Dearest Mummy, I am sorry that I have been so long in writing but as you can imagine it has been a busy time. Cec is now safely home again having been operated on a week ago today and had the right side of his thyroid gland removed. I told you he was going in for tests & that week he really had a going over & was fine except they found he had what they called “nodules” on his thyroid, so they or rather “he” – a thyroid specialist & a surgeon, Dr. Dover, said he would operate on Tues. This was Friday when this was decided so Cec was allowed home from 2- 8 on Sat. & 10- 8 on Sun. which was nice. It was a kind of wild week as Lindy came home on Tues. evening. It was what is called “Reading Week” & they are allowed to “Read” at home, so she had spent the weekend with the Moors in Brantford & then gone back to Trent for a tutorial, & then come on home. Of course we had to choose a pattern for her evening dress & then material & then gold sandals, & each thing involved trips to town & touring the shops & great agonizing & wailing from Lindy, so it was very exhausting! In addition, the visiting hours at the Hospital were from 2 to 9 p.m. so I went in for an hour or so every afternoon & then dashed home, got dinner ready, ate, washed up & then went back to the hospital for another hour or so. It turned out to be the dreariest grey rainy weather, so that was kind of hard too, but at least it isn’t too cold yet. Lindy had also lost one of her contact lenses (popped out unawares in the dining hall with lots of people around) but they are insured fortunately so she had to go to the Eye Dr. & be fitted again etc. Then she had to see all her friends (Joanne & all her family except Mum & Dad had mumps) & I sewed violently so that she could try on the dresses before she left. I finished the green one out of the sari except for the hem
(she decided it was a little too mini – I have to take the tacking out & let it down!) & I cut out & sewed up the evening dress enough for her to try on. I was delighted as it fitted beautifully. In the end Lindy chose a pretty material (I’ll send a piece) which is laminated (i.e. a thin foam lining) which does away with lining, slips etc. [The foam layer disintegrated into dust over the years, unlike cotton or woollen cloth!]
It is lovely to sew & holds its shape beautifully, so I am very happy with it. The only trouble was that the green dress has gold in the edging so L. got a gold purse and & sandals & evening dress mat. has a silver thread in it, so I have got a very pretty edging embroidered with gold beads & pearls which I will put around the neck & sort of tie the gold & silver together.
To go back, Lindy left on Sun. at 5:30 & then I took Cec back to the hospital in the evening, & Charlie & I sat back & caught our breaths! When the op. was done on Tues. the Dr. found that the right side of the thyroid was very hard & calcified, so he sent it for a section to be done. He was so nice, he told Cec when it came back he jumped for joy, as it wasn’t malignant but very inflamed & infected, so he removed the whole right side. Apparently it is called Hashimoto’s Disease & the thyroid infects & rejects itself – very peculiar. Anyway he was pretty dopey that evening of course, with all sorts of drips etc. but the next day he looked better & by the Thurs. he was up & about & looking much more like himself. The Dr. had said he would probably be able to come home on Fri. or Sat. but I could hardly believe it when Cec called on Fri. morning & said “Come & get me”. He is sleeping & eating well now, & the incision is healing well. Cec says he’s had his throat cut! & it is a long scar across the bottom of his neck. It is sore & stiff of course & his voice gravelly but he is really v. well, but of course jittery & nervy & restless & yet tired – which anyone is after surgery, but improving each day. Thank you so much for both your letters – will answer them properly soon. Thank you also for the $5 – will get the panti hose & socks & know L. will be thrilled. Will take pictures & send them. So glad A. Moo had a nice birthday & the card arrived in time. I am enclosing some Supper recipes for you – the 1st one is nice with cold meat & all are inexpensive! Much love from us all Cyn. Love to A. Moo.
This letter mentions in passing an event that must have loomed large in February 1962- Cyn’s Cookery Demonstration that the Ladies Guild of the Church used as a fundraiser. I am so sorry that the letter giving Carol details of her plans and preparations is missing, because it was quite an undertaking. Nowadays, television/Youtube has made us familiar with the cook demonstrating the preparation, combining of ingredients, setting up of the dish to be cooked, all the while chatting about what they were doing and why, but in the 60s this sort of entertainment combined with education was rare. Cyn was a professional, and would have preferred to do this sort of thing after her training instead of teaching, and these demonstrations were a successful illustration of how good she would have been at it. Cyn had to decide on what her audience would be interested in watching and later making, and give them an interesting variety too. She needed some sort of theme, and would have chosen something fairly easy to do, probably for the purpose of home entertaining, but not that well known to her audience. (For example, choux pastry is not that hard to make, but turning the baked product into a swan creates a platter worthy of a fancy tea or company dessert.) After the menu planning- probably appetizer, entrée, and dessert- came the preparation- and this is where my memory comes in- Cyn was pretty hard to live with those weeks before the actual event. My mother was not one of those people who allowed her children to cook along side of her, teaching and giving them tasks to ‘help’! No, she wanted her kitchen to herself as she practised her menu and worked out the timing and the sequencing of events in the demonstration. Her recipes had to be typed up for publication and given to other Guild members to reproduce for the audience to take home with them. The Church Hall had to be set up for it too- there was a kitchen off to one side where the helpers would bake/roast/finish what Cyn had just demonstrated, but there was no platform, so one had to be set up, and electricity provided there so she could use her MixMaster to beat ingredients or a hot plate so she could cook in her demonstration- making choux pastry, or sauces- with chairs in front for the audience. Then she had to co-ordinate her helpers ‘backstage’- the other women in the Guild who would take her prepared product off to the oven and provide the previously-baked-and-cooled duplicate- so the cream could be whipped, the choux bun could be filled, and the swan neck could be attached to demonstrate the finished product! When all the recipes had been shown in their various stages, the spectators were invited to admire the finished presentation, taste the results, and praise the demonstrator- who took a few days to recover. This Cookery Demonstration became an annual event, but I’m sure the behind-the-scenes ballet was tense this first year they all tried it!
2043 Montreal Rd. Ottawa 2 Ont.
Dearest Mummy, Sorry that I haven’t written – I have been busy with poor Charlie’s NOSE! He is so unlucky, poor fellow, and seems to have something in his metabolism that makes it hard for him to get rid of things. Anyway – I wrote last before the Cookery Dem. – which went off very well, by the way, and his nose bled off and on all week. I took him to Dr. K. & he gave us nose drops & I was to put vaseline etc. but although the bleeding wasn’t heavy, he still had it now & then. On the Friday Mom & Dad Costain came back from Carp & spent the weekend here & left again by train on Mon. morning to go to Merle’s at Brantford. Charlie’s nose had been much better over the weekend & didn’t bleed at all on the Sun. so Mon. I sent him to school & went down with Cec to see Mom & Dad off at 10 a.m. I was hardly back in the house before the School Nurse phoned that Charlie was bleeding again! I got him home & called Dr. K. & he made arrangements for me to take Charlie to Dr. McKercher the Ear, Throat & Nose Specialist (did L.’s tonsils) to get it cauterized so we spent all afternoon in his office, but finally got it done. Dr. McK. said to keep him home the next day & send him to school Wed. & it was the Scout & Cub Father & Son Banquet on the Tues. evening, so Charlie seemed fine & he & Cec went & had a nice time then he hardly got to bed & he sneezed – out came the packing & it began to bleed! I took him to Dr. McK. again on Wed. & he cauterized it once more, Thurs. I took him to Dr. Kastner for a blood check to make sure his blood was not low & Friday I took Linda to the orthodontist! What a week in Dr’s offices! Over the weekend the wretched nose bled each bedtime & on Mon. it just began all day worse than ever so on Tues. Dr. McK. said to take him into hospital & there the poor little fellow is! He isn’t feeling ill at all but they have just packed his nose & kept him in bed & Dr. McK. is going to take out the packing today & if it is all right he can come home this afternoon or tomorrow. He is very good of course, but wants to come home – he doesn’t like the food in the hospital! So I have been going over to see him every afternoon (he’s in the Civic of course [far side of town]) & then again in the evening, so the days have been rushed, and the weather has been terrible all this 2 weeks. More snow than the whole rest of the winter & each day I had a lot of driving to do there would be a blizzard! It is cold & sunny today (below zero) but more snow tomorrow! I enjoyed hearing about all the visitors & thank you for your letters. Will write a better letter next time, but must have lunch now & get ready to go to the Hospital. Charlie is writing you a letter there! Lots of love for you & A. Moo & all the cousins from us all – Cyn.
I am sorry that I didn’t get a letter off last week, but now that I am back to normal there is so much to catch up with and I am so behind with everything concerned with Christmas. Of course I had no presents or cards or anything, and also I am very short of winter clothes and needed a hat and dress badly, so last week Linda had a dental appointment on Thurs. and so I decided that I would get Cec to take me downtown too, and I would shop and then come home in the bus. Of course you know what happened! I had both children home from school and we had to cancel the dentist as well as everything else! Linda had a bit of a cough at the weekend, but not bad, so she went to school on Mon. but Tues. it seemed worse so I thought if I kept her in bed a day or so it might clear it up, but by the Thurs. morning instead of being better she suddenly had a temperature of nearly 102 after not having had more than 99 the previous evening, so then Charlie decided he felt sick and throwy-up, so I kept him at home too. Actually, that afternoon he was to go to Dr. Kastner to have the dressing changed on his toe, so I called the nurse and told her about Linda and she said to bundle her up and have the car warm and bring her in too. We decided that we might as well all go to Dr. K. now as the children are getting big for the Paediatric Centre – Linda wasn’t too pleased but I think is resigned now! Cec came home and drove us over, and after a while I went in with the two children and Cec was most amused because in his (Dr. K.’s) usual whirlwind style he looked at Charlie’s toe (healing quite well, but still sore), got the nurse to put a dressing on it; looked at Linda’s ears and throat gave me a million instructions and two prescriptions for her; and then proceeded to give me a lightning quiz and give me a prescription for a tonic and bucker-upper – and we were all out and on our way home in about three minutes! Charlie’s toe continues to do well, but he still finds a shoe painful although I think he will be able to wear one soon as it doesn’t look red and inflamed now and the new nail seems to be doing all right. Linda took her medicine and the cold cleared up over the weekend. Dr. K. said that she could go to school this week, but no gym or going out at recess, so I gave both of them their lunches at school, so that she wouldn’t have to walk up in the cold, and Charlie has been taking his since his toe was so sore so that he wouldn’t have to walk. This has given me a lovely free week, and I have at last managed to get downtown and go to the coinwash and this morning I made my Christmas cake and it is in the oven now and smelling delectable! I made my Christmas pudding last week, so at least we will have some Christmas fare – I still haven’t made mincemeat, but I shall try to get it done next week, because I am so used to your grape mincemeat now that the bought kind tastes very strong and solid. Oh, I meant to tell you that Dr. K. said that I was doing fine, but that after a thing like this one’s haemoglobin goes down, so this would make me tired and so he gave me some mineral and vitamin pills, and I take one a day. How about yours? Blood, I mean? After your fall and the shock perhaps the same thing happened to you so I think you should get it checked and maybe you could use some pills too!
Poor Mama – you still haven’t heard all the ins and outs of this accident of mine! As you can imagine so many people have asked about it here and talked about it and everything that we feel everyone must be sick of it, but with having to write it to you I never did tell the full tale. Well, it happened on the 21st Oct. at 8:30 in the morning. Of course usually I would never be out in the car at that time on a Saturday morning, but this week the Cubs were to go downtown to a show and they all had to be at the school at 8:30 so Charlie got all dressed in his camp uniform and off we went. I left him at the school and then placidly drove back home again, having left Linda in her dressing gown and Cec asleep in bed as he had been working late the night before, and then as I drove up opposite our driveway and began to turn, with no cars in sight, I saw a small newspaper boy on a bicycle ambling along just opposite our house. I slowed down to let him past and then glanced along the highway again before turning across the road. I saw a truck coming from the Montreal direction just appearing over the hill, but thought “Oh, I have time to get off the road”, so drove quickly across and onto the gravel shoulder of the road opposite our driveway when suddenly the truck (what is called here a panel truck – we’d call it a van) drove smack into the passenger side of my car. Of course I just felt the terrific crash, and the doors on my side of the car burst open and I was thrown out onto the gravel. I wasn’t unconscious but the blow which broke my ribs had knocked all my breath out and I was wheezing and whooping trying to get it back. I was lying on the ground partly under our car and the man ran over and began helping me out and then I heard Emil’s voice, and I was so thankful as I could hear them sending someone for an ambulance and I was trying to say that I lived right here but had no breath to do so. Emil then said that I lived here and the two of them carried me in – I remember it all but I couldn’t open my eyes, and Emil says I kept saying “I’m all right “, and I did manage to say that Cec was still asleep. Poor little Lindy got such a shock as she saw them carry me in all gravelly and grubby, and Emil told her to go and wake Cec and he poor fellow woke up and found a house full of strange people and me were lying there and he didn’t know what had happened. I was on the sofa, and a lady who lives behind Emil’s and is a nurse and heard the crash dashed over and she bathed my face and put a cold cloth on my head etc. and then Cec phoned Dr. K. and he said to have the ambulance take me to the Civic Hospital. The ambulance came then, and Mary Orr who was passing and saw the commotion came and got Linda dressed and took her home with her, and they put me on a stretcher and took me off just as the police arrived. I was taken into the Emergency and undressed and then taken along and x-rayed and then all taped up with wide adhesive tape and by this time it was getting on for noon, and I was very sore as you can imagine, so I asked if I couldn’t have at least an aspirin or something, so at last I got a pain pill. There was no bed free so I lay there in the Emergency Ward with various companions such as a small boy who had fallen off his bicycle and a young fellow who had broken his collarbone playing football! Cec came in and stayed with me a while and as nothing was going on I told him to go home and see how the children were as Mary Orr was going to collect Charlie and take him to her home too after the show was over. After a little while I was taken up to the proper ward and got into a nice room in the new wing of the hospital. It was semi-private with two beds and I got the bed next to the window which was nice. Once in there I was looked after very well – I got a hypo needle to take away the pain, and Dr. K came in very soon and said he was sorry he was delayed, and said I was to have pain pills every three hours and sleeping pills at night etc. One of the shots they gave me I had a reaction against and threw up, but I dozed and slept and felt all right when Cec came in to see me in the evening. My companion in the other bed was a girl of about 13 or 14 who came in after I did having been thrown from a horse. She had a very black eye and various bruises, but she went home the next morning and then on the Sun. afternoon I got another lady, a Miss Gibson – a little older than me and a member of a large family of brothers and sisters nearly all living in Ottawa. She was very nice and we got on very well together. She had had a cancerous tumour removed 7 years ago and now had a small lump on her neck to be removed, so she wasn’t feeling ill and the first day or so she just had tests and x-rays, then the operation was small enough so that she didn’t feel poorly for more than a day or so. However when the lump was examined they said it wasn’t malignant but that she should have some treatment, and also she had been having gall bladder trouble and the doctors decided that she should have that removed while she was in the hospital, so she had that operation the very day I left hospital. Poor girl, I felt sorry for her, because with this cancer threat hanging over her it must be very worrying. I phoned her sister one day and she told me that she was very weak after the gall bladder operation but was getting on although still in hospital. Well, I think that seems to be the saga of my accident – as I told you everyone was terribly kind – I got more than 15 gifts of flowers and plants – all sorts of beautiful roses and pots of chrysanthemums and things and various boxes of candy and chocolate, and gifts of toilet water and talcum and soap, and fruit and cookies, and then of course Cec and the children were inundated with food and invitations and so was I when I came home – you can’t believe how kind people were. I got between 30 and 40 cards from all sorts of people – not counting the ones from friends and relations like Mill and Monie – also Christmas cards and notes from Peggy and Marie and Auntie Mill. Oh, I thought you would be amused to hear how well I was looked after by the clergy when I was in Hospital. Someone phoned Mr. Pulker just after the accident and he came right up and saw Cec and asked if there was anything he could do, then he came to see me twice in Hospital. As well the Anglican Hospital Chaplain came in to see me, and then Wendell, who was in seeing one of his parishioners came in one afternoon. Next, who should come but Mr. Cook – the United Church clergyman from here – you met his wife at Mrs. Rothwell’s, remember? I thought it was so nice of him to come and we had a nice chat about his baby who is a great big strong fellow of 7 or 8 months now. Last but not least, Miss Gibson is a Presbyterian, and one day when she was down for an X-ray her minister came in to see her, and when I explained where she was he sat down beside me and had a little visit, and then another day he came in to see Miss G. again and gave us both a little service. All that was missing was for the priest to drop in, but I never saw him!
I forgot to tell you that the man who bumped into me had no insurance on his truck. Our insurance man went to see the police and their report, and they had down that the crash took place about 10 or 12 feet off the highway and that the man must’ve frozen at the wheel. There were no skid marks or brake marks so he must not even have put on his brakes but just have driven right off the road into me. Apparently there is a fund that one can get damages from if the party to blame is uninsured, but one has to bring a court case first to apportion the blame and assess the damage, and they say court cases can go any which way depending on how the judge is feeling, which is not very encouraging. Our insurance company is interested in recovering some of their money if they can, so they are continuing to investigate and if they decide to take it into court then we would go along with them. We would hope to get my hospital expenses and perhaps the $120 which Cec had to pay to rent a car, but of course we wouldn’t get the difference we had to pay between the money we got from the insurance company and the cost of the new car. Our poor little Rosie was demolished. The right side was all smashed in and apparently the whole frame was twisted so that it couldn’t be repaired. I was so fond of that little car, and we all feel sad about it, but the new one is very nice too. It is also an Envoy but the 1962 model which is a little wider and longer – it is a pretty blue with a lighter blue side streak and top, and blue leather seats and carpet inside. Lindy said we should call this one Bluebird and I don’t know if you remember Mrs. Bird in our guild? Well, her daughter is called Bonnie, so now the car is called Bonnie too! On Sunday Cec took me down Rothwell Heights and I practised with the new car and then this week for the first time Cec went to work with Teddy and I had the car, so on Tuesday I drove downtown at 10 a.m. and didn’t come home till 3 p.m. I don’t feel nervous but just a bit suspicious of all the other drivers! Then yesterday I went to the Coin Wash and Shopping Centre and so I am getting quite used to it.
This week has been hectic – on Mon. evening Cec and I went to the Film Society – mostly because we haven’t been this year yet and we hadn’t been out for so long, and it turned out to be some very depressing films about Africa and the conditions under which the coloured people live there – not at all enjoyable, and both Cec and I got so sore and stiff from sitting! Then on Tues. evening I went down to the church for an Advisory Board Meeting. This is the Board which does all the church business and as Pres. of the Guild I now am a member – just me and Mrs. Pierce of the Altar Guild and all the rest men! It is really very interesting and Mr. Pulker is very businesslike and practical which is certainly a big change from Mr. Bowen! Wed. evening was a Guild Executive meeting in the house of one of the members and then last night we went with Margaret and Peter Savic to the Little Theatre to see a play called “The Pleasure of his Company’. We have tickets for a series of plays this winter – about 4 or 5 I think, and this one was quite good, but it was a pity everything came in one week. Tonight Cec has gone out to dinner and to a Stag Party with the men from work and I must say that I am delighted to stay at home! As you can see, I am really back in the routine again, but I do get tired still and my back aches, but usually I get into bed early in the evening and read and have my cup of tea! I had better go and get some dinner or my children will starve – Daddy out so we will have a very picnic meal!
Dear Gannie, I am fascinated by this RED ink. Charlie has just said that he loves you and I say the same. We are having exams in school now at least my class is. A minute ago Charlie said that he was having 10 exams next week and you should see his school – bag! I wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS and aHAPPY NEW YEAR! Love LINDY P.S. Charlie has just gone downstairs to weigh his school-bag! I run to make you a CHRISTMAS card. Good – bye! L. C.
Dear Grannie. As Lindy has said, I have lots of homework and my schoolbag weighs a lot, 9 lbs. 16 oz. to be exact. I am going to send you a copy of ‘Stoopid’ it may be the rough copy but I don’t think you’d mind. Mummy says it’s time to go to bed so I have to stop. HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a MERRY NEW YEAR. LOVE CHARLEY
Me again! Talking of Christmas – two weeks this weekend – horrors! – your parcel has come, and here I am just packing yours. I know that you will be amused at the house dress that I have sent you – Lindy says that it isn’t a “Grannie dress” so I said “Oh, well, don’t you think that it is a Grannie-in-the-West-Indies dress?” So she said “Yes, but not a dress for Grannies here!” So you will see that it isn’t a dull old womanish dress! Actually it is a sun-dress and I got it on sale, so it should be very good value! I tried it on, so I hope that it fits you O.K. Auntie Muriel’s present says on the outside ‘For Men’, but I don’t see why ladies shouldn’t find it handy too! [Curiosity led me to looking up Cyn’s Christmas present list to discover what this could be- Soap on a Rope!] I’m afraid that all my parcels and cards are going to be very late but nothing can be done about it.
You were asking about the Guild in one of your letters and of course we have had all sorts of functions this fall, but I haven’t been taking too much of an active part. While I was in the hospital we had the Rummage Sale, and if I had to miss any of the things I was happy that it was that one, as I can’t say I can rouse much interest in rummage! Then just after I came home there was an Exec. Meeting, but I got June to take that as I wasn’t going, but the next week we had a Guild Meeting and I went to that as usual. That week there was such a tragic thing happened – one of the young men belonging to the Church suddenly dropped dead at work one morning. He was only 34 and his wife is 32, and is left with 3 young children – the oldest 11 and the youngest 4. We were all so shocked and the poor girl, Hilda Cooper, was stunned. The funeral was held at the Church on the Sat. afternoon, and there were relatives coming from all over the country, so we in the Guild organized things and sent in a hot meal on the Friday evening, and then on the Sat. two of the ladies went over in the afternoon and had tea and coffee and sandwiches and cookies ready when everyone came back from the cemetery – a miserable cold wet afternoon too. We sent in a buffet supper for about 15 or so that evening so that she wouldn’t even have to think of food. The next Sat. we had our Skate and Ski Exchange and it did very well. We made just over $50, which doesn’t sound much, but the church just takes 25% of the sale price, so that means we sold $200 worth of secondhand skates and skis. Then last Sat. we had our Coffee Party and it was a big success – we made about $200, but for something which is mostly fun this is pretty good. Mary Orr and some of the girls who are taking millinery classes made some cute little hats – mostly just veiling and flowers etc. and I bought one with brown flowers on to go with my winter coat. I was so pleased as I hadn’t had a chance to go down town and get a new winter hat at all. Then last week when I was in town I looked for a dress but had no luck till I was at the Coinwash and went to my old standby Reitman’s and got a pretty woollen dress with 3/4 sleeves – it is a nice gay green colour – quite a change for me – and has a pleated skirt. I thought it would look nice and Christmasy with my gold belt and gold jewellery.
I don’t think that I have told you of all the excitement about Christmas. Cec’s Mother and Father wrote and said they thought they might come down East this winter, so we wrote and said this was lovely and for them to come for Christmas. They said they would, so we thought it would be fun to have a real Costain family party, so we called up Lea and she said that they could come on Christmas Day, then we wrote to Merle and her family and persuaded them to come up for Christmas too. We had her reply last week and they are going to come – they will arrive on the Sat. before Christmas and then be here for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and then leave on Boxing Day. We had said in our letter that if they had already asked Uncle and Auntie [Milton and Lily Costain in Toronto] to spend Christmas with them to bring them along, and Merle says that she phoned them and not to be surprised if they come! This means that we would have 17 for Christmas Dinner! Merle suggest that she and Dixon and Auntie and Uncle, if they come, sleep down at the motel and I think that is what we will do. Then Mom and Dad can have downstairs to themselves, we will put all the Moor boys in Charlie’s room and Charlie can sleep on the chaise in Linda’s room. In that way we will have the sitting room clear, and this will make it easier. Won’t it be fun though? The only thing we don’t know is when Mom and Dad are coming – by the way, Carmen and Leona just had another little son – 2 boys and a girl now. It is now Sunday and Cec has spent such a noble weekend – he has washed the ceiling and walls of the kitchen for me – it looks a different place as you may remember after you did one wall! We want to decorate all through in the New Year, but in the meanwhile this is a huge improvement. Charlie in his little note mentions that he is going to send you his rough copy of ‘Stoopid’. This is his speech which I very briefly told you about in one of my earlier letters. In the Public Schools each year they have Public Speaking Contests – Senior Grades 7 and 8, then Junior Grades 4, 5, and 6. Well, before my accident Charlie said he had to write a speech and there were various headings he could choose from – one was “A Faithful Friend”, so after lots of discussion he decided to write on this one telling about the little monkey Stoopid which Cec knew when he was on the aircraft carrier in the Pacific. Part of it is made up and part is true, but he wrote it all out quite well, and much to my surprise when I was in the hospital Cec told me that Charlie had been chosen one of 10 in his class to learn his speech and give it. Well, you know his memory! I never thought he would be able to do it, but Cec told him how to make short notes and then go in his room and say it over and over, and much to our surprise in a day or so he could reel the whole thing off, and time himself – nearly 5 minutes! Then at school they had various eliminations and he was chosen each time until he and a little girl were chosen out of his class to speak in the contest against 4 other boys and girls from the other grades. One of these was Janek Blachut who was chosen from Lindy’s class – poor Lindy was quite disgusted at first, as they did not get their speeches begun so soon, so consequently she hadn’t hers written before I went into hospital. She was going to write on “An Exciting Adventure” and tell about you as a small girl in the hurricane going down into the cellar and the little child with the cotton wool for brains! Well, what with me not being there to consult and all the upset of the accident and going out to people’s houses and one thing and another, she was late getting it finished and didn’t have time to learn it properly, so she wasn’t chosen from her class. However, when she got over her disappointment she was quite proud of Charlie! They had the finals in the evening and parents could go and listen and there were 3 judges from outside. There were 6 children speaking in the younger group and 6 in the older, and they began with the young ones. They drew lots for turns and each one went up onto the platform and made his speech – without notes. Janek was the only one who forgot, but he made a good recovery and managed to finish up well. Charlie was 3rd or 4th and we could tell he was very nervous – very serious you know and looking so small up there! But he did very well, and said it all nicely – it was a funny speech you know, and he had told us how all the children laughed when he said it, but he was too scared to make much of the jokes that night! Cec and I thought the little girl called Christine out of Charlie’s class was the best – she spoke about ‘Upper Canada Village’- the pioneer village which has just been opened down by the St. Lawrence Seaway. After they had finished the judges went out and then when they came back they reviewed each child’s speech and made suggestions and corrections and it was so interesting, and they were very nice because they found something good to say about each one, and were most encouraging. When the man was going over Charlie’s he talked for a while, and then was going to say something about speaking louder and he suddenly stopped and said ‘You are 10, aren’t you?” and Charlie said “No, I’m 8” whereupon the man looked so surprised and laughed and said “Oh well, perhaps we can’t expect a little fellow to speak much louder!” In the end of the Junior Group the little girl Christine was first and Janek was second, and I think Charlie was quite relieved as they had to go to another school another night and do it again against other winners, and he had had quite enough! But we were very proud of him. Especially as it was something we hadn’t even thought he could do, and he did it so well – imagine standing up and giving a speech to a whole hall full of people at that age! You asked in your last letter – for which thank you so much – if Sheena’s baby has come yet. It isn’t due until the end of this month so perhaps she will have Christmas at home. She is expecting her mother this week, so she is very excited. One nice thing about my accident it has healed old rifts as it were – Margie heard about it from Sheena about two weeks ago and called me up and we had a nice long chat and are friends again with many protestations that we must get together soon! But I am glad as I like Margie and Cy so much – Cy seems to be quite well again now, but apart from that Margie didn’t say anything about his illness. In answer to some of your questions Lindy hasn’t got any bands on her teeth yet – she had to get some more fillings done before they were put on, and Dr. Braden has just got some little ‘spacers’ in between some of her teeth at the back. The first bands she will get will be on her back teeth so they won’t be noticeable for a while. Linda doesn’t mind Dr. B. as he does no hurting work like fillings etc. and also he is a nice looking young fellow rather like Hugh Pembleton. Charlie’s eczema has been pretty good lately – he just had the two short treatments when I mentioned them earlier, but they cleared it up very well, and only this week I noticed he is beginning to scratch again a bit, but just as he always has you know – not the big infected sores he had a while ago. Dr. Jackson said to come back if it got bad again, but so far it is all right. Well, here I am nearly at the end of the paper, so I must stop. Please give my love to Auntie Muriel and all the other kind people who enquired about me, and thank them. I will try to write with my Christmas cards but goodness knows when they will arrive. I do hope that you have a happy Christmas and enjoy a nice Christmas dinner. You can think of me with my 24 lb. turkey, and be glad I have my nice new big oven to put it in! I meant to tell you we have had chickens as low in price as 19¢ a lb. – doesn’t that make you and Auntie Moo jealous? We have had chicken all week long – yum! –
Lots of love and happy Christmas from Cyn. [in hand writing] Did your glasses come yet?
Dear Mom, I thought I would surprise you by starting a note. First, I can assure you Cyn is recovering rapidly, and not doing too much. She is still “uncomfortable” at times – at 3:00 am, for example, but is able to get around without much difficulty. We got the “value” of our car, less $100 from my insurance, and now have a nice blue two-tone 1962 Envoy. Most of it belongs to the bank, because half of the insurance went to pay the bank what we still owed on the old one. I wanted to tell you also that your Canada Savings Bonds have been sent to me – I bought them for you, to repay your loan to us, remember? I will keep them, but they are registered in your name, and I want you to put the amount and numbers with your “valuable papers”. They are Canada Saving Bond, 1960 series, maturing November 1, 1970. 1 $500.00 Number 515 – B 322075 1 $100.00 Number 515 – A 900883 They can be cashed for full value at any time – plus interest. The interest coupon for 1961 is $24, which I will deposit in your account. For ’62, it will be $25.50; ’63, $27.00; ’64, $28.50; 1965-1970, $30.00. So now you have some Canadian investments averaging 4 3/4%. I was cross with your bank manager, saying he didn’t “think” you could transfer money to Canada. He should know, or find out. Incidentally the Canadian dollar is now 3% below the American, so you would get 6% more dollars for your pounds this year. That should confuse you! Love Cec.
24th Nov. Well – is this a nice surprise to find that you are richer than you remembered! Cec put the $24.00 interest in your account today so it won’t be quite so low. Mr. Olmsted called me today & said your glasses were mended. I asked him to send them to you Air Mail & he is enclosing the prescription so that you will have it for any future mishaps. He is sending me the bill, so I will let you know how much it is later & how much money I make out your blank cheque for. I won’t forget the new cord for your hearing aid. Poor little Charlie had a bad time today. Way back in September the fattest little boy in his class stepped on his toe & when he came home we looked at it & found it all crushed & bleeding & the nail black, so we took him to Dr. K. who bandaged it etc. We cut off the front of his sandals & bathed it & went on & then I took him to Dr. K again just before the accident. Cec had to get him a pair of boots too big so he could get them on & finally took him to Dr. K. again yesterday & today he went to the Hospital & had it frozen & Dr. K took off the nail. The new nail was in growing under it instead of pushing off the old one & was quite a mess & the freezing wore off before Dr. K. finished poor fellow so it was very painful. However he is very good & brave & we hope it will heal well now. He is to go back to see Dr. K. next week. Lots of love, Cyn.
Dearest Mama, Here I am at home again & my! how good it feels to be back in the bosom of my family again! Dr. Kastner said I would be home by the weekend, but didn’t say exactly, then on Thurs. he saw me & said oh – he thought Sat., so Cec & the children were all prepared to clean the house & welcome me on Sat. afternoon when in breezed Dr. K. on Fri. morning & happily said I could leave that afternoon! I phoned Cec & he said “Oh dear, we haven’t cleaned up yet!” but who cared? It was so good to be home – clean or dirty! The children were so surprised to find me sitting there when they got home from school & it was such an amazing day – the 3rd Nov. and it was 74° & so warm it was like summer again! We still have roses blooming in the garden & of course lots of those pink daisy chrysanthemums. In the house we are flooded with flowers to as I brought a lovely bowl of red roses home with me sent to the hospital by the Lab. & then Myrtle sent me some beautiful red carnations & the Spanish Fellow at the lab & his wife sent me a huge sheath of white chrysanthemums & yellow roses, so we are very festive.
Cec and the children had a great cleanup on Sat. & we are all organized again & even have so much food we don’t know which to eat next! Mrs. Dupuis, the wife of the French Dr. who bought Ken’s house sent up a whole dinner to us on Sat. & I have never even met her! People have been fantastically kind – so much so that the telephone nearly drove poor Cec nuts I think! I am feeling fine except for a few aches and stiffness and soreness. Two nurses rended the adhesive tape off me last Tuesday and after that I felt more comfortable in some ways, but a bit unprotected as it were! I can’t bend or lift but otherwise can wave my arms and legs about and be quite active! Dr. K. says I’ll be back to full activity in 3 weeks so that’s not bad. Cec is working at home this week so that I won’t be left alone so that is nice & I am leading a really lazy life, getting up & wandering around & then retiring to lounge in bed! He is down at the school just now for the Parent – Teacher interviews & the children are looking after me! He is having to do all my chores. When I got home on Friday there was a letter from you – thank you so much! – & you said something about being nearly better from your fall except for your wrist. Obviously, we have missed getting a letter from you as we know of no fall, but do hope you are feeling quite all right now. I hope the fall wasn’t downstairs or anything like that, but expect the letter will turn up eventually & tell us all about it. Probably in the same letter you would mention the balloons etc. for the bazaar – I hope they did arrive all right. I still find it a bit uncomfortable to write – it’s extraordinary what a lot of things one needs one’s ribs for! – so I will stop now & get Cec to mail it when he comes home. The children are fine & full of fun playing outside. Will write again soon – Lots of love from us all – Cyn
In her October 12th letter, Cyn promised to write Carol a follow-up, telling about the overnight guests they had while she was trying to make herself a new silk dress, the Thanksgiving weekend, and the Gander’s new cottage they had visited. Alas, we will never know the details! Accidents will happen.
Thursday 26th Oct.?
Dearest Mummy, I am sorry that I have been awhile in writing to you but I have a real good excuse this time! You know how we have a joke that every 2 years I pay a visit to the Civic Hospital – well this year I thought I missed it, but no such thing – it was just waiting around the corner for me & here I am sitting in bed surrounded by lovely flowers, candies & get well cards! And of all things, what do you think is the matter? A nice selection of broken ribs! I am all taped up but Dr. Kastner is taking off the tape tomorrow & says I am doing very well & will be home next week sometime. I took Charlie down to the school at 8:30 on Sat. a.m. to go to a show for the Cubs and then on the way home I turned to go into our driveway at the top of the hill and a panel truck coming from Montreal way slammed right into the side of the car. He was right off the road on the shoulder & going very fast & of course my main feeling was amazement & surprise. I was thrown out of the door on the driver’s side & rolled under the car but wasn’t touched. I was so lucky especially that little Charlie wasn’t in the car as the whole side is demolished. Also, that we had safety glass as my hair & all my clothes were just impregnated with little crumbs of glass, but I only got one tiny little scratch on my hand. I have 8 or 9 broken ribs but no other damage at all & Dr. K. says Someone was looking after me. He says I’ll be home in a week & I am doing fine so don’t worry & I will write soon again. The children & Cec send love- With lots from Cyn.
As I said in the essay that opened this project [Family Letters] distressing events that occur are minimized in the letters that follow because no one wants to upset their mother, and the writer has obviously survived the crisis! Cyn’s car accident was seriously upsetting for the whole family but Carol, far away in St. Vincent, couldn’t do anything but worry about her daughter, so Cyn gives the facts here, emphasizes the recovery, and doesn’t mention the pain or the emotions she must have gone through. Certainly both Charlie and I, aged 8 & 10 at the time, remember it- Charlie because she was hurt after driving him, so it was partly his fault! and Linda because I was there, dressed for my ballet class in tights and leotard waiting for my turn to be driven to my Saturday activity, when two of our neighbours carried my mother in, groaning with pain! My father was sleeping in, and I rushed to wake him as they jostled her up the stairs and laid her on the sofa. What a rude awakening for him. Cars in those days had no seatbelts, and obviously ‘not moving the crash victim’ was unknown or ignored, perhaps because she’d crawled out from under the car on her own, but I can’t help thinking now that she was lucky they didn’t cause a punctured lung. I was removed to a neighbour’s house at a distance, so I have no memory of ambulances, police, or crashed cars, only of the girls at the friends’ being curious and Charlie turning up in the afternoon, and I presume Cec collected us later with the news that Mummy was in hospital but would be all right.
Years later when new housing developments had been built further east and the houses at the top of the hill on the Montreal Road were demolished, Mrs Cardinal’s replaced by a strip mall on one side of the highway, and a dental service surrounded by parking on the site where we had lived, the road was widened into 4 lanes and they somehow flattened the hill, so that it sloped more gently and visibility was better, with turning lanes that made left turns safer. Not that Cyn didn’t have a few more accidents turning left… when she was older… and they might have been her fault then… but she was never injured as badly, thank goodness.
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, Jesmond, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
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 England
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.
In this letter, the whole Costain family is represented: me, sixty years later, setting the scene; Cec writing to Carol about a loan- which apparently enabled them to buy their new car ‘Rosie’; Cyn continuing the letter with family news; and Charlie reporting on his suffering sister and his own activities. Carol is still in New York, staying with another niece, Mona and Owen Banner’s house in Long Beach, now that the summer at the Pembleton’s ‘camp’ is over. Margs, the third sister and family, lives right next door and it appears that Carol will be coming back to Ottawa in November. Some of the names Cyn mentions in 1960 and on are the same, but over the 3 years of missing letters of course the N.R.C. Fellows have changed, since their Fellowship is only for 2 years; Lila Howe, who was so kind to the children, is moving to a new job in Toronto; and Cyn’s friendships in the community have expanded as the church activities did, and Mrs. Craven, Mrs. Graham, and Mrs. Haynes will join Mrs. Tomlinson in future letters as friend and allies, as their daughters were with Linda!
Sept 21, 1960.
Dear Mom, I was going to write this a few days ago, and send it separately, but I never got around to it. It probably would have been too much of a shock to you anyway. The money order is for $100.00 Canadian for Aug. & Sept. I can send you $50 Oct. 15, or if you don’t want to squander it, give you $100 in November when you are here. Just to remind you, and us, we borrowed $750.00 Canadian. I hope to get at your shelves & closet next month, this month I am transforming the outside. We got three truckloads of topsoil and now have a new lawn seeded. The flower bed in the lawn has been eliminated, making the lawn twice as big, and from 3” to 12” of new soil added to the beds on the other side of the driveway, I hope they won’t dry out quite so fast next year. I got a whole set of new muscles from shifting 5 tons of stones and 20 tons of dirt. I hope there will be some evidence of grass by the time you come back. Cyn will give you the rest of the news. Glad to hear you are feeling better & having such interesting hurricanes. Love to all the cousins, & you, Cec.
Dearest Mummy, Cec has been meaning to write since the weekend, but he really did a mammoth job with the garden & toiled from morning to night getting the lawn in last weekend. He has got it looking very nice & smooth & we are hoping it will rain gently & frequently & get a little beginning anyway, before the snow comes. The other three side beds are half done, as Cec has built them up & put the soil in, but we still have to smooth them & transplant the perennials & all the bulbs. The weather has been quite cooperative – pleasant & not too warm, but is quite fall-ish now with all the trees turning colour & the furnace on most mornings, but no frosts yet, thank goodness.
Well, Lindy has no tonsils now! On Monday afternoon Dr. McKercher’s nurse phoned up & said there had been a cancellation & if Lindy was well would we like to take her to the Civic at 7a.m. next day. It was a bit of a shock coming so suddenly poor little thing, but after the initial storm she was very good & didn’t seem too upset. On the Tuesday we all got up at 5:45a.m. (no b’fast for Lindy – we just had a drink) & were off at 6:30 & got her admitted. Then it turned out that she was to wait in the waiting room till a bed was ready, so I stayed with her & Cec & Charlie left. We waited there (L. had 2 new books) until 8:45 with other mothers & children & then she was put to bed & I left. I got home around 10 & had breakfast & her operation was at 11, so about 12 the doctor phoned & told me it was all over & that she was fine. He gave me all the instructions – 1 night in hospital – 2 in bed at home – 1 week in the house & 10 days away from school. Some children come out of hospital the same day, but with L. being done later they said they’d keep her over night & when Cec & I went to see her in the evening we were glad, as she was still very dopey and drowsy & would wake & look at us & then drop off to sleep again & not at all ready to be moved. Charlie stayed at the Savic’s, so had a good time. Next morning he went off to school & Cec & I went & got Lindy at 9:30 & brought her home. She was a bit wider awake, but was quite miserable all day, poor sweetie & not only was her throat sore, but the sides of her face & even has earache which Dr. McK. warned me she might have. He said to give her a 222, but you know she’d rather lie & suffer than take a pill! She slept in the afternoon & had a good night’s sleep & is a little happier today, although her throat is more swollen she says. She is drinking lots of liquids & has had some soup & bread & butter. I think it has been quite an emotional shock for her, you know – she is very quiet & subdued & of course finds it hard to talk. However, it is all over & will soon be feeling fine again – I am reading ‘Daddy-Long-Legs’ to her and she is enjoying that! Apart from the tonsils & the gardening we haven’t done much – I went to a Scientist Wives Meeting on Mon. evening & heard an Indonesian girl give a talk & show a film about her country. Then last week we had Lila to dinner to say goodbye – she left last Friday – & on Thursday we were having Miet & Michael Hollis (an English Fellow) to dinner & Miet didn’t come. We were mad at him! Lindy is calling so I had better stop – I say “calling”, but I have given her a little bell to ring instead & it goes tinkle – tinkle all day long! Thank you so much for your 2 letters – we were so relieved the hurricane was no worse – we wondered how you would do with the canal so close. Enjoyed hearing about the weekend at Marie’s- glad you had a nice time – your bridge will be elegant by now! I haven’t rung Dr. Kastner’s office yet – I thought I would talk to his nurse & I always forget until the middle of his office hours & then I know she is busy. I will call & talk to her & let you know though. Have fun with your returned hundred dollars! Now, a little bit of Rosie belongs to us! The whole family send love to Monie & Owen & the Jaegers if they are back – Much love & big hugs to you from us all – Cyn.
Dear Grannie: Lindy is feeling much better. I hope you are having a nice time with Monie and uncle Owen, I’m sure having a nice time here especially when it’s Sunday. I’ve been going to Mike Savic’s house, and playing football, I can kick a ball quite far, and my throwing is even better. Well, have to go to bed now, good night. Love from Charles.
I have no memory of this time- although I have loved Jean Webster ever since- except for having joined the members of the family who had been in the hospital! Mummy had been in the hospital lots of times, Charlie had been in the hospital as a baby and 2 years before, and now Linda had had her tonsils out- but Daddy had never been in hospital- he had apparently had his tonsils removed as a child on the kitchen table in rural Saskatchewan!
The winter of 1959 was obviously a good one for snow. Charlie’s Big Birthday present in December 1958 had been a toboggan that we could share to coast down the hill behind our house into and across the hollow. The ride was worth the toil back up. As well as tobogganing, we could build forts- although that sort of snow wasn’t that good for making snowballs to defend them so we played something more peaceful.
As the report card shows, in February Linda’s class finished Grade 2 and started Grade 3, and Charlie moved on in Grade 1.
There were birth announcements and wedding invitations from friends and Fellows, and the spring brought Easter celebrations, Cyn’s birthday, and Mother’s Day. Carman and Leona Costain finished in Cambridge and returned to Canada to show off their son David and move to Penticton, British Columbia, where the astrophysicist Dr. C. H. Costain joined in setting up the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory which opened in 1960.
In the spring, Charlie moved into Grade 2 and was in the Gym Display at school, and Linda advanced in Grade 3. (Note somersault.)
In June, Cec, as a member of the Canadian Association of Physicists, went to a conference in Saskatoon that allowed him to gather with old friends and fellow scientists, and also enjoy seeing his parents and brother Russell, who with Errol now had 5 children.
Cec came home needing to manage his own family, because Cyn had to go into hospital for a hysterectomy. There are Get Well cards, notes, and flowers were sent by friends, as well as a lovely Thank You letter from the Head Nurse of the ward she’d been on. They bought a comfortable chaise for the garden so she could take it easy outside that summer.
In July, Cyn and Cec celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, Linda’s Grade 2/3 teacher got married, and in August Linda turned 8 and was given her own room, with new pink rosebud curtains. Presents arrived from England, and Cyn was sent pictures from her friend Nan, showing Barbara and Sandy in Cheshire.
When the 1959/60 school year started, Charlie’s Grade 2 accelerated class had a new teacher, and Linda’s class was a 3/4 split- half the accelerated bunch who would be in Grade 4 by November, and half Grade 3 beginners. The Principal of Fairfield was Mrs. Tufts (unusual at that time to have a woman in that position) whose daughter was in Linda’s class, and she came in each week to teach us English Grammar. There was also a separate teacher coming in for Music- choral singing- and for French classes.
For Hallowe’en, Cyn made us the best costumes which lived on in the dress-up box for years! We had a book from Cyn’s childhood about Robin Hood and Charlie had a bow with arrows tipped with suckers. Cyn made Linda a green dress that reached her ankles and braided red ribbons into her hair. Charlie had a green tunic and red tights, with a green cap and quiver to sling on his back. A neighbour took a picture of us on our Trick-or-Treating round on Hallowe’en- our pails of loot and Jack-o-Lantern battery lamps just visible.
As Christmas approached, the school was putting on Dickens’ “Christmas Carol”, friends were sending cards featuring their babies, and … the children went down with German Measles.
It wasn’t to be the last time that Christmas plans were scuppered but as I remember, we weren’t that sick this time and Charlie’s birthday and then Christmas was celebrated. Over the holiday, Cyn and Cec had prepared for an Open House party for friends on the 27th, only to have to call it all off, but there would be other opportunities in 1960.
*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.