February 19 1957

19th Feb. 1957. xxx from L. & C.

*The S.Sch. sent me a beautiful box of spring flowers.

Dearest Mummy,
I meant to write you a long letter, but somehow at the moment I don’t seem to get around to doing things, so I thought I’d write one of these & hope to get going soon.
Actually I am feeling much better this week & really like myself again. Before that I was tired & everything was an effort, but on Sunday I suddenly seem to pep up & have been fine since. I still go carefully & rest a bit in the morning & have a sleep in the afternoon, but I get up & get the family going in the morning & Cec is able to go to work at the proper time again. To complicate matters we all got colds last week – Cec & I very wooshy-harooshy ones & the children snuffly, so Linda was home from school & I suppose it sent me back a bit.

However Linda was well enough to go to school on Thurs. (St.Val’s Day!) & all seemed serene, & then on Friday after dinner she was quite subdued & then felt sick & lost her dinner! Sat. she didn’t eat much & on Sun. was better, but on Sun. Cec got a great stye on his eye! Can you imagine!! We were prepared for Charlie to come out in yellow spots, but everything passed over & everyone is well again now – but aren’t we the ones! Everyone has been most kind with calling* & phoning & bringing cookies etc. – Mrs. Rothwell quite embarrassingly so of course, but she really means well!
Thank you so much for your 2 Air Letters of 10th – I got them last Friday. We were so sorry to hear of your poor little kittens & chicks dying – Cec says that D.D.T. poisoning affects the nerves so your idea may be possible but he says your vet. should be able to tell you. Our Nicki is a lovely big puss now but still very playful. She loves to go out & play with the children outside & if they are out & she gets shut in by accident she cries & cries till I let her out!
What with all our ills etc. I have no news to tell you as we have done nothing & seen no one, but the Douglasses are having a party on Sat. & we’re going so I have something to look forward to! The funny thing is that the one thing I still find an effort is to talk to people! Isn’t that odd? And I usually like it more than anything! But quite a few of the girls have phoned Cec & I should call them back & have a chat, but I keep putting it off – a very peculiar thing for me. Probably when I go to the party I’ll talk my head off!

Charlie said tonight “I think everyone in my family is very cute & very lovely & very charming!” The other night he told me I was charming & then after a little pause “Don’t you think I’m charming too? “!!
Please excuse this very dreary letter all about me – will try & be better next time. The cut glass decanters sound lovely & I would love to have them. Dare you send them?
Lots of love from us all Cyn.

February 8 1957

8th Feb. 1957

Dearest Mummy,
Well! Well! Everything happens to the Costain’s! And what do you think it was this time? I had a miscarriage. Now I know just how surprised you are & that you’re saying you didn’t even know I was pregnant, and the funny thing is that I didn’t know either, so no one was more surprised than I was!! I feel quite ridiculous like one of these silly females in novels on whom I have always poured such scorn, but apparently I had a normal period after I became pregnant, then last month I missed, but you know I sometimes do if I’m in a bit of a do, like crossing the Atlantic or something, so I just thought I was a bit rundown with the children being sick & thought no more of it – especially as I didn’t feel pregnant – no nausea or exhausted feeling or anything. Then last week my period arrived as I thought quite normally but apparently this was the beginning of the mis. & it began to get worse till at the weekend I thought things were a bit odd but I still didn’t realize what it was – I thought more about the change of life & Aunt Mil’s graphic description of hers!!

Anyway it was all very dramatic – at 12:30 a.m. on Sun. night I was dashed off to Hospital in an ambulance & given a blood transfusion & all sorts of things & on Mon. morning Dr. Kastner did a curettage & cleaned me up & then told me I had been 3 mths. pregnant. I was surprised! I had another blood transfusion on Tues. & came home on Wed. & here I am safe at home & quite chirpy again. I am to stay mostly lying down till next Wed. then I can go out & begin to do a bit around the house & be back to normal in 2 or 3 weeks. I have iron pills to take as apparently in spite of the blood transfusions my blood is still quite low & Dr. K. keeps telling me I bled like a pig! I must say I didn’t know I had such a lot in me!
The children are fine & Cec is looking after everything wonderfully. Clare is coming next week for a day to clean & everyone is being very kind. I got a A.M. letter from you in Hospital & what do you think- the diary & your sea letter came last week and yours & A. Muriel’s Christmas cards & Charlie’s books. Thank you so much for them all – I’ll write a longer letter next week – I am still a bit tired. Lots of love from us all Cyn.

June 4 1956

This is the third letter from Carol’s friend, who has lent her beach-side cottage to Carol so she can take her visiting sister for a local holiday to Villa which they knew from childhood, while Mrs Edmunds helps Lewis seek treatment in Toronto.

4/6/56 [but postmarked June 7th.]

My dear Carol,
Many thanks for your second letter of the 30th received the day before yesterday. It was so nice to hear you say how settled you feel already in Villa & that you & Trix are going to be happy there – it’s lovely for you having Fred’s car which will solve all the transport problems for you won’t it?
Thank you for being so kind to my Prince, & I’m sure he’ll be much happier now that you are there to fuss him – pussy too. At the moment Lewis plans on returning the first week in July – I’m sorry to say he’s not as well as he was on arrival & is somewhat depressed about himself – of course Carol quite between ourselves I don’t think there is anything the Doctors can do for him now – Glynn told me that a long time ago but saw how keen Lewis was on this trip to Canada & how much faith he had in this blood specialist here & hoped for a miracle, so said the best thing to do was to let him come. The Dr told me the same thing the last time I saw him & said he would give Lewis some treatment for the weakness of his legs, (which is getting worse!) but we didn’t tell Lewis this naturally, & I don’t want him to lose hope. I shall be very thankful to get Lewis safely home again – the responsibility weighs somewhat heavily at times, especially with the bad news of Glynn. After being without news since I left Villa I had a letter yesterday written from Hospital where he had had an internal operation 2 days ago! Another letter this morning saying he was still in Hospital & in pain but was hoping to be out in a few days time. I knew he was far from well when he went home & I only hope he will soon recover now & return to his old self.
I do hope you are making use of the radio and the piano? It’s sweet of you to bother to weed Carol, but please don’t work too hard – you’re supposed to be on holiday you know. You don’t mention your little dog so I presume you left her behind – what a pity – Prince would love to have her I know.
We’ve had all the seasons since we arrived here, weather unknown in Toronto for hundreds of years! June 1 & 2nd were bitterly cold, then some miserable wet days & now today we’re back to Summer again – I hope it stays now.
I’m still hoping to see Niagara Falls but I am dubious about taking Lewis – yet it would be too disappointing to miss seeing one of the world’s wonders.
With very kindest regards from Lewis to you both & with my love,

And here the story ends. If Cyn mentions Dorée Edmunds or Lewis in any future letters, we may find out some more details about their health- or Prince- but without Carol’s letters there is no closure. The only hint we get in Cyn’s summer letters is an offhand comment about the cook leaving- apparently Dorée’s ‘staff’ will be one short on her return!

February 13 1954

Ottawa Civic Hospital

13th Feb. 1954

Dearest Mummy,
I am so pleased with myself because tomorrow I am going home! Dr. K said Monday, but when I asked him if I couldn’t go home tomorrow as a Valentine, he laughed & said all right. So tonight is my last night in the hospital & I am feeling quite excited & restless! Looking back on the time it’s very difficult to think of each day as they were also exactly alike that no one stands out from the other- some of them seemed a week long at the time, but now it is just difficult for me to realize it is the middle of Feb. when I took ill in the middle of Jan. When I go home I am to stay in bed for a week, but can go to the bathroom – no more bed pans thank goodness! Then the next week I can begin getting up & gradually doing things. It seems an awfully long slow process & I would never have believed it before. I have to stay on a special diet till about the end of April (no fat & high protein) & not one drink for 6 months & then only an occasional sip for a year! What a liver can do to you! However I am thankful that the worst is all over now, and Dr. K. has been very kind & at least all this treatment etc. should prevent me from having a jaundiced outlook!! Dr. K. says I have been a very good patient & Cec says he’ll beat me if I don’t do exactly as I’m told at home, so it looks as if I’m going to have to go on being a good patient! Claire is still coming next week & probably a bit while I’m getting on my feet.
I have your letter mailed 1st Feb. to thank you for & Cec says there is another one from you at home – he just dropped by for a minute on Fri. from work so I didn’t have it with him but I will get it tomorrow. I was so delighted to hear the news of Nan’s baby. I wrote to her yesterday & do you know, I don’t owe anyone a letter! Of course in 3 weeks I should have cleared up the arrears (spelling?!) but everyone here has been so good about writing & sending flowers & mags. that I have been kept busy writing thank you notes as well and writing in bed isn’t the easiest of occupations! I had lovely daffodils & yellow tulips from Phyl & Alex & a beautiful cyclamen plant from Nan & Don Ramsay which I hope to take home with me. I got a cute note from Boris cut in the shape of a heart with “To my Valentine” on. Did I tell you that he & Joan got engaged at the beginning of the year & I think plan to be married in May? I am kind of sorry I don’t like Joan more but maybe we will like her better as time goes on & anyway we would try to like anyone for Boris’ sake as he is so nice. It was so funny though, when I first came in here there was a little nurse just finished her 3 yr. training- she was only on this ward a couple of days & just before she left one day we got chatting & discovered she used to work at NRC & we knew lots of the same people. Not only that but after she left, she met Boris & was his girlfriend for quite a while I gathered & she was very keen, but from what she said I rather think Boris’s mother didn’t approve & they parted. She is engaged to be married this summer to a young Dr. & is all over it, but I was so mad she was moved as she was all set to tell me the whole story!
To return to your letter & Nan’s baby, I am so pleased as quite a few people have mentioned in letters (Mary Stuart, Dottie etc.) that they thought it would be a good thing if Nan & Dick had more children & certainly now that Sandy is going to school this year, Nan shouldn’t be too busy. I expect she would like a girl as you say, (but on the other hand not everyone can be as clever as me!!!!) but probably Sandy would like a boy to play with – so I don’t suppose they mind too much. Talking of children you were asking if Charlie was walking yet- well he has taken the odd step when he wasn’t thinking & will sometimes walk from the sofa to the table, but he isn’t exactly walking yet!! Tottering maybe! He howls loudly if we sit him on Linda’s potty chair so we’re not bothering. One reason he howls is that his little bottom is so slim & tiny that it threatens to slip through the hole & he doesn’t feel safe! He doesn’t have a little round fat smacky bottom like Lindy & her Mama! Charlie says quite a few words now but he doesn’t have quite as clear enunciation as Lindy had right from the beginning. He says “ca” (car) “bye-bye” & of course our names & “cook-cook” (cookie) “mi’k” for his bottle & when he is finished his dinner I always used to say to him “Charlie made it a-a-a-all gone!”& he now repeats the exact intonation of the “all gone” but it sounds more like “a-a-a- ba”! Lindy is just as precise & exact in her words as ever & sometimes if Charlie says that & there still some left she will say “It’s not really quite all gone”! She uses the future tense “Shall we go upstairs, Mummy?” & is even beginning to differentiate between my accent & Cec’s & tease me about it!! She sometimes says “Mummy says apple sa-uce”or “Mummy says toma-ato but Daddy says tomayto”! If I say “agen” she always corrects me & tells me it’s “again” & it’s really so funny! She’s a great little mimic & one day told me “Lee says ‘Berry – Berry’ but Jim says ‘Barry” (the latter in a big deep voice!) & it wasn’t till then that I realized Lee did say “Berry”!
Talking of Lee I had a note from her & she seems to be feeling well again. After the mis. they took her to hospital for a “tidy up” but she was home the same day I think. Apparently she had a bad dose of flu before Christmas & the baby hadn’t developed since then so it was probably a good thing she did mis. She says now that she feels better than she has for months. Poor Margie has both Tommy & Danny down with measles now – doesn’t she have the worst time! And she has been so sweet writing to me 3 or 4 times a week, as if she didn’t have enough to do. Joyce is feeling better now but has had a long miserable time with sinus trouble. Cec had Cy come over & keep him company one Sat. evening & last Sat. Pete & Lu came, so he enjoyed that – he says the house seems too empty when the children go to bed. Les & Joyce have 3 girls- the smallest is Lois, about 3 mths. older than Charlie.
I was sorry to hear about Sam Dorman- I didn’t know he was so ill. Imagine him gone & old Auntie Phine hanging on – isn’t it strange. I was glad to have news of Janie & Billo- poor kids, what a sad time they are having & they must feel so badly at having to be apart just now. I was sorry for the poor cousin in London, Ont. who had all his plans spoiled- such a shame after having waited so long & made so many plans.
Which brings me to your plans for our W.I. vacation this year. I am afraid it is all a daydream because we just couldn’t possibly afford it. You know Cec has only been working for a bit over 2 years & we started those 2 years with nothing – not like a young couple who have savings for furniture etc. In that 2 years we’ve had 2 babies, bought furniture, had 2 operations on Charlie, big dentist bills & now on top of it all, this business of mine. The insurance pays some of the doctor bills & hospital, but not all & on top of that we pay Claire $5.00 a day, so we just have no spare cash. Before we can plan a big trip, we must have some sort of financial security & savings in case of emergency, which we haven’t got now. We have planned to join a Savings Group which will take so much out of Cec’s pay each month, so that we can gradually save for a down payment on a house & Cec says maybe in a couple of years we can plan something. He was saving some of his vacation & carrying it over, so that when the time came we could have a nice long stay, but I’m afraid it’s now being used up looking after babies while wife is ill. I know that you long to see the children, but actually they will enjoy a trip much more when they are a little older & even now we’d have to pay for Linda as it under 2 they go free on Airlines. I certainly wouldn’t like to come without Cec – imagine not having my husband to show off to everyone!
Talking of showing off my husband reminds me of your little story of Pegs & Jeanie not hitting it off too well these days. I feel kind of sorry for Peggy – although probably if I knew them well I would like Jean better. But I think Peggy has a bit of an inferiority complex & I can’t blame her. If I had 2 older sisters just loaded with looks & charm & a younger one bouncing with self-confidence, I’d probably feel the same, & Alex doesn’t seem to be the kind of man who would boost her ego much. Altogether I feel poor Peggy can’t be too happy, but I hope things smooth over & she and Jeanie make it up, because as you say she has no one of her own age to be a real friend.

I was very interested in your letter all about the Archbishop of York’s visit – he wasn’t the one who was at York when I was – it was the big fat one- William? – he died anyway I know. I saved your Gov. House invitation for the scrapbook – I’ll maybe do some of that next week. Tell Auntie Moo that my Italian meal was de-e-e-licious! You used to like things like Spanish Rice & the Mazzotti is much the same type of thing only with noodles instead of rice & meat & mushrooms & tomatoes etc. The Zabaglione is beaten over hot water, so it’s thick & fluffy & you eat it with a spoon – I’m sure you would like it – you can either have it warm as we did or chilled.
Talking of the scrapbook reminds me I haven’t sent the negatives you want yet, but I haven’t forgotten – I just haven’t had a chance. I will send them when I get home. Thank you so much too for the £10 you put in my account in England – I think I will send Harrods my measurements & get them to make me a really nice “Gor-ray” skirt & get maybe a nice jersey to match for the spring! Do you remember the old Gorray skirt I had (blue/grey/rust) & the rust twin set (children’s department!). I think the latter was from Harrods too, & anyway they all lasted for years & something like that will really boost my morale!

I think you should take your Income Tax money & you & A. Moo take a little holiday at the beach. Why don’t you? You both love the bathing so & haven’t had a holiday for ages.
I am so sorry I still haven’t done anything about the cord for your ear phone either- your letter came just about the time I took sick & I forgot all about it but I will get Cec to phone when I get home & I will Air Mail it. I hope it hasn’t inconvenienced you as I’m so glad that you’re used to the Aid now & find it a help. Goody goody for no more duty on the batteries!
Well it is nearly my bedtime now & the nurse has brought in my “snack”- sandwich & juice, & as supper is at 5 here, I am glad of it & the Dr. keeps telling me I must eat a lot! Tomorrow I will be sleeping in my own bed & all my little family nearby – such a nice thought!

Lots and lots of love from Cyn.

February 1 1954

                                    Mon. Feb 1st. 1954

Dearest Mummy,
Here I am at last to write that lallapalooza I keep talking about! You’re always so worried about this word lallapalooza & what it means – I’m sure you must have heard me use it a hundred times- just a real big whopper that’s all! I am feeling lots better now – I am still a bit yellow but the last 2 days the nausea has just about gone & I am eating fairly normally although no ravenous appetite as yet. The Fat Free diet isn’t bad except that eggs are out & of course anything made with fat. I get lots of fruit & juice & lovely lovely skim milk!
I had a wonderful surprise yesterday afternoon – there was a knock at the door & in walked Cec in a white hospital gown about 10 sizes too small for him! Apparently they have decided to let him in once a week, but it was so nice seeing him & getting all the news, although he had written me a nice long letter during the week & told me all about the babies. They seem to be getting on fine- Claire came in Wed. Thurs. & Fri. of last week & will come in all this week except Tues. so Cec can go into the Lab & not miss any time. The children are very good with her, Cec says & of course he gives them their breakfast & is home at 5 for their dinners. When he came yesterday Alec & little Nancy Douglas had gone up to sit with them (they were asleep when Cec left) but as Linda loves Nancy I don’t think there would be any fuss – & afterwards they were all going down to have dinner with the Douglases. Dr. K. hasn’t been in to see me the last couple of days (he told me he had a confinement due) but when he comes I want to ask him how long I’ll be here – it will be a week tomorrow since I came in & 2 weeks since I took sick. As usual Cec has heard of all sorts of people who have had jaundice & how long they were ill etc. so we feel lucky Dr. K. caught it so early with me. On Dr. K.’s advice Cec called Dr. Whillans about the babies & the risk of infection & he said to bring them over & he gave them each a shot of gamma globulin – it doesn’t prevent it but makes the attack very slight if they get it, so that is a relief. Cec sent me in a huge bundle of books & mags. last week so I have some thing to keep me going- also the Forsyths sent me a lovely big bunch of gladiolas and Mrs. Herzberg some beautiful red carnations – wasn’t that nice of them? I am trying to get all my Christmas letters written too but writing in bed is kind of awkward so I haven’t got them all done yet-4 to go I think.
Now at last to tell you a bit about our Christmas doings – although Christmas seems so far away now. To begin with little Charlie’s birthday which was the Sat. before Christmas. Of course he didn’t care, the little lamb, but we told Linda about it & she & I went to Dube’s during the week & got him cards and a present from her – the Kitten Wheel which he got triplicated at Christmas! It was Cec’s morning in bed, so we waited & had Charlie’s birthday after Daddy had his breakfast. We all gave him cards & besides Linda’s kitten wheel there was your book. Cec & I gave him “useful” things – a nice blue & white long sleeved T-shirt, a feeding bowl with compartments like Lindy’s, and a pair of red mittens with appliquéd snowman on. He took them all in his stride of course, but the funny thing was that he seem to know at once that the things were his & when Lindy went to take anything he made a grab & hung on! They’re pretty good about toys though & will give things to each other very nicely, but once in a while there is a tug- of-war & a battle! We went out & got the Christmas tree that afternoon so although I had made Charlie’s cake I hadn’t time to ice it & so I left it until the next day. Then on Sunday just as we were going to have tea with Charlie’s lovely blue & white cake with one candle who should arrive but Boris with a lovely big red truck for Charlie! He hadn’t been able to come over on the Sat. so just dropped in on the Sun. & it was so nice we had the cake & tea all ready.
On Monday morning Cec stayed home from work & we took the children down to Freiman’s to see Santa Claus! I can’t say it was a huge success as Charlie seemed very tired before we hardly got there, but the Santa was very nice & when I took Lindy up talked to her nicely. She had been saying for weeks that she was going to ask Santa for a carriage to put dolly in, but of course she didn’t say a word & I had to tell him, but afterwards she was talking about what Santa Claus had said!
I thought I done pretty well & had very little to do that last week, but golly – those few little things to make for the carriage & the doll & fixing the tree & so on & putting the cards on the bannisters seemed to take so long that every minute was taken. Cec came home early one afternoon & I went down town & shopped for a few last minute oddments for the children’s stockings & so on. On Christmas Eve Cec had a 1/2 day which was nice. I had planned to get all the Christmas dinner ready, but of course didn’t! However I got some things ready – my menu was- Cranberry Juice Cocktail, Roast Turkey, Stuffing, Gravy, French Beans, Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Relish dish (celery, radishes, olives, pickles, etc.), Orange Cream, Coffee. I made the cranberry juice & cranberry sauce & the orange cream – I decided to have the cream instead of Christmas pudding as I knew the children wouldn’t eat it & none of us are madly keen & I had planned to make a mince pie & have it hot with hard sauce & coffee around 10, but actually I never got it done & we were all stuffed anyway! Talking of stuffing I had planned to get the turkey all done of course but didn’t have a moment so I left it till the day- it was 13 lbs. & just a nice size. We put the children to bed and hung up stockings for them, but Linda really didn’t know what it was about & wasn’t excited which was just as well as they went to sleep nicely! Cec & I put all the presents under the tree & wrapped up ours & filled the stockings etc. Phyl & Alec were having “Open House” from 8:30 on & had asked us down. Dan of course had been invited too & we thought maybe when he’d been we could pop down for a minute, but oh no! – he was down on the dot of 8:30 & stayed till about 1:30 when everyone else had left – an old trick of his we’ve noticed before! So Cec went down for about 1/2 an hour & then when he came back I went down for a little – I took Phyl a jar of “our” mincemeat by the way & the raves & compliments I’ve had about it since! The nicest mincemeat they’ve ever tasted etc. Lucille & I swapped a jar to try each others (hers is the sweet kind) & Cec thinks ours is by far the nicer, so it has been a big success. After being at the Douglas’s I got ready & went over to St Margaret’s for 11:30 Service- it was just crowded to the doors, but I got in right at the back & a boy gave me a chair. It was very nice & so many people – even some in the Church Hall.
On Christmas morning the children didn’t wake up till 8:30 & we were glad after our late night- I must tell you though, when Cec sneaked into the children’s room to substitute the full stockings for the empty ones Lindy woke up & said “what’s that?” We just said “nothing” & she went to sleep again, but Cec said he was going to have to brush up on his Santa Claus technique! We took them & their stockings into our bed & they looked at their toys & Lindy licked a few of her candies but really they weren’t very interested! So we took them downstairs & had breakfast – dear Dan joining us! – & and then went into the sitting room with the tree & the presents! Lindy was at once taken up with her doll’s carriage – I don’t think she really would have cared if she hadn’t got anything else – she just loved it. The doll’s house doesn’t intrigue her 1/2 as much as I thought it would & she doesn’t play with it very much, but Charlie is rather fond of it & often sits & takes all the furniture out & then puts it back again or else carefully brings each piece over & gives it to you! Lindy handed out the presents & I sat & made a list on the spot of what was from who! Dan was in on all this & we had got him a shaving brush from Lindy & shaving soap from Charlie (we knew he had only about 2 bristles in his old brush!) so we felt we did our duty. All this time we had no idea if he had anywhere to go for Christmas dinner so we decided that if he said nothing & stuck around we just tell him we were having dinner at 5 & assume he was coming. However, he informed us during the morning that Shoosmith was coming at 12:00 to take him on a round of drinks & that 2 fellows from the Lab. were coming for him later to take him out to Christmas dinner, so were we relieved! I then set out to cope with my neglected turkey, but the children seemed tired & a bit cross, so I fed them & we put them to bed & I started in again- now nearly 1:00 when the 2 fellows from the Lab arrived to take Dan out to dinner. Cec got them a drink (in the meanwhile, thank goodness we had cleared up the mess in the sitting room & cleaned it) & I went in & was sociable for a little while. Then just left them & returned to my poor old turkey when in arrived Shoosmith & his son John (18) & another man from the lab! All very merry & full of Christmas cheer – not come to take Dan out for a drink at all, but to come in for a drink! So there I was again! In the end I took all the bread etc. into the sitting room & sat & made my stuffing with 7 men all making merry around me & of course the poor old bird was hours late getting in the oven! That’ll learn me to get it stuffed on Christmas Eve next time!! The children woke up at 3:30 & I just had time to dress them up prettily before the Ganders came. Lindy had on the pretty little pale blue georgette dress trimmed with white lace that Mary Egan sent her & a blue bow in her hair & she looked so sweet. Charlie had on his pale blue & white Viyella rompers that I got him from England & you couldn’t have seen two prettier little children anywhere I’m sure! Dinner of course wasn’t ready anywhere near 5, but I had canapés & Cec made drinks & we gave the children juice & crackers & they were fine. Lindy & Barry played away & had a grand time & Charlie was full of fun & chuckles. I had fixed up Linda’s little table for her & Barry & they were greatly taken with a pretty paper tablecloth & Santa Claus paper napkins – our table I had decorated with candles & our aluminum fruit bowl piled with little presents with a red ribbon to each place & glass Christmas tree balls. We were all so hungrey that everything tasted wonderful & we all ate enormously! Barry had a drumstick & Lindy a thigh & they tucked into them at a great rate. The drumstick just about finished Barry but Lindy had potatoes & jello & banana! Afterwards they played a little & we put them all to bed very sweet & happy & good. Jim & Lee & Cec & I just sort of sat around & talked & then Cec took them home around 10:30.

We didn’t really have many holiday frivolities to tell you about. Cy & Margie asked us over to a late dinner on the Sun. after Christmas & we had a nice quiet time the 4 of us. Cec & I had debated about having a party sometime, as we thought it would be probably our last chance as our next abode won’t be likely to have such a nice big sitting room, but we decided instead to have two evenings with about 6 people each evening. We went to quite a lot of pains not to have all Lab. or all Sask. people together, but in the end Lu got some kind of breast infection (she was just weaning the baby) & they couldn’t come, so by the time we juggled around they weren’t so well assorted, but it couldn’t be helped. On the Tues. after Christmas we had Mr. & Mrs. Hughes (from next door) Dr. & Mrs. Calaman (he is an English fellow & his wife is Swiss) from the Lab., & Chris (the Danish fellow) & Kevin (a fellow from Dublin) also from the Lab. We had drinks & chip dip (potato chips to dip into soft onion-flavoured cream cheese- everyone loves it) & we played “Rumoli”. It is a nice easy kind of gambling game that we played with poker chips & it was really a grand idea as everyone enjoyed it & it is very easy to learn & no skill involved! For supper we had lobster tartlets (hot) & toasted turkey sandwiches, olives rolled in bacon & grilled, & stuffed celery & radishes etc. – afterwards hot mince pie or fresh fruit salad & coffee of course. Everyone seem to enjoy it, & Cec & I congratulated ourselves particularly on the Rumoli because during supper & after Mr. Hughes quite got into form & monopolized the conversation with tall tales about his early days in Canada etc. & no one else could get a word in! Just at the end it didn’t matter but if we’d had no game & he’d begun earlier it would have rather cramped the evening!
On New Year’s Eve Cec & I just decided we weren’t going to bother trying to make any plans – it is so difficult to get sitters etc. so we just sat at home & had a nice little Celebration together – nothing like your gay time!! On the Sat. after we had Cy & Margie over & Stuart & Willa Woods – they are from Sask. and he works in at the Council- he came to dinner with us once at Ethel Street you may remember. We did pretty much the same, played Rumoli & so on & had fun. This time we had cocktail sausages on sticks, mushroom tartlets & sardine rolls & I made little “Petit Fours” with 1954 on & had those with Christmas cake.

I forgot to tell you that we went to the Gander’s for a turkey dinner on New Year’s Day. Jim had won a turkey at bowling, so although I felt it was a lot for Lee she insisted that we should come. We went about 4:30 & had a very nice dinner at 6. Afterwards we put the children’s pyjamas on & bedded them down in Jim & Lee’s bed – this was Charlie’s first experience of a bed & he thought nothing of it, but he was so tired he soon went to sleep. We had a nice game of bridge & at about 10:30 Charlie rolled onto Linda’s side of the bed & they both woke, so we popped on their snowsuits & they were full of fun & enjoyed the trip home!
I think that is the sum total of our holiday doings, but we did have one other funny evening. It was about the 2nd Sunday after New Year’s & we thought we’d try out my new Meat Thermometer so I got a nice sirloin of beef & when I had the dinner all cooking I said to Cec, “You know, this is such a lovely big dinner we should have someone to share it” so we called up Chris & he said he’d love to come & Dan came in from skiing & in the bigness of our hearts we asked him too! The dinner was grand – roast beef (done to a turn!) roast potatoes, cauliflower, Yorkshire pudding, pickles etc. & then small mince pies & Christmas cake with coffee. We put the children to bed & washed the dishes & then thought we might play bridge – and I got Dan as a partner! He was terrible! Screamed with joy if he got a good hand; howled & moaned if he got a bad one & then bid on it; overbid me on every occasion so that all night I played 2 hands- one in which he left me in a 2nd bid & one of which he put me up to 5 clubs without a card in his hand! When he didn’t get the bid he didn’t pay any attention to the playing & just threw cards away, so you can imagine what an evening it was— we always end our kind impulses to him by loathing him more than ever!
It is now Thurs. 4th Feb. so I’ll stop this now & mail it before it gets too huge. I feel fine now but Dr. K. says I must be in 3 weeks still. The days are so long with nothing to do, but at least just about half the time is over.
I will be writing again soon – hope you can read all the scribble.
With lots of love & kisses from

January 28 1954

Thursday. 28th Jan.

Dearest Mummy,

I hope you can read this pencil, but it seems to be all I have at the moment. Well – what do you know- last time I wrote I told you I was busy having flu & here it turns out it wasn’t flu at all, but jaundice and I am a delicious shade of mud yellow all over! Do I vaguely remember your having jaundice once when I was at school? Anyway I just hadn’t the slightest notion of what it was until this descended on me & now I am amazed the fuss over it.

After I wrote to you last I seemed much better & got up a bit, but still couldn’t eat anything. On the Sat. & Sun. I was kind of “draggy” & besides not being able to eat had a kind of nausea all the time. Cec wanted to call the Dr. on Sun. evening, but we waited till Mon. & he made an appointment for me to come over & see him that afternoon. I took a taxi over as Cec stayed with the children – he is a Dr Kastner who lives in Manor Park nearby & knows Margy & Cy – young & ugly(!) but very good & efficient. After seeing me he said it was jaundice & that I must have three things

  1. 3 weeks complete bed rest- not even getting up to go to the bathroom. 
  2. a complete fat free diet
  3. liver injections.

As you can imagine I nearly fell over in a fit, particularly as he went on to say that he thought the best thing for all of us would be for me to go into hospital for the three weeks. I had no idea that jaundice was so serious, but he says that if it’s not taken care of it becomes a chronic liver complaint & you’re always tired & get thinner & thinner (already have lost 10 lbs. in a week- whoops!) & you end up with a hobnail liver. Imagine – a hobnail liver without ever having had the whiskey first!! Anyway he told me all about it & we discussed finance & looking after the children etc. & he told me to go home & talk it over with Cec, which I did. Altogether we decided that I had better come into the hospital so as to get the care & also relieve him of trying to look after an invalid at home & he is staying at home looking after the children. I called Claire and asked her to come in as much as she could & she was coming Wed. & Thurs. of this week, so Cec will be able to go into the Lab. a bit & he is going to try to go in at night as Douglases & Garretts etc. all say they will baby sit. One thing about the hospital business is that our Insurance will pay for quite a bit of it, so that is a relief, as we no sooner seem to be getting on nicely & saving a little money when something happens to upset it all. There was no bed in the hospital till Tuesday afternoon, so Cec brought me in about 4, & Phyl stayed with the children who were asleep. The biggest blight of the whole thing is that I have been put in the Contagious Ward, as apparently jaundice is infectious & I am allowed no visitors or anything. Cec can come & visit me once only the whole time I’m here, so I feel very isolated, & keep wondering what my little family is doing. I have a small room to myself with a big window & quite a nice view & the nurses are very kind & attentive. It is a new wing on the hospital so everything is very clean & new – most of the other patients are children in with chickenpox, measles etc. so they are all bedded down about 7 p.m & the ‘ush certainly is breathless! Dr. K. comes into see me every day & is very nice –  he is very annoyed & upset about the no visiting business, because apparently I am not really at all infectious now, but it is the Ward Rule so must be obeyed.

I am eating a little now (Fri.) & the nausea isn’t so bad so I am on the upgrade! I will write again in a day or so, but will finish this now & get it posted – it has to be de-infected first! Will at least have plenty of time to get you that long letter written! 

                                               With lots of love Cyn.

A well-baked letter!