This is going to be a whale of a letter to wish you a happy, happy Christmas, so put your feet up, undo your corsets, loosen your belt & sit back! Cec is going to wash the dishes for me, the honey, so that I can sit & write & write & write all evening!
When I got home from work today there was a nice letter waiting from you (posted 5th Dec.) & Aunt Ettie’s with your page enclosed came yesterday, so I got a lovely spread-out mail even if it came in the wrong order! Thank you very, very much for them Mummy, & also for your great fat 50¢ letter (mailed 28th Nov.) which I got last week- I love getting them all & hearing of your doings & all the news & gossip. It is 10 days since I wrote you the air letter about ourcar, but we have really been buzzing! We have been having driving lessons & seeing about licenses & insurance etc. etc. & have been kept busy, but today Cec went & took his driving test & got his license, so we think he is a clever boy! I haven’t taken mine yet – mainly because they don’t give them on Sat. & I work other days, but I have an appointment for Monday & will take an hour off work.
I haven’t told you much news apart from the car for about two weeks, so will go right back to the weekend of 25th Nov. when we had that terrible bad weather. I was so glad you told me how Margs & Mil & their families fared, as Cec & I were wondering, & we worried about Bill when we heard of the terrible Long Island R.R. crash. They must have had a bad time of it, with all the flooding in the basements, etc. But I am glad that it was no worse & that they didn’t have any really bad damage. We had a regular snow blizzard here, & as it was the weekend & we didn’t have to go out, we rather enjoyed ourselves & stayed in & were cosy at home! The great of the event of the weekend in Ann Arbor, was that Michigan (University) were playing their great football rivals, Ohio, down in Columbus, Ohio, & despite the fact that it was snowing & no one could see a thing, they still played & Michigan won! We listened to the game on the radio & got ever so excited (I still don’t understand it!) especially as it was the last game of the season & when Michigan won, it meant they were the Champions! The winners of this League go to California for New Year’s Day & play a big match against the winners out there in a big stadium called “The Rosebowl” & it is a great honour, so all of Michigan was very pleased! The funny thing was that Columbus got completely snowed up so lots of people who went to the game got stuck there for days!
At the beginning of that week I finally got my last parcels packed & off, & then next weekend we sent all our Christmas cards to England etc. A few, we kept to put letters in, so of course they straggled on & we are finally having to A.M. them! Mrs. Allen’s birthday card was one, & Cec’s friends Cliff & Gwengar, & we still haven’t sent Frank’s to Australia! I already have cards from Dottie, Mrs. Johnny, Mrs. Allen, Auntie Trix, Bar & Geraldine, & Nan & Dick (their’s is a lovely colour photo of Moira Shearer as Cinderella in the ballet.) Dottie wrote & told us that she was sending us another Book Soc. subscription which is lovely, & Bar sent us a very nice little book on Chester with lovely photos, & a pretty hankie for me. I can still hardly believe Christmas is so close & that Connie & Leonard are coming a week on Friday! I have a list as long as my arm of things to do – make Christmas cake & pudding – clean the whole flat – finish shopping etc. etc. & don’t know when I’ll begin!! Oh well, if it doesn’t all get done, Connie will have to turn to & help me! By the way – we continue to get annoyed at Connie & Leonard’s letters – they are nothing but grumble, grumble all the time! They have a flat now but it’s not ideal, & living is so expensive – much more so than the U.S. from what they can see – after all even stamps there are 4¢ compared to our 3¢, & Connie has her old symptoms of depression etc. etc. etc.! However, we are trying to be tolerant & hope that at Christmas they will feel better & more cheerful – if not, by the end of the week we will be telling them a thing or three!! But I don’t think they have told us that even one thing is nice since they got there – can you imagine!
To go back to my activities, on the Wed. (29) evening Cec & I were inveigled into going to a Committee Meeting for the Physics Dept. Xmas Party! The real members of the committee were Gordon & Gunborg – Cec’s pal Pete and his wife Mary Jo (who used to drive me shopping) & another young Prof. Hassen and his wife (the ones who had the funny modern 1/2 finished house – went to tea there in the spring.) We were sort of wished in by the Pete’s & Gordon & Gunborg, but it was a very pleasant meeting at the Pete’s, with drinks & eats etc. & we planned games & carol singing & a skit etc. The party is for faculty & graduate students, & half the entertaining is done by each, so we could shelve 1/2 of the responsibility on the students! Cec & I managed to get out without too much to do – my job is to type a stencil of carols & get about 200 copies run off, so I spent last night typing & Cec got the stencil run off today. I made one funny mistake- on my typewriter at work, the comma key is two commas above each other- a comma in ordinary writing & an apostrophe in Shift- on the portable it is a question mark above a comma, – a comma in ordinary writing and a question mark in capitals, so for one carol title I have “GOOD CHRISTIAN MEN? REJOICE”!!
The next weekend – i.e. last weekend- we bought the car! We began, you know, by seeing an ad. in the paper for an English Ford, 1949, for $495, & we thought, well golly – we could pay for that straight away! And a year old we thought it should be O.K, so on our way downtown to buy groceries, we stopped at the car dealers & asked about it. The man made an appointment to take us to see it next afternoon, as it was at their place outside town, so away we went next day & lost heart the moment we saw it! It was the most hideous mud colour to begin with- all scraped & battered along one side – no mat or carpet inside, just boards – no dashboard, just yawning holes, & to complete it all, it wouldn’t start!! So we abandoned it quickly & looked around & finally saw our pretty MacTavish – that is what we have christened the car, as it is a “Highlander Club Coupe” (with its tartan lining!) The “coupe” means that it has what is called a 1/2 back seat. i.e. it hasn’t much leg room compared to “sedans” & will only hold 2 in the back, but as it holds 3 on the front seat anyway, & is positively huge, we are glad it’s no bigger! We joined the A.A.A. (Auto Assoc. of America) & got all our insurance etc., through them & they give us all sorts of additional help, like free towing if the car won’t start & other things.
Gunborg & Gordon were giving a party for Gordon’s “group” of research students & wives that evening, so Cec & I went up early about 6 o’clock & helped them get ready. They were properly impressed with ourcar & so was everyone all evening long! There were about 30 there, & Gunborg served Mulled Wine (hot & spiced- nice!) to begin with, & then we watched some of Gordon’s movies. After that we played games & then had supper – a kind of Swedish smorgasbord with hot meatballs, & beet & herring salad & potato salad & green salad & stuffed celery etc. with trifle afterwards. Anne & Kirstin were out at a school party, so little Mary was allowed to stay up & open the door for the visitors & she was sweet- she has a new red corduroy velvet pinafore skirt with a little white blouse & she looks like a little Christmas! She stayed up & up & I eventually put her to bed about 11:30 after supper- very sleepy, but having a wonderful time!
We didn’t do much next day except send off our cards, so had a quiet day, & on Monday we saw about insurance etc. & on Tuesday we got the car. Neither of us could get licenses till we had a test, so we arranged to have 2 driving lessons each with a man from the Driving School to refresh our knowledge. My first lesson was straight after work on Tues. & this man came for me in his car & we drove around A.A. for an hour & I got on all right. (He looked just like Sherlock Holmes – pipe & all!) In the meanwhile Cec had asked his pal, Al, to drive the car home for us, & he stayed for dinner as his reward! After that, Al took us a drive in our limousine, & drove to his digs, where we left him & I drove us home – I was fine – except that we got ourselves lost twice, driving about 2 miles from one part of A.A. to another!! We even got onto little narrow country lanes & did we feel silly!! Cec had his 2 driving lessons during the next few days, but I had my next one on Sat. morning & the man told us to practice a little with our car before we took our test. So in the afternoon we drove around & I got groceries, & then we took our laundry up to Gunborg’s as she had told us to, as she wanted to see MacTavish. She was out shopping but I did my washing & Cec & Gordon washed their cars! They finally set out in MacTavish to collect Gunborg- & were our faces red – they stopped at a shop for Gunborg to get something & MacT. wouldn’t start & had to be pushed! We had to have him at the garage since then & they have fixed his battery so we hope he will be good now!
I forgot to tell you that we had Al to dinner again on Friday and afterwards we had another drive around & then all went to the pictures. It seemed ages since we were there last- we saw “The Next Voice You Hear”, which was quite unknown to us, but turned out to be very good. It was supposed to be that God suddenly spoke on the radio at 8:30 one evening & was heard all over the world in every language. You never hear the voice, but see what it does to an ordinary little American family- man, wife going to have a baby, & a boy about 12- & how they feel & what they do etc. It lasts for 7 days (Cec laughs at my description- you know what I mean!) & we thought the whole thing was very well done.
On Sunday Cec felt a bad cold coming on, so he stayed in bed till the afternoon. We had been invited to an “Open House” by Edie & the girl she lives with, Anne (!!) So I set off alone as we didn’t think Cec should go out, especially as it was snowing. There were all the Survey Research people there, so I knew everyone & had quite a nice time- got kissed under the mistletoe by my boss Charlie too! They had a piece very cunningly hung over the middle of the sofa, so each newcomer was caught unawares! There were hundreds & hundreds of Christmas cookies to eat- A. Ettie will tell you about all the different kinds with different German names- & they had a fruit punch, which wasn’t 1/2 so innocent as it tasted. I got home about 7, & Cec was most amused because he gave me the key to get something from the car & although I made 3 trips to the car & back for advice (giggling all the time) I never got the car open at all! The key just wouldn’t go in!
Next day Cec’s cold had become a cough, but I felt a bit funny although I went to work. My eyes were burney & boiled feeling you know, so at noon Cec sent me home & I tumbled into bed & slept all afternoon & most of the evening too. It seem to do the trick because I was O.K. yesterday & today, but Cec still has a cough – must have been some kind of germ we got.
This week at work we have been in a furore, as we had an Open Day today with invitations to all the University to come & see us. Each dept. had to have a display & after a meeting Sylvia & I were handed the job – a most thankless one! I planned it out, & apart from 2 posters we got done for us, we did the whole thing ourselves & after toiling all week got it up & ready for 1:30 today. Yesterday we were just about frantic as we were chopped & changed from place to place & no one would co-operate & the 2 posters weren’t ready, but finally we got it done & everyone said it was very good – I’ll enclose an illustration sometime! The Open Day was quite a success – Cec came & we looked about & then had free cake & coffee & enjoyed ourselves! He met all the people at work that I tell him about & I got the chance to show him off! We drove home in ourcar!
I had intended to begin & answer all your letters, but Cec tells me it is bedtime, so I’ll close & mail this & then continue in my next! Now I am up to date I’ll plunge right into your letters next time.
You know that your little family here will be thinking of you such a lot at Christmas time, honey-bun, & wishing that we could all be together, but we hope that you have a very, very happy Christmas with your sisters and that you won’t be sad missing us, but get busy planning to spend next Christmas with us. I’ll write again really soon & answer all that lovely pile of letters here, so you will be getting another letter before Christmas I hope – But anyway – we both send all our love and all our good wishes for a merry Christmas –
This is basically a collection of pictures and notes, illustrating the back-and-forth between Cyn and her mother, Carol.
Pictures from Carol: These are very sturdy, matt, and have her comments on the back. The big one was posted earlier, when the pictures were mentioned in a letter. (Nov 1 1950) It is stuck in the scrapbook, so anything written on the back is unavailable.
Then there is the collection of oddments Cyn mentioned in her letter of November 7th, on three different types and sizes of paper, that she sent by sea, but referring to events she had already mentioned to her mother. (Just in case anyone else needs educating, Cyn was used to having fun from childhood on November 5th, when the English celebrate the failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, with fireworks and bonfires that burn a stuffed effigy, ‘the Guy’.) She never mentions Hallowe’en on Oct. 31, which I would have thought would have been an equivalent event in Ann Arbor.
This isn’t a letter- it is just a collection of funny things to amoose you!
I thought that you would like to know a bit how Til & Lois’s & the Sutherland’s houses look, and you know what fun I get out of drawing plans! They are both lovely houses in their own ways, but Til and Lois’ is in such a beautiful place it is hard to describe it. The prices – wow!- S’s is $25,000 & T & L $23,000 – millionaires needed!
The other funny little things are the place cards & menu I am going to make for dinner on Sat. night! We are having my pal Edie from work & Cec’s Canadian pal Al MacNamara from the Physics Dept. (he is from Sask – very shy – he came to dinner once before) to dinner & to play bridge. I have decided to make it a Guy Fawkes dinner, & altho’ Cec says they won’t know who he is, I’ll educate them! The place card is supposed to be a rocket exploding, & the menu is a gibbet done on my typewriter! I’m going to try and make a tiny “guy” for a centrepiece – wish you were here to help me!
Dinner will be a bit fattening I fear, but we have been wanting an excuse to get a duck!!
Lots & lots of love from
This is to give you some idea of what Til & Lois’ house (1 year old) looks like. It is only one story- no attics or cellar – & is made of wood & painted pale yellow outside. The living room is lovely with two huge windows- the front & back- it is panelled in pine & has a natural carpet & oyster-y curtains. The bookshelves are built in & have a green patterned paper at the back & the new furniture is to be in greens & reds. The kitchen is lovely too with the same reddish pine used for counters & cupboards above & the walls are a beige glass tile & so are the bathroom walls. The kitchen curtains are blue check, the bathroom curtains, mat, shower curtain etc. are grey & yellow, & the linoleum yellow. The bedrooms are nice too, but I’m blessed if I can remember the colours! The little study is sweet, with a green carpet, & they are going to get new curtains. The outside is beautiful of course – all the orchard in front, & at the back the most wonderful view of the river– wooded banks- & it forks just opposite them & goes around a big island. Their bank is still full of bushes and scrub, & has to be all cleared, but afterwards I have persuaded Lois to plant daffodils there, & I think it will be heavenly.
This now, is a plan of the Sutherland’s new house. As you can see, it is much bigger, older & more formal. It is white painted wood outside with green tiles, has big basement, & attics. The sitting room is a lovely big room which they need as they entertain so much – the study is the Doc’s & is painted grey (Gunborg did it). The whole kitchen has been remodelled & is elegant! The walls are a pretty soft yellow-the cupboards around the walls are natural wood, well the tops of the counters are a soft pinky red formica (hard linoleum-y stuff) & inside the cupboards are red painted to match. It sounds a bit odd, but it looks very nice indeed. Upstairs there are 4 bedrooms – the girls have one each- & a bathroom- then the main bedroom (over the front 1/2 of the sitting room) has a little bathroom with shower only, of its own. All the bedrooms have little balconies (on study roof, porch etc.) – very romantic! Apart from the kitchen which they had done, Gunborg is doing all decorating herself – study, downstairs cloakroom, 2 bathrooms etc. & some is old & needs plastering cracks etc.- a big job.
P.S. Little Mary was writing a letter to her Auntie in England the other day & told her they had a chipmunk in the garden – then wrote “He is a doorable”!! Sweet.
I still haven’t got around to that long letter answering yours, but I still intend to, so it will be coming! I got yours of the 18th on Monday, & was so pleased to get it & glad that you were having fun painting!
On thinking back, I remember that it is 1 1/2 weeks since I wrote last, as I meant to write again at the weekend, & then got caught up in ironing etc. instead! I also managed to write to Irene for her birthday & send a box of candy- it wasn’t a very original present but I was so horrified when Dottie wrote & told me that she’d had to pay £1 on the waist petticoat I’d sent her for her birthday, that I thought I’d better send something that had no duty on. I intended sending “Les Girls” nylons at Christmas, but I think I’d better ask them if they want them first.
Cec & I have had quite a busy week, & the time seems to have flown, but thinking back we don’t seem to have done much. Last Sat. we went to Mary & Arthur Dockerill’s & chatted & had a cup of tea etc. They have a flat on the top floor of a big house owned by an old Physics Prof. & it is atticy & rather like our Cambridge one, but they have their own shower– bathroom. It is nice although not so modern as this one. On the Sunday, Cec went down to the Kaufman’s & watched a baseball game on television. The K’s had also taken us to the Market on the Sat. morning & among other things we bought a lovely bunch of mauvy gladiolas & on the Sun. we walked over to the Sutherlands & gave them to Gunborg. She is very busy with the house- painting etc. & it really is looking very nice.
Mon. I ironed (also Sun!) & on Tues. Cec & I & Gunborg went to see “Sunset Boulevard” which was very good. It is a film with Gloria Swanson in it as a star of silent days & she acts very well in it – looks awful though, I think!
Wed. we did nothing, but on Thursday Cec & I had hardly arrived home after work, when Kirstin came & asked us to come up as her Mummy was ill, & they had no one to cook their dinner. She was on her bike, but we set off walking & arrived in about 20 mins. to find the kids finishing dinner which was already cooked & Gunborg had told Kirstin to ask us to come later! However, we sat down & ate the remains! Poor Gunborg had been sick & felt v. poorly, but got better, & we saw the girls to bed & left her to have a good sleep.
We went to a big Michigan University football game yesterday afternoon, but M. lost & we were v. disappointed as it was slow & not much fun. We played bridge with Cec’s friend from the Lab. Pete & his wife Mary Jo who used to take me shopping – it was fun.
Must stop now, but will try & write again this week.
Here we are in Canada! We arrived here this afternoon, after our usual Costain mad rush at the last minute, and now having got everything organized we are sitting back in our hotel room feeling that we are on our holidays!
You will notice that we postponed our date of leaving, as Cec had some work to finish for Dr. S. and I was just as pleased as it gave me time to do everything I wanted to, instead of every other thing! I finished work on Friday, and since then I’ve washed & ironed all our clothes, mended them (!!!), cleaned the flat thoroughly including scrubbing all the floors, so I feel very virtuous now! I packed my case last night, & got all Cec’s things ready, but this morning what with washing up & cleaning the very last things out of the fridge etc. we had quite a scramble to be ready at 10:30 when Gunborg very kindly came & gave us a lift down to the bus depot. We got the bus into Detroit, which takes about 1 1/2 hrs, then took another bus through the tunnel under the river to Windsor. We had to get here before the banks closed to get our Canadian money, then we went to the Airline Office & payed for our tickets & at last had lunch & we were hungrey! We thought we would go to the pictures tonight to see “Kind Hearts & Coronets” which we missed in England, & then get to bed early, as we have to be ready to get the bus to the Airport at 6:30 a.m.! We go to Toronto, then change planes & arrive at Saskatoon at 3:25- isn’t it incredible, when it would take us nearly 3 days in the train.
I haven’t written to you properly since my Epic, although I did send a sea letter of funny things from Ann Arbor. In that time we got 2 letters from you, & thank you very much honey. I have them with me, & will answer them in this, or if I haven’t time, will answer them in my next from Saskatoon.
We don’t seem to have been doing very much but the time has flown, & of course I have been busy with my chores as usual. We had a grand day in Detroit with the Sutherlands, & I had lovely time. We drove there in their car arriving about noon, & as we hadn’t been able to book tickets for the Ball Game, we went to the stadium & found we’d have to go & get them at 6 in the evening. Gunborg & I were all for having a nice dinner but with having to go so early to the game, we decided instead to have a nice lunch, & we went to a very nice Swedish restaurant we had heard of, called the Stockholm. It was lovely & cool for which we were grateful as it was a sweltering day (I wore my new green suit) & we had an extremely nice lunch- there was a Smorgasbord first (a kind of hors d’oeuvres- all sorts of dishes hot & cold, set out on a big table, & you go & help yourselves) then steak, and I being adventurous had a peculiar dessert that wasn’t very nice, but I didn’t mind!
After lunch we left the S’s to go shopping, & Cec & I went & saw about our re-entry permits for coming back to the U.S. & then to the Airline & arranged about our tickets & paying in Canadian dollars etc. We had arranged to meet the S’s at 4 o’clock, & it was still early, so we went to the great big store, Hudsons, & shop gazed & didn’t buy a thing! We met the S’s, & they shopped a bit more, then we had tea & finally went out to the stadium. We had to queue till 6 o’clock, then dashed in & got tickets & tore up the ramps & got seats!
In no time for seats were all filled (unreserved) & the game didn’t begin until 8:30, so we had a long wait, but it wasn’t dull because all the players were out practising & we had our programs & picked out the ones we knew from the radio broadcast, & it was fun. We ate hotdogs & drank pop, & it didn’t really seem long to wait. The Ball Game was Fun! Detroit was playing the New York Yankees, & they are great rivals, so it was very exciting, & Detroit won! I stood up & yelled & got so excited right at the beginning that Cec was worried my voice wouldn’t last through the game – I had a lovely time & enjoyed it hugely & so did Cec. Gunborg didn’t think it was very thrilling, so we were a little bit disappointed in her! We got back to A.A. about midnight, & I felt very pleased with my nice day.
Jessie Forsyth came that weekend to say goodbye, as she was leaving. We won’t see her in Sask. as her home is in Medicine Hat, but we will see Pete & Lu.
Last week we were busy at the office, & one evening I even did 3 1/2 hrs. of typing at home for one of the men- got paid of course too! Then we suddenly got a card from Joan & Ray Appleyard saying they had been driving out West & were returning to Yale via Ann Arbor & hoped to see us on Thurs. So of course, we were tickled to bits, but they didn’t actually arrive till Friday mid-day. They look just exactly the same (Ray thinner) & had with them a couple Bid & Denis Manon with whom they used to play bridge in Cambridge & used to call the Porkers – I didn’t know them. They had been driving most of the night, & got lost, & the car broke down, so they were in a dirty, sleepy condition when they arrived. We all had lunch in town together, then Cec took Joan & Ray back to the flat while I went back to work. The Manons went to a hotel, but I asked them to dinner & we had quite a successful meal of steak with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, tossed salad & cantaloupe. We asked the S’s over for a drink afterwards & we had a very nice evening. Joan & Ray slept on our sitting room sofa which pulls out into a double bed, & said they slept very well, then after breakfast set out at about 8 o’clock to collect the Manons & go to Niagara & then back home. They are going to stay in Yale another year – they were both asking for you & sent their love.
We have been to the movie & are back & going to bed now. We didn’t see “Kind Hearts & Coronets” as it was a long way away, but went to see “Stage Fright” instead. It was quite good, but there was a stinker on with it, which we sat through to see the beginning of the other!!
Will write soon again from Saskatoon.
With lots & lots of love from us both
Cyn & Cec
So Cyn and Cec were on holiday starting in Windsor, and there also in Windsor Ontario, was a red-haired 4-year-old boy who would grow up to marry their daughter!
Cyn may have been nervous about meeting her in-laws for the first time, but she also was interested in seeing more of Canada, going West, and then visiting more of Cec’s relatives, as well as their trip to Ottawa where they expected to be living in the future. And I’m sure the Costains liked her- Carman would spend a couple of summers living with them, and when Merle and Dix moved to Ontario in the 60s, the two families became close, and shared quite a few more holidays!
In the Epic Cyn keeps referring to, she is replying to two months worth of letters from her mother, and since she’s writing it over a 10 day period, some of the events she mentions overlap with her other letters. Carol had left England after 30 years, having separated from her husband now hospitalized with dementia, and gone home to St. Vincent to live with her sister Muriel (Auntie Moo). She had visited other sisters and their children and grandchildren living in the West Indies first, and now is writing to Cyn and Cec, mentioning cousins in the extended Hazell family that Cyn has never heard of, and again referring to the family martial upsets and divorces with ones she is closer to. Carol’s brother Fred is the owner of the family business, Hazells, and hosts a holiday on the island of Bequia which she enjoyed immensely. His 4 daughters, Jean, Brenda, Peggy and Patsy, are frequently mentioned as well.
As their first Wedding Anniversary approached, Cyn and Cec were still getting wedding presents. Hugh Brown, who the Ewings had known during the war when the American Army was stationed in Newcastle, had been great friends with Cyn, had introduced her to his family during her exchange year in Toledo, and now sends her a belated gift they are thrilled with. Although Hugh had left the army when Cyn had last seen him in 1947, it now seems, perhaps because of the Korean War, that he is once more a high-ranking officer. The missing wedding present sent by Cyn’s cousin Brenda from Burma shows up eventually, because it is listed, last, in Cyn’s Wedding 1949 notebook!
Saturday. 22nd July.
Dearest Little Mummy,
Here I am beginning right away with my Epic! I have just been inquiring of Cec how much paper he has as I only have 3 sheets & he says how much am I going to write, but I say, oh hundreds as I have hundreds of letters to answer! I have left the dirty dinner dishes in the kitchen & abandoned my ironing & I’m just going on writing till I don’t have another thing to say!
I am beginning now with your letter written on 14th May- ‘way back! You were saying you had just been in St. V. 4 weeks – does it seem ages & ages ago now? You are writing in it of getting “I Capture the Castle” from A. Ettie & how much you enjoyed it. After your recommendation I got it out of the library & both Cec & I loved it & thought it was a gorgeous book, although I don’t think the end was as good as the beginning. It is Dodie Smith’s first book & I remember reading criticisms of it in the Eng. papers, as she is a well-known playwright – do you recall seeing “Autumn Crocus” long, long ago at the Jesmond Playhouse? That was by her & was very well known- it was about a middle-aged school teacher who went for a holiday to Austria & fell in love with the hotel keeper. He was big & handsome & jolly & friendly to everyone, & she didn’t realize that the big, fat cook was his wife, & that he was just nice to all his guests, & she had quite a heartbreak, poor girl! Before I began work, I read quite a bit & one book I meant to tell you about was called “Marmee, the Mother of Little Women”& was a biography of Louisa Alcott’s mother. I was very interested, particularly that L.A.’s father was one of the first great educationalists in this country, but was very idealistic & impractical & for years had no money, as his school in Boston was closed because he accepted a coloured girl as a pupil. It was the Mother who went out to work & kept the home together, & the 4 girls seem to have been very like Little Women except that the real Amy seemed nicer, & was really quite a famous U.S. artist eventually, married a French man (much younger than herself!) & lived in Paris! As I told you, Dottie sent us a Book Club sub. for my birthday & we have had 3 books by now, 2 of which we like immensely. The first one was called “The Kon-Tiki Expedition” & I thought it sounded awful, but it turned out to be a grand adventure story although it is all quite true. It is about 6 Norwegians & Swedes who sail across the Pacific from Peru to the S. Sea Islands on a log raft to prove that the original inhabitants of the islands came from Peru. It is most exciting & very well told. The book we didn’t like much was Rose Macauley’s “The World my Wilderness”, but this month we got “A Town like Alice” by Nevil Shute, which is lovely & if you can get it I am sure you would enjoy it. It is about Malaya a bit, but mostly Australia, & is so interesting & nice. It made us think of Frank of course – he will be in Sidney by now of course, & we mean to write & send him those snaps. I also thought of Mary & Michael Egan & I do hope they’re happy out there – I wrote to Mary & sent her a cable to the ship, & had an A.M. from her from Port Said yesterday. She said she was v. miserable about leaving England & doesn’t even know if they have a home in Perth yet, but she seems quite cheerful now.
To go back to your letter, I loved hearing all about the 2 church “Fairs” you went to- the first one rather low with a loud band & jigging locals, & the other very refined!! Cec wants you to make a family tree with all the relatives on! I told him it would be practically a life’s work, but we do get confused over all the cousins mostly – at least Cec is confused over everyone, & when it comes to your cousins I am confused too! I also keep forgetting the names of Jean & Bren & Peggy’s children- it’s a good thing Patsy hasn’t any to confuse me more!!
I enjoy hearing about all the servants you have to wait on you, & love hearing of having a boy to carry this & one to carry that etc. Doris & Clarice (despite varicose veins!) sound nice & I laughed over the spider in the shower, but shuddered as well! I don’t at all like the sound of the beetles & lizards – we had quite a lot of Maybugs – hard backed flying beetles – earlier & they used to bonk- bonk– against the screens at night, but thank goodness we have screens!
You asked whether we had duty to pay on bringing any of our stuff in (the 8 boxes) but we didn’t although we were doubtful as some of it wasn’t a year old which it is supposed to be. You were saying that you laughed over Mrs. A’s warty teapot – well– some weeks later I invited Mrs. Kaufman up for a glass of sherry & to see the flat as she hadn’t been in since we came. She admired everything – in fact in the bedroom she looked around & said “Well, this looks just the same” then in a depressed voice “but nicer than when we had it”!! I showed her the china & glass cupboard etc. as she kept asking about my “English china” & blow me down, but the only thing she admired was Mrs. A.’s warty teapot!!! She is a funny woman. Her 2 daughters & their husbands came up to see the flat one day & the 2 husbands were much taken with your photograph & admired it.
I was very interested to hear all the domestic details about A. Mil & U. Fred & Joan & Jack. I am sorry about the latter, & feel that A. Trix may have something to do with it as you say. Also about poor Basil Hutchinson & his matrimonial troubles – he does seem to have had a hard time.
I was awfully sorry to know that old cheque had caused so much bother. I hope Kirby finally got it straightened out. I am inclined to think that it would be a good idea to let him look after your Income Tax etc. As you say, it was bad enough before when we were both in England, but now it is so difficult that I think it would be worth letting him take most of the return, to get rid of the worry.
You ask in your letter if I have ever heard from Hugh & got the promised W.P. Well, a while ago I had a short note from him asking if this was our correct address, as he had written to the University & got the letter returned. So I wrote after a while & last week a HUGE parcel arrived, & Cec & I were so excited & rended it open & what do you think it was? A beautiful Sunbeam Mixmaster! We were absolutely & completely overwhelmed, & of course think it is wonderful. We straight away washed it & used it to make waffles & squeezed orange juice on the juicer attachment & had a lovely time. Wasn’t it sweet of him? I wrote & thanked him, but haven’t had a reply – I was wondering if by any chance he would be sent out to Korea.
If you were writing about our budget & food bills etc. – well, since the Korean War the prices have been going up & yesterday at the store steak was $1.10 a lb, & pork chops had gone from about 70¢ to 95¢. Coffee is going up to 87¢ a lb so it doesn’t look too good – I am horrified when I think of my meat bill for the week is $5.00 or more ( i.e. 25/— 30/-) & I used to think Claude & I were being devils if his bill was 7/6 a week! You will be glad to hear that our milk bill is down to $6.00 now, as we have cut out cream for the summer, as I don’t use it in my coffee, & Cec uses the top of the milk, so that I won’t get so fat!! I am trying not to eat so much!
The Sutherlands are wondering about building a house after all now, as building costs are very high. Gunborg has a legacy in Sweden which she is getting over next month & they were going to use that, I presume, but now they think if they can find a decent house they might buy & just keep the “lot” which they can always sell later if they want. The trouble is that they need a bigger house than the usual type (Dr. S. needs a study & the girls are getting big all to share 1 room) so they haven’t had much luck yet.
I am now on to your letter of 23rd May telling about the new Air Service etc. By the way, the accountant at work, called Arnold, (or Arn usually!) is a keen stamp collector, so your St. V. stamps are going to him at present & he is very pleased. He buys all the new US issues too & has sheets of them. It is such a funny office – everyone calls everyone by their Christian names – the office manager is Don, & Miriam’s boss is Dick & so on. I said it was very “matey” & they all laughed like anything as it was a new expression for them. But I like it & am pleased that I am still there. Don asked me a week ago whether I would be in A. A. long, & when I told him he was quite pleased that I’d be here so long. Then on Monday he told me I was to work in the Field Office for a while (Boss is called Charlie) & the job will probably last 6 months, so if they are willing to let me have my holiday it looks as if I may stay. We plan to go to Sask. on 15th Aug. & fly from Windsor, Canada (just across the river from Detroit) as we can pay our fares in Canadian dollars then. Flying isn’t much more than train, especially as we would have food, berths etc. on train, & as we won’t have so very long, it will save us nearly 6 days travelling. We will stay at Cec’s home, then go to Regina to stay with his older sister Merle, & then fly to Ottawa & Montreal where Cec has business before coming back to A.A. In Montreal we will see his younger sister Lee & Wendy & their new little son. We will probably be away about three weeks, but I thought I would stop work on the 12th & take a month so I’d have a few days either end to wash clothes & clean etc.
The new office I’m in, the Field Office, is the one that looks after all the interviewers all over the U.S. who do the “Gallup Poll” type of interviewing for the Surveys the Institute do. The interviews are more thorough & scientific than the Gallup ones, but the idea is the same, & this week we have been getting ready to send out a huge no. of questionnaires (2000) to the interviewers for an interview on Atomic Energy. It is quite intriguing, but my part has been very minor – I spent 2 or 3 days stamping each questionnaire & numbering them etc.! The Office Messenger called Tim & the Stockroom man called John, helped me – the former has his B.A. & the latter his M.A.- Tim and I have long discussions on modern literature!
I am now onto your letter of May 30 and it is Sunday. This morning we slept & slept & slept until 12 o’clock- it was lovely! Cec’s pills of course, make him sleep, & I have felt tired this week, so we both enjoyed the long lie in! We got up & showered & washed our hairs, then had a breakfast – fresh orange juice, bacon & eggs (two eggs for Cec) toast & coffee! We get such fun out of the juicer on Hugh’s mixer – usually we use the frozen orange juice, which is just as cheap if not more so than having fresh oranges. The frozen is in little tins about 4” x 1 1/2” & you keep it in the freezing part of the fridge till you need it- then you put it in a jug & add three little cans full of water (makes over a pint) and it is just like fresh orange – not a bit like that baby’s stuff in England. Since breakfast (!) I washed up all the dishes, made the bed & changed the sheets & did the laundry up ready to go on Tues. In the meanwhile Cec had a baseball game on the radio- Detroit v. the New York Yankees & it has been very exciting! Cec loves listening & I am beginning to know what is going on, & to know the players’ names. We support Detroit who are top of the whole League at the moment, with Yankees only 1/2 a game behind. They just won this afternoon so are now 1 1/2 games ahead!! We have it all arranged with the S’s to go into Detroit for the day on 1st Aug. We have to go to the Airline Office & get our cards fixed for going into Canada, & then in the evening we are going to the big stadium to see Detroit play against the Yankees again. They don’t play just one match against each other, but lots during the season, but because they are so close to each other in the League it is very exciting! Is everyone in the West Indies very interested in the WI test matches? I know they are being played & that is about all. Do you remember last year how excited Cec & I were at the May Week Boat Races, because St. John’s boats were doing so well,? I wrote & asked Connie & Len to let us know about them this year & they sent us papers etc. & Lady Margaret (St. John’s) was head of the river this year! They made a bump every single day & The Times said they were the best crew on the river for years & everyone was expecting them to do great things at Henley. All the other Lady Margaret boats did wonderfully too, so it must have been fun. Remember you & Jessie F. watching!!
I am so glad the parcel of the dress arrived safely eventually, & that you liked it although you had to alter it. I knew it would be too long, but I couldn’t quite remember what size I used to get you & thought too big was better than too small. Cec & I were quite sorry you were going to rip up the apron as we thought it was so cute!! You ask whether I can still get into my going away dress, & that is O.K., but I think I’ll have to let out the waist of my yellow & grey taffeta – remember my white jersey “bitchy” dress with bright colours in? I had it cleaned, so what with that & my avoirdupois I bulge back & forth & can’t wear it!! Lots of girls at work, however, tell me they gained weight during their first year of marriage, then lost it, so I hope I’ll do the same! And not go on & on like Nan!
I was interested to hear of Pat Galloway’s baby being 3 weeks premature- h’m! Also of Margs & Monie trying & not succeeding! They must take after the Simmons & not the Hazells – remember Jean saying that the Hazells were so prolific- a man just had to look at them & they were pregnant!!! As you say about Bill & Owen, it must depend on the man & the way they look!!!!!
Cec just interrupted me there by saying he was hungry in a plaintive voice, so I stopped & made him a huge peanut butter, sausage & lettuce sandwich & a glass of milk so that should hold him for a while. I had a little snack too!! I must go & get dinner soon – we are having fried chicken, peas, potatoes, sliced tomatoes, then cantaloup melon. Come and have dinner with us?
I have been meaning to ask you whether Arthur got the job in Trinidad or what he is going to do? Just about the time Bren was coming to St. V. we heard on the Canadian radio that a Lady boat had gone aground somewhere, & we wondered if Bren was on it, but you didn’t say anything I don’t suppose she was, or perhaps she flew as you said she may do.
In this letter you say something about us coming to the pictures again, & I’d written it was a long time since we’ve been & you were amazed as you thought we’d just been to see “Cinderella”. We laughed, as it was 6 weeks previously that we saw “Cinderella”, so we weren’t being such constant picture-goers after all! Have you been to the St. V. picture house yet? I bet it will be an experience! Your cocktail party sounds as if it were a great success, & I was tickled at everyone’s interest in the 2 new married couples – did you pin Romeo & Juliet on their backs or were you tactful?!
I am now onto your letter of June 6, so I am progressing! We have had dinner, & I have washed up & ironed a dress for tomorrow! I intended to do all the ironing today, but it is so hot that when I do anything at all I get hot & sweaty all over, so I have left it! That is one disadvantage of having an upstairs flat – although ours isn’t so bad as some– but it gets hot during the day & then when it is lovely & cool outside in the evening it is hotter than ever in our flat & doesn’t cool off ‘till nearly morning. The fan is a great help, but when we have it on in the sitting room & I am working in the kitchen it is a bit of a nuisance to move around.
I was glad to hear that you got £6.10 for the stamp album & are giving it to the Church Fund. Rosemary’s father offered quite a fair price after all then, didn’t he? You also are writing about sending Joan Cox a cable in this letter, & it reminds me that I have never written to her since she was married. I sent her nylons by A.M. for the wedding & she replied a day or so before, but as I haven’t yet sent her anything else yet, I have been delaying writing till I did. Money is such a problem!! I had just packed Dottie’s & Sandy’s birthday presents – Dottie a waist petticoat- white silk (rayon) with a frill round the bottom & Sandy a little pair of blue cotton pants with straps & a little red, white & blue cotton shirt – what is the date of his birthday anyway? And while we are on the subject of birthdays, what is the date of my little godson’s birthday? Have you heard anything from Jane & Bill from England? I expect they will be coming home soon now. Anyway, to go back to Joan’s wedding, I asked Anne & Connie if they had seen it or heard about it to let me know, but I haven’t heard from them yet.
Did I tell you that Connie & Len are probably coming to Ottawa in October for a year? Lennard hopes to finish his Ph.D. then & thought of going to Ottawa or the U.S. but Dr. S. advised Ottawa- we heard this from Dr. S. & haven’t heard definitely from them. Poor Cec is still struggling along with no equipment yet, but it is beginning to trickle in. However he has been working on another thing this past month or so which he says will be of use to him, so he is doing something, but it is terribly annoying for him.
I was interested to hear of Ian Hazell’s wedding, & what had happened to him. Which reminds me, that all these months I have meant to write to Rangin in Canada & have never done it, & now I wonder if she is still there or has gone back to Norway. I was also interested to hear about Alastair Fraser in Jamaica & this new thing he has discovered there- it all sounds very clever.
I loved hearing about my “Mrs. Costain” rosebush, & hope that you are taking good care of her! I am now onto your June 13th letter, & you were saying how much it was raining, but by your last letter that seems to be over & you seem to be having lovely weather. I was glad that during the rainy days you had fun doing your snapshot albums & wish I could see your “bridal book”. The two days Cec was away I did a little more on our Scrapbook but I am way behind now, & will have to try and get a good “do” at it someday. I had thought of taking it to Canada for Cec’s Mummy to see, but if we are flying it will probably weigh a ton!
You remember the pictures of Bremas you sent me? Well Gunborg goes to a class in Sculpture, & they have just got a new teacher who sculpts animals beautifully, so Gunborg is going to do Bremas & his mother! She has done a sweet little clay model of the mother lying on her back & little baby bear climbing over her tummy, & will do a bigger one next! I think it will be cute. A week or so ago, Gunborg gave me a present of a lovely Swedish cookery book. She has one, & when I was helping her with that tea long ago, I admired it, & she wrote to Sweden & got her sister to send one for me. It is all in English & has the most beautiful coloured illustrations – I am so thrilled with it.
You made me laugh in one of your letters because you said Gunborg always seem to be tired according to me. Well very often she is, as she can’t stand the hot, clammy weather any more than I can, & keeping the whole house & cooking, ironing etc. for 5 people is no joke, but she has just got a coloured girl who comes in twice a week, so she has a bit more leisure. However, meeting her she isn’t a bit a tired dreary person – she is vivacious & talkative & a lot of fun. Dr. S is Scottish & therefore more reserved, but has a great sense of humour – we are always tickled because Gunborg will sometimes make teasing remarks to him & (when we are alone) put her head on his shoulder etc. & he laughs & looks embarrassed! She told me that she knew him for a year & saw him nearly every day (she was living with a married cousin in Cambridge) & he took her out & to shows in London etc. & never even held her hand all that time! She says she was terribly in love with him & she thought it was dreadful! They are both darlings, but Cec and I think Dr. S. would be most shattered sometimes if he knew the things Gunborg told me!!
I haven’t heard anything from Til & Lois since they went down south, but think they may be home before we leave. Last time we were there Til gave me 2 plants- an ivy & another traily plant a bit like a Virginia creeper leaf. They are on my kitchen windowsill & I am so pleased as they have some nice new leaves since they have lived with me. I also have an apple seed, & an orange seed, & a maple seed in 3 tiny pots but they don’t seem to be doing very well! Also a sweet potato in water & it is sprouting lots of green leaves!
I am onto your 21st June letter now, written with your pretty pink & silver pen! Isn’t that lovely? You certainly do well with pens from gentlemen as you say & it was nice of P.W.V. to give you such a pretty one. How is his “liaison” going or don’t you hear of such indiscretions in polite society?! Perhaps now that you were there to show him a good example he will return to the straight & narrow path! I liked hearing about Peggy and Jean’s houses & also Peter’s “farm” with all the little piglets! You don’t mention Peter much– how do you think he is getting on here – does he like it & is he looking any better? I do hope Jeanie produces a boy this time – give her my love & tell her I’m crossing my fingers for her! I think your little chickies & kitten sound sweet. I was tickled to bits about the little wee thing flying to his Auntie Cyn – which reminds me that Lee’s cat had kittens too, & one of them was Cec’s birthday present, so we have 2 kitties “in absentia”!
I wonder if Doris has got her clock back from the burglar- poor Doris, what a fright she must have had.
Bren’s little Tessa sounds sweet, & the sunshades she brought you from Burma very glamourous. Do you remember she wrote me from Burma that she was sending us a W. present & it never came- – I wonder whatever happened about that. I would like to have Chris’ letter about Bidsy’s wedding – it must’ve been some splash. I had a letter from Amy last week with a card for our Anniversary & she told a little about June Kirk’s wedding but not much. Amy’s letter was very nice, but not much news. I also had a nice letter & very pretty card from Auntie Moo, & she is saying how glad she is that you are having such a lovely time at Bequia as you have such a dull life with her!! Dull – it sounds uproarious to Cec & me!!
You were saying about whether I ever hear from my father now – I haven’t heard a word since I came over here, but I write nearly every week, & have just sent off another parcel of sugar lumps & mints etc.
I liked hearing about your new dress – it sounds nice, & with such a good, cheap dressmaker it is hardly worth while your bothering to make things yourself. Over here the dresses are so cheap ready-made that it isn’t worthwhile having them made. The girls at the office are all very smartly turned out with pretty clean cotton dresses every day, so I am kept busy washing & ironing the few I have! I got another one last week for 3 dollars- it is very thin muslin-y cotton – grey with a white pattern & tiny red spots & red buttons down the front, & has a square neck. It is getting to the end of the summer season now, & I am thinking I might try to get a summer suit in the sales as I will need something for travelling & I only have four cotton dresses & the blue cotton skirt & blouses. So far I have had 2 cheques, & get another tomorrow, but as Cec isn’t teaching during the summer term he doesn’t get paid of course, so besides my pay we only have the regular allowance from Canada, & as we will pay our rent while we are away & want to leave some money in the bank, we still aren’t rolling in dollars! With me at work, we spend a bit more too- prices going up as well – & also bus fares & sometimes lunches when we don’t take sandwiches. Ordinarily, we take sandwiches, & have such fun – we eat them on the Campus, i.e. trees & grass around which the College buildings are built – & we have made friends with the sweet little squirrels! One particularly, with a lovely bushy tail, we call Blossom, & although he is shy, he will now take things from our hands. We have discovered they all love cherries! They hold them in both hands & gobble away till the fruit is all eaten & then crack the kernel & eat the nut! For fun one day, we gave Blossom a plum, & he could hardly carry it, but he staggered away with it & sat at the bottom of the tree & ate it & then asked for more!
Did I tell you that Mrs. Pasquier was going to Europe this summer? Mr. P. wasn’t going, but she was going with a v. rich friend who was paying for the whole trip – they were going to England- Denmark- Paris & I don’t know where else. I didn’t see her before she left, but had a long letter from the Q. Mary, & then last week a card (Bridge of Sighs) from her in Cambridge! She had gone for a day & met Anne & were sitting together on the Backs writing to me – wasn’t that lovely? I am so glad she went there even for so short a time- she thought it was beautiful.
This is your 4th July letter, so I am really getting up to date now. I was amused that your writing about how “the old order changeth” & how everyone in St.V. black & white have cars now, while you & Aunt Moo walk – it’s the same here too. As I told you there are quite a few coloured girls at work – & I get on quite all right with them. Lois is one who is working half time & getting her degree as well – she is middling colour & says her mother was from Bombay so must be 1/2 Indian. Eva is another & she is quite black, but very thin & sharpfeatured – she is picked up in a huge new shiny black Buick every day but I stand & wait for the bus!
Thank you for the offer to make me thing is, Mummy, but at the moment I am O.K. I am growing out of cami-knick’s etc., but panties are so cheap here (50¢) that in a way it doesn’t seem worthwhile making them, & as you say my fat podge size makes it difficult to know the right size!
I laughed at your letter when you are remarking at the snaps I sent- the oil cloth on the kitchen table is a necessity as it is painted a dark ugly brown & we got the oil cloth at once to disguise it – sometimes I put a tablecloth on! The high heels I’m wearing that you remark on, are my wedding white shoes & I put them on specially for the photo! Usually I wear my old “sloppy Joe’s”! You ask about my size in getting dresses now, & I get a 10 or 11 instead of 9, so it isn’t too bad- 9 is too tight over my boosum! The 10 & 11 I shorten but that is all. The grey one with lace that you asked about- the lace is kind of imitation crocheted lace, if you know what I mean!
I heard from Dottie about poor Pete’s glands, but hope they are o.k. now. I was interested to hear about Joan in Aberdeen – I must try to find out from Dottie what the trouble is. Amy & Ruth & Charlie seem to be doing themselves proud over holidays this year don’t they? I hope Dottie & Bar have a good time together, & that Bar is feeling better.
Your next letter of 9th July, was posted from Bequia, & Cec and I have both enjoyed your letters about your holiday there so much. It all sounded such fun – a beautiful lazy free life with all luxuries, mod. cons. servants etc.! – just suit us – no pioneering – just the lap of luxury!! Next best thing to being there with you was reading about all the good times you had, and we truly did enjoy hearing all about your doings. Your island outfit – i.e. sand shoes, gay skirt & big hat sound very sensible & I hope that there is a snap of you in your get up, so that we can see! The bathing must be heavenly, and I love to hear about you getting really sunburnt – one thing in your letter really did make us laugh though, & that was when you were describing the black sand, but clear sea, & ended up “Get me?”!! Tuts! We chuckled over Patsy’s flirtation & your threatening to spank her, then ending up by being sympathetic to her! Sounds as if she should be sent back to hubby, leaky house or not! How did the crocheting get on? Not very fast I’m sure, with all the fun & writing great nice long letters to your children! But never mind, I’d much rather have letters about lots of fun than a luncheon set! There were 3 different sized mats- 1.) 9 3/4 ins. across 2.) 6 1/2 ins 3.) 5 1/4 ins.- that of course, is after they were pressed out, & the measurements are a bit approx. as the edge has points!
I was most tickled at Bren & Patsy deciding they came from humble origins, after all this time! I am glad Tessa got better & so Bren was able to come after all, and that you all were such a jolly party. It is a pity that Uncle Fred isn’t carefree & jolly all the time, but he seem to have been a wonderful host, & Cec & I loved hearing about all the food & picnics & everything! We were sorry about your sore behind, but couldn’t help laughing too! The plan of the house & the bay gave us a good idea of the place, & I am always interested in what the houses are like.
You asked me in that letter (15th July) to send Irene’s snaps for you to see, but although she told me she was sending them too, they haven’t arrived yet.
And now for your very last letter of 23rd July- I am actually catching up!! In it you were writing of our 1st year of marriage & saying it was the most difficult, but if so, we’re not a bit worried! We’re not anyway, but we’re still the same as in our “courtin’ days”, & we haven’t been cross with each other or had a squabble yet! The only thing we moan about is our rolls of fat, & as we both have them we don’t mind so much! It’s a good job we weren’t with you in Bequia or we’d have put on lbs. more with all the gorgeous lobsters & things! One of my jobs at the moment at the office, is to make out file cards, forms etc. for new interviewers who are being hired for us all over the States for the Surveys which are beginning now. I feel most interested in them, because amongst other information they have to tell me their age, height, weight, colour of hair, eyes & complexion, & I typed out an identity card for them & send it back with a nice letter of welcome from the chief! It makes it so much more interesting to know that Miss Lavinia Derryberry has brown eyes & blonde hair & is 27, & Mr. John Miles Jr. is 34, married & has green eyes, fair hair & a ruddy complexion!! Anyway I was telling Cec that lots of the men were 6 feet. & over, but none of them weighed as much as him! (206 pounds now!) But I had to add that all the women were taller than me, and lots of them weighed much less!! He was very gallant and snorted “Bean poles!”
You were asking about Mary Jo & Pete & their new house – it is on Granger Ave. too, but higher up as it is quite a long Ave. They moved in last week- we haven’t been since, but while they were still in the throes of cleaning etc. we took them ice cream cones one afternoon! They are both v. nice – they both come from Baltimore & speak in a v. strange way. Mary Jo still comes for me on Fri. night to shop, so I am all set.
You were also asking about the S’s house & since I began this letter they have bought one. It isn’t very far from here, but we haven’t seen it yet, and they don’t get possession till Sept. It is 20 years old, has 4 good size bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, sitting room & big porch, dining room, study & kitchen & downstairs lav. so it has everything they need, so they felt they should take it although it needs re-decorating inside & out & gutters mended etc. It cost $25,000 which seems a lot, but a lot of the houses they looked at were over $30,000 & to build would be even more. The Petersons house was about 1/2 that I think but they did a tremendous a lot of work on it themselves. Before I forget, Gunborg is pronounced Goon-bore!! (Approx!)
I was interested to hear that Margs & Bill may yet come out in the Autumn, but hope A. Ettie gets there safely anyway. I too, hope Monie & Owen have a wonderful time in Eng. & that Monie isn’t disappointed.
My “little blonde”, Miriam, is getting married on 27th Aug. Her parents have come around & everything is fixed for the wedding & she is so excited now & counting the days!
I was interested to hear that you thought my letters were being opened – not that I think anyone but you would get much fun out of them. I’ll be more careful, but the thought of ME sending DOLLAR BILLS!!! I laughed & laughed- dollar bills – as if I could. The Sutherlands thought it was ever so funny too!!
Any news of Jean’s babe yet? Our two new nephews are called Bruce Costain (Merle’s baby) and Stewart Daryl (Lee’s.) The latter is to be known as Daryl which we don’t much like, & Lee made us laugh by saying in her letter “I don’t think Wendell (her husband) cares for the name”!
I laughed over you were telling Bren & Patsy about my “hungrey boy” & that reminds me that one night it was very very hot & Cec & I were lying on the bed sweltering, and Cec felt & said “Have you got the sheet over you? “& I said “Yes, I’m keeping my bloody liver warm” & we both shrieked & roared with laughter! Did you ever tell A. Moo about that? I tried to tell Gunborg one evening & laughed so much I don’t think she really knows what it’s all about!
I hope A. Moo’s hearing aids are back & that she is well – my love to her & to the girl. I am enclosing the rubber bands, but can’t get greaseproof paper- it’s all waxed here. The nearest thing is a little sandwich bags or there is some marvellous aluminum foil paper which is lovely – shall I send you some of that?
It is now 2nd Aug. & and I have at last finished this effort. We went to Detroit yesterday & had a lovely time, but I’ll tell you all about that in my next A.M.
Cec and I were so delighted to get your lovely long letter on Monday, and to hear all your news. We hadn’t had a letter for over 2 weeks, and I thought you would probably be having a very giddy social whirl, but never thought that there would be an A.M. only every fortnight. By the way, when the postman brought your’s & A. Moo’s letters he rang the bell & asked for the stamps, so we had quite a chat! Also this week (yesterday) your earrings arrived from Basil & thank you very, very much for them – they are sweet, & I wore them today to the Physics Wives Tea & Cec thought they looked lovely. I didn’t have to pay any duty or anything- wasn’t that nice? I finally got a little parcel off to you last week, & must be psychic as I sent a cotton dress as you requested in your letter, & also cheap as you requested!! However, as A. Moo says about her material, no one else will have one like it! I am so glad that A. Moo liked the material – please thank her for her letter to me.
Since I sent you my huge long letter last week we haven’t done anything much at all, so there isn’t any exciting news. On Sat. afternoon Mrs. Sutherland was going to a Concert & had an extra ticket given to her, so took me along. It was the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra playing, & a “Youth Chorus” singing, & Kirsten was in the Chorus. There was also a man singing, Jan Pierce, who was very good, so it was a nice concert. The Sunday was Mrs. S.’s birthday, but some cousins of hers were coming to see them that day, so as a small celebration she asked us & the Dockrills to a spaghetti supper on Sat. evening & we had a nice time. Cec & I took her some red roses & a funny birthday card about washing dishes & she seemed very pleased.
It suddenly got terribly hot last week & the temp. rose over 20° in one day, so everyone was wilting, but over the weekend there were gales & storms, & now it is cool again. However, all the trees are in bud now & the grass is lovely & green so everything looks more cheerful.
Cec has been working very hard as he had a paper to give the Faculty at a meeting last week & he has another one to give to another group next week, so he is toiling away. I had Mary Dockrill to tea on Tues. & on Wed. we met in town & went to the Library together & had a milk shake!
Mrs. Sutherland has lent us an old bookcase they aren’t using, so Cec has been putting it together & we are going to clean it & sand it & paint it & it will make a big difference to our room. When it is done, I will take some pictures! I have been busy lining shelves & washing china & now have all my kitchen cupboards looking beeootiful! Cec has hung up our pictures & we are so pleased to have all our things again.
I must stop now, but will answer your letter later & send the reply by sea, let me know how long air and sea letters take, will you? My love to A. Moo & Jean & the other girls. Cec sends love to you, with lots and lots from
P.S. This is a horrid letter, but I have been ironing & feel fair wore out!!
Cyn’s letters seem to reach Trinidad quite quickly- this one was written on the 23rd, posted on the 24th, and stamped in various parts of Trinidad on the 27th and 28th, having been redirected by Auntie Trix to her son’s house where Carol must have moved to visit, but nothing from her is getting to Cyn and Cec in Ann Arbor! It is interesting, though, to hear about the visit to Toledo they had been reluctantly forced into, and to get Cyn’s take on Til’s son Bill’s second wife whom she had heard about, but not met, at the end of her year teaching there.
We have been dashing to the post all week to see if there was a letter from you, but so far it hasn’t arrived. We are panting to know how your trip was and how you’re getting on and all about everything, so it will be fun when it arrives – I’ll be interested to know too, how long letters take to get to the W. Indies.
I was so mad last week because I finished the great long A.M. I was writing to you, & on Sat. morning took it, and 4 bundles of magazines and 1 parcel all downtown in the bus to the Post Office. My arms were about breaking by the time I got there & I staggered in at 12:03, to find that P.O.s in America close at 12.0 on Saturday! I could have bitten someone, as I had quite a bit of shopping to do, & instead I just had to turn around & get the bus home again. Actually, I had to get a present for Mrs. Atkinson’s birthday, as they were coming up that afternoon, so I bought a pot of blue hyacinths, & really did totter under the weight of that as well! Anyway, it all meant that I had to keep your letter over the weekend and take it to the P.O. again as I knew it was overweight.
The Atkinson’s finally arrived on Sat. at about 3:15 p.m. and we sat & talked a while and then I got tea. They both kept up a constant stream of talk- Mrs. at me, & Mr. at poor Cec, who was ready to scream by about 4 o’clock! Our tea wasn’t very elegant with a makeshift tea pot etc., but I used Mrs. Chaple’s tea cosy which enlivened the proceedings! During the afternoon I gave Mrs. A. the flowers which she liked & Mr. A. suddenly suggested we come down with them & stay overnight, as if it were a sudden bright thought, and after a few hesitations Cec & I agreed, so we slung a few things in a bag & were off, arriving in Toledo about 8:15. Mrs A. went to the door first- the whole house in darkness – opened it, and just stepped in, when suddenly out of the darkness came the sound of voices singing “Happy Birthday”. Mrs. A. got quite a shock & it was a real surprise as she had no idea anything was going on. There were about 8 people there & they all gave Mrs. A silver salt & pepper shakers & Mr. A. gave her a corsage of red roses. We sat & had a drink & then split up & played cards- Cec & I played bridge & did quite well. Then we had sandwiches (brought by the visitors) & tea & coffee & birthday cake, made by Mrs. A’s sister-in-law. Everyone stayed till after 12 & it was quite late by the time we got to bed. We were exhausted! But we had been by the time we left A. Arbor, & the party was really much better than I expected & we liked the people. Next day we slept till 12, – nice way of passing time on an uncongenial visit! – & then got up & had a breakfast-lunch. Mr. A. took Cec a drive while Mrs. A. & I washed up, then I phoned Til & had a chat & found that Bill & Jan were there for the day. As I was longing to meet Jan, I asked Mr. A. & he took us over for a little visit & I had my curiosity satisfied!! I liked her – although I told Cec she reminded me very slightly of Jessie Fisher! Not her colouring- she’s dark & square kind of face & glasses that turn up at the corner, but just her mouth or something. However she seemed nice & Cec liked Bill. They are having a baby & are off to Panama for 2 years sometime next month- Bill is in the Army you know. I asked Til another time if she thought they were happy & had found the right person this time & Til said “Oh no- there’s been talk of separating & so on, but I hope it works out all right”. Bill seems to like the Army though, & Jan likes the life so I hope it is all right.
When we got back, Mrs. A. gave us tea & then drove us back home, and we were so glad to be in our own little place again! They are kind & mean so well, but they just get on our nerves until we practically pop! Poor Cec is nearly driven crazy by Mr. Atkinson’s pomposity & know-all cockiness, & Mrs. A. talks worse than Amy & has a loud shrill laugh! Aren’t I rude? But we had a good grumble together & got it out of our systems, & hope we won’t see them for quite a while!
Cec has been working hard this week, & I have done nothing unusual except help Mrs. Sutherland with her tea party. I made some little cookies at home, like so
with a recipe out of her Swedish cookery book. Then yesterday afternoon I went along & helped polish silver & get out tea cups etc. and also made about 40 little choux pastry cases. Then this morning I went & made sandwiches (egg & chives: tomato: date & orange juice) & put cream in the puffs & coffee icing on top. The tea was for 3:30, so I went at 2:30 & everything looked lovely – the sandwiches, cream puffs, lots of different cookies & slices of fruit cake- & the table decorated with pale green & yellow candles & napkins & a bowl of daffodils, irises & white snapdragons. Twenty-eight ladies arrived, & they all said they had a lovely time & thoroughly enjoyed the tea. I stayed & helped Mrs. S. (Gunborg to me now – but I daren’t pronounce it!) clear up & wash dishes & while we were busy Dr.S. arrived having just dropped Cec, so he went along and brought Cec back with him & we all had dinner together. Since then we have been writing letters & both feel very virtuous!
Cec is chasing me to bed as it is 12 o’clock, so I must go.
Carol Ewing left England in March, and arrived in St. Vincent where she was to share a home with her sister Muriel in April, after having paid visits to other family members who lived on different islands. Cyn wrote this long letter and the airmail letter that followed, almost at the same time, and sent them to her aunt Trix, Carol’s older sister, in Trinidad, where her ship stopped.
I find Cyn’s scorn heaped on the humble broom as amusing as Cec did- I feel sure they existed in England or what was Hogwarts using?- but the broom I remember from my childhood was a push broom which I assume is the one she considered superior.
M0nday 13th March. 1950
When you are reading this you will be in the midst of the tropics, and here I have just been shovelling snow! Ever since we came it has been cold and snowy, sometimes a heavy fall, and sometimes just a little, but when ever it begins to melt away, there is another fall. There was one last night & it looked so bright & pretty outside then I went & asked Mrs. Kaufman if I could borrow their shovel, and I shovelled our little side path & Kaufman’s path and the sidewalk. While I was busy the postman brought your A.M. of the day before you left, and the one from Mary Ewing, and Mrs. K. told me to ring her bell when I was finished and she had something for me. She thinks I am crazy, I’m sure, & over the shovelling snow, she kept saying “My, but how unusual!”!! But both she & Mr. K. are very kind & will do anything to help us – they lend us books & magazines & an ironing board & iron, and the thing that Mrs. K had for me was a lovely yellow rosebud. She said her house is so upside down that it didn’t look right, so she’d like me to have it, & I was so pleased – the first flower I’ve had since the lovely ones I got on the ship. Poor Mr. & Mrs. K. are having such a time- they got our apartment done first, & are now in the middle of having theirs done & living all amongst it. They have had a beautiful new bathroom built, & all the kitchen remodelled & modernized & are having a new cooker & frig. & the stairs were moved when our place was made separate. They have the carpenter here for long enough, & tiler is coming off & on to put tiles in the kitchen & Mr. K. is painting doors & the decorators have yet to come. They have everything under dust sheets and no carpets & poor Mrs. K. just sits in a chair in the corner as the only comfortable place! She is little- about 50, but dark, while he is even smaller I think & grey & thin – but about 50 too. He has quite a sense of humour, but I don’t think she has as she doesn’t laugh at any of my remarks, but takes them quite seriously! However, we have a long chats when I go to borrow anything, & she was telling me that she came with her parents from Russia when she was a girl – Mr. K came from Manchester, I think I told you. They have 2 girls, both married- the eldest with 2 little boys & the youngest just married in Sept. & her husband doing medicine at the University – I haven’t seen any of them yet.
When I last wrote and told you of my doings, I think we were just about to go to Toledo for the weekend, and what a gay time we had! Til & Lois came up for us & arrived at about 5 o’clock on Friday. I had dinner ready- tomato juice, roast pork (by request of Cec!) baked potatoes succotash (little green beans & corn- frozen veg) apple sauce, then raspberries (frozen) & cream & coffee! Then we drove down to Toledo, which took about 1 1/2 hrs. I was quite excited to see the house & everything again, & we had my little room at the top of the house & everything looked just the same. Til & Lois have television & are crazy about it, but I don’t like it much although I wouldn’t tell them that! The programmes seem pretty poor although the pictures are mostly clear & good. We watched a bit, then went to bed & I said it seemed funny to have a MAN in my room! Next morning Cec & I slept late (of course!) & when we got up Lois had gone to the Airport – she only goes once or twice a week now – & Til was busy tidying up. We were to have dinner at about 1:30 because Marie Stoll had invited us all to a cocktail party for me to meet all my old friends in the afternoon, then Ruth (Lois’s sister) & family were coming over that evening to see us. However, during the morning Mrs. Atkinson phoned, and asked Cec and me to tea next day then Mr. A. talked & said that he wasn’t going to wait till next day to see me, but would come up right away. Mrs. A. was going to a meeting that afternoon to hear our old friend George Hammersmith speak, & when she went he would come up. Well, we waited a bit & he hadn’t come, so Til & I went out and shopped for groceries & when we got back, about 12-ish, here he was & Lois was back too. We all sat & talked & then Til & Lois were in the kitchen & he went out to his car & brought back a bottle of whiskey & insisted on us all having a drink! Til & Lois wouldn’t, but I had to have a little one & he & Cec had one, & he settled back and & kept filling up his & Cec’s glasses! We all giggled afterwards because Til said she tried to win the bottle for us – when he produced it first & handed it to me, Til said “But what a pity to open a new bottle- let’s have some of ours & then the kids can take the full bottle to Ann Arbor” but Mr. A. said “Oh no – this bottle isn’t going to Ann Arbor “& afterwards took the remains of the bottle away with him! Anyway amongst other things he told us that it was Mrs. A’s birthday on the 18th & he was giving her a surprise party & wanted to get her out of the way while it was being prepared. So we were to invite the two of them to A.A. to tea on the 18th (a Sat.) then drive back to Toledo with them, where the party would it, in the meanwhile, have been prepared by friends presumably. We were then to stay the night with them after staying to the party. So of course, we had to say we would, although we got very little choice in the matter!
But this time it was getting on for 2 & he was still sitting there, so we thought we would get him to go by saying that Cec had to get his hair cut. Lois said she would take us in her little car, so we all got up, but Mr. A. sat tight & I said “Well I don’t suppose you’ll be here when we get back, Mr. Atkinson” and he said “Oh I probably will!” So we had to leave him with poor Til! Lois’ new little car is the cutest tiny thing you ever saw. When I stand beside it, it comes up to my chin and I can see right over it! It is about 1/2 the length of an ordinary English car & inside it has four seats & four little doors! I fit it in the back all right, & Cec sat beside Lois- his head touched the roof & his legs were scrunched up, but he got in!!
When we got back, here was Mr. A. still sitting drinking, & poor Til in desperation had set the table & got the dinner all ready. Finally, as he made no move, she asked him if he would have dinner with us, but he said no, & when we sat down to dinner at 3:30 he left at last! We nearly died laughing!!!
We had a great rush then & ate & washed up & got ready as we were supposed to be at Marie’s between 4 & 4:30, but it was near 5 when we got there. She looked just the same as ever & Mary Bargman, who lives with her was there, & dear Mrs. Pasquier, & Mr. & Mrs. Nauts (the Principal) & Mrs. Pasch (the Dean of Girls) & two other teachers, Miss Johnson & Mrs. Bacchus. Some of them were just about leaving by then, but most stayed & everyone talked. I had a little chat with Mrs. Pasquier who wants us to come & stay with her in our new house & Marie came & asked about Anne & Howlett & so on. After a while George Hammersmith appeared from his meeting & seemed very pleased to see us & was asking for you. Mrs. A. told us the next day that he had been panting to get away from the meeting & finally told them he was off to meet the finest little Englishwoman he knew! And that he was absolutely charmed with you!! At last everyone began to go & we stayed & chatted a little longer & then went too. I forgot to tell you that besides drinking Manhattans they had all sorts of gorgeous snacks & we were so stuffed with dinner we could hardly eat a thing! Also Marie & Mary gave me the cutest little present- three glass bowls- thick glass – like so
The two small ones, one has HE on, & the other SHE, & the big one has SHELLS, & there are 2 colourless plastic spoons. They are for eating boiled eggs “turned out” & I think they are rather sweet & awfully nice of them to give me a present.
That evening Ruth & Ernie & David & Mary L. came over & we just sat around & talked & the kids played their pieces on the piano & Til played a bit. The kids look very much the same, but a bit longer in the leg, – I was telling Cec, I never took to them very much, but it’s probably because they never take any notice of me! He thinks they are nice kids!
Next day we slept late again, & had dinner in the middle of the day, then about 3:30-ish Lois took us to the Atkinson ‘s. We talked or golly- I should say, they talked! They practically told Cec all about Canada because they go there for holidays each year so know much more than him! He took it all quite calmly, but now & then said flatly “I don’t agree with you”! I went with Mrs. A. into the kitchen when she got tea ready – it turned out to be high tea- cold meat & salad & then tinned pineapple & pieces of cake, & we didn’t eat till about 6, but it was just as well, as I was still full from our huge dinner. Mrs. A. talked all the time in the kitchen & I said yes & no, & finally at tea we asked them to come to tea with us on the 18th as arranged & so did our dooty. They took us to Til’s about 7:30 and we were exhausted! Cec thinks he’s a pompous little man!
We spent the evening watching television & then next day, of course, Til & Lois had to go to school. Til came back at 11:30 & we had lunch with her & then she took us to the bus depot & we took a bus to Detroit. We wanted to enquire about our 3 trunks – the 2 wardrobe trunks & Cec’s tin trunk of books- which we had had sent by freight from Halifax as we had excess luggage. We had filled in the customs forms for them when we went thro’ Detroit in Feb. but had heard nothing, so we went & enquired at the Customs & C.P.R. offices. No one knew anything but we got the name & address of the C.P.R. man in charge of freight & wrote to him when we got home. We have had a reply now & Cec has to go to Detroit again tomorrow (it is Thursday now!) & take the keys & clear the customs, & he will also go across the river to Windsor (in Canada) & see about our 8 boxes. It will be nice to get all our things again, as we are just managing along on china. We have bought quite a few pans & kitchen stuff (cute white & red enamel pans!) as we needed it anyway, but we only got the bare necessities in china. Also Cec needs his books & I’m sick of wearing the same clothes!
Since our Toledo weekend we have been very quiet – it was nice to get home again too! We spend our evenings playing cribbage, reading, (we’ve joined a detective book club, & got 6 new books FREE on a bonus! We then get a book of 3 stories each month, but need take only 4 during the year if we want!!), writing & and you will be glad to know that I am at last sewing up Cec’s grey pullover! I find it quite strange to be just a housewife now, & realize it much more than I ever did in Cambridge – I seem to have nothing to do, & yet always doing something! I clean & cook & shop – it is quite a walk to the nearest shops, so I only do small things during the week & on Fri. afternoon, I go to Mrs. Sutherland’s & we drive to the big super market & have a real “do”, then she drives me home with all my purchases! Twice now, I have gone back & had a cup of tea with her & a chat, & last week she told me I could use her washing machine instead of going to the Laundrymat, so I took my case & we had tea while my washing wooshed around! We like the Sutherlands so much, & they are very nice & friendly. Mrs. S is about your height & slim & fair, with a thin face, & she is just as English as Swedish now. She has a little accent, but loves England & says she’s more at home there than Sweden now. Dr. S. is middle height, dark, slightly curly hair & wears glasses. He is jolly & when he laughs reminds me so much of Len Burton & the way he looked when he laughed. The girls are all sweet too- Ann is dark & like her father, while Kirstin is more like her mother, & the little one Mary is just like herself – she has a fringe & two pigtails & is cute. They are always full of enthusiasm- one time we went, they were cutting out little houses & churches & colouring them & sticking them up & making villages, & last time they were going to do a play of the “Three Bears” & were all typing & learning parts! We went & sat with them last Sunday evening, as Dr and & Mrs. S. were going out & they get lonely. So we went about 8, & I typed Anne’s part for her, & we listened to the radio, then we saw them in bed & read them a story! We just sat downstairs & read our own books then till Dr. & Mrs. S. came back & then we all drank milk.
We went to the pictures for the first time last week & saw “Jolson Sings Again” & the cutest cartoon about a little duck & a little mouse! Then we went to a drugstore & had a chocolate milk shake & I had a nice time! I enjoyed the picture very much, & we saw the cartoon over twice. Cec wants to go this week & see “Twelve O’Clock High” a war picture with Gregory Peck that is supposed to be very good, but his classes had little exams this week & he has to mark them, so we’ll wait & see if he gets them done by tomorrow evening. This Sat. is the one the Atkinson’s are coming up to tea (not looking forward to it much) & it will be a funny tea party with only 2 cup & saucers & no teapot! Cec & I will have to use the plastic cups & saucers from Bar’s picnic case, & the only thing I can think of is to use the coffee pot as a teapot! We have just been using teabags in cups so far, & haven’t bothered to get a tea pot- anyway all the ones in shops here are horrid! I am having a nice “cuppa” and a choc. biscuit now, as a matter of fact & writing this on the kitchen table! We have changed our times of meals a bit now, & eat at American times as it is more convenient. We have breakfast about 8:30- 9.0, then Cec either goes to the Lab or to take his class on Tues. & Thurs.. He comes home for lunch about 12:30, back at about 1:45 and home again at 6,- I also have my cup of tea about 3:30, & we have a glass of milk & a piece of cake or whatever there is before we go to bed. Cec had to have a medical for the Univ. & the Dr. said he was OVER weight! Goodness knows what he’d say about me!! I don’t think we’re putting on weight here tho’ – just about the same. Cec keeps saying we must do exercises & does one or two every 3 or 4 days!!!
Who do you think we had a letter from yesterday? Lee & Jim Gander – forwarded from England. They are near New York & had a baby boy in Jan. – isn’t that nice? I also had a letter from Dottie this week & one from Anne a little while ago. I have written to my father twice & have a parcel ready to send him- choc. biscuits, sugar lumps, chocolate etc.
This letter is turning into a book, but I might as well go the whole hog & answer your letters before I close- mostly, I’ve answered them as I went along, but just in case I missed anything. Thank you for Denis’ letter & photo – Cec & I couldn’t help giggling at some of Denis’ high flown language, but he’s sweet just the same. I’m glad they’re having a baby & hope it will be a boy as I am sure both he & Winnie would like a little Bobby & I think it would be nice. In one of your other letters you mention our rent & AGL saying it was about £35 pounds- at the old rate of exchange $4 to £1, it is £20- just the same as Connie & Len’s other flat was- at the present rate it is nearly £30, but the old rate gives you a better idea of the value of things here, & as we get Can. & Am. dollars the devaluation doesn’t affect us in that way. After our first months expenditure we have some idea of what it is going to cost us to live & we are trying a budget! I am given $20.00 housekeeping money each week- or rather $80 a month, & must buy food, laundry, papers, etc. – and I want to try & save out of it to buy all the household things we still need! I told Cec I’d be feeding him very economically for a while, but it is quite difficult as butter is nearly a dollar a pound & vegetables seem very expensive to me – as well as meat of course. Hamburger – which is about the cheapest thing is about 60¢ a lb. & all the fish is frozen of course. I am saving up for 1. a mop. 2. a carpet sweeper 3. an ironing board 4. a kitchen stool and steps – not to mention all sorts of other little items! My cleaning utensils at the moment are a brush, handbrush & dustpan & duster – I call the brush all sorts of horrible names – it is like this
& I say it is most inefficient. I use it for carpets & for sweeping the floors, but tell Cec it does neither properly and that the English have much nicer brushes!! He was most amused in the shop when we got it, because I acted so amazed at such a thing, that he said the man would think I was some poor little rich girl, who’d never seen such a thing as a broom in her life!
To go back to your letters, I wonder so much if you will really see Hugh in Trinidad. I do hope so, as I know you would both get a big kick out of it, and I would love to hear all the news. You’ll have to tell him where we are & that it would be fun if he could drop in & see us some time. Til was asking for him too, when we were in Toledo.
I am so glad that the Solicitor at the Courts of Justice was nice & kind – I know you would be dreading seeing him rather, & it is such a relief to know that he is someone whom you can write to, & who will do the best for us all. I think I told you I had a letter here from the Lord Chancellor’s Clerk in reply to the one I wrote & it was very nice too. I have just been re-reading your account of your present to Ruth & the party & all, & your rug sounds very nice. It reminded me of a remark in Dottie’s letter which made Cec & me roar with laughter – she said she hoped you got Ruth a handsome present & left the price on!! The blouse I sent Ruth was pretty – I hope she likes it- white with lace insertions-
Actually there were 3 or 4 bands of lace, & the material between was sort of ruched. I enjoyed your letter all about the party at the Savoy so much, & was very glad you told me all about the clothes & food & celebrities & everything. It sounded as if it must have been really nice & I am awfully glad that you went, even if you did have misgivings beforehand!
You asked in one letter what the furniture is like – well, it is quite nice, & the bedroom has a double bed (!!) which is comfy but creaks & groans & makes the most awful noises if you just sit on it! Anytime Cec gets in you’d think the whole thing was going to collapse so you can imagine his remarks! There is also a dressing table & stool, & a chest of drawers, & a big closet with room enough for all our clothes to hang. In the sitting room there is a big day couch (navy blue & navy cover, yellow curtains) which will turn into a double bed, an arm chair (dark brown), a desk & upright chair, a little side table beside the armchair, & a little stand on which we have books. We are to get another arm chair when the Kaufmans get some new furniture, & we think we might get some bookshelves later on. There isn’t much place to put things in the sitting room, but there is a big built-in cupboard where I put my work basket etc. On the landing there is a linen cupboard with shelves, & at the top of the stairs another cupboard for coats, boots etc. In the kitchen is a little table- about 2’ wide &3 1/2’ long – it has a flap which goes up & makes it square. I have it covered with a red check oilcloth & as we only have 1 tablecloth anyway at the moment, we don’t bother to use it! There are 3 chairs, & another cupboard for brushes etc. – plenty of cupboards anyway- also the door to the attic is in the kitchen, & we put our trunks up there & I hang socks & stockings to dry on a string.
I was most excited about the Election of course & interested now to know what is going on. The A. Arbor paper isn’t much good, but Til & Lois have lent us a little radio, so we can listen to the news now. I wonder if there will be another election soon- anyway their plans will be curbed a bit. I have just discovered the picture of the dear little bear in your envelope, & think it is so sweet. Cec will love to see it when he comes home. We often talk about poor Spivvy & wonder how he is getting on. There is a white cat lives across the street & he reminds us of him, but it is so cold he isn’t out much. I wrote to Joan & sent her an engagement card, so I hope she will write and tell us about Spiv. I wonder if Jean Lock has her baby & what kind it is.
I can’t think of a single other thing to say, so I had better stop before I do, & go onto 6 more pages! I have to wash the lunch things still, & get dinner & finish the ironing. I must write to Dottie & a few of the N/C people too as I haven’t done so yet. I wonder if you got many letters written on board, or if you were just lazy and let the time slip by as I usually do. I hope that by the time you landed you were feeling fine and well again – what did you wear & tell me all about it? I want to know all about the trip & the people & everything. Don’t forget to tell me too, if there is anything you find you need out there & haven’t got- or anything you are short of.
It has begun to snow again so it looks as if I’ll have to be unusual and shovel again!!
My love to everyone, but most of all to my little Mama –
Thank you so much for your letter which came this afternoon. I wrote you a long one last week, but I don’t suppose you have got it yet, because when I went to post it on Wed. I found all the P.O.’s closed for Geo. Washington’s birthday so had to wait till Thurs.
Wed. now! We got your other lovely long letter all about Ruth’s party today & we’re so intrigued to read all about it. I am so glad that you enjoyed yourself & it sounds very nice indeed. We were amazed to hear that it was just a dozen or so- from the invitations, we imagined it must be practically a BALL with private room & all, but as it was it must have been fun. All the food sounds Gorgeous, especially the pineapple affair, & I would love to have seen what it looked like. We had ice cream with peaches tonight, but no exotic spun sugar! I think you must have looked very cute with your pale blue dress & pale blue hair & I am glad that the drunken gentleman appreciated you! I think the P.B. hair must be fun & you will match the general “decor” on board ship! I am sure it doesn’t make you look older! I went to town today & got Ruth 2 prs. nylon & a white blouse with lace insets & will send them off tomorrow. We waited to see how our finances were doing! I also got an Engagement card for Joan C. & a Silver Wedding card for Amy & will write.
You will be so glad to know that we are Economizing!! Until we know how things go, we are being ever so careful, & we sit home every evening & read (mags & books borrowed from Mrs. Kaufman) play cribbage (we are keeping score & Cec has won 15 times & I have won 11!) & write letters! On Sat. I made Cec take me up to the drug store & buy me a chocolate milkshake as a treat! It is still very cold & snowy – has been snowing all day today – & on Sun. afternoon Dr. Sutherland called with his 3 girls- Anne (12) Kirstin (10) Mary (6) & asked if we would like to go to a park called the Arboretum with them. So off we went & found the place full of winter sports & great fun to watch. Anne & Mary had toboggans & Kirstin & Dr. S. had skis. Kristin had only had her skis 2 days but was v. good & went down quite steep hills. I tobogganed with Anne a bit but the snow shushed up my skirt & froze my little(?) behind! It was great fun though. In the evening Dr. and Mrs. S drove us to visit Oliver & Joan Simpson, another English couple who came over in the summer with Dr. S & whose flat there was some talk of our getting. They now have a little house a few miles out of A. A. & they seem very nice.
It rained & sleeted so much yesterday I never went out, but spent the day washing & polishing all my wooden floors! The sitting & bedrooms have carpets, but I did the surrounds & a large expense of landing – I told Cec I had housemaid’s knee! Must stop now- will write again before you go- oh, I nearly forgot- what fun about Hugh being in the W. I.s- isn’t it fashionable this year?! Lots & lots of love from Cyn.
[Cec’s handwriting] Dear Mom – Just because you are away from our restraining influence, don’t get too rash. I’d love to see your blue hair. Bet it goes nice with pink.
Cyn says she is much more careful spending money when it’s mine & not hers, but I don’t suppose that will last long. We had one minor crisis & had 50¢ between us for a day, but some money arrived. And our credit is practically unlimited? Cigarettes are cheap 1/1 1/2 instead of 3/10.
My work is light (5 hrs/week) & hope to get going on research soon.
Cyn is having lots of fun shopping & drinking milkshakes. We are going to start doing exercises to reduce some bulges – I haven’t got a waist anymore.
Not all the letters to Carol, still in Hampstead, have survived, but this one sums up the journey to the States and puts the couple in their new apartment and new life. And on the way there, Cyn meets some of her new relatives, and Cec’s friends. Lea and Wendy are Cec’s second sister Lena and her husband, Wendell Atchison, a United Church minister. Pete and Lu Forsythe are friends from Saskatoon from Cec’s university days, now at McGill doing graduate work. In Toronto lived Cec’s uncle and aunt, Milton and Lily Costain. Later in the letter we learn that Cyn’s uncle, her father’s older brother, John Ewing, has died, and that Cyn will write to her relatives in Ireland.
It is fun to read Cyn’s excitement at big grocery stores after England’s rationing, and her pleasure at baking her first ham! And she continues the misspelling of ‘hungry’, which we first read in her school letters, and is the only word she consistently gets wrong…
803 Granger Ave.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
21st Feb. 1950.
Thank you so much for your letter of the 16th which we got yesterday. I was so glad to know that you got my letter from the ship and knew that we were both quite safe and sound – the crossing wasn’t really dreadful, just uncomfortable and boring!! However, as you say the Queen’s were even worse, we didn’t do so badly. About Revelle’s I hardly think they are worth it – they didn’t stop me feeling ill & the steward said they actually made people sick! And as soon as I got used to it, I was o.k. without anything.
I told you all about our travels in Canada in my last letter, and we were very pleased to have got in all our visits, despite the fact that we both found all the travelling very tiring. I expect our sea trip didn’t leave us feeling too strong either, but we are both fine now after having a good rest in our apartment!
The business of getting off the ship in Halifax and spending the night in the Customs shed was the worst of all- standing and waiting to get off the boat for hours, and then waiting and waiting in a packed mass of people to get into the shed to claim your luggage – then waiting for Customs men & railway men & goodness knows what. We were exhausted and practically nervous wrecks, but there were mothers with tiny children and an old lady all by herself, and how they managed at all I don’t know. I think you must have got muddled with our dates, Mummy, because all along we were supposed to dock on the 7th and had to be in A. A. on 13th as Cec began work that day. With the ship being late and not docking till the night of the 8th, our plans had to be changed a bit, but as we got our US currency problems settled so quickly in Ottawa, we caught up time there, and were able to get back to Montreal the same day. We didn’t really see very much of Ottawa, as we dashed about so, but it was a glorious bright sunny day, with fresh snow, so everything looked very sparkling and clean. The whole countryside was snow-covered of course, right from Halifax, but when we got to Toronto there was none. Then on our way to Detroit there was quite a blizzard, & it has been snowy here ever since, with quite a big fall today. The night before last the temp. was down to zero but the flat is nice & warm and outside it was sunny & clear, so wasn’t at all alarming!
I enjoyed our stay in Montreal, and liked both Lea and Wendy and Lu and Pete. I see quite a family resemblance between Lea and Cec and Wendy reminded me quite a bit of Bob Mills – not so much in appearance, as in manner & way of talking. They live at a small place a bit out of Montreal- about 1/2 hr in the train- which Lea says is quite a summer resort. Wendy has a small Church there, and the house goes with the living – it has no running water, but a pump in the kitchen, so Lea is delighted at the prospect of moving into a new house which the Church is getting next month. She has taken on another job for a few weeks – night nursing a lady who has had a nervous breakdown- but she got a substitute while we were there. Lu & Pete live out the other side of Montreal in what were RAF married quarters which have now been taken over by the Univ. (McGill) for married students. We spent an hour or so there, chatting & seeing the baby who is cute, & then all went into town and had dinner before they saw us off on the train. Next day we spent with Cec’s Uncle and Aunt in Toronto & they were both very sweet & kind. Cec rang up his home from there & had quite a chat with the family which was nice too.
Since we got settled in Ann Arbor, we have led a very placid restful life for a change! The very first evening we were here, I telephoned Til & Lois and we had a great gossip and I squealed with excitement at them! As we didn’t feel like any more travelling for a while, we arranged for them to come up on Saturday afternoon, which they did. They are just the same as ever, & liked Cec (of course!) & Til thought he was so cute she would like to take him home with her! We had tea (!) here & talked & talked & a drink & talked some more and then went out for dinner. Then Til & Lois left around 8–8:30 & we will go & see them probably a week on Friday. We don’t want to make any plans for just now, as we are waiting for our 8 crates, 2 wardrobe trunks & 2 tin trunks which we sent by freight from Halifax as it was much cheaper. Cec will have to go & see them through the Customs at Detroit when we get word that they have arrived, so we are just hanging on. We have bought all the necessities, but I find that my cooking must be simplified, as we have so few dishes! Our flat is our pride & joy & we do like it. I keep opening & shutting the refrigerator & I’m getting used to the electric stove. Cec & I did quite a big grocery shopping on Wed. as well as getting pans etc. Then on Friday Mrs. Sutherland took me in their car to a big grocery store with her because it is quite a distance away & with big bundles it is too far to walk. She says that I may come with her each Friday so it will be a big help as she & Dr. S. only live in the next street. I just love going around the big grocery stores – I have to keep turning away from temptation & not buying everything I see, because our bills are quite big enough! We don’t think food is quite as expensive as we’d thought it would be, but of course with buying staples & a few tins we have spent more than usual this week. The Sutherlands had a most wonderful baked ham the night we went to dinner, & they said it really wasn’t extravagant, as beef or mutton roast cost just as much or more, & it lasted for so many meals, so as a treat we got one for ourselves last weekend! It was a shoulder ham & weighed 4 3/4 lbs, so Fri. night I cut two big slices off & fried them, & on Sun. baked the rest & it was gorgeous! The first time I ever baked ham! We had corn, & creamed potatoes & apple sauce with it- hungrey?! Next night we had it cold with salad, lunch today we had a little in our Rice Pilaff, & tonight we had it scalloped with hard-boiled egg so it is lasting us well & still some left- also the hambone in the stock pot!
I have been doing various small washings here, but there is no place to dry things & we had a mass of stuff accumulated, so today I took it all to a Laundrymat! That is, I spent 65¢ for the use of a Bendix washing machine & got all the clothes washed, rinsed & dried. Actually, I could have had it done 10¢ cheaper if I’d stayed & put the things through the dryer etc. myself, but it takes 1 1/2 hrs so I paid the extra & just left it & collected it later. Isn’t it all clever? There are about 20 machines in this place & it is only 5 or 10 minutes walk away, so it is well worth my going- they charge by weight, so if you have only a little you pay less. Mrs. Kaufman has loaned me her iron & board, so I will iron tomorrow – they are both being very kind & have given us lifts in the car & lent us books & magazines as well. They are still in the middle of having their kitchen & new bathroom etc. fixed, so are in a great muddle. [Changed to writing in pencil, hard to read on onionskin paper.]
Yesterday evening Cec & I went to a Basketball Game! The University v. the State College. All the Sports Fields, Gyms, Stadium etc. are just a block away from us, so it is very convenient, & Cec thought it would be fun to see some basketball games, then Dr. S. gave him 2 complimentary tickets to this one. It is the same sort of thing as netball, but played with men & much faster – I enjoyed it – & the Univ. won!
Tomorrow Mrs. S. is taking me to a Tea Party given by the wife of one of the Profs for the “Physics Wives” so I must behave myself. As you can see, the ink situation is bad – both of our pens dry so I must stop soon.
We were so sorry to hear about Uncle John’s death, and I will write to the Ewings this week – they will all feel it a big break in their family circle & I wonder if poor Auntie Annie will last long now. I was interested to hear about Pam & George & Nikki being to see you & looking forward hugely to hearing all about Ruth’s party. My goodness, their expense over my wedding will be just a spit in the eye compared to this! I am sure you will enjoy it when you get there & will look much nicer than Amy! We are sending Ruth a cable tomorrow & will send the nylons when our finances are a little more settled! I am just going to send them & let her pay the duty, because I don’t want to risk losing them if we pay a lot of money for them.
I was most interested to hear Denis & Dorothy’s news & look forward to getting the letter. I am glad you got your trunk safely to London at last, but sorry to hear about the poor little puppy. It was rather a horrid little thing but kind of cute. I do think Joan was unkind to them & I hate to think of the time poor Spivvy is having.
By the time you get this the Election will be over and I wonder what will have happened. Til & Lois & everyone we talk to here are very Conservative-minded!
I simply must stop now. Will write soon again. Don’t begin & get agitated about your trip now – just think how nice it will be when you get to see Jane & Bill & A. Trix & A. Moo – & how much nearer you’ll be to us. I’m so glad you had a nice letter from A.Ettie & that she seems better.
With love to AGL & Chris &
lots & lots for you
[Cec’s handwrting] She didn’t leave me any room so lots of love
[Cyn’s handwriting] P. S. I always meant to say Thank You for your photo in the dear little frame. It is sweet & is on our dressing table.