While Cyn and Cec were happy in their new community with their little family, there were tragedies amongst her friends in England, both in Newcastle and in Cambridge. Living so far away and in touch only by letters that took so long, Cyn would have felt miserable and helpless.
7th Dec. 1954. Dearest Mummy, I was so sorry to hear from your letter on Sat. that you had flu. I do hope that you are feeling quite better now & your cheery self again. It always seems maddening to have colds etc. in the summer, so it must be extra trying to have flu in St. V. – bad enough in the snow & cold – & no wonder you felt miserable. Talking of snow & cold we have lots of both now – the snow began about a week ago – we’d had some which melted before that, but this is the light powdery kind which stays & looks so pretty. The children love it & as I have to go out with them, I put in good work shovelling the driveway – good for my figure! So far I haven’t pulled them on the sleigh as the snow is so light & not packed yet but that will come I know! We are all well & fine – I have a cold sore on my lip & an aching arm from washing the kitchen walls yesterday, that’s all!! Cec is still going back every night but it was supposed to be finished last month so I’m hoping it will end by Christmas at least! Your parcels & cards for Charlie came yesterday & I have hidden them! I had two such sad bits of news from England last week that made me feel unlike writing much. The first was from Nan, to tell me that Bill Mitchell, Irene’s husband, had died after being ill just 9 days. He had had what seemed to be indigestion for a while, then got sudden very bad pain & was taken to hospital & operated on. The operation was successful, but complications set in & despite all efforts he died. That leaves Mrs. Scott with the little boy Stephen to look after & bring up – he will be 3 in March. Isn’t that a sad beginning for a little fellow’s life? His own parents give him for adoption & then both his adopted ones die – one wonders how Mrs. Scott will ever manage as she was ill at one time, wasn’t she? Poor Bill and Irene – at least I’m glad for Irene that she went first. The other news was from Miss Smith at Coleridge School telling me that Tadek had been knocked off his bicycle and killed one morning on the way to work. The day before their little boy was one year old. I have thought of nothing else ever since & poor Anne. Life has been so hard for her & this will be such a terrible blow. Having the children to bring up alone will be such a great responsibility, but thank goodness she has them to comfort her. Both Tadek & Bill were such good, nice fellows. This is a sad letter, Mummy, for nearing Christmas time, but you know how I feel & I know you would want to know. Your Lindy & Charlie send xxx. Lots of love from us all, Cyn.
Thank you so much for your nice long letter about your holiday in Mustique – I am so glad you had such a lovely time & that the trips there & back weren’t nearly as alarming as you expected. We were all very interested in your description of the island & tell A. Moo that the map is very clear! The letter arrived this afternoon & I am very sorry you were disappointed in getting no mail from me – I know by now you will have, but I have been slipping from one week to two lately I’m afraid. I like Carman very much at & I’m delighted to have him with us, but there is no doubt about it that I am kept busy with 2 babies and 3 men! I get up at 7 as Carman has only one bus he can catch & pack lunches for both him & Cec – he has no canteen where he works & it is ‘way out in the country – isn’t it silly? Of course with him here I cook & bake a bit more- cookies etc. & although I don’t do his personal washing there are extra towels, sheets, etc. & the children seem to wear more & more clothes all the time! Claire has been coming fairly regularly recently thank goodness, so that has been a blessing.
Since I wrote last, who do you think we have seen? Your old friend Charlie Barnes & his wife! She is an Ottawa girl & they are here from B.C. visiting her family, so we had them over on Wed. evening. Of course I was very curious about Mrs. B (Phyl) (ex-air-hostess) & she is very nice- slim & dark with short hair- vivacious & slightly gushy!! But Charlie is FAT! Yes, & of all unbecoming things has a chin like a bullfrog!! But still nice! They have a little girl of 9 mths, Nancy. On Sat. evening George had a meeting of the ex- Cambridge Canada Club with Cec & Charlie & one or two others (Jim couldn’t go) so I had June & Margie over & we had a Girls’ Gossip! I knew Margie was curious to meet June, so I am now all ears to hear what she thought of her! But she is so much nicer & more content now. She has got a Fellowship at N.R.C. for next (academic – Oct.) year, so will be doing congenial work again too- is keen to start a family though!! Poor Margie has been having a bother again- she asked Cec & me & Carman & Pete & Lu to dinner last Fri. evening (Lu’s baby due a week today) & on Fri. morning had to cancel it as Danny had ‘flu. She was so fed up as the boys have had coughs & colds on & off & the baby has never really been good, so she has had such a time. However, as we had Donna (the babysitter) all ready & I didn’t want to cook dinner (!) we took Carman & collected Pete and Lu & went out to the Island & ate Chinese food & of course enjoyed it as much as ever!
I can’t remember if I told you in my last letter, but it is so important – your Grandson has 2teeth! He was fretty for 3 or 4 days after we had him to the Dr. & we thought it was the shot & then Cec suddenly found 2 front bottom teeth! Don’t worry about the overalls being big – he is wearing all the clothes now that Lindy wore at 1 yr. & will soon be out of those! Lindy wears all the dresses she wore last summer- I turned down hems of 3 or 4 & then found they were all too long & the unturned ones looked far better!
I have been thinking of poor little Irene all week & know you will be too – I can hardly believe it yet. I wrote to Bill & Mrs. Scott, but there is nothing to say except that I loved her & miss her already.
I seem to get worse & worse about writing letters, but somehow I always seem to be odd- jobbing in the evenings these days – and – like you – Cec & Carman & I play cut-throat once in a while!
Thank you so much for your Air letter which came today (29th June) & A.M (25th) & a long A.M. letter (22nd June) which came last week. You were all set for your trip to Mustique (?) & I hope that you had a simply lovely time, not marred in the slightest by the whale boat! 2 1/2 hours didn’t sound a very short or quick trip to me, but as Jean’s descriptions often tend to be a bit dramatic, I hope that this was the case & that you didn’t find crossing nearly as bad as you expected. The bathing & picnicking will be fun & I’m sure you will be enjoying the change.
Since we last wrote Charlie has been christened. It was on the Sat. afternoon (27th) & just Cec. & Lindy & Charlie & I were there as Boris had a previous engagement at a wedding. The Rev. Stuart was very nice indeed – so sweet with Charlie, who chuckled & “talked” through the service! Lindy was most intrigued with the brass plate jug etc. by the font & Cec had to keep grabbing her to prevent her grabbing them! The original idea was that Boris & his girlfriend Joan & Jim & Lee & Barry would come to a buffet lunch on the Sunday at 12:30. However, a very sad thing happened to some friends of Jim & Lee’s- a young Jewish couple called Leon & Toby whom they originally knew in New York. They moved to Ottawa about the same time is J. & L. & have a little girl Robin about Barry’s age & now have a baby boy 3 mths. old. Well, Leon was killed in a car accident driving from Toronto & the funeral was on Sunday, so J. & L. & Barry went & looked after the children for Toby while it was on. Boris & Joan couldn’t change their time because of other arrangements so we had a kind of busy day – they came to lunch at 12:30 (Chicken Tetrazzini, salad with stuffed eggs, hot cornmeal muffins, christening cake & ice cream) then left at about 3:30. Boris brought Charlie a lovely little silver christening mug & is having his initials put on it – this was the first time we met Joan, his girlfriend, by the way & although she is pleasant, we don’t think she is nice enough for him! The Ganders arrived about 4, just exhausted. It was a terrible hot, humid day & Barry’d had no rest, so we had tea & fed the children & put them to bed, then later had a salad supper around 8 & played a hand of bridge. I was tired!
Wednesday was Dominion Day & Cec & Carman had a holiday, so we went a little picnic to Rockcliff Park in the afternoon – Lindy loved it. We had Charlie to Dr. W. for his 6 mths. check up a week ago on Friday- he weighs 17.6 & is taller than average- says he is doing fine. He got his 2nd shot & was quite fretty (for him!) for 3 or 4 days & had us up at night or so – however last Sat. Cec discovered 2 new teeth- bottom front! Have some snaps to send taken after christening.
You will of heard by now of Ruth’s son & also I expect from Nan of Irene’s death. I got Nan’s letter today & can hardly believe it- poor little Irene- she loved life so much. Nan & Dottie had said she wasn’t well, but I didn’t realize how bad it was. When you are away you can’t help but think that people are the same as when you left. I feel so sad for Bill & Mrs. Scott – they will miss her so terribly & so many other people will too.
Lindy & Charlie send hugs and & kisses. With lots of love from us all – Cyn.