December 1956

This Christmas entry focuses on the presents that Cyn and her friends exchanged and certainly emphasizes what privileged and lucky children my brother and I were, with such a variety of gifts sent to us from so many people. But I want to point out that this practice forged connections, and by this age, Charlie and Linda were involved in some aspects of the gift selection, wrapping, parcels making, and, as Cyn’s letter just before measles confined them all to the house says, she and Charlie were successfully mailing the packages a week before the Post Office’s overseas deadline.
Because of their religion, the Russell Costains in Saskatoon did not celebrate Christmas, and presents were not exchanged, so growing up we did not have the same connection as we did to our other cousins- whom we may not have met but were asked to consider when asked what our little cousins in B.C. would like for Christmas. It wasn’t until we were teens that we met all our cousins, and our parents’ friends in England, but we had had years of sending parcels and receiving exciting and different presents that provided an introductory link. But our connection to those Saskatchewan cousins was never strong, which I’ve always regretted. (And Cyn may have acceded to the present ban, but she had included them among her 90 Christmas cards in 1956, and had enclosed the photo of the children that she sent to all the family as a Christmas gift!)

Carol was always interested in Church news and would have been very pleased to get this background information on Cyn’s minister whom she had met on both her Ottawa visits.

Christmas 1956

This letter is missing its first (and thus last) page so dating it is not possible. It discusses their respective presents, however, so it is written in early in January, after the measles quarantine and the quiet Christmas is over. The existing letter opens on page 2 with Cyn’s appreciation of the gifts that Carol had arranged to be sent by friends in England to Cyn and Cec.

… more than seven years ago or rather sad looking now & this one is very nice – not too thick, which he likes. Last but not least my twin set which I love. It seems such a long time since I had a really nice jersey & cardigan – as I wear them mostly in the house they are usually chosen for their economy & not their beauty, so I do feel luxurious! I am going to buy a good skirt & keep them for best – I will also make up my brown material from the Mill & wear them with it, but they definitely deserve a good skirt! All the family join me and saying thank you, Mummy.
We also got your other parcel – you mentioned a book for Charlie’s birthday, but it hasn’t arrived yet, so I gave him one & two of the things out of the parcel then – the little dog for one. The others I put in their stockings – the fan & the kitty needle case in Linda’s & a little boat in Charlie’s (don’t know how to make it go, by the way!) & the white necklace in mine. How clever of Mrs. Y to knit it – it is very pretty. All the little things helped out the stockings a lot- we never seem to find a little things as easy as the big ones. We also got your cards & Charlie his B. card – thank you again.

We were so delighted to get your letter & know that you had got the photographs & liked them. Of course we had great fun keeping them a secret from you as we had them taken in August, so Lindy wasn’t yet five. I wanted to have them taken before she went to school, so that they would still be little children! Once they get to school & begin losing their front teeth they don’t look so sweet! Paul Horsdal, the photographer, is a wonderful man, & as you can see, the children really had a lovely time & enjoyed themselves. He took 12 poses & they were all so good it was really hard to choose. We decided on four we liked best finally & we got for ourselves a big one of the laughing picture we sent you & then the three others the same size as yours so we will have a group! For other people we mostly got the laughing one, & one or two of a more serious one of them together & then some small ones of a profile with Cec likes very much. I was sitting opposite to them & making faces to make them laugh & they looked sweet & I was making the funniest face so he cut me off! We sent to Cec’s family & all the godparents & small ones to Nan, Dottie, Anne etc. so we ran up quite a bill but we felt it was worth it! We are most glad that you got such a surprise & liked them so much – we had been just pining to hear how you liked them!
I’m so glad that you all liked the other parcel too – it wasn’t much for you but I’m glad the brunch coat is useful – I hoped it would be. I still mean to send you a scrapbook but haven’t got one yet. I’m glad Doris and Luenda liked their little things – I thought the snowy picture would amuse Doris! Please tell A. Moo that I will write to her but just to let her know that the Canadian money was quite safe. I didn’t give it to the children as they seem to have so much but will save it for their bank account!
Since I last wrote we have been entertaining nearly all our friends which was lovely but oh! – I did get tired of washing dishes! Charlie’s birthday, poor little fellow we could do nothing as they were still in quarantine, but I have promised him a party this month instead as he is quite taken with the idea of a party! We had his favourite dinner & a birthday cake & then on the Friday (when quarantine was over) we went down town & saw Santa Claus etc. I was so pleased as Lindy went up & spoke to him this year, for the first time & asked for a dolly. By next year I’m afraid she will know it’s pretend as she has heard a few things apparently from Jimmy & is quite full of questions now! Charlie asked for a doctor’s set & a new mouse for Pussy!! We put up the tree on the Sat. & then on Sunday we had an Open House from 3 – 6 for everyone at the Lab. It was quite fun & quite easy entertaining although hectic in spots! I thought they would be spread out but as Cec said there was a big overlap in the middle! I served tea & coffee & Christmas cake, shortbread, gingerbread men, cookies (Christmas trees, stars etc.) & hot cheese scones & then we had sherry & marsala & other drinks & snack things like potato chips, cheese, crackers etc. Altogether we had about 20 people I think – the Douglases & Ramsays couldn’t come which was a pity but as they have most children & the ones we had seemed to be all over perhaps it was just as well!! All together it was quite a success tho’ I think.

On Christmas Eve I went to Midnight Service & got there early for once & got a proper seat! It was crowded as usual & I didn’t get home till nearly 2 a.m. & what do you think? It was pouring with rain as I drove in & out! I was disgusted – rain in Canada on Christmas. By morning it was snow though & since then we have had it really cold 20° below zero at New Year & just 10° below zero in the middle of the day. We had a nice quiet Christmas day – looked at our presents all morning (will send a list) & in the afternoon the Indian couple, Dr & Mrs. Narasimham & their little boy Prussad dropped in for tea. They couldn’t come to the Open House as they were at a reception for Nehru that day. I got a small turkey (6 pounds) & we had it & a tiny plum pudding & hard sauce & all made pigs of ourselves!
Cec went back to work on Boxing Day so Christmas seemed to end quickly, but on the Thursday we had Lea & Wendell & Darryl & Patty Lu to dinner & had a very nice time. Lea seems so well & happy & just delighted with her baby. She is a sweet little thing – all smiles & coos & Lindy is very intrigued. Charlie & Darryl play very nicely together now. On Friday we had Santiago to dinner, then Sat. Ken & Dot Scott came up for coffee & dessert after dinner. On Sunday Lee & Jim & Barry & Dougie came over for dinner & that was very nice too. It was a dreadful cold day & they insisted on coming in the bus but Cec drove them home. Dougie is so cute now – very dimply & still plump & babyish. On Monday we had the Forsythes over. They have just got a car & we were so pleased as now we feel we will see more of them. We invited… [We’ll never know- page 8 would have been on the back of page 1.]

December 17 1956

The scrapbook notation has measles too!

At the top corner of the page in gold ink: Isn’t this pretty? We have been signing our Christmas cards in GOLD! HAPPY CHRISTMAS! xxx Love from us all – xxx Cec, Cyn, Linda, Charlie. and then holly leaves and a decorative border. Plus red dots all over the first page.

Box 330
17th Dec. 1956.

Dearest Mummy,
These are not Christmas decorations – they are Measles! Hence this very late Christmas letter. I am afraid that it can’t possibly reach you in time, but I do hope it won’t be too very late as it brings all our good wishes for a lovely Christmas and lots of love.
Well – the Measles! Isn’t that horrid? But at least the worst is all over now & the children will be fine for Christmas which is wonderful. Also they didn’t get a very bad attack and both the little dears had it at the same time, so altogether they did as well as they could! It is ages since I wrote I know, but I really do seem to have been busy with one thing & another for weeks so I hope you’ll forgive me. Your nice Christmas letter came on Sat. & thank you so much for it – also Charlie’s parcel – I hope ours reach you in good time to make up for this late letter. I was most amused to hear of Uncle Fred & his excuses over not visiting us. I thought something like that had probably happened & believe me, I feel we would have been very quiet & dull after all the cocktail parties & gaieties! Do ask him sometime if by any chance he sent us a subscription to “Harper’s Magazine”. It has suddenly began arriving each month from the US & we can’t think who our benefactor may be! [Her Christmas Records show it was sent by their friend Lila, who must have told them eventually!] I was tickled about the panties for the girls & Aunt Mil’s glamorous négligée – I wonder if he has brought you something frivolous too. I’m glad that you were enjoying A. Mil’s visit & that she is feeling cheery.
I just made my Christmas cakes today – can you imagine! And I was really quite well on with my preparations a few weeks ago! However we have no plans for Christmas at all as the measles interrupted all plans – Lila is going home for the holiday & Santiago is going to the Moores’ so we will even be alone for Christmas dinner which I regret rather – I like to have a party! On the other hand I won’t have to bother whether I’m on time with the turkey or not! The last time I wrote to you was just after Bob Spellar’s visit & that weekend I had quite a sore throat & cold, so I managed to get someone else to take my S. Sch. class & had a nice peaceful time. The next week I was quite busy making my dress (the stripy grey) I’ll try to draw it!

You’ll be glad to hear I got a girdle to wear with it, but I was cunning – I got a nice big size, so it doesn’t slay me! The dress looked quite nice when it was finished & made me look taller as the stripes go up & down, but of course I had the usual trouble with the pattern not being an exact fit & having to make it shorter waisted etc. – such a pest! The Spectroscopy Party was on the Friday & it was very nice – quite talky- talky Cec said, but I never mind that! It was held in a house on the Driveway which is now an RCAF Mess & was very comfortable & pleasant & there was dancing, but most people just chatted – a very sober crowd! Linda was home 2 days that week with swollen glands under her chin! She had quite a puffy swelling & the Dr. said to put on hot fomentations which I did & they gradually disappeared. She was feeling fine & full of high spirits all the time, but it was amazing at the party, nearly everyone had sick children at home. It has been such a fall & early winter for colds & sickness.

The next week I was really busy. We had the Sunday School Christmas Party on the Saturday & Pat Tomlinson, Mrs. Dunn & I had the 5 & unders party on our own. We got $25 to spend & we got paper & made & mailed little invitations in the shape of bells to about 45 children. Then we made cookies for all, got ice cream & milk & I invited the mothers with my tiny ones & had tea for them.

Pat’s children got books as presents & I got jingle bells for mine & threaded them on red ribbons 2 lots for each child to tie on their wrists or shoes. They also got candy canes & we bought figures for a crèche, so altogether we spent our money quite freely! Actually there was quite a lot of work with all the shopping & making things & running around & preparations & so on, but all my children & mothers accepted ( 24 children) so we had a full house. I was glad when it was over though! And the next Sunday was the last S. Sch. before the holidays so I am having a breather now!
That week Lindy got her first report – it says she is “a quiet capable little girl & doing very well at school”! I also went down to school & met her teacher, Mrs. Albrant and had what they call a ”Parent Teacher” interview, which was nice, but Lindy is really doing so well we didn’t have any difficulties to discuss! I had a couple of dentist appointments that week – one to clean & one filling & we went to Joan & Boris’ one evening for dinner, so altogether we were on the go. The dinner at Joan & Boris’ was very nice & we saw pictures of Boris’ trip to Europe & a few more details which was interesting.

On the Sat. when the S. Sch. party was I had another wretched cold & both children looked a bit droopy. However, they didn’t seem to be ill, so we went anyway & then that night Linda was sick in the middle of the night! Next day I had to go & organize a few things as it was the last day of S. Sch. but I left them at home & again they seem not really ill, but not really well. [They’d probably infected the entire Sunday School by then anyway.] Mary & Jerry Swalen (Cec’s Fellow from Harvard) had invited us all to dinner that afternoon & we didn’t like to call it off at such short notice, so after much dithering we went & the children were o.k. though they didn’t eat much. However next day I kept Lindy home from school & during the morning phoned Fanni to tell her & she told me Janek was also sick & with a high fever. Then Pat Tomlinson phoned me to say Joanne was out in spots – measles! Janek came out the next day, Tuesday – Charlie on Thursday & Lindy on Friday! Apparently practically the whole kindergarten had it – anyway about 15 or 16 away at once, out of 30! Janek & Joanne & some of the others were very sick though with temps. of 104° etc. for 4 or 5 days, but we were lucky – Charlie had a slight temp. for 2 or 3 days then went to 104 the day his spots came out & then no more & Lindy was just high one day (won’t let me take her temp. the little so-and-so!) & hers was very quickly over. Charlie had 2 or 3 restless nights with me up & down all night & last night Lindy had a bit of earache, but all was calm today & they were up for a bit & are sleeping peacefully now. In the middle of all this – on Wed. morning actually – poor Cec got a bad attack of gastric flu which made him very miserable for a few days. He slept most of the time & went into work a bit on Friday but today was really the first day he felt back to normal. It was very odd cooking meals just for me though for a few days & feeding everyone else clear soup & warm milk! As you can imagine I had myself a busy little time!
The quarantine isn’t up until Friday so we are in the house all this week, but I hope we’ll get downtown on Friday to see Santa Claus. I feel so sorry that Linda is missing all the fun at school, but it isn’t so bad for her with all her friends missing it too! Charlie’s birthday is on Wed. of course & poor little fellow he was very set on having a party this year, but I have promised him we will have it sometime after Christmas instead – in some ways it will be better – for me particularly! I am still trying to write the last odd letter or so – which reminds me, I couldn’t send Jane & Bill a card as I forgot to get their address from you, but if you send it to me sometime, I’ll write to them. I wrote our last cards this evening & must turn my attention to cleaning the house. Then Christmas pudding & gingerbread men! I left Cec to cope on Sat. afternoon & went down town & finished off most of my shopping – things for Cec mostly. In my next I’ll tell you what I sent everyone – over 90 cards this year too – don’t know how it grows so!
Lots of love to Auntie Muriel and we all hope you have a very nice happy Christmas together. Love and hugs & kisses from Linda & Charlie and much love from us all.

Postmark on the back: 11 AM Dec 27, so it wasn’t very late!

November 22 1956

Thursday 22 Nov.
Dearest Mummy,
I don’t think I have a letter to thank you for as it’s not quite a week since I last wrote. However, I plan to sew industriously & make myself a dress so I thought I’d write before I got myself involved! I don’t know if I told you I ripped up that grey & yellow taffeta dress I had in my trousseau – anyway it had 4 yds. in the skirt so I am making a slim style out of it. I have been busy finishing off all the Christmas parcels & took them all to the P.O. & mailed them this morning ($4.60 for postage – groans!) & I am so thrilled with myself as I am a whole week before the deadline & usually I am tagging a few days behind! I have also ordered most of the children’s presents, so we are pretty well ahead & I am pleased! I got the things for my mincemeat last week but haven’t made it yet.

Cyn’s record of what was in the parcels she sent!

Cec had a cold over the weekend so we didn’t do much, but Linda & Charlie had quite recovered & they are fine now. On the Sunday the Ramsays dropped in to see us & had a cup of tea & in the evening Fanni & Teddy asked us to come around for a late dinner after the children were in bed. It was just lovely – Fanni gave us all sorts of intriguing Swiss dishes to eat & wine to drink – first tomatoes stuffed with cheese, celery etc.; then wiener shnizel (veal stuffed with cheese & egg & breadcrumbed & fried) & veg; then zabaliogne with wafers & then coffee & a nut torte! We were stuffed!
Yesterday I had such a surprise. The phone rang & it was Bob Spellar. Do you remember Grace & May Sutherland in Gosforth? Bob is Grace’s husband & it was they who introduced Dottie to her new husband & they live just nearby. Well, Bob is director of a firm in Birmingham & has been flying around the world for 2 1/2 mths & had just flown into Ottawa for a day, so I invited him & his manager who was with him, to dinner. I was so pleased to see him although as far as I can remember we had only met once or twice before, but he is an awfully nice man & it was such fun hearing first hand news of Dottie & her romance & everything. Incidentally he told me Dottie is preggy! Maybe it’s still a secret! We had a nice dinner & evening & all seemed to enjoy it. Bob thought Linda & Charlie were such a sweet good little children so he will take a good report to Dottie! It was the first person from the old N/C crowd that I had seen for 7 years, so it’s quite a time, isn’t it? He flies back to England next Tuesday – by the way their son is nearly 16 now & they have twin girls of 9.
I must get going & wash the breakfast & lunch dishes. Charlie & I took Lindy to school this morning & then went & got meat at Orleans & then took all the parcels to the mail etc. so the chores are still to be done. They are “resting” now- ha!ha!
Love to Auntie Muriel and lots of love for you from us all –
xxxxx Linda xxxx Charlie

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!


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.