January 9 1962

2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2, Ontario.

9th. Jan. 1962.

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!

Uncle Wendell and John Moor on Christmas Day.

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!

Western Costain Cousin!

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.

August 21 1961

2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa 2, Ont.

21st August, 1961.

Dearest Mummy,

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.

Cousins: Charlie, Linda, Bruce.

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.

August 29 1960

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!

The Rest of 1958

Physics Division, N.R.C. 1958. Cec back far L., Hin Lu, Boris Stoicheff and Dr Herzberg front R.

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.

6 Cousins! Patty Lu sitting on John, Linda, Darryl, Charlie, and Bruce.

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.

Others’ Children in the Summer

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.

July 1955

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!

Charlie and Uncle Dix

Carol Ewing is standing, with Lily Costain seated, at the back of the house on Montreal Road.

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.

Adults: Wendell & Lea Atchison, Dixon & Merle Moor, Cyn, Aunt Lily, and Grannie! Children: Daryl, Charlie and Linda.

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.

Costain Siblings- Cec and his sisters and us.
Family Visit!