July 16 1952

Linda and Grannie back in February.

This first letter after a year’s gap is written the day after Carol left Ottawa, travelling to a series of visits on her way home.  After almost a year of living with Cec and Cyn and helping look after her beloved grandchild, it must have been a wrench leaving, even if she was going to other loving relatives.  

And note about air travel 70 years ago: security wasn’t much of an issue then, although safety kept onlookers away from the planes. Ottawa had two small airports, one military, Rockcliff, and one civil, Uplands, and anyone could come in, mingle with the departing passengers, hug them, and watch them trail out to the plane, and wave goodbye. They could watch the planes take off from inside or outside, although Cec, Cyn and Linda seem to have missed this. The NRC had research facilities out at the airport, which would grow even as the airport did over the decades.

The letter is only dated Wednesday, but was postmarked July 16. Canadian air letter forms cost her 10¢, and I like the design better although there is less space than the American 10¢ forms.


Dearest Mummy,

I thought I would send your A.M. letter back to you & now having begun it I realize I could have sent you an ordinary A.M. letter for 7¢, but after all what is 3¢ to rich people like ourselves!

I hope that you had a nice flight to New York with no bumps & a prompt arrival. I am sure that Auntie Ettie & the girls would be waiting for you & although I expect you would be fair wore out, I imagined you all sitting drinking cups of tea & gossiping for hours! Cec got quite worried because he didn’t see your plane go up, & we drove around the airfield to see if you were still sitting in some corner of it, but no signs, so we decided you must have sneaked off into the clouds when our backs were turned! Jim & Lee were off to see a house, so they dashed away but Connie & Len were in no hurry. Christopher had cried at the big noise the plane made but Linda didn’t although we thought she might & Cec carried her away from the doorway when it roared. Connie & Len asked us back for a cold drink with them, which was nice of them, but Lindy was so sleepy we said no. Connie was really very sweet & seemed most upset at your going- it was nice of them all to come, wasn’t it? On the way home Lindy sat on my knee & we sang (!) to her & before we were 1/2 way back she was fast asleep. She roused when we got home & Cec put her to bed & I warmed her milk & she drank it & fell straight to sleep again, the little pet. We were all pretty tired, so Cec helped me wash up & we had a glass of ginger ale & then I had a bath & went to bed & I don’t think Cec was much later.

It is lovely & sunny but cool today & so much nicer than that awful close heat. I hope it is the same with you & that you & Auntie E. are having a “dunk” in the canal! Lindy woke at 7, but was sleepy, so had a sleep in the garage this morning & is asleep again now (2.0 p.m.).  I did a big wash (always is!) & you will be amazed to hear that I was shamed into bleaching your sheets, pillowcases & the kitchen towels etc.! Linda was so good & played in her pen at the back after she woke up this morning & never murmured until she heard me talking to Mrs. Hughes & then she began yelling “Ma-Ma-Ma” at the top of her voice! Phil Douglas rang up to ask if I would like some cheap raspberries at the weekend (I said “oh yes” & “yummy”) & I am to go down with Linda for a chat later this afternoon. Already today seems a week long, so it’s a good job I’m busy. I thought of you this morning over my cuppa – I have decided to have tomato juice instead in future- better for Algy & less trouble!! Linda sends a big, big hug & says “I miss you Granny.” We all do. Lots & lots of love- Cyn.

April 6 1951

Friday, 6 April, 1951.

Dearest Mummy,

I have not written to you this week, although every evening I intended to. I have two lovely fat letters to thank you for, and all sorts of activities to tell you about, as well as some earlier letters to answer, but somehow the time has flown. First of all, thank you so much for your letters, and for the sweet birthday card – the parcels haven’t arrived yet, but we are eagerly awaiting them, and are most intrigued and amused at the contents of Cec’s parcel, and hope that it comes through quite safely. They seem to be very good about not charging duty here on the whole, so we will hope that it continues. Your timing for your letters was wonderful- last Saturday there was no letter from you as there usually is, but one arrived on Monday with the card in it, and then another actually on Tuesday on my birthday! Quite a lot of people hit the time marvellously, so I had a big mail, and although I opened the cards and letters as they arrived, I saved two parcels- one from Nan with a lovely pink square scarf with pictures of Britain on- and another from Jessie Aldridge and the little girls with earrings and a hankie and a perfumed flower. I got masses of cards, but will wait till I get home and can tell you exactly who from, as I am doing this at work as you will gather! and might forget someone. I had a lovely birthday – it began on Saturday and lasted until Tuesday! It began on Saturday because we really celebrated that day- do you remember me talking about a girl called Dawn at work? She is lots of fun, and she and her husband, Burt, came to that tea party I had, and we have played bridge with them. Anyway, it was their wedding anniversary on the 5th. and Dawn’s birthday on the 6th. so we decided to combine all three celebrations last Saturday and have an evening out! They have just bought a new car, so they drove us into Detroit, leaving here about 6, and getting there at 7:30. We went to a cocktail lounge and had drinks, and then we went to a lovely French restaurant which they knew of – it is called the Pontchartrain, and is really nice. It is not very big, but was all old oak panelling and a sort of intimate atmosphere! They specialize in good wines as well as good food, so we had a wonderful time! I began with French onion soup, while Cec had shrimp cocktail, then we both shared a duckling with sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, gravy, etc. With that we had a half bottle of a white wine, Chablis and it was delicious. After that I had no room for dessert (the little wretch is pushing my stomach at the moment, and makes me feel very stuffed after eating) although Dawn and Burt had apple dumplings and brandywine sauce! We had coffee and sat and gossiped, and then drove back to Ann Arbor and went to a club of Burt’s for a final gossip before going home, but we all enjoyed ourselves so much and felt that it was a really successful celebration. Since then, Dawn and Burt keep thinking of other really wonderful restaurants in Detroit and planning other expeditions!

Hotel Pontchartrain, Detroit.

After our late night, we slept late on Sunday of course, and all day I was so nice and lazy & Cec kept saying, “Don’t bother to do that – it’s your birthday weekend!” So I took no persuading! Actually on Tuesday we didn’t do much, except that we had lunch in town, and went shopping for Cec’s present to me. I told you, I think, that we had decided that a summer housecoat would be a nice useful idea, so we went looking for one, but found that all the full length ones weren’t what we wanted, but the shops had lots of what they call shortie house coats, and we finally got one of those. It is supposed to be dress length, but on me it’s a little longer, and as the girl in the shop said, it is really more sensible than a long one as there is less danger of tripping over it, and it will be so nice to wear around the house in the summer, and beautifully cool. It is made of a very fine seersucker, so won’t even need ironing, and is in a pretty pattern of all shades of blue in a sort of plaid design on white. It has short sleeves, and a big wrap over, which ties on the inside and then fastens on the outside with a velvet ribbon through two loops. It looks very nice we think and I am just delighted with it – all the girls in the office think it is lovely too! I got a size too big for me so that I would have plenty of overlap, so I am going to have to take up the waist a little, but that is all I have to do – I certainly can use it, as my winter housecoat has turned from a double breasted coat to a single, and is bulging again!

In both of your letters you were asking what we thought about your plane ticket etc. and so before I get too far on I must answer all your questions. Cec and I both think with Uncle Fred that it would be best for you to get the return ticket. For one thing, as you say, it will save you a little money, and if you do it through Hazell’s it will be so easy and simple for you. Secondly, if you are short of money I can easily write you a cheque on my Martin’s bank account, whereas in Canada we can’t use that money, and we may not be too rich for a while until we get settled. (of course after that we will be just rolling with money!) Another thing is that, the kind of accommodation we get in Ottawa will make such a big difference in the comfort and the length of your stay. We would like to get a house as soon as we possibly can, but we may not manage it for a while, and if we are all scrunched into a little apartment, you may be glad to get away from us all before too long! However apart from all these reasons, you probably could get the ticket extended if you wanted to, and even if you were going back by a different way, I don’t think it would make any great change in your ticket. Have you found out yet if you will be able to get your allowance in Canada? I was writing to Mr. Aitkin a little while ago about selling my bonds, and getting them gradually sent to Canada, and I told him that you were coming to superintend the arrival of your first grandchild, so that he would probably be hearing from you in the near future re. the taking of money to Canada! I know Auntie Muriel had difficulty when she was in New York, but it might be a bit better in Canada, and now the two dollars are even it will be all right for you when you visit Auntie Ettie. Doesn’t it make it seem close to be talking like this? And us without a dish washed! Or in other words not a thing done about moving or anything! We always manage anyway, so we’re not worrying! You were asking if we thought August 1, would be a good time for you to travel, and as far as we can plan I think that will be fine. We want to have some place for you to sleep when you come, so I don’t think you had better come much sooner, and as I am positive that the baby will not be a month early, a week or so later would be all right too, I think, as we will need a little time to house hunt etc. when we arrive in Ottawa, and we won’t be leaving here until the middle of July at the soonest as far as I can see. I forgot to tell you that I had my visit to the Dr. at the Clinic last week as I told you, but was quite disappointed, as it was a Dr. I hadn’t had before and he was not nearly so nice and interested as the previous ones had been. He just dashed in and out and didn’t even listen for heartbeats, and when I asked about the twin question he just said it was too early to tell, and that anyway I didn’t look very big. So I was rather discouraged, and after Bren and Jeanie’s similar experiences, I am beginning to give up hope of twins – I am sorry about it though, except that we will probably all find one is quite enough for us to cope with for a while! I don’t go to the Clinic now until April 30, so by then should definitely find out something-the little thing should be kicking around soon now, but I haven’t felt anything yet! Must stop- will answer letters at the weekend. 

        With lots & lots of love from Cyn & Cec.

January 1950

Farewell Party 1950

Cec and Cyn left Cambridge in January 1950 and sailed for Canada, this time on a Canadian Pacific ship. It was the sixth time Cyn had crossed the Atlantic but January is perhaps not the best time to do it. Cec, of course, had had far more harrowing journeys in his navy days.

Best wishes from friends and relations!

In spite of Cyn’s initial queasiness, she, of course, preserved the menu of the last dinner on board.

CP’s Menu advertised their hotel chain of course.

Their plans to visit Cec’s family in the west were changed by the news of Cec’s getting a job at the University of Michigan starting in February, so they travelled from Halifax to Michigan on the train, stopping to see only family and friends who lived on their way.

It was an exciting time for both of them, at the start of a new life!