Travel Diary: July 1967


It is interesting to compare this Travel Diary I wrote at the age of 15 with the one my grandmother wrote when she was sent to school in England at about the same age, and with the one my mother wrote in her 20s the summer before the 2nd World War began when she and her mother visited New York. [These have already been published in this project.]. Although all three of us recorded the events and sights we saw without including much introspection, I can’t help feeling I was the most at ease, having fun on holiday. I had a purpose, an audience if you like, since I had decided to send my account to my grandmother as an extended letter, so I certainly included opinions, but didn’t have room for detailed critiques. Carol’s journal covers her years at school so starts off as a personal account, but later events or sights seem to have been partially school assignments, since some sections have corrections. My mother’s was a personal record for her eyes only, to remind herself of what she saw at the World’s Fair, and sightseeing in New York and Niagara, but doesn’t contain much about the people she interacted with, her relatives and the friends she made on the ship. I suppose she would not have needed a reminder of them, although her account of the love interest at the end showed emotion- but had a measured, somewhat distant tone- written by someone a decade older than the teenagers perhaps, in a generation fully conscious of what they were facing although she made no mention of the impending war.
Linda was enjoying a holiday with her family in the country she had heard and read about her entire childhood- the child of an immigrant feels a certain connexion to the original home country, even if she doesn’t realize it. I remember flying over the countryside while landing and looking at the fields and roads so irregular and curving, unlike the straight lines of sectioned farmland in Ontario. As we flew low, then drove through London, the roofs of buildings were so eye-catching to us with the chimney pots (although we had read Mary Poppins and sneered at the Dick van Dyck character’s horrible accent as he danced on the rooftops.) And visiting friends, their gardens were different too, lovely, and the local roads with hedges and curves, all memorable, but not what got written down. The Travel Log had prompts at the top of the pages, but Linda started recording ‘My Travels Day by Day’, telling Grannie halfway through to ignore the headings which had changed to ‘Shops Here and There’ and ‘To Be Recommended’ and just carried on until space required summarizing. It was not all written on the road, and seems to have been finished and sent quite a bit later, judging by the accompanying letter, but gives a clear picture of a lovely holiday.

Letter- originally taped to the booklet.

Dear Grannie,
Take a deep breath, put on your best glasses, then firmly open the book and start reading “My Trip to England” by Linda Costain, fifty two pages of my terrible handwriting. I loved writing it and I am so sorry I’ve been such an age about it. I hope you’ll be able to read it and that you like it after you’ve read it. It is sort of an extended letter, written mostly remembering. I’ll write a proper letter soon, answering your last. The only things I want to say now are: 1. Please keep that sweet little cat you described, it will be company for your puppy, please, please keep it. and 2. I was so sorry to hear about Uncle Fred, I hope he gets better, quite often people do. Give him my love. 3. I am running out of space again.
Love Linda

July 10 1967

In the train going to Manchester [Monday] 10th July.

Clarendon Court Hotel
Maida Vale
London W9

Dearest Mama,
Here we are in a very fast train – electric- & if my writing was poor before it will be much worse now! Charlie & I are just back from tea, which was most welcome as we were panting – & Cec & Lindy have now gone.
The weather is heavenly – hot & not a cloud in the sky & has been getting better & better ever since we arrived on Saturday. The trip over was uneventful but uncomfortable. The seats are so cramped now, even though it was a 1st class flight & if I was crowded you can imagine how poor Cec felt! We left at 11:35 p.m. & then were given drinks, then dinner with champagne & afterwards coffee with liquers, but the drinks lost a bit little of their glamour by being served in plastic glasses! (mug type!) After dinner we settled down to snooze, but the sun began to rise at 2 a.m. & before long they served us breakfast! Charlie didn’t do badly – he slept about 2 hours, but Lindy didn’t manage any & Cec & I about 1/2 to 3/4 hr. each! At one point we flew at 739 m.p.h.- the fastest the pilot had ever flown he said. It took us about 6 hrs. or so to fly over, but with time change, plus summer time etc. it was 10:30 a.m. in England when we arrived. It was cloudy over England, but we saw parts of Ireland going over. We got the Airport Bus, then taxi & arrived at the Hotel about noon to find flowers plus a note from Jen & a letter from Nan.
After settling we had a late lunch & then a nap & afterwards rode on top of a bus to Marble Arch! We had dinner in the Hotel & then Jessie & Norman & their boy David (13) came over & we had a drink & long chat together. I also phoned Mary Ewing & Agnes Herzberg who is in London now.
Yesterday morning L. & C. & I went to Matins at St. Paul’s Cathedral & sat right under the dome! Then we met Cec at Marble Arch & had lunch & went to Madame Tussaud’s. It was really quite fun & Charlie & I even went to the Ch. of Horrors which has been cleaned up since my day & has no blood – just murderers!
We went back to the hotel & changed & went to Jessie & Norman’s for tea & met Sandra. Zinnia’s children had chicken pox, so she came over later by herself. Both girls are v. nice looking (David too) but Sandra is the cute, vivacious one – Cec thinks Z. is a dumb blonde! We all had a lovely time & stayed till midnight – had cold ham & chicken salad & strawberries & shrimp & asparagus snacks!! Charlie & David had great fun & L. & C. decided the Aldridges were lovely!
Must stop as this train is too wobbly. Much love from us all to you all – Cyn.

At Nan’s. Wed. 12th July.

Now we are at Nan’s & L. & I are keeping out of the way while Sandy & Barbara get ready & pack, as they are both going off with school groups this noon. Sandy to walk 240 miles down the Pennines (in 2 weeks) & Barbara to a Youth Hostel near Carlisle. They are both big – red hair of course & S. looks like his father & Barbara more like Nan at 13. Sandy is 18 next month & is v. good looking & a nice boy – amusing & bright – Barbara is quieter.
Nan, as you said, is awfully like her mother now – & in fact Jessie is too & they say I am like you, so we are all growing like our mothers! Nan & Dick (who is v. kind) have a nice house & the FLOWERS! It is apparently a wonderful year for roses & they are just gorgeous – every shade & every colour & kind & Nan has the hugest Peace rose in a vase on the mantelpiece. The country around is lovely & everywhere we go are these heavenly roses in all the gardens.
Cec picks up our car this afternoon & tomorrow morning we set off for N. Wales & Bangor. The weather is being wonderful – warm & mostly sunny. It is dull this morning but yesterday was the same & it got sunny by noon.
Must stop now. Love to the Otway families from us all & lots to you –

Expo 67

The thing about Expo was the stunning architecture. Now all that I remember is Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome that was the United States’ Pavilion (that I’m pretty sure we did not go in, since we skipped anything with a long lineup) because of its connection with Harry Kroto’s Carbon 60 Nobel Prize, but it was not the only flashy, unusual, or frankly weird building- they were all like that, trying hard and amazing. Inside they were educational marketing pitches for their country/province/state/nation/organization/or theme: 90 in all, and they had merchandise too of course, restaurants, and shows leaning heavily on exciting technology.

Now that I’ve read these letters, I know that Cyn must have remembered her visit to the New York World’s Fair in 1939 but I certainly don’t remember her making any comparisons at the time- I was too busy buying a real koala bear fur postcard- yes, repulsive, but very soft to stroke. I never sent that postcard, but Grannie saved a couple showing the Canadian Pavilion and the Ontario one. The front of the Expo 67 one has an arrow pointing to the minute people around the edge of the inverted pyramid and saying: This is them!

On the other side it is addressed to Mrs Carol Ewing and the stamp is franked with a (dateless) Expo logo showing it was mailed on site, and it reads:

Dear Grannie,
As you see we are at Expo. It is really fabulous! Charlie and Mummy climbed to the top of the triangle and says it sways! You owe me a letter. Love Linda.

Cyn’s scrapbook shows the Ontario Pavilion, the most visited (but perhaps not by us, no swag) U.S.S.R. Pavilion at the bottom, and mementos from the France and Taiwanese pavilions, which we obviously went to.

It seems strange that we only spent one day there, when Canadians from much further away travelled to explore for several days, but our English trip was the Costain priority. My brother remembers a school trip to Expo as well, featuring big crowds and overwhelming hugeness, but I’m pretty sure the rest of us only spent one day there. The Centennial awareness however, pervaded the whole year- especially July 1, 1967, Canada’s 100th birthday.

January to August 1965

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!

August 8 1956

Some of the pictures too big to go in the envelope.
Will send later.

Box 330, R.R.1
Ottawa Ont.

Aug.8th 1956.

Dottie and Ken Wilyman’s Wedding.

Dearest Mummy,
Today is Dottie’s birthday so I guess I can do no better than to begin my letter with her address! Voila! Mrs. K. Wilyman. 67 Belwell Lane. Four Oaks. Sutton Coldfield. Warwickshire. I am sure that she will be delighted with the mats if you send them – they are so nice that I think they would grace the most imposing of houses, so you needn’t have qualms about Dottie’s large mansion! She will probably be just as glad as anyone not to have extra things to wash, and all my visitors rave about mine. I sent her one of those kitchen “spice containers”. It is a little wooden thing you hang on the wall with six little pottery drawers, as it were. Each has a little handle & the name “PAPRIKA” “CLOVES” etc. and the picture of a cock on- they are cream coloured & the cock brown, yellow & a little red etc. Actually each one is a shaker when you pull it out, & I thought they were rather cute – I hope she does!

At last we have real Ottawa summer weather – you know! It has been so cool this summer though that I feel I can’t complain too much & it really has been nothing like as humid as parts of last summer were.
I am enclosing some pictures – not too exciting! Some as you can see at Til & Lois’ – in fact all of them except the one of Gunborg. We have one or two others taken at the Sutherlands but they were very poorly printed so Cec has taken them back to the shop. All the pictures are taken on Til & Lois’ big porch & Linda is very busy threading beads!

I am also enclosing a drawing of Lindy’s which I know will amuse you! Linda calls it her “little boy” & is very proud of it & says I may send it for you to see but you must send it back – I don’t think that’s really necessary! It is getting very faint, but you will see that she has put teeth & fingers & toes on him – the first time she has gone into such detail. And not content with that she has also drawn his little penis, which she thinks is very funny! So do we!

I think I last wrote to you just before our Anniversary – well we had such a nice time. With getting the lamp & curtains etc. I hadn’t got Cec anything, but he got me a darling pair of baby doll pyjamas – blue – and they are very cool & comfy. I must say I look rather funny in them, but they also have a pair of ordinary pyjama trousers as well as the short ones so they will be very useful. In the evening we with Alec & Phyl went to the Klemans & had drinks & then went out to the Island & had a Chinese Dinner. It was very nice & as it was the first Chinese food Gudron & Ben had had it was quite an adventure for them & they liked it very much. When we finished it was about 10:30, so Alex suggested we go across to the Gatineau Club, one of the night clubs over in Quebec & see the 11 o’clock floor show, so off we set & got there to find it was a big night as they had a special star. This was a woman called Lillian Roth – maybe you haven’t heard of her, but apparently she was a big Broadway star in the early 30s [and film star] & then became an alcoholic & was finished. However she joined the Al. Anonymous & got put right again & began once more to try & get going on the stage but found it pretty tough going. In the meanwhile she wrote her life story “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” & it was made into a film & she made a big comeback on one of the TV shows

& is now doing all right. We were quite intrigued to see her & very pleasantly surprised really as she must be in her middle 40s, but is slim & cute & doesn’t look at all ravaged by her experiences! She has a face like Dottie with dimples & although her voice isn’t too good now she has lots of personality & was fun. We were home about 1 o’clock & all felt we’d been really dissipated!!
We had the Klemans over for the afternoon & dinner on Sat. – only 1 1/2 weeks till they go now & we will be so sorry. Phyl & I got Gudron to make a list of their furniture & price etc. & have passed it around to everyone we know & got most of the things sold. We have bought the older boy’s bed for Charlie – they brought it with them from Sweden & it is just a small blonde wood bed with mattress – & we are lending the crib to the Spanish couple for their older boy! We also bought a garden chair & a little bookcase & their radio – our old one is just about defunct! Gudron sent over a bag of toys for the children so they have been having fun!
Last weekend was a holiday weekend – first Mon. in August – & Merle & Dixon [Cec’s oldest sister & spouse] drove up from Toronto on their way home after their Summer School there. [They were doing Teacher Training- with their degrees they could teach during the school year if they did the teacher training courses in the summer.] They were to come on the Fri. & leave on Tues, spending 2 days with Lea [Cec’s other sister] & 2 with us. For some reason I thought they’d go to Carp first, & got the house all cleaned but was going to bake on the Sat. morning, so of course they arrived on Friday evening! However, it didn’t really matter & we had a very nice visit. They went to Carp on the Sunday afternoon & were driving home afterwards – the boys have been in Saskatoon. Cec’s Mom & Dad are coming to visit us all this fall – they are letting their house & going to Merle’s first then to us & Lea’s & to Toronto & Cec thinks they might even go out to P.E.I. where the old farm is just sitting, not being used or anything. Dad has been thinking of moving to somewhere with not quite such severe cold in the winter as he has trouble with his nose & sinuses, but none of us really knows what their plans are.
On the Monday after Merle & Dixon had left Ken called us to say we could come & pick a row of his raspberries so Cec & I went down with baskets & picked for an hour or so in the broiling sun, which as you can imagine was quite unusual exercise for us! The raspberries were just lovely & we ate & picked & picked & ate! In the afternoon I canned 8 pint jars and made just a little jam – 4 or 5 small jars – & we had big platefuls with cream for dinner – yummy! Wasn’t that lovely of Ken? He has been keeping us supplied with wax beans & young carrots & Jimmy’s Granny has been giving us the most delicious young new peas. Aren’t we lucky?
I began this on Wed. & it is now Sunday and we are having such a funny day. Lindy seems to have some tummy bug as her tummy feels funny she says & she doesn’t want to eat, but she is very sleepy & had a long sleep this morning & now is in bed again just lying playing & Charlie has gone to sleep! We planned to drive over to Boris & Joan’s this afternoon to see their new house (they’ve been in a month or so now) so Cec phoned Boris to say we couldn’t come because of Lindy, only to find that Boris took Joan to the Hospital about an hour ago & is now sitting waiting for news!
Talking of this tummy business though, there seems to be a lot about amongst the children & last Sat. night while Merle & Dixon were here Charlie was sick – but I was so happy I got him to the bathroom in time!! He was a bit peaky the next day but recovered very quickly, so I hope it’s the same with Lindy. By the way, your parcel to her arrived last week & we are saving it – it is so funny – Lindy is quite ready to save it for the day, but Charlie is busting to open it!
On Thursday evening it was very hot, so I suggested to see is that we might all go to the Drive-In Movie Theatre! There was a film showing called “The Far Country” with James Stewart & of course we thought of Nevil Shute’s book & thought it might be it so off we went! The children were so thrilled but of course it would so happen that the cartoon was the silliest thing going & the movie turned out to be a shooting cowboy thing about the Klondike! Linda hates guns & bangs etc. so she didn’t much care for it & it really was very stupid, but anyway we went!
Cec is out trying to think up some way of killing ground hogs [large cat size, but solid rodent] – do you know we have 3 or 4 down the hill now & not only do they eat all our flowers but they are eating all the green tomatoes too! We are at war with them!

Cec has tried to smoke them out of their holes, gas them, tried to get poison for them & so far no success. We also have skunks & our dear little chippies [chipmunks] of course. Charlie is very fond of the groundhogs too – when Cec chases them away Charlie will go & call down the hill “It’s all right, you can come out now – Daddy’s gone “!!
Must go now & do something about a chicken for dinner. Thank you so much for your nice long letter about your visit to Jean’s & your dashing around with A. Trix (by the way – when is she going?!! I wonder how your finances are holding out with all the coming & going etc.) I was so pleased to hear about Sylvia expecting – hope everything will be O.K.
Must stop – the children send hugs & kisses & lots of love from us all –


July 29 1956

Except for the clipping about Dr. Forsyth’s work which came from the scrapbook, these items go mostly with the last letter- Visual Aids to keep Carol in touch with changes in Ottawa!

Sunday 29th July

Dearest Mummy,
Here are a few odds & ends to amoose you. We have just been down to see Ken’s garden – it is really lovely – it has been so cool & plenty of rain this year that everything is green & bushy & growing beautifully. We ate raspberries & blackberries & came home laden with wax beans, new potatoes, pink rhubarb, new carrots, carnations & a rose! It has been cold today- was 64° in the house this morning but we resisted the temptation to put the furnace on! The only 3 hot days this year were when we were on our trip – such a change from last year, isn’t it? We had such a nice relaxed lazy day today though – I have just loafed around & thoroughly enjoyed it. Cec is working in the study now & the children are in bed.

I have a book I am thinking of sending you “Tender Victory” by Taylor Caldwell – we got it from our Book Club & both thought it was very good & that you would enjoy it. It is about an Anglican clergyman in the U.S. – fiction. My little bit of paper is full, so I’ll say Night – Night –
Lots of love

Pete Forsyth- Friend and Colleague of Cec’s from the Saskatoon days.

In the last letter, Cyn told her mother about their spending spree on furnishings and the paddlng pool.

AS Cyn’s comment says, these are their new living room curtains, only not in this ghastly colour, but in natural ‘matchstick bamboo’.

This article refers to the visit Carol made to Ottawa 5 years before when Linda was a baby and they were all living in an Eastview apartment. Cyn has written on the top of this cutting “Do you remember poor Giselle?” who was obviously then a neighbour as her parents’ address is Ethel Street which Carol would remember.