Dear Linda, My time in Japan is down to 1 1/2 days, and while I’ve been too busy to be lonely I’ll be glad to be off.
My hotel is just outside the moat of the Imperial Palace, and on the grounds opposite is a Buda – kan, -sports gym for judo events etc. Looking out of the window I could see the roof outlined against the sky, and realized what I must have heard and known – that the traditional roof of Japanese architecture and pagodas, is in the exact line of Mount Fuji.
My visit to Mt. Fuji, (or Fujiyamma,) (yamma is Mt.) was a great success – clear except for a cloud cap on the top 2000 ft. It was very clear for this time of year, but disappeared completely two hours later.
Thurs. was spent at the Kabuki theatre 11am to 4pm – lunch 20 minutes. The staging, acting costumes etc. were wonderful. The program was parts of 4 different plays, but each complete in itself. It is much like Shakespeare – a mixture of tragedy & comedy. I found it difficult to identify with the tragic scenes without the language – some like opera where the hero takes 15 min. to die after six sword thrusts, but the comedy was wonderful – more in mime. I’d never have known the actors were all male if I hadn’t been told.
My abject apologies for not noticing your birthday – I knew it was due & told the Mercers & Egans etc., but I’m afraid dates & days lose all meaning except for appointments, meetings, talks, planes, etc. I heard you were safely installed and have a nice private room. I do hope you are enjoying your new life – I expect the first while will be hectic & by the time that’s over you will be used to it. Don’t forget to do some work – like 12 hours a day. Good luck & lots of love Daddy
A note about the new high school. I went into Grade 9 at Gloucester High School, along with students from the entire township, some living as far as 40 miles from the school. Some came from the French village of Orleans, other from farm communities with one-room schools, and they had a long commute on school buses. It was quite a culture shock even for us living locally- the high school had a cafeteria where one could buy lunch, an auditorium with a stage, and a library. There were 5 grades in High School, 9 to 13, and 5 different programs offered- 2 year Hairdressing for girls, and Auto Mechanics for boys, with a certificate after completing Grade 10; 4 year Business and Commerce for girls and Technology for boys, with Junior Matriculation and Graduation after Grade 12; and an Academic stream that continued into Grade 13 for those aiming for university with Senior Matriculation at graduation. There was a Francophone stream for the French-speaking students, and French or Français classes for the academic students, depending on their mother tongue. There were 10 Grade 9 classes when I began, so over 200 students in that grade alone, and the school grew every year I was there- a second floor added on above the original level; a new wing with more technical and shop classes; a tower with pie-shaped classrooms replaced the teacher’s parking lot; and after 5 years, a community swimming pool being built beside the school, so gym classes could take advantage of the facility. Meanwhile, the developments around the school continue to expand. In Grade 9, cows in the field separating the school from the new highway used to come and look in the windows. In subsequent years, there were townhouses, apartment buildings, and new roads covering the fields beside the school and between the Montreal Road that we had lived on and the Queensway a mile south. The village of Orleans was growing, new developments went up in the fields beside the Ottawa river, and were spreading to join up. It was the baby boom generation being educated and 10 years later, in my student teaching year and times of unemployment that followed in my 20s, I had 3 more English-speaking high schools to choose from in the area, with French high schools operating separately. Ottawa had grown.
The scrapbook page for 1965 shows invitations and Valentines, showing that the adult Costains were involved with friends both local and abroad. The computer card is an invitation from Cec’s new Post-Doctorate Fellow, Harry Kroto, and his wife Margaret. They were a marvellous young couple from England, interesting, enthusiastic and full of fun. I remember one party with people from Cec’s Lab. where Harry and Margaret played a magic game with their audience, using a blindfold and the poker from the fireplace as props. The blindfolded one of the pair knelt on the hearthrug, and was able to identify which person the other was pointing at- I presume by verbal cues- and the children thought they were the coolest couple ever. Harry was always quite clear about his interest in the visual arts, and how he was torn between science and art as a career. The Krotos were in Canada in 1967 which was the Centennial Year, and visited Expo 67, with the geodesic dome as the USA Pavilion. His later work on Carbon 60, buckminsterfullerene, was linked to this, as he explains:
Cec did not live to see Harry get the the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996 but he was sure it would happen when he heard about Harry’s work with buckyballs. When Harry learned Cec was ill in 1991, he sent him a book- A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations by Alan L. MacKay, into which he had inserted a quotation from his time at the N.R.C. : Cec Costain- “If it doesn’t work, just kick it here.” to HWK in 1965 when the power supply did not work. On the cover page he wrote, ‘To Cec and Cin, Two of our very best friends with love Harry and Margaret. Thanks for engineering my move to microwave spectroscopy- By far the nicest group of scientists due in no small measure to you and E.B.W. The quote on page 62 is one of my favourites. P.S. The rotational spectrum of C60 is too weak even for Jim W. to detect.’ The admiration and affection were mutual. Other friendships are illustrated on this page- the third Sutherland daughter, Mary’s, wedding invitation, and a cryptic thank you card from a visiting Australian, Frank (Mercer?) whom they hadn’t seen since their Cambridge days. The year continued with family birthdays, Spring Break and Easter, with school and work, but the big excitement of the spring was Carol visiting from the West Indies.
She was there for all the activities in June, the summer, and on into the fall- her usual long stay, having not seen the Costains since 1960, she would have needed to adjust to the changes in the children! Charlie’s Graduation from Grade 8 was the final event of June, but there were other activities first. Grannie would have been very happy to be there for Charlie’s Confirmation in early June at church, and her best hat would have come out for the Governor General’s Garden Party.
Cec’s birthday and Father’s Day were celebrated, they enjoyed snaps from the Costains out west, and the whole family was pleased by the new porch at the back of the house- the open deck from the garage to the back door was now screened in with comfy chairs and tables, nice for eating in during the hot summer days when the mosquitos were bad under the trees!
The annual photo of the Lab on the steps of the N.R.C. shows Dr. Herzberg and Alec Douglas centre front, greying, Cec smiling in the second row end right, and Harry Kroto third row far left also with a big grin.
As the school year ended, the children wrote their exams- an intimidating exercise in high school for Linda, with the gym lined with rows of desks, fluorescent lights buzzing, invigilators prowling around, and hundreds of students writing earnestly in the hushed atmosphere. Both got their reports and were promoted, but Charlie’s graduation was a special ceremony because he not only got his diploma and the Citizenship Award, he also was the Valedictorian, speaking on behalf of all his fellow graduates.
After that, the family once more rented a cottage for three weeks in July at Lake Bernard.
There were beds, but not enough bedrooms, so the children slept on the open, but sheltered, porch. The renting family had asked the Costains to look after the raccoons, and Linda and Charlie found that this meant a whiskered face and a very hand-like paw, peering at them in bed.
The kits were adorable, and the children fed the family who went down to the lake to wash their spoils, which was a relief to all concerned- both animals and humans just as happy to keep a certain distance from each other.
In August, Cec went on a trip to Denmark and stayed with their friend Chris Müeller. Linda turned 13, finally a teenager, and she and Charlie got ready for high school- Linda assuring him it would be much better than elementary!
The rest of the school year went well for all the Costains.
Linda and Charlie’s French classes in Grades 6 and 7 combined to put on a production of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” with the older students narrating, and Charlie being Pierre with his classmates as Grandpere and the animals!
Cyn managed his costume in spite of being very busy having her birthday and being featured in the newspaper.
As President of the Ladies Guild of her church, Cyn was designated as the opening Speaker for the 67th Annual Meeting of the Women’s Auxiliary of the entire country which was being held in Ottawa.
“Madame Chairman, my Lord Bishop, Ladies and Gentlemen- I have a very great pleasure in welcoming you all to the 67th Annual Meeting of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Ottawa Diocese. I have been given this privilege as President of the Women’s Auxiliary of St. Christopher’s Church in Cardinal Heights, because we are one of the newest branches in the Diocese. I must admit that I have cast a longing thought back to Victorian times when the youngest member of the family was seen and not heard, but I am most aware of the fact that this is a very living part of Women’s Auxiliary traditions, that the new and young should be taken into the family and should share responsibilities and pleasures right from the beginning.
When the Ladies Guild of St. Christopher’s Church decided to become a branch of the Women’s Auxiliary we received a very warm welcome from the Diocesan President, Mrs. Johnstone and other members of the W.A. and I greatly appreciate the opportunity of passing on that welcome to you. A ‘warm welcome’ is such a happy phrase, which immediately makes one think of old friends being reunited and the meeting of new ones – of exchanging news of past doings and making plans for the future. I hope that this meeting will mean all of these things to you and that you will have a worthwhile, satisfying and rewarding time here.”
Meanwhile Cec was enjoying a visit from Dr Shimoda, one of the scientists he and his colleagues had met in Japan, who was presumably working with the N.R.C. spectroscopists. Cec was also invited to dinner at his College in Cambridge in June. He sent his regrets no doubt, but it was an honour.
The great excitement of June, however, was the first wedding of the young generation of the Costain family. Linda was the oldest girl of that generation, but she had 4 older male cousins and 2 of these, Merle’s sons John and Lorne, were engaged, with Lorne marrying Liz in Brantford, the Costains driving down for the occasion, and everyone getting dressed up on a lovely summer day.
They were a lovely couple, I was thrilled by the whole occasion, and remember the hats as a key feature. Out west, the grandparents were enjoying the youngest members of the family, but no doubt their daughter Merle kept them informed of the festivities we all enjoyed.
After that excitement, the summer approached, the children advanced to Grades 7 and 8 and their holidays in the new house.
Cec had plans for a large garden – there already was asparagus- and there was a lovely Manitoba maple tree providing shade behind the house, the site of a future patio. The summer was going to be fun!
Dearest Mummy, You seemed to approve of the type written letter and feel that it encouraged you and your typing out effort, so I am very happy to continue that way, as it really is much quicker than writing and I do get so much more on the page. The children enjoy getting your typed letters and think you are doing very well. I do too, but you mustn’t peek – better to have mistakes, because otherwise you will never get any speed if you stop to look and see what you are doing! Thank you so much for both your letters -14th and 26 – I am very sorry that I have been so long in writing, but I have had a kind of cold, or rather a sore throat, and I felt rather ‘punk’. Charlie had a bit of cold and sore throat the weekend before Cec left, and I kept him home from school on the Friday, but it cleared up quite quickly only unfortunately I caught it and it turned into real hanging-on thing with me. It didn’t develop too much the first week – I had a sore throat and kept expecting it to turn into a real cold but after we saw Cec off at the Airport it went up into my sinuses and I got earache that night and puffy all round my eyes and felt miserable. I don’t know if I got chilled standing waiting for the plane to take off or if it was just developing but all weekend it was just the same so on Monday I phoned your friend Dr. Kastner and he told me to come in that afternoon as there were a lot of strep throats around. He gave me a penicillin shot and penicillin tablets to last a week, and I have been gradually improving, and feel pretty well back to normal now – not very energetic though! Dr. K.’s nurse was enquiring for you and I think it was that same day that I had a phone call and here it was Basil’s wife, Win is it? We had quite a little chat and she seemed very nice and said that they would come and see us if they were in Ottawa. She was very complimentary about you too, and said how much they had enjoyed meeting you. She told me that Helen Hadley had been there but was now in Toronto after settling Sally in a job with Bell Telephones – apparently she couldn’t get into – was it T.C.A. she wanted? – and they had quite a time getting her something, but it was all fixed now. Helen was to go home soon I think she said so I don’t expect that I will see her. Next week Charlie arrives, and what do you think – it never rains but it pours – I am also meeting Mary Egan! I had heard from Nan that she was visiting England this summer [from Australia] but thought nothing of it until last week I had a hasty airletter saying that she was flying via Canada, and after stopovers at Vancouver (where she will see Olwen and Noel – remember?) Banff, Calgary and New York, she was going to Montreal to stay with someone for two days before flying to England. She went on to say that she understood that Ottawa was close to Montreal so could she pop over to see me or could we meet somewhere. Of course she barely gave me a week to reply as she was leaving on the 3rd and didn’t tell me her address in Montreal or anything so I dashed off a reply and said I would meet her in Montreal bus station at 12:15 by the bookstall on 14th June, as Ottawa was 120 miles away and by the time she reached Montreal she might be glad to stay still for a day or so. So – I only hope that she gets my letter and that we do manage to meet – it seems very haphazard somehow! It will be fun seeing her after 13 years, and I must look my best! Last week my hair was long and straggly and I felt a wreck, so I went over to Emil and had a hair do. He cut it quite short and straight and trim across the back and gave me nice fat curly bangs and short sides, and everyone has been complementing me on it. Except the children that is -they just groan and say ‘But it doesn’t look like you it’s awful!’ I must say that I feel quite happy not to look like me for a change! (P.S. Mrs. Emil doesn’t make the flowers – she just sells and rents them – they are plastic. [This is a reference to their Bazaar decorations mentioned in the last letter. They were successful there but Cyn would not have been a customer!]) I had determined that the first week that Cec was away I would do some sewing, so despite my indisposition I began on my pink suit on Monday and was able to wear it at a dessert party of Marjorie Graham’s on Wed. afternoon. The lining wasn’t too much extra and it does make it look much nicer I think, and it looks nice – not homemade I presume, as quite a few people asked me where I bought it! I still have quite a lot of material so I will make Linda a skirt and also the suit pattern has a pattern for a blouse – a kind of tailored one with a round neck and zip at the back and it shows a picture of this worn with a skirt and made in the same material it looks like a dress, so I have cut this out and will make it this week. I have also got Linda’s flowered cotton cut out, but no further and I hope I will get it done soon. Somehow I seem to have got involved in all sorts of things these next two weeks – going to the Blood Donor Clinic tomorrow to serve coffee and juice – next week going to help serve a luncheon in aid of the Save the Children and what with both Charlie and Mary coming next week and each taking a whole day is as it were, I can see I’m going to be hopping! I was listening on the radio this morning about the Kennedys in London, and that reminded me that I am sending you a LIFE about their visit to Ottawa. It really doesn’t have any very good pictures but I thought that you would be interested. Lindy, Cec and I went to see them the evening they drove from Gov. House to the Am. Embassy in Rockcliffe. Charlie was at Cubs so he couldn’t come, but I don’t think he minded too much. We got a good view standing on the flat stone walls at the gateway, but you know how quickly they seem to go by even if the car is going slowly, so I don’t think poor Lindy got more than a backview and she was so excited about Jackie! I got a quick glimpse and saw that she had a big strawberry pink organza stole around her shoulders, but the main impression was that they were both laughing and seemed to be having such a good time! Very natural and informal and it is such a nice change from some of the old stuffed shirts.
The next day I did go out to Carp – just set out from here around 9:30 and got there in less than an hour – had a cup of coffee and then came home. I gave the children their lunch at school so I didn’t have a rush and stopped at Simpson-Sears on the way home but saw nothing enchanting! Lea looked pretty well and seems to be getting on all right, but of course their odd ways and method of living amazed me as much as ever! The house was in even a worse mess than usual! Poor Lea! We had a nice holiday weekend for the Queen’s Birthday – you are amused at me saying this and not Whit. but Whitsuntide is not recognized publicly in Canada or the States, and it just so happened that the Monday nearest to 24 May, Victoria Day, happened to be Whit. this year. We had Cec’s birthday on Monday and gave him a sports shirt, a key case and a new cigarette lighter and a big bag of fireworks! We had a steak and apple pie for dinner and then lit all the fireworks and had great fun. The weather was not bad most of the weekend so we got quite a lot done in the garden but since Cec has left it has been weird – we had frost a couple of nights and half of our 18 tomato plants are dead I think, and it has been wet and cold with just two nice days I think. We haven’t had any really nice weather since that hot few days I told you about earlier. Of course the lilac and tulips have lasted wonderfully and the garden still looks lovely with them although the tulips have been out for about 3 weeks, but none of the seeds are doing a thing. Do you remember Monie sent some Morning Glory seeds and one or two others last year? I planted them more than two weeks ago but there isn’t a sign – probably rotted in the ground! We are having an awful time with crab grass in the flowerbeds as the new soil we got last fall must have been full of it. Cec and I weeded all the beds and got them clear before he left, and they are just as bad again. As you can imagine we are all missing our Daddy very much, and that first weekend seemed a week long – particularly as I had the cold. However, on the Sat. morning I had made an appointment to take the children to have their portraits done in pastels! One of the stores in town advertised this artist giving sittings – 2.50 a black-and-white sketch and 5.00 for pastels, and so I went and looked at some of his drawings one day and thought they looked quite nice, so decided to have the children done as a surprise for Cec on Father’s Day, which is actually June 18th – the day he returns. The drawings took about 30 – 40 minutes each, and I think they have turned out very well – at least you can tell who they are! They are in profile and Lindy’s is very good I think – she looks quite animated and although not actually smiling she has a pleased look on her face, whereas Charlie who sat like a little statue the whole time looks very serious and so less like himself to me, but Myrtle thinks that his is better, so who knows! [I always thought it was lucky I had long hair, because Charlie’s showed the artist couldn’t draw ears!] I must get Cec to take a picture of them to send you so that you will get some idea. The colour is very good and he sprayed them with a fixative so they won’t smudge at all. After the portrait business we went to the Library and then on to Rockcliffe Park for lunch – hotdogs and ice cream cones! I just sat in the car but the children ran around and as usual thought R. Park the most wonderful place! The Sunday was a rainy day so it was very dreary, but this weekend was better although it rained both evenings and it’s pouring today (Mon.) Lindy went on her Brownie Picnic on Sat. and Charlie played with Jimmy, and then yesterday kind Margaret Savic asked us to dinner, so the time passed quite quickly. Oh, I forgot to tell you – last Thurs. I had a real spree. Before Cec left he said while he was away I should buy a coat, as the black bengaline one I had is very old now and is no longer waterproof, and this year one has really needed a spring coat, though some years it gets too hot very early. Anyway, I thought I would have a day in town, so I gave the children lunch and then went to town and to the bank. I began looking in the shops in Sparks St. but found that the season for spring coats was about over, and there were very few to choose from. I had thought I would get what they call an ‘all-weather coat’ – that is a coat which is waterproof, but not just a raincoat, and earlier they had some nice ones in brocade or tapestry, some reversible and so on, but I couldn’t find a thing I liked. So I thought perhaps I would get a nice silk print dress with three-quarter sleeves, because most of my summer dresses are very summery and sleeveless or pastel colours, and by this time I was down on Bank St. and prowling around some of the little dress shops, so I went into one and got into the clutches of a very charming gentleman! He was really very nice, but of course a great salesman, and when I asked for coats first he brought out some and I tried them on but didn’t care for them, then he brought out this one – lilac coloured and quite plain but with a small collar bound with black braid continuing all down the front. I tried it on and it looked so nice – it is waterproof and the material is a new thing- backing laminated onto a kind of plastic foam, which insulates against heat and cold. I hadn’t wanted mauve, but in the end I liked it so much I said I’d have it and then I looked at dresses and tried on such a pretty cotton satin in just the style I wanted and it fitted me and suited me so I took that too! Bang went $50! I wrote and told Cec I would be spreading the housekeeping money thin this two weeks! I am sending a piece of my new dress to show you as I shortened it to wear to the Savic’s yesterday.
I needed a new summer hat to go with all these, but felt I’d been extravagant enough for one day, so I got a hat form in a small turban shape, and some black tulle and some mauvy- pink flowers and Mary Orr is going to help me make a hat on Wed! So what with my new mauve coat, new pink suit, new flowered dress and the navy and white outfit you helped me buy, I am doing pretty well but I was very low in clothes as I got nothing last summer except the cotton dress you gave me and the cotton skirt and blouse to wear around the house, so I really needed quite a lot – oh yes, and I made myself that white and blue cotton dress too, but it is quite ‘bare’ and hot weather. I still have some tissue gingham to make Linda and me sundresses, but then I think we will be well set up. I feel that if we are going to go to England in two years, I had better begin to gradually build up a suitable wardrobe, as I won’t be able to suddenly dash out and buy everything I want at once, and I think this coat will be very good for travelling as it is very light but warm, and is loose enough to wear over a suit or a dress. The children were most impressed with my rashness, because after buying all these things I took them out and bought them both new sandals, and Linda a new pair of blue slacks, and they felt I was really going wild!
We had three nice postcards from Cec last Wed. from Belgium and then just now we got two airforms from Holland. He seems to be having a hectic time, but to be enjoying it and all his friends are determined that he should see every bit of their countries available! He was only in Belgium from Sat. morning till Sun. afternoon, but the things he did and places he saw with Charles Courtois would be enough for a week. Charles took him to spend the night with his uncle, a retired judge, and aunt and their family, at a lovely manor house in the country and he said they were all so wonderful to him. He was busy at the meeting at Holland, but was having the day off after he wrote and going to the Zuyder Zee.
Now he is in Denmark and as today is a Danish National holiday he will be sightseeing I expect. The weather had been mostly sunny but cool although it rained the day he wrote but that is better than too hot. We wrote to him this weekend and sent it to London as we are not sure of reaching Sweden in time and have no Swiss address. We wrote once to Holland, and talk of trying to keep things quiet, of course Linda wrote a poem “Mummy had a shot In the bot For her cold She’s getting old.” and of course I hadn’t intended to mention it! Also Charlie told him we let the well run run dry on Thurs. and I had to get Ken to come and prime the pump! No use trying to keep secrets! I am so glad that you and Auntie Muriel enjoyed your holiday so much at H.B. Cottage. Even we have had some hummingbirds on our lilacs lately! I am glad too that A. Muriel’s cough is better and I hope that you both feel quite rested and well again. Don’t forget that you have to go and have your blood checked every now and then. I will try and remember to get the white hair nets when I am in town this week and will send them as soon as I do. I will willingly get the shoes at Bata but you must be sure and give me the number on the shoe and the size and all particulars, because I can’t remember a bit what they looked like. I will send the recipe for the Lemon Loaf with the hair nets – I just had a piece with my lunch and it is delectable I think! I was just busy writing this this morning when here I saw Charlie strolling along the road! I dashed to the door thinking he must be ill or something, only to find that a boy had pushed him in a puddle at recess, and his pants were soaked, so his teacher had sent him home to change! Of course he was taking as long as possible over it! How wonderful that Monie and Owen are coming next year, and imagine bringing Hugh and Ginny [their nephew and wife]! Lucky, lucky people! Particularly Ginny – marrying a man with such a generous godmother! They will all have a wonderful time I’m sure and the young couple will have a real dream holiday – can’t you imagine Hugh getting the biggest kick out of everything just like his Dad! You were telling me about making the Java plum jam for Monie, and you sound as if it were quite a job, with all the big stones, but I am sure Monie will be delighted. I am looking forward to my stewed guavas when they are in season – any burny sugar cake or coconut candy?!! I must stop now and get this posted or you will think that I have collapsed. I shall rush down to George’s and mail this and then do the vacuuming I should have done this morning!
Lindy and Charlie have been home for lunch and send big hugs and kisses. Much love to A. Muriel and lots of love to you from Cyn.
A quick overview of the rest of 1958. School, in spite of an amazing 40 absences in March and April because of our West Indian trip, apparently went well for both of us, and come the summer, both of us successfully advanced to the next year. However, Charlie, with his birthday in December, was the youngest in his Kindergarten class and so the school decided, at the end of his Kindergarten year, that he should go into the non-accelerated class of Grade 1. Our parents spent the summer brain-washing him into accepting the fact that he would not have Linda’s admired teacher, Mrs Rueter, but would have the teacher our babysitter’s boy, Johnny Lockwood, had had. So we went happily off to school in September 1958, and at the end of the first week, Charlie came home in tears- they were going to move him into the accelerated class! The brain-washing had to be reversed, Charlie was integrated into Mrs Rueter’s Grade 1 and everyone was fine with it- except Mrs Lockwood who was miffed!
The church had grown both in adult congregation and Sunday School. Although still housed in the school, there were dreams of building a Hall or a Church, and various organizations had been formed. The Ladies Guild would meet in the fall, and hear a talk on Fancy Cooking by Mrs. Cecil Costain!
On the relatives front, there was news on both sides of the family. Little Mona, of the unsuitable (and unknown) job, was married in May, with her brother’s bride of the year before as one of her attendants, and no doubt wedding presents from Cyn and Carol.
On the Costain side, Carman and Leona Costain in Cambridge not only had a son, David, but also Carman succeeded in bettering his performance in hockey! I’m sure his work, too, was going well.
In the summer, the Moors- Dix, Cec’s eldest sister Merle, and their family- came through Ottawa, and the cousins finally met. John and Lorne were teenagers and Bruce was 8, a year older than Linda. The adults enjoyed their visit, met up with the Atchisons- the other sister Lea and family- and at some point (perhaps this summer, maybe in the next couple of years) the Moors moved from Port Arthur to Brantford in southern Ontario, which was much more possible to visit! We adored the Big Boys and got on beautifully with Bruce (not always true of interactions with Darryl Atchison, also 8, whom we saw 4 or 5 times a year.) The older boys were very kind to the younger cousins and we all enjoyed being a big family.
Cec went to the Spectroscopy Conference in Columbus in the summer and in August Linda had her 7th birthday with a slide as the big shared present in the summer. Charlie turned 6 just before Christmas. Both continued to do well in school, in spite of Charlie being in hospital in the fall- since neither of us know why, it can’t have been that serious.
In England, there was more serious news among Cyn’s friends. Amy Stainthorpe, who was wont to make acid comments to Cyn and Carol if letters were delayed, died in Newcastle, and Dr. Stainthorpe- Charlie’s godfather who had given Cyn away at her wedding, with Ruth as her bridesmaid- and his daughter Ruth Haynes would have received sad letters from both Cyn and Carol. Another death in Newcastle left no one to write to: little Stephen Mitchell was left without family when his grandmother Mrs. Scott died. His mother Irene – a dear friend of Cyn and Carol’s- and a year or two later his father, had died when he was a toddler- and his grandmother had been bringing him up, but their friends were horrified to hear that after her death the little boy of 6 had been sent to Australia as an orphan. Cyn, Dottie, and Nan had all moved away from Newcastle by this time, and no doubt heard of this after the event, but all worried about the fate of the boy. I am assuming this happened sometime in 1958 because Cyn’s Christmas parcel list, which had mentioned sending Stephen a ‘Frontier Set’ in December 1957, did not list him for 1958.
Nan’s move from Newcastle to Cheshire was recorded in Cyn’s scrapbook with a change-of-address card, and a picture of Sandy, whom I assume had successfully advanced to Grammar School in their new location.
The year ended with a happy Christmas for the Costains, with Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg and their adult children Agnes and Paul, coming for Christmas dinner.
This August letter refers to others in a way that makes it clear that July ones are missing. I’m sure she told her mother about her sewing projects leading up to the Governor General’s Garden Party, but the main event of late June/early July must have been that Linda had chicken pox- a mild case, but there is no indication of whether she missed the end of the school year, or just spent the beginning of the summer holiday in July in bed. This letter, however, fills in the details of the end of July, although nothing momentous happened!.
P.S. Think the T-shirts will be lovely for the children – they always need them. No sign of the B. Coat – perhaps they will all come together! We are having an absolute plague of mosquitoes this summer – even worse than that first summer in Acacia – remember? Even at midday they swarm around you outside & we are always chasing them in the house. The children seem to be getting immune! Not me though! Box 330 R.R.1 Ottawa 1st August 1957.
Dearest Mummy, Thank you so much for your Wedding A. Air mail yesterday & also your last written on 22nd July – not forgetting Marg’s & Monie’s letters about the wedding which I enjoyed immensely. It was nice getting them so quickly before the wedding seemed all over & done with, & it sounded very pretty. I asked Mill if she could send me a snap for my scrapbook sometime or a newspaper cutting, but I hope that someday we will see the colour pictures too.
Hugh & Ginny will be settled in their home now & feeling very domesticated I expect! I hope that they did get our wedding present – the writing on the invitation was very squiggly & in the address it said “- – – – Seaman Mich. Rd” at least that is what it looked like, so I only hope it got there! Of course, I remember well that once you are married & a housewife it’s pretty hard to get down to those thankyou letters! I haven’t heard from any of the Sim. girls yet, but didn’t expect to as I took months to write to them. However I’m not so bad – I only owe 7 letters & 3 others to “only-at-Christmas-time” people! Did Amy tell you she had heard from me? Our letters crossed after Christmas & then she wrote again later & I just replied about a month ago so I thought I was due for a cutting remark!! I have just been filling in a form to get Lindy a Library Card of her Very Own! I thought I would get it for her birthday as she is quite excited at the thought of it – she has always previously got a book on mine you know, but when she is 6 & in Grade 1 she can have her own. We still go down about once a week & all enjoy prowling around the shelves! Cec & I thought we would get her one of these little doll’s push chairs – you know the thing I mean?
Her little pram is really very small for her now & as she is playing with her dollies quite a lot at the moment we thought she’d enjoy it. She’s a funny little girl – she saw a picture of one of these carriages in a catalogue last week & was thrilled, but it never enters her little head to ask for one for her birthday! Charlie now – he’s already made up his mind what he wants for Christmas! Talking of Charlie – I haven’t told you our most Interesting bit of news!! Charlie had Chicken Pox!! The last time I wrote to you I was just saying it hadn’t appeared – that was the Friday. Next day, the Blachuts were going on a picnic & suggested we went too, so we got already (I baked on Fri. night & made the sandwiches & put them in the fridge) & set off about 9:15 in the morning as it was roasting hot weather & we wanted to get there before it was too hot. They took us to a lovely place on the other side of the river – about 25 miles above Ottawa – there was a bay with nice white sand & shallow water, with willow trees along the bank for shade & only about 2 or 3 other people. Quite the loveliest place we’ve ever found around here. We settled under a tree & bathed & played with the children in the water & it was really heavenly. All this time Charlie played under the tree with the sand & a truck & I decided just to let him be as all the other children were in the water but I didn’t want to force him. Then I went to play with him & here among the mosquito bites on his back (he had his trunks on) was a red spot with a blister on top! Janek had had C. P. but not Daniel or Peter, but fortunately they hadn’t been close to him! However, we ate lunch & had another bathe & then set off for home about 2, leaving the Blachuts still there. It was a good thing we did leave then anyway, because on the way home my shoulders began to burn & Lindy’s back got red & the two of us got a fine sunburn! Cec only got his face burnt but my back & shoulders were sore & are busy peeling away now! Lindy had been a bit tanned from the paddling pool, so she didn’t peel, but it was one of those hot slightly hazy days when you don’t notice getting burnt – till afterwards! Charlie only had a few spots that day, but on the Sunday he got more & felt a bit sorry for himself & on Monday he was spotty all over & had a little temp. & felt quite sorry for himself. His spots were horrid – much worse than Lindy’s – all big & blistered on top which turned yellow & crusty & then formed a black scab. You know how he likes to look “pretty” so he was quite upset at all those things on his face (round his eyelids quite badly & at the corners of his mouth) & kept coming to me & saying “I’m so worried about all these awful spots. Perhaps they’ll never go away”!! Fortunately it got much cooler & I put calamine lotion on the spots & he was very good about not scratching. While the black scabs were on he looked like a little Dalmatian puppy but most of them on his face have fallen off now, & although you can still see a slight discolouration there are no actual scars. On the Sunday we’d invited Santiago & Jerry Swalen (Jerry & Mary – young American couple – he is Cec’s Fellow this year – Mary is down in Boston for the summer finishing her M.A.) to dinner, so we phoned & told them about Charlie & they said they thought they’d had C.P. & anyway didn’t care! So they came in the afternoon for tea & then I fed the children at 6 & we had our dinner later – I had my old friend Jo Mazotti, Salad & Melba Toast & a very nice new recipe for a Lemon Refrigerator Cake. They seem to enjoy it & ate lots which was pleasing to their hostess! All that week I was kept on the hop with Charlie – particularly as Pauline from next door arrived the day after her mother called & the breach was healed! Of course Jimmy is still the favourite but he hadn’t had C.P. so Lindy used to dash off & play with him & poor little Charlie was quite heartbroken! Pauline had had C.P. & was very kind & used to come and play with him sometimes but he was so happy on Sat. when he could play with ‘Dimmy’ again! We were invited to Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg’s on Sat. evening & our W.A . [Women’s Auxiliary, church organization] was on Friday so I decided I had better make me a new dress. I think I told you I had bought some pure silk black shantung a little while ago. Well I cut it out and made it exactly the same as the white & black one I made for the Garden Party. It is such a nice pattern – only takes 2 yards of 44” material. It has a shallow boat shaped neckline if you remember, & I got some black lace edging & made a frill & put it around the neck & I think it looks rather nice. I made a black sash to tie instead of a belt & on Friday I wore it with my pink hat & on Sat. I wore it with a pink chiffon scarf tied at the sash & pink earrings.
The earrings were old white flower ones – kind of crocheted – I’ve had a year or so & I dyed them! Think I’ll dye old white gloves to match!! This dress was a record I think – I had it cut out and begin sewing Thursday afternoon & had it all finished & ready to wear by Friday tea time! Afternoon. Myrtle popped in then “Just to see if I looked the same – she hadn’t seen me for so long!” So I said goodbye to catching the post at noon – however if I mail this tomorrow perhaps it will repeat the 4 day record of my last letter. By the way Myrtle sent her love! I haven’t yet told you what we did on the 26th- well, we booked a babysitter and decided we would go out to dinner, but otherwise hadn’t got into details, then on the Thurs. Phyl phoned me (Phyl & Alex have their anniv. the same day you remember) & invited us around for a drink & suggested we go out together, so that is what we did. We went around there about 7:30 & had a couple of drinks & then we went to a place on Rideau St. – La Paloma – for dinner. Fanni & Teddy had told us it was very nice but maybe we were unlucky for Cec & I were very disappointed. It was quite pretentious you know, but I thought the food was poor – I had fried chicken & it was just dry & tasteless. However we didn’t really let it worry us & had a good time. Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg’s party was quite a big one – all the Spectroscopy Dept. All the Fellows except one are leaving this summer & fall, so I think it was a kind of farewell gathering. Velasco (the Spaniard) has already gone of course; Dr. & Mrs. Narasimham are sailing for England today, en route to India. (They were coming to have dinner with us last week & we had to cancel because of C. Pox.); then later the Dresslers (Swiss); Dalbys, (Canadian); Moores (N. Zealand – going to California); Swalenes (U.S.) – leaving us only Dr. Liu (Chinese)! It means a big change in the group with 6 new Fellows all at once –Cec is having an Englishman. This week I am catching up a bit on my entertaining. Last night I had Phyl & Bill Dalby here with Phyl’s mother who is visiting & Dr. & Mrs. McClay. Dr. McC. is a young fellow who is Assist. Prof. at the U. of New Brunswick but who had thought of trying for a Fellowship with Cec instead. He finished his Ph.D. a year ago (Cec was one of his examiners) & when he took the teaching job instead Cec suggested he spend the summer here. He is a queer duck – a terrific bore if he once gets going – but his wife is such a nice girl!! Must stop & get dinner – “Dimmy” is coming to have dinner with the children! Hugs from them & lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn.
As Cyn and Cec prepared for their visitors in the summer by buying a dining table and chairs and writing letters about the arrangements to Carol in St. Vincent, they heard from family in the west, where Cec’s sister Merle and her husband Dix planned to come to Toronto, visiting Uncle Milton and Aunt Lily, returning Lea and Daryl who had been staying with them to Ottawa, and meeting Linda and Charlie for the first time. It was going to be a summer full of visitors!
However, ordinary family life went on, celebrations over Mother’s Day in May, and Cec’s attendance at the Spectroscopy Conference in Columbus, Ohio in June, which was, as it had been the previous year, the week of his birthday on June 16th.
The Spectroscopy Section had their photograph taken on the steps of the N.R.C. on Sussex Drive, with Dr. Herzberg in the front row wearing glasses, and Cec the tallest in the back row left.