July 23 1962

I have divided this letter into two because it is so long and deals with quite separate matters- the Costains on their Michigan holiday, and then Cyn answering her mother’s questions of the last few months of letters which she has saved up. (I shall put the pictures of the end of their holiday with the second half, since there are no letters to follow to explain how it went.) But before the letter, here is a quick review of Cyn’s life already covered by letters from the post-war years 1946- 1951, to explain some of the American friends the letter mentions.
Towards the end of the war, Cyn had changed teaching jobs and left her parents’ house in Newcastle where she had been stuck for the war years, and moved south to Cambridge. She enjoyed living independently and in 1946 took on a greater adventure by being part of a teacher exchange between American and British teachers designed to foster greater co-operation in the English-Speaking Union. Cyn was sent to Toledo, Ohio, where she taught high school Home Economics for a year, and also spoke to clubs and meetings, very successfully, about whatever aspects of British life her hosts or hostesses wished to hear! She was lucky enough to find a very happy home that year boarding with two other teachers, Til and Lois, who involved her with their families- Til’s adult son Bill, Lois’ sisters who lived locally- and took her with them on holiday with other relatives so that she saw a bit more of America. Her enjoyment of that year comes through in her letters home to Carol, but she was also happy to return to Cambridge for the following school year, where her mother joined her. They both met Cec who was doing his PhD. there, and Cec and Cyn married in 1949, with the intention of following Cec’s professor, Dr. Gordon Sutherland, to the University of Michigan for a couple of years before settling in Canada. Their stay in Ann Arbor was part of a transitory community- graduate students like Cec finishing and moving on, Cyn’s fellow workers at the University marrying or having babies and stopping work- but they were able to keep in touch with the ones who worked at the university and with Til and Lois, and made friends within academic circles that persisted as careers took off and families grew and grew up, because they met up over the years at conferences or during temporary work arrangements, such as Cec’s months work at the University of Michigan in July 1962. Back when the children were 3 and 4, the Costains had visited the States just as the Sutherlands were moving back to England, and also had stayed with Til and Lois while Cec attended the Spectroscopy Conference in Columbus, so it is not surprising that their friends thought Linda and Charlie had changed in the 6 years since then!

Portage Lake,
Pinkney
Michigan.

23 July, 1962.

Dearest Mamma,
Here I am sitting on the porch typing away – it is Monday morning and it is quite grey and cloudy and looks as if it is going to be a storm and we can hear thunder rumbling around in the distance. We have had quite a lot of thunderstorms in the last few days but they are not as spectacular as the Ottawa Valley ones and they pass over very quickly, but the weather has been very changeable.
Charlie has been having fun with a boy who lives a few cottages down. They have been getting bait for fishing, looking under stones for ‘crawdads’ and catching little minnows and catfish with a little net. Now he has gone home and some little girls from the next cottage have come over and Linda is sitting on the steps colouring books with them. The neighbours are very nice and friendly – I think I told you we had a nice family with a little 5 year old boy in the cottage next to us. Well, they were here for 2 weeks and were extremely kind and took me shopping into Pinckney etc., then we now have another family with 3 little girls – Kathy 8, Susie 5, and Carol 4, and they have a baby boy, Billy 1. Besides the mother and father there is a Grannie and Grandpa so they have quite a family not to mention all sorts of relatives with lots of children every few days, but they are nice too and have offered to take me shopping etc. The father is a great fisherman and goes out night and day, but he doesn’t have much luck – Cec and Charlie have been out a few times but they don’t do much either – Charlie caught a little one but put it back as it was so small! On the other side the cottage is owned by a man and his family from Ann Arbor, so they were only out for a few hours at a time to begin with but last week they came out for a while and we have had a few chats with them. They only have one boy of 14 and he is always dashing around in one of their two motor boats – the father took us out for a ride in one on Sat. and we went all around the lake and saw parts we didn’t know existed. It was quite blowy and we bounced around and got water splashed on us much to Charlie’s amusement!
The thunder is really on top of us now and it is pouring, so the children have moved in and are colouring happily. It is nice that there is someone to play with as Linda has run out of her stock of books and Charlie is getting bored with Patience! Cec has begun to teach them to play Bridge but as he is in at the University all day we can’t do as we did at Mill and Ford’s camp and play all day. Since I last wrote the time seems to have melted away and we can hardly believe that this is our last week here. We will leave here on Sat. morning but Cec thinks he will need a few more days at the University so we will probably go to a Motel until Tues. morning and then go straight to Stratford as we see ‘The Tempest’ on the Tues. night. On Wed. we see the matinee of ‘The Gondoliers’ and then we will go and spend that night with Merle and a couple of days in Toronto and home on Friday. The Klemans go to a cottage for two weeks.
We had a letter from Gudrun and all goes well at 2043 Montreal Rd. and Nicki seems quite happy and is presenting them with dead mice as usual! Thank you so much for your letters which Gudrun forwarded to me and also for the one which you sent to the Physics Dept. here. I was so sorry to hear about your poor little dog being killed. I know how much you will miss him and how sad you would feel to have him killed so suddenly when he was still so young and enjoying life. I hope that after a while that you will get another puppy for companionship and also as it is so useful for you to have a watchdog. At first though I know you can’t bear the thought of having one for a while. We are surrounded with dogs here and the favourite is a great big Basset Hound called Shorty. His legs are so small that he practically touches the ground but he is as solid as a rock and weighs about as much as I do. To see Charlie trying to move him is quite a sight, but he is very good-natured and doesn’t seem to mind how much he is pushed and shoved!
Not long after I last wrote we had some bad luck. Linda got a sore throat and an ear infection, and so she hasn’t been able to have as much fun in the water as the first week. She had one really bad night of earache and the next day I kept her in bed here on the porch and gave her aspirins etc. and after that she didn’t seem ill although the ear was still aching a little, so we let her get in the water but not put her head under (she wears a cap and protector band of towelling underneath but still her hair gets wet) and that was all right until suddenly last week it began to ache again, so she was out of the water for a couple more days and is so disgusted over it. It seems nearly better now so maybe she could go in for a little today, but it is such a pity as she loves the water so much and had such a wonderful time in it. Just after Linda’s ear ache began poor Cec woke up one morning with an eye infection and all his left eye swollen up. He gets this every so often if you remember and if he doesn’t do something about it, at once it spreads to his other eye, so he went to Pete’s Dr in Ann Arbor and got various drops etc. but it wasn’t until he gave him some antibiotics that it cleared up. Told him he was working too hard and should have a rest. He seems quite all right now, but the weekend before last he was feeling pretty miserable. Charlie and I have kept well and full of high spirits, and it is really lovely to see Charlie so well and happy. He is so good-natured and helpful and sunny and he has such a wonderful time in the water now – you wouldn’t recognize the boy who sees how long he can swim underwater and dives through my legs etc. as the little fellow you used to know!
We have been socializing a little bit as well as swimming around in our lake, and the first time we went out was to Mary and Arthur Dockrill’s for dinner. They have a nice new house in a new suburb of Ann Arbor, but not just a field with a lot of little houses in it but all trees, and winding roads and little hills etc. very pretty. Arthur is a real wizard with his hands you know, and he has fixed up their basement beautifully and they have everything very nice. Their one little girl Jill, is 4, and she is a little pet. She is small and has two little brown pigtails and speaks in a very English way in a funny little high voice. Linda loved her and both the children were fascinated because she had just about every toy going – Charlie said “I think Jill has everything!” We had a nice dinner and a really pleasant time, but we haven’t seen them since as they were going on their holiday at the end of that week. They had a Volkswagen bus like Hugh and Ginny and Arthur had fixed it up like a caravan with bunks etc. and they were going up into the Upper Michigan Peninsula.
Last week our big excitement was that we had a letter from Til saying that they would come up on the Wed. so we were very pleased. They arrived just after lunch – Til and Lois, Lois’ sister Ruth and the granddaughter from Florida, Cathie. Til and Lois and Ruth all look just the same and we had a wonderful time catching up on all the news of people I knew. They said I looked the same too and I said “Fatter though!” but they were kind! They were amazed at how the children had grown, but Cathie who is 11, made them look like little shrimps! She is a really big girl – big bones and then quite chubby too, and I think Til had quite intimidated her by telling her not to be wild and hoydenish as Linda and Charlie were so well behaved! All the Americans think Linda and Charlie are so good! However, after Cathie had got over her alarm she and the children had a good time in the water, and although she is full of bounce and quite exuberant she is not sophisticated and blasé which poor Til and Lois were quite worried about. But poor kid, what a life she leads – the mother is apparently no good and her own parents threw her out when she walked out on Bill, but fortunately the grandparents have Cathie most of the time, and they are nice people, but the little girl is chopped and changed from one to the other. Of course I was very interested to hear what they all thought about Bill’s marriage to Lois and Ruth’s sister Mary, because they all thought so much of Mary and so little of Bill – even Tilda, his mother! – but apparently although they were all shattered to begin with and tried in all ways to talk Mary out of it, she went ahead and married him and they are very happy – in fact, according to Til they are so in love it is rather nauseating! Cec and I roared as this is such a Til-ish remark. Cec came home a bit early from the University so he had a chance to chat too, and they brought all sorts of things to eat, so I had very little to do. They told me in the letter that they would bring corn and a ham, so I had rolls and made a potato salad and bought a coconut cake and had raspberries and cream, but they brought no less than 3 doz. ears of corn and two huge melons as well as the ham and jars of applesauce etc. so we had quite a feast. Til is taking Cathie down to see C’Zelma’s in Kentucky for a while this week so we won’t see them again but it was such fun to get the chance of meeting once more and we had as good a time as ever!

Do you remember when I was in Toledo some of the teachers took me on a trip one day up to Dearborn, near Detroit where we went to a museum which Henry Ford had made, and while we were there we saw him? He was in a wheelchair going around his museum, and he actually died not many months later, but I was always pleased that I had seen such a famous person. Anyway as well as this museum there is a Village – Greenfield Village, in which Ford collected and had set up the homes of all sorts of famous American people as well as all sorts of little shops and crafts which they used to have in the pioneer days. Thomas Edison was one of his best friends, and he has the house he was born in and all the original furniture and then all Edison’s Lab. and also the same for the Wright brothers and Stephen Foster and all sorts of other famous Americans as well as the house he himself was born in. It is all set out like a little old-fashioned village with brick streets and sidewalks and horsedrawn carriages and ducks and geese and peacocks wandering about, and a windmill and a forge with a blacksmith and beautiful old trees and lovely gardens for all the houses. I forgot to say that Mary Jo took us – we went into Ann Arbor with Cec in the morning on Friday and he dropped us off at the Peters’ house and then after a while everyone was collected and we set off in their station wagon. One of their boys was at camp, but there was Mary Jo and me, Linda and Charlie, Jody and Helen each with a girl of the same age, Vinnie and Terry – 10 of us! Mary Jo and the older girls have been before but none of the rest, so it was great fun, and it was a grey dullish day inclined to rain so we weren’t sorry to leave the cottage. We got there around 11, and they give you a map telling you which each house is and suggesting a route, and then in each place they have a girl who tells you some of the history of that particular house and shows you around. We were lucky and got ahead of the main crowd, but actually it is so big that you never feel you are in a mass of people. We had lunch in the Village Inn and we were amused as they said something about old-style American food, and it was cafeteria style and we had things like tuna fish sandwiches and potato chips! There was an old village shop and postoffice, and the children loved the forge where the blacksmith was making horseshoes and rings out of horseshoe nails! We also saw a silk mill with silk worms, a pottery and a glass blowing place, but during this time it had been getting very dark and thundery and suddenly it began to pour and we had to make a rush for the nearest building. This turned out to be a very dreary place with a lot of machinery in it so after staying there about 20 minutes or so while it poured down we decided to try and dash for the next building and of course we all got soaking wet! Eventually they sent around buses to take people back to the main gate, and as it was after 4 and we were all wet we decided to give the museum a miss and go home. We went back to the Peters’ house and Pete and Cec came and we had dinner there and eventually got home around 9 o’clock – we were tired!

Linda got some dry shoes and socks at the Peters that night, but yesterday she did better still. Dr. and Mrs. Hecht from the Physics Dept. live quite near here, in fact he is the one who helped Cec get this cottage and he has been very kind about driving Cec in once in a while to let me have the car. Yesterday they invited us to dinner and came over around 3 to show us the way. They live in a most fascinating house away off in the woods. A man had this as his summer place previously and built up the land around which a little river loops, and then built a bridge, cleared the undergrowth, built the house and made beautiful stone fireplaces inside the cottage and outside for outdoor meals and even dammed the little river to make a swimming pool in one place. The Hechts live there all year round and love it, and have added a furnace and a few improvements, but are thinking they must move into Ann Arbor soon as their little girl Liz, is six and they have the school problem. It wasn’t a good day for us to see it as it was quite dull and thundering and rainy which made it very dark with all the trees around, but it cleared up enough for Ted and Cec to cook our steaks on the outside fireplace although we ate inside – the mosquitoes were wicked. While this was going on Linda and Liz went to the little river where Liz had a small plastic boat and after a little while what should appear but two dripping wet little girls – the boat had tipped up and landed them in the water! They were both giggling and we couldn’t help laughing as they looked so funny but they were well and truly soaked. Fortunately, with a squeeze Linda could get into some of Liz’s clothes, and we had brought her an extra pair of shoes along, so she was all right, but we are making quite a collection of clothes here. I laughed at Lindy afterwards, she said to me with a funny little grin, “My dignity was hurt!” This reminds me of a remark of Charlie’s that amused me – not long after we got here one day we were all sitting on the porch reading except Charlie, and he kept making remarks until finally Cec said “Why don’t you stop chatting and get something to read?” at which Charlie replied “Oh I pride myself on being a brilliant conversationalist you know!” Apparently this is a quotation from one of his comics, but the way he brought it out just made us roar with laughter.
This week I don’t know if we will be doing anything much – I wrote to Mrs. Pasquier in Toledo and told her we were here and asked if she and her husband could come up one day, but they might be away for all I know, or they might not care for such a long drive. We usually have the car one day each week and we go into Dexter to the Coinwash and into Ann Arbor to the Library and any other shopping. The Peters lent us their Library tickets so we have been doing quite well, but Linda of course finishes her 4 books in the first day or so, but she doesn’t get them changed for a week. There is an ironing board here and I brought my old electric iron so I am able to do the ironing as usual – lovely!

Greenwich Village

July 9 1962

Portage Lake
9th July 1962.

Dearest Mummy,
Here we are in the U.S.A. & one week of our holidays gone already! I can hardly believe it as it has just flown by, but it is nice to think we still have 3 or 4 more instead of 1 as it usually is. Of course it isn’t all fun & frivol for poor Cec, but last week was so mixed up with Wed. being 4th July holiday that he didn’t really seem to be working very hard!
Our last week in Ottawa was a bit wild as the children had school till noon on Friday & Cec was working till all hours at the Lab. trying to get something going for Dr. Herzberg & leave all the people in his lab O.K. while he was away. I celebrated by getting a miserable cold & on top of that of course wanted to leave the house spic and span for Gudron, so I sniffled & sneezed & washed floors & waxed & had a gay time! However, all was left bee-oo-tiful & on Friday morning I went to the Coinwash & so got every last thing washed & left them with the beds all made with clean sheets etc. It was quite a job but I’m sure the house is really well spring cleaned this year!

Charlie’s Grade 5 report.

Cec was to come home about 1pm – 1:30 on Friday & we were to set off straight away, but he didn’t make it till about 3:00, so you can imagine how the children were champing at the bit! They both got good reports by the way & passed up into the next Grades, so Linda is now in Grade 7 & Charlie in Grade 6. Charlie was quite relieved as he was a bit worried about his exams but he did very well considering all his absences. I will have to give you the details of the reports when I get home. Linda was 9th out of a class of 31. Don’t you think I’m clever? L.C.

Linda’s Grade 6 report.


However, despite our late start we went about 200 mi. & stayed the night in a motel n. of Toronto & then next day we went on via Sarnia & Port Huron instead of down by Windsor/Detroit & it was much less crowded & v. pretty. We stopped in Stratford & booked seats at the Shakespearean Festival for “The Tempest” one evening on the way home & then a hotel that night & seats at the matinee for “The Gondoliers” the next day, so that will be fun.
We arrived at the cottage v. hot & dirty & tired around 6p.m. on the Sat. & found the family that owns it still here! The estate agent told them we weren’t coming till Sunday or Monday! However, we went to the nearby town & had a meal & then when we came back they were packing up to leave, but we didn’t get a dip that night!
It is quite an ordinary cottage, but has 2 bedrooms, a nice kitchen with electric stove, sink (cold water) 2 refrig’s, bathroom & toilet etc. It is just a step to the lake & there is a little beach & a dock & rowboat – nice big trees for shade & a lovely big screened porch. The drawback- which isn’t so bad – is that the whole lake is lined with cottages side-by-side all the way around – 40’ or 50’ fronts. This close to Detroit these lots were opened up about 1900 & some of the houses & cottages are 40 or 50 years old. Actually, we have a very nice family called Madison from Detroit on one side with a little boy of 5, Danny, & on the other the people only come out for the day on Sundays it seems, so the neighbours are no handicap but at the weekend the lake is wild – sailboat races, speed boats, water skiers, swimmers all in together & we expect a massacre any minute! It is quiet during the week though & the water is lovely – sandy bottom & only up to my waist for about 100’ out & then deepens fairly quickly, but ideal for the children.


We had one very wet rainy day – last Tuesday – after a pouring night, so we went into Ann Arbor with Cec & shopped & the children & I saw a movie in the afternoon “Mr. Hobbs takes a Vacation” with James Stewart, which was very amusing. We have a little wood stove to heat the cottage with, & lots of wood so we didn’t suffer! The Wed. holiday Pete & Mary Jo came out with their family – Jody (14) Helen (12) Brooks (10) Vincent (8) & Terry (4)!! They all had a grand time in the water & we cooked hot dogs & had a good time. It was quite exhausting though – next day we all slept in & Cec & I felt glad we didn’t have 5 children!
I phoned Til & Lois one evening & they are going to drive up to see us. Til’s granddaughter Cathie (11) (Bill’s second wife!) is coming from Florida to stay with them for 2 weeks so they will bring her & I am quite curious as they said she was spoiled 5 yrs. ago!
This morning we went into our nearest small town Dexter (8 mi.) & washed at the Coin wash (Cec drove into Ann Arbor with a friend – about 16 mi.) & this afternoon we are going in to pick him up & then go to dinner at Mary & Arthur Dockrill’s – they are an English couple who were here when we were – he was Prof. Sutherland’s technician but you probably won’t remember them. They have a little girl of 4 now called Jill.
Must stop & go to & unroller my hair & get dressed. We have the typewriter (I am to type for Cec) & I have all your letters to answer so I’ll get to it soon!
The children send big hugs and lots of love –
Love to Auntie Muriel & lots for you from
Cyn.

April 20 1962

The Costain grandparents had spent the winter in the East, where the grandchildren were all older than Carman and Leona’s toddlers, and so, after the successful family gathering in Ottawa at Cec and Cyn’s for Christmas, it was happening again at Easter at Merle’s in Brantford, where Granny and Grandpa Costain were now staying. Merle and Dix’s two older boys were away at university, but Linda and Charlie enjoyed visiting their cousin Bruce. Cyn and Cec were also intending to visit friends in southern Ontario while they were there. We have no letters telling about the Easter trip, but it was immortalized in the scrapbook!

Good Friday

Dearest Mummy,
It is real Good Friday weather – lovely and sunny and warm & reminds me of some of the days at Bellingham & Warkworth. I have just been to Church and have finished writing 20 letters to various Rector’s wives etc. enclosing complimentary tickets for our Bazaar! My arm is wearing out but it must be used to hard work after all the painting!
Our painting is more or less finished – in the sitting room I mean. I have to put a 2nd coat of enamel on the window frames but that will have to wait. I was so lucky & got the name of a lady in Cardinal Hts. very close by, Mrs. Proulx, who wanted to do a little work each week so I got in touch with her & she came and cleaned for me yesterday & did a very good job. She was most thorough & worked & got all the paint off the sitting room floor & it looks so nice. Cec has scrubbed all the bamboo curtains & put them up & everything looks lovely & clean. Mrs. Proulx is going to come for a morning every week, so I feel very happy & relieved as cleaning is not my favourite thing & I am out so much with the Guild that I felt it was really getting on top of me.
We set off early in the morning, will call on Auntie & Uncle in Toronto & onto Brantford. Cec & I have a room in a motel as Merle will be crowded with Mom & Dad too, but I was horrified last week to get a call from Lea & hear that they are going too! Aren’t I mean? But what a crowd for poor Merle – they will sleep in sleeping bags on rubber mattresses but can you imagine such a crowd in the house all day & for every meal? We go to the Douglasses on the Tues. & Forsyths Wed. & home Thurs. We took poor Nicki to the Kennels yesterday and she was so scared.
I went to see Eve P. at the Civic with her baby on Mon. & it is a dear little thing. I also visited poor old Myrtle Rothwell who is in for 2 weeks for deep heat treatment for the arthritis in her hip, so I felt I had done a GOOD Deed!
We all send love & best wishes for your Happy Easter Birthday –
Much love
Cyn
XXX from L & C.

August 4 1961

This letter features family rather than friends, so a quick review of Costains! Cec and Cyn, Linda and Charlie live at the east end of Ottawa, in a duplex with Myrtle Rothwell in the other half, which had a ground floor apartment at the back, now occupied by the Knights, who will feed the cat Nicki while the Costains are away.
As they start out for their holiday they have to drive west through Ottawa, and then go up Highway 17, which goes through Carp where Cec’s sister Lea and family live- so they stop for coffee. They find and enjoy their cottage, and make an expedition one day to visit Cec’s Uncle, Milton Costain, and his Aunt Lily, who normally live in Toronto but are also doing the Ontario summer thing- going to the cottage. What they really are looking forward to is the visit on the weekend of Cec’s oldest sister, Merle Moor, and her husband Dix, with as many of their 3 boys, John, Lorne, and Bruce, as are available. Bruce is 11 at this point, Lorne 18, and the children welcome these cousins, and miss the oldest one.

Gull Lake

4th August

Dearest Mummy,
Well, here we are at the Cottage! I can hardly believe that we have been here nearly a week and we are all having a really lovely time. The weather has been warm & sunny but not too hot & only one evening after dark we had a heavy shower, otherwise no rain at all. The lake is a very big one but we are on a small bay off another larger one called Deep Bay, so actually we only see a small part of the lake but it is very beautiful with wooded hills and rocky outcrops, and all the trees are so gloriously fresh & green this year. Our cottage is not right on the beach, but up a little rise across a field with trees at one side & a rocky hillside behind.


There are only 2 other cottages & the owner’s house (Mrs. Forster- very obliging) & our cottage is nicely off on our own. It is very comfortable with running water, inside toilet, refrigerator, electric stove & light, & a wood stove in the sitting room for heating. We actually just light it in the morning, although it’s not very cold, but it quickens up breakfast if Cec cooks the bacon and eggs on the fire & I do the other things on the electric stove.
We have organized a wonderful system – I cook meals (except Cec lights fires & does most of breakfast) & make beds; Linda sweeps the cottage; Charlie washes the breakfast dishes; then Linda washes the lunch dishes & then Cec washes the dinner dishes, so isn’t that a lovely holiday for me? Just knowing I haven’t a dish to wash makes me feel very carefree!
So far we have swum twice every day & 3 times one day – usually about 11:30 a.m. & 4 p.m. The water is very nice & warm & is grand for the children as the bay goes out very gradually – the beach is sandy but actually the bottom is mostly mud, but it’s not too gooky & unpleasant! Linda is a complete waterbaby & will stay in hours without a shiver, but poor little old Charlie is still as skinny & gets cold as quickly. Lindy is doing very well with her swimming – she swims very well on her back & floats & does somersaults in the water & touches the bottom etc. On her front she swims a crawl stroke & does very well, but she swims with her face in the water & and has difficulty getting her head up & getting her breath without a gulp of water, but it is coming gradually & she already can swim further than when she was in the swimming pool. Charlie seems to have no buoyancy at all! He still doesn’t like to get his face & head wet, but he tries & it will come sometime I expect! I am trying to do the things Lindy learnt at her lessons – the Jellyfish Float etc. so I am being quite venturesome! We are all getting healthy & sunburnt but not to excess! We have rented a rowboat & we row around & go walks & are really quite energetic – Cec took us a hike over the hill one evening which turned out to be quite an expedition, up & down ravines & through bushes etc. & poor Lindy thought we were lost forever! However we turned out exactly opposite our cottage, so the guide wasn’t far off!
Cec bought a fishing rod in a little town nearby & he & Charlie have been fishing in the boat, but had no luck. We all went last night & I rowed them around but Lindy said all the fish had gone to bed! I have said that anyone who catches a fish must clean it himself, so I don’t know if this has dampened their ardour!

We had quite a long drive up on Sat. – nearly 300 miles, & not nearly such easy driving as the Thruway! We had to take food & bedding as well as clothes, so you can imagine how packed little Rosie was. We set out at 8:45 & as we passed right through Carp we had phoned & told Lea we would stop for 1/2 hour for a cup of coffee. We found them all well, but as usual in some sort of flap. Over the prospect of a move to Edmonton this time – goodness knows how it will turn out. Afterwards we went on up the Ottawa River Valley. We had a picnic lunch – in a slight shower of rain, but we were under trees! – & then on up to Algonquin Park – the big National Park you know. Linda was all set to see bears, but we just drove through on the highway of course so there wasn’t much hope but we did see some deer with whole crowds of cars stopped to watch them! We visited the Park Museum which had exhibits of the wildlife of the park – some like bears etc. stuffed, & fishes & frogs etc. in glass cases! Then we drove on through & arrived at our nearest small town, Minden, around 5 o’clock. We shopped for milk & bread & then after wandering around back roads for a while found the cottage. We are about 15 miles from Minden & are going in this afternoon to get meat & groceries for the weekend. The 2 children are so funny & different – if we lose the way in the car or walking Linda gets so agitated & upset & worried whereas Charlie gets all philosophical in adversity & tramps on cheerfully saying “Oh well if this isn’t right we’ll just have to go back!” I had brought a cold roast turkey with me & rolls & salad, so we had a nice supper all ready.
Mr. & Mrs. Knight are looking after Nicki for us. It worked out very conveniently as their daughter and her husband & 3 children were due back from Germany (with the Army) on the day after we left, & of course the Knights wanted to have them to stay while they looked for a house (they are now stationed in Ottawa), but Myrtle was being very difficult about it all. When I heard this I suggested giving the Knights our back door key & Mr. & Mrs. K. could come in & sleep in our Recreation Room each night & we loaned them the chaise also as a bed for one of the children, so they were overwhelmingly grateful & immediately suggested that they would look after Nicki. As Mrs. K says, the family might be with them a week or only a few days depending on how long before they get a house, but it will be pretty close quarters for them, & I said to let the children play on our swing & slide etc. as Myrtle has been so disagreeable they are determined they won’t set a step on her path even! We left food for Nicki & her bed in the washroom & if it rains the Knights will let her in our basement.
Since we arrived here we have only been on one expedition & that was to Gravenhurst in the Muskoka area where Auntie Lily & Uncle Milton are staying for their holidays. It is about 60 miles away & we drove over in the morning & had lunch & then back home in the late afternoon. Poor Charlie still doesn’t get on well in the car & the country around here – rather like Mill & Ford’s camp – all hills & winding roads & up & down etc. doesn’t suit him at all, so we are going to just enjoy the cottage and not drive around more than necessary as it bothers him so & the pills make him very dopey. His eczema is improving but not gone all together, but he seems in much better shape now & is eating well.
We are expecting the Moors this weekend – probably not till tomorrow morning. Merle has been attending a Course in Toronto & finishes today & Dixon has had a summer job marking exam papers, but it is finished too. Lorne has a job as a Life Guard at a swimming pool but he can get the weekend off & we hope Bruce will be home from Camp & come too. John has gone in the “Mission Field” for the summer, so we won’t see him. I don’t quite know what this means, but he has apparently gone somewhere in connection with the Church, but will let you know when I find out more.
Well, Lindy has just about finished the dishes, so we will be on our way to Minden soon & I had better stop & mail this. Charlie has learned to play Patience & is very engrossed in it. They both can row now. Must stop – big hugs from us all.
Much love
Cyn.

June 28 to July 10 1961

It was a long letter…

2043 Montreal Road,
Ottawa 2. Ontario.

28th June, 1961- 10th July

Dearest Mummy,
It was two weeks ago today that I posted my last letter to you in Montreal when I was with Mary Egan, and it seems more like two months ago! Cec has been home for more than a week and we are beginning to feel that he was never away, although my goodness, we were glad to see him!
I might as well begin right away and tell you of our doings and then I can answer your letters and say thank you properly. I think I told you of Flora W. coming to tea one day with the baby, and then the next day Mrs. Bowen invited me to tea- this was really because of “My Position” and she also invited Marjorie as Past President and Gertrude Pierce who is President of the Altar Guild, but it was very nice anyway. Marjorie’s Mother was there too and Mr. Bowen and we all had quite a chatty time. The next day (Fri. 9th) I took Ruth Lockwood to Almonte to the Woollen Mills Shop. Of course when I suggested it to her before Cec ever left I had great plans to buy all sorts of things, but after my great dress spree I had no money, and Ruth wasn’t much better, so we really went for fun! Ruth actually took a piece of material and matched it, so we didn’t completely waste their time, but actually I was very glad to see what they had and how the prices compared so that in the Fall I can plan what to get if I want to go again. They have very nice sweaters of all shades as well as woolen material, and also blankets. The latter of a mixture of rayon and viscose and something else, as well as the pure wool ones, and I was thinking that for Charlie it might be better as he finds the wool too hot. We had a picnic lunch on the way back, and although it wasn’t warm enough to make us want to get out and recline on the grassy sward, it was very pleasant sitting in the car with the windows open!
During the week I had a phone call from Lila who is back in Ottawa for two months, so I invited her to come to dinner on the Sunday. It turned out to be a nice hot day – one of the few we’ve had – so we had it out in the garden and I cooked meatballs and chicken livers in bacon on the little grill. They got a bit burned, but Lila is a polite girl and said she liked the charcoal flavour! Myrtle annoyed me immensely by peering at us, and talking and as she had laryngitis we’d all have to stop and listen and say ‘Pardon’ and in the end never know what she was talking about. By the time Cec got home I could hardly be civil to her. She was in and out and on the phone every day and she’d be saying “What are you doing now?” and “Where are you going today?” until I felt I had an inquisitor on my heels. The day I went to Montreal she phoned me after 10 at night and demanded very indignantly “Where were you all day?” As you can imagine this did not go down very well with me!
Next day- Monday- was the day Charlie S.[Stainthorpe] was to be in Ottawa. So after the children set off to school I dashed around and made beds etc. and then about 8:40 a.m. I phoned the Château Laurier and asked for him but they said he hadn’t come yet, so I left a message with my phone number and about half an hour later he called me. He had just arrived after a night in the train from Toronto and hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I suggested that I would come for him at 11 o’clock, and if he felt like it he could stroll up and look at the outside of the Parliament buildings as I knew I would never find a place to park there. I’d given the children their lunches, so I got organized and set off in my new blue patterned dress and black hat that Mary and I made and we duly met at the right time and place. Charlie is just the same – a little more paunchy, but full of pep and enthusiasm and having a wonderful time. We went to the car at once as he had been up to Parliament Hill, and I set out to show him Ottawa. I can’t say it was much of a success as a guided tour, as he was having so much fun telling me about Ruth and the boys, and all the things he done on his trip and the things he’d seen that I didn’t have the heart to keep interrupting him and saying this is this and that is that!
However, we went around the Driveways and Dow’s Lake so he must have had a favourable impression. Unfortunately the tulips had just completely finished and not much else was in bloom and the same applied to our garden, but everything was beautifully green and springy looking. We got to the Champlain Island in the Ottawa River just around 12, and I showed him the rapids, and the log booms higher up, which interested him very much, and then I suggested that we have just a light lunch in the restaurant there, and he thought this was a good idea. We had toasted Western sandwiches and coffee, and he’d not had such a sandwich before and he thought it was a beautiful restaurant so it was nice to please him. Afterwards, I took him over the bridge and down through Hull and he saw the view from that side of the river, and then we went down Sussex Drive, past N.R.C. and the Prime Minister’s and Governor General’s etc. and through Rockcliffe Park. On the way home we passed Steinberg’s and Loblaw’s and I told him I shop there, and then I suddenly thought he might like to see one, so back we went and I took him through Steinberg’s much to his amazement and interest! He bought some cherries to have on the train next day and then saw some corn and asked if that was what it was, as their Courier had said they hadn’t lived until they had eaten corn on the cob, so of course I got some, although it was not in season, so it wasn’t very good, but at least he’d have some idea of what it is like.
We got home around 2:30 I think, and we sat chatting for a little, and I noticed that he was looking a bit droopy eyed, so I suggested that he should lie down and have a little nap, so I think he was very happy to do so. I was happy too, as I shut myself in the kitchen and managed to get the dinner well on the way. I had a chicken casserole with bacon and mushrooms, mashed potatoes, fresh asparagus and corn on the cob, and then afterwards a strawberry shortcake. I found it very hard work with both Lila and Charlie being both host and hostess and missed Cec so much – it is really hard to entertain and cook and serve dinner at the same time! The children came in from school while Charlie was still asleep, and we crept around for a little while, and then he stirred so we made tea and I introduced them. They were very tickled at some of Charlie’s English expressions and of course we got so muddled up with the Charlies that we had to say Big Charlie and Little Charlie! Big C. brought them both pretty little egg cups and spoons with the arms of London on, so they were very pleased and I was glad that I had the things to give him for Ruth’s boys. I was quite glad that he had grandsons because whenever the children suddenly got uproarious, or were particularly child like he would say “Just like Richard and Michael!” and look quite pleased!

Charlie (in the back) with Ruth, Richard, Michael, and Peter Haynes in England.

He was tired after his night in the train, and they were off to Montreal early in the morning so we drove him back to the Château soon after 8 o’clock, and this suited me fine as I didn’t want to keep the children out too long. It really was nice seeing him again and he seems very contented with his life now. I suggested he try a trip to the West Indies, and he said that you had said so too, and he seemed quite interested so you might be seeing him next!
On the Tuesday Fanni had very kindly invited us all to a barbecue supper, so this was a lovely free day for me, without even dinner to prepare. Unfortunately it was as changeable as all this peculiar summer has been, and about 4 it clouded over and began to pour with rain, so we couldn’t sit outside doors after all. Teddy has built a lovely new fireplace outside and we were going to christen it but we had a nice time anyway. Talking of christenings the Bowen’s smallest girl, Patty, aged four had me very puzzled the other Sunday – she kept telling me that she was going to – – – – and that I should come to this – – – – and there would be nice things to eat! I couldn’t make out what the word was and asked her again and again and finally got it – a “bastism”!
Next day, Wednesday, I set out on my trip to Montreal. I gave the children their lunch and arranged for them to go to Mrs. Lockwood’s after school, and then dashed around and did a few chores before I set out at 9 o’clock. It was really a perfect day for driving, as it was sunny but quite cool, so I wore the navy and white checked outfit you helped me buy before you left, and my pink straw pillbox hat. I took just about the three hours to drive the 120 miles, and felt very proud of myself as I only got lost once in the city, and then I drove in onto a side street and found myself on the map! I found a parking lot very near the bus station and was there at 12:05 to find Mary just arriving. She looks practically exactly the same – no gray hairs and just about the same figure, but of course her complexion is 10 years older, like mine! We set off and found an Italian Restaurant nearby, and decided to take our time, and ordered a bottle or rather a half bottle of white wine and sat there sipping and talking and eating for two hours. We showed one another pictures of our children and told one another about our families, and caught up on our friends and their children and had a thoroughly good time! Mary had stayed one night with Olwen and Noel in Vancouver (3 children) and I was wrong – I thought Noel was a teacher but he is with an advertising firm. I was very amused because apparently they loathed Canada to begin with and a few years ago went back to England, and although they both worked there they couldn’t make enough money to live on! Not, I gather, in the style to which they would like to be accustomed! So they returned to Canada, but for Mary’s few remarks it sounds as if Owen is still quite affected.
Mary’s mother and Gerard were meeting her at Prestwick, and Gerard was lending her his car, so she hopes to get around and see everyone. She is then going home via Rome, and Gerard will go there with her, and then she goes on to Singapore and so home. She has left the 2 girls in a convent boarding school where Ann already goes, but the young one just for the term, and the three boys and Michael are looking after each other. She seems to have very much the same kind of life as I do I think, and seems very contented.
After our long lunch we went and looked at the shops a bit and I got some candy to take back to the children and Mrs. Lockwood, and then before long it was getting on for 4 o’clock. I wanted to leave before the evening traffic rush began, and Mary wanted to be back before too late as she was staying with a young English couple, so we had a cup of tea and said goodbye and I was home soon after 7. My activities still weren’t over though, as this was the evening of Mr. Bowen’s presentation, so I got tidied up a bit, and then went over to the Lockwood’s and took Mrs. L and Linda and Charlie down to the Church. There has been a great mix-up over the parish letter telling the people about the Bowens’ leaving and asking for subs. etc. – in fact it was never sent, and in the end the Wardens had to ask some of us in the Guild to phone everyone, so we were quite relieved to find there was quite a nice crowd there. The Guild served tea and coffee and cookies, and then the gifts were presented – very nice leather briefcase to Mr. Bowen and a set of dishes to Mrs. Bowen and a cheque ($100). The dishes were exactly the same as my blue Wedgewood, but yellow as Mrs. B wanted those, but I didn’t think they were as pretty as mine. We also gave a cheque to Mr. Trumbull the organist (Mrs. Rothwell’s lodger – remember?) as he wouldn’t accept a salary apparently. He is leaving Fairfield School so of course leaving Mrs. R and the Church too. I didn’t stay to the end of the social as I had the children, but it was quite pleasant and I think that the Bowens were pleased.
Next morning I blessed Mary Orr, as this was the day that she had talked me into going and helping her with this lunch. The Save the Children have a Dog Show every year apparently at Ashbury College and Mary and some of the other women provide and serve lunch for the dog show judges. It really wasn’t hard work, as I had to be there at 11, and about 4 of us set up card tables and then one long buffet table table with the food on it – all cold- in the gym. We served about 25 people and then had our own, but had no washing up or anything, and as they all trickled in a few at a time there was no rush. I left about 2, and went to the Coinwash and did my washing! Did I tell you that the washing machine had passed out? Cec says the motor has burned out and we don’t feel inclined to spend $50 or more for it, so we have decided to leave it until after the holidays, and then decide what we’ll do and in the meantime I take my washing down to the good old Coinwash.
The next excitement that week was the Sunday School Picnic, which was at the same place as last year – the big park at Hogs Back. It was a lovely day, and it was really very nice. It began at 10, and I took Joanne with L. and C. and they ran races all morning and then had lunch- hot dogs and pop and ice cream! Afterwards there was a Treasure Hunt and some silly races for adults. They had made me join in the throwing the raw egg business as they had last year and I gave a great heave up into the air and it nearly came down on a man’s head! It was all over around 2, so that gave us a nice time to get home and have a great bath and hair wash do for Daddy coming home! It was rather a pity that we had to miss this Sunday in Church as it was Children’s Sunday with all the presentation of Sunday school prizes etc. Not only that, but the Service was taken by the children too, and they had asked me if Linda would read one of the lessons. I had to explain that we wouldn’t be there, and I didn’t tell Lindy as I knew how disappointed she would be, but her Sunday School teacher told her and of course she was quite sad. They both got prizes, but someone else had to take them for them.
On the Sunday morning we were all set to leave at 10, as Cec’s plane was due in at 1:35, and I thought we’d get there in good time and have some lunch and watch the planes. However I decided to try and check before I left Ottawa, so I phoned BOAC, but after a lot of hoo-ha they told me if I called in 2 hours they would be able to tell me when the plane got in! This was ridiculous of course, as we’d be nearly in Montreal by then, so off we set anyway, and had quite a nice drive, though the children got a bit bored! We stopped by the side of the road and had picnic cookies and milk and coffee, and we got to the Airport just at 12:30. We parked the car, and went into the Terminal and to the BOAC Enquiries, and asked about the plane and the girl said calmly “Oh, that flight has been cancelled.” I was so infuriated, particularly as it turned out that they had known for hours, and must have known when I phoned in Ottawa. However, they said Cec would arrive at 4 o’clock, so we had lunch and resigned ourselves to a nice long wait. Fortunately there were a few drug stores etc. open in the concourse, so we bought Linda a book and Mummy a book, and Charlie 2 little matchbox cars, and amused ourselves as best we could! Watching the planes was very disappointing, as they arrive and take off behind another building, and although they have a lovely terrace and viewing deck, one can see nothing! Time passed and who should I see the George Lindsay, off to Halifax, so we chatted a little while – by the way, I don’t think I told you that they have been posted for 3 years to the Italian Riviera! For once, June has nothing bad to say about this move! Getting on for 4, we went and checked on the plane again, and this time they told us 4:30, and of course, we finally saw Cec at about 5! But it was worth waiting for him!!
We drove home, and on the way Charlie began to wilt, so I gave him a car sickness pill, and he dozed and slept most of the way. When we got home though he didn’t feel like eating any supper, so I took his temp. and it was 102, and the eczema behind his legs was a mess – all broken out in yellow pustules, and looking so sore and inflamed. So that was a sad ending to our day. However, we were all so happy to have Daddy home, and he brought Linda a lovely little Dutch doll with wooden shoes which take off, and for Charlie from England lots more tracks for his train, and a dear little Royal Mail Van. Also all sorts of souvenirs – a model of the Little Mermaid from Copenhagen – a carved wooden statue of William Tell from Switzerland, – a Delft tile from Holland,- some table mats with views of Cambridge. My big present was a seascape by Van Gogh from the Modern Art Gallery in Amsterdam, and of course we had the children’s pictures waiting to surprise him, so we are going to have some framing done! Cec and I have always wanted a sea picture and I like this one very much – I told Cec I had to laugh when he wrote and told me he had bought it as he carefully said he had bought this picture by Van Gogh and then added (reproduction)!
Poor old Charlie got to bed, and to sleep and Cec and I talked our heads off. He saw Charles Courtois in Belgium, Langseths and Boks in Copenhagen, Klemans in Stockholm and Fischers in Lucerne – all people who have been over here at the C.ouncil – and they were all so kind to him and gave him a wonderful time. In England he visited Miss Lefroy and Chris as I told you, and also Gunborg and the girls as well as 2 ex-Fellows of NRC, then he went up to Birmingham University and stayed there with a Prof. whom we had met here, and then onto Cambridge where he stayed as a guest of St. John’s College. In Cambridge he visited his friend Dick Chapman who was our best man, and also various scientists he knew, and then on the last evening he found he was free, so he phoned Anne Winnick. She was out, but he finally got her old mother to realize who it was and she told him that Anne was at the Arts Cinema, so he went there and nearly gave Anne apoplexy to find him waiting there for her to come out! He went home with her and her friend (the new Headmistress of Coleridge) and saw the children, and then to the friend’s house for supper. I just wish I’d seen Anne’s face of amazement!
Didn’t he cover a lot of ground and people though? And what do you think – he wasn’t home two weeks when he got an invitation to attend an International Symposium next year in JAPAN and give a paper! He is not at all keen, but it is a great honour and he is definitely among the Greats of the Physics world. Dr. Herzberg and 2 other famous scientists are to give long papers, and then about 20 scientists from all over the world give shorter ones – these including Sir Gordon and Dr. C. C. Costain! It isn’t until the Fall of next year, but he is disgusted because he has to write this month and say what his paper will be on and he doesn’t know what he will be doing all that time ahead! We only hope that this won’t put a spoke in our plans for 1963.
Poor little Charlie was still very poorly on the Monday so I kept him in bed and had Dr. Whillans. He had a very sore throat, and Dr. W. said it was a strep throat, and that he wondered that he could be so cheery as it looked so sore. His legs were a bit better, but he gave me some ointment for them and some penicillin pills for the throat, and really, they worked like a charm, and by Tues. he was feeling so much better. I was glad as I had a big Guild Coffee Party on the Wed. morning. I had invited the past executive committee and the new one and various people like Pat Tomlinson and Mrs. Martin – making about 20 altogether, so it was a relief that Charlie was feeling better. It turned out to be a pouring wet day, and everyone was saying “What a day to have a party”, but they all came just the same, and everyone seem to have a nice time.
Charlie was well enough to go back to school on the Friday, and work with him at home, and not having a car and staying quietly at home it was quite a nice change from my wild dashing about! A little goes a long way when all the other jobs are piling up just the same. Cec began working around the garden that weekend, and it really has been lovely, but the weather this summer has been so strange for Canada. We never seem to have had more than one or two fine days in a row, and we have had so much rain – heavy thunder showers, and sudden drenching downpours, and then sunny but cool – just ideal for the gardens, but not settled summer weather at all. Actually, Cec was saying the perennials have done wonderfully this year but the annuals are doing very poorly – however the tomato plants recovered and although they haven’t much in the way of fruit yet at least they are alive. The people who are on holiday now will be very disappointed as we have had a lot of rain and it hasn’t been swimming weather at all.

The next week was the children’s last week at school, and I took them to the dentist one day too. Both with small holes, and Linda is to go to a periodontalist (?) to see about her front teeth coming to a point. She is quite resigned the thought of wearing “bands” as most of her pals in school do anyway! They both did well in their reports, and now Linda is in Grade 6 and Charlie Grade 5 – big kids!

Cec has now started work on the driveway – first of all he is lifting all those big flag stones at the front door and putting fill underneath and levelling them out and now he is going to put new asphalt on the driveway itself. He then has to re-tar the roof – both such horrid messy jobs. I can’t remember if I told you that while Cec was away I finally booked us a cottage for the first two weeks in August. We had looked over the literature previously, and decided on one or two that looked nice, and I wrote and one of the places was booked up and the other had a cottage, so I booked there. It sounds good – on a lakefront, with a sandy beach, indoor plumbing, refrigerator, and electricity of course, inner spring mattresses and boats to hire, so I hope it turns out as good as it sounds. It is due west of here and is north of Toronto in a part of Ontario called the Haliburton Highlands, and it is supposed to be very beautiful country, so I hope we’ll have a good time. We leave here on 29th July and stay there for 2 weeks, then we plan to drive down to Stratford to see the matinee of “The Pirates of Penzance” and then go on to Merle for the weekend before coming home.
Last week was the first week of the children’s holidays, and I had booked them both for swimming lessons at the YWCA. Charlie’s lessons were from 10 to 10:30 and Lindy’s from 10:45 to 11:15 so they fit in very well. They were both quite excited about them and then of course on the Sunday poor Charlie’s eczema all broke out again, and he had a temp. once more. I called the Dr. on Mon. and he sent out some more penicillin pills, and I kept putting the ointment on them, and then suddenly he threw up his breakfast. However, he wasn’t sick again and by the evening I could give him a pill and he was feeling fine and hungry! Of course he couldn’t go to his swimming lesson though but, I took him along to watch Lindy’s and the teacher suggested he come and watch his own classes and that is what he did until Friday when he was O.K. and could go swimming himself. His legs cleared up and I came to the conclusion that it must have been a slight tummy flu because on Thursday and Friday I was quite off, and very achy and tired. They are both loving the lessons though and on the very second day Lindy took off and swam across the pool! I am not allowed to watch but she says she can swim on her back and that they are going to learn to dive and can hardly bear to come away from the lesson. The teacher is a young teenager, but the classes are nice and small – not more than 12 and Lindy’s has now dwindled to 4, so they get lots of attention. Of course I spend my whole morning in town spending money and drinking coffee and getting no work done!


The previous Sat. we had Chris Møller out to dinner as his time here is getting short, and then last week Boris and Joan had a Cocktail Party as a farewell for him. I hadn’t been feeling too good that day, but I was able to sit and drink a little reviver and felt better. On this Sat. I had a dinner party and had Teddy and Fanni and Alec and Phyl and a young Portuguese couple from the Council to a cold buffet. I had soup first – crab bisque – then I had cold Gaspé salmon, cucumber sauce and then a salad plate, and a Hawaiian chicken salad with hot French bread- oh yes, and I forgot- a plate of cold meats and stuffed eggs, then after, a strawberry cake. Everyone seem to enjoy it and afterwards we showed some of Cec’s pictures – he hasn’t got them all yet- and Teddy showed some of his, and then we went downstairs and played darts and did jigsaw puzzles! It was really fun though and I had a good time too! Yesterday I washed up!
Well, at last I have caught up with ourselves – I have been writing this letter for three weeks, but what with Charlie being sick, and swimming lessons and one thing and another the time has flown. I am so sorry that it has been so long, but I know you will forgive me. I still haven’t answered your nice letters but I think that I will have to leave that till my next or I will never get this away. As Guild Pres. I am now on the Church Advisory Board, and they have been putting me to work with regard to the rectory. We are getting it all painted inside for the new rector, and today I had to go and get the painters and show them the place and see about the paint and take down the curtains and send them to be cleaned. Tomorrow we begin swimming again – 4 more lessons this week – and so I will be off on the spree again!
Must stop – will write soon again and we all send much love to A. Muriel and lots of love and hugs to you,
from
Cyn.

June 3 1961

2043 Montreal Road,
Ottawa 2. Ontario.

3rd. June, 1961.

Dearest Mummy,
You seemed to approve of the type written letter and feel that it encouraged you and your typing out effort, so I am very happy to continue that way, as it really is much quicker than writing and I do get so much more on the page. The children enjoy getting your typed letters and think you are doing very well. I do too, but you mustn’t peek – better to have mistakes, because otherwise you will never get any speed if you stop to look and see what you are doing!
Thank you so much for both your letters -14th and 26 – I am very sorry that I have been so long in writing, but I have had a kind of cold, or rather a sore throat, and I felt rather ‘punk’. Charlie had a bit of cold and sore throat the weekend before Cec left, and I kept him home from school on the Friday, but it cleared up quite quickly only unfortunately I caught it and it turned into real hanging-on thing with me. It didn’t develop too much the first week – I had a sore throat and kept expecting it to turn into a real cold but after we saw Cec off at the Airport it went up into my sinuses and I got earache that night and puffy all round my eyes and felt miserable. I don’t know if I got chilled standing waiting for the plane to take off or if it was just developing but all weekend it was just the same so on Monday I phoned your friend Dr. Kastner and he told me to come in that afternoon as there were a lot of strep throats around. He gave me a penicillin shot and penicillin tablets to last a week, and I have been gradually improving, and feel pretty well back to normal now – not very energetic though! Dr. K.’s nurse was enquiring for you and I think it was that same day that I had a phone call and here it was Basil’s wife, Win is it? We had quite a little chat and she seemed very nice and said that they would come and see us if they were in Ottawa. She was very complimentary about you too, and said how much they had enjoyed meeting you. She told me that Helen Hadley had been there but was now in Toronto after settling Sally in a job with Bell Telephones – apparently she couldn’t get into – was it T.C.A. she wanted? – and they had quite a time getting her something, but it was all fixed now. Helen was to go home soon I think she said so I don’t expect that I will see her.
Next week Charlie arrives, and what do you think – it never rains but it pours – I am also meeting Mary Egan! I had heard from Nan that she was visiting England this summer [from Australia] but thought nothing of it until last week I had a hasty airletter saying that she was flying via Canada, and after stopovers at Vancouver (where she will see Olwen and Noel – remember?) Banff, Calgary and New York, she was going to Montreal to stay with someone for two days before flying to England. She went on to say that she understood that Ottawa was close to Montreal so could she pop over to see me or could we meet somewhere. Of course she barely gave me a week to reply as she was leaving on the 3rd and didn’t tell me her address in Montreal or anything so I dashed off a reply and said I would meet her in Montreal bus station at 12:15 by the bookstall on 14th June, as Ottawa was 120 miles away and by the time she reached Montreal she might be glad to stay still for a day or so. So – I only hope that she gets my letter and that we do manage to meet – it seems very haphazard somehow! It will be fun seeing her after 13 years, and I must look my best! Last week my hair was long and straggly and I felt a wreck, so I went over to Emil and had a hair do. He cut it quite short and straight and trim across the back and gave me nice fat curly bangs and short sides, and everyone has been complementing me on it. Except the children that is -they just groan and say ‘But it doesn’t look like you it’s awful!’ I must say that I feel quite happy not to look like me for a change! (P.S. Mrs. Emil doesn’t make the flowers – she just sells and rents them – they are plastic. [This is a reference to their Bazaar decorations mentioned in the last letter. They were successful there but Cyn would not have been a customer!])
I had determined that the first week that Cec was away I would do some sewing, so despite my indisposition I began on my pink suit on Monday and was able to wear it at a dessert party of Marjorie Graham’s on Wed. afternoon. The lining wasn’t too much extra and it does make it look much nicer I think, and it looks nice – not homemade I presume, as quite a few people asked me where I bought it! I still have quite a lot of material so I will make Linda a skirt and also the suit pattern has a pattern for a blouse – a kind of tailored one with a round neck and zip at the back and it shows a picture of this worn with a skirt and made in the same material it looks like a dress, so I have cut this out and will make it this week. I have also got Linda’s flowered cotton cut out, but no further and I hope I will get it done soon. Somehow I seem to have got involved in all sorts of things these next two weeks – going to the Blood Donor Clinic tomorrow to serve coffee and juice – next week going to help serve a luncheon in aid of the Save the Children and what with both Charlie and Mary coming next week and each taking a whole day is as it were, I can see I’m going to be hopping!
I was listening on the radio this morning about the Kennedys in London, and that reminded me that I am sending you a LIFE about their visit to Ottawa. It really doesn’t have any very good pictures but I thought that you would be interested. Lindy, Cec and I went to see them the evening they drove from Gov. House to the Am. Embassy in Rockcliffe. Charlie was at Cubs so he couldn’t come, but I don’t think he minded too much. We got a good view standing on the flat stone walls at the gateway, but you know how quickly they seem to go by even if the car is going slowly, so I don’t think poor Lindy got more than a backview and she was so excited about Jackie! I got a quick glimpse and saw that she had a big strawberry pink organza stole around her shoulders, but the main impression was that they were both laughing and seemed to be having such a good time! Very natural and informal and it is such a nice change from some of the old stuffed shirts.

The next day I did go out to Carp – just set out from here around 9:30 and got there in less than an hour – had a cup of coffee and then came home. I gave the children their lunch at school so I didn’t have a rush and stopped at Simpson-Sears on the way home but saw nothing enchanting! Lea looked pretty well and seems to be getting on all right, but of course their odd ways and method of living amazed me as much as ever! The house was in even a worse mess than usual! Poor Lea!
We had a nice holiday weekend for the Queen’s Birthday – you are amused at me saying this and not Whit. but Whitsuntide is not recognized publicly in Canada or the States, and it just so happened that the Monday nearest to 24 May, Victoria Day, happened to be Whit. this year. We had Cec’s birthday on Monday and gave him a sports shirt, a key case and a new cigarette lighter and a big bag of fireworks! We had a steak and apple pie for dinner and then lit all the fireworks and had great fun. The weather was not bad most of the weekend so we got quite a lot done in the garden but since Cec has left it has been weird – we had frost a couple of nights and half of our 18 tomato plants are dead I think, and it has been wet and cold with just two nice days I think. We haven’t had any really nice weather since that hot few days I told you about earlier. Of course the lilac and tulips have lasted wonderfully and the garden still looks lovely with them although the tulips have been out for about 3 weeks, but none of the seeds are doing a thing. Do you remember Monie sent some Morning Glory seeds and one or two others last year? I planted them more than two weeks ago but there isn’t a sign – probably rotted in the ground! We are having an awful time with crab grass in the flowerbeds as the new soil we got last fall must have been full of it. Cec and I weeded all the beds and got them clear before he left, and they are just as bad again.
As you can imagine we are all missing our Daddy very much, and that first weekend seemed a week long – particularly as I had the cold. However, on the Sat. morning I had made an appointment to take the children to have their portraits done in pastels! One of the stores in town advertised this artist giving sittings – 2.50 a black-and-white sketch and 5.00 for pastels, and so I went and looked at some of his drawings one day and thought they looked quite nice, so decided to have the children done as a surprise for Cec on Father’s Day, which is actually June 18th – the day he returns. The drawings took about 30 – 40 minutes each, and I think they have turned out very well – at least you can tell who they are! They are in profile and Lindy’s is very good I think – she looks quite animated and although not actually smiling she has a pleased look on her face, whereas Charlie who sat like a little statue the whole time looks very serious and so less like himself to me, but Myrtle thinks that his is better, so who knows! [I always thought it was lucky I had long hair, because Charlie’s showed the artist couldn’t draw ears!] I must get Cec to take a picture of them to send you so that you will get some idea. The colour is very good and he sprayed them with a fixative so they won’t smudge at all.
After the portrait business we went to the Library and then on to Rockcliffe Park for lunch – hotdogs and ice cream cones! I just sat in the car but the children ran around and as usual thought R. Park the most wonderful place! The Sunday was a rainy day so it was very dreary, but this weekend was better although it rained both evenings and it’s pouring today (Mon.) Lindy went on her Brownie Picnic on Sat. and Charlie played with Jimmy, and then yesterday kind Margaret Savic asked us to dinner, so the time passed quite quickly.
Oh, I forgot to tell you – last Thurs. I had a real spree. Before Cec left he said while he was away I should buy a coat, as the black bengaline one I had is very old now and is no longer waterproof, and this year one has really needed a spring coat, though some years it gets too hot very early. Anyway, I thought I would have a day in town, so I gave the children lunch and then went to town and to the bank. I began looking in the shops in Sparks St. but found that the season for spring coats was about over, and there were very few to choose from. I had thought I would get what they call an ‘all-weather coat’ – that is a coat which is waterproof, but not just a raincoat, and earlier they had some nice ones in brocade or tapestry, some reversible and so on, but I couldn’t find a thing I liked. So I thought perhaps I would get a nice silk print dress with three-quarter sleeves, because most of my summer dresses are very summery and sleeveless or pastel colours, and by this time I was down on Bank St. and prowling around some of the little dress shops, so I went into one and got into the clutches of a very charming gentleman! He was really very nice, but of course a great salesman, and when I asked for coats first he brought out some and I tried them on but didn’t care for them, then he brought out this one – lilac coloured and quite plain but with a small collar bound with black braid continuing all down the front. I tried it on and it looked so nice – it is waterproof and the material is a new thing- backing laminated onto a kind of plastic foam, which insulates against heat and cold. I hadn’t wanted mauve, but in the end I liked it so much I said I’d have it and then I looked at dresses and tried on such a pretty cotton satin in just the style I wanted and it fitted me and suited me so I took that too! Bang went $50! I wrote and told Cec I would be spreading the housekeeping money thin this two weeks! I am sending a piece of my new dress to show you as I shortened it to wear to the Savic’s yesterday.

I needed a new summer hat to go with all these, but felt I’d been extravagant enough for one day, so I got a hat form in a small turban shape, and some black tulle and some mauvy- pink flowers and Mary Orr is going to help me make a hat on Wed! So what with my new mauve coat, new pink suit, new flowered dress and the navy and white outfit you helped me buy, I am doing pretty well but I was very low in clothes as I got nothing last summer except the cotton dress you gave me and the cotton skirt and blouse to wear around the house, so I really needed quite a lot – oh yes, and I made myself that white and blue cotton dress too, but it is quite ‘bare’ and hot weather. I still have some tissue gingham to make Linda and me sundresses, but then I think we will be well set up. I feel that if we are going to go to England in two years, I had better begin to gradually build up a suitable wardrobe, as I won’t be able to suddenly dash out and buy everything I want at once, and I think this coat will be very good for travelling as it is very light but warm, and is loose enough to wear over a suit or a dress. The children were most impressed with my rashness, because after buying all these things I took them out and bought them both new sandals, and Linda a new pair of blue slacks, and they felt I was really going wild!


We had three nice postcards from Cec last Wed. from Belgium and then just now we got two airforms from Holland. He seems to be having a hectic time, but to be enjoying it and all his friends are determined that he should see every bit of their countries available! He was only in Belgium from Sat. morning till Sun. afternoon, but the things he did and places he saw with Charles Courtois would be enough for a week. Charles took him to spend the night with his uncle, a retired judge, and aunt and their family, at a lovely manor house in the country and he said they were all so wonderful to him. He was busy at the meeting at Holland, but was having the day off after he wrote and going to the Zuyder Zee.

Now he is in Denmark and as today is a Danish National holiday he will be sightseeing I expect. The weather had been mostly sunny but cool although it rained the day he wrote but that is better than too hot. We wrote to him this weekend and sent it to London as we are not sure of reaching Sweden in time and have no Swiss address. We wrote once to Holland, and talk of trying to keep things quiet, of course Linda wrote a poem “Mummy had a shot In the bot For her cold She’s getting old.” and of course I hadn’t intended to mention it! Also Charlie told him we let the well run run dry on Thurs. and I had to get Ken to come and prime the pump! No use trying to keep secrets!
I am so glad that you and Auntie Muriel enjoyed your holiday so much at H.B. Cottage. Even we have had some hummingbirds on our lilacs lately! I am glad too that A. Muriel’s cough is better and I hope that you both feel quite rested and well again. Don’t forget that you have to go and have your blood checked every now and then. I will try and remember to get the white hair nets when I am in town this week and will send them as soon as I do. I will willingly get the shoes at Bata but you must be sure and give me the number on the shoe and the size and all particulars, because I can’t remember a bit what they looked like. I will send the recipe for the Lemon Loaf with the hair nets – I just had a piece with my lunch and it is delectable I think! I was just busy writing this this morning when here I saw Charlie strolling along the road! I dashed to the door thinking he must be ill or something, only to find that a boy had pushed him in a puddle at recess, and his pants were soaked, so his teacher had sent him home to change! Of course he was taking as long as possible over it!
How wonderful that Monie and Owen are coming next year, and imagine bringing Hugh and Ginny [their nephew and wife]! Lucky, lucky people! Particularly Ginny – marrying a man with such a generous godmother! They will all have a wonderful time I’m sure and the young couple will have a real dream holiday – can’t you imagine Hugh getting the biggest kick out of everything just like his Dad! You were telling me about making the Java plum jam for Monie, and you sound as if it were quite a job, with all the big stones, but I am sure Monie will be delighted. I am looking forward to my stewed guavas when they are in season – any burny sugar cake or coconut candy?!!
I must stop now and get this posted or you will think that I have collapsed. I shall rush down to George’s and mail this and then do the vacuuming I should have done this morning!

Lindy and Charlie have been home for lunch and send big hugs and kisses. Much love to A. Muriel and lots of love to you
from Cyn.

May 17 1961

When reading the somewhat infrequent letters that survive from 1960-61 after the 3 year gap, the thing that strikes me is how things have changed. The children have grown, of course, and are more independent, involved in outside activities and performances, but also the community has grown. Both the Anglican and United Church congregations have now got their own ministers living locally- Mr and Mrs Bowen with daughter Deirdre in my class were the Anglicans- and have buildings near the school- the United Church building a modern church with rooms on the sides, and the Anglicans have a Hall, dedicated in December 1960, with an altar that could be screened off leaving a space for other activities, with a choir balcony over the entrance. There was a vestry, kitchen, and nursery off to one side and a a second story above those rooms, for the Sunday School classes. As well as taking the littlest ones in Sunday School, Cyn was very involved in the Ladies Guild which took fundraising seriously, and Carol was interested in hearing all about it.

Cec has professional travel plans that take him further afield- Europe in May and June of 1961- where he can meet and catch up with colleagues, former Fellows, and their work- and families.
As for neighbours, Joanne and Susan had a baby brother now, and the Savics who lived a little beyond the Blachuts and had 2 older boys, had become friends through the NRC and church, so Margaret Savic had coffee with Cyn, Fanni and Pat, and Charlie played football with Mike.
Friends further afield had had changes too. Charlie’s godfather, Dr. Charlie Stainthorpe, was a widower now, and was going to visit Ottawa and see us in June; and my godfather, Dr. Gordon Sutherland, had been knighted, and Cec was hoping to visit Sir Gordon and Lady Sutherland while he was in England.

2043 Montreal Rd.
Ottawa, Ontario

17th May, 1961.

Dearest Mummy,
You can probably type better than I can now, but I thought that as this was going to be a long letter it would be more economical on the postage to type it! Do you have fun using your little typewriter? You must be getting pretty good at it now as you seem to be practising regularly. You asked in your letter once how long it took me to learn to type fairly fast, but you must remember that I was at that Secretarial School for a year, and typed every day for quite long periods, so we can’t really compare.
We have two big topics of conversation today – the Ottawa weather and the visit of President and Mrs. Kennedy. The weather is quite extraordinary – at the weekend it was simply beautiful, warm and sunny and like summer – all the tulips came out and the leaves and grass were so lovely and green, and then it got so hot that it just about finished us and the flowers! On Sunday it was over 90 degrees, and Sat. and Mon. it was up to 80, then of course on Mon. evening we had a tremendous thunderstorm with a tremendous lightning flash which hit the telephone pole just across the road outside Mrs. Cardinal’s house and put all the telephones in the area out of order all yesterday. I know you will think this was a great hardship for me, but I didn’t even know it till first Myrtle and then Miss Sproule came and asked me! After the storm it began to get cooler of course, and by the evening yesterday it was really cold and the furnace was on, and now this morning it is down to 40 degrees, and we are all back in our winter clothes again! Such a shame to be so cold for the President’s visit, but apparently there were thousands of people out to welcome them yesterday afternoon when they arrived and they said on the radio that there were crowds already waiting around Parliament Hill. We had thought that we might go to N.R.C. yesterday and watch them drive past to Gov. House, but Charlie got an invitation to a birthday party for 5 o’clock, so this was just the wrong time. Linda had to be at Brownies at 6:30 too, so it would have been a rush. Today Cec is taking the car to have a check up, so our only chance will be to go this evening and watch them drive to the American Embassy for dinner at 8 p.m. which actually will be rather nice I think, as Jacqueline will be in evening dress, but I hope it isn’t a dull evening or we won’t see much. They leave tomorrow and of course I could see them then, but the children will be in school.
Charlie’s party was a big success. They had dinner at the little boy’s house, and then the father took them to the movies to see a funny film “The Absent-Minded Professor” which Charlie thought was uproarious! – They didn’t get home till nearly 10 o’clock, so he was feeling very much the worse for wear this morning!
I am feeling very relaxed now because all our big events are over for the time being. Of course, Cec leaves a week on Friday, so he is as busy as a one-armed paper hanger, as Til used to say, but although he is going back to work a lot and working very hard he seems to be fairly content with the way things are going. I am content because I got him to come down town with me last week and we bought him a new suit and a new pair of shoes, and I have got his raincoat and his other good suit cleaned so I feel that I am getting my jobs done! The suit is very nice – a mixture of wool and dacron, and is dark blue – not quite as dark as navy, but a nice colour and Cec looks very nice and clean in it!

The last big event I was talking about was Linda’s Ballet Recital on Saturday afternoon. I think I told you that their class was doing “Mistress Mary and her Garden” and Linda was one of Mary’s friends in a red and white striped skirt, white blouse with puffed sleeves, white apron, wide red belt and big red bow in the hair. The theme was that the garden wouldn’t grow, so the little friends call in the bees, butterflies, birds, sun and rain to help, and all these are little children in costume and they all do a little dances, then the silver bells, cockle shells and pretty maids all perk up and do their dances, and last of all Mary and her friends do a joyful dance. It was very sweet, and of course the tiny ones who were bees and butterflies were a riot! They always forget what they are supposed to do and try to see their Mummies and drop their wings and other antics which greatly add to the enjoyment! The other teacher’s class did a ballet too about ‘The Magical Cat’ or something, but of course it wasn’t so good! As I told you it was a roasting hot day, and the children were all there all morning rehearsing and then all afternoon for the show so they were all tired.

Sunday was Mother’s Day – do you remember “Fresh, I am your Mothaw”? [reference to a comic strip, as I recall- Dick Tracy perhaps?]– but as Cec had been at work the previous night till 2 or 3 o’clock I didn’t get breakfast in bed. Instead the children and I just had tea and toast before church, and then afterwards when Daddy got up we had brunch with Daddy cooking the bacon and eggs. Charlie had made me a raffia frame with a picture of himself at school and Lindy gave me a clip she bought at the White Elephant stall at the Bazaar and a bottle of eau-de- cologne and Cec gave me a very pretty pair of baby-doll pyjamas, so I did very nicely. I hadn’t the strength to make a cake, but I made a Swiss roll with a chocolate filling and as I had a chicken, we took it outside, and cooked it on the charcoal grill. I forgot to tell you, that on the Friday I was asked to come down to the school at 3:30 to see Linda’s teacher, and at first I thought “Horrors, what is the matter?”. Then I discovered all the mothers had letters too, and little things began leaking out, and in the end when we went, here it was, a Mother’s Day Party! We were all ushered to our children’s desks to find a card for us and a corsage no less! Then the children served us tea and cookies and then a big Mother’s Day cake! They were all very attentive and so thrilled with themselves!
All last week I spent trying to catch up with myself after the Bazaar. The house needed cleaning and I had letters to write and washing and ironing to do and I wanted to begin making some summer clothes for Linda and myself, but of course I haven’t got around to that yet. Just to complicate matters, the day before the Bazaar our water heater burnt out, and we had no hot water. It just did it all quietly in the night, but Cec had quite a time getting the old element out and then chasing around town trying to get a new one to replace it. However, he managed and it is fine again. Then last week I was in the middle of a big wash and went downstairs to find the whole thing silent and still and a horrible burning smell – not to mention all my sheets sitting half done! Fortunately, it was a nice sunny day, so even if the wash was very drippy when I got it on the line it did dry before too long. Cec says the motor must have burnt out, and as we don’t feel like spending money on repairing the old machine we are going to shelve the matter until Cec comes home from Europe, and in the meanwhile I was down at my old friend the Coinwash yesterday! Of course we had to have three things go wrong and the last was our toaster, which began toasting only one side of the bread, but clever Daddy soon fixed that. Now, I only hope nothing else decides to go wrong while Cec is away!
Are you and Auntie Muriel interested in a recipe for a delicious lemon cake? I got it last week and tried it yesterday and could eat it all, it is so good. It is baked in a loaf pan, has 2 eggs, and while it is still warm you pour a mixture of lemon juice and ordinary sugar over the top which makes a lovely sugary crust. Yum! I had such a busy day yesterday- Pat Tomlinson was going to walk up with the baby so I asked Fanni and Margaret to come and have a cup of coffee and see the baby too. However, I had the car so decided I must make full use of it, so I got everything ready for the coffee and then drove over to Orleans and got my meat before my guests arrived. After they left, the children came home for lunch and then I collected the washing and went to the Coinwash, and afterwards to the cleaners with Cec’s things and to the Library and to get Charlie a birthday present for his little pal. After tea I drove Charlie to his party, then got dinner, saw Linda off to Brownies, and set off for a Guild Meeting at 8:30! I yawned through most of it, but managed to sell quite a lot of my left-over aprons to the girls! Most of the meeting was a hash-over of the Bazaar of course, and although we still haven’t all the ticket money in, we think we will have made around 600 dollars. Actually this is about 60 dollars less than last year, and one year we made about 750 I think, but I think on the whole money is tighter this year. Another thing too, is that we have put on so many things during the year that on the whole year’s achievements we are way up, and after all you can’t expect either the Guild or the visitors to spend as much at one thing or work as hard if they have been giving all year long. Also, it was in our new hall, and although it looked lovely, it isn’t nearly as big as the school was and so we were more crowded, and some of the stalls that we had to put up on the balcony didn’t do well at all, because people just didn’t go up there. Our stall, the Handicrafts and Aprons did much better than I ever hoped, because we made nearly $80 after the expenses were paid. I didn’t think we would do it very well because at my suggestion we had put it all the little children’s things that I had sold so well the previous year on a special stall for children, so actually we had no small cheap selling things, and we really didn’t seem to have very much, but we made the stall look very pretty – Joan Mainwood’s husband made us a thing like football goal posts which we put over the stall and covered with green crepe paper, and then we had a pink sign ‘Handicrafts’ hanging from this and we decorated it with pink paper roses and leaves and it really stood out and attracted the eye. The tea room had to be in the hall too of course, and you know where the red curtains in front of the altar were? It stretched from there back to the other side of the opening into the kitchen. They had screens across the hall there, with entrance and exit, and they covered these with green paper and they looked very nice but of course it took up a lot of the space.

The hall did look very nice as we kept all the decorations in white, green and pink, so that they harmonised, and then do you remember Emil the hairdresser’s wife went in for artificial flowers? Well, Edna Thomas who looked after the tearoom is a great friend of Ruth Arndt’s, so she had the idea of renting flowers from Mrs. Arndt and it worked out very well. She made a pretty little vases of small flowers for all the tables in the tearoom, and of course they not only looked very sweet, but did away with the worry of spilling water and children knocking over etc. and then she made up two lovely sheaves of big flowers – gladiolas etc. in shades of pink and fastened these to the wooden grills that are on either side of the altar, in front of the red curtain. Then along the green covered screens in front of the tearoom she put trails of ivy draping over the top and on the Front of the balcony clusters of fern and hydrangeas, so that looking up it looked very attractive. Mrs. Arndt came and arranged all the flowers and worked for hours on the Friday evening and for all this and the rental of the flowers it came to less than 4 dollars, and even this we covered because we sold the little table vases at enough profit to pay for it. Wasn’t that good? They really did help to make the hall look very gay and spring- like and quite a number of people remarked on them. We had our M.P.’s wife, Mrs. Paul Tardiff, to open the Bazaar and she was very nice – a fairly small plump French woman in a smart black suit and a most fancy hat composed entirely of pale pink silk gladiolas! Mr. Bowen introduced her and then she made a short speech opening the affair, and then I thanked her, and little Glen Ashton (the little son of the one you used to call “the pretty girl” – she has a baby now too) presented her with a corsage of pink rosebuds which exactly matched her hat! Wasn’t that clever!? I wore my navy and white dress and jacket and my pink hat.
Talking of babies, Mrs. Cook, the United Church Minister’s wife has a son – a huge baby I hear, but apparently they are both doing well. The Bowens are leaving at the end of next month but so far we have heard of no one else coming. We have been busy in the Guild deciding what to give Mrs. Bowen for a parting gift – it hung between an electric kettle and a pewter tray, and the tray won, although personally I would far prefer the kettle! The Church will also be giving something, but I haven’t heard anything about it yet. Our kitchen is still only partly done and all the men have begun working on their gardens, so goodness knows when it will be finished. Discouraging! The Guild even offered to pay for someone to come and finish the cupboards etc. so that at least we could put our china away, but no, they said they were going to do it!
Mrs. Barltrop came back from England just before the Bazaar, and brought her Mother back with her no less! The old lady is 87 I think, but apparently full of go and was at the Bazaar, although I didn’t see her. I was talking to Eve [Eve Proudfoot, the granddaughter] on the phone the other day and she was saying that they were going over to Simpson-Sears and Carlingwood Shopping Centre that day and going shopping and having lunch, so she must be pretty spry. Mrs. B. said something at the Exec. Meeting about going into the hospital in the fall, but I didn’t enquire about it. Your friend, little Mrs. Davis, is going to be on the Exec. next year – we don’t have our elections till next month, but it is hard work getting one candidate for each job, let alone an election, so we don’t have much competition. It seems obvious that I will be president, willy-nilly!
I am answering all sorts of odd questions you have asked from time to time, so this will be very disjointed, I’m afraid, but at least your curiosity will be satisfied! Re. Pauline Johnson on the stamps, she was a Canadian poetess, apparently, and either Indian or half-Indian. She lived near Brantford where Merle lives, and when we were there last summer we went to the Six Nations Indian Reserve there to see a Pageant, and I think Pauline Johnson lived there long ago and her father was some big chief or something! By the way, Cec’s Mother and Father aren’t coming down this summer after all. They seem to like it so much in Penticton and be happily settled there, so it would really be a pity for them to give up the apartment and make the long trip down here and visit from one of us to the other, which after all is very tiring. Also, I think they are very happy to be near Leona and Carman and the children, and we had a letter from Leona not long ago telling us that she is expecting again. We laughed, as Leona said “Carman and I were quite horrified at first, but we are used to the idea now. I used to think I wanted five children, but no longer – three will be enough!” She was in the hospital when she wrote, as she had been having quite a lot of trouble, and I think had had a rupture, but was going home soon, so I am sure they will be glad to have Mr. and Mrs. C. near by.
This has changed our plans for the summer somewhat, as Merle is going to finish her Summer Course in Toronto during the vacation, so this finishes our idea of sharing a cottage with them somewhere, but we are thinking of trying to get a cottage somewhere about halfway between them and us, so that they could perhaps come and spend the weekend with us. We don’t want to spend much money this summer on holidays as Cec will probably have to spend a bit on his trip, and also we want to save money for 1963 and our European Jaunt! [never happened.] You will have to consider trying out one of those nice banana boats and we will have a reunion in London.

You sent me Jean’s address for Cec but I didn’t even mention it to him as he is not going to Oxford, and his time in England is so crowded that it will be a toss up as to whether he can see half the people he wants to. He will be less than a week in England and he will be in Cambridge and Birmingham as well as London. One person he himself suggested that he would try and visit is Miss Lefroy, [Carol’s former headmistress, and family friend] but if he does find he has time to go he will telephone first. I haven’t even told Anne in Cambridge because he isn’t sure if he will have a spare moment. He is staying in St. John’s College the two nights he will be there and is pretty well booked up with people he has to see. He leaves here on Friday 26th and arrives in Brussels (jet) where he sees men who were Fellows here and sees a little of Brussels and Namur.

Then on Sunday he goes to Amsterdam and is there for the whole week at the conference and gives his paper. He goes to Denmark for the first weekend in June and visits the University of Copenhagen, where he will give another paper and sees two Professors who were over here and whom we know. About the Tues. or Wed. he goes to Sweden and stays with the Klemans in Stockholm – they were here for two years a while back. He visits the University and sees some people there and then flies to Frieborg in Germany for a day and night. After that on the Friday to Berne in Switzerland where he spends the night with a Swiss couple, the Fishers, who were here two years ago and sees the Univ. and then to England.

He hopes to go out and see the Sutherlands on Sun. afternoon, and then the rest of the week he will be visiting the National Physical Laboratories, the University of London, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Cambridge. When he is in Birmingham he will stay with a Prof. Sheridan and his wife – the Prof. was here last summer and came to dinner with us and sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers afterwards – were you here then? No, I think it was before you came. Then on the Sat. evening he flies home, and arrives in Montreal on the Sunday, and as there is no flight to Ottawa for hours, the children and I are going to drive to Dorval Airport and meet him. Do you remember us passing the Airport the day we went to Montreal? It is on this side of the city, so I don’t have to go through. The day he comes home, 18th, is Father’s Day so we will be able to have a nice celebration. Cec’s birthday will be while he was away, so this weekend is a public holiday for the Queen’s Birthday (24th but we get a holiday on the 22nd to make a long weekend) and we have decided to celebrate Cec’s birthday on the Monday too. This is also the day that Canadian children have fireworks, so I have got a bag full that will be one of Daddy’s presents!

How is Judy getting on and have you got any of the puppies left? The children always like to hear news of them and think it a great pity that you can’t air mail one to us! Just as well that you can’t as Mrs. Martin’s Siamese cat was killed on the highway on Sunday, and I just hope Nicki can survive, but I don’t think there would be any hope for a puppy.
I have been meaning to write to you about the Will, and say that I certainly agree with you that it would be much wiser for you to have one of the Banks as executor. I can just imagine that me here, and things in England and St. Vincent would make for a great muddle. I said to Cec “Which bank do you think?” and he just grinned as he doesn’t have much opinion of either, but personally I think you might as well make it Barclay’s as you can talk to them about it instead of writing, which is always unsatisfactory. Also they have a big organization in England which will be able to cope with the English side whereas if you made it Martin’s they would probably have to get Barclay’s to cope with the St.V. side anyway. Cec is sorry that he has never written to you about the letter from Martin’s about your shares and transferring them etc. He has meant to, but has really been so busy with his work and writing letters in connection with his trip that he hasn’t had a chance. He was quite disgusted with the letter, and the Manager saying that he “thought” this was so, and that was so, you would think that he could have made the effort to find out the information completely before writing, because we really don’t know much more yet as his opinion don’t mean a thing. However, I think Cec feels that you might as well leave things as they are for the time being, but he will write himself and be more definite when he has not so busy.
I haven’t written to Mr. Carnegie, but still mean to. Actually, what he and Mrs. C. say is not so much different, except that J.M.G.E [Cyn’s father] seems to be withdrawing all the time now instead of having moods of withdrawal and moods of outgoingness. But I think this is only to be expected, and if he sleeps a great deal of the time this is to be expected too, as he is an old man, and I don’t mean only in years, but has been ageing in his mind as well as body all the time he has been in the hospital. It doesn’t seem much good sending things or magazines or anything now, but one feels that one should.

You will be amused to hear that I am still hanging on to your 5 dollars! Now that Cec’s clothes are bought I hope I will be able to get a coat at last, and then I will spend my 5 dollars on a handbag! Of course both the children need summer shoes now, but I really must begin and replenish my wardrobe as I am very low in both summer and winter clothes. I plan to make Linda a school dress out of the flowered material you brought from the Miss Finlays, then I will at last get on with my pink suit. I think I have been so long about it because I don’t much care for the material now, but I had the idea that I might make the suit with just a “cardigan” jacket (loose – no buttons) and then get a linen–like moygashel type material in a plain pink to match and I could wear the jacket with that too, and so make two outfits. The material is very loosely woven so I am going to have to line both skirt and jacket, so I must get the lining material this week. I plan to get a flimsy black hat to wear with the pink, so I think it should look quite pretty.
I have never been out to Carp to see Lee [her sister-in-law] since she had her operation, and Cec has no time now before he goes, so I am planning to drive over tomorrow morning. I want to do some baking now as I have to make cookies for a Home and School Meeting tonight and I thought I would take a few things out to Lee as I am sure she won’t be feeling like doing too much yet.
I hope that you and Auntie Muriel are having a lovely time at your cottage and really enjoying the sea. Can you bathe just there at the cottage or do you have to go further along to the Breakers? Anyway, I hope that it is doing you both a world of good and that you are recovering from all the giddy social round and getting rid of A. Muriel’s cough. That errant parcel has not turned up yet, and Ruth Lockwood was saying last night that it must be lost, but I said no, two months or more wasn’t too unusual! The children have been home from school for their lunch and send a big hugs and kisses. They both have homework now, and what with that and the nice weather there isn’t much hope of letter writing just now, but maybe when the holidays begin!
Much love from us all and I hope I remembered to answer all the questions!
Love Cyn.

August 29 1960

As this first letter in three years shows, the Costains’ address has changed. This was not because they had moved- they hadn’t, though it is possible they had bought their half of the duplex (if not, they were thinking of it)- but because the community had grown, become a bit more part of Ottawa, and was no longer on a Rural Route for mail, but had a street address with the post delivered directly to their door. The children’s area for playing had expanded over the 3 years, and now included the hollow down the hill behind the house, and the field beyond that- complete with an old log fence where chokecherry bushes grew, handy for playhouses and mouth-puckering sustenance in season.
The letter was written just after they had come home after their visit to New York and to the Moors on their way home. Carol is still there, visiting her nieces and other family members for a month or two. Cyn has written her bread-and-butter letters to their hostesses, and can have fun telling her mother all the details of the rest of their holidays. She and her mother had seen the Niagara Falls on their American trip back in 1939, and she alludes to that fleetingly- 21 years makes a difference!

2043 Montreal Road,
Ottawa, Ontario.

Monday, 29th. Aug.

Dearest Mummy,
I wrote to Mill and Merle yesterday, so thought that I would have a little type today for a change, and I didn’t think that you would mind. Charlie had the typewriter out to write a poem as he has seen in their magazine ‘Jack and Jill’ that boys and girls send in poems etc. and have them printed, so he is fired with ambition! When it is done I will send you a copy.


Thank you so much for both your letters, and the letter to Lindy and the cards. The last just arrived a few minutes ago, and the children were very pleased with the pictures of the lake. We have been having sweltering weather since we came home – particularly the last day or so, and wouldn’t we have loved to just pop down to the dock for a swim! I only hope that we don’t suddenly get a deluge on Wednesday as that is the day we are having Lindy’s party, and I have decided to make it a Picnic Lunch in the garden. There are to be 8 little girls, and they will come at 12:45 and have hot dogs etc. straight away. If it is really nice I will set up the little grill and table out in the back and we will have it out there – if not I think that I will have it in ‘your room’. After eating we will play games outside – charades, sardines etc. – and then about 3:00 I will bring out the birthday cake and cool drinks and ice cream cones before they go home. They are to come in play-clothes not party dresses, so they will be able to play treasure-hunts etc. up in the field, so I hope that they have fun and that I don’t find it soo wearing. Last year we had a dreadful day – hot, humid and exhausting, and the children got tired of game after game, and really we were all fair wore out. Hope this year the time whizzes by! Charlie is to be my helper!
We were so glad to hear in your letter that the Sat. after we left was a nice day for the wedding. We heard that there was a hurricane somewhere off the coast that caused the bad weather on the Friday morning, so we wondered if it would ever get finished by the next day. We got out of the bad weather after about an hour, although it continued raining for quite a while afterwards, but it wasn’t the tremendous downpour. It was dull and drizzly all day really, but very nice for driving as it was cool and we didn’t have to bother with sun in our eyes or anything. It was a long drive but quite nice and uneventful, all along the Thruway, and we stopped every hour or so for drinks and changed over drivers. We got into Buffalo between 5 and 6 and had a bit of trouble finding our way as the Thruway was marked as finished right to Niagara Falls on the map, but we discovered that it wasn’t. However, we eventually found a motel on the U.S. side without too much trouble and got settled before we went out to dinner. After dinner we went to the Falls and saw all around the U.S. side – they have roads and bridges to all the islands above the Falls now, and we took a ride in a funny little train thing which took us around. We were on one of the islands when the lights came on and it was really quite disappointing as the spray was blowing towards us and the lights seem to just disappear into the mist, so it wasn’t a bit like the pictures we’d seen. We realized afterwards that it would have been much better from the Canadian side, but it couldn’t be helped. Next morning of course we did cross over to the Canadian side, and saw the Falls from there, but we didn’t bother with the boat trip or going under the Falls or anything.
We arrived in Brantford during the afternoon, after a lovely drive through the Niagara Peninsula – all orchards and vineyards and lovely roadside fruit markets, so of course Cec couldn’t resist this and we arrived at Merle’s laden with peaches, greengages, plums, and gladioliis! They have a lovely big house on a very pleasant, exclusive older residential street, with big old trees lining the road, and a beautiful green terraced garden behind, full of flowers, and behind that more trees and a sort of shrubbery. I had forgotten that their rented house in Brantford was furnished, so they had only had part of their furniture down, and as they had only been in their new house 2 weeks, they hadn’t got their other things from Port Arthur yet. Because of this we were a bit of a squash, but two of the boys slept in sleeping bags on air mattresses on the sleeping porch and we managed fine – particularly Cec and I, as Merle and Dix gave up their bed to us!
The first evening we set off after dinner to an Indian pageant! The Six Nations Reservation is very close to Brantford, and Merle and Dixon have lots of Indian boys and girls in their classes, and it was in this Reservation that the pageant was, in what they called the Forest Theater. It was very interesting seeing all the Indians dressed up and some of the dances – it was representing some of the history of the Iroquois Indians – but we didn’t stay till the end – we were tired and the benches were hard, and then to crown it all one of the Indian Chiefs went to see George Washington, and they recited his speech, first in Iroquois and then in English for half an hour and it was still going on when we left! As we went out they had stalls of Indian handwork, so we looked at these, and I thought I would buy a feather for the 3 children – not a big headdress, but single feathers which they had for sale, and when I asked the price I nearly fell in a heap when they said 3 dollars each! Instead we found a few more modestly priced mementos!
Next day – Sunday – Merle had planned that we would pack a picnic dinner and go to London which is about 60 or 70 miles away, where they have a lovely park with what are called ‘Storybook Gardens’ for the children. It was quite a long drive, particularly as we were all in one car – Dixon’s obviously! – but it was a lovely park, and we all enjoyed the Gardens. There were animals too, all very tame, and very nicely arranged and set out so it was a lot of fun. Afterwards we had our picnic in a lovely place just by the river, and then the children went for a sail in the Pirate Ship!
Monday was Lindy’s birthday and she had a lovely day. Unfortunately Merle hadn’t been able to carry out our original plan, because for one thing ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’ finished at the end of July, and she had a very hard time getting any seats at all, it was so booked up. ‘King John’ wasn’t so popular, so there were seats for it but it wasn’t nice for the children, nor ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but eventually she managed to get us three seats for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ on the Tuesday and that was the best she could do. Fortunately the Film Festival was on at the same time and they said that they would go to that while we were at the theatre, and they said that they were sure we could take Charlie in and hold him on our knees, as when they had Bruce there last year, he couldn’t see and so sat on his dad’s knee all the time. Anyway, on Monday we just stayed at home and Lindy enjoyed her presents – the dress fit perfectly and she was in raptures over it so I was pleased! Merle and family gave her a dear little china family of deer, and a pretty cottonknit sweater, and she and Brucie spent most of the afternoon cutting out ‘Sleeping Beauty’ – Lindy in charge of the ladies, and Brucie in charge of the gentleman! I took Lindy down town in the morning and bought her a pair of new shoes, which blistered her heel before the day was through! Auntie Merle made her a lovely big chocolate birthday cake with favours in, so we had a wonderful dinner and enjoyed the cake enormously– both Linda and Charlie had two huge pieces (3 layers high) and I was amazed! After the children were in bed Merle and Dixon and Cec and I played bridge, and Cec and I had wonderful cards and could do nothing wrong – even bid and made little slams and piled up a colossal score – we felt it was so nice and hospitable of Merle and Dixon to provide us with such good luck!


On the Tuesday I washed and ironed and we had an early dinner and set out for Stratford about 6 as it is quite a long way away – 60 miles or so. We got there in nice time, and as Merle had said they made no difficulty about our taking Charlie in. Merle and Dixon and Bruce were with us and they went to see if there were any turned in seats, but there was a great lineup waiting for those even, so they went off to the Film Festival. Our seats weren’t together, so Lindy and I sat together for the first two acts, then we changed and Charlie and Cec had our seats and she sat on my knee on the other one. Lindy had on her new dress and felt very elegant, and really looked sweet – it is just her style. The play of course was fascinating – I just loved it all and seeing the theatre and stage after hearing and reading so much about it. However, I wondered how much the children would understand, and if they would like it, but I needn’t have worried – they loved every minute of it and have been acting Puck and Titania ever since! It was beautifully staged and the costumes were lovely, so even if they hadn’t understood it all it would have been fun to watch, but they really seemed to love it and Linda has had the book of Shakespeare’s plays out since she got home, reading bits of it over.

We didn’t get home till after 1:00, so we didn’t get such an early start next morning as we had hoped, but we were off by 10:30 and had quite a good day’s drive, although it was very sunny, which made it a bit more trying. We got home about 9 o’clock, and were so glad to see our home again even though we had a lovely holiday. As I told Mill the place is completely dried up, and you never saw such a dreary miserable garden – all the flowers withered, and the grass quite brown and crunchy. The only nice part is the back with the patience all in bloom, and down the hill we do have some tomatoes. The house seemed full of spiders, so I have been spraying around and don’t meet so many livestock now. Not long after we arrived home we were out calling and looking for Nicki, but didn’t see a sign, and then in a little while we heard a little meow, and there she was, so pretty and clean and so happy to see us – full of purrs and rolling over to have her tummy scratched! We were delighted to find her all safe and sound, and she has been eating ‘like sixty’ as Charlie says, ever since. The little black cat is still around, and Jimmy says that he had to keep chasing her away from Nicki’s dish, but I think she must have got the lion’s share, judging by Nicki’s appetite now.
Since we got home the children have had a nice time playing with Jimmy, and Cec has been at work and I have been trying to catch up on myself. We were all very tired so slept quite late on Thursday, but even after Cec went to work I didn’t seem to get much done – unpacked, sorted out etc. and that was all. On Friday we drove Cec to work, and then went to Steinberg’s to do our shopping and then to the butcher’s in the afternoon. I vacuumed and dusted, and then on Saturday I did a huge wash – I don’t know how people like Fanni manage to tour Europe with 3 children for weeks on end, because we were away 3 weeks, and I made 2 trips to Laundromats and did odd washings in between, and still when I got home I had a mountain of dirty clothes! Yesterday I went to Church in the morning and saw a few of the girls and saw that they have begun the foundation of the church, but I didn’t go close to examine the progress. Tomorrow I have been invited to a Bathing Party at the house of one of our more affluent residents who has a swimming pool which is to raise money for the church. I don’t think I shall bother to swim – particularly as we have just had a big storm and it is much cooler, but I shall be curious to see the swimming pool etc. The entrance is 1 dollar, and we get refreshments (I am to bake some cookies!) but no children are invited, so I must see what to do with L. and C. School begins a week tomorrow, so this is their last full week – I am always sorry to see them go back, and of course they are moaning, and it is hard to think that the summer is practically over.
I must stop now and do some housework and try to get some ironing done – I can see that what with making B’day cakes and cookies etc. and then the party I shall be busy till Thursday, so I had better get Cec some shirts to wear. I am looking forward to hearing all about the wedding when we see you again, and I am so glad that you had the blood test done and hope that it is fine. We enjoyed hearing about the babies and Monie – I had a nice little note from her when I got back. By the way, Cec and I were so tickled on the way home – the children had a lovely new play in the back of the car – acting Ford and Millie! Charlie would be Ford showing pictures, and Linda would be Millie and it was really uproariously funny – mostly because they were so serious! – They were most affectionate to each other, and Millie would say “Did you get enough to eat, hon?” And Ford would answer “Yes darling, that was a lovely dinner.” So you can see what a happy impression Mill and Ford made on them!
It will be fun seeing Marie’s home, but I can’t say I really envy you the visit – she is very kind and really hospitable, but I feel that it will be very wearing too! I know that you will love being with Mona Carol and Owen and look forward to hearing all their news when you see them.
Lindy and Charlie and Jimmy are all dressed up and acting Titania and Puck and Oberon, so I won’t suggest that they stop to write just now. They send hugs and kisses and thank you for the cards.
Lots of love from us all,
Cyn.

I remember the birthday party only because of the mishaps! The 8 girls at the party were set to play some sort of Hide and Seek or Sardines in pairs, and so scattered to hide in the sloping field behind our house. It was quite wild and untended, at the end of a hot summer, with a clump of elms, a huge boulder, dry tall weeds, and a length of log fence stretching away up the field, lined with bushes. Of course I was the only one who knew the terrain, and I took Joanne up the fence to hide in the bushes where we played house. Other pairs headed for the trees or boulder which could be climbed or dodged around to hide. Unfortunately, we were not the only ones playing house- Joanne and I came across a pair of snakes, screamed at the top of our lungs, and abandoned all hope of hiding by racing for the house. The other pairs headed for ‘home’ by the most direct route and when my mother enquired of us all, panting, what the emergency was, it was discovered that Pamela’s lovely blonde braids were covered with burrs. I hope the birthday cake made up for the pain removing them must have cost her!

1958 Trip to St. Vincent

In the spring of 1957 Cyn had told her mother about their finances and a plan they had for saving- but by Christmas, Cyn and Cec decided obviously decided to spurge and to fulfill a long-time promise to her mother Carol by visiting St Vincent for 7 weeks over Easter! I am so sad I have no letters that explain their decision, but some of it must have been based on the children’s schooling and age. I also miss details about the preparation, because I have memories of the clothes my mother made for me for Easter! But there is a copy of a speech my mother must have made to a women’s group after their trip- a thing she was good at after her experiences with American clubs during her exchange year teaching after the war- so I will be able to post Cyn’s St. Vincent experience.

Travelling with children involves a lot of preparation. After the explanations about visiting Grannie in St. Vincent where it would be warm- snowsuit weather in Ottawa of course- Charlie and I asked our teachers for school work for March. I distinctly remember us driving across Ottawa to buy my school books! By the time we got through the traffic home, Linda in the back seat had finally been able to read to the end of her ‘Dick and Jane’ reader- a thing we were not allowed to do in class! (There wasn’t much plot development.) My mother took the other reader and saved it for the actual trip…


Charlie’s teacher answered with a note to Cyn explaining that when Charlie came back, she would have moved and there would be a new teacher, which might be upsetting. As it turned out, however, his second Kindergarten teacher was a lovely woman, Mrs. Verna Steele, who lived in our neighbourhood and was always fond of Charlie.
The New York cousins, who had visited Moo and Carol for a winter holiday in previous years, sent Bon Voyage cards; the itinerary had to be arranged so that as many West Indian Hazells as possible could be visited, the tickets bought, hotels booked, and cat boarded.

What do I remember of the trip? Charlie and I were flying in airplanes for the first time, and we landed in Trinidad for a few days first, staying at the hotel owned by a Hazell cousin, but the only thing I remember is the final leg to St. Vincent in a Grummond Goose which landed on the sea with a splash that sparkled through the windows of the little plane as it motored up to the landing ramp!

The Goose!
Linda helping with the wash.

We stayed with Grannie and Auntie Moo in their house in Kingstown and then in a rented bungalow out by the sea, close to where the seaplane landed so we could watch it. As children do, we accepted their servants Doris and Luenda, Hilda and Amelia, but now can’t think they had 4, so maybe one pair worked in the bungalow. Mr. Cox drove us around, and local relatives connected with Cyn, some of whom she hadn’t seen since before the war. We visited, Cyn met their spouses and showed off her husband and children.

Cyn, Grannie and cousins!

When we napped or went to bed in the evening, white mosquito netting was draped over the bed and tucked in, so that we had to be extracted on waking, and sometimes a little lizard would be sitting on the netting a foot above my eyes when I woke up. (They were very fast though, so I never got to pet one.) There were beautiful flowers in Grannie’s garden, and chickens running around, and one day I decided I wanted to see the cook make dinner- from the beheading of the chicken to the final product. Apparently I did witness the execution and then, having put two and two together, was not willing to eat her, but what my brother remembers is that the chicken was tough and didn’t taste nice!

Cyn went shopping!

Out at Villa the fresh fish was wonderful and appreciated by the whole family, and we loved the tiny bananas. The coconuts were an entertainment although I didn’t like eating them- a man climbed up the tree with his cutlass and knocked them down to the ground, then cut them open expertly so we could drink the coconut water and scoop out the soft jelly-like coconut. The sea was warm and I loved swimming- although there was a feeling of betrayal at my only swimming lesson when my father took his hands away from supporting my tummy and I sank instead of floating, coming up with burning eyes, tears and salty coughing- and Charlie became more used to the water and no longer played by himself in the sand while others paddled.

One beach we visited had black sand from the lava which looked wonderfully muddy when plastered on, and I remember intriguing rock pools with tiny fish and plants trapped in them by the receding tide. One day our parents got up very early in the morning and went to climb the volcano, La Soufrière, with Hazell cousins, and once we went out in a glass-bottomed boat so we could see the coral and the fish our father had been telling us about when snorkelling. We collected tiny shells and I acquired three dolls for my collection- Hilda and Amelia in brightly coloured prints, head-ties, and earrings, and Mr. Cox with overalls and his cutlass in hand.


Easter was a festival in St. Vincent. Of course all the ladies, Black and white, wore beautiful hats (and still did in the 90s), and I had new Best Clothes for the occasion. My mother had made me a white dress with frills for sleeves out of a stiffish material, and it had a turquoise pinafore of the same kind of material over it, that could be a sundress on its own. I had a choice of two hats- crescent moon-shaped hat forms covered to match my dress- one white, one turquoise. And no one took a picture! Cyn’s work was appreciated at the time, but not immortalized- we ate the beautifully decorated cakes, wore and then outgrew the clothes- without her art being recorded- such a pity, I now feel.
We ended our visit in St. Vincent and said good-bye, knowing that Grannie would come and stay with us in a few years, and took the Goose to Barbados where we stayed before climbing on a Trans Canada plane home, arriving back to a chilly Ottawa spring. There were apparently no repercussions from missing so much school, and ordinary life resumed.

Not very much to declare. Suspect that Cec’s had rum.

June 11 1956

Everyone says we have 2 beautiful children!

At Til & Lois’
Monday 11th June.

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!

Gunborg Sutherland, my godmother.

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.

All dressed up visiting the Sutherlands.

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.

Anne drew them while we watched!

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!

XXX & lots of love from us all. Cyn.

With Til.