April 20 1962

The Costain grandparents had spent the winter in the East, where the grandchildren were all older than Carman and Leona’s toddlers, and so, after the successful family gathering in Ottawa at Cec and Cyn’s for Christmas, it was happening again at Easter at Merle’s in Brantford, where Granny and Grandpa Costain were now staying. Merle and Dix’s two older boys were away at university, but Linda and Charlie enjoyed visiting their cousin Bruce. Cyn and Cec were also intending to visit friends in southern Ontario while they were there. We have no letters telling about the Easter trip, but it was immortalized in the scrapbook!

Good Friday

Dearest Mummy,
It is real Good Friday weather – lovely and sunny and warm & reminds me of some of the days at Bellingham & Warkworth. I have just been to Church and have finished writing 20 letters to various Rector’s wives etc. enclosing complimentary tickets for our Bazaar! My arm is wearing out but it must be used to hard work after all the painting!
Our painting is more or less finished – in the sitting room I mean. I have to put a 2nd coat of enamel on the window frames but that will have to wait. I was so lucky & got the name of a lady in Cardinal Hts. very close by, Mrs. Proulx, who wanted to do a little work each week so I got in touch with her & she came and cleaned for me yesterday & did a very good job. She was most thorough & worked & got all the paint off the sitting room floor & it looks so nice. Cec has scrubbed all the bamboo curtains & put them up & everything looks lovely & clean. Mrs. Proulx is going to come for a morning every week, so I feel very happy & relieved as cleaning is not my favourite thing & I am out so much with the Guild that I felt it was really getting on top of me.
We set off early in the morning, will call on Auntie & Uncle in Toronto & onto Brantford. Cec & I have a room in a motel as Merle will be crowded with Mom & Dad too, but I was horrified last week to get a call from Lea & hear that they are going too! Aren’t I mean? But what a crowd for poor Merle – they will sleep in sleeping bags on rubber mattresses but can you imagine such a crowd in the house all day & for every meal? We go to the Douglasses on the Tues. & Forsyths Wed. & home Thurs. We took poor Nicki to the Kennels yesterday and she was so scared.
I went to see Eve P. at the Civic with her baby on Mon. & it is a dear little thing. I also visited poor old Myrtle Rothwell who is in for 2 weeks for deep heat treatment for the arthritis in her hip, so I felt I had done a GOOD Deed!
We all send love & best wishes for your Happy Easter Birthday –
Much love
XXX from L & C.

April 23 1957

Box 330
R.R.1 Ottawa
10:30 a.m. 23rd April.

Dearest Mummy,
I am ashamed of not having written for such a very long time – I don’t know how it is I seem to achieve so little these days & be constantly disorganized! However this morning I have got my washing out on the line early & Claire comes tomorrow to clean so I thought, “To heck – I’ll leave everything else & write to Mummy!”
We are having the most beautiful Easter weather – it began on Good Friday & has been sunny & warm & heavenly ever since. Before that it had been dry but quite cold for so long – all the snow melted early but up until last week the ground was still frozen & we have had hardly any rain & with not so much snow as usual, the gardens are as dry as a bone already. The children are having a wonderful time out in the sandbox. Cec fixed Charlie’s wagon on Friday & he has been out with that wagon every available moment since, but I see he’s changed to sand now! His little face is quite pink & sunburnt & both of them look so well. Actually Lindy wasn’t too well at the beginning of the weekend – she was very tired & drooped & not eating on Wed., but Thurs. seemed quite perky & was very keen to go to school as it was the last day before the holidays. She didn’t seem too bad all day although no appetite, but on Fri. morning she didn’t feel well & stayed in bed. We were supposed to be all going over to Jim and Lee’s for dinner in the afternoon, so I had to phone Lee & tell her we couldn’t come & we were all disappointed. I was worried that Linda might be sickening for something as there are mumps & chickenpox around, but it turned out to be a little tummy flu I think as she had a bit of diarrhoea & a little temp. On the Sat. she felt a bit better & was out & about but she is just beginning to eat fairly normally now. I think I had a touch of it on Sun. as I had the trots & felt very tired – went to bed at 9 p.m. & slept for 12 hours & felt fine yesterday!
We had quite a busy day on Sun. as I meant to go to 8 a.m. service, but had a restless night (this sudden hot weather!) & was wide awake at 5 & fast asleep at 8! So I went at 11 instead & had just got home & Cec had bathed the children when the phone rang & this was Joyce & Les Haywood & their 3 girls. They’d been to Montreal for the weekend & were in Ottawa on the way home, so they came right over & we had coffee & chocolate cake (which providentially I had made on Sat.!) They left about 1:30 & we had a scrambled lunch & Cec took the children over to visit Lila. She has recently gone to live with an old lady who was to be away for the weekend, so she had invited the children for the afternoon. We went & collected them about 6 laden with chocolate bunnies etc. Lila had had an egg hunt for them with those coloured candy eggs & they had enjoyed looking for them but then told her they didn’t like those eggs & didn’t want to take them home! Poor Lindy has had the worst time trying to pretend there is an Easter Bunny! I have never said much about it as we in England didn’t have it but this year in kindergarten they have heard the whole thing & although she knows we really give the eggs she has been pretending it was the Bunny! On Easter Sunday morning Charlie, who was rather confused by all this, said “Did you give me the Easter Egg or did the Easter Bunny?” & I – who had put my foot in it once or twice with Linda, said “Oh, the Easter Bunny gave it to me to give to you” whereupon Lindy gave a great smile & said “Oh I am so glad you told a lie about it “!!

Note final sentence.
Cyn’s College Recipe- amended for larger amounts!
Chickens mandatory!

Yesterday we had Fanni & Teddy & their 3 boys over for tea & I made a Simnel Cake – do you remember them? The last one I made was in College but this one was nicer – I had to grind the almonds myself for the almond icing though! In amongst all these activities Cec has been so busy, first tidying up the garden & fixing the long narrow trench where we had a few rosebushes & some chrysanthemums. We have ordered 6 more roses so he took out all the chrysanths & dug in manure etc. & got it all ready. Then he has been painting – finished the bathroom in pale yellow, very pretty & last night we began on the kitchen. We painted all that bright pink woodwork pale blue & it is a vast improvement & we will paint the walls pale blue too. The cupboard doors are still stained brown, so there will be some contrast & I am getting some material to make just a frill across the top of each window – blue & white I think.
I have been making up the children’s sheets & pillowcases. I made the winter flannelette sheets as soon as I got the material, but just got the cotton ones done now. I also made Lindy a pretty little pink flared skirt out of the pink material Nan sent me. I had asked her to get Lindy a Viyella-type dress & pants & the little pink & blue dress she got had no pants so she sent a yard of pink Dayella. It was much too pretty for pants so I made this little skirt & it looks very sweet. We got Charlie a navy blue raincoat you know, & he is thrilled – “I’m just like a little man” he says “With a long draggy-down coat!” It’s nice & big you’ll gather!! I have begun making the slip cover for the big old sofa, but so far have only one cushion made, but it looks nice! I am going to try and get it done this week though, as once I get going at it I don’t think it will take too long. Another thing I made was a hat! Lu took millinery classes this winter & promised to show me how to cover a “hat form” if I got one. So I got one in Woolie’s for 29¢ – just a white buckram shape like a crescent moon & took it & some of the pale green material of my dress over to Lu’s & she showed me how to do it – you stick the material on with household cement! I lined it & trimmed it at one side with a few dark green feathers & it is very nice I think! Anyway with that & my dress I have a new outfit!
I really have needed them as we have been really social lately. Last Thursday Boris & Joan suggested that we join them & Jerry & Mary to have a Chinese dinner downtown, so we all met & had a lovely feast! We then went to Joan & Boris’ & had dessert of fruit salad & coffee & it was a very pleasant evening. The Sunday before Santiago invited us all out to dinner, so we drove out to the island & had a Chinese dinner there too – except the children had chicken. It was very nice also & Dr. Velasco (who was there too) & Santiago came home & spent the evening with us. The week before was my birthday week & so we went out to dinner with Cy & Margie on the Friday. We went to the Château Laurier & had a drink & then went to the French Buffet & thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was the first time Cec had been there & he thought it was just as nice as we did. Actually on my birthday Cec redeemed a long time promise & had us all to lunch at the Council. [Government Cafeteria, nothing special.] This was the biggest treat to the children & they thought it was wonderful seeing so many people they knew all eating their lunch too!
We were at Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg’s one evening & he had just recently returned from a trip to India & he had lots of lovely colour slides which he showed us & he also brought back all sorts of beautiful saris & stoles & carved things & turquoise jewellery etc. for Mrs. H. & Agnes, so it was very interesting, although he had so many colour pictures (& quite a few the same) that I had a hard time keeping awake while he was showing them!
We have been trying to pay back some of our social duties too as with me being ill we were away behind & seem to owe everyone. We had Mary & Jerry & a friend of theirs from Harvard who was up working in Cec’s Lab. for about 6 weeks & a couple called Beer from Ann Arbor. He was in Gordon’s Group & we met them last summer (Cec knew him already) & he is now at the Council as a Fellow in another Dept. Gunborg assumed we would be great friends as Mrs. B. is English but this was our first get together! Then another evening we had another man from the Council in another dept. whom Cec likes very much. His name is Andy Dunn & we were also interested because his wife comes from Trinidad! They met in Halifax apparently where she was at school (her parents are Canadians living in Trinidad) but the funny thing was that I mentioned I had relatives in Trinidad & that one of my cousins owned the Coblentz Hotel & her parents live on that very street! Mrs. D. knew the house & the family who used to live in it years ago when she was a girl – wasn’t that funny? Actually we didn’t like her as much as him, although she was all right & we had quite a good bridge game.
Do you remember me talking about a Swiss fellow at the council called Kurt Dressler and us going to his wedding to his fiancée last May? Anyway Susi was pregnant & about Feb. the doctor told her it was twins & that they quite likely would come early, so this was great excitement & at the end of March twin boys were born. They were quite big 6 pounds & 6 lbs. 3 oz. & I went to see Susi in the hospital & saw the little fellows & they looked very cute – dark-haired & nice & big, not little teeny things like most twins! They are called Lucius & Rainier! I took them little sunsuits made of terry towelling you know – one bound in blue & one in green. I am taking the children to tea tomorrow as Lindy is very keen to see the babies! Susi is kept busy as she is feeding them herself & they eat every 3 hours!

Talking of babies Dottie should have hers by now & I am most eager to know what it is – I can’t help but think a baby boy! I haven’t sent anything yet as I wanted to wait & see so that if it was a girl I could send a very feminine gift!
Yesterday was your birthday & we all wished you many happy returns & thought of you. I do hope that my parcel isn’t very late – I had part of it ages ago but wanted one or two other little things & didn’t get downtown for ages. I’m afraid I still have the children’s card not mailed, as I thought we had one for them & then found it was an Easter card & by the time we got one the P.O .was closed for Easter but will send it- better late than never! I hope you had a lovely day & drank your health as nicely as you drank mine. We got all the Easter cards from you & A. Muriel & thank you so much for them. A. Muriel is so good about remembering us & I’m afraid I owe her so many thank yous but since I was ill I seem to have got so behind hand. When I rest every afternoon & go to bed early I get nothing done! By the way, while I was visiting Dr. Kastner I showed him the little bump on my hand that I thought had a piece of glass and & he took me in at the Outpatient Dept at the St. Louis Hospital one day & gave me a local anaesthetic & tried to get it out. Of course it bled so that it was like looking for a needle in a haystack so he doesn’t really know whether he got it out or not! Anyway he stitched it up & I had a bandage on for a week or so but it is all healed & all right now. There is still a sort of bump there but it doesn’t hurt to press on it as it did before, so I think it is an improvement. I am still taking my iron & am to go back to see him next month. How are your vitamins doing? Do you feel that they are doing you any good?
You will be amused at one thing in your parcel – I sent you a little maple sugar to compare with your cane sugar. I was so pleased this year because I found a maple sugar farm not far from Orleans & took the children out one afternoon to see the sugaring off. It was such fun that we took Lila the next Sunday & it was the first time she & Cec had seen it either. We saw the sap collecting from the trees, but the most interesting part was the sugaring shed where it is boiled in flat open pans over wood fires and then depending on the length of boiling they make syrup, taffy on the snow, or sugar. The children don’t really like the sugar – it is so strong but when Lila was with us we came home & had pancakes for lunch & Charlie kept up with the rest of us. Lindy actually eats pancakes now, which is a great concession but she has honey on them!
I must stop now & get my washing in & wash the dishes etc. etc.! I will write again soon & answer all your nice letters – I have them all here to reply to, but there wasn’t room in this one, but one thing – I would love a brunch coat – thank you very much!
The children send big hugs & kisses – Charlie still has your letter under his pillow!
Love to A. Muriel & lots & lots for you