When reading the somewhat infrequent letters that survive from 1960-61 after the 3 year gap, the thing that strikes me is how things have changed. The children have grown, of course, and are more independent, involved in outside activities and performances, but also the community has grown. Both the Anglican and United Church congregations have now got their own ministers living locally- Mr and Mrs Bowen with daughter Deirdre in my class were the Anglicans- and have buildings near the school- the United Church building a modern church with rooms on the sides, and the Anglicans have a Hall, dedicated in December 1960, with an altar that could be screened off leaving a space for other activities, with a choir balcony over the entrance. There was a vestry, kitchen, and nursery off to one side and a a second story above those rooms, for the Sunday School classes. As well as taking the littlest ones in Sunday School, Cyn was very involved in the Ladies Guild which took fundraising seriously, and Carol was interested in hearing all about it.
Cec has professional travel plans that take him further afield- Europe in May and June of 1961- where he can meet and catch up with colleagues, former Fellows, and their work- and families.
As for neighbours, Joanne and Susan had a baby brother now, and the Savics who lived a little beyond the Blachuts and had 2 older boys, had become friends through the NRC and church, so Margaret Savic had coffee with Cyn, Fanni and Pat, and Charlie played football with Mike.
Friends further afield had had changes too. Charlie’s godfather, Dr. Charlie Stainthorpe, was a widower now, and was going to visit Ottawa and see us in June; and my godfather, Dr. Gordon Sutherland, had been knighted, and Cec was hoping to visit Sir Gordon and Lady Sutherland while he was in England.
2043 Montreal Rd.
17th May, 1961.
You can probably type better than I can now, but I thought that as this was going to be a long letter it would be more economical on the postage to type it! Do you have fun using your little typewriter? You must be getting pretty good at it now as you seem to be practising regularly. You asked in your letter once how long it took me to learn to type fairly fast, but you must remember that I was at that Secretarial School for a year, and typed every day for quite long periods, so we can’t really compare.
We have two big topics of conversation today – the Ottawa weather and the visit of President and Mrs. Kennedy. The weather is quite extraordinary – at the weekend it was simply beautiful, warm and sunny and like summer – all the tulips came out and the leaves and grass were so lovely and green, and then it got so hot that it just about finished us and the flowers! On Sunday it was over 90 degrees, and Sat. and Mon. it was up to 80, then of course on Mon. evening we had a tremendous thunderstorm with a tremendous lightning flash which hit the telephone pole just across the road outside Mrs. Cardinal’s house and put all the telephones in the area out of order all yesterday. I know you will think this was a great hardship for me, but I didn’t even know it till first Myrtle and then Miss Sproule came and asked me! After the storm it began to get cooler of course, and by the evening yesterday it was really cold and the furnace was on, and now this morning it is down to 40 degrees, and we are all back in our winter clothes again! Such a shame to be so cold for the President’s visit, but apparently there were thousands of people out to welcome them yesterday afternoon when they arrived and they said on the radio that there were crowds already waiting around Parliament Hill. We had thought that we might go to N.R.C. yesterday and watch them drive past to Gov. House, but Charlie got an invitation to a birthday party for 5 o’clock, so this was just the wrong time. Linda had to be at Brownies at 6:30 too, so it would have been a rush. Today Cec is taking the car to have a check up, so our only chance will be to go this evening and watch them drive to the American Embassy for dinner at 8 p.m. which actually will be rather nice I think, as Jacqueline will be in evening dress, but I hope it isn’t a dull evening or we won’t see much. They leave tomorrow and of course I could see them then, but the children will be in school.
Charlie’s party was a big success. They had dinner at the little boy’s house, and then the father took them to the movies to see a funny film “The Absent-Minded Professor” which Charlie thought was uproarious! – They didn’t get home till nearly 10 o’clock, so he was feeling very much the worse for wear this morning!
I am feeling very relaxed now because all our big events are over for the time being. Of course, Cec leaves a week on Friday, so he is as busy as a one-armed paper hanger, as Til used to say, but although he is going back to work a lot and working very hard he seems to be fairly content with the way things are going. I am content because I got him to come down town with me last week and we bought him a new suit and a new pair of shoes, and I have got his raincoat and his other good suit cleaned so I feel that I am getting my jobs done! The suit is very nice – a mixture of wool and dacron, and is dark blue – not quite as dark as navy, but a nice colour and Cec looks very nice and clean in it!
The last big event I was talking about was Linda’s Ballet Recital on Saturday afternoon. I think I told you that their class was doing “Mistress Mary and her Garden” and Linda was one of Mary’s friends in a red and white striped skirt, white blouse with puffed sleeves, white apron, wide red belt and big red bow in the hair. The theme was that the garden wouldn’t grow, so the little friends call in the bees, butterflies, birds, sun and rain to help, and all these are little children in costume and they all do a little dances, then the silver bells, cockle shells and pretty maids all perk up and do their dances, and last of all Mary and her friends do a joyful dance. It was very sweet, and of course the tiny ones who were bees and butterflies were a riot! They always forget what they are supposed to do and try to see their Mummies and drop their wings and other antics which greatly add to the enjoyment! The other teacher’s class did a ballet too about ‘The Magical Cat’ or something, but of course it wasn’t so good! As I told you it was a roasting hot day, and the children were all there all morning rehearsing and then all afternoon for the show so they were all tired.
Sunday was Mother’s Day – do you remember “Fresh, I am your Mothaw”? [reference to a comic strip, as I recall- Dick Tracy perhaps?]– but as Cec had been at work the previous night till 2 or 3 o’clock I didn’t get breakfast in bed. Instead the children and I just had tea and toast before church, and then afterwards when Daddy got up we had brunch with Daddy cooking the bacon and eggs. Charlie had made me a raffia frame with a picture of himself at school and Lindy gave me a clip she bought at the White Elephant stall at the Bazaar and a bottle of eau-de- cologne and Cec gave me a very pretty pair of baby-doll pyjamas, so I did very nicely. I hadn’t the strength to make a cake, but I made a Swiss roll with a chocolate filling and as I had a chicken, we took it outside, and cooked it on the charcoal grill. I forgot to tell you, that on the Friday I was asked to come down to the school at 3:30 to see Linda’s teacher, and at first I thought “Horrors, what is the matter?”. Then I discovered all the mothers had letters too, and little things began leaking out, and in the end when we went, here it was, a Mother’s Day Party! We were all ushered to our children’s desks to find a card for us and a corsage no less! Then the children served us tea and cookies and then a big Mother’s Day cake! They were all very attentive and so thrilled with themselves!
All last week I spent trying to catch up with myself after the Bazaar. The house needed cleaning and I had letters to write and washing and ironing to do and I wanted to begin making some summer clothes for Linda and myself, but of course I haven’t got around to that yet. Just to complicate matters, the day before the Bazaar our water heater burnt out, and we had no hot water. It just did it all quietly in the night, but Cec had quite a time getting the old element out and then chasing around town trying to get a new one to replace it. However, he managed and it is fine again. Then last week I was in the middle of a big wash and went downstairs to find the whole thing silent and still and a horrible burning smell – not to mention all my sheets sitting half done! Fortunately, it was a nice sunny day, so even if the wash was very drippy when I got it on the line it did dry before too long. Cec says the motor must have burnt out, and as we don’t feel like spending money on repairing the old machine we are going to shelve the matter until Cec comes home from Europe, and in the meanwhile I was down at my old friend the Coinwash yesterday! Of course we had to have three things go wrong and the last was our toaster, which began toasting only one side of the bread, but clever Daddy soon fixed that. Now, I only hope nothing else decides to go wrong while Cec is away!
Are you and Auntie Muriel interested in a recipe for a delicious lemon cake? I got it last week and tried it yesterday and could eat it all, it is so good. It is baked in a loaf pan, has 2 eggs, and while it is still warm you pour a mixture of lemon juice and ordinary sugar over the top which makes a lovely sugary crust. Yum! I had such a busy day yesterday- Pat Tomlinson was going to walk up with the baby so I asked Fanni and Margaret to come and have a cup of coffee and see the baby too. However, I had the car so decided I must make full use of it, so I got everything ready for the coffee and then drove over to Orleans and got my meat before my guests arrived. After they left, the children came home for lunch and then I collected the washing and went to the Coinwash, and afterwards to the cleaners with Cec’s things and to the Library and to get Charlie a birthday present for his little pal. After tea I drove Charlie to his party, then got dinner, saw Linda off to Brownies, and set off for a Guild Meeting at 8:30! I yawned through most of it, but managed to sell quite a lot of my left-over aprons to the girls! Most of the meeting was a hash-over of the Bazaar of course, and although we still haven’t all the ticket money in, we think we will have made around 600 dollars. Actually this is about 60 dollars less than last year, and one year we made about 750 I think, but I think on the whole money is tighter this year. Another thing too, is that we have put on so many things during the year that on the whole year’s achievements we are way up, and after all you can’t expect either the Guild or the visitors to spend as much at one thing or work as hard if they have been giving all year long. Also, it was in our new hall, and although it looked lovely, it isn’t nearly as big as the school was and so we were more crowded, and some of the stalls that we had to put up on the balcony didn’t do well at all, because people just didn’t go up there. Our stall, the Handicrafts and Aprons did much better than I ever hoped, because we made nearly $80 after the expenses were paid. I didn’t think we would do it very well because at my suggestion we had put it all the little children’s things that I had sold so well the previous year on a special stall for children, so actually we had no small cheap selling things, and we really didn’t seem to have very much, but we made the stall look very pretty – Joan Mainwood’s husband made us a thing like football goal posts which we put over the stall and covered with green crepe paper, and then we had a pink sign ‘Handicrafts’ hanging from this and we decorated it with pink paper roses and leaves and it really stood out and attracted the eye. The tea room had to be in the hall too of course, and you know where the red curtains in front of the altar were? It stretched from there back to the other side of the opening into the kitchen. They had screens across the hall there, with entrance and exit, and they covered these with green paper and they looked very nice but of course it took up a lot of the space.
The hall did look very nice as we kept all the decorations in white, green and pink, so that they harmonised, and then do you remember Emil the hairdresser’s wife went in for artificial flowers? Well, Edna Thomas who looked after the tearoom is a great friend of Ruth Arndt’s, so she had the idea of renting flowers from Mrs. Arndt and it worked out very well. She made a pretty little vases of small flowers for all the tables in the tearoom, and of course they not only looked very sweet, but did away with the worry of spilling water and children knocking over etc. and then she made up two lovely sheaves of big flowers – gladiolas etc. in shades of pink and fastened these to the wooden grills that are on either side of the altar, in front of the red curtain. Then along the green covered screens in front of the tearoom she put trails of ivy draping over the top and on the Front of the balcony clusters of fern and hydrangeas, so that looking up it looked very attractive. Mrs. Arndt came and arranged all the flowers and worked for hours on the Friday evening and for all this and the rental of the flowers it came to less than 4 dollars, and even this we covered because we sold the little table vases at enough profit to pay for it. Wasn’t that good? They really did help to make the hall look very gay and spring- like and quite a number of people remarked on them. We had our M.P.’s wife, Mrs. Paul Tardiff, to open the Bazaar and she was very nice – a fairly small plump French woman in a smart black suit and a most fancy hat composed entirely of pale pink silk gladiolas! Mr. Bowen introduced her and then she made a short speech opening the affair, and then I thanked her, and little Glen Ashton (the little son of the one you used to call “the pretty girl” – she has a baby now too) presented her with a corsage of pink rosebuds which exactly matched her hat! Wasn’t that clever!? I wore my navy and white dress and jacket and my pink hat.
Talking of babies, Mrs. Cook, the United Church Minister’s wife has a son – a huge baby I hear, but apparently they are both doing well. The Bowens are leaving at the end of next month but so far we have heard of no one else coming. We have been busy in the Guild deciding what to give Mrs. Bowen for a parting gift – it hung between an electric kettle and a pewter tray, and the tray won, although personally I would far prefer the kettle! The Church will also be giving something, but I haven’t heard anything about it yet. Our kitchen is still only partly done and all the men have begun working on their gardens, so goodness knows when it will be finished. Discouraging! The Guild even offered to pay for someone to come and finish the cupboards etc. so that at least we could put our china away, but no, they said they were going to do it!
Mrs. Barltrop came back from England just before the Bazaar, and brought her Mother back with her no less! The old lady is 87 I think, but apparently full of go and was at the Bazaar, although I didn’t see her. I was talking to Eve [Eve Proudfoot, the granddaughter] on the phone the other day and she was saying that they were going over to Simpson-Sears and Carlingwood Shopping Centre that day and going shopping and having lunch, so she must be pretty spry. Mrs. B. said something at the Exec. Meeting about going into the hospital in the fall, but I didn’t enquire about it. Your friend, little Mrs. Davis, is going to be on the Exec. next year – we don’t have our elections till next month, but it is hard work getting one candidate for each job, let alone an election, so we don’t have much competition. It seems obvious that I will be president, willy-nilly!
I am answering all sorts of odd questions you have asked from time to time, so this will be very disjointed, I’m afraid, but at least your curiosity will be satisfied! Re. Pauline Johnson on the stamps, she was a Canadian poetess, apparently, and either Indian or half-Indian. She lived near Brantford where Merle lives, and when we were there last summer we went to the Six Nations Indian Reserve there to see a Pageant, and I think Pauline Johnson lived there long ago and her father was some big chief or something! By the way, Cec’s Mother and Father aren’t coming down this summer after all. They seem to like it so much in Penticton and be happily settled there, so it would really be a pity for them to give up the apartment and make the long trip down here and visit from one of us to the other, which after all is very tiring. Also, I think they are very happy to be near Leona and Carman and the children, and we had a letter from Leona not long ago telling us that she is expecting again. We laughed, as Leona said “Carman and I were quite horrified at first, but we are used to the idea now. I used to think I wanted five children, but no longer – three will be enough!” She was in the hospital when she wrote, as she had been having quite a lot of trouble, and I think had had a rupture, but was going home soon, so I am sure they will be glad to have Mr. and Mrs. C. near by.
This has changed our plans for the summer somewhat, as Merle is going to finish her Summer Course in Toronto during the vacation, so this finishes our idea of sharing a cottage with them somewhere, but we are thinking of trying to get a cottage somewhere about halfway between them and us, so that they could perhaps come and spend the weekend with us. We don’t want to spend much money this summer on holidays as Cec will probably have to spend a bit on his trip, and also we want to save money for 1963 and our European Jaunt! [never happened.] You will have to consider trying out one of those nice banana boats and we will have a reunion in London.
You sent me Jean’s address for Cec but I didn’t even mention it to him as he is not going to Oxford, and his time in England is so crowded that it will be a toss up as to whether he can see half the people he wants to. He will be less than a week in England and he will be in Cambridge and Birmingham as well as London. One person he himself suggested that he would try and visit is Miss Lefroy, [Carol’s former headmistress, and family friend] but if he does find he has time to go he will telephone first. I haven’t even told Anne in Cambridge because he isn’t sure if he will have a spare moment. He is staying in St. John’s College the two nights he will be there and is pretty well booked up with people he has to see. He leaves here on Friday 26th and arrives in Brussels (jet) where he sees men who were Fellows here and sees a little of Brussels and Namur.
Then on Sunday he goes to Amsterdam and is there for the whole week at the conference and gives his paper. He goes to Denmark for the first weekend in June and visits the University of Copenhagen, where he will give another paper and sees two Professors who were over here and whom we know. About the Tues. or Wed. he goes to Sweden and stays with the Klemans in Stockholm – they were here for two years a while back. He visits the University and sees some people there and then flies to Frieborg in Germany for a day and night. After that on the Friday to Berne in Switzerland where he spends the night with a Swiss couple, the Fishers, who were here two years ago and sees the Univ. and then to England.
He hopes to go out and see the Sutherlands on Sun. afternoon, and then the rest of the week he will be visiting the National Physical Laboratories, the University of London, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Cambridge. When he is in Birmingham he will stay with a Prof. Sheridan and his wife – the Prof. was here last summer and came to dinner with us and sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers afterwards – were you here then? No, I think it was before you came. Then on the Sat. evening he flies home, and arrives in Montreal on the Sunday, and as there is no flight to Ottawa for hours, the children and I are going to drive to Dorval Airport and meet him. Do you remember us passing the Airport the day we went to Montreal? It is on this side of the city, so I don’t have to go through. The day he comes home, 18th, is Father’s Day so we will be able to have a nice celebration. Cec’s birthday will be while he was away, so this weekend is a public holiday for the Queen’s Birthday (24th but we get a holiday on the 22nd to make a long weekend) and we have decided to celebrate Cec’s birthday on the Monday too. This is also the day that Canadian children have fireworks, so I have got a bag full that will be one of Daddy’s presents!
How is Judy getting on and have you got any of the puppies left? The children always like to hear news of them and think it a great pity that you can’t air mail one to us! Just as well that you can’t as Mrs. Martin’s Siamese cat was killed on the highway on Sunday, and I just hope Nicki can survive, but I don’t think there would be any hope for a puppy.
I have been meaning to write to you about the Will, and say that I certainly agree with you that it would be much wiser for you to have one of the Banks as executor. I can just imagine that me here, and things in England and St. Vincent would make for a great muddle. I said to Cec “Which bank do you think?” and he just grinned as he doesn’t have much opinion of either, but personally I think you might as well make it Barclay’s as you can talk to them about it instead of writing, which is always unsatisfactory. Also they have a big organization in England which will be able to cope with the English side whereas if you made it Martin’s they would probably have to get Barclay’s to cope with the St.V. side anyway. Cec is sorry that he has never written to you about the letter from Martin’s about your shares and transferring them etc. He has meant to, but has really been so busy with his work and writing letters in connection with his trip that he hasn’t had a chance. He was quite disgusted with the letter, and the Manager saying that he “thought” this was so, and that was so, you would think that he could have made the effort to find out the information completely before writing, because we really don’t know much more yet as his opinion don’t mean a thing. However, I think Cec feels that you might as well leave things as they are for the time being, but he will write himself and be more definite when he has not so busy.
I haven’t written to Mr. Carnegie, but still mean to. Actually, what he and Mrs. C. say is not so much different, except that J.M.G.E [Cyn’s father] seems to be withdrawing all the time now instead of having moods of withdrawal and moods of outgoingness. But I think this is only to be expected, and if he sleeps a great deal of the time this is to be expected too, as he is an old man, and I don’t mean only in years, but has been ageing in his mind as well as body all the time he has been in the hospital. It doesn’t seem much good sending things or magazines or anything now, but one feels that one should.
You will be amused to hear that I am still hanging on to your 5 dollars! Now that Cec’s clothes are bought I hope I will be able to get a coat at last, and then I will spend my 5 dollars on a handbag! Of course both the children need summer shoes now, but I really must begin and replenish my wardrobe as I am very low in both summer and winter clothes. I plan to make Linda a school dress out of the flowered material you brought from the Miss Finlays, then I will at last get on with my pink suit. I think I have been so long about it because I don’t much care for the material now, but I had the idea that I might make the suit with just a “cardigan” jacket (loose – no buttons) and then get a linen–like moygashel type material in a plain pink to match and I could wear the jacket with that too, and so make two outfits. The material is very loosely woven so I am going to have to line both skirt and jacket, so I must get the lining material this week. I plan to get a flimsy black hat to wear with the pink, so I think it should look quite pretty.
I have never been out to Carp to see Lee [her sister-in-law] since she had her operation, and Cec has no time now before he goes, so I am planning to drive over tomorrow morning. I want to do some baking now as I have to make cookies for a Home and School Meeting tonight and I thought I would take a few things out to Lee as I am sure she won’t be feeling like doing too much yet.
I hope that you and Auntie Muriel are having a lovely time at your cottage and really enjoying the sea. Can you bathe just there at the cottage or do you have to go further along to the Breakers? Anyway, I hope that it is doing you both a world of good and that you are recovering from all the giddy social round and getting rid of A. Muriel’s cough. That errant parcel has not turned up yet, and Ruth Lockwood was saying last night that it must be lost, but I said no, two months or more wasn’t too unusual! The children have been home from school for their lunch and send a big hugs and kisses. They both have homework now, and what with that and the nice weather there isn’t much hope of letter writing just now, but maybe when the holidays begin!
Much love from us all and I hope I remembered to answer all the questions!