December 1 1969

I just want to say that the building of the National Arts Centre in the middle of the city near the canal, the downtown shopping district and market, the Parliament Buildings, and major hotels was a game-changer for Ottawa. All of a sudden in one building there were new restaurants, boutiques, with an attractive green space around the building and parking below, housing the three state-of-the art theatres of different sizes with lovely art inside and world class shows coming to or being created there in the nation’s capital. It made my Ottawa summers a dream- I could get last minute unoccupied seats for $1 with my university student card, and so it happened that where the well-dressed members of the audience circulated in the lobby before descending to the most expensive seats, happy but possibly scruffy students joined them and enjoyed the play or opera that much more!

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa 9, Ont.

Monday, 1st. Dec. [The day after Ottawa had won the Grey Cup! (Canadian football)]

Dearest Lindy,
I wonder how you are feeling today and if you stayed up ALL night to finish your essays. I hope that you didn’t have to as I am sure that you will be very tired anyway, poor lombkin. Charlie stayed up till 3 am with his Elizabethan Audience, typing it out, so the two of you are one as bad as the other! Of course he was held up during the afternoon with THE GAME! Did you see it and wasn’t it gorgeous? Lovely Russ Jackson going out in such a blaze of glory. Phyl had phoned and asked us to go over and see the game with them on their colour TV and said that it wasn’t a party but just them, so Charlie excused himself from staying to dinner afterwards, but said he would like to see the game. He was serving at the 8:30 so I went too and then he worked on his essay, and I made the Advent Wreath (with many thanks to you) and took it to Sunday School. Sue had had a great argument with her Mother as to whether Advent began on Sunday or Monday, Mother saying Monday, so she hadn’t got one, so I said that after we had done it in my room, I would lend it to her and that is what we did. I had 17 little children, so it was enough without joining either Sue or Debbie and of course the kiddos enjoyed it. I gave Nancy the 3 year olds to show pictures in a very simple story, and I read the 4s a proper story, and it worked better as the 3s don’t even pay the littlest bit of attention when there are so many children.
Anyway, I got back at about 12 and we rushed and had some lunch and I washed dishes and made beds and we left for the Douglases with Charlie at 12:30, and then who should arrive as well after us but Cy and Margie Garrett complete with big Saskatchewan Roughrider green and white colours on! Andy was there too, so it was quite a large and partisan company. Charlie was very well behaved and subdued, but Phyl and Margie screamed and yelled, so I did too, and it was lovely to have Ottawa win. Cy and Margie and Alex, who had been shouting for Sask. weren’t too broken hearted so it turned out to be a very jolly party. Andy took Charlie home after the game (he was doing an essay too on LOGIC), but we stayed and had a very nice dinner and arrived home at about 8:15 feeling as if we had been there for days.
Thank you very much for your letter which arrived this morning and also for the one last week. I am so sorry that you didn’t get one from me last week, but the mail is so weird – I was sure that if Daddy posted it on Thurs. morning, it would reach you on Friday, but apparently not. I am sorry that you were so disappointed over the results of your Essay, but it isn’t surprising that the first one would be more difficult as you don’t know exactly what they want or anything. At least he did say that you hit on the root of the problem, even if it was just in the last two pages, and maybe the first part wasn’t so unnecessary after all. Anyway, you will probably find out each of the profs. has idiosyncrasies and want different things, so you can’t be expected to know all this right at the beginning. I am sure that although tired you must be feeling very lighthearted and gay to get both the English and Psych. ones off your hands, and maybe they will be more encouraging. You had a busy week with tutorials etc. last week so maybe this won’t be so hard. I am glad that you found your silver ring in your bed and I’m looking forward to seeing your Trent one. I hope that you have fun at the Hockey Game on Thursday, and the Peterborough wins!
Charlie had a big boost to his morale last week – he brought home his Report and it was straight A’s! The first he ever got. Only Mr. Lafrenière spoilt the beautiful symmetry as he gave him a B for effort in French after giving him a mark of A. It was a glorious sight! He is now spurred on to even greater efforts and I do hope that all goes well.

My clever brother! I certainly never had a report like this.

He has to fill in the form this week saying which universities he wants to go to, so time is creeping on. Today is Election Day in Ontario so Daddy and I will be going out to vote for Mr. MacQuarrie when he gets home. There was a meeting of the candidates are down at the High School last Thurs. and Daddy went for a while and was given a big MacQuarrie notice which he was supposed to stand up and wave when the CANDIDATE stood up to speak, but you know how much waving Daddy would do! Maureen tells Charlie he is very worried about the result, but Daddy thinks he will get in. The MacQuarries are having Open House tonight after the polls close and Charlie told Maureen that he would be there, but I THINK he was joking!
Daddy had a phone call on Friday from Surin Kalra, and he is going to be in Ottawa for a couple days with another Prof. from Waterloo, so Daddy is having a Men’s Party tonight for them. I have decided to make Quiche Lorraine in little tartlets and goodness knows what else. What do you think – I made Christmas cakes on Sat. and for some unknown reason I put in double the quantity of butter. They were oozing in the oven and I couldn’t think why until afterwards I looked at the recipe and thought golly – I didn’t put in half a pound – I put in a pound. Don’t tell anyone (here I mean) I didn’t! Fanni and Teddy came over on Sat. afternoon to see the pictures I took up the Gatineau the afternoon Fanni and Phyl and I went up with Claire for lunch. The pictures were lovely and I was very pleased with them and Fanni is going to get me some copies and send the lot to Claire for her talk to the English Club! Anyway, I had made some little cakes of the Christmas cake mixture and they had them and both said how nice they were, so the extra butter can’t have done any harm!
I went to town on Friday morning to get money from the bank and various shoppings, and had a very interesting time. I parked on Albert St. right at the top near the Art Gallery, and suddenly thought I would go see what the Arts Centre Boutiques were like. I didn’t go into the Bistro – a kind of coffee place I think, and then there is a French Bookshop, but I went into the English bookshop and boutique and it is a lovely place and you will love it. The only thing against it is that it all smells violently of incense, but maybe they will run out of it before you come home. The bookshop has both paperbacks and big books, and is very well arranged and most suitable for browsing, and they don’t seem to mind a bit if you wander around and peer and read bits and then don’t buy! The boutique has gift-y things, some cute and all nice to look at, so I know you will enjoy going when you come home. After that, I went and shopped along Sparks St. and then dashed into Morgan’s to walk-through to Queen St. and so to the car. Lo and behold I was just dashing past the hosiery when a nice polite voice said “Can I help you, madame?” and here was Joey, doing her week’s selling there. She said it was nice and she was enjoying it and was getting paid. She also said that she was writing to you, so maybe you will hear from her first.
Ruth L. and I are going down town tomorrow to try and get the Silver Wedding present for Marjorie and Dick. I am leaning towards a cut glass decanter now – no I know it isn’t silver, but you can get those little silver labels on chains saying ‘Sherry’ and we could get one of those to make it more silvery. I looked at all the things in Birks on Friday and silver bonbon dishes and ittybitty silver trays, etc. leave me cold, not to mention sauceboats and the like!
Did I tell you that Margaret and Peter Savic had asked me to go to the Ottawa Opera Company with them last Wed? They were taking a friend and she was sick so they took me and I really enjoyed it immensely. It is ages since I saw an opera, apart from the Mozart ones we saw in Stratford, and actually, I don’t like his operas so much. [Such blasphemy from my own mother!] This was ‘Mignon’ which I had never seen before, but it was such fun, as soon as any of the important arias began I realized they were very familiar and I knew a lot of the songs. Do you remember in Little Women when Jo gets to know the Professor and he is homesick for Germany that he sings a song in German something like ‘Kenst du das landt?’ Well, to my surprise, it comes from ‘Mignon’ apparently and here was the girl singing ‘Connais-tu sa patrie?’ I was quite tickled and wished I’d had you there to poke and say ‘Do you remember?’ then and there. It was all in French, but there was an English synopsis and anyway I could understand one word in every ten! The people at the Arts Centre were as usual lots of fun to watch. There was a girl, tall and slim in a bright pink long evening coat, and when she took it off, she had a long, slim white evening dress, all covered with shimmery beads or sequins, and she had a long feather boa! With her was a very elegant young man in a dark suit, very mod, with a gorgeous flowery tie. His hair was longish but neat, and then in the paper a few days later, there was quite a write up about the Men’s Boutique Michael is working for at Carlingwood, and pictures of some of the clothes and the young designers of the things, and 2 of them looked very like this couple at the theatre. I asked Margaret how Michael was getting on but she just said OK, but the shop hadn’t yet opened, but was opening later in the week.
Must stop and make goodies for Daddy’s party. Will continue later.

SNOW SNOW SNOW snow, snow snow! That’s what is busy happening! I wonder if you were having it in Peterborough too- lucky that you have your boots. I wore mine yesterday for the first time this season when Ruth L. and I went shopping, and the soles are rubber, and have begun to perish, so I ticky-tacky as I walk along!
We had a nice morning and bought Dick and Marjorie a really pretty wine decanter – cut glass and a nice shape, but quite small and neat looking. We got a silver label saying ‘Sherry’ and I think that they will like it – I would! I now have to try and collect the money from everyone so I think that I will I take it down to the Coffee Party on Sat. and have people see it surreptitiously and sign the card and PAY ME. I am not doing anything too violent for the Coffee Party, but I will make gingerbread men on Friday and some candy or something. I have been having great fun, making funny little santa clauses out of the small wooden beads and funny small shapes of wood that the Nursery School have. I have painted them red and given them white bunny rabbit fur beards and made faces and they look very funny ha-ha and funny peculiar! Maybe some child will yearn for them.
After Ruth and I had shopped, etc. I had arranged to pick up Daddy at 4pm and when I got there found him waiting outside and he came rushing up and said ‘Do you want to park the car at the back and come and see the astronauts? They are due here in a few minutes.’ So we parked and dashed back and Gisbert was there with his movie camera and we waited on the front steps and in about 2 minutes along came the cavalcade of cars and motorcycles down the road with a big black car in the middle flying 2 blue flags with APOLLO 11 on, and they drew up at the bottom of the steps, and Bill Snyder came welcoming down the steps, and all of us clapped heartily and beamed as they got out. Of course they looked so familiar from pictures and TV that you felt they were old friends and as Daddy said they weren’t big and heroic looking but just nice ordinary fellows that you could imagine coming to dinner. Their wives were in Ottawa with them but this was a press conference they were coming to at NRC so the wives must have opted out and gone to have a rest before the dinner and big do in the evening. They were in Montreal this morning and there was a big press conference on TV at 11 o’clock which I watched – I wonder if you saw it or if you didn’t know it was happening. Poor men – it was very stiff and starchy, and they must be bored to tears with such things. Talking of TV, did you see Simon and Garfunkel, one evening? A special – Sunday I think it was. Tonight there is Alec Guinness in ‘Twelfth Night’ but I wonder if you will be able to see it. There is no doubt the colour TV is a very great improvement – even the football game on Sunday looked twice as exciting. Twelfth Night would look lovely in colour!
Surin and the other men came on Monday night and chitchatted until all hours. Surin looks just the same and exclaimed at the thought of you in University and was amazed at Charlie’s size.
I must toddle along now and take this to the post. I am determined that you will get this letter before the weekend. I am enclosing the cheque, which no doubt you will be glad to see! I have been giving myself writers cramp with Christmas cards and have finally got off those to England, Spain, Poland, Sweden, etc. which should have gone 2 weeks ago! I think I am supposed to send parcels to the rest of Canada this week, but I am paying no attention!
Lots of love honey bun – we have a fat, sleepy white pussy here who says prr-p. This morning Charlie left his big grey mittens on the radiator in the hall, and when he went to get his jacket on, here was pussy lying on top of the radiator with her front feet stretched out into the mittens!
Much love

November 29 1969

This letter from my grandmother reminds me of how different my ‘60s’ attitude was, compared to that of my grandmother and even my mother. It was the flower children era! I was at university, free to study what I wanted (unlike my mother at my age), free to wear jeans every day to class if I wanted (and I did, although I believe my high school finally stopped insisting that girls wear skirts after I left), although I also enjoyed dressing up in my mother’s creations. It’s just that the graduation ceremony and dinner/dance after were not as important to me as they were in their eyes, because they had had dances that had been rites of passage for them. By November 1969, I had moved on, and the rituals of high school no longer mattered that much. I had enjoyed the weekend, seeing my friends again, wearing my lovely outfits, going through the graduation ceremony, celebrating with my brother and cousin and friends, but I was focused on my new life and was enjoying it a lot more than high school!

St. Vincent

Nov. 29th. 69.

Dearest Lindy,
I have just realized that if I don’t hurry & get this letter to you at College, you will be going home for your Xmas vacation; I wonder how long a holiday you’ll have? – much longer than when at school I suppose? – Well! all the excitement of Graduation & the Ball, are all over – & I guess you wish you could have it all over again, or don’t you? I hope you had a really lovely time, your Mum send me the patterns of both your dresses, &, I think they were both beautiful – the mini one for graduation – would be so unusual, no other girl would have anything like it – being as how it came all the way from India! Then I liked your choice of the laminated blue material for the evening frock, exceedingly much! & my Lindy must’ve looked very beautiful!- I only wish I could have had a peep at her! Please take lots of pictures for me to see both you, & Charlie – as I hear, he was looking very smart in his new suit, with waist-coat, and all! I hope you both had a grand time & that Bruce was a good dancer – did you ‘Samba’ & ‘Jump-up’ and do all the strange, silly dances they do these days? Say what you like, a waltz takes a lot of beating!
I am sure you were all a bit worried about your dad’s operation, & having to be in hospital, &, I was so thankful to hear it was safely over & he was home again.
I wonder if your Saki cat missed you? When I was away, my little Sally cat had 4 kittens but Auntie M. gave them all away before I returned – about which I was sorry – however, she has just produced another 4 kits!! I am thinking of selling them at the Bazaar! The only trouble is, they will hardly have had their eyes open 2 weeks, poor wee things, but I do think a basketful of kittens would be quite an attraction don’t you? While I was away M’s dog ‘Andy’ was quite sick – in fact, Moo thought he was dying – however at the sight of me, he recovered! He is a good watchdog, but he barks at every sight & sound & nearly drives me silly – but we don’t like to stop him in case of thieves around.
Our church bazaar comes off on 6th – so we only have a week left & I am getting real nervous, as it’s the first time I’ve really had a stall on my own, but Auntie M. & Mrs. Glenn will help me – I sent you off home a small Xmas parcel, nothing much just a remembrance & Cyn will get you something with the cheque I’m sending her. It’s late so I’ll say good night.
God bless – much love, yours aye – Grannie.

[Written sideways on the first page:] Your nice letter came at last & I enjoyed it v. much.

November 24 1969

I am posting this on the day of the Coronation of King Charles III, and so am moving from the memories of an event in my own life that this letter raises, to memories from this blog in earlier days, when I posted my grandmother’s Memoir and then letters to my grandmother from Cyn, about the royal occasions she witnessed which were important to her. If anyone is interested, search the blog for Royal Wedding- where Cyn experienced the crowds of London herself- or Coronation- where Cyn, 5 1/2 years later, is married, mother of two, and living in Canada. These are the documents:

Carol’s School Memoir (just scroll down to the Coronation postcard, 1911)
November 23 1947: The Royal Wedding;
Coronation Day 1953;
June 10, 1953.

I will be watching on television myself, although not at 5:30 am, partly because I love choral music and partly because I enjoy the pageantry but mostly because my mother and grandmother would have loved it.

Now, back to 1969, with the aftermath of our great graduation weekend.

49 Cedar Road

Monday – 24th?

Darling Lindy,
I hope that you had a good trip back, and that you and Bruce snoozed happily. Also that you got a nice welcome back and weren’t kept out of bed till all hours. You must have been really tired – I know that Daddy and I had an afternoon nap after you left and Charlie was in bed in fairly good time.
Now, before I forget:

  1. I found your little red umbrella in your closet under your dressing gown.
  2. You left your short brown kilt here – am I to do anything about it?
  3. You left your big score of the MIKADO here – do you need it?
  4. You mentioned taking your skates – now or after Christmas?
    I think that there is something like Parcels Express on the bus, so I could send the things by that I expect as they are too heavy to mail but let me know anyway. Perhaps if you are working hard and it isn’t too long till you come home you will just leave them till later.
    Daddy has gone to work this morning and it seems strange to be more or less back in the old routine after 3 weeks occupied with Daddy and hospital, etc. He seems to be fine, but he’s coming home early today to see the astronauts splash down, and will take it easy this week. [Apollo 12’s return to earth.] I have been doing the melancholy job of stripping beds, etc. and tidying up, which is always very dull after the fun of getting things ready for your visits, but I must fly around with Christmas parcels for England and Christmas cards and Christmas cakes and making things for the Coffee Party next Sat. week so the time will go quickly. Have you any particular yearning for a special thing for Christmas? If so, let me know and I’ll see if we can afford it!
    I just phoned the Arts Centre and asked about ‘Casse Noisette’. It is only going to be here 19th and 20th Dec. and the bookings open next week so I thought it would be nice for Charlie’s birthday on Friday 19th and will dash down and book the moment that I hear. It would be fun to go out to dinner and make a real celebration of it – I might even break down and get more expensive seats!
    I have been talking to Marjorie on the phone and we are having a Nursery School Committee meeting on Wed. morning, so I have to do some work on my accounts before that. I was offering to help Marjorie at her open house on 13th December (for her Silver Wedding but people aren’t supposed to know) as Jocelyn will just be just about producing then. I also said that if you weren’t booked, I thought you would like to help Jeanie with the passing around etc. One of Marjorie’s friends is going to be in the kitchen heating things, etc. and I will be there and I thought it might be fun. If you don’t think so, we can always make an excuse, but it will be mostly people you know from the Church I expect.

Well, honey – one of my questions was answered! I hope that you get the Mikado book soon – I mailed it yesterday afternoon, so it should reach you by Thursday at the latest. I spent all day yesterday doing N. S. accounts, and we had an N. S. meeting at Marjorie’s this morning. Fees and salaries up next year!
Thank you for your letter, and I am glad that you had such a welcome and enjoyed the bus trip more than usual. I am sure that you are bogged down with your essays, so I expect this will be a very nose-to-the-grindstone week. We aren’t doing anything very exciting, except that Margaret Savic has just phoned and said that they were taking a friend to the opera ‘Mignon’ tonight and she is ill and would Daddy or I like to come. Daddy isn’t interested so I am going with loud cheers – seems like a long time since I went out. It is at the Arts Centre – Theatre? I think.
Charlie told me yesterday that the Gloucester team had won the Debating at Merivale. Apparently Kiloran got best speaker, and Penny was just a point behind and they won the senior, and Penny Scoley and someone else were 2nd in the Junior, I think. Anyway, Mrs. Pierce said that K. and P. had decided to be funny and had kind of spoofed it – I don’t know what the topic was but the example she gave me was ‘A Rock Festival’ which they translated as being the Stoning of the Martyrs. Apparently they had the audience in gales of laughter, and afterwards all the other kids were saying ‘Did you practice a lot? Did your coach help you much?’ etc. etc. and in the usual Gloucester fashion they had never seen their coach and had been frantically writing their speeches the night before!
Charlie has been on the late bus the last 2 nights with Basketball games but he will be home soon, so I had better go and finish the dinner. Whoops – just caught the cabbage burning! Lots of love from the family and purrs from pussy.

Note included with the Mikado book:
Monday a.m.
Darling – Just got the mail – here is your book – hope it doesn’t take as long to reach you as Charlie’s from you did. Went to coffee at Fanni’s to say goodbye to Claire- she gave me a little green clutch purse – don’t know if it matches your greens [Trent’s colour, gowns and all.] –
Love Mummy

I had been on the Debating Team. Although I had never won a whole tournament, I could certainly relate to the Gloucester methodology (which I carried on with my essays at Trent) of last minute preparation and had always assumed that the coach existed solely to drive the team of 4 to the event.
As for the score of The Mikado, I must have brought it home to pick out a tricky bit on the piano, and now needed it for rehearsal!

October 28 1969

49 Cedar Road.
Ottawa 9, Ont.

Tues. 28th. Oct.

Darling Lindy,
I have just finished writing to Grannie and will just write you a short letter too to say that I hope you have a lovely weekend in Brantford and survive the change in Toronto, etc. all right! I know that you will but it is alarming to think about things beforehand sometimes. Maybe Uncle Dix will drive you in on your way back. I forwarded your Commencement invitation to you yesterday, so you will be able to make all the arrangements with Bruce about when he is to come etc. Daddy and I will get your ticket to the dance through Charlie but anyway, we will be able to talk about that when you are home next week. It’s so nice that you have this time at home so that we can get organized because it would be so hard to make things for you at a distance. I have been ironing and piecing the bits of the green sari and I am now sure that I can get it out of the material, and I think it will look very pretty. Daddy and I laughed like anything over the account of the girls measuring you in the letter we got yesterday, but anyway, I must say that I think the pear-shaped Hazell bit is preferable to having hips 31 as well as bust! I hope to have a dress more or less done by the time you come home so that we can try it on and do any minor alterations before finishing it, and then I can concentrate on the long one. I spread the gay material for your lounging pyjamas on the floor of your room with the pattern on it to see how it would go and Saki is delighted! She keeps rushing in and skidding on it, and of course loves lying on the rustly paper pattern! I haven’t the heart to put it away, but I will cut the pattern out today so that at least the paper isn’t all scrubbled up!
I was so delighted to know that the weekend with Janet and Joey went so well. In your letter that Janet brought you sounded as if you thought Joanne might be bored, but both the girls were very pleased and excited about it when I talked to them and I am sure that they both had a lovely time. You sounded as if you enjoyed it too and I think that this is a good criterion – if you enjoy a visit or party other people do too. I am glad that the goodies were a success, but I don’t suppose you had many left after the weekend. I don’t think that there are any more Snoopy strips to send you – the ones I put in the parcel were all that there were about the Head Beagle- actually, he just went to see the H.B. all filled with fear and trembling, and he never turned up, and now it has kind of faded out.

Charles Schulz October 1969.

To go back to the weekend and Jean – did you by any chance see her Formal that she made at weekend? It is out of sheer material, I hear, but knowing how sloppy Jean’s sewing can be, I wondered if you had seen it and what you thought of it. Did Janet mention Commencement or wasn’t it possible to talk about it because of Joey?
I don’t think that I have anything thrilling to tell you about since I last wrote. Oh, except, Charlie went to Dr. W. yesterday afternoon to get a tooth filled and I went to the book shop again, and I got a lovely oldie! It is called ‘T. Tembaron’, and it is by the Little L. Fauntleroy person only this is supposed to be an adult book, not a children’s. It is all about a New York paper boy, who inherits a great place in England – does the plot sound familiar? Anyway, it is enormous fun, and I sat and read it all yesterday evening – nauseating and ridiculous and I am enjoying it hugely! Something for you to Read in Reading Week! By the way do you have loads of work to do when you are home? I think that we will have to have an Early To Bed curfew so that you can catch up on all those lost hours of sleep. Poor lamb, Daddy and I were so sorry for you when you wrote about the practical joke they played on you when the kids wrecked your room. It is no fun being the victim of a practical joke and unfortunately I don’t think that you can live a communal existence without coming up against it. Let’s hope that they will grow out of this immature business, and that you won’t have to put up with it much more. The only thing to do that I can see is to pretend that you don’t care, but it is very hard. It was a shame that both Terry and Cathy were away so that you had no moral support, but I think that you were probably even more upset because you were very tired, and you must try and get to bed a bit earlier now that your essay is over.
I told you in my last letter that we were going to the Smorgasbord on Friday evening. Actually, Charlie was involved with a Basketball tournament on the Friday after school so he didn’t even know if he could come, but in the end he came with Alan and they just ate together and then disappeared. I went down at 1 o’clock with Marjorie and Mrs. James and Mrs. Davis, and Betty and Chris Best were there, and we set tables, made salad and scalloped potatoes, cut the peameal bacon I had cooked etc. We were there till about 4 and then came home. I was supposed to help Marjorie keep the buffet table supplied, but Daddy didn’t get home till 5:30 and then he was pooped so we had a drink and then went and collected Edna Renault’s casserole and got down about 6. The place was seething! We had set places for 114, but I think that we must have had about 150 altogether. Marjorie had lots of help so it seemed mean to leave Daddy on his own, so I chickened out and went with him and ate. It was a bit of a scramble, but it was OK. Not nearly as nice as when there was a smaller number of course and some of the casseroles looked very dull, and Daddy had one that he said was absolutely tasteless, but there was enough of everything except desserts and I think Mrs. G and Laura were a bit generous in the way of 2nd helpings to small boys! I made a big upside down cake, and was conservative and had a piece of it myself! Afterwards I went and helped serve tea and coffee a bit, and then when the magician came, Daddy and I came home. They made 100 dollars profit so that was quite nice.
Fr. Graham phoned me on Sat. and asked if I would have one of these Sherry parties for the parish, but he wanted it next week or the week after, so I told him that with Daddy going into hospital I just couldn’t do it. We have left it that if he can’t get anyone else to do it in this area I’ll have it later in the month. You asked on the phone for me to tell more about why Daddy is going into the hospital – well it is for tests to begin with. Dr. K. thinks his throat, sinus and nose trouble may all be caused by an allergy, and of course Granpa has had this all his life and both A. Merle and Carman have the same trouble. In addition to this the thyroid gland is enlarged, so what they are going to do is take a sort of picture of the inside of his throat with measurements and do tests for allergies, etc. and then decide on what to do. If they decide to operate (take a piece off the gland or something – Peter Savic had it done a few years ago) then Daddy would be in hospital for a week or 10 days, and three weeks off work, but we will have to wait and see. We have heard nothing more from Dr. K about going in or anything, but I presume they will let us know this week. Daddy doesn’t say anything about it you know so I can’t tell you if he is worried or what. You will be here next week anyway and find out what it is all about.
I must stop as I am STARVING! Doesn’t that sound like one of your letters? I want to sew this afternoon and horrors! I have forgotten to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner! Daddy and I go to the Arts Centre on Thurs. for ‘Hamlet’ – Charlie goes another night in Much more expensive seats! Britta Lagerquist has just phoned up to ask Daddy and me to dinner later this week- I hope she doesn’t use so much perfume this time!
Lots of love from us all and PRRR – p from Saki!
See you soon – nice –

October 15 1969

As this letter suggests, Cec’s presents from his travels in Australia and Japan have finally arrived in Ottawa- and Peterborough probably! There is no letter describing my gift, and I can’t find it to insert a picture, but: one day in the Porter’s Lodge of Trail College there was a large battered box with my name on it, come all the way from Australia. It created much excitement, which was topped only when the box was opened and a soft cuddly koala bear emerged, not quite life-sized, but pretty big, and very huggable. The soft fur was actually kangaroo, and he made a sensation on my floor. The present that was not so exotic was an opal ring, also Australian, greenish blue, because my father knew I loved opals.
Meanwhile, my mother was very kindly making the rest of a sari (which had already become a wedding outfit for herself at a summer family wedding ) into a mini dress for me to wear for my high school graduation in November, and was urging me to find a pattern for a formal dress for the graduation party the following night. This was the preoccupation of many of the girls in first year at college- snare a new boyfriend and then go home and show off! Since I had no ambitions in that direction, my mother and aunt had arranged for my cousin Bruce, now in his second year at McMaster University, to come up for the weekend and be my escort. Charlie and Bruce and I got on well so I was delighted when he agreed, and eventually we had a good weekend.

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa 9, Ont.

15th Oct. Wed.

Darling Lindy,
I have just got a big parcel in the mail with Coral marked on the outside, so I wonder if you have got your parcel yet. Is it nice? Are you excited? I haven’t opened mine yet as I thought I should let Daddy and Charlie have some of the fun too, but I am filled with curiosity. I’ll let you know what it looks like later.
I have spent the whole morning dunning (duning?) Nursery School parents for their fees. So many excuses you never heard – car accidents – husbands with big contract – carried around in purse for weeks, etc. but the favourite is a breathless silence and then ‘Hasn’t my husband sent those in yet?’ I am having my elevenses now (coffee with no milk or sugar – ugh!) and then plan to retire up to your room and sew. I have taken up the machine and hope that your black table won’t collapse under the strain. I cut out my navy blue material yesterday afternoon and want to get it made to wear tomorrow night to go to the Little Theatre – I go to a WA meeting tonight, but I don’t think that I can get it done for that! After I have made that I think that I will make your green graduation dress and for that I want:
Bust 31 1/2_____ Waist 24 1/2_
Hips 36___ Length______34___ (filled in with pencil)
Can you get one of your friends with a tape measure to fill this in and then send it back to me soon. I know we should have done it but I quite forgot. The length I want is from the middle of the back at the neckline down to the hem. Probably if you decided which of your dresses is the length you want your green one to be and measure that one, that would be best – I don’t want to have to lose the lovely coloured edge of the sari so I need the length to be fairly accurate so I can just make a tiny hem. I am getting quite excited about making it, so I hope it looks nice. When you are down town go on looking for a pattern of a formal you would like – try the Vogue book if you can find one and if you find a short dress you like that would be OK we could just make it longer but it would be best to have an A-line so that you would have room to walk. Ditto with material – if you find something GORGEOUS, go ahead and get it!
I went upstairs this morning and found your bed which I had carefully made yesterday with the coverlet all pulled down at the top, so obviously your pussy cat snuggled in there sometime yesterday! Charlie was out at his Driver T. class last night so it was probably then. He doesn’t get to drive for quite a while yet, so is a bit disappointed I think. On the way home from seeing you on the bus, he suddenly said “I never got a chance to drive the car.” So I suggested that we go into the NRC parking lot then and there and he could have a little lesson, and that is what we did. He managed fine except for a few jerky starts, but he was cottoning onto it by the time we finished.
How did you make out on your bus trip? I hope that Amanda was a better travelling companion than the girl you came up with, and that you weren’t too late getting back to Traill. Did you get a taxi all right? We never got a chance to say a proper goodbye, but it was a lovely weekend honey, and it was wonderful to see you so happy and full of fun.
I found your winter gloves yesterday (inside your fox hood), so I am sending them to you, as it is getting quite chilly for the little paws. I have your mittens too, but they are bulky so they can wait till you come home next time. Did the other girls have nice weekends? I can imagine the chit-chat going on till all hours of the night. Is there anything you want me to send down by Janet? I thought I might give her a cake to bring down so that you would have something to eat with your cups of tea, and so that Janet won’t starve with all the Traill food she won’t like!
The dinner is on cooking and I am waiting for Daddy. I got on beautifully today with my dress and should finish it easily tomorrow – I have to do the zip, put in the sleeves and do the hem and I think that it is going to look nice. I will get that bluey-grey material from SC and make the same pattern with short sleeves I think. Lee Gander phoned up today and we are going out to a Chinese dinner before the theatre tomorrow night, and on Friday Daddy and I are going to a CAP dinner, so we are having a tres gay week. Tonight Charlie and Daddy are watching a football game, and hoping that Ottawa will redeem itself.
Next Morning.
Ottawa did win, so I came back from the WA meeting to find two happy men! Nothing very exciting happened at the meeting – I sat beside Edna Thomas and knitted. Remember your pale blue sweater to match the pale blue skirt? I cut off the sleeves sometime ago and now I picked up the stitches and knit on a welt to make short sleeves- at least I got one finished and began the other so that will be ready for you when you come home. The brown check jumper has got the zip in I discovered, but it needs shortening and I don’t know how much, so I may measure against one of your other dresses or wait till you get home.
I am finishing this letter in a scurry as Daddy has gone down to the Montreal Labs and I have the car until he comes back and I want to go to SC and St. L. We opened the coral last night and it is very pretty- one they call, staghorn, like branches, white with little green tips, and another that is like a flower in bloom – a sort of hollyhock blossom if you can imagine it. It is a creamy white and lovely, but Daddy expected them to be mounted on something, and they’re not, but they look very exotic anyway.
Must fly- Lots of love from us all


September 15 1969

I have the nicest brother.

Brief review to put this letter in context: Linda has just been deposited at university and is feeling homesick although enjoying herself too; Charlie has just started Grade 13 and is involved with coaching a young kid’s football team; Cec (Dad) is away at conferences in Australia and Japan; and Cyn (Mom) has been getting the church’s Nursery School off to a new year, and fixing up the house, which involved Charlie in painting outdoor nursery school furniture and indoor walls and ceilings in his spare time.

15 Sept., 1969
49 Cedar Rd,
Ottawa 9, Ont.

Dear Lindy,
I have just finished reading your letter. First of all, I will dismiss the subject of the football game against Jim in one line.
Next – things around here have been pretty quiet with the exception of Saturday. That is one of the worst days that I can remember.
We had a football practice in the morning, which was exasperating. I had planned to listen to the football game on the radio (Toronto at Ottawa) while painting Mom & Dad’s room. However, I couldn’t find brushes, the roller, or the pan for the roller. Mummy & I chased around the parish for them, but couldn’t find them – we finally borrowed a roller & pan from the Greenwells.
The game was a close one, and gave me several heart attacks while painting the room. There were only a couple of minutes left in the game & Ottawa was winning by 6 points; I was rolling the ceiling – then suddenly I stopped rolling the ceiling, because I had just knocked the pan for the roller full of paint off the top of the headboard and upside down onto the floor. I screeched and Mummy came running, and she began to clean it up. She had her back to me. Then Toronto threw a long pass, got a touchdown (6 points) and it was a tie game. Then they try for the convert (1 point) which would put them in the lead. The convert was good, and I put my fist through the bedroom wall. I was extremely displeased. Mummy didn’t see the hole – she thought I had just hit the wall. I said “I’m going down to the Church to get the polyfilla.” (I had been using it on the slide.) Mummy didn’t know why I wanted polyfilla, but I stormed off to the Church, and she kept mopping up the paint. When I left, there was still 90 sec. left in the football game.
By the time I got back from the church (with polyfilla) Mummy had finished clearing up the paint, seen the hole in the wall, recovered, and told me when I walked in that Ottawa had won the football game (they kicked a field goal [3 points] in the last second of the game). This time I restrained myself because, even if I hadn’t heard it, Ottawa did win.
Murray came over that night, and by the time I went to bed I was 1/2 way to feeling human again. The hole is now patched & waiting to be painted.
Laura & the Greenwells have asked me if “Linda has settled in” about 5 times already, and Maureen about 2 times. I haven’t seen any of your other friends except Joey & I didn’t say anything to her as I was in a hurry.

I hope your day hasn’t been as bad as mine has – hope your profs are O.K. I have to do my homework now, I’ll be hearing from you.

P.S. Roller & pan turned up – we had roller & think the Grahams had the pan.

November 18 1969

49 Cedar Road, Ottawa 9
Tues.18th Nov. 1969.

Dearest Mummy,
I am sorry that I have been so long in writing but as you can imagine it has been a busy time. Cec is now safely home again having been operated on a week ago today and had the right side of his thyroid gland removed. I told you he was going in for tests & that week he really had a going over & was fine except they found he had what they called “nodules” on his thyroid, so they or rather “he” – a thyroid specialist & a surgeon, Dr. Dover, said he would operate on Tues. This was Friday when this was decided so Cec was allowed home from 2- 8 on Sat. & 10- 8 on Sun. which was nice.
It was a kind of wild week as Lindy came home on Tues. evening. It was what is called “Reading Week” & they are allowed to “Read” at home, so she had spent the weekend with the Moors in Brantford & then gone back to Trent for a tutorial, & then come on home. Of course we had to choose a pattern for her evening dress & then material & then gold sandals, & each thing involved trips to town & touring the shops & great agonizing & wailing from Lindy, so it was very exhausting! In addition, the visiting hours at the Hospital were from 2 to 9 p.m. so I went in for an hour or so every afternoon & then dashed home, got dinner ready, ate, washed up & then went back to the hospital for another hour or so. It turned out to be the dreariest grey rainy weather, so that was kind of hard too, but at least it isn’t too cold yet. Lindy had also lost one of her contact lenses (popped out unawares in the dining hall with lots of people around) but they are insured fortunately so she had to go to the Eye Dr. & be fitted again etc. Then she had to see all her friends (Joanne & all her family except Mum & Dad had mumps) & I sewed violently so that she could try on the dresses before she left. I finished the green one out of the sari except for the hem

(she decided it was a little too mini – I have to take the tacking out & let it down!) & I cut out & sewed up the evening dress enough for her to try on. I was delighted as it fitted beautifully. In the end Lindy chose a pretty material (I’ll send a piece) which is laminated (i.e. a thin foam lining) which does away with lining, slips etc. [The foam layer disintegrated into dust over the years, unlike cotton or woollen cloth!]

It is lovely to sew & holds its shape beautifully, so I am very happy with it. The only trouble was that the green dress has gold in the edging so L. got a gold purse and & sandals & evening dress mat. has a silver thread in it, so I have got a very pretty edging embroidered with gold beads & pearls which I will put around the neck & sort of tie the gold & silver together.

To go back, Lindy left on Sun. at 5:30 & then I took Cec back to the hospital in the evening, & Charlie & I sat back & caught our breaths! When the op. was done on Tues. the Dr. found that the right side of the thyroid was very hard & calcified, so he sent it for a section to be done. He was so nice, he told Cec when it came back he jumped for joy, as it wasn’t malignant but very inflamed & infected, so he removed the whole right side. Apparently it is called Hashimoto’s Disease & the thyroid infects & rejects itself – very peculiar. Anyway he was pretty dopey that evening of course, with all sorts of drips etc. but the next day he looked better & by the Thurs. he was up & about & looking much more like himself. The Dr. had said he would probably be able to come home on Fri. or Sat. but I could hardly believe it when Cec called on Fri. morning & said “Come & get me”. He is sleeping & eating well now, & the incision is healing well. Cec says he’s had his throat cut! & it is a long scar across the bottom of his neck. It is sore & stiff of course & his voice gravelly but he is really v. well, but of course jittery & nervy & restless & yet tired – which anyone is after surgery, but improving each day.
Thank you so much for both your letters – will answer them properly soon. Thank you also for the $5 – will get the panti hose & socks & know L. will be thrilled. Will take pictures & send them. So glad A. Moo had a nice birthday & the card arrived in time. I am enclosing some Supper recipes for you – the 1st one is nice with cold meat & all are inexpensive!
Much love from us all
Love to A. Moo.

November 15 1969

November turned out to be a very busy month for the Costains- Cec had surgery, both children had Commencement, and Cyn had to manage it all. Her October letter to Carol had told about tests Cec was having in hospital the first week of November, and the planning and buying of new clothes for the children, but it is not until a month later that she gives all the details. [Next post: November 18, 1969] But, in keeping with the unspoken rules of writing-letters-to-mothers, she never shares the fears that the adults must have had, however relieved they all were after the diagnosis.

Meanwhile, Cec has been in hospital, Linda has come home for Reading Week, shopped, and been fitted for her new dresses, Cec then had a thyroid operation and spent another couple of weeks recovering- with excitement of the graduation ceremony and dance, combined with the visit of his nephew Bruce to accompany Linda, to entertain him. His friends and colleagues sent cards with messages of concern, as did his daughter (who had seen him the weekend before his operation that Tuesday, and was going home the next weekend for her graduation .)

Dear Daddy,
Sat. even. Bruce hasn’t phoned yet, so I don’t know when he’s coming. I got my essay done in time (the very nick of time) and have been resting. But Sat. evening is impossible to sleep on, so I’m enjoying myself watching a group of very happy people just went through the hall singing “Jingle Bells” and pressed me to join them, but I was laughing too hard- and I’m a good little girl. I’m going to sleep in tomorrow, hope you are home & can do the same.
Love to all.
Card Page: For Daddy
Get Well Soon…

I’m glad I’m coming back on Friday, I’m going to have fun. I hope you’ll be well enough to enjoy it.

There were Good Wishes from work…

Cec’s Spectroscopy Lab

… and from friends and neighbours.

October 25 1969

49 Cedar Road
Ottawa 9, Ont.

25th Oct.1969

Dearest Mummy,

Thank you for your letter from St.V. which arrived this morning. I hope that by now you have found all your things that you packed away before you left and that you are all settled again. From what you say it doesn’t sound as if you got my AM letter to Long Beach before you left so I thought I had better get busy writing again or you will feel neglected. Our mails seem to be very poor just now – I mailed a letter to Lindy last Thurs. morning and by Tues. when she wrote again it still hadn’t arrived, so goodness knows how long it took mail to reach New York. Did you get a letter from Lindy before you left? I had sent her the picture of Donna and Alan to see and she sent it onto you, but from what you say you don’t seem to have heard from her. Perhaps by now Monie will have sent them on to you.

We are having a Smorgasbord Supper at the church this evening with a magician for the children afterwards! I cooked 8 lbs. of peameal bacon yesterday and we will have it sliced cold with cold turkey and then there will be scalloped potatoes and casseroles and salads, rolls etc. and dessert and coffee. I have just put a big upside down cake in the oven for my dessert contribution – I have made it with rings of pineapple and cherries in the middle of the rings, so it should look pretty. Marjorie is picking me up at 1 o’clock and we are going down to the church to get things ready and set tables etc. This evening I will help serve but not wash up! We had the magician last year, so I am not all that interested in seeing him again, so Cec and I might just eat and then come home. Charlie is busy at school – they are having a Basketball Tournament, and he is helping organize it and officiate etc. so he may not even come and eat – he is to phone me later on and let me know, but if he comes he will just eat and run.

I had a letter from Lindy this morning when I got yours, and poor child, for the first time she was fed up. Some bright sparks had decided to wreck her room as a joke and had not only stripped her bed but hidden an essay she was working on and various other jolly little things, so she was mad and quite upset about it. Very juvenile behaviour and of course Lindy never has had to deal with this practical joke business before, but living with a bunch of girls this sort of silly thing always comes up, and she will just have to learn to live with it. She had recovered by the time she finished her letter – I think that she was more upset because her two particular friends were away for the weekend and she didn’t have anyone to grumble to, but anyway she will have lots of friends this weekend because I think I told you that Janet and Joanne are driving down to see her tonight. They called in last night, all excited, to collect what they call a CARE parcel – goodies!

I spent yesterday morning baking and Mme Gemuse asked me if I was going to have guests and was very amused when I said no, they were all for Linda! I included a tiny pumpkin out of the garden so she can make a baby jack-o’-lantern for Halloween – it is only about the size of a rubber ball, so it will be a miniature! The girls also took down her winter coat and boots as it has suddenly got bitterly cold. We have had lovely weather and no frost at all – the nasturtiums and morning glories were still blooming and the poplar and weeping willow trees all green, and then on Wed. morning it was down to 20 and snow on the ground! Shocking! It was so cold that the snow didn’t melt on the grass and bushes, but is still sneaking around, the horrid thing! Tomorrow will be a bit milder they say which is a good thing as Cec is still busy in the garden clearing up and I had better try and tidy the flower beds.

I have been trying to remember when I last wrote you – not very long ago, but anyway if I repeat please excuse! We have been quite gay with dinner with Jim and Lee before the Little Theatre last week, and then on Friday morning Phyl suddenly phoned and said that there was a guest from Washington and he had brought his wife and they were planning to meet her and take her to lunch downtown. We went to the restaurant at the Arts Centre – we went there for coffee one day, looking out on the canal – and there were 5 of us, Phyl, Nan Ramsey, a Magda Jones and me and the lady, Mary Lide. Her husband is a friend of Cec’s and he had stayed with them quite often in Washington, so I was pleased to meet her. She is very nice – English and is a writer. She has had one book published called ‘The Bait’ but I can’t remember her maiden name under which she writes. We had a nice lunch and then met again in the evening for a dinner meeting of the Canadian Association of Physicists which was very nice. We also went out to dinner on Monday to Marjorie and Dick’s and Charlie was quite disgusted at so many dinner outings and leaving him alone! Mr. Graham was at Marjorie’s and we had a very nice dinner and then played bridge. I think that we only played once last winter, so I was well out of practice, and of course Marjorie is very chatty! Dick was playing and she was watching and I made a bid and Cec replied, and just then Marjorie said something to me and I never noticed that he had jumped my bid! I just bid 3 no trump and of course ended by making a grand slam and Cec was very disapproving!

28th Oct.

It’s now Tuesday – what with the Smorgasbord and the weekend, I got nothing more written. The Sm. was a big success – we planned for about 100 to 110 people and must have had 140 to 150. The only thing we ran short of was desserts and I think that was because a lot of little boys rushed up early and got seconds and thirds! It really is not such fun when there is a crowd – more of a scramble and not at all peaceful and relaxed and Cec thinks the quality of the cooking has gone down, as he got a bit of a casserole that was absolutely tasteless! But there’s not much we can do about it. We don’t really try to make money out of this – we only charge 1.50 per adult, 1.00 for teenagers, .50 for school children and under school-age free, with a maximum of 5.00 per family, but we made 100 dollars anyway.

I had to do my grocery shopping on Sat. morning because now that Cec’s technician with whom he used to drive, has left he just drives by himself and I have to drive him in and collect him when I want the car. It is quite a chore and I am beginning to see why wives like a second car in the family!

Janet and Joanne both called me on Sunday evening and told me that they had had a wonderful time down with Lindy and then L. called later and she seemed to have really enjoyed having them so that is nice. They apparently had a party in L’s room on the Sat. evening which was a big success and Lindy even had some boys there so that was quite something! The Gloucester High School Graduation Ceremony is on Nov. 21st and there will be the actual thing on the Friday evening at the school and then on the Sat. evening instead of a dance at the school the School Council has got together and hired a room and a band at the new Skyline Hotel for a dinner dance – cost 12 dollars a couple! (handwritten not typed: I have said that we will pay for the tickets!) Charlie and the other boys nearly fainted but comparing it to other years when the dance at school cost 5 dollars a couple and usually the boy took the girl out to dinner before, and then often they had a big party downtown in some restaurant after the dance which must have cost quite a bit, actually it isn’t so bad! It is to be Formal! This means long dresses for the girls but suits for the boys – not dinner jackets as it would be in England, thank goodness! Charlie needed a new Sunday jacket and I had asked him if he wanted a jacket or a suit and he had said, “Oh a jacket and slacks,” but when this dance came up he said to me that he thought maybe he should get a suit. We toured the shops right left and centre and it was so hard. Of course he doesn’t want a suit such as an older man would have – he wanted something a little Mod, without being Way Out, but it was very difficult to find. Some of the jackets he looked very nice in, but they were definitely noticeable – double breasted with high lapels and waists etc. – rather Regency style, but although he looked nice in them he felt a bit odd, and I could agree with him. Then tweed suits were very hot, and dark ones were very dull etc. In the end we found exactly what he wanted and we are both delighted – not only is it just what he wanted but it was a summer suit on sale and it was half price – 40 dollars! It is a young man’s outfit, and what they call a coordinated suit now. This means that the jacket and waist coat (yes, a waistcoat, very stylish!) are in a very fine glen check and the trousers are in a matching plain material. It is a rather greyish green colour (Charlie wanted green) and the trousers are very slim fitting. The jacket is single breasted and has three buttons and the waistcoat of buttons up higher than the jacket, so that it shows a little bit above. Charlie was a bit taken aback with the waistcoat to begin with but it looks so nice and altogether I think he looks very elegant in it – tall and slim. He wears a pale yellow shirt with it and a browny- greeny shaded tie and even Linda when she came home thoroughly approved!

Of course, Lindy was another problem. Neither she nor any of her friends had any hope of any of the boys in their class asking them to the dance, and it seemed such a pity to me that she should miss this big occasion at the end of her school career. So in the summer I suggested to her that we invite Bruce up for the Graduation weekend and that he should take her to the dance. At first she was quite horrified that Bruce [her first cousin, a year older than she] would be forced into taking her, but I said that he has always enjoyed coming out to visit us and he has no steady girlfriend so it wouldn’t be any harm in asking him, so she said all right I could perhaps mention it to Merle and see what she thought. Well, Merle thought Bruce would like to come, but she sounded him out and he was delighted, so wasn’t that nice? Lindy is going down to Brantford this weekend to see them and will get things organized I expect, as her Commencement invitation just came last week and I forwarded it on to her. When she was home at Thanksgiving we talked about clothes and of course she will have to have a long dress over which she was very excited! We have the beautiful pale blue and silver sari to make her an evening dress someday, but we both agreed that we would save it for another occasion and buy material for this one. What I did suggest though, was that I should make her a short dress out of the rest of my green and gold sari for the actual graduation ceremony. The Principal wants the girls to wear short dresses as this doesn’t make it awkward for girls who can’t afford long dresses, so I have quite a bit of the green sari left and a long piece which was a kind of stole on my dress and so we got a pattern for quite a plain little sleeveless dress with a little stand up collar, and I have been piecing and fitting and I think I can get it out all right. The sari has a pretty green and blue pattern at the end, and then a narrow gold edge along the sides, and I think I can get the pattern all around the hem and then a little of the gold on the collar. We will have to choose material and a pattern for a long dress when she is home next week, so you can see I am going to be busy! Isn’t it fortunate that I can sew – think how much money I would be spending on my daughter’s finery if I couldn’t! I meant to tell you that Charlie asked his friend Chrystal to the dance, but her father wouldn’t let her go, so he has asked a girl in his class at school called Maureen MacQuarrie – she lives over at Blackburn Hamlet and is one of the ‘crowd’ which has been going around together for most of the year so that is rather nice. She is a little dark-haired girl and has been in Charlie’s class since about Gr. 2 and I know her mother as she is a worker for the United Church, so I hope they all have a good time.

I wished that I had been able to buy the material for Lindy’s dress last week, but you know I wouldn’t dare without her approval! Ruth Lockwood and I spent the day in Montreal on Tuesday and had a lovely time. We decided to go down by train, so we made an early start and got a taxi for 7:10 am and caught the 7:40 train which got us in about 9:30. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and had coffee when we arrived and looked at all the fascinating specialty shops in the Place Ville Marie and then went to the big stores. Ruth was looking for a slip cover for her sofa, so at each store we separated for half an hour and I bought thrilling things like socks for Cec and Charlie and a green shirt for Charlie and a scarf for me to match my fall coat (kind of pale turquoisey-green, difficult to match but I got one). I tried to get a hat to match my winter coat, the pale blue one with the greyish fur collar, but mink fur hats are all the rage or else knitted wool berets, and neither was what I wanted! I got some pretty material to make me a winter dress, sort of mauvy colour with little pink roses on – sounds odd, but I’ll send you a piece when I cut it out – oh and I also got a pair of black shoes. Poor Ruth had no luck with her slip cover, and I was getting worried that she would have nothing to show for her trip, but in the end I persuaded her into a dress shop and she ended by buying 2 very nice dresses – they are Crimplene and she likes that and they were reduced in a sale so that was nice. We had lunch at one of the big stores and then we had a snack before we caught the train at 5 o’clock and Cec met us at the station, so we felt we had a very successful day and enjoyed it very much.

I must stop soon and write a note to Lindy and then get on with cutting out the green sari dress – I was so glad when I suggested the idea to Lindy that she was thrilled with it – I thought that maybe she wouldn’t want a kind of “made over” again, after I made the blue one last year out of Marguerite’s dress, but one thing she may criticize Mother about some things but she is wonderfully appreciative of my dressmaking efforts. She tells me all the girls in College think she is so lucky to have such lovely clothes and a mother who makes them for her, and one of her friends was going home to her Graduation last weekend and she was so taken with Lindy’s last year’s blue the Lindy lent it to her to graduate in too! I hope that the green is as successful.

I don’t think that I have had time to tell you that poor Cec has to go into Hospital next week. If you remember all summer he was bothered with an irritated throat after he had a throat infection last winter, but when I mentioned the Dr. of course he put it off. Anyway when he was in Australia he got a very bad infection with a high temp. etc. and went to a Dr there and got something, but it was still there a bit when he came home so we made an appointment straight away with Dr. K. for a check up. Apparently Dr. K. thinks the throat is all part of a type of allergy which contributes to the sinus trouble Cec has and his nose is blocked inside a bit. His father has had the same trouble all his life and has had his nose scraped and so on and Carman and Merle have bad sinus trouble too. Also Cec has an enlarged thyroid gland, so Dr. K. had him go for a swab at the Labs. and he is to go into the hospital next week for 3 days for tests. After the tests the Drs. will decide what to do- if they operate then he will be in for 1 week or 10 days, but we won’t know until they make up their minds. Apparently they can make a picture of the inside of the throat with sort of measurements and see how enlarged the gland is etc. He is also supposed to cut down on his cigarettes, but so far I don’t think he is doing very well – maybe if his throat is sore afterwards he’ll have to stop and that will be a step in the right direction. Poor Cec, he has never been in hospital so this will be an experience for him, and I was teasing him and saying that he had planned to be like his Dad who has never been in hospital at all. However, I am very relieved that he is getting something done about it and that Dr. K. Is looking after him – I hate this business of not knowing and not bothering about going to the Dr.

I must stop now and get on. My love to Auntie Muriel and to Peggy and her family. Hello to Doris and Luenda and June.

With lots of love to you from us all,

[Several handwritten postscripts!]
P.S. What did Auntie Moo think of your dresses? I didn’t much like the colours in the one you got with Milly – a jersey with green & dark red etc. & I thought Auntie Moo wouldn’t like it either!

P.P.S. Cec came home from Australia via Japan & Vancouver.

[At the beginning of the letter] Charlie has begun taking the Driver Training Course at school – has got his Learner’s Licence & will take his test at Christmas.

As an addendum, here is a letter from Linda at university (missing the first page) written at the beginning of November, after the weekend she spent visiting her Auntie Merle and Uncle Dix and cousin Bruce in Brantford.
… I’m just watching the antics of a couple of squirrels in a tree far away, but I can see their silhouettes clearly the darling jumpy things. I’m sorry I didn’t get anything written at the Moors but I had a fabulous weekend & I loved it & them & I want to go back soon! On Friday night [Hallowe’en] we kept answering the doorbell & then the kids [Bruce’s small nieces, Debbie and Cyndie] walked in & fooled me – Trick or Treat Brucie – and marched past us before I knew what was coming off. Then they stayed a bit & then Merle remembered that it was graduation at B.C.I. & so we went & I felt awfully out of place among the formals, but Bruce showed me around the high school & it was quite fun. The next morning we went into Hamilton because Bruce had to move to another room so I helped him & then he showed me around Mac [McMaster university, Bruce was in second year.] & it was raining. Then we came back & did nothing & worked. The Lornes came to dinner & it was funny especially Cyndie & her food. After they left me & Bruce went on working, but Sophocles bored me & his math prob. wouldn’t come out so we gave up & made popcorn & watched T.V. Well, on Sunday I went to a Baptist church, and although we missed the first bit, it was very interesting, and a change. In the afternoon we went over to Lorne’s & Liz & Cyndie went to Glenhurst, but Lorne made me & Debbie tea, and he & Bruce played the piano. After dinner, Uncle Dix & Bruce drove me into Toronto and put me on the bus & went, Bruce was being dropped off in Hamilton on the way back. Bruce had his Mac jacket on & the girl I sat with thought he was my boyfriend & told me all about Homecoming weekend (which she had gone to with her boyfriend). She chatted on for a bit & then tried to sleep, but I had my light on & there was a baby which cried all the time, so she didn’t succeed. Then I shared a taxi with another girl & got here, was greeted exuberantly, fell into bed & slept till noon today. I’m phoning you tonight & will be home soon Love Linda
Must tell you about the psych exp.

October 6 1969

In the August of 1969, on the trip west, Linda and Charlie had stayed with their aunt and uncle in Penticton and met their four small cousins, David, Leslie, Robin, and Philip Costain. They wrote Linda letters in case she was homesick!

Monday 6th Oct.

Darling Lindy,
These letters came for you enclosed in one from Leona, so I am sending them away at once as I know you will love them – what about being a “floter” and going to “gim”– aren’t they sweet!
I also got your 2 lovely letters mailed 2nd & 4th – I always seem to get a nice batch on Monday & I enjoy them Hugely! I don’t want to stop to answer them now as I promised Charlie I would mail his today, so I will go & do so now & then come back & wash my hair etc. How wonderful to get a good haircut & only .50¢. I got fed up with mine about 2 weeks ago so dashed into S.C. Beauty Salon & got a trim only & was scalped! It is very short as you will see but I don’t mind – it will grow. I haven’t tried another Beauty Salon but don’t want to go back to Crista.
I am enclosing the recipes the girls asked for & mail to the U.S. is .10¢ but Grannie leaves on 15th October, so try & get it off soon. I am also sending the picture of Alan & Donna & you can put it in your letter to Grannie – she wants it back for Auntie Muriel. I think Alan looks nicer than he really is in it – he’s 25 I think. Grannie says Donna is wearing a “peasant outfit” with flowered skirt & shawl to match & ruffly petticoat. She wears glasses with v. thick lenses but took them off for the pictures – got contact lenses for her wedding but finds smog in L.A. makes her eyes water. Grannie says Donna’s family are madly kiss-ey & she giggled at the thought of your & Charlie’s reaction! The picture is thick so may make your letter heavy, so you may need .20¢ stamp.
Lovely that you can come on Thursday evening – we will all be waiting at the Bus Station with Big Smiles! I am so glad you are you & not Jean Craven! Or anyone else for that matter!
The reason I must wash my hair is that Daddy & I are going to dinner at Phil & Alex’s tonight – Nancy stayed with Fanni’s sister Claire in Switzerland this summer & Claire is now here, hence the dinner party. I began to diet today so it’s sad, but I can begin again tomorrow! Must fly
P.S. We’ll talk about jumpsuit & clothes at weekend – OK?

Dear Lynda and Charlie
I am getting along fine in school. My teachers name Miss Johnson. I can write words like [printed words change to script] dog jig code add doc odd.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas. Is there any snow at your house. Have you had any storms at your house. Is Charlie any bigger this year.
love Robin [This may have been a later letter, given the decorative paper.]

Octber 1/69
1496 Balfour St
Dear Linda
My simming went quite well, but I have to stay another year in beginners.
I have had trouble with my tonsils lately so may have to have them out soon.
School has been going quite well lately.I spend quite a bit of time riding my bike.
I have a friend Named Michele. She is just 3 years old and spends a lot of time here.
I decided to stop going to Brownies because I didn’t like it.
I am going to figure skating this year.
I hope you have sittled in at university by now and are not too homesick.
Charlie must find it quiet at home at home without you.
Love from us all,

Dear Linyda
I passed my swimming lesson Test. I am now in pre-juniors I learned to write [script] ccccccc
My teachers name is Miss Johnson. She is very nice to me. I passed into grade 3 I am in a choir at school. We go to gim everyday on Friday. It is very at school. We have libary everyday on Thursday. My book I got on Thursday Oct. 2 is called PROUD PUMPKIN
Love Robin

Dear Linyda [I think his older brother Robin helped him write this, with the words in capitals done by Philip.]
I passed my swimming lessons test. I am in floters now. I am in grade 1. I can print words like
LOOK up down LUCKY JANET JOHN. Those are some of the words I can spell.
WITH LOVE from Philip

My intentions may have been good, but I’m afraid looming essay deadlines prevented a reply from being sent…