In August, Cec and Cyn rented a cottage so that Grannie could enjoy the Canadian cottage experience- primitive facilities, ancient stoves and fridges, bedrooms with walls that stopped before the roof so that noise and mosquitoes could circulate, but outside peace and quiet with lovely views, sand, shallow to deep water, August heat, and a dock jutting into a big lake.
Everyone enjoyed the cottage, but it was never much of a holiday for Cyn who had to cook under difficult circumstances, so we only did it every 3 years or so.
Once they were home from the holidays, and had the pictures developed, Cyn made a booklet for her mother to show her cottage life. She put her own photos in the scrapbook, continued to write her mother letters, Carman went back home to university, Cec stared working hard, and Carol, on receipt of the pictures, pasted them all in her own photo album featuring her grandchildren! It was a memorable holiday all round.
Although Cyn and her friends in England were occupied with their growing families, they kept in touch. I am publishing only one side of Cyn’s correspondence with her mother here- but all of these women wrote to each other back and forth and it is hard to imagine the volume of correspondence Cyn generated in a year!
While Cyn was experiencing cottage country in Ontario, her friends in England were also on holiday with their children, and sent her pictures. Although some are wearing swimsuits as brief as the Costain children, somehow it looks a little bit colder. Cyn, Dottie, Mary Stewart, and Nan Heslop (Sandy’s mother) knew each other from Newcastle days.
Anne Winnick and Cyn were colleagues teaching in Cambridge before their marriages, and I assume Rosemary is another. Janita is Anne’s daughter, and Rosemary has another Charles!
I don’t know who these two are but they look sweet. Possibly this is from Newcastle, where there was another Bobby Sheedy, named for Cyn’s childhood. friend killed in the war.
I’m sure all the children had a happy summer so long ago!
The children are having a simply wonderful time. Charlie’s appetite is about 3 times what it was at home & he just gobbles up all his solids which he didn’t bother about much before. He is pulling himself up to stand now & in his playpen & crib & sits up as straight as a little ramrod without support. He has no sense of caution at all – bumps himself & bangs his head & falls off things – even out of his crib!- & yells for a minute & then grins when you pick him up! Both he & Linda love the water. It is gloriously warm & to begin with they both paddled & Lindy would walk in up to her waist. Then last weekend Cec got an old inner tube from one of the car tires blown up & we all have such fun with it. Linda gets in at & holds on with her arms & we push her or tow her all over- way out of her depth & even waves splashing in her face & she shrieks with laughter! We took Charlie right in for the first time yesterday and he splashed & kicked & was practically swimming – they both screamed their heads off when we made them come in! Barry loves the water too, but doesn’t like to go out beyond his waist even in the tire. Lee & Jim are a grand couple to share with & we are all getting on fine. The big drawback of the cottage is that it is only partitioned inside to about 7 or 8 ft. & curtains on the bedroom doorways, so if one child cries it disturbs everyone. Linda & Charlie just seem to take such short naps in the day & get tired & fretty, & we feel if we could just leave them in a closed off bedroom they would sleep longer.
The bedrooms are very small – we have Charlie’s cot in ours & the bed & about 6 ins. between. Lindy & Barry’s beds are “sofas” in the sitting room, so they go to bed in our rooms & then we transfer them at night. In the a.m. we usually do chores- dishes, beds, sweeping, washing etc. & in the p.m. the children sleep & we have a little rest, then play on the beach & bed, then dinner, children to bed – dishes – & bridge for us. I rinse diapers in the lake after boiling- makes it more interesting! We have a boat & go rowing -all are sunburnt (Cec red back!) & Linda has a little peeling nose!
Cec got us all big straw hats & Lindy looks a hoot in hers. We are taking lots of pictures to send you. Forgot to tell you, we have tame chipmunks too- they are so sweet & eat peanuts from our hands.
Lindy & Charlie send big xxxxs & lots of love from us all – Cyn.
I am so sorry that I haven’t written for such a long time. I brought a whole scad of writing things up here & this is the first time I have even had my pen out! I sort of imagined myself sitting back with nothing to do but read & write while the children played contentedly in the sand by themselves, but of course it’s not a bit like that! However, it is a glorious place & we are having a lovely, lovely time, so what does it matter if we don’t have much “sitting back” time!
The lake is big – about 7 miles across & even longer I think- it reminds me of Ullswater or some of those in the Lake District & has one or 2 little islands in it. The nearest town is Pembroke 24 miles away & only one little store near her, so you have some idea how isolated it is, but the milkman calls 3 times a week which is nice. There are pine woods all round the lake & our cottage is built in the midst of them – then a sandy track (not really a road!) then the beach & lake. It reminds me of Millie’s & Ford’s camp, but being right on the lake it is even nicer & the cottages are spread out & mostly empty now, so we are very private. The cottage itself is adequate but not fancy – we have a wood stove for cooking & a pump over the sink & a little “house” up the hill! It has electricity though, & there is a beautiful fridge & lamps & a hot plate which is nice.
The weather on the whole has been perfect. We drove up on Sat. 15th & that night it got very cold – Cec & I sat under a blanket & huddled in front of a little electric radiator all evening! Next day Lee & Barry arrived (Cec went into Pembroke & got them from the train) & Jim didn’t come till Wed. as he had work to finish. Between Sun. and Wed. it was dull & cold, mostly, some days bright and sunny, although at night it was icy! However, we kept the stove on all day & it was all right although Charlie’s 6 a.m. feed was a chiller! After Wed. however it got warmer & warmer & is now around 85 – 90 in the day & just nice & cool at night. It was sweltering this morning but now a wind is blowing & the lake is all waves. Carman came up on Fri. evening & stayed till Mon. afternoon & enjoyed it thoroughly & on Sat. afternoon Joan Gallagan (the pretty girl who was Dr. H’s sec at N.R.C.) came with her sister Kitty (their home is in Pembroke). They brought corn & we had hot dogs & had a nice picnic & bathed & had fun.
I am going onto another A.M. as I haven’t told of what fun the children are having.
Here we are in Ottawa, and staying in an elegant hotel, the Lord Elgin, for a few days. Cec is fixing money with the Bank, & is seeing all the people he knows at the National Research Council. It is practically certain he will work for them when he finishes in Ann Arbor, & they have given him a $1500 scholarship for this year – isn’t that nice of them? Dr. Herzberg is the head of the Physics Dept & Cec used to work under him when they were both at Saskatchewan, & they seem to have a mutual esteem for each other!
I like Ottawa very much from what I’ve seen- it is a bit like an English city, but not so big & not dirty & smoky! The Parliament Buildings are lovely – all granite with green copper roofs & in a lovely position in parks on a hill overlooking the river. You can see the Laurentian Mountains in the distance, & the countryside looks pretty & wooded. I am quite excited at the thought of coming here to live next year & think it will be very nice. It is much more like home than Ann Arbor & Cec has quite a lot of young friends here already. Did I tell you Connie & Leonard were coming here next month? So they’ll still be here when we arrive to live! We have been looking at the House for Sale Ads in the paper, & they seem to be more reasonable than Ann Arbor & sounded nice! We got quite thrilled over picking out the ones we liked!
When I last wrote to you we were on our way to Regina to visit Merle. We arrived there on the Wed. evening, & found her with the 2 boys, John (10) & Lorne (7) & the baby Bruce (3 1/2 mths) all waiting for us. Dixon was away at the time & didn’t come back till the evening we were leaving which was a pity, but we enjoyed visiting with Merle. The 2 boys were full of fun & out playing most of the time, & the baby was a pet. He is chubby & full of smiles & Cec & I had a lot of fun with him. We left Regina at 2 a.m. & arrived in Montreal at 2 p.m. & went out to Lee & Wendy’s where Lee was very proudly waiting to show us her son. He was a pet too, but only two months old, so of course seemed small after Bruce, but I got quite hot at changing nappies, & feeding bottles & burping! Lee also has a cat & 2 kittens, so we were always nursing a baby or a kitten & had a lovely time. We stayed in Montreal from Sat. till Tues. a.m. then flew here – only 50 mins. but it was bumpy & I was sick! We leave tomorrow & stay in Toronto with Cec’s Aunt & Uncle & then home on Sunday – it will be quite nice to be home again. Some of your letters should be waiting for me as we didn’t get letters forwarded after we left Saskatoon. Have just written Aunt Ettie, to wish her a happy trip on Sat.
My love to Auntie Moo, with
lots and lots for you from
Cec’s aunt and uncle, Lillie and Milton Costain, lived in the same bachelor apartment in Toronto all their married life. Milton was a partner in a business that made custom cabinetry for commercial enterprises.
Thank you so much for your last letter, posted August 25, which Gunborg forwarded to me. I was so glad to learn that Jean had a son – I had been telling Mom Costain about it just that morning, & was so tickled to open your letter & see the news first thing! I was most amused at serious Peter rushing around blowing his horn after the birth of his son! Give Jeanie my love when you see her again.
I was sorry to hear that it was so hot & humid in St. V. now – it must be very uncomfy. Since we got here the weather has improved, & although it was so cold at first, it is lovely now, because the sun is warm yet there is a cool breeze & it gets quite cold at night. Just after we arrived we heard on the radio about a big hurricane heading for the W.I’s & we at once thought of you but it seemed to head further north & we didn’t hear of it doing any great damage. I hope that St. V. will escape & that you won’t have any bad storms.
Since I last wrote we seem to have been busy dashing around & today is our last day here. At 7 o’clock this evening we fly to Regina and stay with Merle & Dixon until Saturday, then we fly overnight to Montreal. I wrote last Wed. then on Thurs. Cec & I went into town again & I bought a pretty skirt – it is in pastel colours – sort of plaid in yellow, grey & pale blue. We also had tea in town & had cream puffs made in the shape of swans!! On Friday, Mrs. Costain had invited Mr. & Mrs. Moor & Pete & Lu to dinner, so she had a busy day. Cec & I went out & picked strawberries- yummy! – & I shelled peas & scraped potatoes & set the table etc. We had fried chicken which was lovely & for dessert we had Saskatoon pie! Saskatoon’s are kind of berry like blueberries a bit, & it was a lovely pie! Afterwards Pete & Lu had to leave early & Cec went with Pete to the University to see the work he is doing on the Aurora – he does things with it and radar & spends all his nights there & Lu is disgusted! He is trying to get Cec interested too & Lu keeps warning me, but I don’t think Cec is very keen! We saw the Northern Lights one night, very bright & lovely, but the night Cec was with Pete, they only got echos from 500 miles away & he came home about 3 a.m. That night Russell (the 2nd youngest brother) came home for the weekend, but he was late, so I didn’t meet him till Sat. He is big too, & tough as he works on the Govt telephones, but he doesn’t look like Cec & Carmen & Lee – he is brown haired & brown eyed & has a shorter, squarer face with a ruddy complexion!
Mrs. Costain & I washed that day & in the afternoon we were all so upset because Laddie, the lovely collie dog got knocked over by a car. He came home feeling very sick with a great scar in his head, his ear bleeding, his nose and mouth bleeding too & looking so badly. Cec washed his cuts & we tried to do what we could but his nose after we’d cleaned the cuts on his nose and ear so Cec called the Vet. (a lady) & she came & examined him, & put some sulpha ointment on, & gave him 2 great aspirins, so he finally laid down & went to sleep. He seemed to feel a bit better the next day, & by now is practically himself again. He is such a sweet dog – very affectionate & gentle & friendly & lovely looking – just like Lassie Come Home.
That evening Cec & I went down to the Officers Mess at the Naval Barracks & had quite a nice little party & singsong & spent the night at Pete & Lu’s. We came home for lunch & to see Russell, & then in the evening Cec had work to do with Pete, so I went & sat with Lu. The next evening one of the Profs at the Univ. Dr. Petrie, & his wife (a young couple) invited Cec & I & Pete & Lu over for drinks & yesterday we went to lunch with an older prof Dr. Mackay & his wife, & Cec gave a talk to the Physics Dept on his work & I did the ironing! So we have been busy! Yesterday evening we spent at home & all had a jolly time playing Chinese Chequers!
We have had a very happy time here, & I have enjoyed it all so much. At first I was a little shy, but the longer we stay the more at home I get, & I feel quite sorry that we are leaving now. After we go to Montreal, we spend about 3 days with Lee, then go to Ottawa for about 3 days, then to Toronto & home about the 12th. The railway strike is still on, so we are very lucky to have our air tickets.
Must stop now & get the packing done. Love to A. Moo – Cec would send love, but is downtown just now. Lots & lots of
Here we are in Canada! We arrived here this afternoon, after our usual Costain mad rush at the last minute, and now having got everything organized we are sitting back in our hotel room feeling that we are on our holidays!
You will notice that we postponed our date of leaving, as Cec had some work to finish for Dr. S. and I was just as pleased as it gave me time to do everything I wanted to, instead of every other thing! I finished work on Friday, and since then I’ve washed & ironed all our clothes, mended them (!!!), cleaned the flat thoroughly including scrubbing all the floors, so I feel very virtuous now! I packed my case last night, & got all Cec’s things ready, but this morning what with washing up & cleaning the very last things out of the fridge etc. we had quite a scramble to be ready at 10:30 when Gunborg very kindly came & gave us a lift down to the bus depot. We got the bus into Detroit, which takes about 1 1/2 hrs, then took another bus through the tunnel under the river to Windsor. We had to get here before the banks closed to get our Canadian money, then we went to the Airline Office & payed for our tickets & at last had lunch & we were hungrey! We thought we would go to the pictures tonight to see “Kind Hearts & Coronets” which we missed in England, & then get to bed early, as we have to be ready to get the bus to the Airport at 6:30 a.m.! We go to Toronto, then change planes & arrive at Saskatoon at 3:25- isn’t it incredible, when it would take us nearly 3 days in the train.
I haven’t written to you properly since my Epic, although I did send a sea letter of funny things from Ann Arbor. In that time we got 2 letters from you, & thank you very much honey. I have them with me, & will answer them in this, or if I haven’t time, will answer them in my next from Saskatoon.
We don’t seem to have been doing very much but the time has flown, & of course I have been busy with my chores as usual. We had a grand day in Detroit with the Sutherlands, & I had lovely time. We drove there in their car arriving about noon, & as we hadn’t been able to book tickets for the Ball Game, we went to the stadium & found we’d have to go & get them at 6 in the evening. Gunborg & I were all for having a nice dinner but with having to go so early to the game, we decided instead to have a nice lunch, & we went to a very nice Swedish restaurant we had heard of, called the Stockholm. It was lovely & cool for which we were grateful as it was a sweltering day (I wore my new green suit) & we had an extremely nice lunch- there was a Smorgasbord first (a kind of hors d’oeuvres- all sorts of dishes hot & cold, set out on a big table, & you go & help yourselves) then steak, and I being adventurous had a peculiar dessert that wasn’t very nice, but I didn’t mind!
After lunch we left the S’s to go shopping, & Cec & I went & saw about our re-entry permits for coming back to the U.S. & then to the Airline & arranged about our tickets & paying in Canadian dollars etc. We had arranged to meet the S’s at 4 o’clock, & it was still early, so we went to the great big store, Hudsons, & shop gazed & didn’t buy a thing! We met the S’s, & they shopped a bit more, then we had tea & finally went out to the stadium. We had to queue till 6 o’clock, then dashed in & got tickets & tore up the ramps & got seats!
In no time for seats were all filled (unreserved) & the game didn’t begin until 8:30, so we had a long wait, but it wasn’t dull because all the players were out practising & we had our programs & picked out the ones we knew from the radio broadcast, & it was fun. We ate hotdogs & drank pop, & it didn’t really seem long to wait. The Ball Game was Fun! Detroit was playing the New York Yankees, & they are great rivals, so it was very exciting, & Detroit won! I stood up & yelled & got so excited right at the beginning that Cec was worried my voice wouldn’t last through the game – I had a lovely time & enjoyed it hugely & so did Cec. Gunborg didn’t think it was very thrilling, so we were a little bit disappointed in her! We got back to A.A. about midnight, & I felt very pleased with my nice day.
Jessie Forsyth came that weekend to say goodbye, as she was leaving. We won’t see her in Sask. as her home is in Medicine Hat, but we will see Pete & Lu.
Last week we were busy at the office, & one evening I even did 3 1/2 hrs. of typing at home for one of the men- got paid of course too! Then we suddenly got a card from Joan & Ray Appleyard saying they had been driving out West & were returning to Yale via Ann Arbor & hoped to see us on Thurs. So of course, we were tickled to bits, but they didn’t actually arrive till Friday mid-day. They look just exactly the same (Ray thinner) & had with them a couple Bid & Denis Manon with whom they used to play bridge in Cambridge & used to call the Porkers – I didn’t know them. They had been driving most of the night, & got lost, & the car broke down, so they were in a dirty, sleepy condition when they arrived. We all had lunch in town together, then Cec took Joan & Ray back to the flat while I went back to work. The Manons went to a hotel, but I asked them to dinner & we had quite a successful meal of steak with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, tossed salad & cantaloupe. We asked the S’s over for a drink afterwards & we had a very nice evening. Joan & Ray slept on our sitting room sofa which pulls out into a double bed, & said they slept very well, then after breakfast set out at about 8 o’clock to collect the Manons & go to Niagara & then back home. They are going to stay in Yale another year – they were both asking for you & sent their love.
We have been to the movie & are back & going to bed now. We didn’t see “Kind Hearts & Coronets” as it was a long way away, but went to see “Stage Fright” instead. It was quite good, but there was a stinker on with it, which we sat through to see the beginning of the other!!
Will write soon again from Saskatoon.
With lots & lots of love from us both
Cyn & Cec
So Cyn and Cec were on holiday starting in Windsor, and there also in Windsor Ontario, was a red-haired 4-year-old boy who would grow up to marry their daughter!
Cyn may have been nervous about meeting her in-laws for the first time, but she also was interested in seeing more of Canada, going West, and then visiting more of Cec’s relatives, as well as their trip to Ottawa where they expected to be living in the future. And I’m sure the Costains liked her- Carman would spend a couple of summers living with them, and when Merle and Dix moved to Ontario in the 60s, the two families became close, and shared quite a few more holidays!
Since we got down here we have been as lazy as can be & have done nothing except sleep, eat, drink & totter down to the beach to bathe! We have a ground-floor room in an annex of the hotel, which is quite comfortable, but it is warmer than the weather we’re used to!
It is gloriously sunny, but we burn so easily that we are trying to keep out of it as much as possible & sit under umbrellas on the beach etc. The sea is lovely & we bathe twice usually & Cec ducks me regularly & says that as we sweat so much, swallowing salt water is good for me! We bought me a snappy white satin bathing suit with a strapless top. After various adventures in the water with the top practically around my waist, I have decided that it must be for glamorous sunbathing only!
The journey from Paris to Avignon took 10 hours & was very hot & dirty, so we were very glad to stay there for 2 nights & recover. Then we travelled down here on Sunday, which took 5 hours & was nice as we arrived about 4 o’clock & felt fine. We don’t eat in the hotel, except breakfast, so have fun choosing a different place each day – Cec laughs because whatever I order turns out to be the hugest helping of anyone in the restaurant & I have a struggle to eat it – but usually manage!
We leave here on 16th & travel overnight & have decided to stay a day or so in Paris. We expect to be in London on the night of the 19th & will ring you, but know no times yet. I wonder if you would write Mrs. Thompson, Mummy & ask her to get milk & bread for us on Saturday 20th- we hope to get back in time for me to go shopping otherwise.
[In Cec’s handwriting:] The suit is actually transparent when wet, I’m surprised at her – but not much.
As Carol said, Cec and Cyn rushed off on their honeymoon, presumably because they didn’t want to miss their train, but didn’t get farther than London for a few days. They went to a Skating Show, perhaps the first of many they would see throughout the years!
Cyn says in her letter that crossing the Channel was fine and they enjoy Paris. They plan to go south, Avignon, Le Corniche D’Or, Cannes- some of the same places that Cec had been the summer before on his bicycling trip, but with a lot more luxury. But nowhere does Cyn give her mother an address, although Cec had carefully booked in advance.
We sent you a P. C. from the top of the Eiffel Tower today, but I am drying my hair while to Cec snoozes so I thought I’d tell you our doings. I hope that you haven’t had the horridest time getting everything fixed & that you are all packed up & ready to go to Miss Lefroy’s now. We can hardly believe that it is Bank Holiday today & that we haven’t been married a week yet. Tomorrow, for our anniversary, we are going to a night club!
We had a nice time in London, & a very pleasant crossing. The French train was hot, but as we crossed Newhaven– Dieppe it was a longer sea & shorter rail journey. Our Paris hotel is cute. We have a nice room & bathroom & the chambermaid looks on us as being a great joke & speaks very simple French at us! The weather has been wonderful, but rather too hot at times for sightseeing. We seem to have walked miles, but we are getting a bit better on the Metro, so have saved our feet a bit today.
The hotel is just by the Madeleine, so we have seen that & have walked down the Rue de la Paix & the Champs Élysées. We went & saw Notre Dame & the Louvre & the Jardin des Tuileries & the Arc de Triomphe & today went up the Tower & then to Les Invalides. Our first morning we window shopped & went through the Galleries Lafayette & gazed at all the lovely things. My husband bought me a darling little evening bag & I was pleased!
We are having a wonderful time eating & drinking! We have breakfast brought to our room in the hotel- tea & rolls. Then we have a huge lunch about 12, then we either have tea or lemonade in a café, or we buy gorgeous cakes & eat them in our room & finally have a huge dinner with wine in the evening. It’s wonderful! We have weighed ourselves & are going to do it again on the way home!
I will stop now as I want to try & get some more of my thank-yous written – still trying!
Cec and I think married life is nice– we like it!
With lots & lots of love
P.S. Love to Miss Lefroy & Miss Hall.
P.P.S. You have a wonderful daughter, Mum.
Halfway through Carol’s unsent letter, she started responding to this letter from Cyn, which was posted the day after the British Bank Holiday, on Tuesday August 2, 1949. There were machines at railway stations, and perhaps on the Metro, where you could put in a coin, stand on the machine, and get a printout of your weight. Cyn and Cec did this, at the beginning and end of their honeymoon, and Cyn carefully saved the evidence and pasted it into her scrapbook. Both of them definitely gained weight!
I remember meeting my father in Paris at Eastertime when I was 22: he had a conference there, and I was spending a year at a university in England. I agreed with my mother, the hotel was cute- open elevators with doors you had to shut, such as I had seen in movies- I did some sight seeing and went to the Paris Opera, but what I most clearly remember and enjoyed, was the food! I ate Sole Meuniere in every restaurant, and his French colleagues were happy I appreciated it, even though I preferred tea to coffee. I did not, however, get to any night clubs with bare-breasted ladies or can-can dancers- Cec had done that with better company…