Although Cynthia is reassuring her parents that she is becoming less homesick and is ‘feeling quite at home’ at school, I think these letters are revealing how close she was, as an only child, to her parents, and probably sending her to boarding school at the age of 14 was a sensible choice. (Although why in the middle of the year? As she tells her parents, she’s excluded from the gym display because the other girls know the routines, and I’m sure it made fitting in to lessons harder too.)
This is the letter where the 21st century reader is amazed to learn that the boarders get their hair washed every three weeks, which means she is due the next Saturday I presume. Also amazing is the way letters arrive the day after they are written! In the transcript I am trying to remain true to Cynthia’s misspellings of ‘their’ and eccentric contractions but autocorrect sometimes gets the better of me. I’m afraid I know nothing about the kind friend May who is to invite Cynthia to visit on Sundays, but she does appear in later letters.
May 8, 1928
Darlingest Daddy and Mummy,
Thank you so much for your letters, I love getting letters so much, I feel so disappointed when their isn’t one for me and the other girls get some.
They give us our letters as soon as they come Mumsie, I got yours this morning and one from Marjorie and one from Peggy Lawrenson and she sent me two pretty little hankies, wasn’t that kind?
I got three cakes of lux toilet soap on Sat: for 1/-. Phyllis says they wash our hair every three weeks, Miss John does, with ‘dog soap’ as she calls it, so I wo’nt have to get any. Our hair is washed on Sat: morning, I haven’t had it done yet.
Dearest of Daddies and Mummys I’m feeling much happier than I did before, this is my 3rd Wed. now and I’m feeling quite at home. I am still longing for the hols. and the lovely times we’ll have, just my Mum and Dad and me. I write to you when we used to have our reading Mummy so I don’t feel so lonely, I love writing home now dearests and the girls are all amazed at the length of my letters but I just love trying to talk to Mummy and Daddy on paper. It’s not as satisfying as seeing and being with them of course, but it’s next best.
We did not go to the Military Service on Sunday, Mrs. P. would’ve let us go at once only Miss Ellett said it was just a spectacular affair and she did’nt think it right to go.
I wore my best hat and shoes on Sunday but not my tussore dress it was too cold, I sha’nt be able to wear that belt Mums, I’ll have to go without. I think my best shoes are much too good for school Mums they are too nice I think, they’ll just get spoilt.
I am so sorry dear old Granny is so ill, Mumzie dear, I know what it will be like for you to have your Mummy ill, for I know what I’d be like if either my Daddy or Mummy were ill.
The pink is quite a nice length now but the girls think it is short but they are all tall and wear dresses at their knees. We are having a holiday for Ascension Day tomorrow. In the afternoon we are having a tennis tournament with the day girls, I shall wear my new frock then, I shall be smart! Mommy, thank you so much for the promise of more goodies, my cuboard is quite bare now, but on Friday I am getting some home-made toffee from a girl at school who is collecting for a fund. I found out about “my friend” at the pictures, I think that was what made me not enjoy “the talkies” they were awfully silly, one was of an old negro man singing plantation songs and the song stopped off in the middle and he went on opening and shutting his mouth and gesticulating! I think, Daddy I shall write and ask May if she would mind coming and taking me home on Sunday as I would feel a bit “fed up” as I always do on Sundays the morning I always had in your bed. I shall stay at school for Whit: week-end I think Dads, as some of the other girls are, but I shall ask May if I can stay with her for half-term when it comes. And oh, daddy, I am not starting Guiding until next term as I don’t know the school and things yet. We had gym this afternoon, we were jumping over the ropes and somersaulting, I am in the middle class now, I was in the senior last week and made an idiot of myself, truly, but I am all right now. The girls are all getting ready for a gym display but I sha’nt be in as I haven’t practiced. On Monday in drill I fell down and got bruised but I’m all right now. On Monday as I was coming back about 10 minutes past 4 o’clock I saw a Baby Austin and in it a person exactly like May sitting beside the lady driver, I wonder if it was her. We have prep at B.G. now and I only have to go to school on Monday for French at 2:30 and Wed: for Geog at 2:30 and gym at 3 so I all right. In the third form at school their is a little girl exactly like Kathleen Smyth, Macon: you know, except her hair is darker, her name is Demarice Cavers I think, and in the Minister their is a curate just like Marjorie’s cousin Arnold, Mr. Dippie, I wonder if Arnold has become one!
I must stop now as I want to write to May and Peggy and Dot, I shall write to Nancy on Sunday for her birthday. Please give my love to Cilla and tell her I’d love to hear from her. With heaps and tons of love and kisses to my own darlings and dearest Daddy and Mummy from your little Doggy.
P.S. Sylvia Pallister has come back, she came back yesterday she is nice. I like her. Girlie