As Cyn was making Linda’s garments for her high school graduation, Linda was preparing for it by visiting her aunt and uncle in Brantford to solidify plans for her cousin Bruce to be her escort for the occasion. These two notes from Merle Moor (Auntie Merle) refer to the arrangements for Linda to visit over the weekend, but the exciting thing in Merle’s life was the Education degree she was pursuing in her sabbatical year at Wayne State University just over the U.S. border in Detroit. It would have been a 3-4 hour drive from Brantford, and my brother Charlie remembers that she bought a little Mustang- red perhaps?- to handle the weekend trips home. She was delighted with it and everyone else was charmed by Merle driving a sports car! As a teacher in her 50s, it was a sensible financial move- a Master’s degree would increase her salary and prospects of advancement, and her pension upon retirement would be based on the salary of her five best years.
Dear Costains — Thought you might like to have a look at the bldg where I am spending some time. Lectures last 2 1/2 hrs – usually a bare 10 min. break in the middle. Fussy [their cat] seems to be somewhat better, but apparently her heart is not beating properly- just fluttering so she may not live much longer. 16 1/2 yrs is a ripe old age. I think somehow we figured that she would stay with us! Just drop us a note Linda re time of arrival – Oct. 24 – I hope. We are looking forward to seeing you. Love, Merle.
62 Lorne Cres. Brantford Oct. 20, 1969.
756-5433 (us) 759-3425 (Lorne)
Dear Linda, Just a short note to say how pleased I was to hear from you & to get the pictures. (If the Halls want some, I’ll get the negatives from your mother.) So glad university isn’t quite as bad as you feared & that you are enjoying it for the most part. Those TV lectures must be unbelievable, especially in subjects such as Math. [In my letter I must have alluded to my friends’ experiences at other universities, because we had in-person lectures, seminars or tutorials, plus I never had to take Math!] Everyone here in top shape at present. We are hoping to see you this weekend so won’t try to give you any news. Since we don’t know when – or if for sure – you’re coming, we’ll meet Friday evening trains. If you arrive & find no one there, phone one of the above numbers for immediate service! Looking forward to seeing you soon. Love Merle P.S. Bruce will be home this coming weekend of course. He is finding work fairly heavy this year.
Having a cottage for a whole month seemed to inspire the Costains to invite everyone to visit! It also meant Cec had to go in to the Lab. some days in Ottawa, which meant he was available to transport the children’s friends up for short stays. They had lent their house to Sam and Sally Butcher for August, but presumably Cec slept there the week nights he was working. The Costain grandparents were also visiting from B.C., with Cec’s sister Merle and Dix Moor so they all came, and John Moor, the oldest son, came east with his family: Sharon, Steven and the new baby Jeff, and dropped in before going to Brantford. Having survived this onslaught, Cyn sat down to write to her mother towards the end of their month.
P.S.New Address.No More Box No. 49 Cedar Rd.Ottawa 9.
Christie Lake Thurs. 29th Aug.
Dearest Mummy, Cec came back from Ottawa last week with a whole bundle of mail which was very exciting! Thank you so much for all your letters – they were from the 15th July up to 15th August – the last one telling that you had got the shoes. I am so glad that the latter were at least a partial success & hope that you will get a lot of wear from the two sandal- type. Maybe you can find someone who could wear the black ones a bit as they stretch quite quickly & then you might be able to use them. Lindy & I greatly enjoyed the letters about Alan’s wedding, particularly some of Monie’s dry, amusing comments. 1111 Great excitement! Saki arrived with a chipmunk she had caught! Lindy rushed out & grabbed her & the chipmunk scooted away under the porch! Remember Charlie & the “damned chipmunk” that bit him at Lake Bernard? 1111 When I got your letters I meant to sit down & answer them straight away, but life is so busy here, I can see it will have to wait till I get back home & get everyone out of the house! When Cec went to Ottawa last week on Wed. a.m. he took back Maureen & Allan Vallee, Linda and Charlie’s friends who had been with us since Sunday (when the Moors & Granny & Grandpa Costain left.) Then Cec came back out Thurs. afternoon with Chris Baird, Charlie’s friend & he stayed till this Monday. In between each lot I have to wash bedclothes etc. as I had to leave some in town for the Butcher’s too, but thank heaven there is a nice washing machine here. Also a freezer in the basement, which is a big help as shopping is quite a distance of course. There is a Lodge & Marina on the lake which sells bread & milk & then a small store about 5 miles away. For big grocery shopping & meat I go to Perth which is about 12 miles away so it takes quite a while. When Cec came back from Ottawa he told me he had invited the Douglases out at the weekend & the Haynes (Linda’s friend Janet & her Mother & Father) & they were both coming on Sunday, so I prepared for quite a crowd, but Little Did I Know! I got 3 chickens to roast & thought of cooking them & having them cold, but decided I could have them all ready & just shove them in the oven & we’d have them hot. I made a Quiche Lorraine (cheese & ham pie) for lunch & baked two pie shells to make peach flan, so I thought I was well prepared. On the Sunday morning I was up at 9 a.m. (early for the cottage) & called Cec & the children & we had breakfast – at least Cec didn’t appear, but the rest of us did. Then we cleared away & about 10 I was just going to wash up (kitchen window looks onto the little driveway) went up drives a little red car – horrors! “Lindy, they’re here” I yell, thinking it is the Haynes – she rushes to get dressed & I dash out to find it isn’t the Haynes, but Cec’s technician Geoff & his wife Beati & their little boy! I didn’t even recognize them at first & Cec had completely forgotten to tell me they were coming! I didn’t tell them of course & went & woke Cec & it turned out that they were on their way to Cleveland to spend the holiday with Beati’s parents & Cec had invited them to stop for a swim & lunch. However, they had decided to come earlier, but while they were swimming I washed up, made coffee & tomato sandwiches, made custard & put in the bottom of the flans, then put peach halfs (fresh) on top & covered with Jello. They had lunch then & were just getting up to go when another car drove into the driveway & more people poured out and this was Lorne & Liz & Debbie & Cindy! Merle had said they might come for a night after visiting Liz’s family in Ottawa, but we had given them up by then so this was another big surprise! Well, they came in & the Geoffs said goodbye & left, & we had one spare room for Liz & Lorne, & Cindy & Debbie went in the extra bed in Linda’s room! After that the Haynes arrived, & we had Quiche Lorraine & all the things I could find for sandwiches & potato salad & soup & cookies for lunch. Then the Douglasses plus Andy came with Professor Pleva from Czechoslovakia, so for dinner we had 16! However the 3 chickens were fine & I had corn on the cob, & a big salad & rolls & the 2 peach pies. We had potato chips & a dip & Linda made some snacks beforehand with drinks, so everything went very well & everyone seemed very happy. It was a lovely day & everyone went down to the dock in the afternoon & the young people swam & the family at the other cottage has a big boat & water skis, so they had fun with them. Charlie can do quite well on the water skis now, but Lindy hasn’t tried. Lorne & his family left after lunch on Monday – they are such a nice family, the little girls are so sweet & very good & Liz & Lorne are so nice with them. Cindy is 2 & is just a pet – friendly & sitting on everyone’s knee & making friends. Cec left with Chris for Ottawa at the same time, so Lindy & Charlie & I were suddenly very quiet. Cec came back the next evening & we leave on Sat. so our time is short. It has been cooler the last few days but lovely & sunny. Poor Cec has had such bad luck this month, he had a bad sinus infection at the beginning & still has a bit, then just after the Moors left he got a violent tummy flu (presumably from John’s little boy Steven) which is still hanging on, so he has not been able to really enjoy himself. It is such a pity. The last few evenings we have been teaching L & C to play bridge – nice to have a family four! Must must stop and get lunch. Love to A. Muriel & lots to you from us all Cyn. P.T.O. Will write soon about L’s birthday & your cheque etc. when I get home. Hard to decide until we go to the stores. Love C.
The letter continues with the events of July 10-24 …
Mom and Dad went up to Lea and Wendell’s cottage on the Sunday evening (10th) and on the Mon. I baked the anniversary cake. I made it in my 3 square Christmas tins and used a very nice birthday cake recipe I had. I made the big one at the bottom white and the two smaller ones pink just for fun. On the Tues. I iced them all with a gold coloured icing and put the smaller cakes on foil covered cardboard squares, and made dozens of different sized gold coloured sugar bells, and then finally on the Wed. I put it all together and decorated it and stuck on the bells and then put the whole thing in a big plastic bag and put it in the freezer! In the meanwhile, on the Tues. evening I was in bed and just asleep when the phone rang and here it was Carman – they were at Renfrew about 50 miles away and would arrive in about 1 1/2 hours. What a to do! Of course they had a big tent and the idea was that they would sleep in it, but it was about 12:30 then and the thought of trying to put up a tent and put tired children in it at that hour of the night was a bit much, so I rushed upstairs, and woke Lindy and Charlie. We took Linda’s things into Charlie’s room and made up the sofa for her, then in her room we had two single beds, the sofa and an extra mattress on the floor for the 4 children. Then the family room with the new sofa bed was all ready there as Mom and Dad had left the day before, so I decided that Leona and Carman could just crawl in there. They finally arrived about 2:30 with all the children asleep on a mattress in the back of the station wagon and they were very good, all woke up smiling and we tucked them up in bed and they were very lively for a while. David is 8, Leslie the little girl is 6, Robin is 4 – 5 soon, and the youngest Phillip is 3. They are quite nice little children, but maybe it was because they were all together in one room, but there seemed to be an awful lot of argument and tears and telling tales! Perhaps I’ve just forgotten what little children are like. I certainly had forgotten how early they wake up, and every morning I was awakened at 7 or earlier with bangs, thumps and bumps from above while their parents slept happily through it! Leona is very calm and good tempered with them – perhaps too much so, Carman is the disciplinarian but somehow they didn’t strike me as too happy a family. Carman is very self-centred you know and not at all easy-going and nice mannered as Cec and he is quite horrid to both Leona and the children at times we think. As for being a help while a lot of people were around, he needed a full-time slave of his own all the time – I got used to finding his shoes, sandals, dirty glasses, coffee cups etc. each morning when I went into the sitting room (he never went to bed before 3) but the day I found his dirty socks in the middle of my living room carpet as well, I nearly said what I thought! However! Mom and Dad were coming back from Lea’s on Thursday afternoon, and Linda and I were to stay home that evening and babysit while the rest of them went to the first Football Game of the season. In the afternoon Leona and I went down to Shoppers City for me to do my grocery shopping for the weekend. You can imagine – I filled cart after cart and ended up with a bill for over 100 dollars! We arrived home with all this – a roasting hot day – to be met with the news that while we were out Russell had called and they would be arriving in about 1 hour! We dashed and got all the food put away – quite a job – and then there they were. Now in this family there is Russell and Errol, and then Terry who is about 3 months younger than Linda (14) – he is a very nice boy – in fact the whole family is really nice, and Terry and Charlie (13) got on like a house on fire and were buddies straight away. Then there is Brian, Brent and Bobby- the latter about 9 and the others in between, and then a little girl Barbara, who is 7 or 8. The little girl is cute, with front teeth missing, and very sweet and affectionate, whereas Leslie is the most self-centred young lady you would ever meet! They all piled in, tired and hot, and they would have been here sooner but Errol got sunstroke in Winnipeg where they stayed a few days with one of her sisters, and had to go to hospital, and was still headachy, and not feeling too good. Just after they arrived, here drove up Wendell with Mom and Dad, so there we were, 19 for dinner! Wendell wouldn’t stay but set off to drive back to the cottage to get Lea, saying he would be back about 8, and the idea was that the Russells would go over and sleep at the Atchison’s 5th Avenue house – they have no rooms let now. I had been going to have chicken for dinner but I couldn’t manage that but fortunately I had bought dozens of frozen meat patties, so I cooked them and had corn and French bread and salad then ice cream cones and grapes, and I think everyone had enough to eat. At least everyone got one helping always as I was last in line over the weekend and I always found something to eat! We hardly got everyone fed when they had to begin going to the Football Game as they already had the tickets, and fortunately, Charlie (who is now a regular paper boy down at the NRC like he used to do for Johnny) was given a ticket by one of the papers, so they were able to take Terry with them. Errol and I cleared up and she is a marvel that girl. I liked her very much and talk about a help – all weekend if there was a job to be done – Errol did it. She didn’t wait for me to begin or to ask, she was just right there working and was the most efficient and practical helper. Leona would help but she would dash off to do something for the children in the middle, or sit talking and forget there were dishes to be done, but Errol would have them finished before anyone noticed if she could. Frankly, Leona is a nitwit, Cec and I decided, but Errol is very nice and we liked Russell too – he is much more like Cec than Carman is and he and Cec got on very well together. He would give Cec a hand with things too, whereas Carman would sit under the tree and read while Cec cut the grass around him, sort of thing. Anyway, that first evening we sat and waited for the Atchisons to come, and Linda and I put the little Carmans to bed and as time went on we decided that the Russells might as well sleep that night in Carman’s tent which he had put up under the old apple tree – where the children used to sling the hammock. Errol was keen to get her children in bed as they were all tired, so eventually they unpacked and put the children to bed in the tent, and still no Atchisons.
Finally the others came back from the Game, and poor Errol was just about dead on her feet so off she went to bed, and of course then, at about twenty to 12 Lea and family appeared! Well, we finally got to bed about 2 or 2:30 and awake at 7 of course – the little dears! With Mom and Dad back in their own room we put Carman and Leona on the porch to sleep – and of course they heard their children even less! We had 19 sleeping that night and breakfast was from 7:30 till noon! Leona annoyed me madly by rushing to make everyone bacon and eggs as they appeared whereas I reckoned that anyone wanting breakfast after 10:30 could have coffee from the perc. and make themselves some toast and marmalade. I might say that I was having a baking morning and had cleared everyone outside as it was a lovely morning and I made pies and cookies and a cake and could really have done without the bacon and egg activities! The Russell family were to go over to Lea’s that afternoon and take their luggage to stay, but I said for them to come back to dinner as I was sure that Lea wouldn’t have a meal ready – anyway she is still hobbling around with her back, so I had said why didn’t they all come but Lea said Oh, no, they wouldn’t, but I suggested that they come for coffee and dessert later, and she said they would do that. I had a big 7lb. roast of beef, so we were going to have that with roast potatoes and green beans, then sponge cake with raspberries and ice cream for dessert. I decided that the children could eat on the porch and as my table will hold just 8 adults, which we would be, I set the table in the dining room nicely, and was all organized when at 5 o’clock Lea phoned could they come to dinner after all as they had nothing ready and Errol had persuaded her I wouldn’t mind. Grrrr! This was 4 extra, and believe me, there was no roast beef left for sandwiches next day! Merle, Dix and Bruce were arriving that evening, but we didn’t know when – so Errol said they wouldn’t wait so that she could get the children to bed in good time, and they and the Atchisons left about 9. I had got ready Charlie’s room for Merle and Dix, and Linda and Charlie and Bruce were to sleep out in the tent – they had air mattresses and sleeping bags and it was a lovely big tent. Lindy and I had a good laugh – before they all came, I told Linda that they were probably all too old to sleep together like in the good all days, and she would have to sleep somewhere else, but when it came to the point there just didn’t seem to be any other place, and none of them seemed to think a thing about it, so in they all went together and had some very good bedtime chats! The Moors finally didn’t come till after midnight as Dix had to work that day, so we had another late night. 15 sleeping that night!
The next day was the Golden Wedding! Everyone was supposed to be here at 5 o’clock, so that we could take pictures while it was still nice and sunny, so I suggested that the families all go swimming in the afternoon, so that I would be left a clear field, and that is what they did. They all went to Lea’s and the youngsters went to a nearby beach on the Rideau River with some of the adults, and Merle had a chat with Lea, and Mom and Dad stayed here and had a rest and Cec and I got things ready. I set a buffet table on the dining room table with the Wedding Cake as a centerpiece, and gold candles and it really looked lovely. I had bought a huge 24 lb. turkey at Shoppers City and for an extra 15¢ a lb. they roasted it for me and had it all cooked and piping hot at 5:30. This was a great blessing as it saved having the oven on all that hot day and saved me such a lot of trouble. Besides that I had a big ready cooked ham, and I made a tomato aspic salad, a potato salad, a macaroni salad, a green salad, and a mixed bean salad which I had got Leona to make for me the previous day. Then I had hot rolls carrot sticks, celery and radishes etc. and then the cake with ice cream for dessert. Everyone was back in good time, and I was all ready and beautifully organized, and we all got dressed – Lindy in her blue linen which I had made and which looks very nice, and me in my new shaded blue dress for the first time. Leona had a white linen sheath, and then when the Russells and Atchisons came, Errol had had her hair done and had curled Barbara’s and they had on Mother and Daughter dresses of a very pretty pink and white lace which Errol had made them for her sister’s wedding. They looked so pretty and the dresses were lovely. Bruce and I rushed and got the turkey and put it in the oven while we took pictures outside, and then we went in and Russell and his family gave Mom and Dad a big bunch of carnations and the Atchisons a bottle of ‘Golden Wedding’ Canadian whisky, and Merle and Dix gave them a card with the present of the trip to Prince Edward Island. Cec and I had been shopping at Birks and we got Mom a lovely little gold brooch of a spray of tiny maple leaves made of 3 kinds of gold – yellow, white and red, and for Dad a tiny little tie pin of one small gold maple leaf with a wee diamond dewdrop on it. They seemed very pleased and we thought they would be nice mementoes for them. We then had dinner, with Russ carving the turkey, and Dix the ham, and there was plenty for everyone – we sat some in the dining room and some out under the tree and it was just lovely – the weather couldn’t have been more perfect – not even any mosquitoes! Afterwards Mom and Dad cut the cake, and then Cec produced champagne (we found we could rent glasses from the wine shop for 25¢) and we all drank their healths, the children in coke, and ate cake and ice cream. It really went beautifully, without a hitch, and everything was so pleasant and went so smoothly that I really felt much less tired than the 2 previous evenings. The next day, Sunday, we invited everyone to come for a Wiener Roast to christen Cec’s new barbecue, so the Russells came after lunch – at least poor things, I don’t think that they got lunch at Lea’s and I rather doubt if they got any breakfast either from what I’ve heard, but anyway they brought Darryl and Patty Lu with them, and they all had a good time, playing badminton and baseball etc. We had planned supper for 6 and of course Lea and Wendell didn’t appear until 7 or after but we didn’t wait for them. We had hot dogs and salads and Potato Chips and afterwards watermelon and the 2 pecan pies I had made. Cec was very pleased because his fire worked beautifully and the hot dogs were lovely. We sat around and chatted and then bade farewell to Russell and his family as next day they went with the Atchisons up to the cottage for 1 day and then on the Tues. Merle and Dix left with Mom and Dad to drive down to Brantford and Russ and family were driving down the same day and spending a day or so with them then heading home again as Russ only had 2 weeks. He has another week’s holiday but he is a great hunter you know and some friend of his had arranged a week’s hunting in the Fall with a plane, so he was keeping time for that. He left us some moose sausage in the freezer, but we haven’t tried it yet! This left us with just the Carman family, and it was a bit of a mistake, as we were all so tired after the weekend, that I would really have been much happier if they had all gone! However, they did go to Lea’s for 2 nights and then came back on Sat. evening and took Cec and me out to dinner and to another football game. I had actually never seen a football game in Canada, so it was quite fun as it was a lovely evening but although Ottawa won it wasn’t a very good game. I enjoyed the dinner which we had at an Italian Restaurant, and we had yummy pizzas. The Carmans left the next morning and really we all collapsed in a heap! Quite a visitation.
Our next excitement was our own Anniversary, on the Tues. and Cec and I went out to dinner at a German Restaurant and had a very nice dinner and then went on to a movie “Walk Don’t Run” with Cary Grant, which was quite amusing. I forgot to tell you that before the crowd came, we all packed into the car – Mom and Dad and us 4, and went to the Drive-In to see it “Born Free” the film about Elsa. It was really marvellous and we all enjoyed it so much – if you ever get the chance, you should see it.
After all my own excitement, I had to gird my loins and get down to work again, as there was a wedding in our Church on the Sat. afternoon, and the WA were catering to the reception, and I was in charge. It was a young man who lives here in Rothwell Heights and comes to our church, although his parents go to the United, and his bride comes from a small town not far from Ottawa, but apparently her parents didn’t approve of the wedding as they didn’t even come to it, and the young couple paid for everything themselves. We felt so sorry for them as they are very nice -not young and silly and dashing off to get married in haste, but had gone together since High School and she is a teacher and he has just got his BA and is specializing for a year and then going to teach Gym etc. Anyway, it ended in being a very pretty wedding, and we served them a nice cold buffet and it all went very well. The only bridesmaid was a disappointment though – her dress was rather an ugly shade of dark gold – more like a Fall wedding. All this time Linda and Charlie were toiling away at typing – we did let them have 2 days off while all the family were here, but otherwise they went every morning and seem to have done very well. They are not madly fast yet but seem quite accurate – more than me! – they finished on 4th of this month and apart from having a Czech. Dr Poldus from work to dinner one evening, and Mr. Graham and the wife of a new Fellow of Cec’s who hasn’t come yet another evening, life has been placid and I have been slowly getting the washing and ironing done and tidying and cleaning gradually. Linda and Charlie’s rooms were just shambles after the little Costains left – no other words describe it. They had every toy in every cupboard all over the place, although we told them certain things weren’t to be touched, and some of Charlie’s things will never be the same again! Lindy thinks we were very silly to have the whole house so clean and beautiful before they came, but at least I can remember that I had it looking nice once this summer! I forgot to tell you a very important piece of Costain news! Charlie has just reminded me that on our wedding anniversary I was standing next to him and suddenly said “You are taller than me!” We immediately dashed and measured, and sure enough he is about half an inch or more taller, so here I am the smallest member of the family! Linda is about half a head taller than I am now and whereas last year she was about the same height as Janet and Joanne was much taller, I now notice that she is as tall as Joanne and that Janet is left behind. Now to get back to some of your letters. You were talking about the Test Matches in one of them and asking if we were interested, but really we never even hear of them hardly. Last week I heard a BBC news broadcast and they said that the WI were beating England hollow and since then Cec has been talking to a Fellow at the Lab. who is going down to the University in Jamaica or Trinidad – I forget which – to teach for a year, and he has been getting the local papers and is very interested and told Cec how well the WI team are doing. This man, Barry Morrow got his PhD in Cambridge and has a nice English wife, and they have just got a little baby. I expect everyone is now very interested in the Empire Games, about which we do hear something, but mainly how Canada is doing so it is very hard to get a good overall picture. Cec probably knows more as he hears the late night sports review on TV but I don’t watch. We have just been watching the TV news now at 7 o’clock, as a big new bridge being built over the Rideau River partially collapsed this afternoon, killing about 6 men and more than 50 more seriously injured. It seems fantastic that in this day and age such things could happen but earlier this year a new building under construction did the same thing, although fortunately not so serious. You feel that something must be very wrong. You mentioned earlier that you had heard that Vivian Leigh and Sir John Geilgud were at Young’s Island, and we were interested because Cec met them when he was down in Washington at Easter. He stayed with a scientist friend and his wife and while he was with them they took him to the first night of Sir J.G. and V.L.’s new play, as the young brother of Cec’s friend was in the cast. At the moment, I can’t remember the man’s name or the name of the play, but it was going on to New York after Washington, and it must have been after the New York run that they came to St. V. After the play Cec was taken backstage to meet the cast and was introduced to V.L. and warned that she didn’t enjoy being told that she was remembered in ‘Gone with the Wind’. Cec said that she looked beautiful on the stage, but older and very tired near by – she hadn’t been well during the run, and they were quite anxious about her, because of course she had TB once and so I don’t suppose is very strong. [See post January to May 1966] You were answering my letter and in it talking about Harry Kroto and his wife up at the cottage, and getting him all confused with one or two others who were there! Harry is a very dark vivacious young man and he is from England and his wife is English too – he has a strange name because his parents were refugees from Germany before the war but he was born and brought up in England. They are leaving NRC at the end of this month after their 2 years and he is going down to the US for a year. We will have a farewell party for them when we come back from Brantford. You were asking about Linda and Charlie’s reports – they arrived about a month ago and were both good without being wildly outstanding, but that is fine with us! We hear that Darryl failed Grade 9 again, which means that he, at 16 is behind Charlie who is 13. He is certainly one mixed up boy, but you couldn’t find a nicer, more polite boy during the time he spent here with all the visitors. Lea is dreadful with him I think, but she always has been and this is the trouble we gather – he is resentful and uses school to get his own back. While we had our guests we were so pleased because our garden looked very nice. It has been so hot that everything has bloomed and finished in no time at all, but just then we had masses of delphiniums in flower and lots of yellow and gold and orange day lilies and it really looked lovely. Even our centennial rose was blooming madly, but we were disappointed because it turns out to be a multi-flora so the flowers are small, and although they bloom in clusters and make a nice show we prefer the bigger blossoms. It is a lovely orangey-red colour though, so we are glad it is doing well, and even Charlie’s poor little dug-up rose put forth one flower! Our little Saki is growing into a lovely little cat and is lots prettier now and just as playful and sweet. Linda throws her around like a little bag and the children play with her by the hour and she is so good tempered and will jump at your feet as you go by or pretend to pounce on you, but never a scratch or bite, and always little soft paws without a claw showing. We got some pictures yesterday of her when she was tiny and we all had to laugh as she was so funny and tiny and wispy with a little straggly tail! Now she is really pretty and so white and clean, but still a little cat – an appetite like a baby horse though. The hamster is as fat and cuddly as ever, and his appetite is pretty good too – a bathtub full of pablum twice a day – a doll’s bathtub that is! Also sunflower seeds and peanuts and some lettuce or celery or apple. Ruth Lockwood is going to look after them for us when we are away. My sewing came to a halt when our visitors came, but as I told you I did finish the pale blue linen for Lindy and she looks very pretty in it as it is just the colour of her eyes. She thinks it is too plain, but I think it is very nice. She finished her yellow shift too and then I made the material you sent me for my birthday with the big navy blue flowers on it into a very nice dress for me with a front opening, which is a nice change from struggling with a back zipper. And I like the pattern and think that I will make another like it but I find the material very crumply – you know, you wear it once and then it has to be ironed again, even if I have starched it. You say that you don’t think I like the materials which you sent me much, actually I do like them, except for the fact that they both have the kind of mauvy-pink colour which I don’t care for too much. I was going to make the pique into a sundress, but I have no time now, and think I’ll keep it till next year. I have worn the dress you brought me from New York last year all summer long. I don’t know what made you think I didn’t like it – I do, but if you remember last year we didn’t have much weather for sundresses, whereas this year I have worn hardly anything else. The one you gave me is lovely as it doesn’t show the dirt much, and when I do wash it it opens out and is so easy to iron! Thank you so much for the cheque for $18. I told Linda that you had sent her $10 and she is very thrilled. She has been so good this summer, with only 3 dresses really, as nothing from last year would fit her, so her pale blue dress, the yellow dress, a grey and white dress we bought and a couple of summer skirts is all she has had apart from a pair of jeans and a couple of pairs of shorts! Anyway, with her birthday coming and going away too, I thought she could do with something else, and we went shopping and got her a very pretty two-piece. The skirt is a nice soft sage green and the top, which comes over the skirt at the waist is a cream colour with a little half belt in front of the green. It has a plain round neck and is sleeveless and she looks very nice in it. It is made of a laminated jersey – like the mauve coat, you know, but a finer thinner material, so should look nice, both for best and then when she begins school next month. I suggested to Linda that she use your money to get two nice blouses and she is very pleased with the idea. The linen one you saw sounds lovely, but perhaps it is just as well that you didn’t get it as she is so tall and long waisted that we have to be careful that blouses which are slim enough for her are also long enough. The ones she wears for school are the shirt type with good tails that tuck in well, and she thought she would get one with a green print (which she has already seen and had her eye on) and a nice white one. She can wear them with the green skirt. [Note: in 1966, girls were not allowed to wear trousers to school. We didn’t wear uniform, but there were rules!] And I will send you some green string and fertilizer for your violets when I get home from the cheque too, and you didn’t say if you wanted batteries now or not. Let me know.
I must stop, as I have been typing all day off and on, and my fingers are sore! At the moment I can’t think of another thing to tell you but probably I will sooner no sooner seal the letter that I will think of all sorts of interesting things. Anyway, much love from us all and say hello to Doris and Luenda and Mr. Cox and Dowers from us. One evening when everyone was here we had a film show and Merle asked to see our West Indian pictures, and it took us back quite a while! [Since the trip had been a decade earlier!] Love to Auntie Muriel and Peggy and much love to you from Cyn.
Dearest Mummy, Happy New Year! I am ashamed to say that this is the first time that I have written 1962! I am also so sorry to have been such a long time in writing to you – both to thank you for our lovely parcel and to tell you about our Christmas, but somehow each time one thing was over, something else turned up and I seem to have been on the go all the time. I haven’t even been to the Library for about a month, so you can see that I really didn’t have spare time – when I relaxed I slept! However, despite all the busy time, it was great fun, the only thing being that the time went so quickly! We didn’t have time to really savour it all, and before we turned around Christmas was over, the Moors had left and the children were back at school again. They went back on the 3rd Jan. so they didn’t have very long, especially as they didn’t finish school until the Friday before Christmas. They were both quite irritable and tired out the last week or so, and then on the last day of school Linda woke up and said she didn’t feel like going to school. I said “Oh, don’t you want to go today, you’ll have such fun” and she said “I want to go, but I don’t feel like it” and sure enough before very long she was sick, and had one or two goes during the day. She didn’t have a temperature, and by the next day (Saturday) she was up on the sofa and feeling not too bad and able to be up and around by the time the Moors arrived in the evening. Sunday she was O.K. except for not much appetite but in the evening Charlie began to feel ‘off’ and although he never was actually sick, he felt queasy all Christmas Day and neither of them had much appreciation of the Christmas Fare! Charlie was remembering last year when he had a Christmas dinner of broth and crackers – he doesn’t have much luck with the turkey does he? It seem to be a type of 24 hour flu, but it passed quickly and by the time they went back to school they were both feeling fine and so full of fun, and this past weekend they had a wonderful time playing in the snow and tobogganing, and then yesterday Charlie felt sicky again, and here he is back in bed today and throwing up! I hope that it is the same thing and will soon be over, and that Linda doesn’t get it, because it does leave them washed out and the winter is just beginning! And now to thank you for your lovely parcel! It certainly lived up to the reputation Charlie told you of last Christmas, and we all enjoyed it so much. Both Linda and Charlie were delighted with the birthday gifts, and Charlie is very intrigued with his game and Linda likes “Pilgrim’s Progress” very much. I must read this version because I remember disliking the whole book immensely as a child! Linda was just delighted with her twin babies! I had warned her that we weren’t giving her a doll this year, as she plays with them so seldom now, and she was quite sad at the thought, then here arrived the little babies from you and a pretty little English doll from Gunborg, and I think she was more thrilled and excited over getting them that if we had given her the biggest and most expensive creation going! She had a great bath day one day and tried on all the new dresses from Auntie Muriel and thoroughly enjoyed herself. The silk is lovely and I am going to have a lovely time getting a nice pattern and making it for her. She has set her heart on a smocked dress – I think that she is a bit too old for smocking now, but apparently it is still the fashion amongst her school mates, and she is always talking about it. I have no notion of trying that myself, but had vaguely thought that if I got a pattern and material and sent it out to you, you could get someone to make it for me – kind Mrs. Young is not there to do the smocking for me this time but I am sure that you will know someone who will do it beautifully. I think that I will make the silk up myself in a plainer style, as it has such a pretty pattern and really needs no other ornament, and that I will get another material for the smocking with perhaps a small pattern or plain like the blue one with the white smocking that Mrs. Young did for me, and if I send it out to you fairly soon then perhaps you could get it done for Easter- it is late this year. The only reason I am rushing over it is that I feel if she doesn’t get it soon she will be too grown-up for it! The silk you sent now I feel won’t date or get too young for her at all, if I make it in a simple style, but the other is definitely not a teen age style! [Linda is 10 at this point.] The little braid clips for her hair are so cute too, and she has them on. I got her to admit one day that it may be nice to have shorter hair in the summer, but I don’t know if I will really be able to get her to have it cut! I got her a black velvet hairband with pearls across the top, no less, and so she had a wonderful time doing the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with flowing locks all the Christmas holidays! Charlie enjoyed all his presents too. He and Bruce had great fun with the racing car and were zooming it around all day, and he was very taken with his arrow pencils and got them all ready to take to school the first day. Mummy was very pleased to see that T-shirt and come summer it will be so nice for him to have a new one to wear. I had decided to get the children some new clothes for Christmas as they had not add anything new in the ‘best’ line for some time, and then I thought I would give them at Charlie’s birthday so that if they needed any alterations or anything I could get it done in time for Christmas. For Charlie I got a tweed sports jacket! He needed something for going to Church and dress up, as the little blue blazer he inherited from Bruce is too small now, and it was between a suit, another navy blue blazer or a sports jacket, and we thought the latter was the most sensible. He looks nice in the navy blue but with Nicki in the house [white cat hairs] it seemed a difficult choice and I didn’t feel like investing in a whole suit now that he is growing so fast, so it had to be the jacket, and I got a very nice one in a blue-y gray tweed and he looks very smart. A bit swamped as it is rather big for him at the moment, but I hope it will do him for a good long time. Linda wanted a velvet dress for Sunday, and I looked at quite a few, but such odd colours – purple or a dull sage green or old gold, and of course red, but the last one she had from Leslie Forsythe was red so I wanted a change. In the end I got a pinafore type in a lovely sapphire blue with white lace around the waist, and I got a very pretty white nylon blouse with a collar edged with a frill and long bishops sleeves also edged with a frill at the wrist, and she looks very elegant and is delighted with herself. Her Auntie Merle and her big boy cousins told her that she was a picture on Christmas Day, so she had an extra Christmas present!
I got her a new snow jacket to wear to school earlier, with the leggings she had last winter. It is a bright turquoise blue with a lambswool edging around the hood, but she had nothing to wear on Sunday except the blue Spring coat, which is not really at all warm. I hate to pay a lot of money for a Sunday coat which she doesn’t wear out, so I thought that I might be able to make her a coat out of the one you wore last winter. The colour is quite suitable for a child and it wasn’t too worn, so I got a pattern and of course didn’t get any further with it. However, Granny Costain came to my rescue, and ripped it up and then I took it to the Coin wash and it washed very well, and now she has cut it out and is making it for me. I have got a windproof material for the lining, and I am trying to get some gray velvet to make a little stitched velvet collar, and I think that it will look very pretty. Grandpa Costain is into a project too – he and Cec have begun to make the headboard for our bed! Do you remember us talking about it? It is a regular piece of furniture, with cupboards behind and doors which come out to form backrests, and bedside tables on either side. It will be lovely when it is done, and she says that he only hopes that there is room for us in the room to when we get it on the bed! I hope that in the spring we will re-decorate the bedroom and I will get new curtains and bedcover because the old ones are going in holes all over, so we will be very elegant! Anyway, you see that we are keeping our guests busy!
I seem to have digressed from the subject of Christmas presents, but while I thought of pieces of news I thought I might as well put them in. Cec wants to thank you so much for his presents too. He was very amused with his ‘Genius at work’ notice and hung it on the front of his shirt, and we will have to put it up in his study when he gets one. He likes his new tie and was very impressed with the new shell you sent him. He was showing it to everyone, and likes it so much – we really have quite a collection of “West Indiana’ now and it is so interesting to have and to show to people. We both like to the St. Vincent map Air Mail that you said to Cec and plan to put it either in our scrapbook or up with our other maps in ‘your’ room. Last but not least – thank you so much for all my lovely presents. When we opened your parcel and Cec kept handing out package after package for me the Moors were astonished and kept saying ‘How many more?” I love them all – the pink shirt blouse is so pretty and I think that I will have to get a nice new skirt to wear it with. I am quite out of spare skirts now, and I really need one to wear around the house, but which is nice enough to wear for coffee etc. too. I have already worn the pretty little white sweater with the skirt from my pinky suit, and had it much admired. It is very cute and is quite new here as yet, so you are ahead of the fashion for me. I was really delighted with both the blouse and sweater and you know how much I like to get things to wear. The little earrings are so pretty and you couldn’t have chosen better as I had written on my request list “gold and pearl necklace’ as they are all the fashion now – gold chains with pearls interspersed, and Linda gave me a very nice one, and here are your earrings to match perfectly. I wear a gold belt with my bright green wool dress, so they all go beautifully, and on Christmas day I was just like a Christmas tree! Merle had on a pretty red suit dress, so together we looked very seasonal! Last of all the fascinating wash-cloth sponge which Linda is longing for me to try! So far I have kept it for something special, but I can see that neither of us is going to hold out for long. It was a really lovely parcel, and we all enjoyed it so much. The burney sugar cake from May and Nora was a lovely surprise, and I will be writing to them in a little while. Tell Auntie Muriel too that I will be writing soon, but in the meanwhile that I am enjoying her talcum powder and that over New Year weekend we all had a great fun doing Charlie’s jigsaw puzzle! I did want to tell you though that I thought you did wonderfully with all the presents – they were all cute and unusual nice little things for everyone which we all had fun with. I also want to thank you for your cards and all your nice letters. I am sorry that I won’t have time to answer them today, but I was so glad that you and Auntie Muriel had a nice Christmas dinner at Uncle Fred’s and that you had a happy day. I wanted to tell you that I got Mr. Olmsted’s bill the other day for your glasses, $9.25, including the cost of Airmail to you, so I took your cheque and made it out for $11.25, got the money and paid him and then bought the enclosed cord for your earphone. I couldn’t remember how much they were, but I did recall that last time I underestimated, so this time I got the extra $2.00 to be sure, and found out that it was $1.75! I had parked the car in the parking building and it was 25¢ so I told Mrs. Costain that you had treated us to our parking that day! It was a bitterly cold day too, last week, but we had quite successful shopping. The material shop where I got my pure Italian silk was having a sale of woolens, so we went and got Mrs. Costain a very pretty soft wool material to make a dressmaker type suit. It is a nice soft shade of dark turquoise and we got a pattern, and when she has finished Linda’s coat she will have to start on this. I had got Cec a warm blue shirt for Christmas and when he came to try it on the sleeves were much too short, so I took it back and got him another – red this time, so he not only is warm, but he looks warm too! I must stop now as I am getting to the end of the paper, and I don’t want to get onto another sheet as I am sending the cord. Charlie has written you a letter though and I have our list of presents to send so we will write again soon and I will tell you all are doing over the festive season! I feel I am just beginning to get back to normal now, as last week after the holidays I had a huge washing – 8 machines full at the Coinwash! Lots of love from us all and big hugs , Cyn.
Here we are, back in Ottawa again. It is just over a week since we returned and already we feel as if we had hardly been away and are all involved with home things once more. When we got back we found both your letter and your lovely parcel of Yummies waiting for us. Thank you so very much – we all enjoyed them so much – particularly me! The children and Cec liked the chocolate and I even let Cec have a little of the Burney Sugar Cake, but he isn’t crazy about it, so what is the point of squandering it on him? Believe me I had no trouble at all in eating it by myself and already it is all gone! I felt I had to eat it quickly and then I could get on with my dieting with no distractions! Yes, I am up to 134 lbs again after my holiday, so I must really begin the big effort once more and try to get down again. Of course, I have never lost what I gained when I was trying to fatten you up, so I have a long way to go. Tell me, how is your weight keeping? I hope that you are able to maintain it and haven’t lost any of your good Canadian fat! By the way, Cec and I both think that you are doing very well with your typing and hope that you will keep it up. Now that you are not having lessons you should try to type as many of your letters as you can and also practice once in a while, because it is very easy to forget and you will find that if you keep at it it will get easier and you will get quicker all the time. I know that at first it is very hard to think and type at the same time and you feel your letters tend to be stilted, but already I can see the improvement in yours and think they are quite natural now. Oh, I was going to tell you about the guavas. When we open the parcel we found that the jar of guavas was fine, but sticky, as if it were leaking, so I took it to the sink and washed it off. Then I noticed that it looked a tiny bit bubbly and the metal top was bulging a bit so I called Cec and asked him what he thought, and he took it and very gently eased the top a bit, and immediately the whole thing turned white with millions of little bubbles! He gradually unscrewed the top and it all began foaming over the top like champagne so I dashed and got a bowl and we put it in. Cec and I decided the only thing to do was to cook it again, so I put it in a pan and gently brought it to the boil and let it simmer till the effervescing stopped. I had to add a little water, so it actually it is now more like jam then stewed guavas, but it still tastes delicious and we are enjoying it very much. The guavas don’t seem as firm this time – I don’t know if this is the action of the fermenting or if they were not as firm to begin with. Anyway, don’t let this deter you from sending some more another time – we love guavas, bubbly or not!
The second week at the cottage just flew by of course, and we could hardly believe that there were the same number of days in each week. The Moors arrived about 10 on the Sat. morning – Merle, Dixon, Lorne and Bruce. John as I told you was away, and apparently he is looking after a Mission Church and Sunday School for the summer and gets all his expenses paid and a small salary for it. He is having the time of his life and thoroughly enjoying it, so Merle is very pleased. He has done all right at the University this year, so has one more year for his B.A. then he is going to McGill University in Montreal for his Theology, so we hope to see more of him then. He doesn’t get outstanding marks, but has managed to get by, and apparently the subjects he does really well in are things like Greek which he will need in his Theology, so it sounds as if he will do all right. I was really disappointed to hear from you about Alan not finishing his year at University. I am sure that Marguerite and Bill must have been very upset, and the thing that is so worrying is that having gone through practically the whole year he didn’t stick it out for the exams as now he will get no credit for that year’s work at all. I suppose they will try and get him into a University nearer home. Lorne, the second boy is now 18, and he was anxiously waiting the results of his exams but apparently there is not much cause to worry as he is the Costain type like Cec and Carman and does well. He is going to McMaster University in Hamilton, and although it isn’t too far away he will live in residence. He has a girlfriend that none of them care for very much, so Merle is hoping that they will both get new interests when he is away! He has a job as a Lifeguard at an Open air swimming pool this summer, so he is as brown as a berry, and as he is a fine figure of a young man and has nice curly hair he is quite a sight to behold! He is an awfully nice fellow too, and played with the children, and helped them with their swimming and is just as easy and natural as can be. He had to be back at his job on the Monday morning, and the whole family was going to leave on Sunday evening, but we found out that there was a bus going to Toronto from the main road nearby and he could catch a train from Toronto to Brantford, so he set off home by himself on the Sunday afternoon and the rest of the family stayed until Tuesday.
Merle was very tired, as she had been staying in Toronto attending this course and had had exams at the end of it and of course the weather had been hot and close, so she really was glad of the rest, and so was Dix as he had been housekeeping for the last few weeks! We all had a really nice time – two swims on Sat. which was a lovely day, and then Sun. turned out rainy, but we still swam twice and we adults chatted and the children played card games etc. Brucie was a real dab at what we used to call “Pelmanism” but he calls “Memory”, but L. and C. gradually caught on and didn’t do too badly – even absent-minded little old Charlie! Monday we swam and rowed and the boys fished with no luck, and then on Tuesday Cec set out at 8 o’clock, and drove over to Gravenhurst and brought back Uncle Milton and Aunt Lillie for the day. They arrived before lunch a while, and we showed them around, and then had a Buffet lunch. I had bought a ham, which we had had for dinner the evening before, so we had cold ham and salad and I made a hot dish of Spanish rice with tomatoes and onion and celery and mushrooms and bacon in it, and then afterwards we had watermelon, which Merle and Dixon brought, and fruit cake which I brought from home. We all had a swim in the afternoon, except Uncle Milton, but Auntie is very fond of the water and had a lovely swim. We had tea afterwards, and then the Moors got ready to leave and they took Auntie and Uncle back home on their way. We were sorry to see them all go and of course it seemed quite flat that evening, so I brought out a huge 800 piece jigsaw puzzle I had brought and we set to on that. We should really have had the Moors help with it, but we had to put it on the dinner table and while we had such a big family we really couldn’t do without that table. It was quite a struggle getting it done before we left on Sat. but Cec stuck with it and we got it done on Fri. evening. We didn’t even go back to Minden that week, we found a little store 4 miles away and got what we wanted there, so the children couldn’t even get P.C.s to send to you as we had planned. In fact we didn’t send any at all, as I had just assumed we would be back again. The weather was lovely and we had a lovely time the last few days and had such fun in the water. Linda liked being under the water more than on top and Charlie was getting very keen on jumping off the dock and beginning not to mind getting his head all wet. The last couple of days we began to play a sort of water polo with a ball in the water Linda and me against Cec and Charlie, and it was a riot – we all grabbed and got dunked and had a great time.
We left on Sat. about 12, and this time went home a more direct route through Peterborough, and a better road too. We had a picnic lunch and got to Peterborough afterwards, and called up Joyce and Les Hayward who live there. Do you remember them? They are old Sask. friends of Cec’s and have 3 girls – Linda, Carol and Lois. Joyce told us to come over but said Les was just a week home from hospital after an operation, and when we saw him we were shocked. He had lost 25 pounds and still looked a very ill man. He had had an operation for the removal of his large intestine (polyps growing in it) and then he had had a stone removed from his gallbladder, but this had gone all right until about 4 four days later his whole incision split open and he went into deep shock and nearly died. For two weeks they didn’t know if he would live and he was very low, but thank goodness he has got through it. We stayed and had a cup of tea and a chat really longer than we had planned, but we were so glad that we had called. We had dinner en route and drove through a most torrential thunderstorm and arrived home about 9 o’clock. Apparently the evening before Ottawa had had an even worse time – a baby hurricane they called it, so we missed the big one. Nicki appeared very soon after we put on the lights and we all had a nice reunion! Last week seemed to be spent mostly in coping with all the dirty clothes! I cleaned up on Monday, and then on Tuesday we took Cec to work so that we could have the car and went to the market and had fun there. We can got all the usual meat and fresh veg. and also peaches, blueberries and tomatoes, and then at the fishmongers I got fresh tuna! It was a curiosity of course, and I can’t say I would repeat it as it is very solid and rather tasteless, and we all agreed we preferred the canned! In the afternoon we took all our personal clothes over to the coin wash (4 machines full) and as there is a nice one at the McArthur Shopping Plaza now we went along and looked at the shops and I bought Linda a pretty little dark cotton dress for school. It is a slaty-grey colour with a little red paisley pattern on it and it has a red belt and a yolk with red piping and then pretty red smocking. It has a little white collar and 3/4 length sleeves, so it is very cute and she looks nice in it, but of course she had her eye on a much paler grey plaid with white lace trimming and mauve velvet bows, so she was quite disappointed! It was a very pretty dress, but more expensive and definitely a ‘Best’ dress – also a bit big for her – I wonder how long before I don’t manage to win these arguments! The next day I canned some of the peaches and blueberries, and made dill pickles for my two men! I still have strawberry jam left from last year, so I won’t make any jam, but I will try and do some more fruit I think. On Thurs. I went across to Emil’s and had my hair done as it was quite a wreck after all the swimming. I meant to tell you the last time I went to him before I went away, I just trotted over with a sweater and told the children I would be an hour and a half and left them playing with Jimmy. Just as I was ready to leave, all beautiful and curled, it began to pour with rain so Emil went to see if he could find me an umbrella and I was looking out at the downpour, when out of our house emerged two little figures in raincoats with umbrella and carrying my coat! They troddled over in the rain to my rescue – wasn’t it sweet of them? On Friday I went to the Coinwash again with all the bed clothes this time (5 machines full) and while they were washing wandered down along the shops again, and this time bought a dress for myself! Cec says this Coinwashing is really expensive! It was in that dress shop Reitman’s and you remember what bargains they have at the end of the season, and I thought I would see if I could find something in a dark cotton too, as people wear darker cottons in Sept. and there I found such a pretty black cotton dress in an 11. It was a nice fine cotton with a silky sheen (but not a glazed cotton) and it had a full skirt but the fullness was in flat inverted pleats, and the top had a kind of double breasted effect with a collar and two buttons. The buttons are white and on top of the black collar is a white linen collar which you can take off to wash, and it’s sleeveless. I didn’t know if an 11 would be too tight for me, but it fit very nicely except for the length, and it cost 5 dollars reduced from 14.98, so I got it! The Savics got back on the Tues. so on Fri. afternoon she asked me and L. & C. over to tea. They had been to England you know – Peter on business, and Margaret to see her sister and family who are in London, but poor things they really didn’t have a very good time as Eddie’s ulcer acted up all the time, and he was sick and in pain, and living on crackers and milk nearly all the time. He is so thin now & he used to be a plump boy. They went to Paris and he was so bad that they flew back to London the next day and really the whole trip was ruined for them as well as the constant worry about Eddie. They couldn’t get him to a specialist in London – it is really hard for visitors to get much medical attention at all now because it was so abused by foreigners previously, so they were all glad to be home. Peter and Margaret came over and had a drink with us on Sat. evening and then yesterday evening we drove over to see the Ganders and return the sleeping bags which they lent us, and get back the case we lent them! They had been to Edmonton to see Jim’s family and to Vancouver to see Lee’s and got back about the same time as we did. They have bought a lot up on a lake in the Gatineau and are having a cottage built this fall, so they are very excited about it. It is near McGregor Lake where we were that time.
Our big excitement this week is Lindy’s birthday of course. I was so tired of the usual party that I talked her into inviting 2 smaller groups of girls this time, and going out for a little expedition instead of games etc. so tomorrow the girls are coming at 10:30 and we are driving out about 15 miles to a place called Clarence past Orleans, where they have started a little Zoo, and then we will come back here for lunch and birthday cake. Then on Thursday we are taking a few more at the same time to the park at Hog’s Back for a picnic, and I only hope that it is fine! On Thursday there will be 4 little girls, but tomorrow I think only 2, as some are still on holiday, but I think this will be a good number to cope with. I thought I would just let them play by themselves at the picnic and perhaps have a Treasure hunt for various flowers and leaves etc. which I would list and give a prize to the winner, but otherwise no effort from Mamma! We had such a job getting Lindy a present this year – in the end after trailing through town all day on Sat. I found a thing Cec and I had thought of – it’s called ‘Pitch-it’ and is a bouncy net in a frame which you set up on the grass and it bounces the ball back when you throw at it.n I also got her ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ which she dearly loves, a doll’s dress and petticoat, and a new pair of shorts and a top to wear at the picnic. Charlie is giving her a little Dolly’s Toy Shop, and I have your parcel and one from Nan that looks like a book, so she will do very well. She got Auntie Muriel’s card and hankie and was very delighted and will write later. I gave her your card too and she got one from Charlie Stainthorpe, so she has an array already.
This is also the week of the Exhibition [a summer fair with rides, midway, and food, combined with the exhibition of prize animals, veg, etc] so we will be going one day, and on Friday we are having a sort of Farewell Party for Alex and Phyl who are going to McMaster University for a year. This is a new Council policy to have people go and take the place of Profs. who are going away on sabbatical leaves, and Alex is the first one and will take the place of a Prof. McClay. They have rented their house and will leave next week to get settled before the children begin school. We will miss them. Talking of the Council you will have heard of the Russian Scientist, Dr. Glotchko, who defected to Canada last week? Well, he and the rest of the Russian group were at the Council the day before and saw round, and had lunch there. Boris and Alex were at the lunch and Boris sat next to Dr. G. and said he was very nice and seemed perfectly normal, except that he was just dripping with perspiration all the time, and it wasn’t a hot day. Then the next morning he just walked out of the hotel early and went to R.C.M.P. headquarters. Don’t we live in the midst of the world news? I must stop now as Linda has Joanne here and it is lunchtime, so I must feed them, and then make a birthday cake this afternoon – not to forget all the ironing still left! My love to Auntie Muriel, and hello to Doris. Thank you again for the lovely parcel, With lots of love from us all, Cyn.
As this first letter in three years shows, the Costains’ address has changed. This was not because they had moved- they hadn’t, though it is possible they had bought their half of the duplex (if not, they were thinking of it)- but because the community had grown, become a bit more part of Ottawa, and was no longer on a Rural Route for mail, but had a street address with the post delivered directly to their door. The children’s area for playing had expanded over the 3 years, and now included the hollow down the hill behind the house, and the field beyond that- complete with an old log fence where chokecherry bushes grew, handy for playhouses and mouth-puckering sustenance in season. The letter was written just after they had come home after their visit to New York and to the Moors on their way home. Carol is still there, visiting her nieces and other family members for a month or two. Cyn has written her bread-and-butter letters to their hostesses, and can have fun telling her mother all the details of the rest of their holidays. She and her mother had seen the Niagara Falls on their American trip back in 1939, and she alludes to that fleetingly- 21 years makes a difference!
2043 Montreal Road, Ottawa, Ontario.
Monday, 29th. Aug.
Dearest Mummy, I wrote to Mill and Merle yesterday, so thought that I would have a little type today for a change, and I didn’t think that you would mind. Charlie had the typewriter out to write a poem as he has seen in their magazine ‘Jack and Jill’ that boys and girls send in poems etc. and have them printed, so he is fired with ambition! When it is done I will send you a copy.
Thank you so much for both your letters, and the letter to Lindy and the cards. The last just arrived a few minutes ago, and the children were very pleased with the pictures of the lake. We have been having sweltering weather since we came home – particularly the last day or so, and wouldn’t we have loved to just pop down to the dock for a swim! I only hope that we don’t suddenly get a deluge on Wednesday as that is the day we are having Lindy’s party, and I have decided to make it a Picnic Lunch in the garden. There are to be 8 little girls, and they will come at 12:45 and have hot dogs etc. straight away. If it is really nice I will set up the little grill and table out in the back and we will have it out there – if not I think that I will have it in ‘your room’. After eating we will play games outside – charades, sardines etc. – and then about 3:00 I will bring out the birthday cake and cool drinks and ice cream cones before they go home. They are to come in play-clothes not party dresses, so they will be able to play treasure-hunts etc. up in the field, so I hope that they have fun and that I don’t find it soo wearing. Last year we had a dreadful day – hot, humid and exhausting, and the children got tired of game after game, and really we were all fair wore out. Hope this year the time whizzes by! Charlie is to be my helper! We were so glad to hear in your letter that the Sat. after we left was a nice day for the wedding. We heard that there was a hurricane somewhere off the coast that caused the bad weather on the Friday morning, so we wondered if it would ever get finished by the next day. We got out of the bad weather after about an hour, although it continued raining for quite a while afterwards, but it wasn’t the tremendous downpour. It was dull and drizzly all day really, but very nice for driving as it was cool and we didn’t have to bother with sun in our eyes or anything. It was a long drive but quite nice and uneventful, all along the Thruway, and we stopped every hour or so for drinks and changed over drivers. We got into Buffalo between 5 and 6 and had a bit of trouble finding our way as the Thruway was marked as finished right to Niagara Falls on the map, but we discovered that it wasn’t. However, we eventually found a motel on the U.S. side without too much trouble and got settled before we went out to dinner. After dinner we went to the Falls and saw all around the U.S. side – they have roads and bridges to all the islands above the Falls now, and we took a ride in a funny little train thing which took us around. We were on one of the islands when the lights came on and it was really quite disappointing as the spray was blowing towards us and the lights seem to just disappear into the mist, so it wasn’t a bit like the pictures we’d seen. We realized afterwards that it would have been much better from the Canadian side, but it couldn’t be helped. Next morning of course we did cross over to the Canadian side, and saw the Falls from there, but we didn’t bother with the boat trip or going under the Falls or anything. We arrived in Brantford during the afternoon, after a lovely drive through the Niagara Peninsula – all orchards and vineyards and lovely roadside fruit markets, so of course Cec couldn’t resist this and we arrived at Merle’s laden with peaches, greengages, plums, and gladioliis! They have a lovely big house on a very pleasant, exclusive older residential street, with big old trees lining the road, and a beautiful green terraced garden behind, full of flowers, and behind that more trees and a sort of shrubbery. I had forgotten that their rented house in Brantford was furnished, so they had only had part of their furniture down, and as they had only been in their new house 2 weeks, they hadn’t got their other things from Port Arthur yet. Because of this we were a bit of a squash, but two of the boys slept in sleeping bags on air mattresses on the sleeping porch and we managed fine – particularly Cec and I, as Merle and Dix gave up their bed to us! The first evening we set off after dinner to an Indian pageant! The Six Nations Reservation is very close to Brantford, and Merle and Dixon have lots of Indian boys and girls in their classes, and it was in this Reservation that the pageant was, in what they called the Forest Theater. It was very interesting seeing all the Indians dressed up and some of the dances – it was representing some of the history of the Iroquois Indians – but we didn’t stay till the end – we were tired and the benches were hard, and then to crown it all one of the Indian Chiefs went to see George Washington, and they recited his speech, first in Iroquois and then in English for half an hour and it was still going on when we left! As we went out they had stalls of Indian handwork, so we looked at these, and I thought I would buy a feather for the 3 children – not a big headdress, but single feathers which they had for sale, and when I asked the price I nearly fell in a heap when they said 3 dollars each! Instead we found a few more modestly priced mementos! Next day – Sunday – Merle had planned that we would pack a picnic dinner and go to London which is about 60 or 70 miles away, where they have a lovely park with what are called ‘Storybook Gardens’ for the children. It was quite a long drive, particularly as we were all in one car – Dixon’s obviously! – but it was a lovely park, and we all enjoyed the Gardens. There were animals too, all very tame, and very nicely arranged and set out so it was a lot of fun. Afterwards we had our picnic in a lovely place just by the river, and then the children went for a sail in the Pirate Ship! Monday was Lindy’s birthday and she had a lovely day. Unfortunately Merle hadn’t been able to carry out our original plan, because for one thing ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’ finished at the end of July, and she had a very hard time getting any seats at all, it was so booked up. ‘King John’ wasn’t so popular, so there were seats for it but it wasn’t nice for the children, nor ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but eventually she managed to get us three seats for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ on the Tuesday and that was the best she could do. Fortunately the Film Festival was on at the same time and they said that they would go to that while we were at the theatre, and they said that they were sure we could take Charlie in and hold him on our knees, as when they had Bruce there last year, he couldn’t see and so sat on his dad’s knee all the time. Anyway, on Monday we just stayed at home and Lindy enjoyed her presents – the dress fit perfectly and she was in raptures over it so I was pleased! Merle and family gave her a dear little china family of deer, and a pretty cottonknit sweater, and she and Brucie spent most of the afternoon cutting out ‘Sleeping Beauty’ – Lindy in charge of the ladies, and Brucie in charge of the gentleman! I took Lindy down town in the morning and bought her a pair of new shoes, which blistered her heel before the day was through! Auntie Merle made her a lovely big chocolate birthday cake with favours in, so we had a wonderful dinner and enjoyed the cake enormously– both Linda and Charlie had two huge pieces (3 layers high) and I was amazed! After the children were in bed Merle and Dixon and Cec and I played bridge, and Cec and I had wonderful cards and could do nothing wrong – even bid and made little slams and piled up a colossal score – we felt it was so nice and hospitable of Merle and Dixon to provide us with such good luck!
On the Tuesday I washed and ironed and we had an early dinner and set out for Stratford about 6 as it is quite a long way away – 60 miles or so. We got there in nice time, and as Merle had said they made no difficulty about our taking Charlie in. Merle and Dixon and Bruce were with us and they went to see if there were any turned in seats, but there was a great lineup waiting for those even, so they went off to the Film Festival. Our seats weren’t together, so Lindy and I sat together for the first two acts, then we changed and Charlie and Cec had our seats and she sat on my knee on the other one. Lindy had on her new dress and felt very elegant, and really looked sweet – it is just her style. The play of course was fascinating – I just loved it all and seeing the theatre and stage after hearing and reading so much about it. However, I wondered how much the children would understand, and if they would like it, but I needn’t have worried – they loved every minute of it and have been acting Puck and Titania ever since! It was beautifully staged and the costumes were lovely, so even if they hadn’t understood it all it would have been fun to watch, but they really seemed to love it and Linda has had the book of Shakespeare’s plays out since she got home, reading bits of it over.
We didn’t get home till after 1:00, so we didn’t get such an early start next morning as we had hoped, but we were off by 10:30 and had quite a good day’s drive, although it was very sunny, which made it a bit more trying. We got home about 9 o’clock, and were so glad to see our home again even though we had a lovely holiday. As I told Mill the place is completely dried up, and you never saw such a dreary miserable garden – all the flowers withered, and the grass quite brown and crunchy. The only nice part is the back with the patience all in bloom, and down the hill we do have some tomatoes. The house seemed full of spiders, so I have been spraying around and don’t meet so many livestock now. Not long after we arrived home we were out calling and looking for Nicki, but didn’t see a sign, and then in a little while we heard a little meow, and there she was, so pretty and clean and so happy to see us – full of purrs and rolling over to have her tummy scratched! We were delighted to find her all safe and sound, and she has been eating ‘like sixty’ as Charlie says, ever since. The little black cat is still around, and Jimmy says that he had to keep chasing her away from Nicki’s dish, but I think she must have got the lion’s share, judging by Nicki’s appetite now. Since we got home the children have had a nice time playing with Jimmy, and Cec has been at work and I have been trying to catch up on myself. We were all very tired so slept quite late on Thursday, but even after Cec went to work I didn’t seem to get much done – unpacked, sorted out etc. and that was all. On Friday we drove Cec to work, and then went to Steinberg’s to do our shopping and then to the butcher’s in the afternoon. I vacuumed and dusted, and then on Saturday I did a huge wash – I don’t know how people like Fanni manage to tour Europe with 3 children for weeks on end, because we were away 3 weeks, and I made 2 trips to Laundromats and did odd washings in between, and still when I got home I had a mountain of dirty clothes! Yesterday I went to Church in the morning and saw a few of the girls and saw that they have begun the foundation of the church, but I didn’t go close to examine the progress. Tomorrow I have been invited to a Bathing Party at the house of one of our more affluent residents who has a swimming pool which is to raise money for the church. I don’t think I shall bother to swim – particularly as we have just had a big storm and it is much cooler, but I shall be curious to see the swimming pool etc. The entrance is 1 dollar, and we get refreshments (I am to bake some cookies!) but no children are invited, so I must see what to do with L. and C. School begins a week tomorrow, so this is their last full week – I am always sorry to see them go back, and of course they are moaning, and it is hard to think that the summer is practically over. I must stop now and do some housework and try to get some ironing done – I can see that what with making B’day cakes and cookies etc. and then the party I shall be busy till Thursday, so I had better get Cec some shirts to wear. I am looking forward to hearing all about the wedding when we see you again, and I am so glad that you had the blood test done and hope that it is fine. We enjoyed hearing about the babies and Monie – I had a nice little note from her when I got back. By the way, Cec and I were so tickled on the way home – the children had a lovely new play in the back of the car – acting Ford and Millie! Charlie would be Ford showing pictures, and Linda would be Millie and it was really uproariously funny – mostly because they were so serious! – They were most affectionate to each other, and Millie would say “Did you get enough to eat, hon?” And Ford would answer “Yes darling, that was a lovely dinner.” So you can see what a happy impression Mill and Ford made on them! It will be fun seeing Marie’s home, but I can’t say I really envy you the visit – she is very kind and really hospitable, but I feel that it will be very wearing too! I know that you will love being with Mona Carol and Owen and look forward to hearing all their news when you see them. Lindy and Charlie and Jimmy are all dressed up and acting Titania and Puck and Oberon, so I won’t suggest that they stop to write just now. They send hugs and kisses and thank you for the cards. Lots of love from us all, Cyn.
I remember the birthday party only because of the mishaps! The 8 girls at the party were set to play some sort of Hide and Seek or Sardines in pairs, and so scattered to hide in the sloping field behind our house. It was quite wild and untended, at the end of a hot summer, with a clump of elms, a huge boulder, dry tall weeds, and a length of log fence stretching away up the field, lined with bushes. Of course I was the only one who knew the terrain, and I took Joanne up the fence to hide in the bushes where we played house. Other pairs headed for the trees or boulder which could be climbed or dodged around to hide. Unfortunately, we were not the only ones playing house- Joanne and I came across a pair of snakes, screamed at the top of our lungs, and abandoned all hope of hiding by racing for the house. The other pairs headed for ‘home’ by the most direct route and when my mother enquired of us all, panting, what the emergency was, it was discovered that Pamela’s lovely blonde braids were covered with burrs. I hope the birthday cake made up for the pain removing them must have cost her!
A quick overview of the rest of 1958. School, in spite of an amazing 40 absences in March and April because of our West Indian trip, apparently went well for both of us, and come the summer, both of us successfully advanced to the next year. However, Charlie, with his birthday in December, was the youngest in his Kindergarten class and so the school decided, at the end of his Kindergarten year, that he should go into the non-accelerated class of Grade 1. Our parents spent the summer brain-washing him into accepting the fact that he would not have Linda’s admired teacher, Mrs Rueter, but would have the teacher our babysitter’s boy, Johnny Lockwood, had had. So we went happily off to school in September 1958, and at the end of the first week, Charlie came home in tears- they were going to move him into the accelerated class! The brain-washing had to be reversed, Charlie was integrated into Mrs Rueter’s Grade 1 and everyone was fine with it- except Mrs Lockwood who was miffed!
The church had grown both in adult congregation and Sunday School. Although still housed in the school, there were dreams of building a Hall or a Church, and various organizations had been formed. The Ladies Guild would meet in the fall, and hear a talk on Fancy Cooking by Mrs. Cecil Costain!
On the relatives front, there was news on both sides of the family. Little Mona, of the unsuitable (and unknown) job, was married in May, with her brother’s bride of the year before as one of her attendants, and no doubt wedding presents from Cyn and Carol.
On the Costain side, Carman and Leona Costain in Cambridge not only had a son, David, but also Carman succeeded in bettering his performance in hockey! I’m sure his work, too, was going well.
In the summer, the Moors- Dix, Cec’s eldest sister Merle, and their family- came through Ottawa, and the cousins finally met. John and Lorne were teenagers and Bruce was 8, a year older than Linda. The adults enjoyed their visit, met up with the Atchisons- the other sister Lea and family- and at some point (perhaps this summer, maybe in the next couple of years) the Moors moved from Port Arthur to Brantford in southern Ontario, which was much more possible to visit! We adored the Big Boys and got on beautifully with Bruce (not always true of interactions with Darryl Atchison, also 8, whom we saw 4 or 5 times a year.) The older boys were very kind to the younger cousins and we all enjoyed being a big family.
Cec went to the Spectroscopy Conference in Columbus in the summer and in August Linda had her 7th birthday with a slide as the big shared present in the summer. Charlie turned 6 just before Christmas. Both continued to do well in school, in spite of Charlie being in hospital in the fall- since neither of us know why, it can’t have been that serious.
In England, there was more serious news among Cyn’s friends. Amy Stainthorpe, who was wont to make acid comments to Cyn and Carol if letters were delayed, died in Newcastle, and Dr. Stainthorpe- Charlie’s godfather who had given Cyn away at her wedding, with Ruth as her bridesmaid- and his daughter Ruth Haynes would have received sad letters from both Cyn and Carol. Another death in Newcastle left no one to write to: little Stephen Mitchell was left without family when his grandmother Mrs. Scott died. His mother Irene – a dear friend of Cyn and Carol’s- and a year or two later his father, had died when he was a toddler- and his grandmother had been bringing him up, but their friends were horrified to hear that after her death the little boy of 6 had been sent to Australia as an orphan. Cyn, Dottie, and Nan had all moved away from Newcastle by this time, and no doubt heard of this after the event, but all worried about the fate of the boy. I am assuming this happened sometime in 1958 because Cyn’s Christmas parcel list, which had mentioned sending Stephen a ‘Frontier Set’ in December 1957, did not list him for 1958.
Nan’s move from Newcastle to Cheshire was recorded in Cyn’s scrapbook with a change-of-address card, and a picture of Sandy, whom I assume had successfully advanced to Grammar School in their new location.
The year ended with a happy Christmas for the Costains, with Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg and their adult children Agnes and Paul, coming for Christmas dinner.
It is likely that Cyn got photos of her friends’ children with their Christmas cards, but she put them in her scrapbook in amongst her fall events, although they have a summer vibe. No doubt she sent pictures of Linda and Charlie looking one year older as well!
First, however, her friend Anne sent pictures of the previous spring and summer, before her husband’s tragic death in Cambridge.
The summer of 1955, they seem to have gone to the beach! Cyn, enjoying her new sewing machine, was busy making mother-and-daughter skirts for Anne and Janita for Christmas.
Meanwhile, in Newcastle, the Sheedy boys were getting older too.
And Nan and Dick Heslop were obviously proud of their daughter!
Back in Canada, after their working summer, Merle and Dix sent a picture of their boys, John, Lorne and Bruce.
These would be the cousins we were closest to, but it would be a few years before we met them.
In July, Carol Ewing arrived in Ottawa, three years after her last trip, to visit her daughter Cyn, Cec, Linda, and meet her grandson for the first time. But hers was not the only visit. Cec got his camera out to record the meeting of the in-laws: his Aunt Lily came up from Toronto- she hadn’t seen them since Linda was 6 weeks old- and Cec’s sister Merle and her husband Dix came from Port Arthur, and they met Carol and the children for the first time. As they were all lovely people, they got on well!
Lea, Cec’s second sister, had been staying with Merle and Dix with her son because of her health, but has returned to her husband Wendell who was working in Ottawa. So in these family photographs the only one missing is Cec, who is behind the camera.
Both Merle and Dix had university degrees, but at some point decided to get teacher’s qualifications by going to Teacher’s College in the summer in Toronto for a couple of summers. I assume their three sons went to their grandparents in Saskatoon while their parents took courses. We would meet those cousins a few years later. Meanwhile, Cyn took the camera.