August 24 1969: Western Holiday

In August, with Grannie Ewing visiting her nieces in New York on her way home, the Costains took their last family trip together, flying out west to meet family members- Uncle Harry Costain in Calgary, Granny and Grandpa Costain in Penticton, along with the whole Carman Costain family- and see the Rockies, the Okanagan, and Vancouver as they drove. At the end of their stay in Vancouver, Cec had flown off for a lengthy working trip to Australia and Cyn and Linda and Charlie had taken the train across Canada home to Ottawa. It was a three-day trip and the children did not enjoy it. Charlie was bored, and Linda not only ran out of reading matter, but found that inserting her new contact lenses in a moving train was nerve-wracking and challenging. Cyn enjoyed the rest, and wrote to her mother the week after they returned.

We ate in Calgary’s Husky Tower, built for the Centennial!

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa 9, Ontario.

24th August, 1969

Dearest Mummy,
Here we have been home for over a week and this is the first time I have managed to write to you – or even to Penticton to say thank you for having us. First of all, we stepped out of the air conditioned train into typical hot humid Ottawa weather last week, and it was just breathless for 3 or 4 days, then on Monday we had most violent storms with pouring rain and the temp. went down to 45 one night! It was nice and cool for a couple of days and now it is back up in the 80s today, and I don’t feel at all ambitious!
The weather wasn’t the only surprise we got when we arrived in Ottawa – when we got home Merle phoned from Brantford to say that they were coming to Ottawa that weekend to a wedding, but if we couldn’t put them up they would go to a motel. Of course we said for them to come, so next day (Friday) we rushed around and bought some food and they arrived for dinner with little Debbie. Lorne and Liz were also invited to the wedding but couldn’t get away till later, so Merle and Dix brought Debbie and they would bring Cyndie when they came and stay with the Whitwills – Liz’s family. Charlie was back in your room, so we made up his bed in the family room for Debbie and Merle and Dix had the big pull-out sofa bed, so it worked out fine. The wedding was on the Sat. afternoon, and in the morning Lorne came for Debbie, and then they all went off to the wedding – I felt quite sorry for them all dressed up, as it was about 90 and so still and sticky, and the reception wasn’t even in some air-conditioned hotel, but in the garden of the bride’s family. Merle was exhausted when she came home! While they were away I had another phone call and this was Carman! He was at the airport, and although I knew he was coming to Ottawa sometime to a meeting I hadn’t bothered to even ask the date, as he said that he had a room booked at the Château Laurier, as he didn’t know when we would be back. However, it turned out that he had been another meeting in the US and when he phoned the Château the booking was from the Sunday not the Saturday so he came along too and we had a full house that night! It was nice that Merle and Dix and Carman got a chance to chat and as it was another hot night Charlie quite enjoyed sleeping on the porch! Next day we all went to the Whitwills to lunch, and then Merle and Dix set off home as Dix had to be at work next day. Carman had dinner with us and then I drove him downtown to his hotel, and then my goodness, when I got back didn’t the house feel strange and empty with no Cec! Before that we had really hardly had time to notice!
We had two postcards from Cec on Friday – one from Hawaii where he spent an hour (4–5am.) and another from Sydney, so we know that he has arrived safely. I was so glad as he tells me that Frank Mercer (his Australian friend from Cambridge) came to meet him at the airport because Cec had written to Frank and had no reply and I know he would have been disappointed not to see him. I don’t know if he was staying with the Mercers but it would make a big difference having a friend to show him the sights.

Beginning of the holiday- Calgary and Harry Costain.
The only Costains we DIDN’T see…


I feel that I should go back now and tell you what we did at the end of our holiday. I wrote from Penticton when we were staying with Granny and Granpa Costain, and then we moved over and spend 3 or 4 days with Leona and Carman. Their house is about 2 miles from Granpa’s and fortunately it is quite big as we were a big family! Penticton is quite a nice small town – very much a resort town with 2 big lakes for swimming etc. and lots of motels and tourists. It is in a valley with hills all around and they were absolutely burnt brown, but in the valley where they irrigate it was all green and lovely. It is in the middle of a famous fruit growing area, but unfortunately they had a very severe winter and all the fruit trees were harmed and there was very little fruit this summer – no peaches or apricots or cherries, but the apples were all right. Leona took her children for swimming lessons at one of the lakes every day, so Linda and Charlie got quite a lot of swimming, but unfortunately Linda got a bad cold, and so had to keep out of the water the last few days.

We left Penticton on the Thursday (7th.) and drove to Vancouver where Cec had booked a downtown motor hotel for us. It was very convenient and the first evening we walked down the street and found a very nice German restaurant where we had a marvellous dinner, so we thought we were very lucky. We were so fortunate in the weather in Vancouver – it was sunny and lovely all the time, although there was a haze over the mountains around the city, but apparently this is quite typical. I was quite taken with the weather in Penticton too – it was very hot and sunny during the day, but if you sat in the shade it feels lovely with a little breeze, and as soon as the sun went down in the evening it got really cool and you needed a sweater. I may tell you that I never once had my pretty white spotted raincoat out of the case, so weren’t we fortunate?
After dinner that first evening in Vancouver, Cec phoned a few people and I phoned Olwen Wright. Do you remember her? She was at College with Dottie and me and eventually married a boy in the Army called Noel. Anyway they now live in Vancouver, so I called and we had a chat and arranged for us to go out that evening for a drink. They live in a very pretty house with a stream running through the garden, but it was nearly dark when we arrived so we didn’t see much. I don’t know if I would have known them, as Olwen is now blonde and Noel is plumper, but we had quite fun catching up on news. Olwen has 3 children all older than mine – the oldest girl is married then a boy of 19 going to University and a girl a bit older than Linda still going to school. We didn’t see them as one sister was visiting the other and the boy has a job. Owen was telling me that she had had cancer, which I didn’t know, but she had had an operation and it had been OK for a few years now. She didn’t say where it was – anyway she was having a check up that weekend so was booked up with the Drs etc. and we didn’t see them again. It must be over 25 years since I saw her, so it really was interesting – they have bought land in Antigua and Dominica I think when they were there on a holiday a few years ago and are talking of moving there when their family is off their hands.
On the Friday we went up to the University of British Columbia where Cec had various people to see. It is a beautiful campus with lovely lawns and gardens and fountains in amongst the buildings. One of the Professors took us to lunch at the Faculty Club and then we went and sat for a while in a Japanese Garden while Cec saw some other people. Afterwards we went to a lovely park on an island in the harbour called Stanley Park where they have a Zoo and also a big aquarium where they have a big outdoor pool with a dolphin and a whale who give a show every few hours. It was fascinating, and the whale had the most amiable looking grin on his face and looked as if he were thoroughly enjoying it all!
That evening we went out to dinner to a ship anchored in the harbour which has a famous Seafood Buffet. They have a great big buffet table with over 58 different kinds of fish and various salads and things as well as all sorts of hot dishes on a hot table, and you can go back and back and eat as much as you want! Our only complaint was that our capacity wasn’t big enough as we would have liked to try even more, but what we did have was delicious. It was a lovely setting looking out of the water at the lights in the city and we thoroughly enjoyed it.


Next day we went across to Vancouver Island. I hadn’t realized that it was such a trip or that the island was so big, but the ferry took us about 4 hours. We arrived at Nanaimo and went north to a National Park where there are some wonderful old Douglas Fir trees some 800 years old and absolutely immense. We then had to drive back south through Nanaimo again and down to Victoria which is at the southern tip of the island.

It is a very pretty city with lovely gardens and lovely hanging baskets on all the lamp posts. We only had that evening to look around a little and then next morning we went to the Buchart Gardens which are very well known and absolutely beautiful. I sent you a folder of pictures of it and although the colours weren’t very good you would get some idea of how lovely it was. We had lunch there, and then went and took a different ferry back to Vancouver. That evening we went to dinner in Chinatown and had the best Chinese dinner I have ever had. Even Linda tried the Chinese food and enjoyed it and Cec was amazed when we got the bill that it came to less than 2 dollars each! We had been sent there by a friend of Cec’s in Vancouver and it was definitely a place for Chinese to eat and not a tourist trap, so we did very well and enjoyed it very much.


Next morning, Monday 11th, we got up early and all went with Cec to the airport and saw him off on the plane to San Francisco at 8am. We had handed over the car the previous night, so we took the bus back to the motel and had a rest and packed and then took a taxi to the station and left our bags. The train wasn’t till 7:30pm so we had lunch and shopped and went and sat in Stanley Park, then had something else to eat before we went back to the station. We had three berths and I thought the trip was quite fun but Linda and Charlie were bored stiff! Charlie couldn’t read because of the motion, so he played patience, and of course we had two dome cars and could go and look at the scenery, but as Linda says, the scenery in Canada goes on for so long! Linda and I enjoyed the meals and I definitely felt stuffed, but Charlie wasn’t very hungry so they were very glad when the 3 days and 3 nights were over! As for me it was a nice interlude before picking up the daily cares at home, and I enjoyed it!

We found our pussycat very well and plump as usual and Beulah had looked after everything beautifully. We have loads of lovely tomatoes and corn, but of course the veg. garden is covered in weeds and although I have worked at it on and off I haven’t begun to make an impression yet. You’ll be glad to hear that the seeds you planted – the phlox – have come up and I have a few sweet peas and some morning glories. The nasturtiums are doing well and the sweet little groundhog hasn’t touched anything but is getting bigger and fatter on apples dropping off the trees. He sits up and eats them and throws the cores away just like any other person and doesn’t seem to have touched the garden.
From all you told me you must have had a lovely time with Mill and Ford and I enjoyed getting your two letters and hearing all about what you were doing. I am glad that you bought a hat and another dress or two and it sounds as if Ford had taken you to some very nice places. You will be going down to Long Beach this weekend and I hope that Monie and Owen had a nice weekend at Camp and that Marga’s leg is better. I know you will be sorry to leave Mill and Ford but you will enjoy being with the Banners and Jaegers too. Please give them all our love.
Of course I have been hopping with the Nursery School all this past week – all the parents are phoning, and I am buying supplies and Charlie is painting some of the outdoor equipment and Marjorie and I have been repainting some of the indoor furniture, so we have been busy. Linda’s birthday was on Friday too and Cec and I gave her a suede jacket and a dressing gown and slippers while Charlie gave her a nice little alarm clock. She got various things from her friends but will probably be writing to tell you all about it. We asked Carman to dinner to make it more of an occasion and he really hit the spot by arriving with long stemmed red roses in a big florist box for her!
And I must stop now and get to bed. Charlie has gone to the Exhibition (big annual Agricultural Fair + Grandstand Show + Midway) with some of his friends so I don’t know when he will be home. I don’t envy him in the dusty paths amongst the crowds on this hot night!
Much love to the Banners and Jaegers from us all and lots for you too
from
Cyn.

This letter may have arrived after Carol had gone on to Long Beach, or even back home in St.Vincent, because written on the bottom of the letter is a note from one of the nieces:

Carol dear –
Your letter arrived. So glad to hear from you. Come back soon again. I wish I was in nice, warm green St. Vincent! Love M.

Summer 1969

As the summer approached, the Costains celebrated Carol’s arrival in Canada. After all the planning, Cyn could relax and enjoy having her mother to chat to, have lunches and teas with the ladies that Carol had met on previous visits, and watch her adjust to the grandchildren, older and taller, and changed?

Cec in gardening clothes, Linda, Cyn and Grannie back from church…

Cec had a vegetable garden to put in although he would not be around to enjoy the harvest this year, since at work he was preparing for his trip on August to Australia. It was something he was looking forward to, but meanwhile, he enjoyed his colleagues and his research.

The NRC Pure Physics Division, 1969

June was an eventful month – we were excited to show Grannie the new National Arts Centre by the canal in downtown Ottawa- 3 theatres, with ballet, plays, concerts and restaurants.

.

There were family celebrations as well, for Cec’s birthday and Father’s Day and then the end of the school year.

Linda was finishing high school, and had been accepted into Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario- a new university based on Oxbridge (lectures, tutorials, gowns, and a college system accommodation). Charlie would be going into Grade 13 in September at the age of 16. They both had exams to sit in June and then a month of summer before their family trip. Charlie had signed up for a senior swimming certificate and Linda had a part-time counsellor job at a day camp in the high school grounds.

And at home, friends and neighbours joined us for parties in the garden.

In August, Carol said goodbye and flew down to New York to visit her nieces, and the Costains packed up and went west on their family trip.

September 11 1968

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa, 9. Ontario.

11th Sept. 1968.

Dearest Mummy,

Well, the children have been back at school for a week now and things are beginning to get back into the old routine! With being on holiday nearly right up till school time we seemed to be very disorganized, and Linda in Grade 13 had to buy all her textbooks herself – the school provides them in all other grades now – so this was another scramble around. And of course, she had nothing to WEAR! It has been hot and humid, and she hadn’t much in the way of cotton dresses and her wool skirts etc. were too warm so this was another panic! Every one of us needed a haircut in the worst way – Cec and Charlie with curls all over and Lindy and me all shaggy, so we had to hasten to be respectable once more! I shudder to think what chaos we will be in this time next year getting Linda off to University!

The Nursery School started on Monday – at least Monday and yesterday they had Open House for the mothers and children and I went down to help with coffee for the mothers and give assistance where needed. The Nursery School is absolutely full now and we even have a waiting list, so we may open part time in the afternoon if we get enough children. I don’t know if I told you that we had a great upset not long after the school closed – our Director, Mrs. Kunce, sent in her resignation. She had a new job at a new Day Nursery over in the West End – of course a Day Nursery is a much bigger responsibility as it opens before 8 in the morning and the children are there all day until six or seven, and have meals too. She is getting a lot more money, but golly, she must be working like a fiend. I don’t know when she will see her own children. We were very sorry to see her go as we all liked her, but we felt she should have given us a bit more notice, as jobs are usually advertised and taken in Feb. and March, but we were very lucky and managed to persuade a neighbour in Rothwell Heights, Mabel Bennett, to take the job. She had taken all her training at the University with Mrs. Kunce, but had never taken a regular job as she has a family of 3 and didn’t particularly want to work, and we suggested she try it for a year anyway. By next year Gertrude Pierce will have finished enough of the training so that she can be Director, but at the moment we felt it was a bit too much for her, so she is going on with her night classes this winter and is second-in-command, as it were. Mabel is very nice – I have known her a bit for years, but she goes to the United Church, so I never knew her well, but she is lively and a lot of fun, so I think that she will be very good. We have got an Englishwoman, Mrs. Greenwell, taking my place. She and her family were new in the church this time last year, and they all work hard for the church. Her daughter, Laura is quite a friend of Linda and Charlie’s although she is a bit younger, and she has a boy of about 11. Mrs. Greenwell has done a lot of Brownie and Guide work, and has looked after children for mothers who are working, so we think that she will be pretty good. I am now the Registrar and Treasurer, which is keeping me busy. While I was on holiday other people looked after the registration, and the auditors were looking at the finances, so they were all landed back on me and I have been working hard to get everything straightened out before the school began. To complicate matters, the Post Office decided to give us door-to-door delivery instead of the Rural Route mailman, so all our addresses have changed and of course all our Nursery School forms giving people my address to send their fees, have to be changed – grrrr!
What with that and the fact that all the other organizations feel that they have to begin the year with violent energy, I seem to have been going to meetings every other day since I arrived home. The WA, which is now to be called the ACW – Anglican Church Women – have a meeting tonight, and I was at a Scientist Wives executive meeting on Monday. I am now the Social Convener of that, but I have co-opted Fanni to help me, so I think we will have quite a good time.
I hate to see the summer end, but I must admit that it is kind of nice to be back at home and have everyone but me back at work! Doesn’t that sound mean and horrid? But each year I think, oh, the summer – lovely lazy time – nothing to do but rest and enjoy yourself – and then I find that I seem to be busy all the time, and in some ways it is more work than the usual routine! It certainly seemed to be so this summer and although it was a beautiful place and a lovely cottage I can’t say that I came home feeling very rested. In fact I feel that I have relaxed and slept better since I came home than I did the whole month that I was away. It was partly having so many people around and partly Cec not being well I think, and also the fact that usually when we are at a cottage everyone helps with the work, but when there were so many of us although everyone did help, I still had to be the boss! You know I did all the cooking, which I chose and don’t mind at all, but I planned what we would eat and had to go shopping for it – and for all those people there was a lot of shopping – and then if the kids forgot it was their turn to wash up or anything, it was me to go and see they did it, and then washing and ironing too as well as the usual beds and sweeping and dusting etc. so there was plenty to do. You asked what about bed linen – they were all single beds in the cottage, so I took sheets etc. for us for and Granny and Grandpa, and then one extra lot for Joanne who was there the first weekend. I asked Merle to bring their own, and then I just took out them off the beds and washed and dried them each week and put them on again. I had to leave linen in the house for the Butchers coming to stay, so I could not take any more extras, but fortunately the weather was good and even when Granny and Grandpa left one morning and Charlie’s and Linda’s friends arrived that afternoon I was able to have the sheets washed and the beds ready! Merle told her sons to bring bed linen when they came, so fortunately I didn’t have to worry about them – just provide the beds. You asked if Sharon was any more helpful and how John was – well really I cannot say I enjoyed their visit much. Sharon is quite calm and competent with the children and so on and she had them to look after, but I don’t think she ever lifted a finger to help or even offered to do so. The children are sweet but Stephen would have very little to do with anyone except his parents so you couldn’t get to know him much. I was amazed about the baby – he is a dear little fellow – all smiles, and really very good, but Sharon would feed him and then leave him in his little plastic reclining baby-chair-bed thing that they have now, until he began to get fretty. Then she would put him in his carriage in the sitting room and rock him for a little till he fell asleep. There she would leave him in the middle of everyone in the living room, sunny and lovely outside, but no, here he was in amongst the cigarette smoke and chatter, and of course in about 10 or 15 minutes he would begin to stir around. She wouldn’t even wait till he woke up properly or cried, but she would have him up, out of the carriage and in his chair again and wide awake. He spent so long in this chair that of course he got bored and so he would fret and then you would pick him up – of course Linda and I didn’t mind this! – but it seemed to me the weirdest way of treating a baby. Sharon said “Oh, this is how he always is – he only cat naps!” However, one afternoon she was sleeping and Linda and I put him in his carriage and took him a walk up the lane until he fell asleep and then left him outside under a tree and he slept for an hour or more, and John said “He loves to be outside! Strange people! John did not impress me much this time – he seems to be getting more selfish and so irritable and grumbly! Bad hay fever & asthma is some excuse! Of course he considered the cottage as he does his parents’ home, so he didn’t have on his company manners I suppose, but when I would make lunch with soup, cold meat, cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers for sandwiches and then peaches, and cookies and tea afterwards and he would grumble at having nothing decent for lunch, I got mad. I told him that if he knew of a better hotel he could always move! When Linda grumbles at a meal now I just say “You’re just like your cousin John” and she is greatly offended! Liz and Lorne’s visit was a complete pleasure – the contrast is very marked and it is a pity, but one can’t help but compare.
Tomorrow I am going with Lee Gander and some of her friends to a small village about 50 miles away where there is a little shop which sells materials at bargain prices I have heard of this place for a few years but never knew exactly where it was, but Lee said she had gone and next time she was going she would take me, so I am looking forward to the trip. It used to be in a little house with every room crammed from floor to ceiling with bolts of material, I heard, but now they have got a shop, which is better though still packed tight, so I am looking forward to seeing if I can get some nice material. Before I do any sewing for myself I must lose some weight – I always gain in the summer when I make lunch at home for the children and we have sandwiches and I bake more cookies and desserts etc. so all my clothes are tight now and I must really get busy with a diet. Both Lindy and Charlie have quite filled out this summer- Lindy (about 5’6″) weighs 120 pounds and Charlie (about 5 foot 8 1/2 inches) I think is even over 120 a little bit. Lindy is quite horrified, but actually she is just nice but no longer like a little girl. To go back to the Ganders, Barry did very well in his Grade 13 last year and is beginning at Carleton University here in Ottawa this Fall. He went out with some friends to BC this summer and picked fruit to make some money, as it was very hard to get jobs here in Ottawa. Five boys drove out in a station wagon and took a tent and camped on the way, but from what Lee said, any money they earned seemed to be spent very freely as Barry had to phone for more on the way home! He hasn’t been very well since he came back and Lee was worried but he was to go for some tests to the doctor so I hope that they found out what it was and can do something about it. Dougie begins high school this month, so he is not so small anymore, but Cathie is still in Grade School. I was asking Lee about her sister Johnny, and there seems to be no change and no hope – in fact if anything she seems to have retrogressed since I talked to Lee at the beginning of the summer. Then, she could take a comb and put it on the bed if Lee told her to, but now she can’t even move her arms herself, and she doesn’t seem to hear or take anything in. Lee says that she is really in a coma all the time, and she seems to have given up any hope that there will ever be a change. Poor Lee, she has gone through such a dreadful time and for months she went to see Johnny twice a day and hoped against hope, but now it’s as if she feels it doesn’t make any difference to Johnny whether she goes or not and through the summer she has been up at the cottage, and just gone in a few times. She says there is a good nurse and she is well cared for and this is really all she can do.
On Friday I am having Mr. Graham and Marjorie and Dick to dinner and then to show us their pictures of their summer travel. Marjorie and Dick went to Prince Edward Island this summer and along the coast of the Maritimes, and Mr. Graham went to Europe – Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy – so he will have some lovely pictures. Very fortunately, he was home before the trouble in Czechoslovakia, but we had arranged for him to meet friends of ours Joe and Eva Poldus, who have been over here – Joe is a physicist – and we are all concerned about them. Another of our friends, Joe Pleva, is now here in Canada, and has been here all summer – he is a professor in Prague, and his wife and son and daughter are still there. We heard that his daughter of 18 had reached West Germany, but Joe had said right at the beginning that if the Russians went in he could never go back, so we don’t know what he is going to do. Mr. Graham gave me a beautiful present from Florence – a lovely oblong tray with turquoise and gold colours, so I was very delighted. The Butchers gave me a set of 4 table mats and napkins – very fascinating – hand blocked or whatever they call it – and of all sorts of different cats, but I do wish that they could have managed 6 or 8 instead of 4 – I never have just 4 people to a meal! Sam Butcher also gave Cec a book on glass blowing which was nice, but I couldn’t help it be a bit amused – Cec’s friend from work, Franz Alberti lent us his boat, so as a thank you Cec bought him a beautiful little radio costing about 60 dollars. I said that I thought this was a bit much, but Cec said “Well if we’d had to rent a boat it would have cost us 100 dollars or so” and I said “Well, we lent the Butchers a house and if they’d had to rent it it.would have cost them much more than 100 dollars!” But still! I was a bit fed up with the house when I came back – Sally had this useless babysitter girl with her and between them I felt they could have left the place more as they found it, but one job they did do over and above the call of duty, was to wash the kitchen walls and ceiling! They were dirty as we plan to paint this Fall, and were leaving it to do then, but they must like washing walls more than wiping spots off floors and ovens!
I must stop now as I seem to have spent all day on this letter with millions of interruptions. The phone has rung about 10 times, one of them Ruth Lockwood who sends her love to you. The other calls were Nursery School or WA or something, and then I spent quite a little while watching a bad little groundhog sitting on a box beside our garage! He has been having a ball in our garden eating tomatoes and corn – along with his friends the birds and squirrels – and Cec has put mothballs in his hole and hoped that Saki would chase him away, but he was just happily sitting up there in the rain as if he owned the place!
Must stop now, but will write next week and answer some of your questions. Love to Auntie Muriel, hello to Doris and Luenda.
Much love from us all
Cyn.

August 29 1968

Having a cottage for a whole month seemed to inspire the Costains to invite everyone to visit! It also meant Cec had to go in to the Lab. some days in Ottawa, which meant he was available to transport the children’s friends up for short stays. They had lent their house to Sam and Sally Butcher for August, but presumably Cec slept there the week nights he was working. The Costain grandparents were also visiting from B.C., with Cec’s sister Merle and Dix Moor so they all came, and John Moor, the oldest son, came east with his family: Sharon, Steven and the new baby Jeff, and dropped in before going to Brantford. Having survived this onslaught, Cyn sat down to write to her mother towards the end of their month.

P.S. New Address. No More Box No.
49 Cedar Rd. Ottawa 9.

Christie Lake Thurs. 29th Aug.

Dearest Mummy,
Cec came back from Ottawa last week with a whole bundle of mail which was very exciting! Thank you so much for all your letters – they were from the 15th July up to 15th August – the last one telling that you had got the shoes. I am so glad that the latter were at least a partial success & hope that you will get a lot of wear from the two sandal- type. Maybe you can find someone who could wear the black ones a bit as they stretch quite quickly & then you might be able to use them. Lindy & I greatly enjoyed the letters about Alan’s wedding, particularly some of Monie’s dry, amusing comments.
1111 Great excitement! Saki arrived with a chipmunk she had caught! Lindy rushed out & grabbed her & the chipmunk scooted away under the porch! Remember Charlie & the “damned chipmunk” that bit him at Lake Bernard? 1111
When I got your letters I meant to sit down & answer them straight away, but life is so busy here, I can see it will have to wait till I get back home & get everyone out of the house! When Cec went to Ottawa last week on Wed. a.m. he took back Maureen & Allan Vallee, Linda and Charlie’s friends who had been with us since Sunday (when the Moors & Granny & Grandpa Costain left.) Then Cec came back out Thurs. afternoon with Chris Baird, Charlie’s friend & he stayed till this Monday. In between each lot I have to wash bedclothes etc. as I had to leave some in town for the Butcher’s too, but thank heaven there is a nice washing machine here. Also a freezer in the basement, which is a big help as shopping is quite a distance of course. There is a Lodge & Marina on the lake which sells bread & milk & then a small store about 5 miles away. For big grocery shopping & meat I go to Perth which is about 12 miles away so it takes quite a while.
When Cec came back from Ottawa he told me he had invited the Douglases out at the weekend & the Haynes (Linda’s friend Janet & her Mother & Father) & they were both coming on Sunday, so I prepared for quite a crowd, but Little Did I Know! I got 3 chickens to roast & thought of cooking them & having them cold, but decided I could have them all ready & just shove them in the oven & we’d have them hot. I made a Quiche Lorraine (cheese & ham pie) for lunch & baked two pie shells to make peach flan, so I thought I was well prepared. On the Sunday morning I was up at 9 a.m. (early for the cottage) & called Cec & the children & we had breakfast – at least Cec didn’t appear, but the rest of us did. Then we cleared away & about 10 I was just going to wash up (kitchen window looks onto the little driveway) went up drives a little red car – horrors! “Lindy, they’re here” I yell, thinking it is the Haynes – she rushes to get dressed & I dash out to find it isn’t the Haynes, but Cec’s technician Geoff & his wife Beati & their little boy! I didn’t even recognize them at first & Cec had completely forgotten to tell me they were coming! I didn’t tell them of course & went & woke Cec & it turned out that they were on their way to Cleveland to spend the holiday with Beati’s parents & Cec had invited them to stop for a swim & lunch. However, they had decided to come earlier, but while they were swimming I washed up, made coffee & tomato sandwiches, made custard & put in the bottom of the flans, then put peach halfs (fresh) on top & covered with Jello. They had lunch then & were just getting up to go when another car drove into the driveway & more people poured out and this was Lorne & Liz & Debbie & Cindy! Merle had said they might come for a night after visiting Liz’s family in Ottawa, but we had given them up by then so this was another big surprise! Well, they came in & the Geoffs said goodbye & left, & we had one spare room for Liz & Lorne, & Cindy & Debbie went in the extra bed in Linda’s room! After that the Haynes arrived, & we had Quiche Lorraine & all the things I could find for sandwiches & potato salad & soup & cookies for lunch. Then the Douglasses plus Andy came with Professor Pleva from Czechoslovakia, so for dinner we had 16! However the 3 chickens were fine & I had corn on the cob, & a big salad & rolls & the 2 peach pies. We had potato chips & a dip & Linda made some snacks beforehand with drinks, so everything went very well & everyone seemed very happy. It was a lovely day & everyone went down to the dock in the afternoon & the young people swam & the family at the other cottage has a big boat & water skis, so they had fun with them. Charlie can do quite well on the water skis now, but Lindy hasn’t tried.
Lorne & his family left after lunch on Monday – they are such a nice family, the little girls are so sweet & very good & Liz & Lorne are so nice with them. Cindy is 2 & is just a pet – friendly & sitting on everyone’s knee & making friends. Cec left with Chris for Ottawa at the same time, so Lindy & Charlie & I were suddenly very quiet. Cec came back the next evening & we leave on Sat. so our time is short. It has been cooler the last few days but lovely & sunny. Poor Cec has had such bad luck this month, he had a bad sinus infection at the beginning & still has a bit, then just after the Moors left he got a violent tummy flu (presumably from John’s little boy Steven) which is still hanging on, so he has not been able to really enjoy himself. It is such a pity. The last few evenings we have been teaching L & C to play bridge – nice to have a family four!
Must must stop and get lunch. Love to A. Muriel & lots to you from us all
Cyn. P.T.O.
Will write soon about L’s birthday & your cheque etc. when I get home. Hard to decide until we go to the stores.
Love C.

Postmarked in Perth, Ontario.

Travel Diary: July 1967

TRAVEL LOG

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 –
Cyn.

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 –

Cyn.

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
Cyn.

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.