Dearest Mummy, Does it look familiar to have a letter from Toledo? We have been here since Thursday & are having a lovely time. We left Ottawa in such cold weather a week ago & it poured with rain on the Sunday & then again on the Monday morning & now it has changed & we are having a real heat wave. We have had 3 scorchers & poor Cec drove down to Columbus yesterday & will be sweltering there as it is very hot & humid. Til & Lois have an air conditioner no less so we are in luxury!
The trip has really been very successful – the children didn’t really care much for the long drives the first 2 days, but we took it easily & had quite a few breaks & they slept once in a while, so it wasn’t too bad. Charlie definitely is carsick & the morning we left home it was a very near thing after a bit of bumpy road, but we stopped in time & as soon as he was out in the fresh air for a little while he was o.k. & after that we took care to keep him in the front & as soon as he had a “funny feeling” we stopped! We saw Les & Joyce Haywood on the first afternoon & had tea there, then we drove onto Toronto & found a Motel & had dinner. Next morning we went to see Aunt Lillie & Uncle Milton & had an early lunch there & then were on our way. It was pouring with rain so we ended by stopping quite early for dinner & finding a motel as we were all tired. The children had a room all to themselves with no communicating door – they were thrilled at their own bathroom & everything, but I was groaning at the thought of tripping out in the rain in my nightie if they yelled in the night, but the little angels never squeaked!
We got to Ann Arbor just after lunch the next day & everything was fine except the dog. Lindy was terrified of him as he barked so it was awkward but they tried to keep him outside. Gunborg looked very tired & rather abstracted with all the packing & moving etc. looming over her, but she & Gordon were very nice & we really liked the girls this time.
They were very sweet & nice with the children to & seemed much more friendly & outgoing than they were a couple of years ago. Cec spent a day up at the Lab. & we saw Mrs. Kaufman (owner of the apartment we were in) & Mary Jo & Pete & their 4 children. Gordon & Gunborg had some of the Dept. in on the Wed. evening. Cec knew the men but I didn’t know many of them except Mary & Arthur Dockerill.
We drove down to Toledo on Thursday & got rooms at a motel practically next-door to them. Til’s mother (aged 91) is with them & they only have 2 bedrooms, but when Cec left for Columbus on Sunday they insisted we move in here & they have fixed up the children in beds in the study & me in Lois’s bed while she is on the sofa. They have a dog too, a little black spaniel called Penny & unfortunately she is rather barky too. The first day Lindy was just about hysterical she was so scared, but she is getting over it quite nicely. Til & Lois didn’t finish school till Friday, so we spent a lazy day, then on Saturday we went down town & shopped & then dropped in to see the Pasquiers who are flying to France tomorrow. Tomorrow we are all going to the zoo so I had better go to bed & get my strength – it’s to be 95° tomorrow!
I have no letter to thank you for this week, which is most unusual, but probably just as well as I have been promising to answer your other letters for weeks past! I fully intended to get going last week and begin writing so that I would be able to continue for a few nights and write a screed, but it has begun to get hot now, and you know how un-energetic that makes me! We didn’t have the screens up last week– still the storm windows, so we couldn’t open up much & the flat was so hot after dinner that 2 or 3 evenings we just went out for a little ride in MacTavish to cool off & it was so nice. I also did the ironing & the washing of socks etc. – and I must confess there was plenty of ironing- 2 lots – 2 weeks each! We hadn’t a hankie to our names!! So it dragged on, & then on Friday evening after my session at the Dental Clinic for another scale & clean, I just lay down & went to sleep all evening, so that wasn’t very productive, either!
On Saturday however, Cec & I made up for all our laziness & had such a busy day. We got up at the usual time, & and after breakfast Cec began & took down all the storm windows & put them up in the attic. They lift off & can be done from the inside, so it’s not too bad, except they are awkward things. Then he got out all the screens & the hose & hosed them all clean, & while he was busy with a hose we shut all the windows & he hosed the outside of those! After they were all dry, he put the screens on & it has made such a difference & although it is hot & humid tonight, it doesn’t feel half so oven-ish as it did before. While Cec was doing all this I gave the sitting room & bedroom a good clean, gave the bathroom and landing a fairly good clean, gave the kitchen a lick & a promise & gave up before I got to the stairs! Anyway, Cec was coming in & out with screens etc. so I couldn’t really do them & I’d had enough by then!
After lunch we drove downtown & shopped! We finally sold our second electric grill-waffle iron to Dawn & Bert for $10, so the money was burning a hole in our pockets & we decided to take $5 each & spend it on what we needed most. Cec got 3 prs. of underpants & a grey cotton, short sleeved sports shirt & I got another preggy dress. You will probably think I am getting hundreds of maternity clothes, but I just have the 4 things now; the grey short sleeved suit, which is a bit hot now; the pinky red unicorn dress; a green & white cotton dress, which is nice, but has to be washed & ironed practically each time I wear it & now my new one! I put $4 of my pocket money with it (the $5) & got a silky (rayon!) material like the red one, because it is cool & doesn’t crease & crumple like cotton. It is navy blue with a white pattern on- the white pattern is not all over, but just here & there & it is very plain with cap sleeves & an open neck & collar & gathers over my tum! I said to Cec that if you looked at me straight on I looked fine & slim, – but sideways of course, I’m like the side of 2 houses!! I also got a cute little yellow sun suit at Woollies & put it in a parcel of tins, pkts. of mixes etc. that I’m sending Anne. It is supposed to be her birthday parcel, but as she wrote about parcels she was going to send me at both Christmas & birthday & neither have materialized yet, I’m not worried because I’m late!!
After we came home from town, our exertions weren’t over yet! Cec took McTavish to S’s & borrowed Gunborg’s vacuum cleaner & did his inside thoroughly, then brought him back, washed, dried, waxed & polished him till he looked beautiful! I cooked the dinner – a little roast of pork- & while the oven was on & because it is so hot, I also made a meat loaf, stuffed & roasted a chicken, boiled a small piece of Canadian bacon (very like ham) & stewed some rhubarb! So most of my cooking for the week is done! Weren’t we good kids? We felt so virtuous that we practically glowed! Gordon & Gunborg came in, after being to the theatre, for Gunborg to borrow some books. She went to the Dr. last week & he thinks she has got either diabetes or a thyroid deficiency, so this week she has to go up to the hospital & have all sorts of tests made, and will be there for hours at a time probably so wanted some nice, light reading! She is quite cheerful about it all, & she & Gordon both think it is probably thyroid & not diabetes, as she has had trouble that way before.
Yesterday we went to Toledo for the day! We were supposed to be going for a weekend since before Easter, but we couldn’t make any definite arrangements, then at Easter Til & Lois took Lois’s old aunties (2 of them) down south & they visited C’Zelma & Em, & then brought Grandma back with them. She is living with them now, & as they only have one spare room, we couldn’t go for a weekend, but planned to go for a nice, long day. Til is taking Grandma back to Alabama when the holidays begin in 3 weeks time, & will probably stay down for 3 or 4 weeks. We meant to start at 9, but actually set out at 9:50, which we thought was pretty good! It was a bit grey & hazy to begin with, but turned into a lovely hot sunny day & the countryside looked so green & young & beautiful – the first time we’ve really driven anywhere in the spring, & we did enjoy it. It took us 2 hours to get there, & we arrived just in nice time & got a welcome from all 3. Til & Lois are looking so well & tanned & Grandma looks just the same as in 1947 – she is 86 now, but as sturdy & independent & bright as ever. We looked around the estate & saw everything – the apple blossom was over which was a shame, but the whole place looked so lovely you couldn’t mind for long. We then had a gorgeous dinner, full of things I shouldn’t have eaten, but did!! Fried chicken & gravy & mashed potatoes & peas & salad, then strawberries all sugared & coconut cake!! I missed out the cream on my strawberries, but otherwise made a pig of myself & it was lovely!!
After dinner I was so tickled- Grandma & I were sent to rest! Grandma because of her age and & me because of my condition!! I felt very pampered, & was actually so full I could hardly move anyway! Both Til & Lois thought I looked very well, but Til thought I was big for 6 months- also said that it was going to be a boy because of the way I’m carrying it!! We have all been hashing over boys’ names, but are no further yet- everyone who tries to help us gets disgusted, because whatever they suggest, one or other of us turns up our nose!!
I forgot to tell you that at dinner time I got a birthday present! Wasn’t that a lovely surprise? And what do you think it is? A pretty, pretty cotton housecoat – grey & white with yellow roses, & a zip right down the front. I just live in the brunch coat Cec gave me for my birthday – I change into it every evening & it’s so comfy & cool around the house – so although I can get the house coat on, as it has elastic at the waist, it is a tight fit, & it will be nice to have it pretty & new for the hospital. I think it is lovely though, & I can easily do with it as well as my brunch coat – ain’t I a lucky gal?
It got very oppressively hot during the afternoon & then a Mr. & Mrs. Gottschel arrived to visit (their daughter Elsie was a friend of Til & Lois’ & died while I was in Toledo- remember?) & while they were there, a most terrific thunderstorm began. It actually started about 3:30 & was still going on at 7 o’clock when we left, but of course it rumbled all around, & at one time it was directly on us, & the lightning was so close it actually seemed to be in the kitchen. I don’t ever remember being scared at a storm before but I was at this one, & so were we all I think, because the thunder was so loud, & the flashes right on top of us. All the electricity went off, so we couldn’t boil a kettle or have a cup of tea or anything, but there was a lull after a while & the Gottschels left, & we had cold chicken & tomatoes & cottage cheese & homemade bread (made by Grandma) & had a nice time. Half way through the electricity came on again, but we were all drinking milk by then, but finished off with tea or coffee.
Wed. 23rd May.
Hello – here I am again- two days later. I had promised Cec on Monday evening that I would be a good girl & go to bed at 10 o’clock (he was at the Lab.) as I was quite tired, so when I got to that point in the latter I suddenly looked at the clock & it was 10:10, so I dashed & jumped into bed & had a great long sleep! I felt fine yesterday but it was a miserable wet cold rainy day after all our fine weather & on our way home from work we saw that Somerset Maugham’s new film “Trio” was on, so we decided to be devils & go! We had our dinner quickly & went to the 7 o’clock show & thoroughly enjoyed it – in fact, I liked it better than “Quartet”, perhaps because I hadn’t heard so much about it. There were 3 stories, “The Verger”, “Mr. Know-all” & “The Sanatorium” – the first two very amusing & the last one amusing as well as tragic in parts- Jean Simmons was in one & lots of actors I know by sight- I do hope it will come to Ottawa sometime & you can see it too, because both Cec & I thought it was grand.
Anyway, that was why I didn’t get anything finished last night, so I’ll continue with the letter now & telling you what happened on Sunday. We finally left Til & Lois’ at about 7- having waited a while to see if it would clear up, but it was still rumbling & raining away, so off we set, & got back quite safely at 10 o’clock. It was a wretched drive for poor Cec though, because we seemed to follow the storm all the way & there was lightning & torrential rain at times, & of course in the darkness, difficult to see road signs & so on. Twice there were State Troopers directing traffic on the road, once because the traffic signal had gone out & once because the road was flooded & traffic had to detour over a country road, so it was quite an eventful journey, but our chauffeur was fine, and as we stopped for a cup of coffee in a little town which took some time, we weren’t so very much longer on the road coming back. Next day we read in the papers it had been a dreadful storm all over the state.
By the way, my new dress was much admired both by Til & Lois & the girls at work (I wore it yesterday.) I had to do quite a dressmaking job on it, because with my waist just below my bosom, nowadays, I had to take the skirt off & shorten the bodice as well as shorten the hem, but with wanting to wear it on Sunday I had no time to procrastinate but began & did it right away! Do you remember that little lime green “coolie” summer jacket I got at Mitcham’s a while ago? Well, I had it dyed navy blue last year & it looks very nice & makes a good “preggy” jacket as well as the colour fitting in quite well too.
Today when we came home at lunchtime we had 3 nice letters by now & we were so pleased as we hadn’t had any letters for about 3 or 4 days & we felt quite ignored! One was from you, written on 13th & we were so glad to get it; the second was from the US Treasury with our Income Tax refund of $50.00!! Wasn’t that lovely? It is baby money we have decided, to buy a crib & pram etc. so the poor little thing now has the promise of more than a dresser drawer to sleep in!! The third letter was from Chris Cooper – such a nice letter, telling all about Edgar being in the RAF now and making us laugh so much because he said how funny it was that both Edgar & I should become MAs this year!! I always enjoyed Chris’ jokes! He said he was writing to you that same evening, so probably you have his letter by now- poor Chris, he said it was a lonely kind of life, & I can imagine how it must be very solitary for him.
Your letter and card were greatly enjoyed by both Mama & Papa- the latter pretending to be greatly offended over the “lying in bed” card! He was also greatly tickled at your blue pencil, which is still associated in his mind with censoring- & in mine, particularly with censoring low jokes!! Never mind, honey, I think it is a great scheme & I will begin right now & answer it, so that you can see the blue pencil has made a deep impression on me!
We were so glad that you got your Mother’s Day card in time & liked the funny little angels! We sent one to Cec’s Mother too & we have been really up to the minute & sent birthday cards to Russell & Carmen & Dad Costain & Lea all in the last 2 months- Cec thinks they will all be shattered at the shock, but I have my reputation to keep up! I was glad to hear that Auntie Ettie would be home for Mother’s Day & can imagine what a welcome she would get from the girls. I hope they would think she was looking well and strong, and that they would see a great improvement in her health. I will try to get around to writing as soon as I can to A. Ettie, but can’t promise to it’s being very soon!
I wonder how you are getting on with your talkative border, Miss Mann! It is nice that A. Moo will have company while you are away, but from what you said Miss Mann is not the most restful of personalities, so I hope that she won’t be too trying, but will settle down nicely with you and A. Moo. I am glad that you like your new bedroom & hope that the stiff neck has quite gone.
Now to answer the first of your B. P. X’s!! About the money – I can certainly send you a cheque for £50 – or £100 if you need it – but Cec & I had been wondering if you had ever found out how much you would be allowed to bring with you. From what Peter says it looks as if £50 might be the limit, & I am sure there must be a limit, as it is really just the same as taking it from England to Canada & they were so strict about that. Anyway, Peter will probably know definitely, & help you fix things, & just write as soon as you know how much money you need & I will send you the cheque.
I hope Jenny & Peter had a nice time on their holiday & that Bren doesn’t have too bad of time with her teeth at the dentist in Barbados. Poor Bren must be worried about Arthur’s job hunting & I can imagine how she must be longing for him to get settled somewhere, so that they can all be together again & have a proper home. I am just longing to have a home, & we’ve just been married for 2 years, so I can imagine how much she is panting for one. In her letter to me, she asked about what I would like her to knit, but as I am so behind with writing letters just now, perhaps you wouldn’t mind explaining my slowness in writing to her, & telling her that I think the little pull-ups & jacket would be lovely, as the little jackets I have are definitely light & the suit sounds as if it would be nice & warm. You must also apologize to Jeanie for me & tell her that I still intend to write to her sometime, so not to give up hope! He looks a honey & from what you say, must be a lovely big boy.
I loved hearing about all our little garments & they sound to me to be a most impressive array! I am longing to see them of course, and I am all for your sending them off to me here, so that I can see them as soon as possible. Cec thinks we may have to pay duty on the parcel, but you may have to pay duty if you bring the things with you anyway, & too you will want to travel light on the plane & not have any extras if you can help it. I think it would be a good idea to send the parcel early too, because once we leave Ann Arbor, we won’t have an address in Ottawa for a little while, so we should make sure of getting them here. That reminds me, I haven’t written to Amy yet about the prospect of getting her rug, which I had better do, or she will be hurt! Isn’t little Mrs. Johnny a pet about the shawl? I am so intrigued with all these things – can’t really believe there for me & mine!!
Darn it- bedtime again, Cec says, so will close for tonight & get all done tomorrow. Night night- I go to have my lovely glass of scum milk!
Hiya – honey! Isn’t this a long drawn out effort?! Anyway I am determined to get it finished tonight & mailed tomorrow, or you will wonder what on earth has happened to us. Cec is back at the Lab. again this evening- departed with the little pyrex gravy boat to pour acid into something or the other of his equipment!! He wanted something glass with a handle, so I produced that & he has promised to bring it back cleaner than it’s ever been before!
We were amused in your letter where you were surprised at the girl taking 1 1/2 hours to scale & clean my teeth & wonder what you will be when you hear that I go for my 5th 1 1/2 hours tomorrow! It certainly is a thorough job (I’m still running on my original dollar!) but apparently it’s a common thing for preggy women to get gum trouble – & all this cleaning is doing mine good & clearing away the infection. Apparently I have no cavities that the girl can see, so that is nice as I don’t want to have to go to a dentist before we get to Ottawa.
I was tickled at all your holidays this week & hope everyone enjoyed them! It looks as if St. V. was certainly my natural home as I have been grouching all the time here about not getting any public holidays! However next week we do get one- 30th May is Decoration Day so I can stay at home- goody, goody!! Should really celebrate by scrubbing the kitchen floor!
About Connie – I had been meaning to tell you in this letter that we heard from them last week- letter from Leonard as usual! A while ago- after I had written & told them about our news- Cec got a paper (article on his work) from Leonard & on the top was scribbled “Congratulations from one father to another” so we presumed that their’s was a fact, but waited for a letter with more information. Anyway, this letter is quite cheery – the best we’ve had from them – no money talk or groans or moans! – & Connie is expecting at the end of August & is better now than she was, but has been having back ache etc. & so is now sleeping on a board! I can’t imagine Connie suffering in silence through any aches & pains, but maybe she isn’t so bad!! There are so many of us preggy gals at the Centre that it really is quite a help for us – each one takes it so cheerfully & matter-of-factly that you would feel a sissy to grumble or a grouch, & no matter how far on you are, there is someone a bit farther, & if she can come to work and be cheery, you feel, heck! so can you! One girl, Joan, was at work a week past Friday & had her baby (a 7lb. boy) on the Sat.- 10 days early. Millie is the next- she is due on June 7th, but is leaving work at the end of this month – not working quite to the last minute! But both those lasses have been very uncomplaining & there’s no doubt it must be very tiring & trying for them right at the end.
Did I tell you Dawn had a Baby Shower for Milly? It was the week I was sick & I was so mad I couldn’t go, but I gave my 25¢ subscription. Dawn asked all the other girls at the Centre & collected a quarter from each one & bought one big present, & then each girl brought with her a cute little 10¢ present from the dime store just for fun. It was a complete surprise to Millie as she had just gone to Dawn’s to do some sewing, & then in marched all the girls & it was a party! Dawn had ice cream & cake & they apparently all had a grand time. The present Dawn got with the money was a big bag with a shoulder strap (sort of handbag looking) & inside places for dry nappies & a waterproof place for wet ones, & an insulated part for keeping bottles hot & all sorts of cunning things. There was a little money left over, so she got a little jacket too, & Millie was thrilled with both. They are leaving Ann Arbour at the end of the summer (Jerry (the husband) is going to teach) so she is just borrowing a crib etc. to save moving stuff. I was to make her a little baby dress, but haven’t begun yet – I am ashamed!
I think that is the end of your blue pencilled questions so I had better end too as this letter seems long enough already! The only other thing was the St. V. stamps & I won’t forget them, but will send them in another (lighter!) letter! I hope all the ferns are doing well, & that the garden is looking spic & span after all the influx of helpers! We have lilac & lily-of-the-valley out just now & they smell so pretty – I have a little vase of the lilies here on the bookcase & another on my desk at work & it’s so nice to have flowers again. Cec & I were so excited the other morning- we saw a pair of hummingbirds on the lilac bush – the first I’d ever seen! They were so tiny & sweet we were fascinated!
Must stop now- love to Auntie Moo & the cousins – with lots & lots of love for Grandmummy from us all-
Hugs from Cynnie
Bed time again! Friday 25th– just got your letter written on the 20th- glad you got your parcel.
Happy, Happy New Year! Cec and I send our love and all our good wishes for a beautiful 1951, and hope that you have a lovely time.
We have had the laziest New Year’s Day! In fact, since our guests left on Sat. we have been in a state of collapse and exhaustion, and have done very little except sleep and rest! That sounds bad, doesn’t it, but the fact is that we were really tired when Christmas came, and visitors are a bit of a strain anyway, so it’s nice to relax and have this weekend to ourselves.
I’ll begin at the beginning though, and tell you all about Connie & Leonard’s visit and what sort of a Christmas we all had. Actually, the week before Christmas was hectic – we were busy at work, and each evening at home I had jobs to do- scrubbing the kitchen floor!- icing the cake – ironing- finishing Christmas shopping- making cookies etc. so when we got a letter from C&L saying that they would spend Fri. night in Detroit & come to us on Sat. I was very pleased. We scurried around & were more or less set when they arrived at about 11:30 on Sat. – the friend they’d stayed with brought them in his car. Connie & Leonard looked just the same as ever – their shoes beautifully polished!! The friend, Howard, is an ex-Englishman from Plymouth (knows L’s uncle) who married a US exchange teacher before the war & came over here with her. He is naturalized now, but his wife died recently & he is very nervy & strung up, poor man. He was going on to spend Christmas with his in-laws, so only stayed for a cup of coffee. We gave C&L our bedroom, so they unpacked & we had lunch & in the afternoon the Simpsons, Joan & Oliver & their little boy Christopher, came to tea. They knew the Boveys of course, so we all had quite a gossipy time, & Christopher was very cute & very intrigued with a gum-drop tree which we gave him! They finally went, & we had dinner & by then were all a bit tired, so just chatted till bedtime. Cec & I slept on the sitting room sofa which pulls out into a double bed & wasn’t bad at all.
On Sunday we had the Sutherlands coming to tea, so after our morning breakfast & chores we were all buzzing around when Connie had a nosebleed & eventually fainted. Apparently, she has these nosebleeds sometimes but this one was very violent & she just passed out & scared us to bits. Fortunately, we had some brandy (for the Christmas cake!!) & she came around quite quickly, but looked poorly. However, she was up when the S’s came & we had quite a nice tea party & Connie took the rest of the day quietly.
She was going to go to Church with me on Christmas morning but didn’t feel too well, so I went by myself, & when I got back we had breakfast & then opened our presents! I can’t remember what I told you in our funny Christmas day letter so I’ll tell you the presents again anyway. Cec & I thought C&L so queer as they didn’t give each other anything! Connie had a pair of new shoes with her that she said were from Len, but there was no word of what she given him, & she told us at great length one day of how they took very little notice of Christmas at home etc.! Anyway, Cec & I gave her a pair of nylons, & some plastic bowl covers for the fridge, & Len a pair of gaudy nylon socks & an Esquire calendar of 1/2 clad girls(!!), & a box of sweets to both. They gave us a book of pictures of Oxford & Cambridge & gave us another book of pictures of England when they left, the photos are lovely.
Cec gave me a dress! It is pretty pale blue, & a lovely brown cord boxy handbag. I gave him a pr. of slacks(!) – they are a nice gray–blue, & finally finished that gray- blue sweater!! & a new belt & an ashtray & a diary! We had a nice time anyway. We also got the Book Club from Dottie, & a sub. to Reader’s Digest from Merle & Dixon, & some pretty little square mats with flowers on from Amy & I got a book from Mrs. Allan & a hankie puff from Nan & a little diary from Miss Lefroy. The S’s gave us a bottle of sherry (fair exchange- we gave them one!) & Gunborg gave me a cake, & Mrs. Kaufman made me a lovely sponge cake. Irene sent me a box of bath cubes & Bill sent Cec a book of cartoons, so we really had a lot. Your parcel hasn’t come yet, but it is lovely to have it to look forward to.
Connie & I stuffed the turkey & put it in, & then Mr. & Mrs. K. came up for a glass of sherry during the afternoon. We finally had our dinner & the turkey was grand, but we ate so much we couldn’t eat any pudding! It was one Mrs. Atkinson gave me ages ago, so I don’t know what it would have been like anyway, but when I went out later, I had forgotten it & it had boiled dry & was like a hard stone! we threw it out!
Next day we took C&L to town & they shopped a bit, but it was very cold (snow on the ground all the time) so we didn’t stay too long. In the evening we went to the S’s “English” party- us & the Simpsons & Dockerills & had a lovely time. We had a buffet style meal, & then looked at colour photos & had Swedish “glögg” (a kind of hot punch) before we went home. We all got presents from under the tree – mine was “foam baths “& Cec got a cigar! Little Mary got Santa’s Candy Store & was thrilled to bits!
Next day we went for our first long drive in the car – to Toledo! We set off at about 10:30 in the morning & Cec drove about 1/2 way, & then I drove the rest. We had a cup of hot chocolate in the middle, but it was a very cold day, with bright sun on the snow, so it wasn’t too good driving, but we managed fine. We arrived in good time for lunch & Til & Lois were pleased to see us, & it was fun showing Connie their pretty house. We had a drink & a nice dinner of roast beef & floating island, & felt very bloated! We took Til a rolling pin & pie plate for her Christmas present! They were very pretty cream oven proof ware, with a wreath of green ivy leaves & she thought they were cute & so did I! We took a Lois a beer stein for her evening beer & she liked that too. They gave us our Christmas & wedding present & so did Ruth, & they were lovely. Ruth’s was towels – gorgeous tomato & lime green ones! Til & Lois’ was a waffle iron and grill combination – yes, I know we have one! And we had to confess we had, (we got it with Marie’s money, remember?) – but this one is twice as big & very nice, so we will have to see if we can sell the other. That reminds me, we got an invitation to Bebe’s wedding, so will have to send something, but haven’t her address – will you send it to me? And ofcourse give her the embroidered tablecloth – I think it is a very good idea & don’t mind a bit. I have one of your table cloths, & at the moment don’t get a chance to use it much, so don’t mind doing without the other.
Ruth & Mary & the children came to visit while we were there, but we left between 4 & 5 & Cec drove all the way home & was very good. My clever little husband.
Next day I went to work for the morning- Cec drove me – & then met the others for lunch in town. They then went shopping & Cec & I came home & I baked a big mince pie & got dinner ready as the Dockerills were coming. We had cold turkey & ham, stuffed baked potatoes, vegetable casserole, salad, cranberry sauce etc. then the mince pie, & everyone seemed to enjoy it. Instead of a jigsaw puzzle this year, Cec got us a game- at least 4 games in 1- & one is Chinese Checkers & we played that & had quite fun.
Friday I went to work 1/2 day again, & then Cec took the Boveys shopping again & I washed! In the evening after dinner we went to the Simpsons for coffee, & then on Sat. morning we drove C&L to Detroit to Howard’s & we all went out to lunch. They were going back by train either yesterday or today. We got back here about 5 & Cec got a cup of tea ready & then I fell asleep on the sofa till 8 o’clock when he woke me for a sandwich! Then at 9 he took over the sofa & slept till 11 when we tottered to bed & slept till 11 next morning!!
We hadn’t made any plans for New Year’s Eve, but Gordon came around & asked us to see it in with them so we did, & Anne and Kirsten sneaked down & joined in too! We called in at Pete & Mary Jo’s on the way home & Gordon came & first-footed us so we had fun. Today we got up late & Cec had a grand time listening to the big football game in the Rose Bowl in California- California v. Michigan & wewon!
As you can imagine our visitors weren’t all joy! We decided that one trouble was that they stayed a bit too long for our small flat, & by the end we were all a bit too much on top of each other. They were very good about helping, but Connie was poorly off & on all the time – she didn’t know whether it was the “debility” thing she’s been having or if she was “preggy”! She was only 1 week overdue, so I don’t know if that was much to go by, but she made me laugh by saying that everyone had been trying to make her pregnant for the past 2 years!! Anyway, apart from that Cec & I think she is very spoilt, & gets peevish on the slightest provocation, so she annoyed us a bit. Another thing that annoyed us was that they are absolutely obsessed with money & could talk of very little else. They constantly were comparing prices with Canada, & every other thing they would say we can’t afford that, and actually they are getting just what we were before I was working & what we still live on (as my pay goes for McTavish) so they are not so poverty- stricken as all that! However, the visit is over & we all parted on friendly terms!
Talking of babies & being preggy, I had a letter from Anne written on the day hers was born- the 19th. A little girl Janita Margarita – 8 lbs 1 1/4 ozs- after only 3 hours labour – Anne very thrilled & pleased of course! We also had news that Jean & Graham are having one in May- Joan & Ray in June- & Millie at work in June! Isn’t it amazing? We were also very thrilled to hear from Jennifer – the D.Sc. teacher from London who travelled over on the ship with us last year. We had often wondered & she writes to say that she & Ben (the ex-RAF fellow who was on the ship too) were married in April, & they have bought a holiday camp in Ontario & are having a baby this summer too! I am so happy to have my curiosity gratified!
I forgot to tell you that your letter with the maps & plans of the island came on the 29th (posted 27th N.) & thank you very very, very much honey. I enjoyed them & am keeping them with me for reference in future – it is much more fun to actually have some idea where everything is.
Must stop now & go to bed – work again tomorrow – I feel quite unaccustomed to the thought! My love & good wishes to Aunties Moo & Ettie- got A. Moo’s Christmas card & your card to the Boveys –
Was so glad to get your letter last week & to know that you had got the letter with the typed forms & coloured pictures & so on- also my Air Mail letter. I saw our Mailman on Sat. (your letter came on Thurs.) & he was begging for some St Vincent stamps, so your letters keep me very popular with the postmen!
The last time I wrote I was going to go with Dawn and Edie to the pictures & it was raining – the buses here are once an hour in the evenings, so I set out to walk, all bundled up in raincoat & hood & boots, but by the time I got there I was dripping all over! However, the picture was quite good – it was called “All About Eve” & got very good criticisms & the other girls thought it was wonderful, but I didn’t rave! The dialogue was good, & Bette Davis was amusing with her wisecracks, but looked awful! I took a taxi home as it was still raining, so I told Cec I’d had a very expensive evening out of my pocket money – he usually pays for pictures out of his pocket money!
Cec’s Seminar finally came off on Thursday afternoon (after staying up till 5 a.m. on Wed. night) & he came home very pleased as it had gone so well. Dr. Sutherland was very pleased with it & some of the other Profs had too & they had all been interested & asked questions & discussed things afterwards, so after all his hard work it was nice to feel rewarded. Since then he has been relaxing a bit, but he’s starting in to toil again today he says.
On Friday evening we went & shopped for our groceries, and I made my Christmas shopping list and we planned out a great day of action for Saturday! We got the Laundry ready to take to the Laundrymat- wrote checks for the Electric Co. & Laundry that we owed- Cec took out the typewriter to take down to get it cleaned & I took my Christmas shopping list. Our first stop at the Laundrymat was a little disheartening, as it was crowded and we had to wait for half an hour or more, however, we finally got it in and walked the rest of the distance into town. There, we headed for the Bank – and what do you think? It was closed for November 11. It is a legal holiday here, and of course we didn’t know. We were so frustrated! I couldn’t buy any presents of course, and it means that I won’t be able to get any till next Saturday, so my presents will be late in getting off, but I can’t do anything else. Also to add to our troubles, the places where we were going to pay our bills were closed too, and the man who was to do the typewriter was out! Anyway, we left the typewriter, and had a cup of coffee to weep into, and then went home for lunch. I was ever so annoyed.
In the afternoon I cleaned the flat, and Dr. S. & Anne called to leave their bicycles on the way to the Football Game. Gunborg is away till tonight so we had asked Gordon if he would like to come and have a game of bridge with us on the Sat. evening, as he plays and Gunborg isn’t keen, and he said that he would like to very much. So another thing that frustrated us all day Sat. was that we spent the day ringing up Al MacNamara to ask him to come and make a fourth and we never managed to get him yet! After the football game Anne and Gordon came in and had tea and hot scones, and Gordon said that he had some shopping to do, and would call for us in the car when he’d gone home on his bicycle, as we were getting ready to go up and get our laundry, so we waited and he was quite a little while – and guess what? It was just after six when we got there, and the place was closed, and we didn’t get our laundry either! Wasn’t that a day? However, Gordon came in the evening anyway, and we played cut-throat bridge, and all had a good time, so it ended all right!
I meant to do so much over the weekend of course in the way of writing letters, but ended up by getting none done. I had the rest of the washing to do, and what with our late rising and the meals and general chores, I wasn’t finished until after dinner in the evening and then in a moment of weakness I picked up “Florence Nightingale” which was our last Book Club from Dottie, which came sometime ago. Cec had read it, and I had read a little at the beginning, so I began to look at it again and ended by reading all evening. It is a biography written by a woman Cecil Woodham-Smith, I think, and it’s very fascinating. I had no idea that Florence was such a weird person, and that she had done such a little actual nursing. In some ways I kept thinking of Miss Lefroy, but she isn’t as peculiar as Florence was. I was very sorry to hear of poor Miss Lefroy’s troubles and the bad time she has been having. I do hope that she is able to get a good couple downstairs, and that she is free of domestic worries for a while. By the way, when I sent her birthday card I had forgotten that Chris’s birthday was so close, and didn’t say anything about her except to send my love – however! I thought that for their Christmas I would send a fruitcake like Barbara Kristin used to send me – even if they don’t like it much themselves, it will do for their tea parties! The only other thing I could think of was a bottle of whiskey for Chris, and that is a bit expensive! Talking of whiskey – on Saturday, after our bank catastrophe, we suddenly thought that we had Gordon coming in the evening, and we had nothing to drink. They always give us something, so we thought we should do our best, so we went home and opened my two piggy banks, and the cigarette box where we keep the money for the newspaper boy, and scratched together enough for a little bottle of whiskey and a bottle of ginger ale! We put in We.O.U.’s and will pay them back!
It is Tuesday now, and I am writing this at lunch time again. Cec got some money yesterday, and bought our bathroom scales with our lunch money, and so I weighed myself and am 125 lbs. and Cec is 201 lbs. Yesterday was the first day of my diet, and I was very good- I am leaving out all sugar and milk out of tea and coffee, and it tastes horrid! Today I had two hard-boiled eggs and a grapefruit for my lunch, and for dinner tonight I have steak, but only a salad with it. I’m not too oppressed with hunger, but my tummy feels very surprised!
Instead of beginning with your oldest letter and answering through till I’m up-to-date, I decided to do it the other way around this time, so I brought your last letter to answer today. It was written on October 30, and you had got my A.M. of 20th. I am so sorry that you were worried about your letters, as I haven’t mentioned them – they come very nicely & regularly & Cec & I love them. They are waiting in the evening when I get home & the first thing Cec always says is “A letter from your Mummy”, so I sit down & read it right then & there, then hand it onto him to read while I go & get dinner!
I was glad that you told me again where the colour photos were of, because I had forgotten exactly where they were taken. I knew the house and garden belonged to some friends you had visited, but didn’t know which ones. Also, I had no idea that that was the beach where you went bathing, so was pleased you told me. I think sometime when you have nothing to do, besides making the Family Tree that Cec talks about, you should make me a pictorial map of the island, & put in where people live & where are you bathe & shop & everything, so that I can follow everything that’s going on! There’s a nice job for you!! That reminds me of my scrapbook – do you know it is just about full? I had quite a session a few weeks back one Sat. evening while Cec was working, & I brought us right from our honeymoom up to living in Ann Arbor. I got as far as this summer & only have 2 pages left – can you imagine that huge book bursting full? We still love to look at it & inflict it on anyone else we can!!
To return to your letter, Cec was most amused to hear about all the Hazells about the place & your “niece” in the Bank – also most curious to know the joke about Grafton! I couldn’t remember – unless he was the man who didn’t have 6 inches! Is that him?!!
I was sorry to hear that you had been having such queer weather with so much rain, & I do hope that it improves and that you have a lovely time down by the sea. It is a grand idea of Auntie Ettie’s that you should all have a holiday, and I know that you will all enjoy the bathing. Our weather has been a bit strange too. Our weekend at Til & Lois’ was heavenly & warm & for about 3 or 4 days afterwards it was like summer again, then it suddenly got cold & snowed, & has been alternately cold & wet since.
I didn’t really tell you much about our visit to Til & Lois’ so I will go into more detail now, and answer your questions too. They had a good time in Alabama this summer (the little car was fine) and while there they asked Grandma whether she would mind selling the Berwick Ave. house, as it was partly hers originally. She said no, so when Lois came back (before Til) she began looking around & an agent took her to this darling little house by the river, & she fell for it at once. She telephoned Til, & Til came home, & liked it too, so they decided to buy it & Til sold “Berwick” to her nephew Bud & his wife (one of Etta’s children- big fat Etta who used to come to Til’s when I was there & was so nice) so it is still in the family. We only heard about the new house when Til rang us up one evening, & they had only been in it about 3 weeks when we went. I told you all about it & sent a plan in a sea letter I sent, so won’t repeat it, but it is a yellow bungalow & very cosy, with the most beautiful view I’ve seen for ages (it is only one year old). Talking of bungalows, a slight digression to tell you that I had a letter from Denis this week, & he was telling me that he has at last got a job in N/C, so he is very pleased. They are going to stay with Winnie till they find a house, & are keen on a bungalow, so they were interested when the Hayning’s bungalow was for sale, a few weeks ago- price £2,400- & as Denis says only 4 small rooms & not the smallest piece of ground for a garage. We were wondering how they would like living with Winnie, but maybe they will be able to find some other place before long.
To return to our Toledo weekend, Lois met us at the Bus Station in town & drove us out to the house – it takes about 3/4 of an hour- & Til was waiting there with all the lights on & a big blazing fire & it looked lovely. We saw all over the house & had dinner & spent the evening in front of the fire – I was so enchanted to see a fire again, & be able to poke & put on logs! Does it make you nostalgic too, or are you just glad you don’t have to clean out the darn things anymore!
On Sat. morning Cec & I slept till 10, & then got up to find that Til & Lois had been up since 6 or some unearthly hour, & Til said Lois had been shouting & stamping around the place for hours trying to wake us up! After we had breakfast we went out & really saw the place by daylight, & it looked heavenly with the sun shining & all the autumn colours. We scrambled down the bank to the river & really inspected the property & picked lovely branches of queer little white berries & scarlet & yellow maple leaves & I arranged a copper jug & a grey bowl with them & everyone thought they were very artistic!! Lois showed Cec her leaf-brusher-up & her lawn-mower with a seat to sit on & Til & I inspected the plants & roped in Cec to help us transplant some little pine trees that had been just dumped in one place. Cec then helped Lois who was caulking around the side of the house & Til & I went shopping in Waterville for the groceries & began cooking dinner when we got back. Mr. & Mrs. Pasquier were coming later to see us & for a snack Til said, & we just had all the dinner ready about 2:30 to 3 o’clock, when in they came! After everything had been shown etc.Till was in a great quandary as the dinner was all cooked with only 6 little pork chops, but we dished it all up with lots of veg & applesauce etc. and ice cream & cake (stale, Til said) afterwards, & everyone had a good time!
They had to leave in the early evening as they had another engagement, but it was so nice to see them again & Ethel brought us the loveliest presents from her trip abroad. To me she gave a beautiful hankie from Paris, with a map of England woven into it, & for our wedding present she gave us a lovely little cigarette holder and ashtray made of Royal Copenhagen ware, which she got in Denmark. They are a dull turquoise blue on the outside with grey inside & a gold band around the rim. Weren’t they lovely presents?
On Sunday we slept late (Cec & me!! ) then Cec & Lois did more chores & I began cutting suckers off the apple tree with a lovely long handled sort of guillotine! In the afternoon two old aunties of Lois’ arrived (just as we were finishing dinner!) with 2 other ladies & a gentleman & they stayed for ages! Cec & Lois sneaked away & began a great project to enable them to tow the leaf-sweeper-up behind the motor mower & toiled away at it until dark & just got it done, much to their delight!! When the Aunties etc. finally left, Ruth & Ernie & the children & Lois’s other sister, Mary, came as we were just beginning to think of going for our 6:15 bus, so Til called up & found there was another bus at 10:15, so we were persuaded into staying. After a while Ernie took the children home & Ruth & Mary drove us in for the bus, & it was very foggy a lot of the way. The bus was late & we didn’t get home till 1 a.m. feeling fair wore out, but we had a lovely time, & think their house is sweet & just suits them. They are both thrilled with it – particularly Lois, who is as tickled as if she had hatched it!! Til has a grand-daughter – baby born in Panama!
I was most interested to hear about Monie’s impressions of Wales & sympathise with her over the cold feet and nose – particularly as I have a cold sore on my lip at the moment! Pah! -never had them before I got engaged!! I told Cec you were making cracks about his Mama writing letters & he laughed! You won’t be hearing from her for a long time now anyway, as we had a letter last week full of news – they have sold their house & land in Sutherland & have bought a smaller house with a smaller garden actually in Saskatoon. It will be less work & more convenient & they seem very pleased. Also, Russell, the 2nd boy (21) is engaged & getting married at Christmas! He is the one who works on the Govt. Telephones you know & is away from home, but when he was home for the weekend when we were there, there was a little talk of his girl, but not much & we are so sorry we didn’t meet her.
It is now Wednesday, so I have decided to finish & post this letter tomorrow, as I think it is just about the proper weight. I will continue with the rest of the gossip & post the next installment later! Cec is busy marking tests – he is taking 2 classes (6 hours) a week- the same as he did before, but on Tues. & Thurs. his classes begin at 8 o’clock so that is a change for him!! He is sitting there, muttering “Silly buggers” as he marks things wrong!
My love to Auntie Muriel & Auntie Ettie – I hope that you are all having the loveliest time by the sea.
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 took this letter to Til and Lois’ at the weekend to write & tell you what their new house was like, and then we were so busy all the time I never got done.
Now I am at work as you can see & I am rushing this off so that you won’t scold me too much about being late in writing! With being away for the weekend I have been all behind hand with the housework & have been puttering around the last two evenings, & tonight Gunborg & I are going to see Charles Laughton give a One Man Show! He reads bits out of books & does acts etc. & is supposed to be very good.
Well – about our weekend! I took a half-day on Friday, so had a chance to pack & tidy a bit before meeting Cec for the 3:45 bus. We arrived in Toledo at about 6, & Lois was there to meet us in her tiny car & drove us 22 miles out along the river to their new house. It was dark of course, but it is a lovely drive all along the river in the country. Their lot is 200 ft. x 800 ft., so is big, as you can imagine and is right by the river – they even have a little dock! Between the house & the road is an orchard (14 apple trees) & between the house & the river is lawn then bushes etc. on a fairly steep river bank. The house is new (1 year old) & very sweet & small – I’ll tell you more about it in a longer letter- & Til had a great fire to welcome us & it was lovely. We were thrilled with it & so are they, & it was a heavenly warm sunny weekend- has been up to 80° then & since & today (Nov!) is the same. We spent all weekend helping in the garden & having such fun- also Mr. & Mrs. Pasquier came on Sat. & Lois’s relatives on Sunday. We ended by not getting home till 1 a.m. on Sunday & were we tired!!
We got your pictures which Mr. Verrell took & think they are lovely pictures, but that they don’t do you justice! The big one is the nicest we think, but he has taken it from below a bit, so you look as if you had a double chin- you haven’t I’m sure! You have a pretty dress on & shoes which I’ve never seen- I am quite surprised to realize that you have dresses I don’t know about!!
Tell Auntie Ettie I had a card from Mona in Wales- nice! My love to her & Auntie Moo. Must stop now & will write more tomorrow.
I was puzzled by the difficulty Cyn was having getting a job, since I would have thought she was, even with only English credentials, capable of being a supply teacher and she would have had glowing references from the administration in Toledo, where they had offered her a job in 1947! However, my husband reminded me that she was now married- possibly in Ann Arbor women teachers had to be single? It seems very strange to me now, and my teachers in elementary school a mere 6 years later were married women, but that was Canada. (Mind you, the Catholic school board that my husband started his career at in the early 70s fired their married women teachers if they got pregnant, although that changed in his second year teaching.) However, it could be that Cyn just did not want to get involved with the uncertainties of supply teaching.
The pictures that Cyn refers to in this letter, from the Toledo visit Cyn and Cec had made, were perhaps the product of the camera that printed out the photos immediately, most of them already published with the letter describing that visit- except for the funny one included to make Carol laugh. They are printed on solid stock, and did not stick in the scrapbook like the other photos!
[This letter is typed on onionskin paper in red, very hard to read.]
May 19, 1950.
I am practising my typing, so thought I would see how many mistakes I could make for you! Actually, Mary Dockerill told me last week that she had got a form from the University to apply for a job, so as I was in town I trotted in and asked for one too. Not only did they give me one but invited me to fill it in there and then, so I did, and handed it over, and was politely informed that if I cared to wait a few minutes their interviewer would see me. I was quite overcome at this speed, but waited and was interviewed by a nice woman who told me that they had some clerical jobs and that if I cared to work at my typing and then come in and take their test, I had a chance of getting one. So Cec got me a typing book, and every evening I have practised for an hour. This is extra as I have just finished my hour, but thought that it would help my speed and also get lots onto a few sheets so that I can send the pictures as well. I am cross about my speed because one evening I got as fast as 50 words a minute, and since then I haven’t been able to get quicker than 45. Very annoying!
The pictures I am sending are the ones I told you about when we were in Toledo last. On Wed. evening Mr. K. called me for a telephone call, and it was Til. I hadn’t heard from them since we were there last, but she was ringing to say they had been busy, but that she was coming to Ann Arbour with a friend Cecile the next evening and would call in to see us. I remember that I have the days all mixed up now- it was Mon. that Til called, and Tuesday at about 6 o’clock she arrived and stayed for about an hour while Cecile was busy in town. We had coffee as she wouldn’t have dinner, and she told us that both she and Lois have been so busy, she giving as many as seven concerts a week. She was looking very tired, and also Bill has left for Panama now and I think she would probably be upset with that. Jan is to follow him later. They finish school on June 9, and are going down to Alabama straight away, so we are going down next weekend to see them, as they will be away all summer. Cec has been very busy as I told you, but on Wed. he gave his paper to the Group and seemed to feel quite pleased with the way things went. Anyway, it is over now, so he has a little breathing space and we thought we would go to Toledo while we had the chance. The Atkinsons you know, have been asking and asking us when we can come for a party they want to give us – a sort of welcome back for me, I gather, and of course we have been putting off and making excuses! However, I felt we couldn’t do that forever, so I wrote and said how busy Cec had been and that he was still so busy that we felt we couldn’t get away for a whole weekend, but would love to come through for a day, and suggested two Saturdays, whichever suited them. So far I haven’t heard, but I told Til to keep it dark that we were coming to stay with them! Oh dear, isn’t it difficult!
With Cec being so busy, and my typing activities we have done very little since I last wrote. At the weekend I went and babysat with the Sutherland girls on Sat. evening, and then when Dr. and Mrs. S. came back they insisted on collecting Cec and bringing him over for a cup of tea, and we had quite a gossip and a lot of fun.
[Switch to typing in black ink.] deRe Mom, just a few lines too show you that I can tipe as good as your dotter, but it is harder two spell. lots of LOVE cEc. [Back to red ink, with reference to O. Douglas, ‘The Setons’] Fish lawffed! And me too! My chubby hubby had a lot of fun doing that! On Sunday we celebrated by going to the Drug Store and having a chocolate milk shake, which is practically my favourite amusement! No wonder I am still spreading. I tried on my summer dresses this week and I am now a sad woman – I have proof of what I suspected! My pink and black is too tight to do more than bust over my bust, and my tussore is tight over the ‘ips. The latter I am going to try and let out but the other one is beyond hope. I asked Mrs. S. whether she thought Anne could wear my things and so she is going to try them and see, because the pale turquoise one with the buttons is very short now and also my blue corduroy suit is short and tight, so if she can wear my things she might as well have them. Really, I have had all those things three and four years now so it isn’t too bad. Cec is mad because the trousers he got in France last year and also the ones he got the year before are not only tight around the waist but have shrunk at the cleaners so we are making up a parcel and sending them all to his young brother!
What do you think? Yesterday morning we had a card and check from Marie and Sam Dorman! The card was “A little late for your wedding” and Marie wrote on the back that she had waited till we came over here and had just got our address, and as she didn’t know what we would like she was sending us a cheque. It is for $15 which seems a huge sum to us at the moment and we are so excited about spending it! We are going to town tomorrow to see what we can get and we are rather hankering after a waffle iron if we could get one!
I had a note from Auntie Ettie asking us what we would like and we thought of asking her for a fan as it would be a blessing here in the summer. Another thing we could do with is a clock as the only one we have is my little travelling clock which isn’t very good – Cec’s alarm clock we left beside the bed in Cambridge and Joan has it. I had a letter from Joan not long ago and she is getting quite het up about the wedding now. She was describing her dress to me – it is white lace with a stiff organdie petticoat to make the skirt stand out and sounds very pretty, but Joan says she thinks she’ll look like a tea cozy! She is getting married at Chesterton too, but isn’t having any bridesmaids. They have a nice little cottage in Royston, and are trying to get the one next door so that they can knock the two into one and so make it bigger.
Last night we went to the pictures for the first time for ages. I met Cec after work in town and we had a cup of coffee at a drug store and a hamburger, and then went to see Olivia de Havilland and Ralph Richardson in “The Heiress”. It was very well acted but kind of miserable, but there was another silly picture with Robert Young which was funny. We then walked home and had a huge supper of eggs and bacon and chips!
Looking back I see that I began to tell you about the pictures and then forgot to go any further. Well, Til brought them and now that we see them in the cold light of day we don’t think they are very good, but they are funny anyway. We are sending you the best ones and hope they’ll make you laugh – the Piano Virtuoso will I know!
Remember Pam Holbrow who is now out in Bermuda? I had a letter from her the other day, very tickled to know I’m married and in the U.S. again. She is staying in Bermuda for another year and hopes to take a trip down to Jamaica this summer – she had wanted to make a trip to St. V. etc. on the Lady boats but it was too expensive. Have we any relatives or anyone she could see in Jamaica? I told her we had relatives everywhere but can’t think of a soul in Jamaica!
Must stop now before I go onto another page – hope you and Auntie Moo are having fun! I’m looking forward to hearing from you next week, then will answer both your letters.
When Til and Lois brought us back last Sunday evening, there was your lovely long letter written on the boat, waiting for us, having arrived on Sat. when we were away. Then on Monday arrived your two A.M. letters from Trinidad, so I was well up to date with all your news and just delighted to know how you were getting on. Thank you so much for all of them, Mummy – I am so glad to know that you are safely with A. Trixie & Janie & Bill & that everyone is being nice to you – & so they should be! I liked hearing about your trip & was pleased that you had two girls to look after – neither of them were so wicked as to stay up all night, were they?!! Cec and I were so glad to know that you were a good sailor despite the rough weather & I giggled at your staying in your cabin one evening but being able to eat turkey & ice cream – when I remember how the only thing I could bear to look at was a glass of ginger ale! Trinidad sounds really lovely and I hope that Billo or someone is taking snaps of you and all the lovely surroundings & of all the peoples too, so that you can send them to me.
We had the very best time with Tilda & Lois last weekend, & enjoyed every minute of it. Cec had to take a supervision class on Fri. afternoon, so we went down to Toledo by bus & Lois & Til & her friend Marena were at the Bus Station to meet us. We all went to Smith’s (a big restaurant) & met Ruth there & had a very nice dinner, then went to DeVilbiss to see the “DeViltries”.
Actually, the the show was pretty lousy we all thought- not nearly so good as the one I saw the year I was there, but it was so funny seeing all the teachers gaze at me in amazement & then break into beaming smiles! We saw Mr. and Mrs. Pasquier & dear Mildred as well as lots of others. The only student I recognized in the show was a great big sturdy fellow taking the part of an orchestra conductor, who used to be a little round faced shrimp in one of my study classes!
On the Sat. we had a lovely lazy day, & sat in the house & gossiped & had a wonderful time. Cec & Lois took apart 2 radios & mended them, which they both enjoyed immensely, & Til & I talked & I stencilled some colours onto a piece of cloth Til gave me, as she had just got a fabric painting set! In the evening we all went to Ruth & Ernie’s & had a grand time. Lois had borrowed a recording machine, & we all made a record to send down south to C’Zelma & Em & Grandma. Til talked first, then Lois introduced a Mr. & Mrs. Melvin who were there, then me & Cec, & we all said a few words, then Ruth spoke & introduced the children who each played their pieces- David on the piano & Mary L. on her cello & then on the piano. Then Ernie spoke & Til said goodbye & we all sang loudly “We’re Strong for Toledo”! It was fun. Mr. Melvin had a camera which took pictures & developed them straight away & it was marvellous. He took lots & we’re getting some to send you.
Sunday was another lazy day but as it was very rainy we drove back to A.A. in the afternoon, so that Til & Lois could get back by daylight. Must stop now. Will write again soon. Love to all, but lots and lots for you
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.
Don’t you like my cunning little cards? I got them in Toronto, & think they are sweet as well as being nice to write to people to whom I don’t have much to say! They all have different pictures on, but I thought you would like this one!
Thank you very much for your nice letter I got last week. I am glad that you think Nan’s presents are nice & I do hope everything arrives safely. I got the last of the parcels off this week & thought I was all done & then I got a $10 bill from Pam asking me to get some other things, so I’ll have to begin again! But I’m waiting till I come back to Toledo. I went to the bank on Wed. & paid my passage & took out all my money- some in Traveller’s cheques. I have about $200- $300 left so I should be all right. It’s a good job I have nice relatives & friends to go to tho’ & don’t have to pay hotel bills!
I was very amused at your adventures with the Derby & the blue horse – I don’t think your dreams are very prophetic somehow! Maybe when I get back to Cambridge I will go & visit Mary & Bill & see one of the big races is one day – it would be fun, but I’m just no good at betting or gambling – I’m always sure I’ll lose & I do!
I forgot to tell you that on Wed. after visiting the bank I went & bought a pair of white shoes, a pink & black cotton dress & a black straw hat! So that should end my shopping spree – I certainly seem to have been having one lately!
We are quite crowded at 4229 Berwick this weekend- Til, Lois & me & Bill & Grandma. Grandma is in my room, I am in Lois’, Lois is with Til in hers, & Bill is on the sofa in Lois’ study! Grandma thinks I am nice! She is nice too I think! Grandma made us laugh though, because she says I’ve made a different girl of Lois – she is so much brighter since I came! Til says that it’s because usually her relatives overwhelm Lois & this time she has my support! Lois & Bill are getting on fine this time though & I am so pleased- it is such a shame she has to work at the airport – it doesn’t seem right to be going away & leaving her behind. Til is driving of course & maybe I will help her a little- I drove Lois’ beautiful convertible last week & felt very proud of myself!
Did I tell you that I went to Church last Sunday? I read that the King said it was to be a National Day of Prayer in England, so I thought I would do my little bit too & I got up early & went to Early Service. You don’t mention anything about it so perhaps I got the wrong day, but anyway the intention was right!
Bill is flying back to Florida on Mon. or Tues. & Lois is staying here alone. She will come in the train to Conn. about the 20th July & will drive Til & me back again. I haven’t heard anything from Margs or any of them, but I am sure it will be all right. I’m not bothering to give you C’Zelma’s address because I’ll be only there a week & I expect you will write straight to Curly St. Well, I think that I have covered all the available space in my little letter – my love to the ladies at the Bee & all my friends, – and a kiss for you like the little bunnies!