May 5 1954

Before I begin this letter, I want to say a few things about Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, in the 50s, and the area I grew up in. It has changed so much during my lifetime! But when Cyn and Cec moved to their new home- about 5 miles east from the Parliament Buildings- they had moved outside of the city limits, and were writing letters from ‘Rural Route #1’. (Now Ottawa extends 40 km. further east and south, with all the farmland turned into residential suburbs, apartment buildings, malls and highways.) Their duplex was on the Montreal Road- literally the highway between Ottawa and Montreal- and it was a good thing it had a clearly defined front garden screened by lilac bushes to mark the boundary for the children, because the road was a danger. The highway separated two suburbs, new since the war, existing only of single family dwellings- no shops or other amenities. On the other side of the highway was Cardinal Heights, with old Mrs Cardinal and her daughter living directly across from us in a low white house, and behind those houses, a gentle hill with roads, houses, and space for schools and churches as yet unbuilt. On our side was Rothwell Heights, built on the old Rothwell farm land, and it descended behind the 8 houses along our side of the highway, in three built-up levels down to the Ottawa River- the hill between the second and third level being quite steep, with modern houses clinging to the slopes, (and in the future, school buses getting down to the third level on a particularly icy day and being unable to get up either of the roads out again! Fun for us!) The original Rothwell farmhouse was a lovely stone building on the Cardinal Heights side of the highway, about 4 houses east at the bottom of the hill we were perched on, and after it, there were only fields and occasional farm houses on either side of the road and surrounding the 2 suburbs, until the village of Orleans, predominately French-speaking, 5 miles further east. Within Rothwell Heights there were amazing ‘modern’ feats of architecture, as well as ordinary houses, and because of the levels, tree-d areas left wild.
At the edge of these suburbs, just within the city limits, the National Research Council had a vast area adjoining the Canadian Forces Base, where they were expanding and building (white buildings) more offices and laboratories as well as structures for their experiments- a wind tunnel being the most obvious, although the NRC headquarters remained on Sussex Drive in downtown Ottawa, where Cec’s lab was. City buses came out as far as the N.R.C. and turned around, so Cyn would have had a 1/2 mile walk if she wanted a bus. And no sidewalks anywhere, along the highway or beside the roads in our areas, so wheeling prams would have been a challenge! Cyn had to drive a few miles into town to buy groceries, and if she needed the car, they loaded the children into the back seat (no car seats or seatbelts then!) and drove Cec in to work along the loveliest route through Rockcliffe Park and along the river cliffs to Sussex Dr., passing the Governor General’s and the Prime Minister’s houses before reaching the NRC building. (The road through the park wound along the cliffs and Charlie and I would kneel up on the slippery back seat of the Chrysler facing backwards and urge the parent driving to go faster, as we slithered from side to side around the corners.) Then we would return at 5 o’clock and pick him up from work. This trip had the advantage of having few traffic lights, so Cec’s commute was much less of a problem than the traffic Cyn describes when she writes of visiting friends in the west end of the city. However, until the Queensway was built in the early 60s (?) there was no way to bypass the tangle of lights and traffic in Ottawa, and so Cyn was, at this point, separated from her friends- the Douglases and Garrets and other NRC families in the Rockcliffe area, and the Ganders and Forsyths in the west end.
That was the Ottawa of my childhood- a small city, with stores, cinemas, public libraries, a CN Hotel- the Chateau Laurier, a museum or two, schools and two universities, but no proper theatre, and not much diversity- a lovely Italian restaurant was the height of sophistication! In addition to the government buildings, there were embassies and their ambassadors’ residences, and it was a civil service town- but directly across the Ottawa River in Hull, Quebec, was E.B. Eddy, an odorous paper mill, with log booms floating constantly down the river. With my Baby Boom generation growing up, Ottawa and Hull expanded continually- as did the rest of the country! The schools I went to were only a couple of years old when I started- and grew bigger as I attended. My high school, built beside the new Queensway Highway, was surrounded by green fields my first year- cows came and looked in the windows- but by my fifth year, there were apartment blocks on one side and a strip mall/grocery store/gas station on the other, and the school had a second floor and a tower, having grown each year. My university, Trent, was the same- smaller in student population than my high school and only five years old in my first year, 1969. It was a positive, forward-looking time to be growing up, the government investment in scientific research made it a Golden Age for the NRC, which was nice for my father and his fellow scientists, and Canada would gradually develop a social welfare net over time- Cyn is getting Family Allowance for both children in 1954, and, given her propensity for ending up in hospital, it is fortunate that a universal public health care system came along in the 60s. But this is getting ahead of myself- back to our new house!

Box 330

Ottawa R.R.1 (Rural Route)


Wed. May 5

Dearest Mummy,
First of all, I got the batteries from Mr. Pridham today & have just packed them up for mailing tomorrow – at least I hope tomorrow but it depends if Cec can get to the P.O.- he has been working so hard lately – goes at 8:15 & often isn’t back till after 6 & then back again after dinner- tonight left at 7.0 & then isn’t back till after 12.0,- so he doesn’t have much time for stopping on the way. However, he hopes that the worst will be over in 2 weeks time, so we will both be thankful! He has everything working now & is hoping to get results – just to get the whole equipment working is so complicated – sometimes as long as 2 days to heat the big valve up to the temp. he wants & certain pressures etc. before he actually begins to use it & of course it isn’t safe to leave for long without attention, so it is a very demanding business!
I have so many things to thank you for & have been so long in writing I’ll thank you first of all & then make my excuses! Three letters actually- 2 A.M. forms, 7 & 26 & one nice long letter on 22nd, & we all enjoyed them so much-particularly your adventures at your cottage by the sea- the animals!!! I nearly screamed just reading about them! Linda is just like me & goes into hysterics over a fly or a little beetle, so what the pair of us would do I can’t imagine! Also I want to thank you so much for Charlie’s 2 parcels- he was so pleased to have a parcel for himself & Lindy was very intrigued & not at all jealous! The little red plaid overalls are so cute, I think- Charlie looks sweet in red, whereas it is inclined to make Lindy look a little washed out, & I have just ordered him a little red “windbreaker” jacket like the green one I got Lindy last year, so he should look very smart! He is as pleased as Punch when he has on something new & strokes his fat little tummy & struts along! They are a very good fit by the way- I have to move the buttons on the straps to make them a little shorter & the legs are just a shade long, but the waist is fine & his legs will grow!

Ruth and Richard Haynes.

Talking about making them for Ruth’s boy – have you seen a picture of him? Amy sent me some snaps & he looks a lovely boy, but huge! He must weigh more than Linda let alone Charlie!

Amy and Charlie Stainthorpe with their daughter and grandson.

The little white T-shirt is so nice & just what I like best for Charlie & I must tell you that the make “Ladybird” is quite the best I have come across. Margie told me about it ages ago, & said they kept their shape so well & the necks didn’t stretch or anything & I got one for Linda & have certainly proved it as most of the others go shapeless in no time, so I was particularly pleased with your choice.
The little packet with Charlie’s Sudermo & the wee purse for Lindy came a few days after the other & Lindy was so tickled with her purse! We have been using the Sudermo on Charlie- actually his eczema has been better these last 3 or 4 weeks but we have come to the conclusion that nothing he eats or nothing we put on it really makes any difference. Suddenly for no reason it all dries up & then suddenly he gets another patch – we have tried 2 prescriptions of ointment from Dr. W. & your Sudermo & they all relieve the itch & stop him scratching which is the main thing, but I think the real cure is the fresh air & sunshine & now he’s out more it’s having effect. It was awfully sweet of you to send it though & it has a much nicer smell than the others!
I must tell you about Lindy and her purse – she was so tickled with it & I gave her pennies & Cec gave her 5¢ to put in & she was very pleased with her money. Cec said she could put it in her penny bank, but I’d said something about “you could buy things with money”, so she told her daddy no- it wasn’t for her penny bank, it was to buy things with. Then Cec asked “What things?” so Linda thought for a long time & then said “Groceries”! In the end she came shopping with me on Sat. & Cec & I gave her a bit more to put in her purse & she decided she’d buy herself a book, so we went to Mr. Dube’s & she settled herself down in front of the rack of children’s books & you can imagine! She is really too young to choose & got quite confused & just picked up anyone – then she saw a “Little Lord Jesus” one, as she calls it but as she already has 2, I dissuaded her from that! Any one I suggested she would say “No” & grab another & I would look at it & find it was much too old for her or something & we had quite a time! In the end she finally attached herself to one called “Please Come to my Party” about a little boy having a birthday party & took it to Mr. Dube & gave him her purse! She had enough for a chocolate bar too!!
If you remember when I wrote last I was saying Lindy was getting a cold I thought. Well it never did turn into a cold, but she got very miserable, poor little thing & was really very poorly all week. On the Thurs. evening her temp went up to 103 & we decided to call Dr. W. if it wasn’t down by the morning, but when we lifted her at 11 p.m. she was quite cool again & in the morning it was normal. Such a business to get her to stay in bed, but Thurs. & Fri. she was in bed most of the time, & by Sat. felt better. She didn’t eat anything for 3 or 4 days but got back her appetite fairly well & is now eating very well – for her! Actually she was poorly & not like herself for about a week or more, but by the end of last week she suddenly seemed to get really well & full of pep! It was such a lovely change- her eyes sparkled & her cheeks were pink & she was running around – & even her hair curling more than usual! It made us realize that even though she has been well all winter it was a long time since we’d seen her so full of fun. Of course the weather is getting nicer all the time & she is out more & it all makes a difference.
Poor old Charlie has had a bad time too – the Friday Linda was ill in bed he was playing on the sofa in the afternoon & I just went into see Linda & I heard a bump- not very bad – but ran & here was Charlie on the floor just about to yell. I picked him up & he cried and buried his face in my shoulder & I shushed him & then feeling rather damp- from tears I thought – was about to move his head to my other shoulder when I found it was blood! My blouse & his shirt & overalls were drenched & it was pouring from his mouth. I took him & bathed it at once, but it was bleeding so I couldn’t see what had happened until that evening, actually. Linda’s little chair was by the sofa & when he fell he must have bumped his chin on it (there was a bad bruise under his chin) & his top teeth went inside his front lower teeth (not having any side teeth to stop them) & cut a great gash right through his gum. After the initial shock he didn’t make much fuss about it- we gave him soft foods for a few days & it healed well, but I think it must have loosened his lower teeth as he is still very wary of biting & will give back a cookie for me to break into pieces rather than bite it. Also, the shock seemed to quite upset his usual contented little nature & he has been quite weepy & wanting “Up! Up!” all the time which is most unlike him, but he is gradually getting over it. However, all these events & demanding little children have kept Mama on the go, so that is why I have been so long in writing!

Remember my mentioning the Calamans? He (John) is English from Oxford & Esther is Swiss, & they were married last summer & came over here in Sept. Anyway, they had a son 10 days ago so we had John to dinner on the Monday. They remind me a little of Gordon & Gunborg – not at all in appearance, but he is quiet spoken & she is very vivacious & lively. That same Monday we had snow again, but on the Wed. the temp. began to rise & we had some gorgeous spring weather – in fact on Sat. & Sun. we were out all day without coats – right until 9 p.m. Sun. evening – & not a leaf on a tree yet!

You will be amused to hear we are gardening busily!! But this is the first time we’ve had a decent garden & we are going to do our best! Actually this hill is just rock! Mr. Scott had to cart in soil & manure etc. & has built the garden up with beds of soil, held by a little stone walls, but he has worked hard over it & has made it very nice. The front is like this:

the single bed on the right of the drive is empty and we are digging that up & going to get plants. Cec is very keen on canna lilies – do you know them? They are a red lily which flowers all summer & we thought they would be nice as a centre with maybe white flowers on either side & a border. The bulbs are lovely- the bed is packed full- crocuses are over now but the scillas & grape hyacinths are out & a little pink & white hepatica, the daffodils are just coming & the tulips are in bud. The other bed at the side & along side of the house has masses of poppies & irises & lilies & seedlings of marigolds etc. The back has just a little bed along the edge of the terrace, but Mr. Scott says the hillside is a mass of wild poppies. We have bought a lawnmower, spade (small size!) & clippers! Really going into business!
Must stop now, but will write again soon – a great big hug from Linda & Charlie & lots of love from us all- Cyn.

September 5 1952

31 Acacia Ave.


Friday 5th Sept.

Dearest Mummy,

I was determined to wait this week until I could write a decent letter, as I seem to have been writing such scraps lately, but although we seem to have subsided slightly from our spate of entertaining I have been busy just the same. I bottled peaches & tomatoes 2 evenings this week & did the ironing – I never seem to get the latter done during the day- when Lindy is asleep in the afternoon I get started, but I hardly get one shirt done it seems when I hear “Ma-ma-ma-ma”! I am quite pleased with my bottling- I have 5 jars of peaches, 9 of raspberries & 4 of tomatoes so far, so the shelves downstairs are looking quite nice. I shall do more tomatoes I think & some pears maybe – they are easy to do, but with peeling etc. take up quite a bit of time, but the tomatoes are 50¢ a basket & peaches 75¢ a basket so it certainly seems a shame not to do them – of course we eat most of the basketful before we get around to bottling them!!

I said that we had slackened off in our entertaining, but golly! – we seem to have had a regular spree of having in & going out lately. Last night Cec brought one of the fellows home from the Lab. for dinner – Boris  Stoicheff (? spelling!) – do you remember his mentioning him. He is very jolly & nice & just loved his dinner – such a treat to feed! I gave them broiled chicken livers rolled in bacon; Provençal tomatoes (I can still smell the garlic!) au gratin potatoes; stuffed celery & olives & blueberry pie to follow. We were all as stuffed as the celery, but it was good! I did the chicken livers that way for Cec & I a week or so back and we liked them very much. Cec & Boris went back to work afterwards- Cec has been back a lot this week & is there tonight – trying to get his stuff working as some big bugs are going round tomorrow. On Wed. he didn’t go back but slept solidly except for 20 minutes for dinner, from 6 pm. to 7:30 a.m.! Monday was Labour Day – a holiday – & next day all the schools open again – I always feel such a joy & relief that it has nothing to do with me!! Cec was at home, but it was a dull, rainy day & we didn’t do much. We have the room upstairs still on the way, as Cec hasn’t had time to do anything this week, but he has cleaned & mended all the desk & I polished it & although it is old, it is a nice dark oak & looks good. I cleaned Cec’s old chair & it looks much better & Cec brought up the bricks & put up the bookcase. Now it looks so:

 The chest of drawers is in the midst of being sanded & we will re-stain & varnish, but if we get someone before it is done, we’ll put in one of the ones from our room in the meanwhile. There are 4 new Fellows coming to Cec’s department, so we hope we may get one if they are nice – there is quite a choice- English, Danish, Swiss & German! We’ve decided against the latter already! Our sitting room looks very nice, but most un-curtained now! I’ve heard nothing from Dottie yet, but Anne’s material has come (no duty) & although a bit of a surprise to me, I’ve decided it is cute. The surprise was because the animals on the cream background are much bigger than I expected – I’d have to send you about a yard of material for you to get an idea of what it is like!- & secondly, they are definitely cartoon-y animals – not natural as I expected. Horses & giraffes & rabbits & elephants are all the same size & have aprons & hats etc. on & one is pouring out tea & another has a sunshade & so forth! Linda loves it however, & when I put it over the side of her playpen she sat & looked at it for ages & pointed to the animals & said “Coo!”  Lee is going to lend me her machine to make it up, but I want to get the “rufflette” type tape first & anyway I’ve had no time! I sat down the weekend before Lindy’s birthday & sewed hard to get her little red-smocked dress done, but after all the smocking was done & I bound the neck the wretched thing wouldn’t lie flat & I don’t know what to do. The thought of pulling out all the smocking at the neck kills me, but I don’t see what else I can do – anyway I am discouraged with it – again!

I was going to tell you what our sitting room looks like now, but got distracted – it is wonderful to have so much seating space & since Cec vacuumed the chesterfield & chair thoroughly they look fine. You can tell they are quite new from the underneath of the cushions etc.- the top surface was just dusty & they smelled kind of musty as the basement apt. the fellow had was very damp. Of course they are kind of dark winey-red with a fine grey wavy line through, so don’t really go with the rug, but they are subdued so don’t look too bad. We now have the room arranged so: 

It still doesn’t look too crowded & we think one more lamp at the X will be all we’ll need. We are going to put your round mirror on the wall opposite the fireplace as it looks very bare now & I think it will show more there than in the dining room. Linda just loves the big armchair – she can’t quite climb into it yet, but with a little boost on her behind, she climbs up, then sits back like a little alderman – hand on each arm & beams & bounces as if to say “This is mine!”

I am going to go backwards now & tell you about our doings. Last Sunday we had Al McNamara & Betty to tea- their wedding is a week tomorrow & Cec is to be an usher – did I tell you? I had serious doubts as to whether to go because I have nothing to wear etc. & also my figure, but we’ve accepted for both & I’ll find something! Lindy is to visit Lee & Jim & Barry for the occasion! Anyway, Al & Betty came about 3:30 for tea & we sat & chatted & it came to 5:30 & I gave Linda her supper & still they made no move, so Cec took Linda to bed. When I took her milk up, he whispered to me “How about dinner? Are they staying?” So I nearly collapsed & Cec went on to say that when he invited Al originally he mentioned dinner, but changed it to tea so they would see Linda! I had nothing ready & felt most lazy & disinclined, so we went downstairs & at about 7 o’clock had to say “You’ll stay & have dinner with us, won’t you?” Whereupon it turned out Betty thought our tea was dinner! & they were full of protest etc. However they stayed & we had a cold drink & at about 8 o’clock Cec, the angel, saved the day by trailing Al out to wash the dishes & make a hot toasted sandwiches- bacon, tomatoes, cheese & mushrooms! – with tea or coffee, so I was saved! They finally left at 10:30, so they must have enjoyed themselves & so did we, although poor Cec never got any dinner that day! But we both felt that we had really got to know Betty & that we liked her & thought she was just the right kind of girl for Al. We are to go to her house on Mon. evening to meet the best man & bridesmaid.

On Sat. we had Dr. Al Bryce & his bride to lunch! Do you remember Al? He was at Oxford when Cec was at Cambridge & is now a Prof. at the Univ. Of British Columbia in Vancouver. He got married in June & drove east for a big meeting in Toronto & was just in Ottawa for the weekend. They were very booked up, so Cec asked them for Sat. lunch, which was fine except I had to go shopping on Saturday a.m. as I hadn’t gone on Friday because I went to the Dr. Cec told me Friday evening & with nothing in the house I couldn’t prepare anything & anyway my mind was blank- lunch is a horrid meal! Eventually I went to the Dominion with Margie & it was jam packed to the doors & I arrived home about 1 o’clock to find them already there! The girl is called Mary, & is blonde & pretty & seems very nice. Anyway, I rushed around & at about 2 we had lunch- soup, (Campbell’s – chicken & rice & cream of celery!) hor’s d’oeuvres variés (with shrimps, asparagus, liver sausage, egg, tomatoes, cucumber etc.) hot rolls, angel cake (bought) with fresh peaches & cream & coffee – so it turned out all right in the end! They left about 3:30 & then Cec was going around to Cy & Margie’s & taking Lindy for the ride, so I took one look at all the washing up & went along too!! Margie gave us tea- & what do you know?? – baby sister is due on St. Patrick’s Day!! We laughed & laughed & Margie was full of the fact that you had guessed! That’s not all – Margie told me in the morning & when I burst out with it at lunchtime, Al & Mary up & said they were that way too – just married in June, as well! Catching, isn’t it?! Lee thought she had a little Algy too but hers came to nothing & she was so disappointed, poor Lee. Actually, when we got back from Cy & Margie’s, Lee & Jim & Barry arrived to collect their stuff from the basement as they were moving into their new apt. So you can imagine when the lunch dishes got done. Lindy was just sweet with Lee – no shyness or strangeness with any of them, but she just went straight to Lee & hugged her & sat up on her knee & didn’t want to let her go at all, so there’s no fear that she has forgotten her Grannie.

As I said, I went to the Dr. on Friday & everything is fine he says. I gained 5 lbs. but I am still less than I was at this time with Linda & Algy seems to have bulged forth enormously lately! He is most active & kicks me around in fine style! I seem to be so normal with everything, the Dr. can’t find much to say to me except that everything is fine!

The previous day, Thursday, our furniture came & we spent the evening cleaning it & moving things around & on Wed. evening Cec went to Cy’s to a Men’s Bridge Party! On Tuesday we had Helen & Lynn Trainer, her brother Bill Dixon & her mother for coffee in the evening. Do you remember them? They came to us at Eastview (not the mother) not long after we were there – the brother was very shy & didn’t say a word & I was a bit bored as they talked university & “shop” so much. Anyway, Lynn has a job as Assis. Prof. at a Univ. in Kingston (Ontario) so they were bidding us farewell. The mother is very domineering & talkative, so maybe that is why her son & daughter are so quiet!

On the Monday evening, Peter Dynes, an English fellow from the Lab. came over to borrow our baby scales! He is going back to England on a visit, flying “tourist” & can only take 40 lbs. luggage, so wanted to weigh each thing. We were getting dinner ready, so of course invited him to stay & have it with us & he is a vegetarian! I was having macaroni & tomatoes, fried ham, salad & then vanilla pud. with fruit in, so he just ignored the ham & we ate it! He stayed till after 10 eventually too!

I was pretty worn out by then, as on the Sunday we had had June Lindsay and her friend Margaret to tea, & then gone to Dr. and Mrs. Herzberg’s in the evening. I don’t think I told you have poor June & her customary bad luck with George! Anyway, just as her Mother left, this friend from England, Margaret, arrived to stay with her. She is a very pretty, quiet-mannered girl & both Cec & I think nicer & easier than June herself! She was to stay with them in Ottawa, but the first week the 3 of them were going to a place Manitoulin Island (in a lake) for a holiday. However, George of course got sent to Boston at the last minute! His holiday just cancelled with no warning & the 2 girls had to go off to this place on their own. You can imagine how fed up June was, & to add to their misfortunes, on their arrival back in Ottawa afterwards, Margaret stepped off the train onto a rut in the platform & sprained her ankle very badly! It had to be x-rayed etc. and then kept up for days & altogether put another damper on their proceedings! George was away all this time & only was coming back 4 days before Margaret left for England, so altogether poor June was fed up. I went over to tea with them the previous Tues. with Lindy & was so sorry for them that I said they must come to tea on Sunday & we would take them a little drive around. By the Sunday, however, they seem to have been about quite a bit, but we drove them along the Aylmer Rd. & then back via the Champlain Island where we had ice cream cones- June probably thought it very plebeian!! We had quite a rush to get to the Herzie’s after taking them home & having dinner, but we managed & had a very nice evening- the conversation was quite general & interesting & I really enjoyed meeting all the different people.

The previous day (Sat.) was the day we’d gone shopping for Linda’s presents & bought all the furniture etc. but I don’t think I told you that on the Fri. evening we went to the Routley’s & had a very nice time. We enjoy both Angie & Paul very much & have great fun with them – we played a funny gambling game for chips & Angie & I ended by cleaning out our husbands. We didn’t get home till 1 o’clock & we had Pat, the thin girl from up the street, sitting for us for the 1st time. She didn’t seem to mind & we paid her & off she went, but about 10 minutes later Cec got quite an agitated phone call from her Aunt! Apparently Pat’s mother was away & she hadn’t told her Grannie where she was going & Grannie (+ weak heart) had spent all evening phoning around Ottawa for her! Auntie was quite nice, but was letting us know she’d been kept out of bed & asked us not to have Pat to babysit again till her mother came back! We haven’t asked her since & she apparently doesn’t know Auntie phoned us, but I’m sorry the kid got into trouble.

The Boveys sailed on Lindy’s birthday & we’ve heard nothing of them since. We had quite a pleasant evening their last visit, except that between us Leonard & I broke one of “their” glasses! Most unfortunate to happen with them there! We don’t really miss them although I miss exchanging notes over offspring with Connie!!

Now before I stopped, to answer quickly any outstanding ???? in your letters! I will send this to Auntie Trix by the way, but there is a Church Mag. from Amy & a Monsanto Chem. from the Bank I will send to St. V.  I have not sent your box of clothes yet – I procrastinated as usual after Ruth’s parcels cost me nearly $7.00!! (Did Amy tell you if they had any duty? I asked Ruth to let me know) Anyway, I can get the things you have thought of & shove them in the parcel before I send it. I wrote to A. Moo last week about the dress – it is really cute & fits nicely. We took a colour picture of her in it with a red bow in her hair so you will see it. I haven’t written to Mary Egan yet – will do! – wrote to Dottie, Nan & Irene about Algy- now owe the 2 former again for Lindy’s b’day presents! I never catch up! I wrote Gunborg a long letter last Monday & Cec took it to the Lab. to add a bit to Gordon & I find he still has it- the wretch! This is Sat. a.m. (just having my “11ses “– Cec’s leftover coffee!) & he’s has gone back to the Lab. His thing is working so we are all pleased! Lindy is asleep in her crib as it is miserable & dark & rainy – Mary’s little blue dress is still long for her, so I am saving it as she has plenty. I must get her warmer overalls & more little coloured shirts soon – the weather is funny & changeable now- really cold & chilly some days & then hot again.

I am very interested in all your doings & glad that you are having fun with Janie & Bill & the boys & that you & Janie are having good gossips! Sylvia & all of the Hutch’s seem very nice & I hope Sylvie’s wedding turns out well & that Victor is better than the rest of the Hutch. husbands– they sound a bunch of “weirds”.  A. Trix, as usual, sounds kind but overwhelming & your account of her b’room particularly sounds awful! I wouldn’t like to board with her & I’m glad you’re not staying long. Talking of b’rooms, reminds me of Lindy and her toidy seat & potty! I spoke too soon & after performing beautifully for a week has taken a dislike to them this week & won’t do a thing on either. I have been so patient & we have played about till 10 & after till I got no work done, but yesterday she just cried as soon as I put her on, so I have left it today. My friend Dr. Spock says they will train themselves during their 2nd year, & golly! it takes less time to do a few more diapers than sit with her for hours on the potty!

I was amused at the Bank giving you all that money- all very well, but it makes you wonder how many more mistakes they make in their favour which you don’t know about or notice. I meant to tell you I heard from my Father saying he was writing to you. He mentions Maud having started this little boarding house as if he would go there, but I am just sure that Maud wouldn’t dream of taking on the responsibility. I had another letter this week never mentioning it but all about the parcel, which he liked – especially the cheese- so I think it was just a sudden idea.

I forgot to tell you that the Pems came back for their stuff – they had shopped in Ottawa & spent time looking around, so hadn’t gone far when they remembered & the police didn’t stop them! Monie was so delighted to come back for another glimpse of Lindy!- she was sweet with her – played with her & walked her around & Lindy just loved it. Monie chose what she was to put on each day & really got a kick out of it I think. Forgot to say that the dog, Judy, was really good & we hardly noticed she was here. Lindy was very intrigued of course! Ford got up about 6 every morning out of habit & on Sun. & Mon. mornings had Linda’s bottle already warm & brought it upstairs for us at the 1st squeak! What a guest! Lindy doesn’t have her early morning bottle now but eats a piece of bacon and toast crust in her pen when we have breakfast! She is eating very well lately- 1/2 can of meat & even veg. without a murmur.

You mentioned Mrs. Graham in one of your letters & do you know, I don’t think I’ve spoken to her more than once or twice since you left- I never see her. She came out once to tell Cec & I that her older son had passed his exam but far from singing & leaping about, she was very nonchalant about the whole thing! She said she’d been schooling herself for the worst & that clever people never had bright children & that perhaps she was too clever!!! The boy came back from Labrador last week with a huge black beard!! He has shaved it off now, but it was a wonderful effort! The garden of Mrs. G’s pride looks like a jungle crop now – it is full of rank vegetation- weeds & huge tall zinnias higher than my waist with puce & orange & red flowers! Our patch is a bit weedy but I keep it down a bit & the petunias are doing nobly- we have two yellow snapdragons & even had a few nasturtiums. The potted plants are fine – the begonias flourishing & the fuchsia with lots of buds. Some of its leaves went yellow & fell off, so I have it at the back steps in the shade now. I have cut down the long traily thing & have a few shoots in water and hope to get roots and plant more!

Meant to tell you long ago that the veg. peeler is fine – nearly as good as my old one & getting better every day. Liked the sound of your new dresses very much – particularly the pink one & the white with orange squiggles! The pattern you sent of the one the girls gave you doesn’t look wildly exciting, but I’m sure it will be very nice & smart if they chose it & I am glad that you had a nice selection to take back with you. Lindy still loves her bear ‘Theodore” & takes him to bed with her always – no duty to pay, I meant to say. Our kitchen linoleum is still a joy & blessing- it covers the whole floor- such a job heaving it under the stove & fridg. & it does look nice. I was rash & spent h’keeping money on a sponge floor washer on a long handle last week & so can now wash the floor in 10 mins., without going down on my knees – lovely! I even enjoy washing it now!!

Ruth’s wedding was on Thursday but we sent no cable – actually I didn’t remember till about noon & anyway we were hard up! I had written, so I didn’t really see that it was necessary though Amy probably expected it!

Ruth Stainthorpe married Peter Haynes.

It is getting on for 12 – still raining & Lindy asleep, so I had better wash the b’fast dishes. We’ll post this this afternoon – hope it clears up & doesn’t drown us.

Lindy sends a big, big hug & kiss. She is getting very sweet about holding up her little face for a kiss when you ask her, but quite frequently licks you as well & once bit Cec’s nose!!

Must stop – love from Cec & lots & lots from Cynnie & all the children – Cyn.

P.S. Monday. Never got out on Sat – so cold & wet that I waited for Cec & the car & he didn’t come home till after 6. Very pleased, though, because his equipment is working so well & Dr. H. pleased & everyone – me too! Went over to Jim & Lee’s new apt. for tea yesterday – very nice but so new- just earth & fields around them – no roads yet or anything & not even hot water, though promised for this week. It has a long way out the other side of town – really country – no stores or anything nearby- I wouldn’t care for it much but after all it is just temporary for them as they will be building. The apt. is nice and like us at Ethel Street, they are “making do” with necessities so it still is a bit bare. They are to have no heating till the middle of Oct. & I think that is awful as the last few days & particularly nights have been very chilly. Cec put on our furnace last night & although today is lovely & sunny it is not warm & the house feels gorgeous. Going to post this now- lots of love- Cyn.

3.00.  Just got your letter of Sept. 2- thanks heaps. Sorry not to have said thank you for the $11.00 before- yes- we got it all right. I think this letter answers most of your other questions. Will send the shoe cleaner, potato peeler etc. with the “old clothes”. Love to all- Cyn

York May 5th 1929

Just a few notes on some of the friends and relations Cynthia is writing to her mother about. Baby Ruth refers to Ruth Stainthorpe, daughter of family friends, Dr. Charles Stainthorpe and his wife. Twenty years later, Ruth would be Cynthia’s sole bridesmaid, and Dr. Stainthorpe would give her away! Denis and Bobby Sheedy lived next door to the Ewings in Newcastle and had been friends since childhood, playing together with Cynthia and Nancy. I assume Edgar is the son, younger than Cynthia, of Chris and Katie Cooper. Granny Hazell’s will was written in 1927 (already posted) but I am not sure when she died. She seems to have recovered here. On the back of the envelope is Cynthia’s postscript: P.S. I’m writing to Granny H.

The ‘friend’ mentioned in the first paragraph is, of course, her period, a better euphemism than some she used later with me…

May 5th 1929

Dearest Mumsie,

I am so glad you like my letters, you may be sure I love writing them ever so, I did’nt feel so sad this morning as last week because I suppose I’m getting used to it. Mummy darling, I got ‘my friend’ yesterday when I was at the pictures I got a scare I can tell you, but I don’t think it’s very bad this time.

I have worn my blue coat every day this week as it is rather cold but it is much warmer today. I scrub my teeth always night and morning with the paste Mummy, as I ca’nt get the powder tin open but my teeth are getting nice and white and none of them are hurting now.

We have quite nice meals at B.G. now there are some things I don’t like, cheese and onions and things like that.

I am very sorry to hear about Dr. S’s accident it will be horrid, please give my love to Baby Ruth and Mrs. S. went you see them won’t you? I didn’t get your first letter till theirs and Mummy, I got this pad at Woolworths specially to write to you as it is thin and here it is now I don’t seem to be able to write much.

I like the frocks ever so Dearest they are lovely and the girls like them too, I wore the pink (which looks lovely with short sleeves) yesterday and my silk stockings you gave me and my pearls. The new frock is sweet Mumsie, I haven’t tried it on but it looks lovely. Thanks awfully for the chocs, Mummy mine, I’ve finished the little ones and all but two of the big one’s I shared them with the girls of course, and also the ones I brought, I’ve only Bobbie’s left now. Thank Guilly very much too dearie, and we do have jam at school only its nicer to have our own the little pots are sweet.

Sylvia has’nt come yet and the girls do not know if she is coming back at all. She is not a new girl but has been here a long time I think. I haven’t a special chum yet but Jessie takes me around and looks after me. Two other girls go up N/C way at end of term though neither there, Phyllis and Gertrude.

Please tell Dennis and Nan and Dot when I come back I’ll be a champion tennis player (I must say) and shall (not) win every set. Tell Dennis also that I am haveing a very enjoyable time and the air of York agrees with me greatly!

I haven’t been at all to the Baths yet as they are open air and Mrs. Palmer won’t let us go till it is warmer.

The Pics were glorious yesterday and Matheson Lang took the part of Sir Percy Blakeney, it was lovely there was a talkie film as well only it was rotten.

We don’t have to pay ourselves at all Miss John pays. Poor little Edgar, please give him & Chris & Mrs.C my love.

Oh Mummy Miss Ellet read out that last week, Miss Dart would have an eloqution class if there were enough wanted to learn, Miss Dart isn’t that thrilling.

Today is Military Sunday in York Mums and after church we saw all the soldiers coming back from the Minster, it was lovely, at church, Mummy, none of the girls or Mrs. Palmer sing the hymns and psalms and responses, they are quiet the whole time. 

It was so exciting getting a parcel from home, please send one again soon, with cake please cause we do’nt get cake every day. 

I wore my patent leather shoes today and it’s so sad that all the newness is worn off, won’t we be lovely when we are home. “Rob Roy” will be lovely for Nan she likes Scott’s and has read this one. Please get Marny a Collins book too, will you Mummy? She collects them.

Fancy my mummy in a mauve silk nightie how posh!

I am very sorry to here how ill poor Granny is, I hope she will get better soon. With heaps of love and kisses to my best of little Mummies from Your own Girlie

Tennis, anyone?