October 31 1969

Oct. 31st 69

Dearest Lindy-
I carefully wrote down your college address – & now I cannot find it, so this must go to Ottawa & be forwarded. It will probably turn up sometime after I posted this – I am enclosing a PC to remind you of the tropics now that winter is here!
I have now been home in St. Vincent two weeks & 2 days – but it seems ages and ages ago since I flew off from Kennedy Airport.
Last week we had a great celebration as St. Vincent assumed its ‘Statehood’. There were all sorts of functions beginning with a Service of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral, which was truly packed; Jack Otway [their nephew] came from Trinidad that morning & went with us to the service. Then he went with me to a Cocktail party next afternoon at the Botanical Gardens – fortunately, it was fine – as there were quite 1000 people there, but inspite of crowd, Jack & I quite enjoyed ourselves – eating snacks, & drinking juice! There were also banquets & balls, & lots of jumpings-up & steel bands in the streets, & much rejoicing everywhere. We now have a Governor (English – at present) & a Prime Minister, & other men to run the government – mostly black.
I am so glad you got home for Thanksgiving & I wonder if you are returning for your graduation sometime soon? A case of better late than never eh?
Your Mum told me your friends were talking of going to spend a weekend with you. I wonder if it came off & if they all packed into your room? What a squash!
How about your music & singing. I hope you’re keeping them up – & are you in the choir? Write & give me all your news. Mill writes they’ve had snow already – very early surely? I hope it’s not too cold with you?
Very much love from me, & Moo, & Jacko!
Yr loving- Grannie.

Indian Bay & Villa Point, St. Vincent, West Indies

On the postcard, with only the generic address of Trent University, Canada:

Dear Lindy, I send you this view to warm you up now that Winter is upon you! The Hotel on the Point is where Mill & Ford stayed when here last year, & and we had some lovely sea bathing. Soon you will have to come & enjoy some swimming in this nice blue sea! I hear you wrote me, but I missed yr. letter – so I will write soon & tell you all about our Statehood. Love & XXX, Gran.

September 28 1969

18 Curley St.
Long Beach.
Sunday Sept. 28th 69.

Dearest Lindy,
How are you getting on at College? Of course, I heard from your Mummy all about your arrival there & that Charlie went with you, & everything went well, but I want to hear more details from you, now you are nicely settled.
I gathered you had a very nice room to yourself – but the colour scheme must have been rather a shock at first – reds & purples sound loud after your creams & gold, but it’s wonderful what one can get used to isn’t it? Cyn told me it was very nicely furnished and carpeted – so I hope you are remembering to keep it nice & tidy, is it inspected daily? [Shades of a pre-WW1 British boarding school!]
It was nice that you 1st year students were there earlier than the others & had a chance to get to know one another before the rush & studies began – & I hope you have met some really nice boys & girls you can be friends with. I wonder how you got on, as just after you went to College, we heard on the radio that temperature in Canada had dropped from 80° to 40° & I thought of you & how you would not have your Mum handy to turn on the thermostat as soon as the temp. dropped – did you wake and shiver? We have been having some lovely, fine days, sunny, but chilly in the shade.
You will be surprised to hear that I am still in New York. My time with Monie was cut short – as an old Uncle of Owen’s came to stay with them so I have been with Marguerite in the meanwhile, but will be returning to Mona this week until the 15th Oct. when I fly off to St. Vincent once more. Soon after I get back, our little island is to gain its independence, & there are to be great celebrations I hear – so I’ll be just in time for all the excitement!

We have had quite an exciting Service in Church today as the Bishop was there for confirmation & there was also a christening & Marguerite was presented with the Bishops’ cross- a big honour, but poor Margs was so nervous she didn’t enjoy it! although she did get a kiss from the Rector, who is a fine big, jolly young man – Must fly to the post now, so bye-bye. Write soon. Much love,

September 1 1969

This letter from my grandmother reminded me of more things I had forgotten! I have long been critical of my uncle Carman, but he could sometimes give marvellous presents that were spot on. (He could also give one that reflected an interest you had had two years before and out-grown.) As my grandmother suggests, sending me roses on my 18th birthday was a thrill, being totally unexpected for one thing, and also because when we had visited that summer and I had expressed doubts about going away to university, he had assured me that it was going to be a success, that I would enjoy it, in fact I believe the ‘best years of your life’ were mentioned. A bit sad if that’s really what he felt, but reassuring at the time in spite of the cliché.

18 Curley Street,
Long Beach.


Lindy Dear-

This is Labour Day & a holiday here, so I can’t post a long letter I wrote to your Mummy as I have no stamps – so have decided to enclose a note to you & to send you my very good wishes for Life at College. I don’t know when you go or what your address will be, so you must let me know, as I am sure you will enjoy getting letters when away from home.

That reminds me I heard from Aunt Muriel recently & she said “I’ve had such a nice letter from Linda- quite the best yet – she is growing up fast, so is Charlie, I can tell by their letters”- I was so pleased to have Cyn’s letter telling me all about your lovely holiday, I hope you enjoyed it all as much as yr Mummy did, she was especially raving about all the nice eating places & food you had all had. The island with the Zoo & performing whales & porpoises must have been fun – & that beautiful Butchart Gardens must really have been exquisite, or was there too big a crowd of sightseers for you to really enjoy them?

Monie’s roses are still flowering nicely, they had lots of rain in July & early Aug. so the roses are showing their gratitude, although it’s now very dry & hot & the lawns are turning brown. Cyn tells me your vegetables & flowers are flourishing – but so are the weeds – I hope you are helping to pull them up?!!

I enjoyed hearing a bit about your birthday – but tell me a bit more – did you wake up & lie & think – at last I am 18 & really grown up – or did you feel as usual? But I bet you must have had a big thrill when you were presented with a bunch of beautiful red roses by Carman – I was thrilled to hear about them!

Remember I wrote about books – I wonder if you have read- ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank – it’s a real life diary – written by a Dutch girl during the war. You probably have read it as it was a best seller. [I had.] I got it from the Highland Mills Library- do let me know if you’ve read it.

Monie & Gwen send their love, their dog ‘Penny’ is very sweet but getting to be fat & middle-aged like his master! They also now have 2 cats ‘Peppie’ is a big fine tiger – he is a smoky grey tabby & nice & very dignified, & as he comes stalking into the room he looks v. ‘tigerish’. Then the other one is still a kitten 5 months, & is a stray Gwen brought home, he is v. cute & playful & his name is SAM! Forgive my awful scrawl, hope you can read it. Give Charlie my love – he’ll be starting school this week, I do hope he works hard for a scholarship tell him. Hope you continue to get good news from your Dad – I hear your G.H. [the groundhog, my father’s bête noir] is growing fat on apples! He should have a name – Much love and all the Best from yr fond Grannie- PTO

P.S. I meant to ask you, how are you getting on with your contact lenses, I hope you are getting used to them- for folk to see your pretty eyes minus glasses!
Love C.E.

February 10 1968

This letter from Carol Ewing (Grannie) to Linda, now 16 years old in Grade 12, seems to have accompanied the return of the Travel Diary which had taken her a few months after the summer trip to be completed and sent out to Grannie, with a plea for its return as a memento. In the letter, Carol mentions the younger generation of Hazells in St Vincent- older than Linda and at a different stage of life, but also leading what seemed to her (Linda) an exotic existence with parties, dancing and cars.
[Recap of relationships in St. Vincent: Alex and Peggy Hughes, Cyn’s cousin and Carol’s niece, had the party for their daughter Margaret. Patrick is the adult son, Perry another, quite a bit younger. Milly and Ford are the visiting New York cousins of Peggy and Cyn’s generation, but older. Uncle Fred is Carol’s brother, Peggy’s father, and has been ill. Auntie Moo (Muriel) is the oldest Hazell sister, and Carol lives with her.]

Feb 10th 68.

Dearest Lindy,
I have had this envelope addressed to you for some time- p.c.s which I thought you might like, to add to your collection, & I meant to write right away, then realized my writing pad was finished, & all I had was that “Shocking” little pad that you did not approve of!!
I did enjoy your prolonged letter so much, (mine will be very old by the time you get it as it’s going by sea) (- was begun on 5th Nov. – – – after Xmas – – New Year.) You must soon repeat it, & then perhaps I’ll get one after Easter, eh? It’s a shame to tease you! when I know quite well it’s not easy when you have to write essays of 2000 words or more – as well as lots of other things. I hope you did well with Nelson – did you mention his lady friend Emma? You say they are making Easter holiday static – tell me what date it’s to be? I hope it means you will get a longer break.
I’m afraid I misled you about Margaret, & her party was not so huge as I said, Peggy told me afterwards 36 – & some of them were Peg’s younger married friends, & it seems after supper & 11 p.m. they all went & danced at the Aqua Club – that’s a wild New Year’s Eve party where everyone kisses everyone, when ‘Big Ben’ strikes 12 – & there are wild whistles & yells & kisses galore! I have been to one or two of them, & it’s amusing – as of course, one tries to dodge the folk you don’t appreciate kissing you!! Margie is really quite a nice girl, rather silent & reserved – so is Patrick – but Mill & Ford who had heard this about him, when they went to lunch with them last Saturday, were surprised to find him quite chatty, so when Pegs came home, Mill said to her they found Patrick quite nice & friendly. Pegs said – “that was because he had had a few drinks at the club – otherwise he wouldn’t have opened his mouth”! Not a very good reputation, is it? As I have told Cyn, Margie’s latest is that she has dashed off & bought a small 2ndhand car – it’s a bright sky blue – & looks quite new. She took me out in it to ‘Grand View’ on her way home on Thurs– & it seemed very nice – but we are amused at them being a 4 car family – only Perry hasn’t!
What a lovely cake Fanny’s sister made for you all, is she still with the Blachuts or did it come all the way from Switzerland?
I am glad to tell you Uncle Fred is progressing slowly- he goes drives in his car now, & takes a great interest in the cricket matches which are going on right now on radio & TV – G.B. versus W.I. All the Hughes are going to Barbados next week to see the next big test match – & incidentally poor Perry is going to have his tonsils out – they’ll be away 3 weeks.
Since the New Year we have been having quite a number of Tourist Cruisers coming here for the day – & you see lots of odd looking people about the town! – aren’t I rude? My friends the Carnegie’s in Newcastle wrote telling me some friends of theirs were coming on “M.V. Botany” on 27th Jan. & it w’d be nice if we could meet– but believe it or not they never mentioned the peoples’ name, & anyway I never got their letter until 1st Feb. after the ship had come and gone! Mr. C. said he had given them my address – but evidently they couldn’t find me – or didn’t want to perhaps – not knowing them – I am not sorry!!
Now Honey Girl I’ll end this scrawl & beg you to excuse it – Auntie Moo sends love & is full of remorse that she forgot to say thank you for her shower cap when writing – Here’s good wishes for High marks this term. Much love from Grannie. Love to all 4. XXXX.

Stamp showing the crater in the middle of the volcano at that time: next eruption 11 years later…

December 17 1961

17t Dec. 1961

Dearest Mummy,
Did your ears burn or anything this morning? I ask because we were all thinking of you in church when the Rector dedicated your “Fair Linen” which was on the altar and said it was “a gift from the mother of one of our members Mrs. C. Ewing who lives in St. Vincent West Indies”. The children were very pleased that he did it when they were in church and it looked awfully nice.
Your package arrived yesterday morning just as Lindy and I were getting ready to set off to Ballet, so I opened it to take a peek and then took it straight away and left it at Mrs. Cravens’. Mrs. Pierce who is now Pres. of the Altar Guild, phoned to say how delighted they were to have a new altar cloth for Christmas & that Mr. Pulker was going to dedicate it today & she also said that the heavier linen hung beautifully, so you needn’t worry about that.

Mom and Dad Costain arrived on Friday at 5:15 and are both looking very well. We had planned to have Charlie’s birthday party that day so had to hastily change it to the Thurs. Cec took Charlie and 4 of his friends to a movie “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby & Danny Kaye & they loved it.

White Christmas

Then they came home to dinner – roast chicken with hot rolls, relishes, potato crisps etc. – then cake & ice cream. They were wildly excited & poor Cec was exhausted! Charlie’s real day is Tuesday of course – your parcels came & I am saving them. We have a little steam engine for him that really works!!! Also I have a new tweed jacket for him & a blue velvet dress for Lindy!
Must stop & send my last Ottawa Christmas cards.
Love to all from us all,

March 1961

In November 1960, Carol left New York and returned to Ottawa to spend the winter with the Costains. I suspect she had left St Vincent for almost a year because there were health concerns, and she consulted doctors in both Ottawa and New York, being diagnosed at some point with pernicious anaemia which may have responded only temporarily to treatment. This means, of course that there are no letters between Cyn and Carol, but in the collection there are 2 letters to Carol about her husband in Newcastle.

As has been covered earlier in this Project, Cyn’s mother, Carol Ewing, had left her husband, Dr. J.M.G.(Gordon) Ewing, at the end of 1947 and joined Cynthia in Cambridge. In 1948, they had met Cec who was working on his Ph.D. at Cambridge, and Cyn and Cec married in the summer of 1949, and left England at the beginning of 1950, while Carol went home to St.Vincent. Because Carol and Cyn were living together in Cambridge, there are no letters covering that period, but sometime during those 2 years, Gordon Ewing was institutionalized, diagnosed with hardening of the arteries of the brain, and remained there until his death in 1964. There were letters exchanged between Carol, Cyn, and lawyers and doctors; Cyn sent her father gifts and magazine subscriptions, with notes and photos occasionally, which he acknowledged; and from these letters, it is clear that Carol was kept informed of her husband’s condition by friends in Newcastle. The letters give us a window into elder care in the 60s with a difficult patient- and the little anyone at a distance could do. The Carnegies are quite formal in writing to Carol, so not close friends, but they are kind. The letter seems to have arrived in Ottawa after Carol had gone home to St. Vincent in March 1961 and been sent on by Cyn.

1, Victoria Square,

  1. 2. 61.

My dear Mrs. Ewing,
Our sincere apologies for the long delay in acknowledging your gift box to your husband and for the very nice box of notelets for myself. It was kind of you to do this and I have found them very useful – thank you.
I went with Alec to see the doctor, he gave us quite a nice welcome, but very unfortunately he refused to accept the very nice parcel of good things you and Cynthia had so kindly sent. We are using them ourselves as you suggested, thank you very much.
Now about the doctor. We were told he is most difficult and sleeps ever such a lot. Some days he won’t use his dentures or have his hair cut. He insists on seeing the C. priest every other day and has ceased to read or write. They think he will just sleep away. So you see Mrs. Ewing we are not hiding anything from you. He insists on wearing a felt hat all day.
We had a very happy Christmas and new year, but since, we have been rather tired and have been resting a lot. I will be 71 this year and Alec 72.
We are so glad you are having such a happy time with Cynthia, her husband and children. Wish we had known earlier about your going to Long Island because my sister Margaret & her husband are there.
Alec is going to see the doctor on Friday after which he will write you.
Our love, many thanks and all good wishes.
Yours very sincerely
Alec & Mary.

1 Victoria Sq.
Newcastle upon Tyne

13 Mch 1961

Dear Mrs. Ewing,
Once again I spent half an hour with Dr. Ewing today, and in spite of the fact that the Male Nurse said he would not talk to me, as soon as I entered the Ward, he got up and came to meet me, and we had half an hour of talk on both sides. He said he could not talk very well now, so I told him that if he would only wear his dentures he could talk quite well, you see Mrs. Ewing he will not wear his dentures; – he said he could not be bothered, just in the same way, he, some days refuses to shave. He will also now only wear Hospital woollen sports shirts – he says it is too warm to put on a collar and tie. I am afraid he is often very awkward and stubborn with the staff. He did today however have on one of his own suits. In spite of all this however he does look well, and says he does feel well. With me today he was quite chirpy, and took a keen interest in all the people I spoke about, you see it is only the past you can discuss with him, as he does not read the papers nor will he watch the Television. They have just got a lovely new 21” set in the Day Room, but he will not look at it, and grumbles because it is on all day & evening. The Nurse told me he just sits, and whether he thinks whilst he is sitting one cannot tell. Certainly his memory of the past is still good, and he keeps referring to people, I must confess I had forgotten.
By the way he is still wearing the booties we got for him a year past Xmas, so he must like having & wearing them.
I hope you are well, and derived much benefit from your holiday.
Give Cynthia our good wishes and for you our kindest thoughts.
Yours Aye,
Alec Carnegie.


The New Year of 1960 started with the children back to school with no effects from their German Measles bout. Besides school and Sunday School, we were involved in other activities: Charlie was a Cub and Linda a Brownie, and Linda took beginner ballet lessons. As for Cyn and Cec, when entertainers such as Tom Lehrer or Joyce Grenfell toured through Ottawa, they went with enthusiasm but Ottawa had no theatre before the National Arts Centre was built, so shows were held in the auditorium of one of the older high schools.

Easter came along, and Cyn’s birthday, as well as the news that our second cousin, Little Monie who had married the year before and was now Mona Beatty, had had twin girls, Stephanie and Suzanne. As a trip to the States was being contemplated for the summer, I’m sure this was an added inducement.

In May, there was Mother’s Day to celebrate, and both children involved in music- Charlie’s class performing a small operetta “Peter Rabbit” and Linda in the Music Festival choir competition for Grade 4 Chorus. But the great excitement was the arrival of Carol Ewing from St. Vincent- Grannie came to stay! By this time, Cec had ‘finished’ the basement, dividing the cavernous concrete-floored space that we had once driven our tricycles and wagons around in circles into two, creating a recreation room that could double as a spare bedroom now the children had a room each.

Grannie was always interested in the children’s activities and fitted happily into family life. Cec had work travel- the usual Spectroscopy Conference in Columbus, and then a longer trip that started with a conference where his brother Carman Costain’s work, the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, was opened and continued on to Seattle and San Fransisco, where work mingled with tourism!

As the school year ended, plans were made for the summer. Because we were spending most of the summer in Ottawa but had Grannie as a tourist, Cyn made a Chore Chart, where she and the children could check off duties when completed, and each week as a reward, do a tourist activity in the nation’s capital- a cruise on the Rideau Canal, a visit to the Royal Mint, or see the film of ‘Pollyanna’ with Hayley Mills. (Linda had the book of course.)

And as Carol was always involved with the Church, it must have been a satisfaction to witness the service with the Bishop ‘Breaking the Ground’ to start the building of a Church Hall and Chapel on a lot north of the school playground.

We got a new car in July 1960, which was So Modern compared to the 1946 Chrysler that it remained in my mind that way, and it was quite a shock to see the pictures of it now!

This meant that when Grannie’s visit was over in August, we could take our summer trip, and all drive her to New York to visit her nieces, and admire the next generation. Milly and Ford, the Pembletons, who had visited us in Ottawa a few years earlier, had a summer ‘camp’ that the family was used to visiting so we took Grannie there and met the other sisters and their grown-up children, our second cousins- and maybe even the 2nd cousins once removed, the twins. We went to New York City and were tourists! Then we said goodbye to Grannie and the New York families and drove north.

Back in Canada, we headed for Brantford, where the Moors had gone to teach that school year. We arrived just as they moved from a furnished rental into their house on Lorne Crescent, and had a lovely time with our favourite cousins. Linda had her birthday there and Merle got us tickets for the new Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ontario, for Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, which was fabulous. Bruno Gerussi was Oberon, we all enjoyed it, and returned to Stratford often as a summer treat. (Linda got to teach Shakespeare in Nigeria, the Northwest Territories, andBritish Columbia over 30 years, and took her own next generation to Stratford in the summer when possible.)

And when they got home in Ottawa, Cyn had a belated birthday party to organize and a letter to write to Carol in New York- which she kept! All the details to follow…

March 16 1957

Cyn’s letter opens with her guilty confession that she has anticipated her April birthday and opened the small parcel her mother sent with the West Indian delicacies she’d asked for! The Burney Sugar Cake she refers to (may have just been the family name for it) is a street sweet, ginger (hence ‘burney’) in crystalized sugar, which I love too, but I think her
eating it on arrival was a wise move on Cyn’s part, since the last time I brought some back from a St.Vincent visit, the ginger shreds got mouldy before I could finish it!
Cyn is obviously still recovering from her miscarriage, tired and resting when she can, and the explanations about the cost of the blood transfusions are a reminder that Canada did not have a medicare system at this point although the federal government passed a bill that year that started the discussion with the provincial governments. It would be another decade before that was settled.
A reminder about Cyn’s Father, Dr. Ewing: He, a Protestant from Northern Ireland, had been institutionalized before Cyn had married and she & Cec and Carol had left England, and had since converted to Catholicism. He had been considering being buried back in Ireland, which would have been a problem since his immediate family lived overseas, so hearing that he had changed his mind would have been a relief, and the Newcastle cemetery where his neighbour Mr. Sheedy lay more familiar to them.

Box 330
R.R.1 Ottawa
16th March 1957

Dearest Mummy,
What do you think I am doing? Lying in bed eating Burney Sugar Cake & making a PIG of myself! I know I should have kept it for more than 2 weeks yet, but when it arrived yesterday I put it away & then today I took it out again & opened it! Actually I didn’t think you would scold me for opening this one as the other has also arrived, but the mailman put a card in our box to say it was too big to go in & I must collect it from the P.O. I will really keep the next for my birthday – I don’t think Linda would let me open it – she was quite worried about my opening this one, but was resigned when I told her you sent another – she said “My, what a kind Mummy you have!” Haven’t I, though?!! Cec & I had some stewed guavas for dessert tonight & oh – they were yummy! I don’t mind them being stiff or anything – I just love them anyway & I did enjoy them so much. Please tell Doris & her sister (wasn’t it her sister who sent you the guavas?) that they were the nicest thing I’d tasted for a long time – most delicious & delectable! As for the B. S. Cake I can see I’m going to put on pounds – I just can’t resist it & am nibbling away all the time! Thank you very much Mummy for two of my Favourite Foods – I can’t tell you how much I am appreciating them. I am looking forward to my other parcel, but in the meanwhile this is lovely! It’s funny, when I wrote and asked you for the things to eat I thought that the cashew nuts would be the easiest to get & maybe you wouldn’t be able to manage the other 2 & here it was the other way around!
I also have to thank you for your nice letter written just last Sunday which arrived this evening. Cec got it from the mail box after Lindy was in bed so I will give her your letter in the morning & she will be thrilled! She has been asking me ever since she wrote if you will have got her letter yet & she will be so pleased to have a reply. Her tooth is still wobbling away! She has had 2 weeks at school without being absent so things are looking up, but don’t imagine for a minute that we’ve all been well for 2 weeks – oh no! Ha! Ha! Cec has had another cold & last weekend he was feeling better so we planned to all go out on the Sunday & have dinner in a restaurant. On the Sat. evening Cec made a pan of popcorn as a treat & Jimmy came in for it & Cec shared it with them so none of them had very much (the children love it now). Then at about 1 a.m. Linda felt sick & from then until about 4 a.m. we were busy! She sicked up a bit & retched etc. but I thought it was just too much popcorn. Sunday she was better, but wan & not eating, so it was just pointless going out to eat & we just stayed at home. However on Thurs. I suddenly got the trots very badly but it only lasted the day & then I heard from Phyl that she had Andy & then Nancy with the same type of thing – just lasting about a day – then Margie had Danny with the same – then last night Charlie got it! He sicked up & had quite a few spells from about 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. & today has slept mostly but been drinking juice & ate a little supper & is all right now I think. Of course, we’d again planned to go out for dinner tomorrow so whether we’ll get or not I don’t know!!

Well, we did go out for dinner & although Charlie still looked a bit peaky he was full of enthusiasm and had turkey for dinner! He & Lindy had a lovely time – so do I! – and Lindy was most intrigued because it was St. Patrick’s Day & all the restaurant was decorated in green & the waitresses had green hats on – the hostess even had green fingernails! Unfortunately poor Cec has the bug today & is feeling quite miserable this evening, but one good thing is that it doesn’t seem to last long so I hope he will feel better in the morning.
I went to S. School yesterday morning for the first time & the poor lady, Mrs. Kuhn, who took my place must have been more than delighted to see me. She has had such a time as not only have I been absent, but Pat Tomlinson also & even Mrs. Dunn who helps Pat, so poor Mrs. Kuhn for 2 Sundays had both classes to cope with! Pat is resigning as she is finding it too hard with trying to cope at home as well as go out to work & the children haven’t been well & she has been quite worn out. I am sorry as she is such a nice girl & I shall miss seeing her, but I certainly think she has been trying to do too much. Yesterday we had 5 teachers there, just for a change, & of course not many of the children showed up! You were asking about Mrs. Martin, my babysitter – yes, I still have her & find her just as good & dependable as ever. She is a staunch Anglican & also teaches at our Sunday school but has the 8 & 9 yr. olds I think. At the moment she is having a worrying time as her husband is in the hospital for a strangulated hernia operation & they also took out his appendix, & she is kept quite tied with her old mother-in-law, so she can’t get out till her husband is home again. He was getting on well though the last I heard. The Dutch woman, Ann, whom I used to have, is also sitting again & was here on Friday evening when Charlie was sick. The children are so different now about sitters- they like to see them & say hello & even had a strange babysitter, a teenager, a week or so ago & never minded. Charlie didn’t make a bit of fuss about Ann staying even when he was sick & as Ann has a little girl, Deenie, in Linda’s class at school (in the afternoon though) she & Lindy had quite a chat.
We were out on Friday to have a buffet supper at Willa & Stewart Woods’. They had invited Lu & Pete & Margie & Cy & ourselves, but when we got there we found the Garrets hadn’t come as Margie had this bug too & the 2 little children had had croup & she was pretty worn out. We had a nice evening with a very enjoyable supper & wine, but before the end of the evening what with being tired & the wine I was yawning away! I’d had a busy day as I’d been to Dr Kastner in the afternoon & I’d been finishing a dress to wear & then Charlie throwing up his supper! After we left he sicked up again & then when we were home a few more times. Dr. K. examined me & says I’m to go on with the iron & to come back in 2 months. Apparently he may then have to cauterize me which sounds horrid, but Lu assures me it’s just a little “zing”!!
The dress I made I am very pleased with – I like it better than anything I’ve made for myself. It is made of the jersey I bought at the Mill last Fall & I worked hard at it all last week to get it done for Friday evening – & just managed it! I covered buttons & belt buckle & even made bound buttonholes, so I am improving & I was pleased with the fit. Lu was very complimentary & said it looked most professional which pleased me as that is what I always think about her things.
Re. the doctor, I told Cec that you thought he should have a check up to & he agreed but said his blood was O.K. anyway as he went to the Hospital a couple of weeks ago & gave a pint of blood to replace one of those I had & of course they tested him then. He will give another later on – Cy offered to, as he is a regular donor, but Cec thought that as it was just 2 he could return them himself. It was $60.00 for blood, but when the blood is returned you only pay for the use of the service etc. about $10 or so. Imagine – no one who has had jaundice can be used as a donor, so I would never be any good! Apparently the bugs still float around in the blood.
Cec & I have been giggling over you & the modern artists! I am quite sure we would both agree with your comments. Lindy, by the way, was delighted with her letter, but amused that you thought it was a duck on the pond – she says it’s a fish! Despite your compliments about her picture, she is no artist – she is like her Mama & sticks firmly to houses & trees & nice simple objects! Charlie even more so – he doesn’t try to colour much & isn’t nearly so interested in crayons & cutting & doing things like that as Lindy was. He has enjoyed the cut-out-&-stick books you sent him, but he wants me to help when he does it although he is getting a bit better at it now.
You were asking about our dinner at Dr. and Mrs. Narasimham’s – well, it was very nice & not nearly as highly spiced & seasoned as I feared! (The pork chops were were for our lunch by the way)! We began with glasses of juice, then for dinner (buffet style) there was rice (cooked with bay leaves & cloves) a curry of vegetables (potato, cauliflower etc. but not too hot), eggplant fried in batter & another dish I’ve forgotten – also a salad. Afterwards, there was a most interesting dessert – it looked like nice white snow balls floating in syrup! The snowballs were made of the white part of junket sort of, sieved & formed into balls around lumps of sugar, then simmered in a sugar syrup, & then the sugar lumps melt & the balls are hollow. They were very sweet but nice.
Phil & Alex’s party some weeks ago was great fun & I enjoyed it. I had a nice sleep in the afternoon & went to it feeling quite rested – most unusual for a Mama! We played one or two games & had a good supper – it was a potluck did I tell you? Everyone took something & I took boned stuffed chickens – 2 small ones – & they were much enjoyed.
In talking about the Christmas present list you asked about my Father & I have been meaning to tell you I had a letter thanking me for the children’s photo. I sent him the laughing one & I was so surprised because he really seemed proud of it & taken with them & before he’d shown no interest at all. I shall send you the letter to see what he says, & then last week I got another letter – not so clear as the first, but still talking about the children’s picture. In it he says he has decided not to be buried in Ireland but in the cemetery where Martin Sheedy is as it would cost so much etc. & talking about the children says something about “they could use the money in 20 years time” so I don’t know what he means, but I knew you’d be glad to hear the end of the Irish idea. I will send both letters when I answer them.
I also had a short letter from Mrs. Scott thanking for Stephen’s present – they are still in Killingworth & Mrs. S. seems to be getting on all right. I send him something at Christmas as I feel I would certainly do it if Irene were there & now she and Bill are not the poor little fellow needs remembering even more. [Mrs. Scott is Stephen’s grandmother, both his parents having died before he was 3 (he’s 5 at this point).]
Lindy’s dress from England was the pink & blue checked smocked one I got Nan to send when she got your jerseys – I think I must’ve told you about it – anyway I saved it for Christmas. Cec smokes a pipe a bit now, but still cigarettes too most of the time. Charlie’s razor isn’t really electric you know! It is just a little plastic thing that goes b-r-r-r as you press it on you & it cost about 35¢! He loves it & always shaves when Daddy does! My pale blue dressing gown was a big surprise – at least I’d asked for a dressing gown, but Cec chose it. I took it to Hospital in a case with me & then they sent the case home with Cec the next day, so on the last day when I was tripping around for routine x-rays etc. (everyone is done) here I was in a little Hospital shift! I was in the Civic [Hospital] by the way – Cec asked Dr. K. about the St. Louis de Montfort & he said “My God no – they’d just let her bleed to death there!”! It seemed very nice to me & people who have been in seem to like it, but they are apparently short of nurses & the doctors all seem to be a bit wary – also it is very French of course.
We still hear from Gunborg & Gordon – she wrote me a very sweet letter about the mis. – & they really seem to love being in England again. Their house sounds most palatial & upper crust!
I will be very pleased to send you the Memo slate things & the Pancake in your B’thday parcel & also the Scotch tape – I’m glad you told me & don’t forget if there’s anything else just say the word.
I must stop now as it’s late & poor Cec has gone to bed – hope his tummy is better in the morning. Forgot to tell you Claire is coming every other Wed. again & I do enjoy having my floors done for me! Cec says I should keep her & I will for a while anyway.
Must away – love to Auntie Muriel – hugs from the children & lots of love from us all –

September 1955

The National Research Council where Cec worked had permanent staff members: Dr Herzberg, the head of the Physics Division, with Alec Douglas, Boris Stoicheff, Don Ramsay, Cec and others; and also Fellows who came from all over the world for 2 years and then usually returned to jobs at home. This meant that an unspoken part of the staffers job was being helpful to the newcomers and making sure their families were getting on well.

Dr. Herzberg and ladies.

For Cyn and Cec, that meant entertaining, and once the summer holidays were over, they held an evening for their friends (possibly wanting Carol to enjoy the people she’d been reading about in Cyn’s letters for the past 4 years, as well as the outfit- Cyn’s skirt was her gift!)

Cec’s camera came out, showing drinks and hors d’oeuvres,

friends and Carol dressed up,

Phyl Douglas and Carol (Grannie to us, Mummy to Cyn.)
Alec Douglas, Joan Stoicheff, and a wife…

ladies smoking elegantly,

physicists chatting happily,

Mrs. Herzberg and Alec, plus a Fellow?
Charlie saying Good Night to his godfather, Boris Stoicheff.

and the children in pyjamas insisting on saying goodnight as part of the entertainment.

Costains: Hosts and entertainment!

July 1955

In July, Carol Ewing arrived in Ottawa, three years after her last trip, to visit her daughter Cyn, Cec, Linda, and meet her grandson for the first time. But hers was not the only visit. Cec got his camera out to record the meeting of the in-laws: his Aunt Lily came up from Toronto- she hadn’t seen them since Linda was 6 weeks old- and Cec’s sister Merle and her husband Dix came from Port Arthur, and they met Carol and the children for the first time. As they were all lovely people, they got on well!

Charlie and Uncle Dix

Carol Ewing is standing, with Lily Costain seated, at the back of the house on Montreal Road.

Lea, Cec’s second sister, had been staying with Merle and Dix with her son because of her health, but has returned to her husband Wendell who was working in Ottawa. So in these family photographs the only one missing is Cec, who is behind the camera.

Adults: Wendell & Lea Atchison, Dixon & Merle Moor, Cyn, Aunt Lily, and Grannie! Children: Daryl, Charlie and Linda.

Both Merle and Dix had university degrees, but at some point decided to get teacher’s qualifications by going to Teacher’s College in the summer in Toronto for a couple of summers. I assume their three sons went to their grandparents in Saskatoon while their parents took courses. We would meet those cousins a few years later. Meanwhile, Cyn took the camera.

Costain Siblings- Cec and his sisters and us.
Family Visit!