May 17 to June 3 1956

Immediately after finishing her last Air Form, Cyn started this letter to her mother, and then finished it 2 1/2 weeks later, in the middle of their road trip to Michigan for their holiday. But the complaints about the weather are completely in agreement with Mrs. Edmunds’ letters which have interrupted the Costain accounts! Events in the last 2 hectic weeks of May included Mother’s Day, with a card and a visit from Lila, when Linda got to wear her new yellow-and-white outfit just completed by her clever Mama.

Box 330. R.R.1
17th May. 1956

Dearest Mummy,
I just finished an A.L. to you but discover it isn’t very late yet, so I thought I would begin this now & it would encourage me to get on with it & get it done in good time to mail next week!
I told you that I’d give you more details of Jim & Lee’s house in this – actually their street & front entrance is not finished yet, so we came from another street & entered by the back so I feel a bit turned around, but I’ll try to draw you a vague plan! It is grey brick with black roof & has a nice lot with quite a few trees which will be lovely – they get the front landscaped for them, but have to do the back themselves. Lee’s sister Johnny (the nurse who lives in California now) is on holiday & staying with them for a month or so, which is very nice & a big help to Lee. She was away in Montreal when we were there, but we hope to see her when she gets back. Dougie is a big boy running around now, but still not talking – Charlie is quite taken with him! He is about 10 times as tough as Charlie as Barry treats him rough & knocks him about & he takes it all! Can you imagine my little plum blossom?!

I like the plan very much & it is all nicely arranged & finished, but the sitting room is small which is our only criticism. Of course with the dining room added on it makes it seem larger, but even so it isn’t very big.
On Sat. the Swiss Fellow, Kurt Dressler (the one who made the funny remark about enjoying himself much more than he thought he would!) is getting married. His bride has come from Switzerland & we all thought they would get married very quietly, but he has invited all the Spectroscopy Dept. & is having a reception in the Church Hall, so it is very exciting. The Church is over on the Drive way not far from Jim & Lee & when the latter offered to keep the children we accepted with delight as we had asked Mrs. Martin to come but they were most unenthusiastic! (Linda said she would play outside & Mrs. Martin must never come out!) Mrs. M. was quite pleased to get out of it as she is very busy, so we are all happy now! While we were over at Jim & Lee’s last Sat. we went to Simpson’s Sears new store & I got a new hat – white with a brim – flat – & a veil – quite pretty – & also a wedding present – a set of square plastic kitchen canisters – flour etc. (red & white) – you know. Of course with the weather I have quite a problem what to wear! So I have 3 outfits lined up
1) Beautiful warm sunny day. New greeny- yellow dress I made – new hat- white shoes gloves etc.
2) Mild but dull day. Harrod’s tussore dress (just washed & ironed it) new hat – white gloves – black shoes.
3) Cold lousy horrid day! Grey suit – new blouse I got for my birthday – new hat – white gloves – black shoes. Will let you know which one it turns out to be!

MacTavish [their ’46 Chrysler] is away this week getting his face lifted before we go back to his home town! Cec is having the engine overhauled before our trip & also having all the bumps fixed & having him painted (the same colour) so we are very excited to see him looking pretty & shiny again. Til & Lois will probably be utterly amazed to see we are still driving him, but we thought at least we could take him down looking his best.
There was such a terrible accident not far from here on Tuesday night. A jet plane crashed from 33,000 ft. down onto a Grey Nuns Convent used as a Rest Home. It is between here & Orleans, but not on the road we used to drive but on a side road off to the river. It happened at about 10:15 & of course the plane exploded & the building was immediately engulfed in flames. I went out to the kitchen at about 10:30 & glancing out of the window saw this huge blazing fire, but Cec & I couldn’t think where or what it was. It is so difficult to tell distances at night & it looked so big. It wasn’t till about 15 mins. later that all the fire engines began tearing past & the RCAF fire equipment & so on – there were all sorts of reports on the radio but at last they told what had happened. At first they reported as many as 50 killed, but next morning they announced 15 killed all together, including a priest & the 2 pilots. Seventeen of the nuns were saved, but seeing the terrible devastation of the building it is incredible that anyone got out at all. The dreadful thing is that there are fields all around the convent for miles.

A Long, Long Time Later
June 3. On Our Trip.

Road Trip!

Dearest Mummy – Didn’t I get lost off with this letter? The last 2 weeks before we left were so hectic that I just didn’t seem to have a minute even to finish it, so finally I brought it along with me & I am writing this in a Motel in Chatham (half way between Toronto & Windsor.) I got your nice long letter just before I left & hope you won’t worry when you don’t hear from me for a little while but expect you will know I was busy getting ready for the trip.
It has been such cold rainy weather that we are all wearing sweaters & coats & although I have our bags full of summer dresses I don’t know whether we’ll ever wear them! It rained all day today & I can hear the cars swishing by on the highway outside. We set out at 9 a.m. yesterday morning – a gray cool day – & drove to Peterborough (about 200 miles) to see the Haywoods who live there now. The children slept part of the way, but after they woke the road was quite bumpy for a bit & although I had Charlie in the front he said he felt funny & suddenly turned pale green & began to cry! We stopped & got out hastily & it did the trick – he had a little walk in the fresh air & a cookie & we went on in about 10 mins. time & he has been fine since, although of course we handle him with care!

We had lunch on the way & got to the Haywoods about 3:15 & had tea & a chat & stayed about 1 1/2 hrs. They like it there very much & all look well & happy. We then drove on to Toronto & got to a Motel not far from A. Lillie & U. Milton’s at about 7:30. We had dinner then & settled down for the night – rather a restless one! We had a big room with 2 double beds & one end as a sitting room, but of course the children were excited at all the strangeness. We tried to get them asleep & let us sit & read on the sofa, but of course they weren’t used to the light, so in the end we went to bed too, but I was up a dozen times I’m sure! They kicked each other & Charlie scratched his legs & Linda kicked him etc. etc.!!! This morning after breakfast we went to Auntie & Uncle’s & stayed & had an early lunch but both children were very tired & subdued! We set off again at noon & this time retraced our famous drive of Linda’s babyhood, but I can’t say I recalled any of the places!

We stopped here quite early – about 5:30 – as it was so rainy & miserable – & this time we have 2 adjoining rooms, which I hope will be better. We had dinner & put the children to bed & as this is a bigger bed we put pillows down the middle & they seem to be sound asleep now. I only hope they don’t call in the middle of the night or I have to dash out of one door & in at the other in the rain in my nightie!! We have only about 100 miles to do tomorrow so will get to Ann Arbour in the afternoon & will stay there till Thursday when we go to Toledo.

I spent the last week or so making Linda & me the dresses out of the material I got last year that you asked about. It is white with a little yellow dot & I have made us yellow jackets to go with them. Everyone thinks they look nice & I think so too, but this weather! It was cold for the wedding I told you about of course & I wore my grey (remodelled) suit, which I’m wearing now with a sweater & pleased to have it on!
I must stop now & go to bed – hoping it will be a quiet night! I’ll write again on the trip & tell you how we are doing.
Lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn.

MacTavish’s Travel Papers

June 4 1956

This is the third letter from Carol’s friend, who has lent her beach-side cottage to Carol so she can take her visiting sister for a local holiday to Villa which they knew from childhood, while Mrs Edmunds helps Lewis seek treatment in Toronto.

4/6/56 [but postmarked June 7th.]

My dear Carol,
Many thanks for your second letter of the 30th received the day before yesterday. It was so nice to hear you say how settled you feel already in Villa & that you & Trix are going to be happy there – it’s lovely for you having Fred’s car which will solve all the transport problems for you won’t it?
Thank you for being so kind to my Prince, & I’m sure he’ll be much happier now that you are there to fuss him – pussy too. At the moment Lewis plans on returning the first week in July – I’m sorry to say he’s not as well as he was on arrival & is somewhat depressed about himself – of course Carol quite between ourselves I don’t think there is anything the Doctors can do for him now – Glynn told me that a long time ago but saw how keen Lewis was on this trip to Canada & how much faith he had in this blood specialist here & hoped for a miracle, so said the best thing to do was to let him come. The Dr told me the same thing the last time I saw him & said he would give Lewis some treatment for the weakness of his legs, (which is getting worse!) but we didn’t tell Lewis this naturally, & I don’t want him to lose hope. I shall be very thankful to get Lewis safely home again – the responsibility weighs somewhat heavily at times, especially with the bad news of Glynn. After being without news since I left Villa I had a letter yesterday written from Hospital where he had had an internal operation 2 days ago! Another letter this morning saying he was still in Hospital & in pain but was hoping to be out in a few days time. I knew he was far from well when he went home & I only hope he will soon recover now & return to his old self.
I do hope you are making use of the radio and the piano? It’s sweet of you to bother to weed Carol, but please don’t work too hard – you’re supposed to be on holiday you know. You don’t mention your little dog so I presume you left her behind – what a pity – Prince would love to have her I know.
We’ve had all the seasons since we arrived here, weather unknown in Toronto for hundreds of years! June 1 & 2nd were bitterly cold, then some miserable wet days & now today we’re back to Summer again – I hope it stays now.
I’m still hoping to see Niagara Falls but I am dubious about taking Lewis – yet it would be too disappointing to miss seeing one of the world’s wonders.
With very kindest regards from Lewis to you both & with my love,

And here the story ends. If Cyn mentions Dorée Edmunds or Lewis in any future letters, we may find out some more details about their health- or Prince- but without Carol’s letters there is no closure. The only hint we get in Cyn’s summer letters is an offhand comment about the cook leaving- apparently Dorée’s ‘staff’ will be one short on her return!

June 2 1956

This is the second of three letters written to Carol (Dearest Mummy) in St. Vincent by a friend who is in Canada for medical appointments, and has lent her beach-side house to Carol so she and her sister can leave Kingstown and enjoy a local holiday.

June 2nd 1956

My dear Carol,
I was simply delighted to get your letter yesterday afternoon and to know that you and Trixie were going out to Villa on Monday. It was sweet of you to be so concerned about Prince on my behalf as I am so glad to hear that he was all right. It’s only natural he would be fretting but I know he will be so much happier when he has your company & affection- he loves a fuss!
You will have had my letter from Barbados long ago & will no doubt have already heard of our safe arrival here? Our flight was smooth all the way with lovely weather, but very tiring & we were both glad to reach journeys end. Lewis stood the trip very well on the whole but is quite certain that he could never have attempted it alone, or be able to go about Toronto on his own, & I am thankful I was able to accompany him.
The Medical matters are progressing well- the eye specialist advises quite definitely against an operation which relieves my mind greatly & re-assures Lewis that there is nothing more to be done but to accept the verdict, & to make the best of things as they are.
The Dr. is giving Lewis a course of treatment for the weakness in his limbs which will take about 4 weeks.
I’ve had a sinus x-ray & I am now awaiting the results – will let you know.
The weather was cold on arrival, warmed up for a day or two & then yesterday the 1st of June was a freezing day! It’s somewhat better this morning so I hope summer is on the way at last!
Toronto is a lovely city & the shops full of temptation – the prices are very high as you know so it’s no use wanting too many things!
We were so glad to know that your brother is now out of the hospital & do so hope that his recovery will soon be complete – it’s been worrying time for you all. Yes, we knew about poor Mrs. Hetherington & I’m so sorry for her & the Doctor – it’s going to be a long time before she’s well again I fear & she’ll need all her courage & patience to sustain her – & there’s so little one can do to help.
Well dear I am thinking so much about you & hoping that all is going well & that you are quite happy & comfortable at Villa & that you found all in order. Please don’t hesitate to ask me about anything that may not be as you wish it to be.
With my love to you & my kindest regards to your sister & a huge hug for my Prince please.
Affectionately yours,

May 23 1956

This letter to Carol is from her friend Dorée Edmunds, who is lending her St. Vincent cottage on the beach to Carol and her sister so they can get out of town and have a relaxing time, swim, and dog-sit!

The Crane Hotel


My dear Carol,
I was so sorry we didn’t meet again before I left & I tried to phone you on Sunday but just couldn’t get through.
Well, here we are on the first stage of our journey & so far, so good. The Hotel is most comfortable & the food is excellent.
I simply hated leaving Prince on Monday & have been wondering so much how he is getting on. Oscar promised to sleep in the house which I hope he did, & both he & Christine promised faithfully to give Prince as much attention & petting as possible. I shall be so glad when you reach the house & I know Prince will be delighted to see you. Do please write soon to
The Windsor Arms Hotel
Thomas Street, off Bloor Street
Toronto. Canada.
and give me just all the news!
I’m thinking so much about you & hoping you will spend a happy time at Villa & have no regrets. I do hope your little doggie will be with you too – I’m sure Prince will welcome her & be sweet to her. I tried to remember everything before I left, but if there is anything I failed to do or tell you please don’t hesitate to ask me will you? Don’t forget to use the tomatoes grapes & cabbages, also paw-paws, & the carrots need thinning out too, and do cut the flowers won’t you?
How sad for Mrs. Hetherington – I do hope she will get on as well as possible & not get too despondent, but it’s a long weary business, & there’s so little anyone can do to help.
Lewis is looking fairly well & I hope will not find the long flight too trying tomorrow, the plane leaves at 10 a.m. I shall be so thankful when we reach our destination – I’ll write you again from Toronto.
With my love to you & kindest regards to Mrs. Otway [Auntie Trix] & I do hope you both enjoy Villa. A big hug for Prince for me please & regards to the staff.
Yours affectionately

The hotel had its own Air Letter forms!

December 5 1955

Monday 5th Dec.

Dearest Mummy,
We all thought of you flying away south yesterday, and hoped that you had an easy, uneventful flight and arrive safely and promptly in Trinidad. Lindy got your letter and package of Betsy McCall’s today and was absolutely enchanted! Sat down at once and began cutting and was very happy. Both Lu & Myrtle told me they had got cards from you – in fact Lu phoned me up particularly to tell me someone had beaten her in sending out their cards- you! I went to town on Sat. afternoon & got ours but I have been putting off doing them- sort of have a scunner against the idea! Today I made my Christmas cake & a Christmas pudding & on Friday evening I made 8 pint jars of mincemeat, so I am quite well ahead in other respects.

In Lindy’s little note you said what a busy time you were having with all the parties etc. I hope that they were all fun & that you enjoyed them despite the rush. We went to the Ramsay’s party on Thursday evening & really had a good time. They had practically the whole department & had their basement all fixed up for dancing with a record player & a little bar & it was a lot of fun. Cec & I felt very hilarious & in a “let’s have lots more parties” mood after it, but unfortunately the Spectroscopy Christmas Party has fallen through, because of lack of support, so we have no prospects! I am disappointed as I think it would’ve been a good thing & fun, but it wasn’t until after they decided to cancel it that everyone became enthusiastic.

I hope that you find Auntie Gee & Auntie Trix well – also Sylvia & the rest of the family. It will seem strange to get back to the Christmas preparations in St.V. after the Christmas preparations in New York. It is still snowy & icy here & tonight is going to be 10° so maybe you left just in time to avoid getting nipped! We went round to Fanni’s this afternoon – me pulling the kids on the sleigh – & my ears nearly froze! We saw the little baby – chubby & pink & cute – another Peter! [Piotr, actually.]
Must stop – this is really just to welcome you back to St.V. & say that we are all thinking of you. Kisses from Lindy & Charlie & lots of love from us all – Cyn

November 29 1955

Box 330
Ottawa R.R.1

Dearest Mummy,
I have been packing parcels all evening and feel quite packed up myself! I am quite disgusted because having finished a little nightie for Barbara Heslop & feeling very virtuous & ready to begin packing Nan’s parcel, I find I have nothing for Sandy (can’t think why! Have lost my original list & am all of a do!) and have to wait till I go shopping. I never feel Christmassy at this stage – just rather disgruntled!
Cec is at work this evening so I am sitting writing, but must go to bed soon as it is late & he will scold me if he comes back & catches me! You will be back from Milly’s & will have found my last fat letter & I hope the colour pictures. We are all over our colds now, thank goodness, & had a nice quiet weekend so feel quite chirpy again. I hope you all had a grand weekend at Milly’s & enjoyed your Thanksgiving Day. Did Milly’s newly papered rooms look nice & is she all set to come to St.V. in the new year?

Lindy & Charlie are listening to Kindergarten of the Air so I am trying to get on with this! Charlie has at last begun to say his Ls & says Lllllinda & Hello very proudly! He is also pestering me, of course!
We still have our snow, & have had a bit more now & then, but not thick. It has been really cold the last few days (9° above), but today it is much milder – still below freezing, but not much. I hung my sheets out yesterday & it was perishing-itis!
Thank you so much for Marg’s recipe for the fish – I think it sounds lovely, but more expensive than my Jambalaya! You should know the latter, by the way, it is West Indian! It has rice & tomatoes etc. in as well as the shrimp. Margs is so public-spirited with her luncheons & getting up dinners etc. I presume that you had the dinner for the Helpers at the Church Hall. I’m glad that you had fun on your Christmas shopping expedition- Marg’s teapot & Monie’s slacks sound very nice & I hope that you’re not quite flat broke! I hope you’re lucky over the luggage too & they give you a Christmas present of the excess!
My plants are all doing fine at the moment – the ivy isn’t luxuriant, but it’s growing! The chrysanthemum was all right for a while, but looks a bit sick now! About Monie’s geraniums, I heard that the old roots deteriorated & got very straggly & that if you wanted nice plants you should always take slips & keep the young plants.
How nice to get all your cards & parcels off your mind. I must get the cards done now. Hugh’s address is: – Lt.Col. H.G. Brown 042539. Headquarters. 219st. FA. Bu. A.P.O. 751. New York City. N.Y.
Ruth is: – 15 Ferriby Rd.. Hessle. E. Yorks.
By the way we did get Charlie a kaleidoscope – also a grown-up wagon for his birthday! We have all the children’s toys now I think – Lindy still says all she wants is her ironing board!

Last week (or week after) I went with Gudrun & Phyl Douglas to a movie “Daddy Long Legs” with Leslie Caron & Fred Astaire, but it was kind of silly & Fred Astaire looked so old! [Cyn had Jean Webster’s books ‘Daddy Long Legs’ and ‘Dear Enemy’, both epistolary, light romances, the first (1912) about a girl from an orphanage sent to a woman’s college, and the next (1915) her friend ‘modernizing’ the orphanage- not likely to have been easily translated into film in the first place, and the stills with Fred Astaire dancing indicate not very true to the book.]

I also went over one evening to see Nan Ramsey & her newest daughter, Linda. None of her children are very beautiful I don’t think, but this poor little baby has cross eyes & really it was most difficult to find anything nice to say! They are having a party tomorrow night & neither Cec nor I are very enthusiastic about going, but we will probably enjoy it once we get there. We have found a new babysitter – Mrs. Martin down the road (grandmother of those twin babies at the grey house near Grenier’s.) She is English & seems very nice & competent. We went to Margie & Cy’s on Saturday night & Teddy sat for us & the children woke & cried! Pete & Lu were at Margie’s & we had a nice evening & saw lovely colour pictures Cy took in Paris, Belgium, Austria, Germany & London.
The children are getting restless & pestilential so I had better stop, & also get this mailed. I also have a letter to mail to Joan Appleyard – she is coming on Friday for the night & to do Christmas shopping.
I do hope that you have a very easy, pleasant flight & a nice few days in Trinidad. I’m so glad you will get on so soon to St.V. – I am sure once you leave Long Beach it will be much better to get straight back & A. Moo will be looking forward so much to seeing you. We will all be thinking of you on Sun. & maybe next time it will be us setting out. We read of flights from Montreal having started- to Barbados as well as Trinidad I think.
Lindy sends lots & lots of love & a big kiss.
Charlie sends hugs & kisses-
Lots & lots of love from us all –
Cyn & Cec

October 1955

As the autumn approached, Carol made arrangements to return home to St. Vincent- gradually. Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second weekend of October, so she had a Thanksgiving feast with the Costains, and then arranged to fly to New York to visit her sister and nieces until after the American Thanksgiving at the end of November. Dressed in our coats from Harrods, we went to the airport to say goodbye to Grannie.

And as soon as Cyn got her bread-and-butter letter from Long Island, the letters started up again!

Box 330
Ottawa R.R.1.

Dearest Mummy,
Thank you so much for your letter – I thought that I would wait until I heard from you so that we wouldn’t start off with crossing letters. Cec & I were so pleased to know that you enjoyed your visit & think that we are so happy – we think so too! We all loved having you and Lindy & Charlie talk about you all the time & keep saying how sorry they are that you have left. I think that they must really miss you as they have nearly been driving me crazy – hanging around me and yak – yak – yakking!
We were so glad that you had a nice uneventful trip – it is nice that it is so quick – by the time we were home we reckoned you would be in Montreal, and before Cec was back again you would be with A. Ettie & Monie. So nice not to have a long dreary time in between.

As you can imagine we have no real news! However, Cec took Charlie to Dr. Wilson on Wed. & we were most relieved as Dr. W. says he is absolutely fine – no signs of trouble at all. We were also pleased as Charlie was a bit tearful at the thoughts of going and set out with Cec very doubtfully, but when he actually went into the Dr.’s office he was very cheerful and stood up on the table and said “I’ll show you where it hurts” & ended up by being great friends with the Dr. Another step forward in the right direction was on Friday I had the shoe man call with new shoes for them. Linda insisted beforehand that she wasn’t going to see him & was going to stay in her bedroom all the time. I said nothing, and when he arrived she just came & sat beside me & let me try on shoes with no fuss & even let the man feel her foot!! Charlie made no objection of course & it was all most peaceful & pleasant – for the first time in at least 2 years! Charlie got little brown Oxfords & Linda a brown pair with two little straps & buckles on top & she is very proud of them. $14.00 worth!!
The “animal” in the children’s room made a recurrence 2 or 3 nights ago – at least Linda insisted he did! Anyway for peace we moved them into Grannie’s room & they are tickled to bits! Linda is in your bed & Charlie on the couch & they think it is great fun. Actually we have decided we may make the change permanent as it is a slightly bigger room, so we will move their furniture in in a little while. Also Ken has told us if we want to paint any rooms & change colour schemes he will supply paint & brushes etc. so we will do that room & their present one I think – not just this minute though! Also do the pink in the kitchen.
I have been doing Linda’s little pinafore dress & just have the hem to hem! Also have remodelled one of my “shift” nighties! I have bought material for skirts for Christmas for Anne & Janita – called “Canadian North” & very colourful with deer & squirrels & canoes etc. Also the nightie for Nan (white with mauve flowers!) & one or two other Christmas presents – including Charlie’s train! Miss Lefroy’s Tissuette came & I put Kleenex in & will mail it tomorrow.
Cec has had a long busy weekend cleaning windows, taking down screens, painting storm windows & putting them up. They are nearly all on now except for a couple on which the paint was still wet. I don’t seem to have done much but dillyed & dallied & Lindy & I went to Sunday School this morning.
We have been having some nice bright colder weather with the frost for a couple of nights, so we have a festoon of green tomatoes across the kitchen window. I picked a bunch of the last zinnias & some chrysanthemums before the frost & took them & a little plant to Gudrun. Reminds me, heard from Gunborg last week – all well & had a wonderful time all over Europe. Re: plants – the small ivy pots in the kitchen have had a set back – Charlie knocked off one & Linda knocked off another! So far remembered to water everything!


Margie just phoned to ask if you had a good trip & we had a long chat. Cy is due on Wed. or Thurs. & she is all busy getting ready.
Must stop & get to bed – I had meant to write lots of other letters but of course didn’t. Cec & Lindy & Charlie & I all send lots of love & kisses – Cyn. P.T.O.:

Hope you have a nice time with Marie.

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!