September 19 1969

From Cec to his daughter.

Fairmont Hotel
Sept.19, 1969

Dear Linda,
My time in Japan is down to 1 1/2 days, and while I’ve been too busy to be lonely I’ll be glad to be off.

My hotel is just outside the moat of the Imperial Palace, and on the grounds opposite is a Buda – kan, -sports gym for judo events etc. Looking out of the window I could see the roof outlined against the sky, and realized what I must have heard and known – that the traditional roof of Japanese architecture and pagodas, is in the exact line of Mount Fuji.


My visit to Mt. Fuji, (or Fujiyamma,) (yamma is Mt.) was a great success – clear except for a cloud cap on the top 2000 ft. It was very clear for this time of year, but disappeared completely two hours later.

Thurs. was spent at the Kabuki theatre 11am to 4pm – lunch 20 minutes. The staging, acting costumes etc. were wonderful. The program was parts of 4 different plays, but each complete in itself. It is much like Shakespeare – a mixture of tragedy & comedy. I found it difficult to identify with the tragic scenes without the language – some like opera where the hero takes 15 min. to die after six sword thrusts, but the comedy was wonderful – more in mime. I’d never have known the actors were all male if I hadn’t been told.

My abject apologies for not noticing your birthday – I knew it was due & told the Mercers & Egans etc., but I’m afraid dates & days lose all meaning except for appointments, meetings, talks, planes, etc. I heard you were safely installed and have a nice private room. I do hope you are enjoying your new life – I expect the first while will be hectic & by the time that’s over you will be used to it. Don’t forget to do some work – like 12 hours a day.
Good luck & lots of love

September 10 1969

Kohaku- maru
On the inland sea
Sept.10, 1969.

Dear Linda,

Believe it or not, I’m at sea.

In Sydney I received a letter from Professor Morino suggesting a long itinerary for my trip to Japan. Part of it was to go from Fukuoka (University of Kyushu) my first stop to Beppu by train. Hirota- who was in Ottawa last summer and at the big party in our garden – was to come with me and yesterday he showed me all around Beppu. It has hundreds of hot springs & geysers – the whole side of the mountain has rising jets of steam.

Dr. Morino and Cec

Today I am on a large liner, going to Takamatsu. We started at 8:10 am, and I land at 5:30. The tickets – first class deluxe, were a present from Professor Morino. I am writing this letter in my private cabin. Professor Morino is meeting me and we go by boat and car to Kurashiki. He has my next ten days planned – and I suspect – paid for. He told Hirota that he can never repay our kindness when he & his wife were in Ottawa 5 years ago – and he had the operation in Ann Arbor. But the hospitality is almost embarrassing.

My trip to the Great Barrier Reef was a bit disappointing because the weather was too rough to land on the reef. We had one short trip with a glass bottomed boat. The coral was 3-10 ft down, and it was like looking in a continuously changing aquarium early millions of fish of all sizes & colours swimming in & out of the coral branches. Wish we’d seen more & been able to snorkel.

I hope you are finding your new life exciting & not too lonely. I expect they will keep you busy. I know I’m busy, but often wish I was home.

Linda’s courses: 2 English, 2 History, and Psychology.

Lots of love

September 1962

September was a busy month. Cec left for Tokyo on August 31st, Labour Day was the following Monday, and the children started school the next day, Charlie in Grade 6, Linda in Grade 7 with Mr Lumsden, her first male teacher.

Cyn must have been working with her fellow Guild members on their fashion show, which was the following week- having arranged the clothes with the shops that were lending them, they needed to fit them to the ‘models’ and rehearse them on the raised catwalk that couldn’t have been built until after that Sunday’s service (the Church Hall being a multi-purpose structure that could host an audience with the altar area curtained off.)

Linda was one of the girls wearing ‘Back To School’ outfits- throughout the 60s in my experience, girls were not allowed to wear trousers to school- and later in the show, Winter Wear, with a jacket I remember as being a very strange colour- a deep purple, most unusual in those days, which I think they paired with pumpkin coloured pants, which would never have been my choice!.

Later Cyn got nice pictures of me doing this, but the newspaper clipping shows the adults and youngest model, and with 300 people attending, the Ladies Guild probably regarded this as a successful fundraiser. Unlike Cyn’s Cookery Demonstrations, however, the fashion show was not repeated.

Meanwhile Cec, having enjoyed the “soothing comfort” and “personal attention” of a flight over the Pacific (which led him to swear he would never do it again until he could travel First Class with room for his legs), was welcomed in Tokyo with his colleagues, especially Dr. Herzberg his boss, to the International Symposium on Molecular Structure and Spectroscopy with a photo op.

Papers and presentations followed but their hosts also arranged many sightseeing opportunities which Cec enjoyed.

One of the things Cec did in Tokyo was to buy Charlie a telescope and arrange to have it shipped to Ottawa. He bought a Japanese doll with 6 different wigs for Linda’s international doll collection, and pearl earrings for Cyn.

In mid-September Cec moved on to India for a month, to fulfill his commitments there. He visited Mumbai, New Delhi, and Varanasi, visiting former N.R.C. Fellows and meeting other scientists. At home, post cards arrived!