January 2 1956

Box 330
Ottawa R.R.1.
2nd Jan. 1956
& on to the 3rd!

Dearest Mummy,
Happy, happy New Year! I can’t really believe that Christmas and New Year are both over – after all the preparations they just seem to flash past & I don’t feel a bit inclined to go back to the normal routine with no excitement in view! You know me – I work much better with a goal to spur me on & now I feel quite uninterested in work! I hope that you and Auntie Muriel had a happy holiday season & that you enjoyed it more than you thought you would. I am sure that it would take you a while to get acclimatised & adjusted again – you would feel out of things & cooped up, but I hope you will find settling in not so bad after all, & it will be fun looking forward to Milly & Ford’s visit. I am sure that they will both be just ideal visitors – Milly so nice & easy going & Ford so interested in every single thing – I know that we both enjoyed having them here in Ottawa, & that it will be extra fun to have them in St. Vincent.
My Christmas letter (or rather after-Christmas) was very scrappy so I have a long way to go back to tell you our doings. I have talked so much about this List of Things to Do that I made before Christmas that I am going to tell you all the items so you can see how varied it was! Of course lots of things were also done which never got on the list, but it wasn’t a bad effort! I made the list two weeks before Christmas & as I told you it nearly all got done before Christmas Day! Here goes: – Make Charlie’s Birthday Cake; Ice Charlie’s Birthday Cake; Ice Christmas cake; Make Gingerbread Men. Make dolly’s bed clothes; Make my navy dress (hem still to do!); Wash & polish bathroom floor; Wash & polish kitchen floor; Wash & polish stairs; Wash & polish sitting room floor; Clean oven; Stuff Turkey; Finish Lindy’s 2 prs. pajamas; Make Tommy (doll’s) pajamas; Decorate Christmas Tree; Hang Christmas Cards; Paint & decorate doll’s bed; Alter grey & yellow taffeta dress (Not done!!) Send Costain’s parcel; Mail Christmas cards; Defrost; Get Charlie’s Hair cut; Get my hair cut; Christmas letter to Mummy; Alter new dress. My, wasn’t I a busy little woman!
Charlie’s birthday was the first social event of the season, as it were! He was just thrilled with his new wagon & was so pleased with everything. He takes things more calmly than Lindy, but was really tickled at it being his birthday! He kept singing “Happy birthday to me!” & says now “I am free years old” very proudly. I told you how attached he was to your musical box & it is so funny to hear him singing to it in his little high voice. He loved your card & got quite a lot more & a nice lot of presents – another nice pale blue jersey from Amy & Charlie & a book & something from Nan but at the moment I can’t think what! We had his birthday cake at tea time & then went to dinner at a place called Sharry’s in Sparks St. It advertises Sunday as “Family Day” & every adult is allowed to take one child free, so we had a huge dinner of tomato juice, fried chicken, veg. salad etc. milk, ice cream & pie & coffee all for $4.00. It was very good & we all enjoyed the outing.


The next day was Monday & in the evening we went to the N.R.C. Christmas Party. It was held at a Club over in Hull – the place was taken over for the night. To begin with it was a terrible cold night- about 15° below zero & just bitter. However we dressed up – me and my new dress – & set off. Alex and Phyl, the Klemans, Joan & Boris, us, a girl Barbara from the Lab & her husband & another couple I didn’t know were in the group. We all arrived at about the same time & the men checked our coats etc. (took them nearly 1/2 hour) then we got a table. Like most U.S. nightclubs it was so gloomy lighted it was practically dark & I could have worn an old shift for all anyone saw of my new dress! The place was crowded & our table was between the cash register at the bar & a loudspeaker so consequently we had to scream at each other to be heard & halfway through the evening I was hoarse! In addition, it was cold! Our feet were frozen & goose pimples on our arms & to crown it all, I didn’t have one dance! The program was this: – when we came in the band was playing & everyone went to dance except Cec & I who stayed to pay for the drinks we’d ordered – long band interval- a girl from the Council played piano accordion (quite good) & everyone sang – long interval – band came back & played a square dance (impossible on a tiny nightclub floor) – long interval – more of the girl with a piano accordion – long interval – regular nightclub floor show (very poor, with an M.C. telling the filthiest dirty jokes) & we left in the middle! As a crowding insult Cec was the first at the Check Room to get our coats & boots & after 3/4 of an hour the female having given him our coats & his rubbers just told him she couldn’t find my boots & threw the ticket away! By this time there was a near riot going on as people wanted to get their things & apparently some waited 1 1/2 to 2 hours for coats etc. Cec saw the Manager & phoned next day but my boots were never found, & we were told to buy me a new pair & send them the bill so we’re waiting to see results! Wasn’t that a lovely evening? We were also disappointed as we had thought it would be such fun – I was sorriest of all for poor Gudrun – she has had so much sickness & has been nowhere & this was her first big outing.
The Tuesday we had Lee & Wendell & Daryl for dinner. Everything seems to be going well at Carp– & what do you think- Lee is pregnant & they have bought a television set! After the latter piece of news Cec says he is finished – they are just beyond hope!
On the Wed. it was still a fierce cold day but we took the children to town to see Santa Claus & do a last bit of shopping. Lindy of course wouldn’t go & talk to him, but Charlie went up & told him his own & Linda’s requests then later when we’d been around the store & seen the toys he dashed back up to Santa to tell him where the trains were!!
On the Friday we had a hectic day – I picked up Doreen Moore & her 2 children at 9:30 & we drove out to Orleans for meat, then to the store for groceries, then took them home & us home. Lunch, the children to bed, then I made a loaf of egg sandwiches, got the children up & dressed & picked up Pat Tomlinson and her 2 children & a loaf of sandwiches to go to the Sunday School Party! We arrive to be greeted by a cold empty room, one or two children & the S.S. teacher to say they were sending all the children home as they arrived as the furnace had broken down! Us with all our sandwiches!! However, Pat said “Come on home and we’ll have a party of our own!” & that’s what we did & really we probably all enjoyed it much more than we would have done the other, but I could have done without the rush!
Christmas Eve was more or less uneventful – I got my last cleaning done & got the stuffing ready for the turkey. I went to Midnight Service at St. Margaret’s- packed as usual & I stood all the time, but it was very nice. We didn’t get to bed till about 2 as I didn’t get home till so late, but the children were very good & didn’t wake till 8. They brought their stockings into our bed, then we got up & they saw our (& Santa’s) presents which we hadn’t wrapped up & then we had breakfast before we began on all the others! It was great fun & Linda was suitably surprised by her bed, but she still says she likes the ironing board best! She had a wash day at once & was very busy! Charlie was pleased with his train but of course likes to push it along the floor best! The friction car you gave him is a big favourite as he can make it go, whereas he can’t wind the train yet. They both love the sparklers you sent & the books – we have read them all of course! Your presents to us were much appreciated! I wore your pretty earrings with my new dress that day & Cec likes his cufflinks very much. My petticoat was a real surprise & so was Cec’s ashtray- he was delighted to have another & it is much prettier than his old one. Gunborg sent Lindy a new dress for Christmas & I was so pleased (so was she!) as I had felt I’d like to make her a new dress but hadn’t got around to it. It is red & white nylon in a fine stripe with a red trim & tickled me to bits as it had the new “dropped” waist line, like this; – however it was much too long for her so I took a big tuck in the waist and made it like this- & it looks just darling on her. She wore it that afternoon & a red bow in her hair & she looked so sparkly & pretty with nice pink cheeks. Lila said she’d never seen her look so pretty & really her new dress seem to give her so much self-confidence & pleasure & she wasn’t at all shy but just as gay as could be.

Of course we had a busy time – it was getting on for noon & I was just thinking “Well, I’ll get the children lunch, then stuff the turkey” when who should arrive but Jack Shoosmith, his son John, & a girl from the Lab., Kelly. Each year we tell Jack to come to us on his Christmas rounds & each year we forget he’s coming!! However, we gave them drinks & they sat & chatted & didn’t leave till after 1 o’clock! Then Cec gave the children lunch, I stuffed the turkey & shoved it in the oven, we ate ourselves, I had a shower & washed my hair. Cec drove down to get Santiago & Lila at 2:30 & I washed all the breakfast & lunch dishes!! However, after that scramble everything was very peaceful & nice & I think we all had a lovely time. We had tea & Christmas cake about 3:30 then dinner about 6:30 – turkey; m. potatoes; frozen peas; creamed onions; gravy; cranberry sauce; celery, carrot sticks etc.; then Christmas pudding, hard sauce & coffee. After the children were in bed, everyone helped me wash up & then we all played a game we gave the children called “Ups & Downs” – just like Snakes & Ladders, but Ski Slides instead of snakes! (Lindy loves it!) Altogether it was a really nice Christmas & we had a lovely time.

Linda wearing the dress!

We had a quiet day on Boxing Day – Cec let me sleep late & gave me breakfast in bed, then about 11 we went around to Fanni & Teddy’s for a drink. We sat & chatted & had wine & Fanni’s Christmas cookies – I having just had breakfast! On the Tues. Cec went to work again & in the evening we had Margie & Cy out for dinner & game of bridge. As always we thoroughly enjoyed having them & sat & chatted & then played bridge – it was ages since we played & it was fun. Margie is really big now & finds things pretty tiring I think. Later in the week I met her at Steinberg’s & she told me Cy had cancelled all her engagements as she was so pooped, so I was glad that we’d had them first. We had another couple to dinner on Thursday – Dr. & Mrs. Velasco, & their 6 mth baby. He is a new post doctorate Fellow from Spain -not at all like Santiago – rather squat & ugly with one queer eye! His wife is dark & nice looking but can speak very little English so it is a bit difficult. Cec brought him from work & picked up Mrs. V & the baby on the way, then she fed the baby & put him to sleep in his Carricot in our room. He was very good & Lindy & Charlie were tickled to have a baby here.
Friday was the night we should have had the Spectroscopy Party & we booked Mrs. Martin to sit for us long ago, so we decided to have an evening out anyway. We were going to have dinner in town & asked Pete & Lu to join us, but they couldn’t get a sitter, so the arrangement was for us to go out to them for dessert & coffee afterwards. We had one of our favourite Chinese meals & then out to Pete & Lu’s & had a very nice evening just chatting. We got home about 12:30 & just afterwards, while Cec was taking Mrs. Martin home Charlie suddenly let out a yell & when I went in demanded a B.M. very definitely & I just got him on the pot when he had such diarrhea, poor little fellow. I was so thankful I was here and not Mrs. M. as he was quite alarmed! We got that all over & I was just getting into bed when Linda called & the same thing happened with her! And so on through the night, first one & then the other two or three times. On the Sat. morning Cec & I were just talking about what to do about Lee & Jim & family coming on New Year’s Day as we were sure it was some infection the children had & Cec was feeling off-colour too, when the phone rang & it was Lee to say they all had terrible colds & couldn’t come! We were very relieved especially as it continued all Sat., Sat. night up with them trotting to the bathroom more than one once, Sun. the same, Sunday night again & Monday. Last night was the first night they slept through & today Charlie seems completely back to normal, but Cec is still feeling poorly & Lindy has got a bad cough & a bit of cold & is still eating nothing. I am so sorry as they are both looking pale & peaky & before they were looking really so well, with colour in their faces & Charlie’s little cheeks getting quite plump. However, I’m sure they’ll recover quickly & so far – touch wood – I haven’t caught the bug – also by the way, my Christmas festivities have only added one pound to my weight, so I’m not doing badly! As a matter of fact, on Sat. & Sun. when Cec & the children were all off food & busy trotting, I was so hungrey all the time & kept eating & eating! I think I submerged the bug with food, but I also thought I would have put on pounds, but so far it hasn’t shown on the scales!
I must stop now as this letter is huge already – I hope the children are well enough for us to go down to Grenier’s to post it tomorrow. Cec is out shovelling snow – we’ve had quite a big fall in the last 48 hours – he is also softening the water & fixing my stove, so he is a busy little man!
Lots & lots of love from us all = hugs & kisses from the children & Charlie says “Happy Newear”!
Lots of love from Cyn.

Happy New Year & love to Auntie Muriel.

December 28 1955

28th Dec. 1955.

Darling Mummy,
I am sorry that I haven’t written for so long, but you can imagine what a hectic time we are having – I had my list of 24 things to do before Christmas & did 22 – one not done was the oven but you’ll be glad to hear that I did it today!! I am in the middle of a long letter with lists of presents etc. but I can see that I will never get it done tonight, so I thought I would leave it for the time being & write this instead to tell you that we had a lovely Christmas and to send all our love and best wishes for the New Year.
First of all, Charlie’s birthday was a great success – he was thrilled with his wagon & his first words were “Now I won’t have to ride on the little bicycle anymore”! He just loved the musical box you gave him & even took it to bed with him & wouldn’t be parted from it. He says thank you very, very much, dear Grannie for it & the pretty card & sends a big hug & kiss. We all went to town for dinner & had a very nice time & it was a big treat for Mummy as well as Charlie!
On the Mon. evening Cec & I went to the N.R.C. party, & I’ll tell you all about that in my long letter. On the Tues. we had Lea & Wendell & Daryl to dinner & had a quite a nice time – Daryl is so much improved since they went to Carp & was very good. Did I tell you that Lea is preggy? Sometime in June. Isn’t it a good thing that they are at last settled? All that week was perishing cold – never got above zero for days & days, but on the Wed. we took the children to town to see Santa Claus & do our last shopping. Lindy wouldn’t go up of course but Charlie dashed up & asked for both his & Linda’s things, & then when he’d seen the trains, he dashed back to Santa to tell him where they were!

Scrapbook!

We had Lila & Santiago to dinner on Christmas Day – I went to Midnight Service on Christmas Eve – & had a very nice peaceful day & I think we all enjoyed it. Cec had the Mon. holiday, so we had a nice rest then. Last night we had Margie & Cy to dinner & bridge (gave Margie the little mitts) tomorrow night we’re having Dr & Mrs. Velasco (Spanish) to dinner, & on Sunday, Jim & Lee & the boys, so we are busy but it’s fun.
Thank you so much for all our Christmas presents – I love my earrings & Cec likes his cufflinks v. much & is delighted with his ashtray. My petticoat was a real surprise. Lindy is so thrilled with her ironing board & Charlie with his truck & all the things for their stockings. I’ll write again really soon & tell more. We all thought of you on Christmas Day & hoped you had a nice time. Lots & lots of love from us all, Cyn.

Christmas 1955

This Christmas the family was healthy and happy and had invited two of their favourite ‘singles’ from the Lab- Lila, and Santiago, a Fellow from Spain- to come for dinner. Both of them were good with the children who were happy to show their loot off! I had the ironing board I had apparently been wanting, and a doll’s bed and linens made by Cec and Cyn, I think. The doll was hard plastic and she walked, and Charlie had a selection of mechanical vehicles including a train.

Cyn made lists, of course, so thank yous could be written, and Carol properly informed.

The neighbours were not on Cyn’s Present List but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d received jars of Cyn’s festive mincemeat!

December 1955

This month is such a busy one for Cyn that her mother doesn’t get to hear all the juicy details about the celebrations until the New Year. In her two previous letters Cyn writes about her preparations for Christmas – in fact, her packing of parcels to send outside of Canada happened in November to make sure they got to their destinations in time- but there is no doubt she enjoyed ordering the children’s toys from catalogues, and making her Christmas cakes and pudding, more than writing the 80 Christmas cards they sent!

Cyn’s List of Parcels Packed!

Before Christmas, of course, there was a family celebration to be held: Charlie turned three!

Grannie sent a card and present, they had a cake for tea with the gifts, and now the children are old enough, they went out to dinner, a thing the cook always appreciated!

Charlie’ birthday was always the start of the holiday season for the children, with a big share-able present- in this case a wagon – wheels they could drive/ride around the unfinished basement with the tricycle when it was too cold to go out!

December 5 1955

Monday 5th Dec.

Dearest Mummy,
We all thought of you flying away south yesterday, and hoped that you had an easy, uneventful flight and arrive safely and promptly in Trinidad. Lindy got your letter and package of Betsy McCall’s today and was absolutely enchanted! Sat down at once and began cutting and was very happy. Both Lu & Myrtle told me they had got cards from you – in fact Lu phoned me up particularly to tell me someone had beaten her in sending out their cards- you! I went to town on Sat. afternoon & got ours but I have been putting off doing them- sort of have a scunner against the idea! Today I made my Christmas cake & a Christmas pudding & on Friday evening I made 8 pint jars of mincemeat, so I am quite well ahead in other respects.

In Lindy’s little note you said what a busy time you were having with all the parties etc. I hope that they were all fun & that you enjoyed them despite the rush. We went to the Ramsay’s party on Thursday evening & really had a good time. They had practically the whole department & had their basement all fixed up for dancing with a record player & a little bar & it was a lot of fun. Cec & I felt very hilarious & in a “let’s have lots more parties” mood after it, but unfortunately the Spectroscopy Christmas Party has fallen through, because of lack of support, so we have no prospects! I am disappointed as I think it would’ve been a good thing & fun, but it wasn’t until after they decided to cancel it that everyone became enthusiastic.


I hope that you find Auntie Gee & Auntie Trix well – also Sylvia & the rest of the family. It will seem strange to get back to the Christmas preparations in St.V. after the Christmas preparations in New York. It is still snowy & icy here & tonight is going to be 10° so maybe you left just in time to avoid getting nipped! We went round to Fanni’s this afternoon – me pulling the kids on the sleigh – & my ears nearly froze! We saw the little baby – chubby & pink & cute – another Peter! [Piotr, actually.]
Must stop – this is really just to welcome you back to St.V. & say that we are all thinking of you. Kisses from Lindy & Charlie & lots of love from us all – Cyn

December 28 1954

Tues.28th Dec.
Dearest Mummy,
Thank you so much for all our lovely Christmas presents. As you will know from my last letter Cec & I were so intrigued when your parcel came saying “picture”, but we were good & saved it & we were just bursting to open it on Christmas morning! I had imagined it would be a water colour, so it was a complete & absolute surprise to us & we think it is simply lovely. I remember seeing the pictures in wood in England, but how amazing that someone you know should actually make them – & so beautifully too. We were just saying that we would love to know what all the different kinds of wood are that he uses – does he prepare them himself from St.V. wood or does he get “sheets” of wood from England or somewhere? Anyway, we are simply delighted & both thank you very, very much for such a beautiful present.

Lindy has written you a “letter” to thank you for her darling little washing set, but I will enclose it in another of mine. I gave her some little notepaper & envelopes & she has been writing all her thank you letters! Much better than Mummy but she turns out 2 or 3 every minute! Both she & I are tickled to bits over the dear little washtub & pegs etc. & we have the clothesline strung between the table legs! Granny C. sent her some dolly clothes & they are all strung on the line! She loves the 2 little twin babies, but of course wants to take them out & so far I won’t let her! Charlie’s blocks are a huge success with both of them – Linda likes all the pictures & makes a big “castle” (with a very English “a”!) while Charlie likes to knock it down!! Also they love the birdies pecking & are having lots of fun with all their toys from Grannie – thank you so much, Grannie dear.
Already Christmas seems ages ago, but we had a lovely time. It was a strange Christmas in some ways – I told you in my last that we had 10 inches of snow a week ago – well, on the Thurs. we had 7 more inches, so you can imagine! It was so deep & Cec got stuck in the car just at the entrance to the driveway & had such a shovelling to do. On Christmas Eve it turned very, very cold & went down below zero so I gave up the idea of going to Midnight Service. I would have had to drive in by myself while Cec stayed with the children & I was scared of getting stuck when I parked, so I just stayed at home. Then on Christmas Day we were all by ourselves – the first time we hadn’t had anyone with us & it seemed quite strange but nice – I didn’t have to worry about having dinner on time or anything! The children were really sweet- Linda was a bit dubious about having Santa Claus in her bedroom so they left their stockings outside & Cec took them in later! In the morning Linda called & here was Charlie taking everything out & Lindy just sitting looking at hers! They came into our bed & looked at them – which reminds me Cec put your wee cutters in my stocking & they were so cute. By good management we got the children to eat breakfast & then see under the tree! Charlie was entranced with the car – sat in it & looked at nothing else all morning! The horse was quite 2nd place! Lindy loved her dolly.

The weather has been gorgeous – cold, snowy & brilliant sun. Lea, W. & Darryl came on Boxing day & yesterday (Cec had to go to work) he brought Lila home for dinner, so we have been quite busy! Got your letter of before Christmas yesterday – so thrilled to know you’re coming in May – never thought there was a chance, you wrote it so jokingly before. Must stop – will write lots more later. Lots of xxx & thanks from all- Cyn.

Love to A. Moo – will write soon.

December 19 1954

The inside of Linda’s was in French, but since neither of us could read…

Box 330
Ottawa RR1
19th Dec. 1954
Charlie’s Birthday.
Dearest Mummy,
I am afraid that I have left my Christmas letter to you very late, but I seem to have been so busy each evening, and I really felt so upset about poor Anne and Tadek that I couldn’t feel cheerful & Christmasy for quite a while. I still think about her so much of course & everything we do I can’t help contrasting with her and her little family, & feeling that we have so much. I had a letter from Anne last week – it crossed with mine to her. She thought I probably hadn’t heard as she realized that Smithy had sent her letter to Ethel Street. She was telling me more of the accident – it was a car coming up behind Tadek which knocked him off his bicycle – it was driven by a Baptist minister & there are no witnesses so he disclaims any responsibility so there will be no compensation. Tadek’s skull was fractured & he was taken to hospital & never regained consciousness but died 3 hours later – Anne was with him. Poor Anne – you know how desperately she feels things – I don’t know how she’ll carry on. It is Janita’s 4th birthday today & yesterday we got a card from her & little Chris to Charlie – so sweet of Anne to think of us in the middle of all her sadness. We had sent a card to Janita too but I’m afraid it would be late, as our local P.O. is still hanging fire – the grocery part of the store has been open for ages but they are still waiting for this, that & the other for the P.O. so in the meantime it is quite difficult to get things mailed & stamps bought, particularly as it has been very snowy.

We had a huge snowfall yesterday – on top of all we had before – and it was very wet solid snow so poor Cec has been shovelling hard for 2 days to get our driveway clear! Our garage being under the house the drive has quite a slope & if there is any big obstruction the car just sticks! One of Charlie & Linda’s presents for Charlie’s birthday was a pair of red snow shovels (quite big!) and so we thought it was silly to keep them one more day when the snow was so gorgeous yesterday so we gave them a day early & they were a huge success. Linda loves the snow – shovels & falls in it & rolls about, but Charlie is still very cautious if he falls down he is so encumbered with boots, snowsuit etc. that he just lies there & yells till someone picks him up. He hates a cold wind & he just cries to go in if there is one – I know just how he feels! Cec was to go down & get the tree yesterday, but the snow was so thick & he was trying to clear the snow all morning, so never got a chance. However I went downtown in the bus & had a good afternoon shopping & did everything I wanted to do. Ordered the turkey amongst other things – I got such a pleasant surprise – a turkey just over 10lbs. cost just over $5.00 – I thought it would be $7 or $8.00. Talking of turkeys reminds me of the beef tongue – 25¢ for the whole thing! But it is quite a joke – Mrs. Blachut & I (we go together, taking turns to drive) have discovered that it depends on which man is serving us as to how much it costs! I have had them twice & paid 25¢ each time but Mrs. B. gets them often & has paid up to 60¢ & 70¢ for them! It was a mess in town yesterday – crowds as you can imagine & ankle deep slush & water. I got my hair cut too & as everyone was really very cheery & good tempered despite the weather I came home feeling very pleased & as if I had done a good afternoon’s work!

Little Charlie had a nice birthday I think – he isn’t very conscious about things yet, but he knew something important was happening! When Cec & I said “Happy Birthday” to him at breakfast this morning I asked Linda if she would said it & she replied “Oh I said it to him in bed this morning!” She was very excited about everything & chose a card with a little boy on for him & helped me make the cake etc. The milkman set was a huge success – all it is, is a little red wooden crate with a handle & in it 6 little white wooden milk bottles, but Charlie just loves the real milkman! He always watches for him & I keep some little empty glass jars in one of my bottom cupboards & he plays that these are milk bottles. Well, I saw a little toy in some child’s house a while ago – a little wire crate with those little cream jars (glass) that you get cream in in the best restaurants here, so I sent off to tour the toy shops about a month ago, but no one had ever heard of such a thing! Finally I mentioned it to Esther Calaman (the girl with the baby to whom we’ve lent the playpen) & she had seen something of the sort in a little hardware store near her & got it for me. It was worth all the trouble as Charlie was entranced & has carried it around all day & given everyone milk. It was very sweet this morning – Linda took it away from him & wouldn’t give it back so finally when we took it from her & gave it to him she howled & was mad. Charlie watched her a while & then said “Linda not happy?” & when Cec said no, he said, “Make Linda happy!” & went over & gave her his precious milk bottles! They are beginning to squabble now of course & Charlie comes in tears saying “Linda bammed me” so yesterday Cec said “Well if Linda bams you, you should bam her!” So Linda then said indignantly “But then I would cry too!” Lindy has just invented a name “Miss Rabbit Mosing” which she either calls anyone or makes up someone to fit & Charlie has taken it up & it is so funny to hear him in his funny little deep voice, saying “Help me, Help me, Miz ‘Abbit Mosing!”
To continue with Charlie’s birthday he wants me to thank you so much Grannie for his lovely blue T-shirt, his little book & the pretty birthday card. The T-shirt is sweet & he put it on straight away & looks so nice in it with his blue eyes just as blue as the shirt. The little Indians are cute too. He dressed up in it with a nice little pair of brown short trousers (with a bib & straps) which Lea Gander gave him ages ago & with blue socks & brown shoes & he looked a pet. Linda had on your last Christmas present – the pretty pink dress with blue smocking. She looks lovely in it now – before it was a tiny bit big but now it is just right, & she looks like a little doll. She wears her sticky out taffeta petticoat under it & it makes it even cuter. The little book you sent is a great favourite already – especially as it has in “The Owl and the Pussycat” which Cec recites to Linda sometimes – as there was a bit in the middle he never could remember, this is a big help! Thank you very much dear Grannie & a big, big kiss from your boy. Both he & Linda were saying good night to your picture & the Queen’s picture hanging on their bedroom wall tonight.
Besides the milk bottles Cec got the children Sewing Cards which I don’t remember ever seeing before but Cec says they had them as kids. They are pictures with holes punched along the outlines & there are things like coloured shoelaces to thread through the holes [heavy cardboard dolls, as I remember them, with clothes to ‘sew’ on] Linda can do it quite nicely but Charlie likes to put the laces hanging around his neck best! Cec thought it might distract him from unlacing his (Cec’s) shoes which he is very partial to! The book for Charlie was about a puppy – he is beginning to listen to stories now but isn’t nearly as interested in books as Lindy. For her I got a dear little book of Prayers for Children. It has sweet illustrations of children & has all sorts of little prayers & graces etc. as well as The Lord’s Prayer, The Lord is My Shepherd, Gentle Jesus etc. I had been trying to explain God & saying prayers to her & a book seemed a good idea & she has been very interested in it.
I made Charlie a white cake with chocolate filling, white boiled icing all over, & then round the edge choc. cigarettes to make a fence & inside some chocolate covered animal crackers! I wrote Happy Birthday Charlie in blue & he had 2 blue candles! Boris & Joan came to tea & brought little ice hockey sticks for both & a ball, so we had fun! We all just hope the sticks won’t be used as weapons!
With not getting the tree we haven’t got our decorations up yet, but hope to do so tomorrow. One thing we have hung up is our Christmas stockings! I made them of green & red felt & they look very nice & are much admired! They are hanging in a line over our picture window so:

The names were written in white pipecleaner, which also featured in the decorations.

This is a very rough drawing but it gives you an idea. Cec & Bunny’s socks are green with red on, & Lindy, Charlie and mine red with green on. I have made my Christmas cake (by my old Cooking School recipe) but not iced it yet & want to make some gingerbread men.
We will be spending Christmas Day by ourselves after all. We asked the Ganders but not long after they came to see us that Sat. (2 weeks ago) Lee had a lot of blood from the rectum & although Dr. Smith didn’t think it was too serious she is taking things quietly & staying at home. We have invited Lea & family for Boxing Day – we felt they could hardly leave Mrs. A. on Christmas Day & also, mean as it may sound, we didn’t want to spoil our Christmas & really they are not cheerful company. They came out last Sunday, Lea & Daryl in the afternoon & stayed to dinner & Wendell later & Lea had quarrelled with W. & she told me it all of course & although I am on her side entirely & agree with her & think she has a wretched time, it doesn’t make for a jolly party.
I don’t think we have been anywhere or done anything since I last wrote – Cec has just about finished writing his paper & it will be off his mind before Christmas. I have been up to the ears with Christmas cards & letters – thank goodness they are all over.

She’d already sent 13 parcels off in November, and included this page for Carol in this letter.
Hard to read, but not as bad as bits of the letter!


Thank you so much for your letter (A.M. form) received yesterday Mummy- I do get one every week & always look forward to them. I know I should answer them more particularly, but I really mean to – please say to Jean when you see her that Charlie would be delighted with Charles’s suit!
How exciting getting all ready for A. Ettie & Monie’s visit – they will be all in a thrill getting ready for it too! Your new Christmas kitchen floor must be very nice & such a help. By the way I have ripped up my English dress & by this-ing and that-ing think I can fix it – will let about 8 inches in the skirt to make it look decent & countless other things- take out pockets, shorten bodice, shorten hem etc. etc. – doubt if I’ll get it done for Christmas!
Must stop – bedtime – I do hope that both you & Auntie Moo have a very, very happy day on Christmas Day. We will all be thinking of you & you can imagine just the 4 of us attacking our turkey! We are so intrigued with your present to us – it has arrived safely & is put away. Hope ours to you is in time.
Hugs & kisses from Linda & Charlie & lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn.

February 1 1954

                                    Mon. Feb 1st. 1954

Dearest Mummy,
Here I am at last to write that lallapalooza I keep talking about! You’re always so worried about this word lallapalooza & what it means – I’m sure you must have heard me use it a hundred times- just a real big whopper that’s all! I am feeling lots better now – I am still a bit yellow but the last 2 days the nausea has just about gone & I am eating fairly normally although no ravenous appetite as yet. The Fat Free diet isn’t bad except that eggs are out & of course anything made with fat. I get lots of fruit & juice & lovely lovely skim milk!
I had a wonderful surprise yesterday afternoon – there was a knock at the door & in walked Cec in a white hospital gown about 10 sizes too small for him! Apparently they have decided to let him in once a week, but it was so nice seeing him & getting all the news, although he had written me a nice long letter during the week & told me all about the babies. They seem to be getting on fine- Claire came in Wed. Thurs. & Fri. of last week & will come in all this week except Tues. so Cec can go into the Lab & not miss any time. The children are very good with her, Cec says & of course he gives them their breakfast & is home at 5 for their dinners. When he came yesterday Alec & little Nancy Douglas had gone up to sit with them (they were asleep when Cec left) but as Linda loves Nancy I don’t think there would be any fuss – & afterwards they were all going down to have dinner with the Douglases. Dr. K. hasn’t been in to see me the last couple of days (he told me he had a confinement due) but when he comes I want to ask him how long I’ll be here – it will be a week tomorrow since I came in & 2 weeks since I took sick. As usual Cec has heard of all sorts of people who have had jaundice & how long they were ill etc. so we feel lucky Dr. K. caught it so early with me. On Dr. K.’s advice Cec called Dr. Whillans about the babies & the risk of infection & he said to bring them over & he gave them each a shot of gamma globulin – it doesn’t prevent it but makes the attack very slight if they get it, so that is a relief. Cec sent me in a huge bundle of books & mags. last week so I have some thing to keep me going- also the Forsyths sent me a lovely big bunch of gladiolas and Mrs. Herzberg some beautiful red carnations – wasn’t that nice of them? I am trying to get all my Christmas letters written too but writing in bed is kind of awkward so I haven’t got them all done yet-4 to go I think.
Now at last to tell you a bit about our Christmas doings – although Christmas seems so far away now. To begin with little Charlie’s birthday which was the Sat. before Christmas. Of course he didn’t care, the little lamb, but we told Linda about it & she & I went to Dube’s during the week & got him cards and a present from her – the Kitten Wheel which he got triplicated at Christmas! It was Cec’s morning in bed, so we waited & had Charlie’s birthday after Daddy had his breakfast. We all gave him cards & besides Linda’s kitten wheel there was your book. Cec & I gave him “useful” things – a nice blue & white long sleeved T-shirt, a feeding bowl with compartments like Lindy’s, and a pair of red mittens with appliquéd snowman on. He took them all in his stride of course, but the funny thing was that he seem to know at once that the things were his & when Lindy went to take anything he made a grab & hung on! They’re pretty good about toys though & will give things to each other very nicely, but once in a while there is a tug- of-war & a battle! We went out & got the Christmas tree that afternoon so although I had made Charlie’s cake I hadn’t time to ice it & so I left it until the next day. Then on Sunday just as we were going to have tea with Charlie’s lovely blue & white cake with one candle who should arrive but Boris with a lovely big red truck for Charlie! He hadn’t been able to come over on the Sat. so just dropped in on the Sun. & it was so nice we had the cake & tea all ready.
On Monday morning Cec stayed home from work & we took the children down to Freiman’s to see Santa Claus! I can’t say it was a huge success as Charlie seemed very tired before we hardly got there, but the Santa was very nice & when I took Lindy up talked to her nicely. She had been saying for weeks that she was going to ask Santa for a carriage to put dolly in, but of course she didn’t say a word & I had to tell him, but afterwards she was talking about what Santa Claus had said!
I thought I done pretty well & had very little to do that last week, but golly – those few little things to make for the carriage & the doll & fixing the tree & so on & putting the cards on the bannisters seemed to take so long that every minute was taken. Cec came home early one afternoon & I went down town & shopped for a few last minute oddments for the children’s stockings & so on. On Christmas Eve Cec had a 1/2 day which was nice. I had planned to get all the Christmas dinner ready, but of course didn’t! However I got some things ready – my menu was- Cranberry Juice Cocktail, Roast Turkey, Stuffing, Gravy, French Beans, Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Relish dish (celery, radishes, olives, pickles, etc.), Orange Cream, Coffee. I made the cranberry juice & cranberry sauce & the orange cream – I decided to have the cream instead of Christmas pudding as I knew the children wouldn’t eat it & none of us are madly keen & I had planned to make a mince pie & have it hot with hard sauce & coffee around 10, but actually I never got it done & we were all stuffed anyway! Talking of stuffing I had planned to get the turkey all done of course but didn’t have a moment so I left it till the day- it was 13 lbs. & just a nice size. We put the children to bed and hung up stockings for them, but Linda really didn’t know what it was about & wasn’t excited which was just as well as they went to sleep nicely! Cec & I put all the presents under the tree & wrapped up ours & filled the stockings etc. Phyl & Alec were having “Open House” from 8:30 on & had asked us down. Dan of course had been invited too & we thought maybe when he’d been we could pop down for a minute, but oh no! – he was down on the dot of 8:30 & stayed till about 1:30 when everyone else had left – an old trick of his we’ve noticed before! So Cec went down for about 1/2 an hour & then when he came back I went down for a little – I took Phyl a jar of “our” mincemeat by the way & the raves & compliments I’ve had about it since! The nicest mincemeat they’ve ever tasted etc. Lucille & I swapped a jar to try each others (hers is the sweet kind) & Cec thinks ours is by far the nicer, so it has been a big success. After being at the Douglas’s I got ready & went over to St Margaret’s for 11:30 Service- it was just crowded to the doors, but I got in right at the back & a boy gave me a chair. It was very nice & so many people – even some in the Church Hall.
On Christmas morning the children didn’t wake up till 8:30 & we were glad after our late night- I must tell you though, when Cec sneaked into the children’s room to substitute the full stockings for the empty ones Lindy woke up & said “what’s that?” We just said “nothing” & she went to sleep again, but Cec said he was going to have to brush up on his Santa Claus technique! We took them & their stockings into our bed & they looked at their toys & Lindy licked a few of her candies but really they weren’t very interested! So we took them downstairs & had breakfast – dear Dan joining us! – & and then went into the sitting room with the tree & the presents! Lindy was at once taken up with her doll’s carriage – I don’t think she really would have cared if she hadn’t got anything else – she just loved it. The doll’s house doesn’t intrigue her 1/2 as much as I thought it would & she doesn’t play with it very much, but Charlie is rather fond of it & often sits & takes all the furniture out & then puts it back again or else carefully brings each piece over & gives it to you! Lindy handed out the presents & I sat & made a list on the spot of what was from who! Dan was in on all this & we had got him a shaving brush from Lindy & shaving soap from Charlie (we knew he had only about 2 bristles in his old brush!) so we felt we did our duty. All this time we had no idea if he had anywhere to go for Christmas dinner so we decided that if he said nothing & stuck around we just tell him we were having dinner at 5 & assume he was coming. However, he informed us during the morning that Shoosmith was coming at 12:00 to take him on a round of drinks & that 2 fellows from the Lab. were coming for him later to take him out to Christmas dinner, so were we relieved! I then set out to cope with my neglected turkey, but the children seemed tired & a bit cross, so I fed them & we put them to bed & I started in again- now nearly 1:00 when the 2 fellows from the Lab arrived to take Dan out to dinner. Cec got them a drink (in the meanwhile, thank goodness we had cleared up the mess in the sitting room & cleaned it) & I went in & was sociable for a little while. Then just left them & returned to my poor old turkey when in arrived Shoosmith & his son John (18) & another man from the lab! All very merry & full of Christmas cheer – not come to take Dan out for a drink at all, but to come in for a drink! So there I was again! In the end I took all the bread etc. into the sitting room & sat & made my stuffing with 7 men all making merry around me & of course the poor old bird was hours late getting in the oven! That’ll learn me to get it stuffed on Christmas Eve next time!! The children woke up at 3:30 & I just had time to dress them up prettily before the Ganders came. Lindy had on the pretty little pale blue georgette dress trimmed with white lace that Mary Egan sent her & a blue bow in her hair & she looked so sweet. Charlie had on his pale blue & white Viyella rompers that I got him from England & you couldn’t have seen two prettier little children anywhere I’m sure! Dinner of course wasn’t ready anywhere near 5, but I had canapés & Cec made drinks & we gave the children juice & crackers & they were fine. Lindy & Barry played away & had a grand time & Charlie was full of fun & chuckles. I had fixed up Linda’s little table for her & Barry & they were greatly taken with a pretty paper tablecloth & Santa Claus paper napkins – our table I had decorated with candles & our aluminum fruit bowl piled with little presents with a red ribbon to each place & glass Christmas tree balls. We were all so hungrey that everything tasted wonderful & we all ate enormously! Barry had a drumstick & Lindy a thigh & they tucked into them at a great rate. The drumstick just about finished Barry but Lindy had potatoes & jello & banana! Afterwards they played a little & we put them all to bed very sweet & happy & good. Jim & Lee & Cec & I just sort of sat around & talked & then Cec took them home around 10:30.

We didn’t really have many holiday frivolities to tell you about. Cy & Margie asked us over to a late dinner on the Sun. after Christmas & we had a nice quiet time the 4 of us. Cec & I had debated about having a party sometime, as we thought it would be probably our last chance as our next abode won’t be likely to have such a nice big sitting room, but we decided instead to have two evenings with about 6 people each evening. We went to quite a lot of pains not to have all Lab. or all Sask. people together, but in the end Lu got some kind of breast infection (she was just weaning the baby) & they couldn’t come, so by the time we juggled around they weren’t so well assorted, but it couldn’t be helped. On the Tues. after Christmas we had Mr. & Mrs. Hughes (from next door) Dr. & Mrs. Calaman (he is an English fellow & his wife is Swiss) from the Lab., & Chris (the Danish fellow) & Kevin (a fellow from Dublin) also from the Lab. We had drinks & chip dip (potato chips to dip into soft onion-flavoured cream cheese- everyone loves it) & we played “Rumoli”. It is a nice easy kind of gambling game that we played with poker chips & it was really a grand idea as everyone enjoyed it & it is very easy to learn & no skill involved! For supper we had lobster tartlets (hot) & toasted turkey sandwiches, olives rolled in bacon & grilled, & stuffed celery & radishes etc. – afterwards hot mince pie or fresh fruit salad & coffee of course. Everyone seem to enjoy it, & Cec & I congratulated ourselves particularly on the Rumoli because during supper & after Mr. Hughes quite got into form & monopolized the conversation with tall tales about his early days in Canada etc. & no one else could get a word in! Just at the end it didn’t matter but if we’d had no game & he’d begun earlier it would have rather cramped the evening!
On New Year’s Eve Cec & I just decided we weren’t going to bother trying to make any plans – it is so difficult to get sitters etc. so we just sat at home & had a nice little Celebration together – nothing like your gay time!! On the Sat. after we had Cy & Margie over & Stuart & Willa Woods – they are from Sask. and he works in at the Council- he came to dinner with us once at Ethel Street you may remember. We did pretty much the same, played Rumoli & so on & had fun. This time we had cocktail sausages on sticks, mushroom tartlets & sardine rolls & I made little “Petit Fours” with 1954 on & had those with Christmas cake.

I forgot to tell you that we went to the Gander’s for a turkey dinner on New Year’s Day. Jim had won a turkey at bowling, so although I felt it was a lot for Lee she insisted that we should come. We went about 4:30 & had a very nice dinner at 6. Afterwards we put the children’s pyjamas on & bedded them down in Jim & Lee’s bed – this was Charlie’s first experience of a bed & he thought nothing of it, but he was so tired he soon went to sleep. We had a nice game of bridge & at about 10:30 Charlie rolled onto Linda’s side of the bed & they both woke, so we popped on their snowsuits & they were full of fun & enjoyed the trip home!
I think that is the sum total of our holiday doings, but we did have one other funny evening. It was about the 2nd Sunday after New Year’s & we thought we’d try out my new Meat Thermometer so I got a nice sirloin of beef & when I had the dinner all cooking I said to Cec, “You know, this is such a lovely big dinner we should have someone to share it” so we called up Chris & he said he’d love to come & Dan came in from skiing & in the bigness of our hearts we asked him too! The dinner was grand – roast beef (done to a turn!) roast potatoes, cauliflower, Yorkshire pudding, pickles etc. & then small mince pies & Christmas cake with coffee. We put the children to bed & washed the dishes & then thought we might play bridge – and I got Dan as a partner! He was terrible! Screamed with joy if he got a good hand; howled & moaned if he got a bad one & then bid on it; overbid me on every occasion so that all night I played 2 hands- one in which he left me in a 2nd bid & one of which he put me up to 5 clubs without a card in his hand! When he didn’t get the bid he didn’t pay any attention to the playing & just threw cards away, so you can imagine what an evening it was— we always end our kind impulses to him by loathing him more than ever!
It is now Thurs. 4th Feb. so I’ll stop this now & mail it before it gets too huge. I feel fine now but Dr. K. says I must be in 3 weeks still. The days are so long with nothing to do, but at least just about half the time is over.
I will be writing again soon – hope you can read all the scribble.
With lots of love & kisses from
Cyn.

January 7 1954

My. pandemic Xmas jigsaw- nothing to do. with 1954!

7th Jan.1954

Dearest Mummy,

I was going to begin a long letter tonight, but writing this list has taken so long that I know I will get nowhere if I begin. We are bidden to the Herzberg’s tomorrow, so I think I will send this off as it is & write you of all our Christmas doings at the weekend. With having two long weekends of 3 1/2 days each at Christmas & the New Year I thought I would get so much done, but on the contrary – I got nothing done at all, & in between & since I have been scrambling to catch up! Of course we got up later & played with the children more & had visitors & went out, so I suppose I really hadn’t much time left after feeding everyone! The Christmas weather was disappointing with cold but very little snow but by New Year the temp. dropped way below Zero & snow has been snowing down! Everything is lovely & white & pretty & Lindy loves it!

Thank you so much for your lovely letter begun on Christmas Day, Mummy- it was sweet of you to write & I was so pleased you’d got our parcel- I feel I have neglected you over the holidays but will try to make up with a lalaplooza soon. 

                          Lots & lots of love from Cyn.

What follows is Cyn’s Christmas List of presents sent and received, and her comments on them, in chart form.  I am going to post pictures of the charts rather than trying to reproduce them- with 4 in the family, it gets more complicated. She doesn’t mention cards, but she sent them off earlier, and hung those they received along the bannister.

The only presents I remember from this long list is ‘Squirrel Nutkin’ for me, (one of my favourite Beatrix Potter’s) and the wooden boat with sailor skittles from the Heslops for Charlie.  It was sturdily made and versatile and lasted long after all the other things were lost in memory.