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 Cyn. Love to A. Moo.
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. Linda Card Page: For Daddy Get Well Soon… I Sure Miss You. 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. Love Linda
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!
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, Cyn.
[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.
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 Love Mummy 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, Leslie
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
49 Cedar Rd., Ottawa 9. Ont. October 4, 1969 11:30 P.M.
Dear Lindy, Hi! (What a great opening). Sorry I haven’t written you more often, but I have been quite busy. Each teacher seems to think we have no other homework to do except their own. My football team (& Alan’s) plays Blackburn Hamlet tomorrow. If we can’t beat them, we are hopeless. In my first letter, I outlined the busy Saturday I had when the Argos were playing the Roughriders here (remember?). Well, this day it was the exact opposite- it was great! And you might have guessed, it centres around another football game. I haven’t got anything else in particular to tell you about, so I might as well bore you with today’s events.
Hamilton played the Roughriders here today. I asked Chrystal to the game & she said she’d love to come. After football practice in the morning, I had a quick lunch & set off by bus at 11:45. I arrived at about 1 p.m. (game begins at 2). Chrystal wasn’t ready yet so I met her grandmother (from Victoria) and talked with Lee & Mr. Morris. Lee is in grade 9 & she isn’t finding it too hard. Mr. Morris is being paid by the Navy to take a 2-year course at Carleton & he is finding it quite hard. He said he is taking a course in statistics (probability etc.). & was getting a bit lost. I told him our Math B teacher had just succeeded in losing most of our class (but not ME) in combinations and permutations. Then Chrystal appeared and we walked from her house down to Lansdowne Park (her idea). It was a good game & we both enjoyed it (Ottawa won 28 – 20). Then we walked back to her house (her idea again, I didn’t mind) & Mrs. Morris invited me to stay for dinner. I said I’d like to & phoned Mummy & she said it was O.K. with her & so I stayed. Then I found out it was Mr. Morris’s birthday. Well, Chrystal went upstairs to get changed & I went & sat in the living room & Mr. Morris came in & said “Did you say that you hadn’t taken combinations and permutations yet?” & I said no, we’d just finished them. (I hope you’re still with me.) He then said “Maybe you can help me. It’s 9 years since I took the stuff & I have forgotten some of it & I am stuck.” Lee said “Och Daddy, you can’t! “& he said sure I can & we pulled up chairs and went about solving this problem in his book that he didn’t understand. Chrystal came down & seemed rather surprised but didn’t seem to mind. We were interrupted by dinner & it was nice (roast lamb) & everyone was nice & relaxed. After dinner we picked up where we had left off & in a little while I had given him a crash course in comb. &. perm., but it was fun because he had once known it & it was sort of a review after a 9- year holiday for him. (If you don’t get this letter before you come home I’ll be really peeved). However he seemed much happier after we finished & said he understood & that he thought that he was back on the track & would be OK now. Then Mr. Morris & Mrs. Morris & Mrs. Morris senior (Chrystal’s grandmother) were going to Connaught Raceway in Hull & were going to be late. Chrystal and & Lee weren’t invited. Mr. Morris said that he could drop me within a few blocks of my house on their way or I could stay for a while with Chrystal & Lee & go home by bus. Guess what I said. I figured that my home wasn’t really on the way to Hull [very true] so I said that I’d stay. After a great run-around, they left, but not before Mr. Morris had said to Chrystal & Lee “Charlie is your guest & I don’t want you two to start arguing”. (It’s midnight now). Before I left, they had had at least 3 arguments, & I found it quite entertaining. After watching the Beverly Hillbillies (I do hope you can read this) I said I’d better go (it was about 7:30). We went outside & talked for a while. BEFORE going on, I’d better fill you in on a little background. The grade 13’s have rented a part of the Skyline Hotel for a commencement dance (I haven’t found out yet if last year’s students are invited) on November 22 (it’s semi formal for boys, formal for girls). So much for background. I asked her if she’d like to go & she said gee, she’d love to, but she didn’t know if her dad would let her. So I’m hoping. Then I came home & watched Julius Caesar on T.V. So it was a good day. Other astonishing facts which I found interesting & you probably won’t. 1. Russ Jackson set a new record today for the number of touchdown passes thrown in a career. 2. Crystal’s grandmother (from Victoria) calls her (Chrystal) Diane (2nd name) because she thinks Chrystal is a far too ‘commercial’ name (you know, in Victoria there is Crystal Everything – Crystal fountains, gardens etc. & WE stayed in the Crystal Palace Hotel.). (She (Chrystal) hates it, Diane, I mean.) 3. I got charged the adult fare on the bus because I had been issued the wrong coloured students card & I was mad & had a minor (very minor) row with the bus driver. (This was before I got to Chrystal’s place.) So it was a good day, all in all. You might have guessed I wrote you this letter because I wasn’t tired & didn’t feel like going to sleep. Well it’s 12:40 am & now I do. I have to do the 8:30 service tomorrow, so I had better go. See you soon, Love Charlie P.S. Have added in red after reading it over. Hope it is legible, don’t tell me if it isn’t. Hope it doesn’t bore you too much – it was fun writing it. C2.
Darling Lindy, I just came home from taking Daddy to work and then to the Market – tomatoes, cauliflowers, peaches, limes, pears, green onions and silver dollars (dried things for my Fall floral arrangement!) – and to Ogilvie’s – pattern for a dress for me – and finally to the Liquor Store – rum, rye, white wine and Scotch – and having unloaded found your Cri de Coeur in the mail! No letters for 4 days! By now you will have the one I sent on Tuesday but I thought if I rushed this you might get it before the weekend. We got your nice long letter yesterday which we enjoyed immensely and Charlie got his too and was going to write, but he got involved in Chemistry homework which wouldn’t come right and he and Daddy were puzzling away with little sums on the back of envelopes etc. for hours. [Comment on letter in Linda’s handwriting: how familiar!] Yesterday was Dress Up day at school and Charlie went looking very elegant – he has got a new pair of trousers – dark green, very tight and slim, and he wore his yellow shirt and train tie and his gold sweater. They got their pictures taken so I hope his turns out well for a change. We went on Sat. to try to get him a new jacket, but had no luck. He thinks greenish would be nice and he tried on some which were quite nice but conventional and one which looks very nice but rather way out – double breasted and fitted waist – he didn’t know if his friends would approve! Then he tried on other more conventional double-breasted in which he looked very nice but they didn’t have green so we came home. It is a pity that you aren’t here to give your valuable opinion. Their class has been very enterprising and has tentatively booked a room at the Skyline Hotel for a dinner and dance after the Graduation – cost 10 dollars – all the boys nearly fainted! That is for a couple! Charlie doesn’t know if this is for your graduating Gr. 13 too or only theirs, but anyway he will have to have something high class to wear as the girls are going formal! Which reminds me, you must begin to think about what you want to wear for graduation. Don’t spend all your money because remember it is to buy you clothes as well as odds, bobs and books – have you bought more books that you have spent 80 dollars? Maybe it would be a good idea to keep an account of the big items – not every penny as you were trying to do before, but things costing more than the odd dollar, and then you would have a record of how much you spend on certain things. Daddy will be sending you your Oct. cheque next week probably. Fifteen dollars return for your bus fare doesn’t sound too bad, and it is lovely that you will be able to leave on Fri. afternoon and stay till Tues. morning. I have suggested to Daddy that we ask Dr. and Mrs. Shimizu to Thanksgiving Dinner and also a Swiss couple Dr. and Mrs. Jungen. They are young and if you recall we went to a party last winter to celebrate their wedding when she came over from Switzerland, and I liked her very much – he is madly quiet, but marriage may have made him more talkative. I had a call from Janet last night asking all about contact lenses and she said that she had heard from you and that she and Cathi were just green with envy because you were having such fun, and they were having such a dull time. She said that she was looking forward to seeing you next weekend, and Pat said the same about Joey. I had Pat and Edna Renault to lunch yesterday and I didn’t really get any news much as she only had a short time and Edna is such a chatterbox!
Before I forget the Moor’s address is: 62 Lorne Cres. Brantford. I don’t know if you are planning to go down to visit them before your Reading Week, but Uncle Dix did say that they could probably pick you up in Toronto so it shouldn’t cost too much! If you go down you could perhaps mention to Bruce about the Graduation weekend- Charlie says that it is on 22nd Nov. I think which is a Sat. evening, so it is probably the same set up as last year with the dance on the Friday evening. You must think whether you want me to make you a dress (dresses?) or buy because we won’t have all that much chance to choose patterns etc. and try on. I know you said that you didn’t want a long dress, but some of the short ones are very pretty and there are gorgeous materials. I am so glad that you and your friends enjoyed the cookies and fudge – of course your appreciation will spur me onto greater efforts! Re. Jean and the Cravens visit, Mrs. C. called me to thank me (I sent a small box of cookies etc. to Jean because it was nice of them to take yours) and it turns out that Jean had positively intimidated her poor family and told them that she didn’t want to have to trail family all around and didn’t want them in her room all the time etc. She was even out when they arrived and it was then that they took your parcel around to Traill as they didn’t know quite what to do, and when they were delivering it Lorna dashed out and said that Jean was in her room now and she just been talking to her, so they left it and went round. Jean did condescend to give them a glimpse of her room but never mentioned them coming to see you and your invitation, and when they took Linda Dowell’s parcel, she just waved at them out of the window and when they called out that they had a parcel for her she just called down thank you and they hung around the porter’s lodge but she didn’t come down, so I am doubly sorry that you didn’t see them as I’m sure your welcome would have made them feel very happy after their other casual receptions. Jean is a queer one though! Is she coming home at the same time as you? How extraordinary your meeting Rosemary Don! Nice that she thought you were stuck up for a change – it was always rather the other way around at school if I remember! I must fly as I am going to Margie Garrett’s to lunch and I want to write to Grannie, as she leaves on the eighth. I sent the t.p. stand to Granny C. a week or so ago but have heard nothing so far. We are having Fr. Graham and George Chapman to dinner tomorrow night – I know you will wish you could be with us, but I’ll try to remember if they say anything particularly funny! Mr. G.’s friend Michael went back to England on Tuesday so I thought he might be feeling dull – maybe he is glad to get rid of him for all I know!
Lots of love from us all – the groundhog has disappeared lately – just saw him once last week and Daddy hasn’t seen him at all so he didn’t do anything to him. Do hope that you get into the Mikado – it would be great fun I think. Much love Mummy.
I don’t know how extravagant I was, spending $80, but the Trent bookstore was in downtown Peterborough and was a wonderfully tempting place. It had vinyl records as well as all the required books, and prints and necessary stationary. I found a record of medieval music that sent me off on a new path, and over time bought prints of La Dame à la Licorne and Les Tres Riche Heures du Duc de Berry to decorate my room. I also had a big Pacific Northwest First Nations Sea Wolf, foreshadowing my future home!
It was a surprise for me now to read the last comment- by the end of September, I was already hoping to become involved in the Gilbert and Sullivan production of The Mikado! I hadn’t realized it happened so soon, but Cyn was right, it was great fun, and led to new friendships, and other music and choirs. I was so lucky to go to Trent at this time in its development.
This is the letter Cyn promised the day before, when she answered the questions in Linda’s letters, (some of which were the ones I had thought when I read her previous letters) about the Nursery School children’s behaviour!
49 Cedar Road, Ottawa 9, Ont.
25th Aug. [although she meant Sept!] Thurs.
I talked to Pat on the phone last night and she said that Joey had had a nice long letter from you yesterday, but had gone down to S. C. to work so she hadn’t heard any news. She said that J. liked her course but was having trouble with the transport. Apparently Janet has some classes of 300 and they all sit in front of a TV set, so she isn’t very happy about that. However, you probably have heard from one or other of them and know more than I do about it all. I had a letter from Grannie this morning and she is still at Long Beach and will be till the middle of Oct. so if you want to write it is c/o Mrs. W. Jaeger, 22 Curley St., Long Beach, New York, N.Y. U.S.A. She encloses a [wedding/engagment?] picture of Donna and Alan [Linda’s 2nd cousin] for me to see and send back – Donna looks pretty in a ballerina sort of style – you know what I mean – dark-haired parted in the middle etc. but you should see Alan – he is bald now and he has a droopy moustache a la Bruno Gerussi and mutton chop whiskers! His mother and Grannie are horrified, but actually in the photo I think he looks kind of amusing – I don’t know if this is his aim though! I hope that the heat in the residence has calmed down a bit now, I agree that it is horrid, but this time of year they seem to find it difficult to get it warm but not hot in bigger buildings. I hope that the false alarm Fire Alarm hasn’t recurred and that you have managed to catch up on your sleep a bit. It’s a good thing that you don’t have classes at 8 a.m. or some ungodly hour or you really would be worn to a shred. When you get all your classes and tutorials fixed send us a timetable so that we can imagine what you are doing when. I was tickled about all your lecturers having English accents except the one with an Australian accent. They sound as if they might be fun being young and I am glad that the few lectures you’ve had were interesting. Probably you will find the library less awe-inspiring when you get used to it – you might even find some light reading tucked away in a dark corner!
I have been doing very badly at the library lately but Dr. Watkins’ nurse phoned yesterday for Charlie to come in for his check up so I must rush him there and then I can have another go at that fascinating 2nd. hand book shop. I am taking Charlie down to get his 120 day license today – now that Daddy is home I have to drive him in to get the car so I am bustling around and have to go and pick him up of course. Mme Gemuss is here and Saki did her frantic retreat when she realized it this morning! I shopped this morning and bought your teabags and some of that hot chocolate powder that you don’t have to add milk, and also things to make your cookies with actually, read your roast beef diet, I can think of worse things to have every third day – imagine if it was beans or curry or something equally appetizing. I will try to remember the bra but as long as no one can trace it back to you it should be all right! At least it was a nice new one – like the lady who always put on her best underwear when she went out in case she was run over! I’m glad the washing went well – have you done your ironing yet and where do you do it? [Answer: probably never.] Now that I have left the Nursery School, I don’t know any more bits of news about the possessive mothers, but when I left Margie had managed to part with her mother and spend a whole morning without her so that was progress. Mabel said that you could sort of see her thinking ‘Come on it’s time to go now, and then I can put on my act and get it over with!’ The kicking and screaming I gather were getting more and more perfunctory! Re: Lynn McSherry in S.S. when I said no inhibitions, I didn’t mean anything terrible! Just a general take over and everyone get out of my way here I come attitude. She comes to N.S. 3 days a week and has a little friend Janet whom she bosses unmercifully! However, the meek ones usually rebel after a few weeks of N.S. atmosphere! I had a phone call this a.m. from a mother who had her child in Manor Park but on our waiting list, and I can now get her in, so she went down to see our school this morning. She told me that she liked it so much and was very impressed with the happy atmosphere and the fact that they were all busy and creative. She added ‘I don’t like to see them just playing around and fooling’ so I wondered what had been going on at Manor Park. Mrs. Kunce is there now you know. Did I say thank you for the funny picture of Cathy and Terry? Which reminds me that I have to take Daddy’s films this afternoon to the photo shop. On the phone on Monday he told you about how clever he had been to beat the airlines and get back to Ottawa on time even though his flight had been cancelled but Charlie and I thought we were just as clever to walk into the airport just as he got off the plane. We consulted 4 authorities – 2 by phone and 2 at the airport – and were told the flight had been cancelled and that he would arrive at 10:30, 6:30, 9:00 and 4:45 – so we ambled into the big foyer at 5 pm and there he walked through the door. He brought Charlie a boomerang from Australia, and for me a piece of amber on a gold chain and two long dangly amber earrings! The amber is fascinating – it has blobs of darker colour in it and is so light. Also for a souvenir he brought two lovely hand-embroidered pictures of Fujiyama which he saw being embroidered in a silk shop, and a little ‘peasant’ sake set made of grey pottery which he got from a pottery place Dr. Morino took him to.
He has a little gift for you here which you can get at Thanksgiving but your main one is the one from Australia which is coming by mail to you.
I am enclosing a picture from a magazine of a jump suit. It is a Simplicity pattern and I got it this morning at S.C. I also got some material- pattern enclosed- which I thought would look nice and match your winter coat, but if you don’t like it let me know.
I think the suit is cute, and if you did like it I could also make it up in a gay material for lounging pyjama type of thing. Anyway, I won’t do anything till I hear from you and if you like the pattern but not the material we can perhaps get something for Thanksgiving. Do you realize that it is 2 weeks tomorrow that you would be coming home?
This is Charlie. Will write to you on Saturday.
Monday morning. This letter has been sitting in the typewriter all weekend waiting to be finished, but I had N.S. pay cheques and money to do yesterday and it took me all afternoon and evening. You will notice that Charlie didn’t get written either. His team got beaten by Jim’s yesterday again but he didn’t seem too downhearted – perhaps he is getting used to it now. Then there was a football game on TV and then homework and that’s the way it goes. I drove Daddy into work this morning to get the car and then took pay cheques into the N.S. to be greeted with big hugs by Mary Anne and various others. Even Margie came up and didn’t actually hug me but grinned and chatted and my what a difference – she looked happy and cheerful and apparently her mother just says goodbye and pops off – aren’t Nursery Schools wonderful. The new teacher, Margaret Moffett was there – being very formal and polite with me – the Big Money Bags! They have a little white hamster with a little brown baby now, courtesy of Mrs. Greenwell, and in Noli’s old cage. How the poor little things will survive I don’t know as the children were all around and they were poking into the shavings trying to sleep. I am meeting Phil for lunch today – we are going downtown but haven’t decided where yet. I am to get tickets for Charlie for the Ottawa- Hamilton game next Sat. – he is taking Crystal – apparently Papa doesn’t object now. This is my week for lunches. Pat is back at work so I have invited her and Edna Renault to lunch on Wednesday in her lunch hour and then on Thursday Margaret has invited me to lunch at her house as her mother is staying with her. I forgot to tell you that Margaret Savic came to coffee on Friday and so far Michael is still going to Algonquin, but Peter drives him every morning and takes him home every afternoon! Then in the evening he is rehearsing a play out at Britannia and Peter does the same thing again – picking him up at 11:30 sometimes. How’s that for babysitting! And Margaret says he is very serious about the girl friend and they are even talking of getting married next year! We always thought he was immature, but he’s going to have to grow up with an awful bump if he gets married on the sort of job he will be able to get it after one year at Algonquin – if he lasts the year of course. I must fly and have a shower or I will be late for Phyl. It was lovely hearing from hearing you last night, love, and I’m glad that you finally got the parcel and that everything was OK. Will write again soon – lots of love from us all, Mummy.
I thought that I had lots of time to shorten my new bedroom curtains and then write to you, but it has taken me ages to shorten one so I have stopped and will write a short letter to mail this afternoon and then write more and mail tomorrow. I don’t know if letters I mail on Thurs. will get to you before the weekend, so you must let me know.
I am enclosing the pictures which came yesterday and you can send on the ones for A. Merle and U. Dix and then send the others back to us. Your little groundhog came out very well and the wedding pictures aren’t bad, but the ones taken at the Whitwell’s are a disappointment. I sent the film to that Mail Photo Place where I got them 2 dollars cheaper or something – anyway Daddy says that I got a cheap printing job too, but Charlie and I think that it was pretty poor light under the trees that day and that is why they are so sad. Anyway, here they are. Daddy brought back one roll developed and 3 more to do, but we haven’t had a picture show yet.
Already it seems quite proper and natural to have Daddy back. And boy! – lots more dishes to wash! You can imagine how Charlie and I have been doing lately! It seems incredible that you will have been gone 2 weeks tomorrow. It seems years in some ways and hardly any in others. I went to tea with Mrs. Craven yesterday afternoon – she had Marjorie, Betty, Ruth L. and Mrs. Martin, Mrs. James and Mrs. McNally all to meet Mrs. Craven Sr. so we had a really good talky time. Mrs. C. and Betty D. and I all compared notes about our Girls of course and we all seem to think that you were doing all right. Mrs. C says they will be leaving on Sat. a.m. to go down to Peterborough, so I will take her a box of cookies for you on Friday and she says that she would be glad to deliver it. Maybe they would like to see your room too – you said something about Jean’s not being very nice – have you seen it yet? I think that I will pack up Grannie’s tea pot and put it in the parcel as you have so many guests and the little brown one is so tiny, and I won’t forget to put in the teabags – girls at Traill likeTetley’s Tea! Lipton’s is just the same!
I met Marie Tweedle in Shoppers C. on Monday afternoon and had a great long chat with her – couldn’t get away! Heard all about dear David and how he just LOVES Teacher’s College and it was just his cup of tea. They were doing Gr. 1 Arithmetic or something – ‘You are having a party and you have 5 little friends. How many boys and girls are at your party?’ ‘Yes, that’s right –6 children. Now, how many paper cups will we need’ and they put out paper cups and then plates and napkins and sit down and have a party. Marie says ‘Arithmetic is not his strong point, so I told him he’d better watch that the problems don’t get too difficult!’ Anyway, who else do you think is going to Teacher’s College? Nancy Douglas. She had a wonderful time in Europe, and got back and started right in and is apparently in the same ‘shift’. as David –, so I told Phil to ask her if she knew him! I met Sandy Cooper in S.C. also on Sat. and asked how he was doing and he has changed from Algonquin to Carleton, so I don’t know how Joey will be doing for a ride. Dr. Savic drives Michael every morning because Margaret says it takes an hour and a half – dear Michael! Sandy said that he found the course at Algonquin wasn’t what he wanted and something about having to get an 80% average to carry on at Carleton, but I didn’t quite take it in. I have phoned Pat and got no answer and then Edna Renaud told me she has already gone back to work, so I have no news of Joanne to tell you. Have you heard from her or Janet yet? I guess that was a letter from Sandra which I forwarded to you yesterday. Your brother is going to write and tell you all about a glorious Gloucester football game – I shall tell you that 2 girls came in a car last night and asked if Charlie was in, but unfortunately he was still out at the football practice. When I described them to him he decided they must be Maureen and Lois – they were cute anyway so I don’t think he should discourage them! There is a dance this Friday – GAA etc. and Charlie is now on the BAA as the Officials Rep. so he is going to have to help decorate the gym and is actually going – STAG!
I must stop or I won’t get this mailed today, but I’ll continue and answer your letters and tell you what Daddy brought home. We all love your letters – very interesting and amusing. I must say life in Residence has changed since Daddy L.L. days – bring your own booze parties weren’t known then! By the way, thinking of Daddy L.L. and some of the funny illustrations playing basketball in bloomers, do you have to take any athletics? And if so, what? Also, did you ever meet your Amiga and what is she like? Much love from us all, Mummy
[handwritten] P.S. It is raining – very Nobel of me to go out and mail this. Love.
The references to other letters that I was sent were spot on- all my friends were very kind about sending me the news, at least in the month of September- I have no other letters from this school year, but obviously valued the connection and hung on to the first month’s correspondence, although they have no place in this collection. When it comes to Jean Webster’s Daddy Long Legs, I’m sure Cyn did not expect any similarities between an American girl’s college before WW1 and Traill, but if I had been expected to take part in any athletic activity, she certainly would have heard my outrage! The nicest thing about Trent was that they did not insist on any courses- no demand for a science to make me well rounded or anything- and I was allowed, after warnings that the essay load would be heavy, to take the 2 English and 2 History courses I wanted (as well as a basic Psychology course which I thought I might need as a future teacher and which resulted in the only D I ever got) so in the next 3 years I focussed on my double major to the exclusion of every other subject and enjoyed all my courses!
These letters on the occasion of the first Costain bird leaving the nest were already complicated by the fact that one parent was travelling and the other parent was handling the departure and all the attendant details. These included almost daily letters not always dated properly! This note from Cyn to her daughter should have been the first posted- it was written the day after Cyn and Charlie drove Linda to her university and installed her, Friday September 5. The errands Cyn plans to run that day are reported on in the subsequent letters. My apologies for the mis-filing that messed up the chronology.
49 Cedar Road Ottawa 9 Friday
Darling Lindy, Here I am back from Nursery School and writing a note with the extra cheque for $40 which I promised you. See how things go and if you find you have enough to cover the initial expenses, we’ll wait and send the next $40 in October, but if you are running short, let us know. It was lovely to have your phone call last night and to know all was going well. I hope that you got to sleep all right as you must have been really tired. Charlie and I haven’t been in bed so early for months, but it was quite a long drive back and so we toddled off to bed. We stopped once on the way home & I had tea & a piece of lemon pie while Charlie had a hamburger, and my pie was homemade & delicious so Charlie had apple pie which was just as good. It was only a small place & seem to be run by a family & the lady did the baking. We felt very lucky. We had tea when we got home & I had bacon & eggs & Charlie had bacon & toast. I guess you weren’t able to make a cup of tea last night, but maybe you will find a kettle etc. nearer your room. If you have to get your own kettle, you could either see if you can get one in Peterborough or wait & get one here at Thanksgiving. Which reminds me, I re-addressed the Traill Booklet & mailed it by the 9:15 post this morning so you will get it on Monday when you get this I expect. The phone keeps ringing – Mrs Martin for me to pick her up at the Hospital this afternoon & a Sunday School mother registering her children over the phone! Nursery School was quite quiet this morning except for Lynn McSherry who has no inhibitions & made the place her own! One very clinging mother who appeared each time we got Mark interested in something, & so brought on new tears & prolonged the agony! I am going down town to the Bank now & will take back Library Books. Then at 4 I pick up Charlie for a haircut at St Laurent. We’ll have an ice cream cone & think of you. Saki is sleeping soundly on her chair but would send a little nibble for you. Much love Mummy.
It is hard to look back and remember how money worked in pre-plastic times. I opened a bank account in Peterborough, but I hadn’t really had a summer job that year after high school, so had no earnings of my own to fall back on. I gather from this note that the initial expenses settling me in that Thursday had been a bit more than expected, and Cyn was making sure that I would have enough cash for anything else that might turn up. (Such as a tea kettle. I expect I ventured down town in Peterborough, cashed the $40 cheque and immediately bought an electric kettle. My grandmother had sent me an early morning tea set all the way from St Vincent and fortunately the teapot, milk, and hot water jug, and a plate had survived the journey, and were carefully included in my moving-to-Trent box of essentials. Because tea is essential.)
A decade later when I was teaching high school, there were scams focusing on getting new college students to take out credit cards and go into debt without realizing it, and teachers were asked to enlighten future victims- but in the year 69/70, no one wasted time targeting students like me!
Darling Lindy, I have just finished writing to Grannie as I haven’t written for weeks and got a letter today asking all about you and when you went to College. I gave her your address and told her about us driving you down and what we did that day, but she would love to hear from you if you have time. Her address at the moment is: – c/o Mrs. W. Jaeger, 22 Curley St.. Long Beach, New York, N.Y. U.S.A. but I don’t know how long she will be there as she doesn’t say when she is leaving. I also had 2 (continuous) letters from Daddy today, written from Japan, and he asks about you and says he will write to you so perhaps you have got a letter too, by now. It will be lovely to see him on Monday and I’m only sorry that you won’t be here too, but you must telephone anyway. Today has been a very newsy day, as I also had a phone call from Maureen asking for your address and saying she had written you a long letter – she sounded as if she had a cold, but we didn’t talk long. Then Mrs. Craven called and asked me to tea next week to meet Jean’s Grandmother, so we had a nice gossip about our Girls and Trent etc. Oh, while I am on the subject of your friends and acquaintances, Mrs Haynes phoned on Monday (about the computer course Charlie was interested in) and I asked how Janet was, but apparently being her first real day, she still didn’t know what was really going on. She had gone to one or two discussion groups last week, but found them not very entertaining, I gathered. I was in the Rideau Library yesterday and Mrs. McNeely was there so I asked her how Tom was getting on and he likes Carleton so far and says there are lots of kids he knows. Who else? Oh, yes – I was telling Fanni about your room to yourself, and she was telling me that Janek had to share a room and the Univ. wrote and asked him if he had any preferences about a room-mate, so Janek, thinking of his French said, oh, he would quite like someone from overseas, so what has he got but an Egyptian! A break for tea and blueberry pie! I went to the Market yesterday afternoon and bought all sorts of fruit and vegetables. Last night I made Peach Chutney (had a long chat with Mrs. Pierce on the phone and the chutney caught on the bottom, so it is a bit Strong, but otherwise OK) and tomorrow I will make the Famous Dill Pickles. Today I made Charlie a blueberry pie, so I had to taste a piece to see if it was all right.
Charlie and I really enjoyed hearing all about all your doings in your letters. I hope that you got the handbook I sent back to you but I don’t know if you would find it much use by the time it arrived. I’m glad that even if you miss breakfast you can make out on apples and toast and tea and don’t starve! I do feel very pleased that the brownies were so much appreciated- did you want me to send you more cookies? I don’t know how fresh they would be by the time you got them but we can always try. Let me know. And by the way, about typing your essays – Charlie came up with the idea, that if you got them done in time you could always send them home and I could do that! Actually, if you wanted them typed somewhere in town you would have to get them done in good time and it would be quite expensive I imagine, so it’s a thought. I wouldn’t mind it if you gave me time to get them done! [As it turned out, the idea of me ever getting an essay done before the due date was laughable and my professors had to make do with my handwriting.] Can you believe that tomorrow will be one week since you’ve left home? As you say, it seems months already and this week with me at the Nursery School each morning seems to have gone on for ages. Nothing very exciting has happened there – yesterday it rained and we couldn’t take the children out to play which was rather trying, but everything is going quite well and all the children have now begun. The mother who kept coming back to wave to dear little Mark, brought him the next day and then halfway through the morning phoned to see if he was all right and of course he hadn’t turned a hair and this morning he dressed up in all the dress up clothes and roared through the rooms like a tornado! We now have a mother even worse than that though. She belongs to a little girl called Margie and apparently took her to Betty Hyde’s N. S. last year and sat with her every day for 3 months and then took her out. Well, Tues. she came with her and the 2 of them sat together all morning – Margie dragging her mother from paint to dough to jigsaws and mother tagging along. Then came circle time, and when I gave Mother a chair Margie wanted to stay with Mummy, so Mummy sat on the floor in the circle with Margie on her knee, so you can imagine how delighted I was! Today Mother and Margie arrived late with Margie dressed in old corduroy jeans and an old flannelette pyjama top fastened with 1 button! Nothing underneath – Margie hadn’t wanted to get dressed. GRR-r-r! This time Mother had been invited out to coffee so come circle time she told Margie she was going and you should have heard the screams and heard the tantrums! All the kids stood around and watched as she rolled and kicked on the floor and Mary Anne said to me “Why is the little girl doing that?” She didn’t go into circle, but in the end took a cookie and eventually went out to play and was perfectly all right. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow! The Saga of Margie. I hope that you have got your gown by now – you really seemed to have trouble finding out about it and finding the place open. How does it feel wearing it? I am so glad that everyone is kind and helpful and that you have got to know so many of the girls and are feeling more at home. The picnic sounded fun, even if the dance was a bit of a bore, but after all the first one everyone must have been feeling strange, and they will be more fun as you get to know more people. Saki and I are very sorry that Gary has put you off Puss in Boots Cat Food, because it is the only one she will eat. In fact they have just brought out a new KIDNEY cat food which is deeelicious! I can’t imagine anything less appetizing than a cat food factory – how can he bear to eat anything now? How nice of Cathy to promise to lend you her hairdryer – you’ll have to see what Santa can do about it I guess. From that Traill booklet I gather that record players are quite acceptable, so have you had yours on much? Also don’t forget that pink card to be signed for your 20 dollar Youth Allowance – it would go nicely towards a hairdryer! I am enclosing your Library Card which came today – I thought you might as well keep it in your wallet as it might get mislaid if it just lay around at home. I had a good little chuckle over the dry sherry and Andrew Aitkins bottle of sauterne. Did Andrew know you or say hello or anything or are you too low and meek for him to notice? I’ll be interested to hear if you see anyone else you know when the other students return. This afternoon I had a Mrs. Johnson to tea– the person who is taking over my job in Scientist’s Wives, poor dear! She’s very nice and I like her – apparently she worked at NRC for 18 years and has only been married for 4– knows people like Kim and Beulah. I must ask people about her and find out what her romance was like! The first Scientist Wives notice came today and the Sept. meeting is up at Kingsmere and the Oct. meeting is a lunch out at the Seignory Club at Montebello – I’m not very interested in either and it is lovely to think that I needn’t go if I don’t want to. I must stop now as I have to draft a letter to the N. S. parents from the committee – gently reminding them to pay their fees among other words of wisdom! Saki sends lots of purrs and bites and scratches! She really misses you because she is demanding lots of attention from Charlie and me and at the weekend she was wandering around looking for something or someone to play with. Hug from Charlie and lots of love from Mummy
I was interested in the tone of this letter – Cyn has written the same news on the same day [Carol’s letter already posted] to her mother and her daughter, but this letter is more intimate somehow, with small details included that add to the sense of home. The comments from the parents of other people going to Trent are amusing- I can’t remember ever interacting with Linda Dowell or Andrew Aitkin who lived in our Ottawa neighbourhood but were a bit older, and although Jean Craven had been in the same classes as I for 13 years, I really never saw her until our 4th year when we rented rooms in the same house. The college system and the different disciplines really separated students so the friends I made at Trent were the ones with whom I lived.