This is basically a collection of pictures and notes, illustrating the back-and-forth between Cyn and her mother, Carol.
Pictures from Carol: These are very sturdy, matt, and have her comments on the back. The big one was posted earlier, when the pictures were mentioned in a letter. (Nov 1 1950) It is stuck in the scrapbook, so anything written on the back is unavailable.
Then there is the collection of oddments Cyn mentioned in her letter of November 7th, on three different types and sizes of paper, that she sent by sea, but referring to events she had already mentioned to her mother. (Just in case anyone else needs educating, Cyn was used to having fun from childhood on November 5th, when the English celebrate the failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, with fireworks and bonfires that burn a stuffed effigy, ‘the Guy’.) She never mentions Hallowe’en on Oct. 31, which I would have thought would have been an equivalent event in Ann Arbor.
This isn’t a letter- it is just a collection of funny things to amoose you!
I thought that you would like to know a bit how Til & Lois’s & the Sutherland’s houses look, and you know what fun I get out of drawing plans! They are both lovely houses in their own ways, but Til and Lois’ is in such a beautiful place it is hard to describe it. The prices – wow!- S’s is $25,000 & T & L $23,000 – millionaires needed!
The other funny little things are the place cards & menu I am going to make for dinner on Sat. night! We are having my pal Edie from work & Cec’s Canadian pal Al MacNamara from the Physics Dept. (he is from Sask – very shy – he came to dinner once before) to dinner & to play bridge. I have decided to make it a Guy Fawkes dinner, & altho’ Cec says they won’t know who he is, I’ll educate them! The place card is supposed to be a rocket exploding, & the menu is a gibbet done on my typewriter! I’m going to try and make a tiny “guy” for a centrepiece – wish you were here to help me!
Dinner will be a bit fattening I fear, but we have been wanting an excuse to get a duck!!
Lots & lots of love from
This is to give you some idea of what Til & Lois’ house (1 year old) looks like. It is only one story- no attics or cellar – & is made of wood & painted pale yellow outside. The living room is lovely with two huge windows- the front & back- it is panelled in pine & has a natural carpet & oyster-y curtains. The bookshelves are built in & have a green patterned paper at the back & the new furniture is to be in greens & reds. The kitchen is lovely too with the same reddish pine used for counters & cupboards above & the walls are a beige glass tile & so are the bathroom walls. The kitchen curtains are blue check, the bathroom curtains, mat, shower curtain etc. are grey & yellow, & the linoleum yellow. The bedrooms are nice too, but I’m blessed if I can remember the colours! The little study is sweet, with a green carpet, & they are going to get new curtains. The outside is beautiful of course – all the orchard in front, & at the back the most wonderful view of the river– wooded banks- & it forks just opposite them & goes around a big island. Their bank is still full of bushes and scrub, & has to be all cleared, but afterwards I have persuaded Lois to plant daffodils there, & I think it will be heavenly.
This now, is a plan of the Sutherland’s new house. As you can see, it is much bigger, older & more formal. It is white painted wood outside with green tiles, has big basement, & attics. The sitting room is a lovely big room which they need as they entertain so much – the study is the Doc’s & is painted grey (Gunborg did it). The whole kitchen has been remodelled & is elegant! The walls are a pretty soft yellow-the cupboards around the walls are natural wood, well the tops of the counters are a soft pinky red formica (hard linoleum-y stuff) & inside the cupboards are red painted to match. It sounds a bit odd, but it looks very nice indeed. Upstairs there are 4 bedrooms – the girls have one each- & a bathroom- then the main bedroom (over the front 1/2 of the sitting room) has a little bathroom with shower only, of its own. All the bedrooms have little balconies (on study roof, porch etc.) – very romantic! Apart from the kitchen which they had done, Gunborg is doing all decorating herself – study, downstairs cloakroom, 2 bathrooms etc. & some is old & needs plastering cracks etc.- a big job.
P.S. Little Mary was writing a letter to her Auntie in England the other day & told her they had a chipmunk in the garden – then wrote “He is a doorable”!! Sweet.
I am truly sorry that I have been so busy long in sending this stuff. I hope this is right, and the kind of thing you wanted- if it is, let me know & I can get more.
My only excuse is that I am so busy I just don’t seem to have time to squash in 1/2 the things I want to do. When your letter came asking for the things you wanted, I intended to get them soon & send them to you, but before I began work we didn’t seem to have much money at the moment & since I did begin I have just rushed so that I didn’t realize how long it was since you asked me. I have got the rubber bands & will send them separately & also the fine white cotton for Auntie Moo, but the rubbers (galoshes) I thought of waiting & getting when we are in Canada as we will be going in 2 weeks, & we are trying to conserve our U.S. dollars!! Cec of course, isn’t teaching now, so he is only getting the $150 from Canada & as $80 of that goes on rent, it is nice that I am getting some too. We find we spend more now that I am out to work with occasional lunches & bus fares etc.-also buying food that is quick to prepare & not not more economical stews etc.! Food prices continue to go up too.
Would you like to hear our skedule?! The alarm goes off at 6:45 & I get up (gradually!) shower, dress, get breakfast & when it is cooking, wake Cec who showers after breakfast. Then we eat & I make sandwiches if we are taking lunch (we usually do, but when Cec was at home with his bursitis I ate in drug stores) and make the bed then dash out for the 7:55 bus! I get to work a minute or so after 8 & work till around 10, when we go out for our 15 mins (or 30!) for coffee! Then work till 12, & an hour for lunch. At 1 we’re back at work again, & then our break between 3 & 4- all the girls are so nice & I always go out with one or two of them & we chatter & have a good time! They all enjoy teasing me about English & I enjoy making cracks back! At 5 o’clock I dash out & meet Cec & we get a bus home at 5:15- it goes a great roundabout way & is very crowded so it takes us 20 mins or more, whereas it goes directly into town in 5 minutes. When we get in I begin dinner, & we finally eat about 6:30 or so, then I read the paper when we drink our coffee afterwards, & at last wash up! I usually have washing or ironing or shopping (on Fridays) or socks or something & before I know what Cec is chasing me to bed! You’ll be glad to hear that he is strict about my bedtime!
Must stop now & write you a proper A.M. letter!
Lots and lots of love from
I have to say, Cyn’s schedule details just make me so grateful that when I worked thirty years later, my husband got up and shared the chores morning and evening with me!
When Cyn discusses housework, I am always struck by the importance of the chore of ironing. She does seem to buy cotton dresses, sensible for a hot summer, and my father Cec wore a white shirt and tie every working day, but I seem to remember handkerchiefs and sheets and goodness knows what else needing ironing. There is no letter telling about her getting a job, but it is clear that now she is working, she is facing the perennial problems of the working woman, combined with a conviction that the housework is HER job!
Pete and Lu Forsyth have featured in both Cyn and Cec’s letters before, since not only was Pete at university with Cec in Saskatoon, but also was a Radar Officer like Cec during the war. This letter introduces his sister Jessie, as well as new friends that Cyn is meeting because of her job. She keeps in touch with old friends too- Joan’s wedding was remembered on the day, and a cable sent off to the Egans sailing for Australia. And family is always mentioned- Carol and her sisters and nieces reuniting in the West Indies, and Cec’s sister Lee having a baby boy in Canada. Soon the letters will be covering Cyn and Cec’s holidays, when they go west in Canada so Cyn can meet her in-laws!
5th July, 1950.
For the first time since I began working I have caught up with my ironing! I am so pleased with myself because each week I had a dribble (or more!) hanging on till the next week & tonight I finished it off!! What helped the hitch in the first place was that I changed my laundry as the 1st one wouldn’t remember to collect the things regularly & the 2nd laundry thought it was a “flat” wash & brought back 8 shirts rough dried to add to my other ironing! Woe was me!
Yesterday was the 4th of July & so of course I got a holiday, much to my delight!! We slept late (need I say!) and then I did housework till I told Cec I had a halo extending for feet & yards! I cleaned both rooms thoroughly – did the hall & stairs- cleaned the bath & scrubbed the kitchen floor! Despite the hard work we had a nice day & I quite enjoyed the change of occupation! Thank goodness it has got a bit cooler, but by the time dinner is over I can’t get any energy to clean so I leave it for the weekend & then with the shopping & cooking & one thing & another it is a regular scramble, but now I am caught up I feel fine!
When I wrote last week we were both wilting with the heat, but it got better by Wed. & has been nice but cool ever since. We had a visitor to dinner last Wed. Do you remember Cec often talking about friends of his at home called Pete & Lu? We met them in Montreal when we came thro’ & saw their little baby girl. Well, Lu wrote to us a little while ago & said that Pete’s older sister Jessie (a teacher) was coming for a Summer Course at the University here, so we got in touch with her last week. She met us in town & we brought her home with us for dinner & she seems very nice. I had a cold meal- cantaloupe, a chicken mould with an hors d’oeuvres (in Joan & Ray’s dish) of salad veg. and bread sticks & butter, then afterwards strawberries & cream on little sponge cakes & coffee – Good?! It is so strange to think that you can’t get chicken now, because at the moment they are much cheaper than meat- the cheapest meat (hamburger) is 64¢ a pound & steaks etc. are 99¢ a pound or more- whereas chickens are 39¢ a pound or 49¢ according to type, so we have one most weeks & enjoy ourselves! Now that I’m at work all day I can’t go shopping with Mrs. S. on Fri. afternoons, so instead the wife of a fellow who works with Cec, called Peters, takes me with her. They live close by, & have 2 little girls & have just bought a house which they are painting & fixing up themselves. The girl’s name is Mary Jo, & she & her husband are very nice. Anyway, Mary Jo calls for me about 8 o’clock on Fri. evening & drives me downtown to a big “Market” called Packers & we buy in our week’s stores. I think I am doing pretty well to have two huge paper sackfuls, & 1 boy to help me carry them out, but Mary Jo always has to have 2 boys & they can’t even carry her stuff to the car, but have to drag it in a little cart!!
Cec had to go back to the Lab. once or twice last week, as he was running some machine, so on Thursday evening I took my washing around to S’s & Gunborg & I had quite a chat & a cup of tea over the kitchen table. Anne & Kirsten are going to a summer camp for girls for 3 weeks, so she was sewing name tapes on, so I helped her, & then Dr. S. came in, & he was rushing to get an article done to send off, so I typed the end of it for him! On Sat. evening Cec & I called around to see them for a minute on our way to the drugstore to get a milk shake, & they were so interested in the idea, that it ended in us all getting in the car & driving into town together. We went into an Ice Cream Parlour & sat in a booth & had milkshakes & hamburgers! Gunborg & I felt very hilarious & said it was because we were having such a wild night out! We do enjoy being with them tho’ & they are such fun – we are planning to all drive into Detroit one evening & see one of the big baseball games. Cec is always listening to them on the radio & I am beginning to have a slight notion of what they are about!
On Sunday Jessie had asked us to come & have dinner with her. She is staying at one of the big women’s residences for the University & they were allowed to invite guests on Sundays. The place was over on the other side of A.A. & no buses on Sundays, so we borrowed bicycles from the S’s. Cec was fine on Dr. S’s, but I found Anne’s was just too high for me, & oh! my seat got sore!! The residence was very new & comfortable, & we had a good dinner, with Cec the only man in the whole dining room but we sat at small tables, so he didn’t mind!
On Monday morning we began a new time at the office- 8 instead of 8:30 in the morning, so that we get out at 5- lovely at 5, but oh dear- 6:45 AM!!! We had a cheque from A. Ettie for $15 as a present from her & the girls, so we bought a nice little electric alarm clock for $5, & counted the electric fan as the other part of the present, as that cost $10. Wasn’t it sweet of them – and we couldn’t have had 2 more useful presents – remember, I said I’d ask her for one or the other? I’m afraid she got tired of waiting for my letter, but I wrote straight away & thanked her. The clock is nice- square with a cream plastic case & has been very effective as to alarm up to date! I was so pleased to hear from A. Ettie about Monie & Owen going to England & her coming out to St. V. I hope she keeps well and gets her permit all right to come in September. (Did Margs ever get to the W. I. In Feb? I never heard.) Won’t you all have a good time chattering together!
Did I tell you that I had to go to a dentist as the filling came out of one of my teeth? Well, the hole was so big, he is having to take out the nerve & I have been 3 times already, & he was ever so cruel the time he injected me & took the nerve out! However, it seems to be O.K. now & I hope he’ll soon have it finished. He told me it would cost $30 or $40, so isn’t it a good thing I have a job!!
It is Saturday, by now & I am sorry I didn’t get this letter finished earlier, but I just didn’t seem to have had a minute. I was writing on Wed. evening & went to bed as I felt sleepy, & I didn’t tell you how we finished celebrating the 4th July! Just after dinner Gunborg came to invite us around that evening, as Dr. S. had just left for Buffalo for a meeting & she was feeling very lonely. So we agreed to go later as Cec had work to do. When we arrived, she had her “Cocktail Recipe” book out, & we mixed one we all liked the look of & then sat & chatted, but although we only had 2 drinks each, they must have been very potent, as we ended up the evening feeling very cheerful!
On Wed. I remembered to send a cable to Mary Egan who was sailing from Tilbury on Thurs. I shudder to think of what their last few weeks must have been like with the packing & children & everything!
On Thursday. I invited one of the girls at the office home to dinner with us. Her name is Miriam Krauss & she began working there just after I did as secretary to one of the men. She is rather like Irene in appearance (blonde- German descent) and is just 22 & out of College. She is engaged to a fellow in College who hopes to be a Dr. & they are going to get married next month, but in the meanwhile he is up in Northern Mich. at his home, & she is in a room here (as her home is a little way away) & feels so lonely, so I am sorry for her! Her father is a minister, & her mother doesn’t want her to get married this year, so I listen & give a good advice! But she seems a nice girl & enjoyed her visit. Last night I went shopping with Mary Jo & today I don’t seem to have done much at all. I baked a fruit cake & some shortbread biscuits as I thought they would be nice to take for our picnic lunches. Did I tell you we took them each day now? If it isn’t nice we eat them in Cec’s room in the Physics Building & if it is we eat them on the “Campus” which is like a little park around which the university buildings are built with grass & trees & benches. We take peanuts for the squirrels too & have as much fun feeding them as feeding ourselves!!
This letter will be way overweight if I’m not careful – so I’ll stop now. Love to Jeanie etc. (by the way Cec’s sister Lee has a little baby boy too! All Costain babies seem to be boys this season!) and A. Moo–
With lots and lots for my Mummy
P.S. This letter seems very disjointed – don’t know why!
I seem to have got in such a muddle over writing to you lately, & we have done so little that I can’t even remember from my dairy when & what happened. However, I shall go back to my old plan of writing at the beginning of each week, as you now have an airplane service, & will keep up with myself. This letter I’ll tell you what we have been doing & on Monday I’ll answer all your letters.
I have lots & lots of things to thank you for. 1) your letter posted on 23rd May which arrived on Monday 28th. 2) your letter posted on 16th May which arrived on Sat. 20th. Monday seems to be the day your letters usually arrive, but that one just managed to get here sooner- last week’s was a great surprise as I didn’t expect one for another week, but it is lovely that there is an extra mail now. Both Cec & I love your letters & get such a kick out of all your doings- of course we are wildly muddled up with all the relatives already, but we have great fun over them! I hope your cocktail party was a great success- also the games! But I’ll answer your letter properly next week. 3) the Burny Sugar Cake which arrived very quickly, just a few days after your letter telling me about it. Thank you very, very much, Mummy! I love it & crunch away & then have to puff to cool my tongue! Cec doesn’t really like it & the Sutherland children get a sort of painful pleasure out of nibbling tiny little bits, so I get it mostly all to myself! 4) The Picture Post with the dear little bear! We enjoyed seeing him so much & think he is so sweet – thank you for sending us his pictures.
Tomorrow is Joan Cox’s wedding day. We got her invitation this week & wished we could pop over for the occasion. She wrote & told me she’d like something to adorn herself with, giving sizes, but by then nothing would have arrived in time with Customs & what not, so I sent her a smuggled pair of nylons by air mail to arrive for the wedding & will send something else later. I wrote her an A.M. too, so we aren’t going to send a cable– too expensive & as usual we are hard up!! Did she tell you that the Lock’s baby was a girl? We heard today from Merle, Cec’s elder sister & she has just had her baby- a third boy!
She says the other two wanted a girl who would do the dishes! But that that he is sweet.
I got bootees & mitts with blue ribbons so I was right!! Actually I have just sent them, as we have sent 4 prs. of Cec’s trousers home for Carmen & I put the baby’s things in a back pocket. Both prs. of brown tweed pants & the fawn gabardine & grey pair he got his 2 summers in France are all too small- middle & length- he says they have shrunk!!
Now to go back to our doings- way back, just after I last wrote- Cec & I went shopping in town & had such a good time with ourselves! We got Cec a summer suit, as he had nothing cool to wear & it has been quite hot already. It is a bluey – grey material, & he looks nice in it – he wore it to teach his class one day this week & the students whistled at him & asked him if he was going to get married! It has two prs. of pants, so he is getting the other pr. to wear as slacks. Then we got me a cotton dress – black, red grey & white checks, trimmed with black along the bottom, cap sleeves & yoke. I have had to bequeath 3 of my cotton dresses to Anne Sutherland- my boost boosting out! So I have very few. We saw a wonderful thing that we are going to get with Marie’s wedding present money – it is out of stock at the moment, but more are coming in. It is an electric waffle iron- oblong- to cook two waffles at a time. When you don’t want waffles you can fix on flat plates instead of the honeycomby waffle ones & use it as a grill for eggs or bacon or hamburgers, or you can use it as a sandwich toaster! We are panting to get it & have a go at it!!
That evening we met Mary & Arthur Dockrill at 7:30 & went to the big University Gymnasium which was reserved for the use of faculty & families on Sat. evenings. (Closed now) It is a marvellous place with a huge gym – badminton courts, squash courts, swimming pool etc. We went in the gym first & I didn’t do a thing though the others played around, then we went to change for swimming and darn me if I didn’t split my bathing suit!! It was the one I got in America- white with purple orchids on made of silk jersey & I suppose the material was pretty rotten by now. Anyway, when I heaved it over my fat seat, it just went z-o-o-o-o-p! Mary seemed so upset at my saying I wouldn’t go in, that I toiled all the way home, & not risking my French one (tight in the beginning!) took the yellow playsuit with red roses on & finally swam in that. Cec & Arthur in the time of my absence has been playing paddle ball- a bit like squash, so by the time our swim was over, Cec was crawling with exhaustion! I had a lovely bathe in a rubber ring floating gently around! Afterwards we all went to a drug store & had a cup of coffee & as Dr. & Mrs. S. were out to dinner & I’d said I’d look in at the children, we bought them each a popsicle (frozen water ice on a stick!) & went & gave them to them in bed & read them a story! We were very popular! Next day & for about 3 days afterwards Cec couldn’t lift his arm above his shoulders & groaned like anything!
Did I tell you about the Sutherlands loaning us a bookcase? It is an old one they had in the children’s room in England & didn’t intend to bring with them but it got packed up with the other things. There was no room for it here, so it was lying in the attic & Mrs. S. said we could take it & paint it & do what we liked. So I spent two days filling in holes with plastic wood, sandpapering, & painting two coats of grey to match our sitting room walls & now it looks so nice & makes an enormous difference to the appearance of our room. It looks like so-
Charming, don’t you think?
I did all this very violently because on the Wed (next day) we had Mary & Arthur to dinner & we wanted it all to look nice. We brought the table into the sitting room, & I had the green linen table mats, green candles & a little bowl of sprays of lilac & it looked pretty. The menu was: – Tomato juice: Fried chicken & gravy- mashed potatoes- corn- green peas: relish dish of radishes- carrots sticks – celery curls: lemon meringue pie: coffee & it was good! They hadn’t had fried chicken before so it was new to them. We had a nice evening & we all enjoyed ourselves talking. Mary has a part-time job as Lab assistant at the Univ. now – that is what she did in Cambridge. She took a job packing in a laundry for a week 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with 1/2 hr. for lunch! It was good pay but she was nearly dead! I am still hoping for my typing job & go for a test next Friday- oo-er!
Do you remember my telling you about going to Toledo & to the Atkinsons etc. etc.? Well, we have been all muddled up. I suggested 3rd June or 10th to Mrs. A. & arranged to go to Til & Lois on 27th May. However, Mrs. A. couldn’t manage 3rd, as it was a big Masonic “do” & as schools finish on 9th, she found everyone would be going away or gone by the 10th, so finally we all decided to postpone it till the fall! Then we phoned Til & said we’d go to them for the weekend of the 3rd as that suited them better, as Lois finished at the Airport on 31st May, so would be freer. After that was all arranged Cec discovered that he had to invigilate his students’ Physics Exam on Sat. morning, so now instead of going on Friday afternoon Til & Lois are coming to collect us on Sat. afternoon & Cec is taking along his papers to mark! Til & Lois leave for Alabama on 10th & will spend most of the summer there, so we won’t see them again for a few months.
We are sitting waiting for them to arrive now, so I will stop & write you more on Mon. when I get back. We are taking down the presents to them that I got in Cambridge as this is the 1st time we’ve been down since our trunks arrived! By the way, how did everyone like your presents? Tell me!
We had another letter from you today (Sat 3rd) written last Mon. so I am scrambling to get this off as I feel guilty! Thank you heaps for yours –
With lots and lots of love
Cyn has left me more space than usual! I’ve got my exams to mark, grades to do & then I’ll be free to work for a few months.
I was a bad boy last week. I went back with one of the other boys to the lab in the evening, started an experiment we couldn’t leave & got home at 7 a.m. Poor Cyn was frantic but she should have gone to bed & slept. She’ll know next time. (I hope.) She was a good girl not to tell you. Bye for now. Stay sober!
Lots of love Cec.
Cyn’s favourite sweet from St.Vincent was called, in the family, Burny Sugar Cake, because it was- is- a cake of crystallized sugar flavoured with ginger and so ‘burned’ fiercely. I shared her fondness for this, (along with chocolate milkshakes) but unfortunately the only time I tried to bring some back from the West Indies with me, the strands of ginger embedded in the sugar cake got mouldy- it is street candy, not commercial, and doesn’t travel well!
The cheques Cyn and Cec got as wedding presents in America are added to her wedding present list: in the previous letter, she mentioned Aunt Ettie, who gave them a cheque for $15 and the electric fan she had hoped for was bought, along with an electric alarm clock. I remember the waffle iron Cyn is looking forward to getting- a great heavy appliance that lived in a cupboard and didn’t make an appearance very often, but definitely made good waffles. Hugh’s present has not made an appearance yet, but is very generous- a Sunbeam Mixmaster that was a staple in Cyn’s kitchen and survived constant use for decades.
And speaking of money, in the account book she kept at the time- rent $80 a month, as was their monthly food and housekeeping bill- the letter mentions Cec’s suit- $31, and her dress- $5, although in June Cyn spends $20 on more clothes and Cec’s birthday present. Cec’s pay seems to be $240 a month, and in July there is a new entry: Cyn got a job, and their money situation eased a bit!
When Carol Ewing, née Hazell, went home to St.Vincent after thirty years in England, she re-united with the whole widespread Hazell clan. First she stayed with the Otways in Trinidad- her sister Trix and then her nephew Bill and his wife Jane and their children- and from what Cyn says, seems to have seen her eldest sister Gee, Georgina Hutchinson, as well. (Cyn was surprised at how old she looked in the photograph Carol sent her of the sisters, but considering that Carol had just had her 56th birthday (and Cyn her 35th) which would make Gee 77 years old, an elderly appearance is not surprising.) Basil Hutchinson, Cyn’s cousin, who lived in Canada, seems to have been visiting his mother, met his aunt, and took Carol’s postcards and a birthday present for Cyn to mail in Canada as a surprise. Gossip over other relatives, Jack Otway, Uncle Fred, etc. are interesting to Cyn as Carol passes on what has been going on in the family.
I was interested in Cyn’s birthday presents, as I still have some of them in my library (5000 volumes and counting) and in the attention she has to pay to ironing, a thing I don’t think many of us worry about nowadays- I certainly don’t. And details of prices are also interesting, if a bit surprising.
Now that Carol is living in St. Vincent, Cyn’s letters follow the pattern we’ve just seen in the month of April 1950- short Air Mail letters attempted weekly to keep in touch, with one long one sent by sea, often covering the same topics, but out of step in time. This letter is the usual 15 pages, and repeats a few things mentioned in earlier letters, but includes the little diagrams that would waste too much space in an air letter!
Sat. 22nd April. 1950.
Dearest Little Mummy,
Happy Birthday! And many, many happy returns of the day! Cec and I have been thinking of you all day, and wondering what you were doing, and what fun you were having with Auntie Moo. We reckon that you will be about 2 hours ahead of us in time, so I expect that you will be beginning to think of bed, and I hope that you had such a happy day.
Cec and I were so delighted this morning because your letter written partly on the Lady boat and partly on your arrival in St. V. arrived, and it was so amusing & jolly and you sounded so happy that we were both tickled to bits and kept reading it over & giggling at bits! I am so glad that St. V. was just as lovely as you remembered & that everything was even nicer than you remembered. I am longing to hear all the details & want a plan of A. Moo’s house, so that I can picture it, – the garden sounds wonderful – you have me puzzled because you say it isn’t very big, then reel off at least a dozen trees which are in it so that it sounds like an estate! I do hope that you can get some pictures of you in the garden & the surrounding country & so on. I took a picture of this house today, so that you will be able to visualize us in our abode! I took it now, while the trees are still bare, & will take another when they are in leaf as it will look quite different. I’ll also try & take some inside, so that you will see what it looks like. I am trying to learn how to use Cec’s camera, so it will be fun to see what I do!
You certainly gave me a great surprise with your letter & cards from Canada! I think they arrived on Tues. morning & the first one I saw was your letter- stamp Canadian – postmark, Montreal! I gawped, then without looking at the pictures on the P.C.s I began reading the one you wrote Cec “Here I am in Canada” & nearly collapsed with amazement! I finally got it sorted out, but not before I began thinking that via Montreal was a roundabout way to St. V.!! How nice to see Basil though, and what fun to meet yet another relative! It was kind of him to take the letters & my birthday present, & I am looking forward to getting the earrings – they sound lovely. I loved getting the snaps of Janie & Billo & the kids & the three sisters! I think the one of Bill with the 2 boys is sweet & the one of little Johnny watering the garden, but I didn’t think either of the ones of Janie were very good. Both Cec and I thought your face looked quite plump in your picture, but it suits you! Auntie Trix looks just the same as ever, but I didn’t realize that Auntie Gee would be so old looking- I don’t really remember seeing a picture of her for ages. Auntie Trix’s house looks nice, but hot without trees to shade it – but Janie & Billo’s looks lovely & shady. We hope so much that you like the colour picture we sent you for your birthday. It is quite the nicest one of the colour pictures we took on our honeymoon. The one of me in my glamorous bathing suit was awful I looked like a camel & Cec let me tear it up! The others are quite nice – two lovely ones from the train window of the Corniche d’Or & the gorgeous blue sea, another of the cliffs which isn’t too good, then one of us together on the beach & one of me alone. Unfortunately the ones on the beach are not as good as they might have been as we were sitting under the umbrella so looks rather greeny & anæmic, whereas the people in the sunlight look lovely. The two we took at Avignon, have hardly any colour in at all – it must’ve been something to do with a hot hazy day, but it was a pity. The prints are so expensive that we decided not to get them all to send to you, but got you an enlargement of the one we thought you’d like best. I hope you notice the Rolls-Royce waiting for me in front of the hotel?!
I have a whole stack of your letters here some of which I partly answered & some of which I haven’t, so I’m going to read through them as I go along. The first one I have is the long diary you wrote on the “Golfito”- I expect that seems ages ago to you now – and does England seem a dream, or do you still feel as if St. V. was a dream & that you will wake up some time? I think I answered everything in that letter, but I have been meaning to ask about the two girls you met on board – did you hear anything more of Mrs. Quinn in Trinidad? I expect that you will see Jeanette in St.V. now & will hear all about the wedding – you mustn’t forget to let me know. I liked hearing about the Hutchinson cousins- especially Sylvia, as she seems very nice & I would have loved to have seen her guest house. It sounds lovely & she must be really good at her job to have it looking so nice, and such good food etc. I’m sorry that you didn’t get a snap of her & the house, as I would like to see what they both are like, & I was interested in her romance, & hope it will eventually come right in the end.
By the way, I don’t believe I ever said thank you for the book you sent me for my birthday – or rather Sylvia sent for you. It was a little late in arriving, so that is why I forgot I hadn’t written about it, but thank you very very much now – I liked all the little articles & Cec did too- they were homey & nice, weren’t they? I did very well for books for my birthday because Nan sent me “Trouble in the Glen” by Maurice Walsh, & the 1st book from the Book Club I told you Dottie had given us the membership of, arrived last week. It is called “The Kon-Tiki Expedition” & sounded rather awful I thought, but Cec has read it & says it is very exciting & interesting. It is the true story of a group of young men who sail on a raft from Peru to some of the S. Sea Islands to prove that that was how they were originally populated. Amy sent me “Maxims & Reflections of Winston Churchill”- pst!!! Irene sent me two pretty hankies. I have joined the public library & I am enjoying it very much. They have all my old favourite authors like Elizabeth Gouge & Frances Parkinson Keyes & in fact many more British than US authors.
Talking of birthdays, I have just been packing your birthday parcel, late though it may be! We were keeping strictly to our budget this month, & until nearly the end we didn’t know how we were going to make out, but we did fine & bought (1) a carpet sweeper- beautiful, gorgeous thing, in comparison to that old Broom! and (2) an ironing board, as well as your present (the latter wasn’t such a very expensive item!!) Cec & I were so thrilled with the sweeper, that we rushed around the whole flat & swept everything, & as we bought it on Sat & had it delivered on Mon. I had let everything get dirty & we got a wonderful lot of dust & dirt! The ironing board I am very pleased about – I have been borrowing Mrs. K.’s & didn’t like to be always bothering, so we have been always behind with ironing. I got a nice metal board, as it’s a permanent possession as it were, and you also have to buy a pad and cover, as you just buy the structure by itself – cost us $9.00! It is being delivered tomorrow & I have a whole stack of ironing waiting! To go back to parcels, yours isn’t very much but Cec & I thought it was cute, & it is for you to do your chores in! I also packed a parcel for my Father – sweets, sugar, etc. and also a little package of candy & comic books for Peter, & some chocolate covered cherries for Dottie! Talking of Dottie, we had a letter from her last week with the rudest story, which made us laugh and laugh! Pity you’re not still with Auntie Trix – I expect she still likes a low joke!
I am making up a food parcel for Nan’s birthday with Fudge Mix, Coconut Pie Mix, Brownie Mix, Peppermint Frosting Mix etc. & will do something the same for Anne, although of course I’m late for her birthday, but I wrote & told her I was & sent a card.
To go back to your letter, I have been meaning to ask you how Jack was getting on, & then in one of your letters you say it doesn’t look as if Joan is coming back to him. What do you think is the trouble? They seemed very happy at one time – is it just his drinking do you think, or is it again a bit of mother-in-law trouble? Is she living at her home or what. I was so glad to know that Janie & Bill were so happy & had such a nice house and so many conveniences. It is grand that Bill is doing so well, because he is such a good boy & deserves to do well. I was surprised to hear about A. Trix being so interfering etc. but now I think about it I realize that she is inclined to be that way, & also of course, just as possessive as Winnie over her sons! However, I should’ve thought she would have had enough sense to be thankful that Bill has such a sweet wife without putting her big foot in it!
Now that you are in St.V. I expect you are all up to date with the Hazell gossip, & I am looking forward to hearing all about it. What about Auntie Mil & Uncle Fred’s divorce – are they really going to go through with it after all this time? It seems silly in a way, but I suppose it will be Mrs. Child’s doing – it must be the most peculiar situation – you must tell me what this Delilah Child’s like!
I wonder if you ever heard any more of the U.S. fleet or any more news of Hugh? I think I remember seeing something in the papers about the fleet returning from the Caribbean, so probably you didn’t. His letter was sweet, wasn’t it? I can’t imagine little J.P. growing up & being bigger than me- such a huge size! I must write to Hugh sometime- not only for the wedding present!! It’s a good job he hasn’t Jacob’s tastes or I could look forward to a tasty carved giraffe or hippopotamus!!
I have been writing this for a whole week now, & what do you think? Our boxes arrived on Friday- at last! We are so pleased & excited to have them all safely & to have everything with us again. We began unpacking straight away, & as Cec said it was just like Christmas!! We kept finding things we had forgotten all about, & we were amazed at how marvellously that old man did pack everything – there were only 3 casualties & none of them serious (1) a pyrex dish- that shallow square one- remember? (2) Mrs Parry’s blue Wedgewood jug- I never did like it anyway, but we won’t be able to sell it!! and (3) our big map got a bit jarred, so that the frame was loosened & there is a crack at one corner of the glass at the back, but nothing that we won’t be able to get mended quite easily. I’ve got all my cupboards in the kitchen full, but I haven’t washed the china yet, so next week I’ll do that and put paper on the shelves & it will look lovely! There isn’t room for the silver anywhere in the cupboard, & we haven’t any furniture we could put any of it on, so I am going to wrap it up & put it in one of the trucks. Anyway it tarnishes terribly quickly here with the heating. Talking of silver, makes me think of tea pots – well, I have plenty now! When we were at the Atkinson’s for that fateful weekend, Mrs. A. insisted on lending me the most atrocious thing you ever saw- thick, thick, white pottery with a little knobs all over (like warts!) and red & blue lines making a check on it – not to mention a yellow flower on top of the lid! It held about 8 cups of tea, so you can imagine how useful it was to us! However, as our boxes still hadn’t arrived I was in the grocers one day & here were the sweetest little brown pottery teapots (2 cuppers!) full of teabags for 49¢, so I got one, as I knew I hadn’t a tiny teapot anyway. It is so cute – made in England, & I am very pleased with it! By the way, had your boxes arrived in St. V. safely? And was everything all right? You would be just about as pleased to unpack everything & settle down as we are. Our Indian rug looks so nice in the sitting room. It has a navy blue carpet which showed every footprint, so the rug is fine on it, & as the walls are grey & the curtains plain yellow, it brightens it up & when we get our pictures hanging it will look very nice I think. We are going to try & get some bookshelves later- at the moment we have Cec’s books in the cupboard in the sitting room & have put all the story books back into one of the boxes in the attic. At the moment there is only the sofa & armchair- Cec’s desk, & two little occasional tables, in the sitting room, so there isn’t much space for bric-a-brac!!
I laughed over Janie dieting with things she doesn’t like! I’m just the same, but as I cook mostly things I like, I don’t get far! I am hoping that in the summer if it’s hot, the fat will just roll off me, without any effort! At the moment it doesn’t look as if summer will ever come here – there isn’t a sign of a bud on a tree or anything, but I expect it will arrive suddenly & we’ll swelter.
I was interested to hear of the prices of food in Trinidad & how Janie thought I wouldn’t be able to manage on my budget. Well, it is quite a struggle, although it seems a lot compared to what we’d spend in England, but of course it is all our meals, as Cec comes home to lunch every day & in England neither of us did. You said eggs were $1.26 in Trinidad – well they are low here at the moment- between 45¢ & 50¢ a doz. but as we use three for breakfast every morning (making up for lost time!) we get through them quickly. Vegetables I find very expensive- a little tiny cauliflower 35¢ & broccoli 39¢ & the only cabbage great huge ones at 9¢ a pound. I find the frozen veg cheaper, as corn & peas & beans are all under 30¢ a pkt & also I get little tins of veg (just enough for two) for as little as 2 for 15¢. Meat is high & bacon- also coffee. Each weekend our roast, which does us about 2 dinners & maybe 1 lunch is between $1.50 & $2.00 & of course our month’s milk bill is nearly $12, so it is no wonder that I am being careful! We had so many initial expenses with Cec’s college bill (which we’ll eventually get back from D.V.A.) & freight charges on our luggage & tea chests, that each month we’ve been panting for the next month’s cheque, but at last this month we have got straightened out & have even money left (not much) in the bank after paying our electric bill, (very pleased with ourselves- 2 month’s bill $10.00) so next month we will start out square.
I have been trying still to get a job, as we could use the money & I really haven’t much to do, but so far have no success as I don’t seem to be much good at anything! I wrote to the Gas & Electric Companies & the Electric doesn’t employ married women & the Gas said I could call sometime & fill in a form! I also went to a Book shop that wanted an assistant & the man was nice but turned me down as I had no experience & I went to a dress shop that wanted someone 1/2 time to sell hosiery & bags, but again I had no experience. Most annoying! However, I may get something – the last job would have suited me fine – afternoons & Saturdays & I am sure I could sell stockings very nicely, but I didn’t get the chance!
I was horror stricken at the size of the spider you drew that was at A. Trixie’s! We had a centipede in the bathroom yesterday & I yelled for Cec, we don’t know where it came from. The attic here is the worst place as it was just full of sick & dying flies & wasps & on a warm day they would all emerge from their crooks and nannies and creep around. I got a shoosher & have been spraying them all & collecting corpses & hope they are done now.
I was glad you had a nice time in Grenada & liked Mrs. Chandler so much. We were very amused at you & the café-au-lait gentlemen dashing out to the ship together! I am amazed at all the cousins you seem to be finding that I have never heard of before! Neither the Doreen on the Lady Rodney or the ones you met at Sylvia’s or with Marion, did I know existed – well, well!
I don’t know if I told you but the Sutherlands are going to build a house here. They have brought a “lot” & some weeks ago I think I told you they drove us to see it. It is in a very exclusive part a few miles out of A.A. by a lake & is very lovely & wooded. The site they have is on a hill, & they will have to have the house built in terraces as it were, but it should be very nice. The last Physics Wives Tea Party I went to about 10 days ago, was at a new house owned by a young couple with 3 little girls. It is most modern- built of wood- cedar, I think- & left brown, not painted, inside or out. It is built on the side of a hill and from the road looks a bit like Noah’s ark as only the top story shows & it has a wide overhanging roof & a sort of gangway or path all around.
The living room, kitchen etc. is all on the top floor, & you go downstairs to the bedrooms, & in addition to that, the whole of the living room floor has no inside walls except for a central cupboard, so-
It looks even more peculiar, as it is quite unfinished inside, as the husband is doing all the paddling & stairway & bedroom walls & closets etc. himself & it isn’t done yet, so all the walls are bare with aluminum insulating showing! It was very intriguing to see though!
I think I told you that we went down to the Kaufman’s to see the television & met their youngest daughter & son-in-law & I was very pleased! They were just married in Sept. & Mrs. K had told me so much about Fay, & how popular she was, with a smile for everyone & had shown me a newspaper photo (head & shoulder) of her as a bride, in which she looked lovely. However, she is small, about my size & fat– dumpy rather & a bit sulky looking! We liked her husband much better- he was a jolly young man. I was most amused, Mrs. K. kept telling Fay her hair didn’t look good, & Fay kept smarming it down with her hand, just like you wanting me to make a good impression & me not co-operating!
We haven’t seen any more of the Dockrills this week. They are the young couple just arrived from Cambridge – he is a Lab Technician & Dr. S. got him a job over here & they’ll stay if they like it. I just met him for a minute one day, but he reminds me of Claude & Brian- more of the latter in looks really, and the same way of talking. She looks a little bit like Joan Appleyard & seems quite nice. Talking about Joan & Ray, we wrote to them when we arrived, but haven’t heard anything. Did I ever tell you that we had had a note from Jim & Lee Gander near New York & they have a baby!
I have had letters from Nan & Irene lately & they tell me that the Egans are going out to Australia! Michael has a job as a radiologist at a hospital in Perth & they are to arrive there in August & Mary is having another baby in Sept. Brave girl! Poor Mrs. White will be sad at their going so far away though, but Irene says Mary is thrilled. I also heard from Ruth that she got her parcel safely & likes everything very much, & no word of duty!
I had written to Amy before & sent her a silver wedding card, even if it was late! I’ve never heard from my Father since leaving Cambridge, but write an A.M. every week. Anne wrote me that Tadek has got his Ph.D. Isn’t that grand? He is also a British citizen now & was trying for jobs, so I do hope he gets something really good – I haven’t heard from her for a little while.
Well honey – I think that is all the news! My pore arm is fair wore out! We are looking forward to a letter from you tomorrow perhaps telling all about St. V as we didn’t get one last week, but I know you would be having a busy time unpacking & gossiping & meeting people!
Cec is working very hard now & is giving a paper to the Physics Faculty at their weekly meeting on Thurs. so he’s preparing for that, then has another to give two weeks after. He sends his love & has been censoring this as I wrote it! Must stop now as it’s bedtime. Be good now!
This Easter airmail may have been written on Easter Monday, but was postmarked April 13th, and sent to Trinidad. Carol had gone by the time it arrived and it had to be redirected to St.Vincent, where she was to settle down with her sister Muriel.
I thought it was funny that the colour photos of their honeymoon which she mentions are the ones that look worst 70 years later! The scrapbook has survived quite well, and the black & white snaps look quite normal, but the colour photos have yellowed badly and don’t look ‘lovely’. (And the ‘awful’ picture did not make it into the scrapbook of course!) The mention of their Saturday lunch is a pleasant reminder of the days before fast food restaurants, when drug stores and stores like Woolworth’s all had a counter with the food (or Cyn’s favourite treat, chocolate milkshakes) made right in front of you…
At the very top of the airmail letter is another tease in Cec’s handwriting:
No room for me per usual! We laughed about your comment on our bed, but are beginning to wonder if we brought you up right. Lots of love Cec
Monday 10th April. 1950
This is Easter Monday & although it isn’t a holiday here, Cec and I are being English & have declared a Bank holiday & are having a nice time! Actually Cec is working now, but isn’t going to the University, so it feels pleasant and lazy! I hope that you are having a very happy Easter, honey – we have thought about you a lot, and I sent you an Easter card little while ago, but it was by sea, so I doubt if it would arrive in time. Thank you so much for your A.M. written on my birthday – it was so nice to get it, and I also got the lovely English birthday card you sent me a little later in the week. It is so beautiful with all the flowers & made the room look quite springy.
We had quite fun for Easter, but first of all I’ll tell you our doings of last week. I think I told you that we were going out to dinner last Tues. to a Prof and Mrs. Cork’s. He is in Cec’s Dept. & I had met Mrs. Cork at the “Teas” I was at & she was very nice. Besides ourselves & the Simpsons, there were two other young couples (also Physics Dept.) & the Head of the Dept. Prof. Barker & his wife- as well as Mr. & Mrs. C. & their daughter & son-in-law. We had a lovely dinner, sitting at small tables & helping ourselves buffet style, then talked & the daughter and son-in-law showed us some beautiful colour pictures they had taken on a trip through the Rockies etc. last summer (honeymoon!) They had a screen & projector & the colours were really wonderful. We had our colour photos done by the way, & printed, & some of them are quite good- the 2 we took at Avignon are poor because it was hot, dull weather, but the ones along the Mediterranean are lovely, except the supposed glamour one of me which was awful! I looked like an elephant with its posterior (white satin!) in the air!
Mrs S. had done my washing on Tues & when I went to get it, she told me she was feeling so tired & thought she might be getting flu or something, so I suggested having the children to lunch next day so that she could rest. She was pleased & so were they, & they came straight from school & had chicken noodle soup, egg sandwiches & sardine sandwiches, chocolate milk & apples, then off they went again. Since then little Mary has hardly been off our doorstep & visits us 2 or 3 times a day!
On Friday evening we went down & saw Mr. & Mrs. Kaufman’s television set, which they have just got & are very proud of. Their youngest daughter & her husband were there too so I was pleased to have some more of my curiosity satisfied! She is a funny little fat thing – I’m getting that way too!!!
On Sat. I went to town & Cec met me for lunch. Our luncheon restaurant is Woolies, which have a very nice snack bar with lots of good sandwiches! I went & joined the Public Library, which will be nice & was surprised to find that it was crammed full of English authors! Cec & I also went to a shop which was having a sale & bought a carpet sweeper much to my joy & I am eagerly awaiting the delivery today, so that I can lay aside my old broom for a while! The living room carpet is plain navy blue, & a bedroom one plain dark green, so you can imagine how they show every piece of fluff & dust! We also got dear little Easter presents for the Sutherland kids – a plastic bunny on wheels with candy eggs in its arms for Mary, wheelbarrow with candy for Kirsten & a little basket with candy for Anne. I also got Cec a brown tie & had lots of fun dying h-boiled eggs (pink, green, blue, yellow, & purple) for a tiny Easter basket for us! It’s years since I coloured Easter eggs. I went to church yesterday at 11 o’clock & had quite a walk because the only Episcopal Church is quite a bit away & no buses on Sunday, but it was a nice service. Mary visited us most of the afternoon & the S.’s invited us to their house in the evening for a little party they had with other couples from the Physics Dept., so I felt I’d had a busy day! Will write my next letter to A. Muriel’s – hope you have a good trip whichever way you go & have a grand home–coming!!
Carol Ewing left England in March, and arrived in St. Vincent where she was to share a home with her sister Muriel in April, after having paid visits to other family members who lived on different islands. Cyn wrote this long letter and the airmail letter that followed, almost at the same time, and sent them to her aunt Trix, Carol’s older sister, in Trinidad, where her ship stopped.
I find Cyn’s scorn heaped on the humble broom as amusing as Cec did- I feel sure they existed in England or what was Hogwarts using?- but the broom I remember from my childhood was a push broom which I assume is the one she considered superior.
M0nday 13th March. 1950
When you are reading this you will be in the midst of the tropics, and here I have just been shovelling snow! Ever since we came it has been cold and snowy, sometimes a heavy fall, and sometimes just a little, but when ever it begins to melt away, there is another fall. There was one last night & it looked so bright & pretty outside then I went & asked Mrs. Kaufman if I could borrow their shovel, and I shovelled our little side path & Kaufman’s path and the sidewalk. While I was busy the postman brought your A.M. of the day before you left, and the one from Mary Ewing, and Mrs. K. told me to ring her bell when I was finished and she had something for me. She thinks I am crazy, I’m sure, & over the shovelling snow, she kept saying “My, but how unusual!”!! But both she & Mr. K. are very kind & will do anything to help us – they lend us books & magazines & an ironing board & iron, and the thing that Mrs. K had for me was a lovely yellow rosebud. She said her house is so upside down that it didn’t look right, so she’d like me to have it, & I was so pleased – the first flower I’ve had since the lovely ones I got on the ship. Poor Mr. & Mrs. K. are having such a time- they got our apartment done first, & are now in the middle of having theirs done & living all amongst it. They have had a beautiful new bathroom built, & all the kitchen remodelled & modernized & are having a new cooker & frig. & the stairs were moved when our place was made separate. They have the carpenter here for long enough, & tiler is coming off & on to put tiles in the kitchen & Mr. K. is painting doors & the decorators have yet to come. They have everything under dust sheets and no carpets & poor Mrs. K. just sits in a chair in the corner as the only comfortable place! She is little- about 50, but dark, while he is even smaller I think & grey & thin – but about 50 too. He has quite a sense of humour, but I don’t think she has as she doesn’t laugh at any of my remarks, but takes them quite seriously! However, we have a long chats when I go to borrow anything, & she was telling me that she came with her parents from Russia when she was a girl – Mr. K came from Manchester, I think I told you. They have 2 girls, both married- the eldest with 2 little boys & the youngest just married in Sept. & her husband doing medicine at the University – I haven’t seen any of them yet.
When I last wrote and told you of my doings, I think we were just about to go to Toledo for the weekend, and what a gay time we had! Til & Lois came up for us & arrived at about 5 o’clock on Friday. I had dinner ready- tomato juice, roast pork (by request of Cec!) baked potatoes succotash (little green beans & corn- frozen veg) apple sauce, then raspberries (frozen) & cream & coffee! Then we drove down to Toledo, which took about 1 1/2 hrs. I was quite excited to see the house & everything again, & we had my little room at the top of the house & everything looked just the same. Til & Lois have television & are crazy about it, but I don’t like it much although I wouldn’t tell them that! The programmes seem pretty poor although the pictures are mostly clear & good. We watched a bit, then went to bed & I said it seemed funny to have a MAN in my room! Next morning Cec & I slept late (of course!) & when we got up Lois had gone to the Airport – she only goes once or twice a week now – & Til was busy tidying up. We were to have dinner at about 1:30 because Marie Stoll had invited us all to a cocktail party for me to meet all my old friends in the afternoon, then Ruth (Lois’s sister) & family were coming over that evening to see us. However, during the morning Mrs. Atkinson phoned, and asked Cec and me to tea next day then Mr. A. talked & said that he wasn’t going to wait till next day to see me, but would come up right away. Mrs. A. was going to a meeting that afternoon to hear our old friend George Hammersmith speak, & when she went he would come up. Well, we waited a bit & he hadn’t come, so Til & I went out and shopped for groceries & when we got back, about 12-ish, here he was & Lois was back too. We all sat & talked & then Til & Lois were in the kitchen & he went out to his car & brought back a bottle of whiskey & insisted on us all having a drink! Til & Lois wouldn’t, but I had to have a little one & he & Cec had one, & he settled back and & kept filling up his & Cec’s glasses! We all giggled afterwards because Til said she tried to win the bottle for us – when he produced it first & handed it to me, Til said “But what a pity to open a new bottle- let’s have some of ours & then the kids can take the full bottle to Ann Arbor” but Mr. A. said “Oh no – this bottle isn’t going to Ann Arbor “& afterwards took the remains of the bottle away with him! Anyway amongst other things he told us that it was Mrs. A’s birthday on the 18th & he was giving her a surprise party & wanted to get her out of the way while it was being prepared. So we were to invite the two of them to A.A. to tea on the 18th (a Sat.) then drive back to Toledo with them, where the party would it, in the meanwhile, have been prepared by friends presumably. We were then to stay the night with them after staying to the party. So of course, we had to say we would, although we got very little choice in the matter!
But this time it was getting on for 2 & he was still sitting there, so we thought we would get him to go by saying that Cec had to get his hair cut. Lois said she would take us in her little car, so we all got up, but Mr. A. sat tight & I said “Well I don’t suppose you’ll be here when we get back, Mr. Atkinson” and he said “Oh I probably will!” So we had to leave him with poor Til! Lois’ new little car is the cutest tiny thing you ever saw. When I stand beside it, it comes up to my chin and I can see right over it! It is about 1/2 the length of an ordinary English car & inside it has four seats & four little doors! I fit it in the back all right, & Cec sat beside Lois- his head touched the roof & his legs were scrunched up, but he got in!!
When we got back, here was Mr. A. still sitting drinking, & poor Til in desperation had set the table & got the dinner all ready. Finally, as he made no move, she asked him if he would have dinner with us, but he said no, & when we sat down to dinner at 3:30 he left at last! We nearly died laughing!!!
We had a great rush then & ate & washed up & got ready as we were supposed to be at Marie’s between 4 & 4:30, but it was near 5 when we got there. She looked just the same as ever & Mary Bargman, who lives with her was there, & dear Mrs. Pasquier, & Mr. & Mrs. Nauts (the Principal) & Mrs. Pasch (the Dean of Girls) & two other teachers, Miss Johnson & Mrs. Bacchus. Some of them were just about leaving by then, but most stayed & everyone talked. I had a little chat with Mrs. Pasquier who wants us to come & stay with her in our new house & Marie came & asked about Anne & Howlett & so on. After a while George Hammersmith appeared from his meeting & seemed very pleased to see us & was asking for you. Mrs. A. told us the next day that he had been panting to get away from the meeting & finally told them he was off to meet the finest little Englishwoman he knew! And that he was absolutely charmed with you!! At last everyone began to go & we stayed & chatted a little longer & then went too. I forgot to tell you that besides drinking Manhattans they had all sorts of gorgeous snacks & we were so stuffed with dinner we could hardly eat a thing! Also Marie & Mary gave me the cutest little present- three glass bowls- thick glass – like so
The two small ones, one has HE on, & the other SHE, & the big one has SHELLS, & there are 2 colourless plastic spoons. They are for eating boiled eggs “turned out” & I think they are rather sweet & awfully nice of them to give me a present.
That evening Ruth & Ernie & David & Mary L. came over & we just sat around & talked & the kids played their pieces on the piano & Til played a bit. The kids look very much the same, but a bit longer in the leg, – I was telling Cec, I never took to them very much, but it’s probably because they never take any notice of me! He thinks they are nice kids!
Next day we slept late again, & had dinner in the middle of the day, then about 3:30-ish Lois took us to the Atkinson ‘s. We talked or golly- I should say, they talked! They practically told Cec all about Canada because they go there for holidays each year so know much more than him! He took it all quite calmly, but now & then said flatly “I don’t agree with you”! I went with Mrs. A. into the kitchen when she got tea ready – it turned out to be high tea- cold meat & salad & then tinned pineapple & pieces of cake, & we didn’t eat till about 6, but it was just as well, as I was still full from our huge dinner. Mrs. A. talked all the time in the kitchen & I said yes & no, & finally at tea we asked them to come to tea with us on the 18th as arranged & so did our dooty. They took us to Til’s about 7:30 and we were exhausted! Cec thinks he’s a pompous little man!
We spent the evening watching television & then next day, of course, Til & Lois had to go to school. Til came back at 11:30 & we had lunch with her & then she took us to the bus depot & we took a bus to Detroit. We wanted to enquire about our 3 trunks – the 2 wardrobe trunks & Cec’s tin trunk of books- which we had had sent by freight from Halifax as we had excess luggage. We had filled in the customs forms for them when we went thro’ Detroit in Feb. but had heard nothing, so we went & enquired at the Customs & C.P.R. offices. No one knew anything but we got the name & address of the C.P.R. man in charge of freight & wrote to him when we got home. We have had a reply now & Cec has to go to Detroit again tomorrow (it is Thursday now!) & take the keys & clear the customs, & he will also go across the river to Windsor (in Canada) & see about our 8 boxes. It will be nice to get all our things again, as we are just managing along on china. We have bought quite a few pans & kitchen stuff (cute white & red enamel pans!) as we needed it anyway, but we only got the bare necessities in china. Also Cec needs his books & I’m sick of wearing the same clothes!
Since our Toledo weekend we have been very quiet – it was nice to get home again too! We spend our evenings playing cribbage, reading, (we’ve joined a detective book club, & got 6 new books FREE on a bonus! We then get a book of 3 stories each month, but need take only 4 during the year if we want!!), writing & and you will be glad to know that I am at last sewing up Cec’s grey pullover! I find it quite strange to be just a housewife now, & realize it much more than I ever did in Cambridge – I seem to have nothing to do, & yet always doing something! I clean & cook & shop – it is quite a walk to the nearest shops, so I only do small things during the week & on Fri. afternoon, I go to Mrs. Sutherland’s & we drive to the big super market & have a real “do”, then she drives me home with all my purchases! Twice now, I have gone back & had a cup of tea with her & a chat, & last week she told me I could use her washing machine instead of going to the Laundrymat, so I took my case & we had tea while my washing wooshed around! We like the Sutherlands so much, & they are very nice & friendly. Mrs. S is about your height & slim & fair, with a thin face, & she is just as English as Swedish now. She has a little accent, but loves England & says she’s more at home there than Sweden now. Dr. S. is middle height, dark, slightly curly hair & wears glasses. He is jolly & when he laughs reminds me so much of Len Burton & the way he looked when he laughed. The girls are all sweet too- Ann is dark & like her father, while Kirstin is more like her mother, & the little one Mary is just like herself – she has a fringe & two pigtails & is cute. They are always full of enthusiasm- one time we went, they were cutting out little houses & churches & colouring them & sticking them up & making villages, & last time they were going to do a play of the “Three Bears” & were all typing & learning parts! We went & sat with them last Sunday evening, as Dr and & Mrs. S. were going out & they get lonely. So we went about 8, & I typed Anne’s part for her, & we listened to the radio, then we saw them in bed & read them a story! We just sat downstairs & read our own books then till Dr. & Mrs. S. came back & then we all drank milk.
We went to the pictures for the first time last week & saw “Jolson Sings Again” & the cutest cartoon about a little duck & a little mouse! Then we went to a drugstore & had a chocolate milk shake & I had a nice time! I enjoyed the picture very much, & we saw the cartoon over twice. Cec wants to go this week & see “Twelve O’Clock High” a war picture with Gregory Peck that is supposed to be very good, but his classes had little exams this week & he has to mark them, so we’ll wait & see if he gets them done by tomorrow evening. This Sat. is the one the Atkinson’s are coming up to tea (not looking forward to it much) & it will be a funny tea party with only 2 cup & saucers & no teapot! Cec & I will have to use the plastic cups & saucers from Bar’s picnic case, & the only thing I can think of is to use the coffee pot as a teapot! We have just been using teabags in cups so far, & haven’t bothered to get a tea pot- anyway all the ones in shops here are horrid! I am having a nice “cuppa” and a choc. biscuit now, as a matter of fact & writing this on the kitchen table! We have changed our times of meals a bit now, & eat at American times as it is more convenient. We have breakfast about 8:30- 9.0, then Cec either goes to the Lab or to take his class on Tues. & Thurs.. He comes home for lunch about 12:30, back at about 1:45 and home again at 6,- I also have my cup of tea about 3:30, & we have a glass of milk & a piece of cake or whatever there is before we go to bed. Cec had to have a medical for the Univ. & the Dr. said he was OVER weight! Goodness knows what he’d say about me!! I don’t think we’re putting on weight here tho’ – just about the same. Cec keeps saying we must do exercises & does one or two every 3 or 4 days!!!
Who do you think we had a letter from yesterday? Lee & Jim Gander – forwarded from England. They are near New York & had a baby boy in Jan. – isn’t that nice? I also had a letter from Dottie this week & one from Anne a little while ago. I have written to my father twice & have a parcel ready to send him- choc. biscuits, sugar lumps, chocolate etc.
This letter is turning into a book, but I might as well go the whole hog & answer your letters before I close- mostly, I’ve answered them as I went along, but just in case I missed anything. Thank you for Denis’ letter & photo – Cec & I couldn’t help giggling at some of Denis’ high flown language, but he’s sweet just the same. I’m glad they’re having a baby & hope it will be a boy as I am sure both he & Winnie would like a little Bobby & I think it would be nice. In one of your other letters you mention our rent & AGL saying it was about £35 pounds- at the old rate of exchange $4 to £1, it is £20- just the same as Connie & Len’s other flat was- at the present rate it is nearly £30, but the old rate gives you a better idea of the value of things here, & as we get Can. & Am. dollars the devaluation doesn’t affect us in that way. After our first months expenditure we have some idea of what it is going to cost us to live & we are trying a budget! I am given $20.00 housekeeping money each week- or rather $80 a month, & must buy food, laundry, papers, etc. – and I want to try & save out of it to buy all the household things we still need! I told Cec I’d be feeding him very economically for a while, but it is quite difficult as butter is nearly a dollar a pound & vegetables seem very expensive to me – as well as meat of course. Hamburger – which is about the cheapest thing is about 60¢ a lb. & all the fish is frozen of course. I am saving up for 1. a mop. 2. a carpet sweeper 3. an ironing board 4. a kitchen stool and steps – not to mention all sorts of other little items! My cleaning utensils at the moment are a brush, handbrush & dustpan & duster – I call the brush all sorts of horrible names – it is like this
& I say it is most inefficient. I use it for carpets & for sweeping the floors, but tell Cec it does neither properly and that the English have much nicer brushes!! He was most amused in the shop when we got it, because I acted so amazed at such a thing, that he said the man would think I was some poor little rich girl, who’d never seen such a thing as a broom in her life!
To go back to your letters, I wonder so much if you will really see Hugh in Trinidad. I do hope so, as I know you would both get a big kick out of it, and I would love to hear all the news. You’ll have to tell him where we are & that it would be fun if he could drop in & see us some time. Til was asking for him too, when we were in Toledo.
I am so glad that the Solicitor at the Courts of Justice was nice & kind – I know you would be dreading seeing him rather, & it is such a relief to know that he is someone whom you can write to, & who will do the best for us all. I think I told you I had a letter here from the Lord Chancellor’s Clerk in reply to the one I wrote & it was very nice too. I have just been re-reading your account of your present to Ruth & the party & all, & your rug sounds very nice. It reminded me of a remark in Dottie’s letter which made Cec & me roar with laughter – she said she hoped you got Ruth a handsome present & left the price on!! The blouse I sent Ruth was pretty – I hope she likes it- white with lace insertions-
Actually there were 3 or 4 bands of lace, & the material between was sort of ruched. I enjoyed your letter all about the party at the Savoy so much, & was very glad you told me all about the clothes & food & celebrities & everything. It sounded as if it must have been really nice & I am awfully glad that you went, even if you did have misgivings beforehand!
You asked in one letter what the furniture is like – well, it is quite nice, & the bedroom has a double bed (!!) which is comfy but creaks & groans & makes the most awful noises if you just sit on it! Anytime Cec gets in you’d think the whole thing was going to collapse so you can imagine his remarks! There is also a dressing table & stool, & a chest of drawers, & a big closet with room enough for all our clothes to hang. In the sitting room there is a big day couch (navy blue & navy cover, yellow curtains) which will turn into a double bed, an arm chair (dark brown), a desk & upright chair, a little side table beside the armchair, & a little stand on which we have books. We are to get another arm chair when the Kaufmans get some new furniture, & we think we might get some bookshelves later on. There isn’t much place to put things in the sitting room, but there is a big built-in cupboard where I put my work basket etc. On the landing there is a linen cupboard with shelves, & at the top of the stairs another cupboard for coats, boots etc. In the kitchen is a little table- about 2’ wide &3 1/2’ long – it has a flap which goes up & makes it square. I have it covered with a red check oilcloth & as we only have 1 tablecloth anyway at the moment, we don’t bother to use it! There are 3 chairs, & another cupboard for brushes etc. – plenty of cupboards anyway- also the door to the attic is in the kitchen, & we put our trunks up there & I hang socks & stockings to dry on a string.
I was most excited about the Election of course & interested now to know what is going on. The A. Arbor paper isn’t much good, but Til & Lois have lent us a little radio, so we can listen to the news now. I wonder if there will be another election soon- anyway their plans will be curbed a bit. I have just discovered the picture of the dear little bear in your envelope, & think it is so sweet. Cec will love to see it when he comes home. We often talk about poor Spivvy & wonder how he is getting on. There is a white cat lives across the street & he reminds us of him, but it is so cold he isn’t out much. I wrote to Joan & sent her an engagement card, so I hope she will write and tell us about Spiv. I wonder if Jean Lock has her baby & what kind it is.
I can’t think of a single other thing to say, so I had better stop before I do, & go onto 6 more pages! I have to wash the lunch things still, & get dinner & finish the ironing. I must write to Dottie & a few of the N/C people too as I haven’t done so yet. I wonder if you got many letters written on board, or if you were just lazy and let the time slip by as I usually do. I hope that by the time you landed you were feeling fine and well again – what did you wear & tell me all about it? I want to know all about the trip & the people & everything. Don’t forget to tell me too, if there is anything you find you need out there & haven’t got- or anything you are short of.
It has begun to snow again so it looks as if I’ll have to be unusual and shovel again!!
My love to everyone, but most of all to my little Mama –
Thank you so much for your letter which came this afternoon. I wrote you a long one last week, but I don’t suppose you have got it yet, because when I went to post it on Wed. I found all the P.O.’s closed for Geo. Washington’s birthday so had to wait till Thurs.
Wed. now! We got your other lovely long letter all about Ruth’s party today & we’re so intrigued to read all about it. I am so glad that you enjoyed yourself & it sounds very nice indeed. We were amazed to hear that it was just a dozen or so- from the invitations, we imagined it must be practically a BALL with private room & all, but as it was it must have been fun. All the food sounds Gorgeous, especially the pineapple affair, & I would love to have seen what it looked like. We had ice cream with peaches tonight, but no exotic spun sugar! I think you must have looked very cute with your pale blue dress & pale blue hair & I am glad that the drunken gentleman appreciated you! I think the P.B. hair must be fun & you will match the general “decor” on board ship! I am sure it doesn’t make you look older! I went to town today & got Ruth 2 prs. nylon & a white blouse with lace insets & will send them off tomorrow. We waited to see how our finances were doing! I also got an Engagement card for Joan C. & a Silver Wedding card for Amy & will write.
You will be so glad to know that we are Economizing!! Until we know how things go, we are being ever so careful, & we sit home every evening & read (mags & books borrowed from Mrs. Kaufman) play cribbage (we are keeping score & Cec has won 15 times & I have won 11!) & write letters! On Sat. I made Cec take me up to the drug store & buy me a chocolate milkshake as a treat! It is still very cold & snowy – has been snowing all day today – & on Sun. afternoon Dr. Sutherland called with his 3 girls- Anne (12) Kirstin (10) Mary (6) & asked if we would like to go to a park called the Arboretum with them. So off we went & found the place full of winter sports & great fun to watch. Anne & Mary had toboggans & Kirstin & Dr. S. had skis. Kristin had only had her skis 2 days but was v. good & went down quite steep hills. I tobogganed with Anne a bit but the snow shushed up my skirt & froze my little(?) behind! It was great fun though. In the evening Dr. and Mrs. S drove us to visit Oliver & Joan Simpson, another English couple who came over in the summer with Dr. S & whose flat there was some talk of our getting. They now have a little house a few miles out of A. A. & they seem very nice.
It rained & sleeted so much yesterday I never went out, but spent the day washing & polishing all my wooden floors! The sitting & bedrooms have carpets, but I did the surrounds & a large expense of landing – I told Cec I had housemaid’s knee! Must stop now- will write again before you go- oh, I nearly forgot- what fun about Hugh being in the W. I.s- isn’t it fashionable this year?! Lots & lots of love from Cyn.
[Cec’s handwriting] Dear Mom – Just because you are away from our restraining influence, don’t get too rash. I’d love to see your blue hair. Bet it goes nice with pink.
Cyn says she is much more careful spending money when it’s mine & not hers, but I don’t suppose that will last long. We had one minor crisis & had 50¢ between us for a day, but some money arrived. And our credit is practically unlimited? Cigarettes are cheap 1/1 1/2 instead of 3/10.
My work is light (5 hrs/week) & hope to get going on research soon.
Cyn is having lots of fun shopping & drinking milkshakes. We are going to start doing exercises to reduce some bulges – I haven’t got a waist anymore.