This is the third letter from Carol’s friend, who has lent her beach-side cottage to Carol so she can take her visiting sister for a local holiday to Villa which they knew from childhood, while Mrs Edmunds helps Lewis seek treatment in Toronto.
4/6/56 [but postmarked June 7th.]
My dear Carol, Many thanks for your second letter of the 30th received the day before yesterday. It was so nice to hear you say how settled you feel already in Villa & that you & Trix are going to be happy there – it’s lovely for you having Fred’s car which will solve all the transport problems for you won’t it? Thank you for being so kind to my Prince, & I’m sure he’ll be much happier now that you are there to fuss him – pussy too. At the moment Lewis plans on returning the first week in July – I’m sorry to say he’s not as well as he was on arrival & is somewhat depressed about himself – of course Carol quite betweenourselves I don’t think there is anything the Doctors can do for him now – Glynn told me that a long time ago but saw how keen Lewis was on this trip to Canada & how much faith he had in this blood specialist here & hoped for a miracle, so said the best thing to do was to let him come. The Dr told me the same thing the last time I saw him & said he would give Lewis some treatment for the weakness of his legs, (which is getting worse!) but we didn’t tell Lewis this naturally, & I don’t want him to lose hope. I shall be very thankful to get Lewis safely home again – the responsibility weighs somewhat heavily at times, especially with the bad news of Glynn. After being without news since I left Villa I had a letter yesterday written from Hospital where he had had an internal operation 2 days ago! Another letter this morning saying he was still in Hospital & in pain but was hoping to be out in a few days time. I knew he was far from well when he went home & I only hope he will soon recover now & return to his old self. I do hope you are making use of the radio and the piano? It’s sweet of you to bother to weed Carol, but please don’t work too hard – you’re supposed to be on holiday you know. You don’t mention your little dog so I presume you left her behind – what a pity – Prince would love to have her I know. We’ve had all the seasons since we arrived here, weather unknown in Toronto for hundreds of years! June 1 & 2nd were bitterly cold, then some miserable wet days & now today we’re back to Summer again – I hope it stays now. I’m still hoping to see Niagara Falls but I am dubious about taking Lewis – yet it would be too disappointing to miss seeing one of the world’s wonders. With very kindest regards from Lewis to you both & with my love, Affectionately, Dorée.
And here the story ends. If Cyn mentions Dorée Edmunds or Lewis in any future letters, we may find out some more details about their health- or Prince- but without Carol’s letters there is no closure. The only hint we get in Cyn’s summer letters is an offhand comment about the cook leaving- apparently Dorée’s ‘staff’ will be one short on her return!
This is the second of three letters written to Carol (Dearest Mummy) in St. Vincent by a friend who is in Canada for medical appointments, and has lent her beach-side house to Carol so she and her sister can leave Kingstown and enjoy a local holiday.
June 2nd 1956
My dear Carol, I was simply delighted to get your letter yesterday afternoon and to know that you and Trixie were going out to Villa on Monday. It was sweet of you to be so concerned about Prince on my behalf as I am so glad to hear that he was all right. It’s only natural he would be fretting but I know he will be so much happier when he has your company & affection- he loves a fuss! You will have had my letter from Barbados long ago & will no doubt have already heard of our safe arrival here? Our flight was smooth all the way with lovely weather, but very tiring & we were both glad to reach journeys end. Lewis stood the trip very well on the whole but is quite certain that he could never have attempted it alone, or be able to go about Toronto on his own, & I am thankful I was able to accompany him. The Medical matters are progressing well- the eye specialist advises quite definitely against an operation which relieves my mind greatly & re-assures Lewis that there is nothing more to be done but to accept the verdict, & to make the best of things as they are. The Dr. is giving Lewis a course of treatment for the weakness in his limbs which will take about 4 weeks. I’ve had a sinus x-ray & I am now awaiting the results – will let you know. The weather was cold on arrival, warmed up for a day or two & then yesterday the 1st of June was a freezing day! It’s somewhat better this morning so I hope summer is on the way at last! Toronto is a lovely city & the shops full of temptation – the prices are very high as you know so it’s no use wanting too many things! We were so glad to know that your brother is now out of the hospital & do so hope that his recovery will soon be complete – it’s been worrying time for you all. Yes, we knew about poor Mrs. Hetherington & I’m so sorry for her & the Doctor – it’s going to be a long time before she’s well again I fear & she’ll need all her courage & patience to sustain her – & there’s so little one can do to help. Well dear I am thinking so much about you & hoping that all is going well & that you are quite happy & comfortable at Villa & that you found all in order. Please don’t hesitate to ask me about anything that may not be as you wish it to be. With my love to you & my kindest regards to your sister & a huge hug for my Prince please. Affectionately yours, Dorée.
This letter to Carol is from her friend Dorée Edmunds, who is lending her St. Vincent cottage on the beach to Carol and her sister so they can get out of town and have a relaxing time, swim, and dog-sit!
The Crane Hotel Barbados
My dear Carol, I was so sorry we didn’t meet again before I left & I tried to phone you on Sunday but just couldn’t get through. Well, here we are on the first stage of our journey & so far, so good. The Hotel is most comfortable & the food is excellent. I simply hated leaving Prince on Monday & have been wondering so much how he is getting on. Oscar promised to sleep in the house which I hope he did, & both he & Christine promised faithfully to give Prince as much attention & petting as possible. I shall be so glad when you reach the house & I know Prince will be delighted to see you. Do please write soon to The Windsor Arms Hotel Thomas Street, off Bloor Street Toronto. Canada. and give me just all the news! I’m thinking so much about you & hoping you will spend a happy time at Villa & have no regrets. I do hope your little doggie will be with you too – I’m sure Prince will welcome her & be sweet to her. I tried to remember everything before I left, but if there is anything I failed to do or tell you please don’t hesitate to ask me will you? Don’t forget to use the tomatoes grapes & cabbages, also paw-paws, & the carrots need thinning out too, and do cut the flowers won’t you? How sad for Mrs. Hetherington – I do hope she will get on as well as possible & not get too despondent, but it’s a long weary business, & there’s so little anyone can do to help. Lewis is looking fairly well & I hope will not find the long flight too trying tomorrow, the plane leaves at 10 a.m. I shall be so thankful when we reach our destination – I’ll write you again from Toronto. With my love to you & kindest regards to Mrs. Otway [Auntie Trix] & I do hope you both enjoy Villa. A big hug for Prince for me please & regards to the staff. Yours affectionately Dorée.
Today I think the post has to address the current events of April 9 2021, because the lives of both Carol and Cyn were touched by them in the 20th century, and they would care about what happened in this one.
First, La Soufrière, the volcano in St Vincent, erupted today, as it did in 1902 when Carol was a child, and again in 1979 when I was teaching in Nigeria, and getting world news far away from my family, Carol then living with Cyn and Cec in Ottawa. Thankfully, the world has better systems in place now, scientists- and earthquakes- warned of the increased volcanic activity, and St. Vincent’s emergency plan was put into action by the Prime Minister so people in possible danger were warned and are being evacuated now. But it is a time of uncertainty in pandemic times, and we are concerned about the people of St.Vincent.
Secondly, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, died today. When Cyn stood in the London crowd in 1947, with her radio broadcasting the royal wedding service to her friends and the people around her, I’m sure they all wished the royal couple a long and happy marriage, but I doubt they visualized it lasting 73 years. Both Carol and Cynthia, confirmed royalists, would want us to acknowledge Prince Philip’s constant service to the UK and Commonwealth and support for the Queen, and join in expressing sympathy for his family and the people who knew him.
The big event in my grandmother Carol’s life in February 1955 was the Royal Visit. Princess Margaret, sister of the young queen, was to make an official visit to St. Vincent, and the public would be allowed to ‘meet’ her at a Garden Party. Carol and her sister received invitations to this, and instructions on how to dress and behave (!), attended, I hope enjoyed themselves, and sent the ephemera to Cyn (probably because there was a 3 year old Linda interested in princesses.)
Princess Margaret must have liked St Vincent, because later she made a home on the island of Mustique, the Hazell’s holiday island that Carol’s brother Fred would sell in 1958!