regularly, but thought it would be nice to have someone for an odd day before I went to hospital & once or twice when I came back & asked Phyl if she knew of anyone, & Phyl said well she was just deciding she couldn’t afford her woman every week & how about sharing – so of course I said it would be wonderful for a while anyway, although I hadn’t intended to have anyone permanently, but Cec says we can see how we manage anyway & at least have her for a month or so. Phyl is to talk to her & let me know, so hasn’t that all arranged itself nicely for me? I feel very happy about the whole thing because I think Lindy will be more contented at Lee’s than anywhere & Cec will be there too if it is over Christmas, & when we get home I think having Cec here & no stranger in the house will be much more fun & will help Lindy to get used to the baby more quickly too. Did I tell you that she pats my tummy & says “Algee- Algee”!! One morning I went into her just in my nightie & she was patting the bulge & I said “That’s Algy” & she immediately repeated “Algee” & has remembered it ever since!

It seems ages since I told you of our activities & giddy social whirl!! It has now ceased, as I decided about a week ago that going out etc. really wasn’t worth it now, as I was uncomfy nearly all the time & felt tired out next day, so we have refused invitations from the Ramseys, June & George & Margie & Cy, & I am just sitting at home & enjoying it- with lots to do, too! What with appointments with Dr. Smith every other week (I go again tomorrow) & Dr. Flora about every week, we have been kept pretty busy anyway, but thank goodness I am through with Dr. F. for a while – I now have my falsies!! Since my bad “do” I have been to him 3 times- once to get the impression taken & I was sick all over him! He’ll be glad to get rid of me too! Actually that is a great exaggeration – I was sick into the little dish, not all over him, but you know when they are taking the impression all that gloggy stuff oozes into your mouth & down your throat & he keeps sticking his fingers down & pulling it out – well – I just neatly sicked up my lunch! However, the impression was o.k. & I felt fine (!) & the next ap’tment was just a minute while he stuck the bar affair in to see if it fit it. On Sat. Dr. F. said for Cec to bring me- taking no chances! – & he just whoopsed out the 2 front teeth & stuck the others in. The extractions were both easy- the abscess came right out on the root of one- & the other teeth just sort of clipped in. There is no palate part- only a thin metal bar across the roof of my mouth & the teeth have two little metal clips at the side to hold them in place. Of course it felt wierd to begin with – particularly all stiff lipped with injections – but it was really amazing how they fit in perfectly at once & I have worn them all the time since with no real discomfort. I know it will take a while to get used to the sensation of always having something in my mouth, but already I don’t find eating too difficult, although I have to concentrate on it! They look pretty good I think too, & Cec says he wouldn’t know the difference. I mustn’t forget- Dr. Flora asked to be remembered to you & also Mrs. Richer when I went over to get a letter the other day!

Now back to our social activities! About a month ago I think we had Pete & Lu over & I don’t believe I told you about it. We had asked them when they 1st arrived in Ottawa but at the beginning they were busy, then we were tied up with the party & so it got postponed. Well, we finally arranged this weekend & as they live so far away & have no car & didn’t have a babysitter for Leslie either, we said for them to come & spend the night. Cec brought them over about 4.0 or soon after & then when Lindy was in bed we had dinner – I had got a lovely big roasting chicken- a capon- about 7 lbs.- & stuffed it etc. & we had roast potatoes & green beans & carrots & cranberry sauce & gravy & then coconut cream pie to fall out. Everyone was ravenous, because of course my entertaining & conversations made dinner later & later & so everyone really enjoyed it & tucked in – only enough left for Cec & I to scratch one other meal, but we had nice soup! Cec & Pete washed up & then Margie & Cy came over about 8:30- 9 & we had drinks & a grand time. It was the first time the 5 of them had all been together since the old days in Saskatoon, so they all thoroughly enjoyed it & so did I – it was a really successful evening. Next morning we all got up anyhow & put the children to rest about 12, & then they left about 3 or so after we all had a coffee & sandwich lunch – very informal! It was very nice though & they were grand visitors – the kind who do all the washing up & keep telling the hostess to go & sit down! Just after they’d gone, there was a ring at the bell & this was Mr. & Mrs. Burrough – but not to come in – just to give me a little parcel! Which turned out to be a dear little blue jacket she had knitted for Algy! They really are overwhelmingly kind – in some ways she reminds me a bit of Bella, but without Bella’s deliberate way,- she chatters more & is a bit sillier too, I think!! She’s very self-depreciating & doesn’t think anything she does is any good, but everything Betty & “Father” do is wonderful! He is a nice little man – very intelligent & most interesting to talk to- has lots of hobbies like wood carving, leather work etc. & is interested in Chinese lacquer work & so on, but usually with Lindy there & Mrs. B. & I chattering, he doesn’t get much chance! The blue jacket was Algy’s first present, but Amy is sending me 3, & yours & Jeanie’s will be wonderful. I have knitted nothing, but some of Lindy’s are still fine & I have bought some Viyella & cut out 2 jackets from A. Trixie’s, so he’s not going to do too badly, poor little fella – it would really be rather a shame if he had all hand- me-downs!! By the way, I had a card from Jeanie & Al Stern in Ann Arbour & they have a son- Bradford Allen. It is a cute card – a very pleased looking stork on the front saying “I did it & I’m glad”!

The week after Pete & Lu’s visit I had a horrible cold & did nothing except slept in the afternoons & get all behind with the work. However, I blessed it in one way- on Mon. Mrs. Hughes rang up & invited me to tea next day, so I accepted & she said bring Linda & come about 3 or 3:30, so that was fine. On Tues. I was feeling lousy though so I called her & told her I’d  better put it off I was so sneezy etc. but she kept protesting she didn’t mind until it turned out that it was a real pukka tea party with about 6 or 8 ladies coming! At that, I really said no firmly- imagine me – in my condition! Nothing decent to wear as I really bulge now! – a sniffly cold in my head – & trying to look after Lindy amongst all those strange women – all probably very elegant! I was so glad to get out of it!!

The following Friday Pete & Lu had asked us & the Garretts to a late (7:30) dinner, so that all the children would be in bed, so we set out in good time (Dan stayed in for us) – & about halfway there stopped for Cec & Cy to get cigarettes & MacTavish wouldn’t start again! It was a damp rainy night, & although we were right opposite a Service Station they just sold petrol & couldn’t help at all. It ended by Cec having to phone a garage & they came & towed us there & then found it was more than just a flat battery & we’d have to leave it, so we had to phone then for a taxi. Of course Pete & Lu have no phone yet, so we couldn’t let them know & we arrived at 10 to 9!! Lu had gone out & phoned our house at about 8:30 & Dan had said we’d left soon after 7, so she just about fell on our necks, she was so glad to see us! Fortunately her dinner was one that didn’t spoil & was delicious. We had cocktails first, then served ourselves buffet style to casseroled meat balls cooked in a sort of Mexican way with green peppers & beans, & hot garlic bread & tossed salad, then afterwards meringues with ice cream & then coffee – not to mention white wine with dinner & cherry brandy afterwards – I was popping! We had a taxi home & Cec got the car the next day- we were just thankful it hadn’t happened at a more awkward time- going to the hospital, for instance!!

On a Sunday we had Mr. & Mrs. Burroughs to tea- she, sure it was too much for me! Apparently, she had a son after Betty who only lived a few hours, so she is very jittery, but she had to have Caesareans in both cases & the 2nd one was at 8 months & after it they sterilized her, so she mustn’t have been made the right way!

The following Sat. I left Linda with Cec & did a little Christmas shopping- mostly little books & bibs etc. for all the children. I thought after sending the girls stockings (in McCall’s magazines) I would have no parcels but of course ended with quite a few. I sent Ruth her “dish” & a white organdie apron & my father a mixed food parcel & a tin of sweet biscuits. In the evening we went over to Angie & Paul Routly’s, & they had another couple who had had to bring their little 4 mths baby son with them. He was the funniest looking little fellow- wouldn’t settle very well, so spent most of the evening with us!

Next morning Cec got up to Linda as the Sunday usual, & then suddenly felt awful- was violently sick & had diarrhoea & felt wretched. It continued practically all day & we decided that it must be stomach flu which is going around because he had nothing to eat or drink that I hadn’t had & other people have had this sudden flu bug too. He stayed at home on Mon. & that felt very tired & washed out & looked pretty wretched, & on Tues. morning he got up at & looked after Linda & let me sleep as I felt rather worn too after a late Sat. night and no extra sleep on Sunday! However he went to work in the afternoon & although he felt very tired for a while & nothing tasted good to him, he is fine again now & fortunately Lindy & I didn’t show any signs of catching the germ.

On Wed. evening Jim & Lee came over & we had a hand of bridge- the first for ages! They brought Barry as they had no sitter & he slept quite happily in our bed. Their car broke down on the way, this time, but they were able to let us know & Cec took them home. Lee brought the machine & I am longing to get on with making the curtains, but so many things keep cropping up. Last week I at last managed to make up & get off all the parcels to England- when they’ll get there, goodness knows! – & – don’t collapse – your old clothes parcel too! I put in gelatine; 2 dish cloths; 1 sponge which I find is grand to use instead of a dish cloth- for washing up, wiping up etc.; my old junk jewelry, & a present for you from Lindy in the toe of one shoe!! I couldn’t get the white shoe cleaner at Joanisse & was in a hurry then, so left it. On Sunday Cec helped me measure & cut all the curtains & linings, so I am all ready to tack & sew now, but tonight I just have to send Christmas cards or they’ll never get there, so the poor curtains must wait. Each weekend I feel I’ll get so much done, but most of my visits to Dr. F. have been on the Sat. a.m. & afterwards I have been finished for the day & not much up to much on Sunday either. I have been resting a lot when Linda does too in the p.m. as I felt tired & uncomfy last week, but I had a good rest on Sunday & feel fine this week. I cleaned well yesterday & washed the kitchen floor & ironed in the evening, then washed this morning, so feel I’ve really got on- it gets me down a bit when I see it piling up! Last time I went to Dr. S. my feet were swelling a bit & he told me to try & keep off salt, but they have been much better lately- less than 2 weeks now- my-my! As you can imagine, we are still wrangling about names!!

We got your letter of 1st Dec. on Friday & thank you so much- I am hoping to have a really good do answering them all in a hospital – am I optimistic?! I didn’t write properly last week, but sent a sea mail with odds & ends of material patterns and Ruth’s letter etc. that I had been meaning to send you.

I have already posted the material samples as she wrote about them, but this was in the sea mail too.

By the way Cec got official word of his promotion- due on 1st Jan. & a raise of $500.00 a year – isn’t that lovely? We have really been so hard up lately- paying off the extra furniture (all done now) & $100.00 for winter fuel & insurances coming up, as well as the fact that Dan’s room didn’t begin to pay off for a while, but now we feel we are getting ahead & should do fine. I said to Cec little while ago “Well honey, we’re getting around the corner” & he said “Yes & what did we find there? Another little baby”!!

I wonder if Peggy has had her “little” baby yet- if so I hope all is well & that she is fine – & rejoicing in a flat tummy. Dr.S. seems to think I’ll be up-to-date & says Christmas in hospital for me, so I’ve got used to the idea – & I really would hate to hang on & on & not know when I was going or if to get a Christmas dinner ready or not. I am so glad that you are all going to Jeanie’s & hope you will all have a grand time. You sound very Christmassy decorating the store windows etc. – I haven’t a vestige of the Christmas spirit yet – my mind on other things I guess!! But we have decided we must have a tree, & we are taking Lindy shopping one morning. She fell in love with a horrible stuffed doll with purple hair in Dube’s the other day & I could hardly drag her away!

I was so shattered & sorry to hear from you about Oliver’s sudden death – it is terrible & must have been such a shock as he was such a big strong looking man. Marjorie will be coming home I suppose & will live in N/C eventually, but what a tragic lot of things has happened in that family. I owe Dottie – & just about everyone – letters, so that is another thing to do.

I must stop now – it is 4:15 & I have the kitchen door shut, so haven’t heard a squeak from Lindy, but I am sure she must be awake. She sends a great big Christmas hug & a wet kiss & lick to Granny- we will all be thinking of you & let you know the news as soon as possible-

Lots & lots of love from Cec & me & a happy, happy Christmas –                                                                                                                                                       Cyn                                                                              

Love to the family


From Linda

January 20 1951

20 Jan. 1951

Dearest Mummy,

Cec and I have just been up to the Drug Store for my weekend treat- a chocolate milk shake! It is a really cold night & everyone else was drinking coffee & hot chocolate & warming things, but it was so long since I had had a milk shake that I defied the weather & enjoyed myself! We used to go up to the Drug Store nearly every weekend, but when I was dieting I was good & haven’t had more than 1 or 2 since then – now I am 116 lbs. with hardly any back porch so I am beginning to relax!!

We didn’t get a letter from you this week, but maybe you are like me- I meant to write to you this week earlier, but there was just no news as we hadn’t done a thing. We got a letter from Irene saying that she & Bill had done very little since New Year except sit by the fire & that they were getting into a rut, but Bill said it was a lovely comfy rut! Well, we are just the same- certainly Cec works each evening, but I am so loathe to go out & just love to stay at home! Cec had a great work session on with late nights etc. until he finished what he was doing at the beginning of the week, then the poor boy got a really horrid head cold & has been poorly with it ever since. He stayed in bed on Wed. but had to go & take his class on Thurs. but stayed in again Fri. & it wasn’t until today that it began to clear a bit so that he could breathe more easily & taste things again.

We did go out once last week – on Monday to one of our concert series which was the Don Cossack Choir. They are a choir of men- originally from Russia after World War I, & so are no longer very young, but they were fun & we enjoyed them. They sang all in Russian- some sort of Church music, some folk songs etc.- their conductor is a little, wee man ( 4ft.10in.) and in a tight uniform & riding boots he looks so minute!

I don’t remember if I had got your letter telling about your New Year when I last wrote- anyway thank you so much for it. Cec & I both enjoyed so much your Christmas & New Year letters & loved hearing all that you had done. It all sounded so much fun, & as if you had had such a good time & we were so happy. I was disappointed that you hadn’t got my parcel yet, but goodness I do hope that it has arrived by now.

Contents of Parcel!

All my parcels to England seemed to get there in good time – I had a letter from Ruth written before Christmas & she had got hers then- no mention of duty!! I also had a letter from my Father- the first I have had since I left England. Thanking me for the parcel & quite nice & appreciative of all the things- he mentioned them all & which he liked best & he was particularly taken with the patience cards, so I am much encouraged to send more. He wrote of playing chess, draughts & bagatelle & doing crossword puzzles etc. & is still very full of his RC religion.

I had a letter from Dottie & she was down staying with the Burtons near L’pool & poor little Pete had caught this horrid ‘flu & was quite ill for a while & still very peaky. It seems really serious in England & must be very worrying for everyone, & doesn’t show any signs of improving yet. I’ve heard nothing more from Anne & how she and baby are getting on, but hope they are all right. Must stop now & go to bed – Cec sends his love & a snuffly hug – hope all the aunties are well & you too, honey bun – 

                             With lots of love from 


January 10 1951

Jan 10th 1951.

Dearest Mummy,

We got your parcel this week and it is lovely! Thank you very, very much for the beautiful luncheon set – it is really a wonderful piece of work, and both Cec and I are so impressed at the immense amount of work you have done for us. I am panting for the day that we have a really nice dining table, so that I can display it in its full glory, because it will look so lovely on a beautiful shiny wood.  Thank you also very much for the bamboo mats – they are so nice and will be awfully useful. I had meant to say to you in one of my letters after you mentioned sending some to people in England, that I would love some for my birthday, but you forestalled me & I am so pleased.  It was really a lovely parcel Mummy, & both Cec & I are thrilled with the luncheon sets – by the way – I thought I had better tell you – there are 8 little mats & only 7 big ones – Cec thought he should enquire at the P.O. but I didn’t think there was much hope of finding it there- also I wondered if perhaps the 8th mat was still in the making! Anyway don’t worry because there are lots, but I thought I would tell you just in case you had one more to send.

When we went to collect your parcel (the postman puts a note in the door as we’re out & we go to the P.O. to collect) we found one from Joan Cox too, with bubble bath for me & braces for Cec & a cute little wooden kitchen calendar, then next day we got one from Cec’s family, so our Christmas lasted a nice long time.  Cec got cigarettes from Carmen & I got a little fat woman with a kitchen pad & pencil from him, & from Mom & Pop we got a pretty plant pot holder – Devonshire ware- in the shape of a duck- I must get a nice little plant to fit in it. 

Since I last wrote we have been very quiet – Connie & Leonard left us exhausted! We had a letter from them by the way – very formal – & no word of how Connie was feeling! Each evening after dinner I just lay on the sofa & read & dozed & was sent to bed by 10 o’clock, so this week am feeling more like myself! Cec has been having one of his terrific work sessions, so has been toiling away at night while I slept, but last week was still holiday, so he was able to work at home. I drive to & fro in MacTavish and he is being a very good car.

Last Thurs. Pete & Mary Jo asked us to dinner & bridge with 2 other couples so we went & had a very nice evening. Their little girl, Jody, aged 3, stayed up to receive us & was so sweet & such a little chatterbox. Her Mummy & Daddy come from Baltimore & she has a real Baltimore accent & made Cec & I laugh by saying the flowers were so “purty”!! 

On Sat. Bob Peebles, one of my bosses had Cec & I to dinner along with the rest of the Field Office. He is a middle-aged bachelor, but cooked & served a very nice dinner & we had quite a pleasant evening. I don’t like work 1/2 so much now my friend Edie has gone & miss her a lot, but part of my feelings may be post-holiday reaction!!

Thank you lots & lots for your lovely, long newsy letter written at Christmas – we loved it & were so happy that you had such a nice time. I will answer your letter & will write more at the weekend & must go & wash dishes now! Thank you again, honey, for our lovely present –      

With lots & lots of love from Cyn & Cec.  

Mats from the West Indies! I don’t have my grandmother’s beautiful crocheted luncheon set, but we always had everyday mats- not bamboo, palm leaf-from St Vincent, and I still do.


January 1 1951


Jan 1st 1951

Dearest Mummy,

Happy, Happy New Year!  Cec and I send our love and all our good wishes for a beautiful 1951, and hope that you have a lovely time.

We have had the laziest New Year’s Day! In fact, since our guests left on Sat. we have been in a state of collapse and exhaustion, and have done very little except sleep and rest! That sounds bad, doesn’t it, but the fact is that we were really tired when Christmas came, and visitors are a bit of a strain anyway, so it’s nice to relax and have this weekend to ourselves. 

I’ll begin at the beginning though, and tell you all about Connie & Leonard’s visit and what sort of a Christmas we all had. Actually, the week before Christmas was hectic – we were busy at work, and each evening at home I had jobs to do- scrubbing the kitchen floor!- icing the cake – ironing- finishing Christmas shopping- making cookies etc. so when we got a letter from C&L saying that they would spend Fri. night in Detroit & come to us on Sat. I was very pleased. We scurried around & were more or less set when they arrived at about 11:30 on Sat. – the friend they’d stayed with brought them in his car. Connie & Leonard looked just the same as ever – their shoes beautifully polished!! The friend, Howard, is an ex-Englishman from Plymouth (knows L’s uncle) who married a US exchange teacher before the war & came over here with her. He is naturalized now, but his wife died recently & he is very nervy & strung up, poor man. He was going on to spend Christmas with his in-laws, so only stayed for a cup of coffee. We gave C&L our bedroom, so they unpacked & we had lunch & in the afternoon the Simpsons, Joan & Oliver & their little boy Christopher, came to tea. They knew the Boveys of course, so we all had quite a gossipy time, & Christopher was very cute & very intrigued with a gum-drop tree which we gave him! They finally went, & we had dinner & by then were all a bit tired, so just chatted till bedtime. Cec & I slept on the sitting room sofa which pulls out into a double bed & wasn’t bad at all.

On Sunday we had the Sutherlands coming to tea, so after our morning breakfast & chores we were all buzzing around when Connie had a nosebleed & eventually fainted. Apparently, she has these nosebleeds sometimes but this one was very violent & she just passed out & scared us to bits. Fortunately, we had some brandy (for the Christmas cake!!) & she came around quite quickly, but looked poorly. However, she was up when the S’s came & we had quite a nice tea party & Connie took the rest of the day quietly.

She was going to go to Church with me on Christmas morning but didn’t feel too well, so I went by myself, & when I got back we had breakfast & then opened our presents! I can’t remember what I told you in our funny Christmas day letter so I’ll tell you the presents again anyway. Cec & I thought C&L so queer as they didn’t give each other anything! Connie had a pair of new shoes with her that she said were from Len, but there was no word of what she given him, & she told us at great length one day of how they took very little notice of Christmas at home etc.! Anyway, Cec & I gave her a pair of nylons, & some plastic bowl covers for the fridge, & Len a pair of gaudy nylon socks & an Esquire calendar of 1/2 clad girls(!!), & a box of sweets to both. They gave us a book of pictures of Oxford & Cambridge & gave us another book of pictures of England when they left, the photos are lovely.

Cec gave me a dress! It is pretty pale blue, & a lovely brown cord boxy handbag. I gave him a pr. of slacks(!) – they are a nice gray–blue, & finally finished that gray- blue sweater!! & a new belt & an ashtray & a diary! We had a nice time anyway. We also got the Book Club from Dottie, & a sub. to Reader’s Digest from Merle & Dixon, & some pretty little square mats with flowers on from Amy & I got a book from Mrs. Allan & a hankie puff from Nan & a little diary from Miss Lefroy.  The S’s gave us a bottle of sherry (fair exchange- we gave them one!) & Gunborg gave me a cake, & Mrs. Kaufman made me a lovely sponge cake. Irene sent me a box of bath cubes & Bill sent Cec a book of cartoons, so we really had a lot. Your parcel hasn’t come yet, but it is lovely to have it to look forward to.

Connie & I stuffed the turkey & put it in, & then Mr. & Mrs. K. came up for a glass of sherry during the afternoon. We finally had our dinner & the turkey was grand, but we ate so much we couldn’t eat any pudding! It was one Mrs. Atkinson gave me ages ago, so I don’t know what it would have been like anyway, but when I went out later, I had forgotten it & it had boiled dry & was like a hard stone! we threw it out!

Next day we took C&L to town & they shopped a bit, but it was very cold (snow on the ground all the time) so we didn’t stay too long. In the evening we went to the S’s “English” party- us & the Simpsons & Dockerills & had a lovely time. We had a buffet style meal, & then looked at colour photos & had Swedish “glögg” (a kind of hot punch) before we went home. We all got presents from under the tree – mine was “foam baths “& Cec got a cigar! Little Mary got Santa’s Candy Store & was thrilled to bits!

Next day we went for our first long drive in the car – to Toledo! We set off at about 10:30 in the morning & Cec drove about 1/2 way, & then I drove the rest. We had a cup of hot chocolate in the middle, but it was a very cold day, with bright sun on the snow, so it wasn’t too good driving, but we managed fine. We arrived in good time for lunch & Til & Lois were pleased to see us, & it was fun showing Connie their pretty house. We had a drink & a nice dinner of roast beef & floating island, & felt very bloated! We took Til a rolling pin & pie plate for her Christmas present! They were very pretty cream oven proof ware, with a wreath of green ivy leaves & she thought they were cute & so did I! We took a Lois a beer stein for her evening beer & she liked that too. They gave us our Christmas & wedding present & so did Ruth, & they were lovely. Ruth’s was towels – gorgeous tomato & lime green ones! Til & Lois’ was a waffle iron and grill combination – yes, I know we have one! And we had to confess we had, (we got it with Marie’s money, remember?) – but this one is twice as big & very nice, so we will have to see if we can sell the other. That reminds me, we got an invitation to Bebe’s wedding, so will have to send something, but haven’t her address – will you send it to me? And of course give her the embroidered tablecloth – I think it is a very good idea & don’t mind a bit. I have one of your table cloths, & at the moment don’t get a chance to use it much, so don’t mind doing without the other. 

Lois & Connie behind Cyn & Til.

Ruth & Mary & the children came to visit while we were there, but we left between 4 & 5 & Cec drove all the way home & was very good. My clever little husband.

Next day I went to work for the morning- Cec drove me – & then met the others for lunch in town. They then went shopping & Cec & I came home & I baked a big mince pie & got dinner ready as the Dockerills were coming. We had cold turkey & ham, stuffed baked potatoes, vegetable casserole, salad, cranberry sauce etc. then the mince pie, & everyone seemed to enjoy it. Instead of a jigsaw puzzle this year, Cec got us a game- at least 4 games in 1- & one is Chinese Checkers & we played that & had quite fun. 

Friday I went to work 1/2 day again, & then Cec took the Boveys shopping again & I washed! In the evening after dinner we went to the Simpsons for coffee, & then on Sat. morning we drove C&L to Detroit to Howard’s & we all went out to lunch. They were going back by train either yesterday or today. We got back here about 5 & Cec got a cup of tea ready & then I fell asleep on the sofa till 8 o’clock when he woke me for a sandwich! Then at 9 he took over the sofa & slept till 11 when we tottered to bed & slept till 11 next morning!!

We hadn’t made any plans for New Year’s Eve, but Gordon came around & asked us to see it in with them so we did, & Anne and Kirsten sneaked down & joined in too! We called in at Pete & Mary Jo’s on the way home & Gordon came & first-footed us so we had fun. Today we got up late & Cec had a grand time listening to the big football game in the Rose Bowl in California- California v. Michigan & we won!

As you can imagine our visitors weren’t all joy! We decided that one trouble was that they stayed a bit too long for our small flat, & by the end we were all a bit too much on top of each other. They were very good about helping, but Connie was poorly off & on all the time – she didn’t know whether it was the “debility” thing she’s been having or if she was “preggy”! She was only 1 week overdue, so I don’t know if that was much to go by, but she made me laugh by saying that everyone had been trying to make her pregnant for the past 2 years!! Anyway, apart from that Cec & I think she is very spoilt, & gets peevish on the slightest provocation, so she annoyed us a bit. Another thing that annoyed us was that they are absolutely obsessed with money & could talk of very little else. They constantly were comparing prices with Canada, & every other thing they would say we can’t afford that, and actually they are getting just what we were before I was working & what we still live on (as my pay goes for McTavish) so they are not so poverty- stricken as all that! However, the visit is over & we all parted on friendly terms!

Talking of babies & being preggy, I had a letter from Anne written on the day hers was born- the 19th. A little girl Janita Margarita – 8 lbs 1 1/4 ozs- after only 3 hours labour – Anne very thrilled & pleased of course! We also had news that Jean & Graham are having one in May- Joan & Ray in June- & Millie at work in June! Isn’t it amazing? We were also very thrilled to hear from Jennifer – the D.Sc. teacher from London who travelled over on the ship with us last year. We had often wondered & she writes to say that she & Ben (the ex-RAF fellow who was on the ship too) were married in April, & they have bought a holiday camp in Ontario & are having a baby this summer too! I am so happy to have my curiosity gratified!

I forgot to tell you that your letter with the maps & plans of the island came on the 29th (posted 27th N.) & thank you very very, very much honey. I enjoyed them & am keeping them with me for reference in future – it is much more fun to actually have some idea where everything is.

Must stop now & go to bed – work again tomorrow – I feel quite unaccustomed to the thought! My love & good wishes to Aunties Moo & Ettie- got A. Moo’s Christmas card & your card to the Boveys – 

        With lots & lots of love

                    from Cynnie & Cec.

Christmas 1950

Cyn and Cec had invited their friends, the Boveys, to come for Christmas- the latest physicist pair transplanted from Cambridge to North America, now living in Ottawa where Cec and Cyn expect to go within the next year, but not very happy about it. However, they obviously resumed their Cambridge habits, because this Christmas letter is written as they play bridge together, just as they had in England!  Connie and Len had known Carol Ewing from the time before Cyn and Cec were married, so they join in sending her a description of their day.  The handwriting switches whenever a new hand is played and someone else is dummy- all except for Len, who played every hand, and was left to send a message on the envelope!

Christmas day – evening.

Dear Mrs. Ewing – 

In case you don’t recognize my writing this is Connie starting a Christmas day round robin to you from we four –

Today Cyn & I coped with a turkey all alone without our respective mothers to give advice!  After an enormous meal of ‘it’ – or at least part of, plus stuffing, cranberry sauce, creamed potatoes, beans & tomato aspic salad we have retired exhausted for a game of bridge with a faint hope of having the plum pudding & hard sauce later.

This letter will become a bit disjointed because whoever’s dummy adds a bit.

CYN Hello honey bunny – this is Cyn! I am dummy and poor Cec is struggling away with a bid of 3 hearts and a Yarbrough except for one Jack, which was a present from me!!

We have been busy talking about our Mummies all day and hope that you have all had a happy, happy Christmas. I went to Church at 8 o’clock this morning- Connie was coming with me but didn’t feel well this morning – then just got home in time to hear the “round the world” broadcast & dear little Kingie! Cec made it – I go!

CEC Now I am the dummy. Cyn out to make 1 club to get us game. 

I am wearing my sweater. Do you know, the one she started sometime ago? Also a pair of blue slacks & a belt – presents from my little wife. We’ve been very practical this Christmas, -we needed clothes & have got them for presents. Fun.

We are having a lovely lazy loafing lounging time with the Boveys. (Cyn is way past her bid.)

CYN Me again! We are doing well just now – Leonard thinks the cards are being horrid to him!

We are having the nicest time – we were fair wore out by the time work finished on Friday, but Connie & Len arrived on Sat. morning (stayed a night with a friend in Detroit) & since then we have had a lovely time. Connie & Len are most helpful visitors & I just put my feet up! You would have laughed to see Connie & me coping with this enormous turkey (14 1/2 lbs.)  He was a beauty, but we were quite puzzled by his anatomy – we kept making more & more stuffing to fill him up, & then in the end he swelled so, that the stuffing burst out, but we all thought he was delicious!

Church this morning was very quiet. I drove down of course & found only about 20 – 30 people there, & although there were 3 Christmas trees – two very big – there were no decorations or lights on them, so it all looked rather dim and gloomy. We sang in rather a quavery way, but I piped up. 

I was so happy to hear the English programme- did you hear it? I cried & cried & was so pleased about hearing it all!! The King’s voice wasn’t very clear, but we could hear most of it.

CEC Yes Cyn enjoyed Georgie. We have been having a wonderful run of cards- three game bids in a row made.

McTavish is behaving quite well – a few things to be fixed. We are off to see Til & Lois on Wed., if the roads are good. We are being careful. (Cyn made 3 diamonds, so back to bridge.) She was stubborn and now has to play 4 clubs which she won’t make.

You mustn’t worry about (down one) Cyn’s dieting. (down two) I was keeping an eye on her, & she kept her good nature all the week. She lost enough & won’t be doing it again. (down three). But now she’s trying again with 2 diamonds.

How do you like the running commentary on our game. Cyn gave me a ‘dairy’ – and a lovely ashtray. One of these kinds loaded with shot which will stay anywhere you put it. (She made it!!!)  (Bridge)

We’ve got our Xmas tree with our little Angel on top, she still looks lovely, Cyn I mean. Lots & lots of love Cec XX XX

CYN Isn’t that a nice husband? My presents were lovely- a dress and a handbag from seats! The dress is a pale blue wool jersey & has a pinky-red & navy blue swathed belt. It buttons on each shoulder with 3 buttons (material covered) and the button holes are bound with the navy & pink – it’s pretty. The handbag is a thing I needed badly as I haven’t a brown one at all – it is “corday” like that black one I bought in Toledo & is the cutest boxy shape – I had a lovely Santa Claus! My other presents were a book by Simenon from Mrs. Allan, a pale blue hanky-puff from Nan, bath cubes from Irene & very pretty little cocktail mats from Amy. Cec & I together got a lovely book of photos of Cambridge & Oxford from Connie & Len, the Book Club from Dottie, & a sub. to Readers Digest for a year from Cec’s sister Merle & Dixon. We also got a cake & sherry from the S’s & an angel food cake from Mrs. Kaufman, & Cec got a lovely book of cartoons from Irene & Bill. Your parcel hasn’t come yet, but it is fun to look forward to & know it is coming. We got Bren’s lovely lacquer bowls & think they are beautiful.

Must stop now, & get it mailed. Poor Len never got to be dummy but sends his love & Connie too. I’ll write a real epic later in the week, but want to send this to tell you we are thinking of you & send hugs & kisses for the New Year. 

                                     Lots of love from


December 18 1950

18th Dec. 1950

Dearest Little Mommy,

Just beginning a little note before I go to bed. I have had a busy evening ironing like mad, but I like ironing on Monday evening as there are nice musical programs on the radio from about 7:30 to 11 & it is the only evening that has so much nice music. Tonight they were playing lots of nice Christmas carols and music and Cec and I were thinking how strange it was to think of you hearing Christmas carols sung by a little black boys and girls all in summer clothes, with the sun shining and flowers and everything! Talking of flowers, I had such a pretty dream this morning just between the alarm and getting up! I dreamt I was walking through some fields & it seemed to be early on a sunshiny morning. I seemed to be following some directions as I counted the fields I crossed until I came to a high stone wall & above it I could see & hear hundreds of seagulls flying & wheeling & crying. I was a bit scared to open the door & go through, but I did – and on the other side was a great hillside of bare bushes & shrubs & perched on them and flitting about & twittering & tweeting were clouds of the loveliest little tiny birds – pale blue & pale pink – some pink and blue – some blue and yellow – some blue and grey – & I was just standing there with all the little things flying around. Wasn’t that a nice dream? All in Technicolour too!

We had ever such a busy weekend getting ready for Connie & Len. On Friday night I made my Christmas cake – a Christmas loaf really. I made it and baked it on Sat. morning. Then on Saturday I thoroughly cleaned the bedroom & sittingroom – behind & under everything! I polished the furniture & floor & felt very virtuous! In the afternoon Cec & I went downtown and did a bit of Christmas shopping, but came back in time to wash my hair & for us to get ready for the Physics Dept. Party.

Next Morning- (at work early– Cec has an 8 o’clock class.)

We bought a set of yellow towels for Cec’s brother Russell, who is getting married on Thursday. – we had an invitation & nice note from his bride-to-be, Errol, & although the present won’t get there in time, at least we made an effort!

We got a cute little folding umbrella from Mom Costain- it is ordinary size opened up, but pushes together & scrunches up into a little fat tube!  It is covered with a kind of blue plaid & looks quite smart. We also got Gunborg & Gordon a bottle of sherry as their Christmas present & the girls woolly mittens in various colours & patterns!

Continued- a month later!

January 14th-!!!

Dearest Little Momma,

I began this letter the week before Christmas & just never had a minute to finish it, so I am sending what there is along with a few funny things that might amoose you! One is a chart of the display we made for the open day at the Center, so you may get a little better idea of what the Field Office does. There were some pictures taken too, so when they are I’ll send some along. Also I’m enclosing some funny things we gave to Edie on the day she left- the Fri. before Christmas. The Institute collected & got her a dear little travelling bag- a little square box-y over night bag, with place for toilet things etc. – very cute. The Field Office however were supposed to give Edie a present on their own, but Sylvia & I being underlings, didn’t hear much about it, except to give our $1 each! However, eventually they decided to give her the money ($30) & each to write a poem or something silly, & we all went down to the train on the Fri. afternoon (Cec too) & we gave her an envelope with the money & envelopes with all the poems etc. & she had quite a sendoff. I miss her a lot- the Field Office doesn’t seem 1/2 such a cheery place without Edie.

The Physics Party I mentioned earlier was quite a success in the end. There were a couple of skits first & then supper then games & dancing etc. & everyone seemed to have a good time. My only gripe was that I had typed out dozens of carols & had had the sheets mimeographed for everyone & then in the end they only sang 2 carols! 

The other enclosure is a picture by Grandma Moses, to cool you down when it is hot! We got a box of Christmas cards & this bigger one was enclosed, so I thought you would be interested to see it & read about the old lady painting. I think they are so sweet & love to see what all the funny little people are doing.

Will write by A.M. in a day or so, so you will get it long before this one. 

                Lots & lots of love & hugs 



This is a Scroll we presented to Edie when she left. Shirley had the idea & I made it up (recognize a “quote” from our passports!!) and wrote it in black & red on a great sheet of paper. We put a big red & gold seal & red ribbons & it looked very elegant! Edie wrote and said she was going to have it framed!

Honorary Award of Merit

To Whom It May Concern: –

          Let it be known that on the twenty second day of December, this year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and fifty, we of the Field Office, do hereby appoint and commission Miss Edith Dunkin to be our representative in all our lands of the Americas bordering on the Pacific Ocean. This tenure shall be of thirty years duration, with an option in the favour of the Field Office to retain the services of the said Miss Edith Dunkin, the renumeration thereof to be the token payment of $1 (one dollar) per year.

          We hereby request and require, in the name of the Field Office, all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer of this Honorary Award to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford her every assistance and protection of which she may stand in need.

December 13 1950


Wed. 13th Dec. 1950

Dearest Little Mummy,

This is going to be a whale of a letter to wish you a happy, happy Christmas, so put your feet up, undo your corsets, loosen your belt & sit back! Cec is going to wash the dishes for me, the honey, so that I can sit & write & write & write all evening!

When I got home from work today there was a nice letter waiting from you (posted 5th Dec.) & Aunt Ettie’s with your page enclosed came yesterday, so I got a lovely spread-out mail even if it came in the wrong order! Thank you very, very much for them Mummy, & also for your great fat 50¢ letter (mailed 28th Nov.) which I got last week- I love getting them all & hearing of your doings & all the news & gossip. It is 10 days since I wrote you the air letter about our car, but we have really been buzzing! We have been having driving lessons & seeing about licenses & insurance etc. etc. & have been kept busy, but today Cec went & took his driving test & got his license, so we think he is a clever boy! I haven’t taken mine yet – mainly because they don’t give them on Sat. & I work other days, but I have an appointment for Monday & will take an hour off work.

I haven’t told you much news apart from the car for about two weeks, so will go right back to the weekend of 25th Nov. when we had that terrible bad weather. I was so glad you told me how Margs & Mil & their families fared, as Cec & I were wondering, & we worried about Bill when we heard of the terrible Long Island R.R. crash. They must have had a bad time of it, with all the flooding in the basements, etc. But I am glad that it was no worse & that they didn’t have any really bad damage. We had a regular snow blizzard here, & as it was the weekend & we didn’t have to go out, we rather enjoyed ourselves & stayed in & were cosy at home! The great of the event of the weekend in Ann Arbor, was that Michigan (University) were playing their great football rivals, Ohio, down in Columbus, Ohio, & despite the fact that it was snowing & no one could see a thing, they still played & Michigan won! We listened to the game on the radio & got ever so excited (I still don’t understand it!) especially as it was the last game of the season & when Michigan won, it meant they were the Champions! The winners of this League go to California for New Year’s Day & play a big match against the winners out there in a big stadium called “The Rosebowl” & it is a great honour, so all of Michigan was very pleased! The funny thing was that Columbus got completely snowed up so lots of people who went to the game got stuck there for days!

At the beginning of that week I finally got my last parcels packed & off, & then next weekend we sent all our Christmas cards to England etc. A few, we kept to put letters in, so of course they straggled on & we are finally having to A.M. them! Mrs. Allen’s birthday card was one, & Cec’s friends Cliff & Gwengar, & we still haven’t sent Frank’s to Australia! I already have cards from Dottie, Mrs. Johnny, Mrs. Allen, Auntie Trix, Bar & Geraldine, & Nan & Dick (their’s is a lovely colour photo of Moira Shearer as Cinderella in the ballet.) Dottie wrote & told us that she was sending us another Book Soc. subscription which is lovely, & Bar sent us a very nice little book on Chester with lovely photos, & a pretty hankie for me. I can still hardly believe Christmas is so close & that Connie & Leonard are coming a week on Friday! I have a list as long as my arm of things to do – make Christmas cake & pudding – clean the whole flat – finish shopping etc. etc. & don’t know when I’ll begin!! Oh well, if it doesn’t all get done, Connie will have to turn to & help me! By the way – we continue to get annoyed at Connie & Leonard’s letters – they are nothing but grumble, grumble all the time! They have a flat now but it’s not ideal, & living is so expensive – much more so than the U.S. from what they can see – after all even stamps there are 4¢ compared to our 3¢, & Connie has her old symptoms of depression etc. etc. etc.! However, we are trying to be tolerant & hope that at Christmas they will feel better & more cheerful – if not, by the end of the week we will be telling them a thing or three!! But I don’t think they have told us that even one thing is nice since they got there – can you imagine! 

To go back to my activities, on the Wed. (29) evening Cec & I were inveigled into going to a Committee Meeting for the Physics Dept. Xmas Party! The real members of the committee were Gordon & Gunborg – Cec’s pal Pete and his wife Mary Jo (who used to drive me shopping) & another young Prof. Hassen and his wife (the ones who had the funny modern 1/2 finished house – went to tea there in the spring.) We were sort of wished in by the Pete’s & Gordon & Gunborg, but it was a very pleasant meeting at the Pete’s, with drinks & eats etc. & we planned games & carol singing & a skit etc. The party is for faculty & graduate students, & half the entertaining is done by each, so we could shelve 1/2 of the responsibility on the students! Cec & I managed to get out without too much to do – my job is to type a stencil of carols & get about 200 copies run off, so I spent last night typing & Cec got the stencil run off today. I made one funny mistake- on my typewriter at work, the comma key is two commas above each other- a comma in ordinary writing & an apostrophe in Shift- on the portable it is a question mark above a comma, – a comma in ordinary writing and a question mark in capitals, so for one carol title I have “GOOD CHRISTIAN MEN? REJOICE”!!

The next weekend – i.e. last weekend- we bought the car! We began, you know, by seeing an ad. in the paper for an English Ford, 1949, for $495, & we thought, well golly – we could pay for that straight away! And a year old we thought it should be O.K, so on our way downtown to buy groceries, we stopped at the car dealers & asked about it. The man made an appointment to take us to see it next afternoon, as it was at their place outside town, so away we went next day & lost heart the moment we saw it! It was the most hideous mud colour to begin with- all scraped & battered along one side – no mat or carpet inside, just boards – no dashboard, just yawning holes, & to complete it all, it wouldn’t start!! So we abandoned it quickly & looked around & finally saw our pretty MacTavish – that is what we have christened the car, as it is a “Highlander Club Coupe” (with its tartan lining!) The “coupe” means that it has what is called a 1/2 back seat. i.e. it hasn’t much leg room compared to “sedans” & will only hold 2 in the back, but as it holds 3 on the front seat anyway, & is positively huge, we are glad it’s no bigger! We joined the A.A.A. (Auto Assoc. of America) & got all our insurance etc., through them & they give us all sorts of additional help, like free towing if the car won’t start & other things.

Gunborg & Gordon were giving a party for Gordon’s “group” of research students & wives that evening, so Cec & I went up early about 6 o’clock & helped them get ready. They were properly impressed with our car & so was everyone all evening long! There were about 30 there, & Gunborg served Mulled Wine (hot & spiced- nice!) to begin with, & then we watched some of Gordon’s movies. After that we played games & then had supper – a kind of Swedish smorgasbord with hot meatballs, & beet & herring salad & potato salad & green salad & stuffed celery etc. with trifle afterwards. Anne & Kirstin were out at a school party, so little Mary was allowed to stay up & open the door for the visitors & she was sweet- she has a new red corduroy velvet pinafore skirt with a little white blouse & she looks like a little Christmas! She stayed up & up & I eventually put her to bed about 11:30 after supper- very sleepy, but having a wonderful time!

We didn’t do much next day except send off our cards, so had a quiet day, & on Monday we saw about insurance etc. & on Tuesday we got the car. Neither of us could get licenses till we had a test, so we arranged to have 2 driving lessons each with a man from the Driving School to refresh our knowledge. My first lesson was straight after work on Tues. & this man came for me in his car & we drove around A.A. for an hour & I got on all right. (He looked just like Sherlock Holmes – pipe & all!) In the meanwhile Cec had asked his pal, Al, to drive the car home for us, & he stayed for dinner as his reward! After that, Al took us a drive in our limousine, & drove to his digs, where we left him & I drove us home – I was fine – except that we got ourselves lost twice, driving about 2 miles from one part of A.A. to another!! We even got onto little narrow country lanes & did we feel silly!! Cec had his 2 driving lessons during the next few days, but I had my next one on Sat. morning & the man told us to practice a little with our car before we took our test. So in the afternoon we drove around & I got groceries, & then we took our laundry up to Gunborg’s as she had told us to, as she wanted to see MacTavish. She was out shopping but I did my washing & Cec & Gordon washed their cars! They finally set out in MacTavish to collect Gunborg- & were our faces red – they stopped at a shop for Gunborg to get something & MacT. wouldn’t start & had to be pushed! We had to have him at the garage since then & they have fixed his battery so we hope he will be good now!

I forgot to tell you that we had Al to dinner again on Friday and afterwards we had another drive around & then all went to the pictures. It seemed ages since we were there last- we saw “The Next Voice You Hear”, which was quite unknown to us, but turned out to be very good. It was supposed to be that God suddenly spoke on the radio at 8:30 one evening & was heard all over the world in every language. You never hear the voice, but see what it does to an ordinary little American family- man, wife going to have a baby, & a boy about 12- & how they feel & what they do etc. It lasts for 7 days (Cec laughs at my description- you know what I mean!) & we thought the whole thing was very well done.

On Sunday Cec felt a bad cold coming on, so he stayed in bed till the afternoon. We had been invited to an “Open House” by Edie & the girl she lives with, Anne (!!) So I set off alone as we didn’t think Cec should go out, especially as it was snowing. There were all the Survey Research people there, so I knew everyone & had quite a nice time- got kissed under the mistletoe by my boss Charlie too! They had a piece very cunningly hung over the middle of the sofa, so each newcomer was caught unawares! There were hundreds & hundreds of Christmas cookies to eat- A. Ettie will tell you about all the different kinds with different German names- & they had a fruit punch, which wasn’t 1/2 so innocent as it tasted.  I got home about 7, & Cec was most amused because he gave me the key to get something from the car & although I made 3 trips to the car & back for advice (giggling all the time) I never got the car open at all! The key just wouldn’t go in!

Next day Cec’s cold had become a cough, but I felt a bit funny although I went to work. My eyes were burney & boiled feeling you know, so at noon Cec sent me home & I tumbled into bed & slept all afternoon & most of the evening too. It seem to do the trick because I was O.K. yesterday & today, but Cec still has a cough – must have been some kind of germ we got.

Cyn’s Plan.

This week at work we have been in a furore, as we had an Open Day today with invitations to all the University to come & see us. Each dept. had to have a display & after a meeting Sylvia & I were handed the job – a most thankless one! I planned it out, & apart from 2 posters we got done for us, we did the whole thing ourselves & after toiling all week got it up & ready for 1:30 today. Yesterday we were just about frantic as we were chopped & changed from place to place & no one would co-operate & the 2 posters weren’t ready, but finally we got it done & everyone said it was very good – I’ll enclose an illustration sometime! The Open Day was quite a success – Cec came & we looked about & then had free cake & coffee & enjoyed ourselves! He met all the people at work that I tell him about & I got the chance to show him off! We drove home in our car!

Plan executed.

I had intended to begin & answer all your letters, but Cec tells me it is bedtime, so I’ll close & mail this & then continue in my next! Now I am up to date I’ll plunge right into your letters next time.

You know that your little family here will be thinking of you such a lot at Christmas time, honey-bun, & wishing that we could all be together, but we hope that you have a very, very happy Christmas with your sisters and that you won’t be sad missing us, but get busy planning to spend next Christmas with us. I’ll write again really soon & answer all that lovely pile of letters here, so you will be getting another letter before Christmas I hope – But anyway – we both send all our love and all our good wishes for a merry Christmas – 

      Love to the Aunties & lots & lots for you 

                             from Cynnie & Cec. Family Chauffeur

November Christmas Parcels

At the end of November 1950, Cyn sent her friends in England, who were still under post-wartime scarcity and rationing, Christmas parcels- nylons for the women, toys or outfits for their children, and raisins and candy tucked in for a treat.  She and Cec sent out 75 Christmas cards- 50 fewer than the year before when they were newlyweds, but their student life had changed- they were in a different university in different country, and, as Cyn’s letters have shown, Cec’s university friends had also left Cambridge and dispersed to universities and research positions around the world. 

Here is Cyn’s List:

I meant to tell you my diet the other day too- this is it.

It is Friday today (24th) & is so cold! Went down to 1°F last night & was around 15° today – we are so happy it is the weekend & we can hibernate for 2 days! We went shopping at the grocery after work & bought in our week’s supplies, so won’t starve even if we get snowed in!

Packed a parcel to my Father tonight & will post tomorrow – I put in sweets, chocolate, sugar lumps- two pkts Patience cards – 2 books – 1 book X-word puzzles-soap- dates – raisins & 2 little pkts of tissues for colds etc. Hope it gets there before Christmas.

My bulbs I planted are doing fine (paper whites) – there are 5, & they are like this- all different heights! But they are nice & green & fun to watch!

Must stop now & get us a “snake”! Hot cocoa tonight I think – but no sandwich for me – must watch my figure! 

            Lots of love love and hugs 



Postmarked Nov. 27, the back is stamped 22 Dec.- must have gone by sea!