August 24 1969: Western Holiday

In August, with Grannie Ewing visiting her nieces in New York on her way home, the Costains took their last family trip together, flying out west to meet family members- Uncle Harry Costain in Calgary, Granny and Grandpa Costain in Penticton, along with the whole Carman Costain family- and see the Rockies, the Okanagan, and Vancouver as they drove. At the end of their stay in Vancouver, Cec had flown off for a lengthy working trip to Australia and Cyn and Linda and Charlie had taken the train across Canada home to Ottawa. It was a three-day trip and the children did not enjoy it. Charlie was bored, and Linda not only ran out of reading matter, but found that inserting her new contact lenses in a moving train was nerve-wracking and challenging. Cyn enjoyed the rest, and wrote to her mother the week after they returned.

We ate in Calgary’s Husky Tower, built for the Centennial!

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa 9, Ontario.

24th August, 1969

Dearest Mummy,
Here we have been home for over a week and this is the first time I have managed to write to you – or even to Penticton to say thank you for having us. First of all, we stepped out of the air conditioned train into typical hot humid Ottawa weather last week, and it was just breathless for 3 or 4 days, then on Monday we had most violent storms with pouring rain and the temp. went down to 45 one night! It was nice and cool for a couple of days and now it is back up in the 80s today, and I don’t feel at all ambitious!
The weather wasn’t the only surprise we got when we arrived in Ottawa – when we got home Merle phoned from Brantford to say that they were coming to Ottawa that weekend to a wedding, but if we couldn’t put them up they would go to a motel. Of course we said for them to come, so next day (Friday) we rushed around and bought some food and they arrived for dinner with little Debbie. Lorne and Liz were also invited to the wedding but couldn’t get away till later, so Merle and Dix brought Debbie and they would bring Cyndie when they came and stay with the Whitwills – Liz’s family. Charlie was back in your room, so we made up his bed in the family room for Debbie and Merle and Dix had the big pull-out sofa bed, so it worked out fine. The wedding was on the Sat. afternoon, and in the morning Lorne came for Debbie, and then they all went off to the wedding – I felt quite sorry for them all dressed up, as it was about 90 and so still and sticky, and the reception wasn’t even in some air-conditioned hotel, but in the garden of the bride’s family. Merle was exhausted when she came home! While they were away I had another phone call and this was Carman! He was at the airport, and although I knew he was coming to Ottawa sometime to a meeting I hadn’t bothered to even ask the date, as he said that he had a room booked at the Château Laurier, as he didn’t know when we would be back. However, it turned out that he had been another meeting in the US and when he phoned the Château the booking was from the Sunday not the Saturday so he came along too and we had a full house that night! It was nice that Merle and Dix and Carman got a chance to chat and as it was another hot night Charlie quite enjoyed sleeping on the porch! Next day we all went to the Whitwills to lunch, and then Merle and Dix set off home as Dix had to be at work next day. Carman had dinner with us and then I drove him downtown to his hotel, and then my goodness, when I got back didn’t the house feel strange and empty with no Cec! Before that we had really hardly had time to notice!
We had two postcards from Cec on Friday – one from Hawaii where he spent an hour (4–5am.) and another from Sydney, so we know that he has arrived safely. I was so glad as he tells me that Frank Mercer (his Australian friend from Cambridge) came to meet him at the airport because Cec had written to Frank and had no reply and I know he would have been disappointed not to see him. I don’t know if he was staying with the Mercers but it would make a big difference having a friend to show him the sights.

Beginning of the holiday- Calgary and Harry Costain.
The only Costains we DIDN’T see…


I feel that I should go back now and tell you what we did at the end of our holiday. I wrote from Penticton when we were staying with Granny and Granpa Costain, and then we moved over and spend 3 or 4 days with Leona and Carman. Their house is about 2 miles from Granpa’s and fortunately it is quite big as we were a big family! Penticton is quite a nice small town – very much a resort town with 2 big lakes for swimming etc. and lots of motels and tourists. It is in a valley with hills all around and they were absolutely burnt brown, but in the valley where they irrigate it was all green and lovely. It is in the middle of a famous fruit growing area, but unfortunately they had a very severe winter and all the fruit trees were harmed and there was very little fruit this summer – no peaches or apricots or cherries, but the apples were all right. Leona took her children for swimming lessons at one of the lakes every day, so Linda and Charlie got quite a lot of swimming, but unfortunately Linda got a bad cold, and so had to keep out of the water the last few days.

We left Penticton on the Thursday (7th.) and drove to Vancouver where Cec had booked a downtown motor hotel for us. It was very convenient and the first evening we walked down the street and found a very nice German restaurant where we had a marvellous dinner, so we thought we were very lucky. We were so fortunate in the weather in Vancouver – it was sunny and lovely all the time, although there was a haze over the mountains around the city, but apparently this is quite typical. I was quite taken with the weather in Penticton too – it was very hot and sunny during the day, but if you sat in the shade it feels lovely with a little breeze, and as soon as the sun went down in the evening it got really cool and you needed a sweater. I may tell you that I never once had my pretty white spotted raincoat out of the case, so weren’t we fortunate?
After dinner that first evening in Vancouver, Cec phoned a few people and I phoned Olwen Wright. Do you remember her? She was at College with Dottie and me and eventually married a boy in the Army called Noel. Anyway they now live in Vancouver, so I called and we had a chat and arranged for us to go out that evening for a drink. They live in a very pretty house with a stream running through the garden, but it was nearly dark when we arrived so we didn’t see much. I don’t know if I would have known them, as Olwen is now blonde and Noel is plumper, but we had quite fun catching up on news. Olwen has 3 children all older than mine – the oldest girl is married then a boy of 19 going to University and a girl a bit older than Linda still going to school. We didn’t see them as one sister was visiting the other and the boy has a job. Owen was telling me that she had had cancer, which I didn’t know, but she had had an operation and it had been OK for a few years now. She didn’t say where it was – anyway she was having a check up that weekend so was booked up with the Drs etc. and we didn’t see them again. It must be over 25 years since I saw her, so it really was interesting – they have bought land in Antigua and Dominica I think when they were there on a holiday a few years ago and are talking of moving there when their family is off their hands.
On the Friday we went up to the University of British Columbia where Cec had various people to see. It is a beautiful campus with lovely lawns and gardens and fountains in amongst the buildings. One of the Professors took us to lunch at the Faculty Club and then we went and sat for a while in a Japanese Garden while Cec saw some other people. Afterwards we went to a lovely park on an island in the harbour called Stanley Park where they have a Zoo and also a big aquarium where they have a big outdoor pool with a dolphin and a whale who give a show every few hours. It was fascinating, and the whale had the most amiable looking grin on his face and looked as if he were thoroughly enjoying it all!
That evening we went out to dinner to a ship anchored in the harbour which has a famous Seafood Buffet. They have a great big buffet table with over 58 different kinds of fish and various salads and things as well as all sorts of hot dishes on a hot table, and you can go back and back and eat as much as you want! Our only complaint was that our capacity wasn’t big enough as we would have liked to try even more, but what we did have was delicious. It was a lovely setting looking out of the water at the lights in the city and we thoroughly enjoyed it.


Next day we went across to Vancouver Island. I hadn’t realized that it was such a trip or that the island was so big, but the ferry took us about 4 hours. We arrived at Nanaimo and went north to a National Park where there are some wonderful old Douglas Fir trees some 800 years old and absolutely immense. We then had to drive back south through Nanaimo again and down to Victoria which is at the southern tip of the island.

It is a very pretty city with lovely gardens and lovely hanging baskets on all the lamp posts. We only had that evening to look around a little and then next morning we went to the Buchart Gardens which are very well known and absolutely beautiful. I sent you a folder of pictures of it and although the colours weren’t very good you would get some idea of how lovely it was. We had lunch there, and then went and took a different ferry back to Vancouver. That evening we went to dinner in Chinatown and had the best Chinese dinner I have ever had. Even Linda tried the Chinese food and enjoyed it and Cec was amazed when we got the bill that it came to less than 2 dollars each! We had been sent there by a friend of Cec’s in Vancouver and it was definitely a place for Chinese to eat and not a tourist trap, so we did very well and enjoyed it very much.


Next morning, Monday 11th, we got up early and all went with Cec to the airport and saw him off on the plane to San Francisco at 8am. We had handed over the car the previous night, so we took the bus back to the motel and had a rest and packed and then took a taxi to the station and left our bags. The train wasn’t till 7:30pm so we had lunch and shopped and went and sat in Stanley Park, then had something else to eat before we went back to the station. We had three berths and I thought the trip was quite fun but Linda and Charlie were bored stiff! Charlie couldn’t read because of the motion, so he played patience, and of course we had two dome cars and could go and look at the scenery, but as Linda says, the scenery in Canada goes on for so long! Linda and I enjoyed the meals and I definitely felt stuffed, but Charlie wasn’t very hungry so they were very glad when the 3 days and 3 nights were over! As for me it was a nice interlude before picking up the daily cares at home, and I enjoyed it!

We found our pussycat very well and plump as usual and Beulah had looked after everything beautifully. We have loads of lovely tomatoes and corn, but of course the veg. garden is covered in weeds and although I have worked at it on and off I haven’t begun to make an impression yet. You’ll be glad to hear that the seeds you planted – the phlox – have come up and I have a few sweet peas and some morning glories. The nasturtiums are doing well and the sweet little groundhog hasn’t touched anything but is getting bigger and fatter on apples dropping off the trees. He sits up and eats them and throws the cores away just like any other person and doesn’t seem to have touched the garden.
From all you told me you must have had a lovely time with Mill and Ford and I enjoyed getting your two letters and hearing all about what you were doing. I am glad that you bought a hat and another dress or two and it sounds as if Ford had taken you to some very nice places. You will be going down to Long Beach this weekend and I hope that Monie and Owen had a nice weekend at Camp and that Marga’s leg is better. I know you will be sorry to leave Mill and Ford but you will enjoy being with the Banners and Jaegers too. Please give them all our love.
Of course I have been hopping with the Nursery School all this past week – all the parents are phoning, and I am buying supplies and Charlie is painting some of the outdoor equipment and Marjorie and I have been repainting some of the indoor furniture, so we have been busy. Linda’s birthday was on Friday too and Cec and I gave her a suede jacket and a dressing gown and slippers while Charlie gave her a nice little alarm clock. She got various things from her friends but will probably be writing to tell you all about it. We asked Carman to dinner to make it more of an occasion and he really hit the spot by arriving with long stemmed red roses in a big florist box for her!
And I must stop now and get to bed. Charlie has gone to the Exhibition (big annual Agricultural Fair + Grandstand Show + Midway) with some of his friends so I don’t know when he will be home. I don’t envy him in the dusty paths amongst the crowds on this hot night!
Much love to the Banners and Jaegers from us all and lots for you too
from
Cyn.

This letter may have arrived after Carol had gone on to Long Beach, or even back home in St.Vincent, because written on the bottom of the letter is a note from one of the nieces:

Carol dear –
Your letter arrived. So glad to hear from you. Come back soon again. I wish I was in nice, warm green St. Vincent! Love M.

October 27 1968

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa 9, Ont.

27th Oct. 1968

Dearest Mummy,
Last night we put the clocks back, so it is really the beginning of winter. It must seem a long time ago since you were putting clocks back and forward and trying to remember when you get an extra hour’s sleep or lost one, but this time we got the extra hour which is nice. It will mean that it is very dark in the evening now, but in a way I prefer that to dark mornings, and we have been getting up in the dark for quite a few weeks now, so that won’t be so bad. I will appreciate it even more as I am going to teach at the Nursery School for 3 weeks starting tomorrow, and I would feel even less like trailing out at 8:30am if it were still dark. Joan Greenwell, who is taking my place has to do 3 weeks Practice Teaching at another Nursery sSchool, so I had promised to take her place while she was away. This is new, as when I took the Course at the University last year they did their Practice Teaching later on, but it is really a good idea as some of them haven’t got jobs and barely know what a Nursery School is like. I can’t say that I am looking forward to a daily job again, but at least it won’t be for long! I shall get paid my usual princely salary so I will have a little Mad Money for Christmas!
I haven’t written for about 2 weeks I think, and I have letters to thank you for – one was after you got my last long affair and you will think that wore me out! Actually we had a week of absolutely beautiful weather – 60° some days with lovely hot sun and cool nights, so I tried to go on with my gardening and tidy up the flower beds a bit. Then I seemed to be going out quite a bit and this last week I have had laryngitis! I had it about this time last year if you remember, and it is the queerest thing because I never remember having this type of thing much before. I began with a kind of a cold, but not in my head as I usually do, but just a real stuffed up nose. When I used nose drops I was fine and didn’t feel anything, then gradually it seemed to tighten up in my chest and last Tuesday my voice began to disappear, although I had no sore throat, and by the evening I could just whisper. It has lasted all week, and I got Pat to take my Sunday School this morning, but actually for the first time for days I can talk a bit although I am still croaky, and I now have a cough. All very peculiar, and it was the funniest thing, when the phone rang and I answered in a whisper, everyone whispered back at me!
I think that when I last wrote Carman was still with us – he stayed till the morning of Friday, 11th and so we were on our own for Thanksgiving weekend. He took us out to dinner one night to the Italian restaurant for dinner, which was nice and another evening we went out with Cec’s new P.D. fellow and his wife and his brother and his wife to the ‘Pub’ at the new big Hotel. The brother is another scientist – German – and the wife American. We didn’t have anyone with us for Thanksgiving dinner this year as Cec had a visitor coming to give a Seminar at the Lab and he was arriving early Mon. evening, so we thought if we had a party for him that would be enough for one weekend. We didn’t have many people – about a dozen, I think, and it was quite nice – chatty in a scientific way! That week Ruth Lockwood and I had a day out on the Thursday. Ruth had been babysitting for a family for weeks while the parents were in Europe, so she was ready for a break, and we decided to go and get our Gold Bond Stamps changed – do you remember all the stamps we get from the Grocery Store and stick into books and then exchange for presents? Well, now we have to go to a place on the other side of Ottawa and get our present, so it is quite an expedition. I had been saving for ages and finally decided to get an electric hairdryer. Everyone seems to have one and I must say that they are very convenient – Lindy and I have been using it like fury since I got it and she can dry her hair in about 20 minutes and half an hour is plenty for me, so we are appreciating it, even if it isn’t of much benefit to the boys! Ruth got a paper dispenser for her kitchen and then we went down town and shopped and then Ruth treated me to lunch, so we had a very nice time. That evening Cec and I were invited out to a buffet dinner at the Johns, so altogether I had a very frivolous day!
I had another lunch out last week – we have this big new Hotel in Ottawa called the Skyline, and in two of its restaurants you can get lunch for $1.25, and they also have a shopping plaza of boutiques under the hotel, so Phyl Douglas and Marion (Hin Lew’s wife) and I decided to see what it was like. The restaurant is called “Diamond Lil’s” and it is all Naughty Nineties with a curvy female singer in the evening but at noon, they serve a businessman’s lunch – roast beef, salads, bread, roast potatoes, gravy and coffee with apple pie extra, and it was very nice and we enjoyed it. It is a very Klondike Saloon type of interior with sawdust on the floor and quite a crowd, but it was fun and we had a good old gossip. Afterwards we went down to the boutiques and they were very nice but of course expensive. There was a dress shop and Marion was so happy to be shopping without 3 little boys round that she asked if we would mind if she shopped for a dress, and she tried on quite a lot – she looked wonderful in everything of course as she is slim as a wand and ended in getting a pretty red dress – she wanted another, but saw nothing else that she particularly liked. I told Cec he didn’t know how lucky he was as the dress she bought was 45 dollars and she didn’t even look at the price and was all set to buy another like it! Linda was horrified, so I am bringing her up in the right way!

That was the day my voice disappeared, but fortunately it didn’t go completely until the evening! Our Church Supper was on Friday and we had a very good turnout and a lovely buffet supper, but I couldn’t talk to a soul – just whisper when absolutely necessary! Afterwards we had a Magician for the children and adults and he was lovely – we all thoroughly enjoyed him! He even brought a white bunny out of a hat at the end! We have all been enjoying the Olympic games on the TV these last 2 weeks. This is the sort of thing which cancels out all my grumbles at TV, and every evening we had one or two hours from Mexico with both live and taped pictures of the games and it was really grand. Canada didn’t do too well – 1 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze, but this was 20th out of over 100 countries, so that doesn’t sound too bad as really Canada goes in more for the Winter Olympics. The US as usual did a big sweep and took hundreds of metals, but in one or two places little countries like Jamaica popped up and took a gold, and made it very exciting. Also we saw the latest US space flight with the 3 men and it is always a thrill. Of course we have the usual array of football hockey baseball etc. all of which mean a great deal to Charlie and Cec! You will be glad to hear that Ottawa’s football team is doing well this year – it makes a big difference in Charlie’s spirits, you know!
You were mentioning in your letter that you were worried about changing planes on your flight up here, and perhaps you would come straight to Montreal, and actually Cec and I have been talking about it and thinking the very same thing. It would be quite easy to get on the plane at Barbados and come right up here and we would meet you with the car in Montreal and you would have no changes at all, and the same when you go back or to New York. I think that it might be best for you to come in May as you did last time – the weather is not too cold then and it is very pretty in the spring and then stay with us for May, June and July and then if you were going to New York it might be nice for you to go down there in August. You would have the sea at Monie’s and probably go to camp at Mill’s. Cec goes to Australia in August and there is some talk of us going out to the West Coast with him on the first leg of his journey. Carman is always inviting us to visit them and the children and I have never been, so it might be a good opportunity, but of course we don’t know what L. and C. will be doing next summer so it is all very vague and might never come off.

Linda’s Grade 13 photo.

I must fly as Lindy and I have to rush and buy her a pair of shoes and get her hair cut and I am picking her up at school at 3:30. Will write again soon and answer your letters properly,
Lots of love from us all,
Cyn.

September 26 1967

I have mentioned before when I started this project, that both my grandmother (who saved these letters), and my mother (who got them back when my grandmother brought them with her when she came to live with my parents), read, organized and enjoyed these letters years after they were written as they read them again in their old age- and how I am following in their footsteps! On the envelope of this long typed effusion Carol had written an identifier in pencil: ‘Cyn’s trip and what she thought of everyone’ and Cyn later wrote her own on the back: ‘England Visit 1967’. It must have been entertaining to write about her friends after meeting them for the first time in 18 years, and fun for Carol to read about them, and for each to re-read years later. However, at the end of the letter, Cyn asked her mother not to tell anyone about her opinions, or she wouldn’t have a friend left. I am now literally “spreading…[her] opinions to the winds” and hope that they will not offend anyone reading them today! She wrote this spread over a week while working at the newly opened Nursery School, and I am sad that the sequel she promises at the end does not exist- no more letters until April 1968 were preserved.

Box 330, R.R.1
Ottawa, Ont.

26th Sept.

Dearest Mummy,

I am quite shocked and horrified at the wickedness of the Trinidad Post Office! Imagine not even trying the address on a letter but sending it on to an old address. I quite thought when your letter from me was sent back to England that somehow I must have got the wrong P.O. Box number, but when it was right after all, I was disgusted at them. I wonder how many of the letters and cards I sent were delivered to you, because I think I sent most of them to Bill’s address, particularly after you went to Tobago. As far as I remember I wrote 3 letters from England and sent various cards, and then I wrote at least twice in August before you went back to St. V. and after we returned to Ottawa. Anyway, for once it may not be just my irregular writing habits!

I am still looking forward to hearing how you got on with the hurricane – it really was a bad one, and on this morning’s news the people in the Rio Grande river area in Texas were having to leave their homes again because of more flooding of the rivers. We had beautiful warm weather till the middle of last week, and then suddenly the rain came and it got cold and very autumnal. Some places got frost, but we were lucky and our garden is still fine and we have lots of lovely tomatoes. It is very windy today, but mild and so far it hasn’t been too killing out in the playground with the children! I am sure that in the winter we are going to hate that playground, but at the moment it is quite fun. We have a big sandbox with spoons and shovels and pails etc. and then a horse – not a rocking, but a jumping horse – then a big log for climbing on and jumping and two old tree stumps for the same thing – then a big concrete drain pipe which they climb inside and pretend it is a rocket or a house, and also a great big tractor tire and various old car tires! It is marvellous what fun they have! On Friday it was raining so we couldn’t go out, but every other day we have had about 1/2 hour or more outside. I am still not used to this getting up and rushing out to work! However, it is quite fun, and I had the French cleaning lady one day last week and so my house was cleaned. She is coming next week and seems very good – we manage the language problem without too much trouble -Lindy says that I talk to her in English and she talks to me in French and we understand each other, but I talk a bit of French too and if she is stuck she can say some English and we can both gesticulate very well!

I go to my class at the University tonight and I feel very happy that I don’t have to do the homework etc. Gertrude has to spend 2 mornings at other nursery schools this week, as part of her ‘observation’ work, but I just can stay happily at our own little place. There is an awful lot of reading to do if you are going to take the thing seriously, and although I like to read I don’t see me reading children’s psychology text books with my bedtime cup of tea! I am tired enough to fall asleep over my murders these days let alone textbooks!

Linda still has not quite finished her English Diary for you but she had a big history assignment today, and she had an English one the week before, so she has been kept busy, but perhaps she will be able to get it finished. I thought that if she told you about the places and what we did I would tell you about the people and what we thought of everyone. Well, of course the first family we met were the Aldridges – Jessie and her family, and as far as Linda and Charlie were concerned they liked them better than any of the others! The reason was easy to see, as you remember that underneath it all Jessie had a very warm affectionate nature, and Marriage with Norman has brought this out and done away with all the little affectations etc. They are very obviously an affectionate closely-knit family, and so pleased to see us, and out to do all they could for us so that we really enjoyed them. You were surprised that I said Jessie looked like her mother, and I was surprised to see the likeness myself, but it was somehow the way her cheekbones stand out now her face is thinner which at once brought Mrs. Muir to my mind and yet as you say, she really had more the look of her father. Norman looks just the same as he did 20 years ago, and is just as nice and easy-going and has the same sense of humour – he had apparently said to her that she was to enjoy my visit and not to worry about anything, so he and Sandra got all the meals ready, and cleared away, and he wouldn’t let her do anything, so that she could just relax and enjoy herself with me – wasn’t that sweet of him? It seems to me that this kindness of Norman’s has brought out all the best in Jessie, because I don’t think that she is the selfish rather self-centred person she was at one time – she has a full-time secretarial job at the RAC on Piccadilly and from the way she talks she has no help at all and they have an old dog she looks after very devotedly, and altogether I am sure she has plenty to do, but she never said a word about it being hard or anything – in fact the opposite – how Norman and the children helped etc. As far as money goes, I don’t think they are hard up, but I am sure that they are a lot less affluent than most of my friends in England, but again she didn’t say anything. The house is in quite a nice part with a quiet road and little gardens – it isn’t very big, and they were in the throes of re-decorating, so it wasn’t all that tidy, but it was all right. All the children are very nice looking – David and Sandra have Norman’s colouring – brown hair and eyes, and both have a very nice clean cut profiles and Jessie’s lovely complexion. Zinnia is blonde and blue-eyed – apparently dyed blonde now, but it looks very nice. Neither of the girls are very tall – I think Linda is taller than either – but Sandra is the one with personality. She is very cute and friendly, whereas Zinnia hasn’t much to say for herself, and as I think I told you, Cec thinks she is a real dumb blonde! They are sending David to a Grammar School in Harrow, I think it is, and so he has quite a long journey each day, but he is a nice boy and he and Charlie got on like a house on fire – they are both pretty much the same type I think and they just disappeared and played games and chitchatted and had a good time. Jessie and Sandra and Linda and I went up into Sandra’s bedroom and looked at clothes and gossiped. Sandra had been to a 21st. party the night before and showed us what she wore – a silver mini dress with silver shoes and stockings! Altogether, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Jessie and Norman and it really felt as if we had seen them 18 weeks ago instead of 18 years.


Our next family was Nan and Dick and their children, and of all my friends they seem to me to be the most like us! By that I mean Dick has the same sort of job as Cec and their circumstances are much the same as ours and they lead the English equivalent of our life here in Canada. If you remember, Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie once wrote and said something about Cheadle being a dreadful place and by this I imagined that it must be very much the suburbs of Manchester with industry around, but it isn’t like that at all. It is suburbs, yes, but it is right amongst the lovely Cheshire countryside, and in about 5 minutes you are in beautiful villages with thatched roofs etc. and no hint of the city at all. The only thing is that Manchester Airport is very near and the jets scream over at all sorts of hours, which must take some getting used to. It didn’t bother me, but Cec said that he couldn’t have lived so near the planes. The house is a nice one in a very nice development. It is detached and although the houses are quite close together they have a lovely long garden at the back which has a gate onto a little lane which is a shortcut to the small shopping centre, which has a very adequate array of shops. The house has a built on garage, and the family which had it before them built on an addition over the garage, so instead of being a 3 bedroom house, they now have 5 bedrooms upstairs, one of which Dick has as a study. Downstairs they have a hall and stairs, a dining room in front of the house and a very nice sitting room with french windows onto the garden at the back. The kitchen is modern and nice and has a space for eating and I was full of admiration as Nan and Dick had done all the decorating themselves and it was all spic and span, with very pretty colour schemes and wallpapers. Dick looked just the same, but with a bit more grey in his hair like the rest of us, and Nan is very much the same too, except that she is now matronly. You couldn’t say she was fat, but she is just a well built woman and her face is fuller. Her hair is grey with white around her face and actually it suits her as she still has a pretty colour and she looks very well. Both the children have gorgeous red hair, and apparently it comes from both sides of the family! Sandy’s is a more golden red and curly and he has a fair rather freckly skin with goldy brown eyes and LONG eyelashes! He’s very tall and slim and I thought he was a very nice looking boy – Linda and Cec don’t think he is as good looking as I do but he has a sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye and a very pleasant personality, so maybe that made me think he was handsomer! Barbara has lovely hair – dark red and very thick – she wears it shoulder length and it is straight, but curls under at the ends and looks very nice. She has a pretty complexion, but she is a big girl and at the moment has rather a long heavy face, if you know what I mean. It is as if she is in the middle of growing and is rather unfinished at the moment. She seems solider and stolider than Sandy, so she didn’t appeal to me as much, but she is a nice girl, and Cec says she will be lovely when she grows up. They are a nice family, but not as carefree and relaxed as the Aldridges. Of course we were staying with them, and they were in a perfect turmoil with Sandy doing one thing and going one place and Barbara somewhere else etc. so I don’t wonder that things were a bit frantic at times, but Nan is a very good manager and was marvellously organized. We got on very well with Nan and Dick, and I felt that if we lived near we would still be good friends. I had a lot in common with Nan because I felt we lived very much the same way as I told you, but of course Nan is never one to tell you her innermost feelings or what she thinks of other people. I thought it was funny – she was talking about John Barton coming to see them one day – he is Dottie’s nephew, Marjorie’s oldest boy, and he is now a psychiatrist. Anyway, Nan said he was telling them his opinion of Dottie’s family, from a psychiatric point of view and according to him they were all queer except Peter. So I laughed and said, “What on earth did he say about the others?”, but Nan just said ‘Oh that would be telling’ or something like that and wouldn’t say, which seems so strange. I would imagine if John was airing his opinions to her and Dick that he was making no secret of them, but she wouldn’t gossip! I didn’t know before, but Sandy is very artistic, and is interested in making a career in the Arts. With his A- level, O-level exam marks he could get into a University easily in Science or Math, but apparently it is very hard to get into a University in Art. The applicants have to send a portfolio of their work to some board, and out of 400 applicants, 100 were chosen and Sandy was one of these, but only 40 were chosen out of this 100, and he wasn’t one of the finalists. However, he is going to go to an Art School in somewhere like Nottingham I think, and then will have another try at getting into a University next year. We were most impressed with the work we saw which he had done. There was a big oil painting on the sitting room wall of the view from his bedroom window in winter, and it was very good – as Cec says, it was good enough so that it might have been painted by anyone! We didn’t see much else in the painting line, but he seems to be very versatile and had a carved wooden knight on a horse on the mantlepiece, and various metalwork ashtrays, and he brought home from school a set of chessmen he was carving. It will be interesting to hear how he gets on.


Our next visit was to Wales to stay with Prof. and Mrs. Sheridan on the Isle of Anglesey. The children and I weren’t looking forward to this too much, because the only member of the family we knew was Prof. Sheridan who has stayed with us in Ottawa a couple of times, and he is rather a queer duck! He is about Cec’s age I suppose, and in the same field of research, but he always seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder, so we wondered what the family would be like. He hasn’t been at the University of Wales for very long, and have built a new house on Anglesey in the small town of Beaumaris. John and Mary were away at a meeting when we arrived, but were coming home later that night, so we had dinner at a hotel in the town and John had left a letter there for us telling us to get the key from the next-door neighbour and to go in and make ourselves at home as they didn’t know when they would be back, so we did just that. It must have been about 9 o’clock when we got there and Mary had written little notes all over the house telling us which beds were for who and where everything was. We unpacked a bit and got organized and then about 10:30 I made a cup of tea, and in the two of them came and shared the teapot with me. Mary turned out to be the nicest person – just as friendly and outgoing as John is quiet and ingoing! In 15 minutes you feel as if you had known her for years and we all liked her very much – Cec had met her before and said she was nice. They have 2 boys – one at boarding school who we didn’t meet, and the younger one who was staying with friends when his parents were away. He came home the next day and was a very cute little fellow. He is about a year younger than Charlie, but much smaller and kind of cute and funny – he and Charlie gotten well together, the small amount they saw each other. We really only had one full day with them and 2 nights, and then we left on the Saturday morning to go to Dottie’s.


We arrived at Dottie’s about teatime and found her and Tim having a cup of tea in the garden, so we joined them. Ken had very kindly got a ticket for Cec to go with him to the British Grand Prix that day, but we couldn’t possibly make arrangements to get there a day earlier when Dottie let us know, so Cec had to say ‘Thank you, but sorry…’ so Ken took his second son Richard with him instead. Ken and his 2 sons are car crazy and Cec said although it would have been interesting to go he would have been sure to show his ignorance, and he was sure that Richard would appreciate it much more. Dottie looked very much the same, but in a way more so! Her eyes deeper set, and her dimples deeper, and of course her laugh lines showing more, like the rest of us. Her figure is just the same and her hair doesn’t show any grey, but somehow both Cec and I thought she showed more signs of tension and being a bit harassed than we would have expected. Mind you, she has a busy time with a big household, but she was always such an efficient happy go lucky kind of person that we were a little bit surprised. Sutton Coldfield is a village which has been sort of surrounded by suburbs, and I believe that driving from there into Birmingham is very dreary – a long built up area, but we never went in to B. at all, and S.C. gives the impression of being country. It has a big park – like a big estate which has been given to the town, with a lake, woods etc. and this is very pretty. The house Dottie lives in is much the type of Roseworth Lawn. Not in appearance particularly but inside, with big rooms and high ceilings and built around the pre-1914 time, I should imagine. It is closer to the road than Roseworth Lawn was, with a big hedge and bushes and a little steep driveway, but behind they have an immense garden, beautifully kept. It is about an acre I think, and has a small flag stone terrace next to the house, then a big lawn with flowerbeds on one side and a pergola on the other, and some big trees. There are more flowerbeds at the end and then at one side a big vegetable and fruit garden, so there is a tremendous lot to look after. They have a gardener coming in a few times a week but Ken and Dottie do a lot of work, and Dottie loves gardening. It was really lovely, but somehow too big to be cosy or personal as it were! I don’t know if it was because I saw Nan’s garden first, but it sticks in my mind as being so pretty, and the roses there lovelier than anywhere else. I don’t remember Dottie having so many roses, but she had beautiful flower arrangements all over the house which she had made from flowers picked in her garden. The living room was a very nice room – sort of dark-oakish if I remember, and Dottie has had it re-decorated and some new furniture since she got married, and said that she had changed things gradually.
The little boy, Tim – about 9– is a strange little fellow. Very much a “Loner” with all the grown-up brothers etc. and Linda and Charlie didn’t like him at all! He is spoilt of course, and they were not at all of an age to appeal to one another. If he had been much smaller Linda would have been delighted, but as it was he was too young for Charlie and they had nothing in common at all. He plays by himself all the time, with obviously imaginative games, talking away to himself all the time and L. and C. were quite amazed to find he still played in the sandbox at that age! At the weekend with all the adults there he just lived a sort of separate life of his own taking no notice of anyone else – the only time Dottie told him to take L. and C. a walk in the park, he apparently marched on ahead of them and never spoke while they trailed behind, and when it began to rain and they said they should turn back he announced he was lost! However, he got them back safely, but Linda was furious and called him ever afterwards “That beastly little boy!” He goes to school nearby, but it is a Jr. school so he must change soon but Dottie says he won’t go away to boarding school as he doesn’t want to, but it seems a pity as it seems as if he needs other children.
During the evening, in came Peter and his fiancé, Val. It was so strange to see Peter – if I’d seen him coming down the street I would have thought it was his father, Ken. I don’t know if you remember Ken Burton very much, but Peter has the same rather stocky figure, his face is the same, his manner is the same, and Ken’s two front teeth grew to a sort of little point – not buck teeth, but a bit forward, and Peter’s are just the same. His voice is even the same and of course he is now very much the same age as Ken was when I last saw him. His fiancé (now his wife – they were married last month) is a little blonde girl – very sweet and adoring and apparently very clever. She has trained as a jewellery designer, and has won all sorts of awards in the De Beers diamond contests, and has made a big name for herself already. She is 22 and is not only the first girl, but the youngest person ever to win these awards so has been on TV and in mags. etc. She was over in New York to get some award last winter and may be again, so we may see her and Peter as he is now working for an American firm in England, but may be sent on a trip to the U.S. too. He works in computing, which of course is big business now and he’s doing very well. Dottie was telling me that Ken had advised him to go into this field, and not being his own father he could take his advice! Peter is apparently much brighter than the other 2 boys, which is a little difficult, but they are good friends. Ken and Richard came in for supper – Ken is a big tall dark man – very good-looking with dark smooth brushed back hair and a toothbrush moustache. He was very nice and kind – seemed quiet, but that may have been with the influx of guests in his house! The son, Richard, about 21 I think, is also tall, but not nearly as good looking as his father. His hair and eyes are dark, and his skin is on the sallow side, but he has one of those faces that slopes out from his forehead to his nose and then slopes back to a rather receding chin. However, poor fellow, he was very pleasant, although I gather he is the one who didn’t do very well in school and isn’t settling in a job very successfully. The older one, Peter’s age, Jem, is very nice. He is a big man too, not as dark as his brother, and very pleasant and friendly – very like his father in his manner, and he works with his father in the firm. He has a pretty little girl friend called Jill, long dark hair and blue eyes, but no engagement yet. Linda and I liked her very much and hope that the romance will prosper. You can see what a weekend Dottie had with us, then her own family and girl friends as well – they all seemed to be there for meals, so she had a busy time, but everyone cleared away and washed up together, so that was a help. Grace and Bob Spellar had asked us over for a drink on Sunday, so as a joke the whole a lot of us went and filled the house! Grace looked just the same and in fact her face was as smooth and unlined as when I saw her last. She’s perhaps a little slimmer, which is an improvement, and is now a grandmother as her oldest boy, John has just become a proud father. John was there to talk to us as he had had an offer from his firm of a job in Canada, so we answered all his questions, but I don’t know if they will come. It didn’t sound as if his wife were too keen.


On the Monday, everyone was back at work, and Tim was at school and after breakfast we set out for Stratford. It was a lovely drive through Kenilworth to Warwick, where we stopped and went over the castle. It was really beautiful, and Linda and I particularly enjoyed all the gorgeous paintings and fascinating things inside, and all the beautiful rooms arranged with lovely furniture, but it didn’t appeal to Cec and Charlie as much as the big ruined Welsh castles with broken down ramparts and little spiral staircases in the walls. Linda will tell you more about Warwick, I’m sure, so I won’t elaborate. We went to a very nice Hotel there and had a lovely lunch – it was a roasting hot day, so we were quite tired after our tour of the castle and gardens, so were glad of the lunch and rest. We got to Stratford in the early afternoon and found it crowded of course. Jessie Aldridge had managed to get us seats for the theatre through the Club where she works, and so we had to go and claim them. Then we toured around and saw the various sights – Shakespeare’s birthplace, his daughter’s house etc. etc. It was so hot – about 83°, that day, so we took full advantage of all the pretty gardens and parks and kept sitting down in the shade of trees wherever we went! We had tea in one hotel, and then we felt we had to have something before the theatre at 8:30, but having had a big lunch, we weren’t all that hungry, and you know in England you either go to a hotel for a Full Course Dinner or to a café for sort of fried egg and chips, and the latter were hot and crowded! Finally we found one kind hotel which put us in a sort of bar-lounge and served me with cider and Cec with beer and the children with cokes and served us a huge plate of sandwiches – tomato, chicken and beef and they tasted wonderful!
We were in good time at the theatre and enjoyed the play, but “All’s Well that Ends Well” is not one of my favourites, and although it was good, it wasn’t outstanding I didn’t think. None of the actors were well known and of course, the theatre is so hideous outside, and although pleasant inside isn’t as different and exciting as OUR Stratford! However, we enjoyed it very much and were delighted that we are now able to say that we have been to Stratford on Avon! We drove back to S.C. and had a cup of tea with Ken and Dottie before going to bed, and said goodbye and thank you to Ken. He was very kind to us and Dottie and they seem most compatible and happy together. It’s nice being able to think of Dottie in those surroundings now and to know what all her new family are like. It’s strange though, of all the friends we met, there were 3 with whom I wasn’t quite at ease. Dottie, Joan Appleyard and Gunborg Sutherland. All the rest I felt I picked up where I left off, and it was easy to talk to them, but with those three I felt a barrier, and it was unexpected with Dottie as we have kept in quite close touch. Perhaps her life has changed too much and too many things have happened to her since we met, or perhaps she was just in a bit of a flap with such a lot to do, but Cec felt it as well, so It wasn’t just my imagination.
You know here I am on page 8, and I have hardly begun, so I am going to send off this installment and continue in my next. I will have been writing this for weeks, a bit at a time, so when I will finish the whole saga I don’t know. You can’t complain that you didn’t hear what I think of everyone after this, but don’t go spreading my opinions to the winds or I won’t have a friend left.
Much love from us all to you and Auntie Muriel – hello to Doris and Luenda from Linda and Charlie.
Will continue in my next ……
Love,

Cyn

4th Oct.

The Royal Pavilion at Brighton

It’s Tibb’s Eve in Newfoundland and here on the opposite coast it is cold with icy roads and fresh snow. Time for another look at Linda’s favourite sight in the summer of 1967 and maybe a Regency romance by the fire!

The Music Room

Then in the Victorian era, about forty years later:

And the twentieth century take on it, which Linda loved:

H.R.H. The Prince Regent awakening The Spirit of Brighton

July 1967: Postcards Sent

Joanna of Naples. Sent to Linda’s friend Joanne because of her name!

Trip Postcards

These are postcards from Cyn and Linda from the holiday in England, sent to Carol a week after Cyn’s letter to her mother. Carol seems to have been on holiday herself, visiting the Otway relatives in Trinidad and Tobago, and the cards were forwarded, with Linda’s second one trimmed so the top and bottom of the message is missing, and the stamps removed, which may account for the water damage that erased a few words.

Long black-and-white postcard showing Warwick Castle from the Bridge. Addressed to Mrs C. Ewing.
19th July 1967
Have finished visiting and have now started our travels. The weather is absolutely wonderful and in Stratford we melted. Saw “All’s well that ends well” at the theatre. Nice lunch with Jean, Peter and Patsy yesterday & short view of Oxford. On to Bath and Wells today.
Love Cyn.

Colour postcard of Holbien’s Henry VIII Portrait. Addressed to Mrs. C. Ewing.

1.
Dearest Grannie,
I feel so ashamed that I haven’t written before, but remember I am writing that journal for you. At the moment it isn’t up-to-date but it will be when I send it. This postcard I got at Warwick Castle when we stopped there on the way to Stratford. It was lovely, full of portraits & lovely tapestries. At Stratford we saw All’s Well that Ends Well.
Cont’d Part one Only

Colour postcard showing drawing of a re-creation of Stonehenge. Address washed out.

Presumably this one started with a #2 since it seems to have continued the discussion of Stratford, but the first and last lines are missing, and other words washed out.
… much. We much prefer our own Stratford, the theatre here is very ugly with no gardens while ours in Ontario is lovely. This reconstruction of Stonehenge is much more impressive than the real thing, I’m afraid. I was sadly disappointed in it. The stones were smaller than I had imagined and the car park …. … . We are having lovely weather, hope you are enjoying…

Travel Diary: July 1967

TRAVEL LOG

It is interesting to compare this Travel Diary I wrote at the age of 15 with the one my grandmother wrote when she was sent to school in England at about the same age, and with the one my mother wrote in her 20s the summer before the 2nd World War began when she and her mother visited New York. [These have already been published in this project.]. Although all three of us recorded the events and sights we saw without including much introspection, I can’t help feeling I was the most at ease, having fun on holiday. I had a purpose, an audience if you like, since I had decided to send my account to my grandmother as an extended letter, so I certainly included opinions, but didn’t have room for detailed critiques. Carol’s journal covers her years at school so starts off as a personal account, but later events or sights seem to have been partially school assignments, since some sections have corrections. My mother’s was a personal record for her eyes only, to remind herself of what she saw at the World’s Fair, and sightseeing in New York and Niagara, but doesn’t contain much about the people she interacted with, her relatives and the friends she made on the ship. I suppose she would not have needed a reminder of them, although her account of the love interest at the end showed emotion- but had a measured, somewhat distant tone- written by someone a decade older than the teenagers perhaps, in a generation fully conscious of what they were facing although she made no mention of the impending war.
Linda was enjoying a holiday with her family in the country she had heard and read about her entire childhood- the child of an immigrant feels a certain connexion to the original home country, even if she doesn’t realize it. I remember flying over the countryside while landing and looking at the fields and roads so irregular and curving, unlike the straight lines of sectioned farmland in Ontario. As we flew low, then drove through London, the roofs of buildings were so eye-catching to us with the chimney pots (although we had read Mary Poppins and sneered at the Dick van Dyck character’s horrible accent as he danced on the rooftops.) And visiting friends, their gardens were different too, lovely, and the local roads with hedges and curves, all memorable, but not what got written down. The Travel Log had prompts at the top of the pages, but Linda started recording ‘My Travels Day by Day’, telling Grannie halfway through to ignore the headings which had changed to ‘Shops Here and There’ and ‘To Be Recommended’ and just carried on until space required summarizing. It was not all written on the road, and seems to have been finished and sent quite a bit later, judging by the accompanying letter, but gives a clear picture of a lovely holiday.

Letter- originally taped to the booklet.

Dear Grannie,
Take a deep breath, put on your best glasses, then firmly open the book and start reading “My Trip to England” by Linda Costain, fifty two pages of my terrible handwriting. I loved writing it and I am so sorry I’ve been such an age about it. I hope you’ll be able to read it and that you like it after you’ve read it. It is sort of an extended letter, written mostly remembering. I’ll write a proper letter soon, answering your last. The only things I want to say now are: 1. Please keep that sweet little cat you described, it will be company for your puppy, please, please keep it. and 2. I was so sorry to hear about Uncle Fred, I hope he gets better, quite often people do. Give him my love. 3. I am running out of space again.
Love Linda

July 10 1967

In the train going to Manchester [Monday] 10th July.

Clarendon Court Hotel
Maida Vale
London W9

Dearest Mama,
Here we are in a very fast train – electric- & if my writing was poor before it will be much worse now! Charlie & I are just back from tea, which was most welcome as we were panting – & Cec & Lindy have now gone.
The weather is heavenly – hot & not a cloud in the sky & has been getting better & better ever since we arrived on Saturday. The trip over was uneventful but uncomfortable. The seats are so cramped now, even though it was a 1st class flight & if I was crowded you can imagine how poor Cec felt! We left at 11:35 p.m. & then were given drinks, then dinner with champagne & afterwards coffee with liquers, but the drinks lost a bit little of their glamour by being served in plastic glasses! (mug type!) After dinner we settled down to snooze, but the sun began to rise at 2 a.m. & before long they served us breakfast! Charlie didn’t do badly – he slept about 2 hours, but Lindy didn’t manage any & Cec & I about 1/2 to 3/4 hr. each! At one point we flew at 739 m.p.h.- the fastest the pilot had ever flown he said. It took us about 6 hrs. or so to fly over, but with time change, plus summer time etc. it was 10:30 a.m. in England when we arrived. It was cloudy over England, but we saw parts of Ireland going over. We got the Airport Bus, then taxi & arrived at the Hotel about noon to find flowers plus a note from Jen & a letter from Nan.
After settling we had a late lunch & then a nap & afterwards rode on top of a bus to Marble Arch! We had dinner in the Hotel & then Jessie & Norman & their boy David (13) came over & we had a drink & long chat together. I also phoned Mary Ewing & Agnes Herzberg who is in London now.
Yesterday morning L. & C. & I went to Matins at St. Paul’s Cathedral & sat right under the dome! Then we met Cec at Marble Arch & had lunch & went to Madame Tussaud’s. It was really quite fun & Charlie & I even went to the Ch. of Horrors which has been cleaned up since my day & has no blood – just murderers!
We went back to the hotel & changed & went to Jessie & Norman’s for tea & met Sandra. Zinnia’s children had chicken pox, so she came over later by herself. Both girls are v. nice looking (David too) but Sandra is the cute, vivacious one – Cec thinks Z. is a dumb blonde! We all had a lovely time & stayed till midnight – had cold ham & chicken salad & strawberries & shrimp & asparagus snacks!! Charlie & David had great fun & L. & C. decided the Aldridges were lovely!
Must stop as this train is too wobbly. Much love from us all to you all – Cyn.

At Nan’s. Wed. 12th July.

Now we are at Nan’s & L. & I are keeping out of the way while Sandy & Barbara get ready & pack, as they are both going off with school groups this noon. Sandy to walk 240 miles down the Pennines (in 2 weeks) & Barbara to a Youth Hostel near Carlisle. They are both big – red hair of course & S. looks like his father & Barbara more like Nan at 13. Sandy is 18 next month & is v. good looking & a nice boy – amusing & bright – Barbara is quieter.
Nan, as you said, is awfully like her mother now – & in fact Jessie is too & they say I am like you, so we are all growing like our mothers! Nan & Dick (who is v. kind) have a nice house & the FLOWERS! It is apparently a wonderful year for roses & they are just gorgeous – every shade & every colour & kind & Nan has the hugest Peace rose in a vase on the mantelpiece. The country around is lovely & everywhere we go are these heavenly roses in all the gardens.
Cec picks up our car this afternoon & tomorrow morning we set off for N. Wales & Bangor. The weather is being wonderful – warm & mostly sunny. It is dull this morning but yesterday was the same & it got sunny by noon.
Must stop now. Love to the Otway families from us all & lots to you –
Cyn.

The Centennial Project

[So sorry about the hiatus- blame climate change: isolated island life, West Coast winter weather, cancelled ferries, though nothing like the disasters in the BC interior. I will try and catch up.]

The Costain Family, off to Britain!

It is perhaps not surprising that Cyn’s Centennial Project, as an immigrant to Canada, was to return to England for the first time in eighteen years. Cec and Cyn had been planning this for years- but the demands of family, finances, and work had put off the trip. Cec had visited there and seen friends, as he passed through on work- related travels, and Cyn had kept in touch with letters, but the summer of 1967 was carefully organized to see as many friends, and as much of the U.K. as possible in a month. Cyn’s friend, Jessie Aldridge, who lived in London, helped set it up there.
The letter to her mother is missing, but Carol kept the itinerary page, which must have been a help when Linda’s Travel Diary of the trip was finally sent to St.Vincent. So here is Page 6, with Cyn signing off.

6.
… they came up to Expo, that they might do that after their holiday in Maine in August.
I am going to stop now and try and get our Itinerary on this piece of paper – our postage has gone up too, so I must be economical. Much love from us all to you and Auntie Moo and lots of love from the children.
Much love Cyn. [handwritten in pencil]

July 7 Fri. Leave Ottawa – direct 1st Class Charter Flight. 11 PM
8 Sat. Arr. London airport 11 AM. Hotel in Little Venice, London, booked by Norman and Jessie for us.
9 Sun. Go to see Jessie and Norman.
10 Mon. Sightsee- leave by train for Manchester around 6 PM. Met by Nan and Dick and to stay with them.
11 Tues. Linda and Charlie going to school with Barbara & Sandy for the fun of it!
12 Wed. Might fly over to the Isle of Man for the day, but if it is too expensive will skip it. [Didn’t happen.] Pick up car.
13 Thurs. Leave for Bangor, North Wales, and stay with Prof. Sheridan and his family on Isle of Anglesey. He is a friend of Cec’s and has stayed with us here a few times.
14 Fri. Still with Sheridans.
15 Sat. Drive to Sutton Coldfield to stay with Dottie. Peter and his fiancé will be there.
16 Sun. Dottie’s.
17 Mon. Dottie is booking us tickets at the theatre in Stratford, so will drive over and sightsee and come back to sleep.
18 Tues. Drive to Oxford and hope to see Jean and Peter for lunch. Drive on towards Bath and stay wherever we find a place.
19 Wed. See Bath and drive to Wells for tea with Ruth and family. Charlie has given up his home in N/cle and is there with them, so will see them all. Drive on towards Salisbury and spend the night somewhere on the way.
20 Thurs. See Stonehenge, Salisbury, to Portsmouth to see Nelson’s ship ‘Victory’ and then find a place to stay.
21 Fri. Drive along South Coast to Canterbury and spend the night.
22 Sat. Drive to London, turn in the car, and take the train to Glasgow with sleepers overnight.
23 Sun. Pick up are another car in Glasgow. Drive to friends the Tylers who were here for 2 years & have lunch. Drive on to Loch Lomond where we have a hotel booked at Luss.
24 Mon. Drive around the Trossachs and to Edinburgh. Spend the night.
25 Tues. Sightsee. Catch a train in late afternoon to N/cle and visit Sheedys, Cooper’s etc. Catch night train at midnight to London with sleepers.
26 Wed. London – back to hotel at Little Venice. Sightsee and visit Mary Ewing and relatives etc. til
31 Mon.
Aug. 1 Tues. To Cambridge till we go back to London Airport and catch the plane for Ottawa
3 Thurs.

A few comments to finish this off. When I read this plan, I am amazed. All that driving- so Canadian- from one side of the country to the other! I wonder what their friends thought of it? I lived in England for a year, visited over the years several times on my own and with my husband, and never saw as much of the U.K. as we covered in this month. For my brother and I, the visiting of friends was a strain- the adults sat upstairs talking and laughing, having a lovely time catching up, and we sat downstairs with the friend’s children in polite silence, having little to say to these new acquaintances. (I believe I protested loudly when we were on our own about what I described as ‘Quaker meetings’.) Once we were on our own it was fine, even though we liked different things- Charlie got tired of cathedrals. But I remember the sea in Wales, where we gathered lovely stones on the beach and transported them in the car until they were ‘forgotten’ when we changed transportation. I remember stops on the road at pubs for lunch, where Charlie and I had to eat in the gardens, which was no punishment, and the unusual but delicious sandwiches we had. (Nothing exciting, but cheese and tomato and ploughmans were new to us.) And I remember shopping- books of course, but also going to Carnaby Street in London, buying a kilt in Edinburgh, and getting trinkets to remember the places we saw. Finally postcards- I may not have sent many, but I bought them, and made a scrapbook of my own with my collection once I got home. It was a fabulous holiday.

January to August 1965

A note about the new high school. I went into Grade 9 at Gloucester High School, along with students from the entire township, some living as far as 40 miles from the school. Some came from the French village of Orleans, other from farm communities with one-room schools, and they had a long commute on school buses. It was quite a culture shock even for us living locally- the high school had a cafeteria where one could buy lunch, an auditorium with a stage, and a library. There were 5 grades in High School, 9 to 13, and 5 different programs offered- 2 year Hairdressing for girls, and Auto Mechanics for boys, with a certificate after completing Grade 10; 4 year Business and Commerce for girls and Technology for boys, with Junior Matriculation and Graduation after Grade 12; and an Academic stream that continued into Grade 13 for those aiming for university with Senior Matriculation at graduation. There was a Francophone stream for the French-speaking students, and French or Français classes for the academic students, depending on their mother tongue. There were 10 Grade 9 classes when I began, so over 200 students in that grade alone, and the school grew every year I was there- a second floor added on above the original level; a new wing with more technical and shop classes; a tower with pie-shaped classrooms replaced the teacher’s parking lot; and after 5 years, a community swimming pool being built beside the school, so gym classes could take advantage of the facility. Meanwhile, the developments around the school continue to expand. In Grade 9, cows in the field separating the school from the new highway used to come and look in the windows. In subsequent years, there were townhouses, apartment buildings, and new roads covering the fields beside the school and between the Montreal Road that we had lived on and the Queensway a mile south. The village of Orleans was growing, new developments went up in the fields beside the Ottawa river, and were spreading to join up. It was the baby boom generation being educated and 10 years later, in my student teaching year and times of unemployment that followed in my 20s, I had 3 more English-speaking high schools to choose from in the area, with French high schools operating separately. Ottawa had grown.

The scrapbook page for 1965 shows invitations and Valentines, showing that the adult Costains were involved with friends both local and abroad. The computer card is an invitation from Cec’s new Post-Doctorate Fellow, Harry Kroto, and his wife Margaret. They were a marvellous young couple from England, interesting, enthusiastic and full of fun. I remember one party with people from Cec’s Lab. where Harry and Margaret played a magic game with their audience, using a blindfold and the poker from the fireplace as props. The blindfolded one of the pair knelt on the hearthrug, and was able to identify which person the other was pointing at- I presume by verbal cues- and the children thought they were the coolest couple ever.
Harry was always quite clear about his interest in the visual arts, and how he was torn between science and art as a career. The Krotos were in Canada in 1967 which was the Centennial Year, and visited Expo 67, with the geodesic dome as the USA Pavilion. His later work on Carbon 60, buckminsterfullerene, was linked to this, as he explains:

Cec did not live to see Harry get the the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996 but he was sure it would happen when he heard about Harry’s work with buckyballs. When Harry learned Cec was ill in 1991, he sent him a book- A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations by Alan L. MacKay, into which he had inserted a quotation from his time at the N.R.C. : Cec Costain- “If it doesn’t work, just kick it here.” to HWK in 1965 when the power supply did not work.
On the cover page he wrote, ‘To Cec and Cin, Two of our very best friends with love Harry and Margaret. Thanks for engineering my move to microwave spectroscopy- By far the nicest group of scientists due in no small measure to you and E.B.W. The quote on page 62 is one of my favourites. P.S. The rotational spectrum of C60 is too weak even for Jim W. to detect.’ The admiration and affection were mutual.
Other friendships are illustrated on this page- the third Sutherland daughter, Mary’s, wedding invitation, and a cryptic thank you card from a visiting Australian, Frank (Mercer?) whom they hadn’t seen since their Cambridge days.
The year continued with family birthdays, Spring Break and Easter, with school and work, but the big excitement of the spring was Carol visiting from the West Indies.

She was there for all the activities in June, the summer, and on into the fall- her usual long stay, having not seen the Costains since 1960, she would have needed to adjust to the changes in the children!
Charlie’s Graduation from Grade 8 was the final event of June, but there were other activities first. Grannie would have been very happy to be there for Charlie’s Confirmation in early June at church, and her best hat would have come out for the Governor General’s Garden Party.

Cec’s birthday and Father’s Day were celebrated, they enjoyed snaps from the Costains out west, and the whole family was pleased by the new porch at the back of the house- the open deck from the garage to the back door was now screened in with comfy chairs and tables, nice for eating in during the hot summer days when the mosquitos were bad under the trees!

The annual photo of the Lab on the steps of the N.R.C. shows Dr. Herzberg and Alec Douglas centre front, greying, Cec smiling in the second row end right, and Harry Kroto third row far left also with a big grin.

As the school year ended, the children wrote their exams- an intimidating exercise in high school for Linda, with the gym lined with rows of desks, fluorescent lights buzzing, invigilators prowling around, and hundreds of students writing earnestly in the hushed atmosphere. Both got their reports and were promoted, but Charlie’s graduation was a special ceremony because he not only got his diploma and the Citizenship Award, he also was the Valedictorian, speaking on behalf of all his fellow graduates.


After that, the family once more rented a cottage for three weeks in July at Lake Bernard.

There were beds, but not enough bedrooms, so the children slept on the open, but sheltered, porch. The renting family had asked the Costains to look after the raccoons, and Linda and Charlie found that this meant a whiskered face and a very hand-like paw, peering at them in bed.

The kits were adorable, and the children fed the family who went down to the lake to wash their spoils, which was a relief to all concerned- both animals and humans just as happy to keep a certain distance from each other.

In August, Cec went on a trip to Denmark and stayed with their friend Chris Müeller. Linda turned 13, finally a teenager, and she and Charlie got ready for high school- Linda assuring him it would be much better than elementary!

December 1963 to June 1964

The school year continued , and Christmas approached with the usual concerns of overseas parcels, cards, baking, and Charlie’s birthday. The plan to spend Christmas in Brantford was scotched, along with Charlie’s birthday festivities, when he came down with shingles- a connection from our earlier bout of chicken pox in 1957. However, he recovered in time for us to visit the Moors for New Year which was fun for the children staying up late watching old movies with their cousin Bruce, and necessary for the adults to discuss plans for the summer wedding of the oldest cousin John with Sharon- who had asked Linda to be a bridesmaid!

The winter of 1964 involved fundraising events for the church- Cyn’s Cookery Demonstration for adults, and for the young people a Sleigh Ride. This was not a happy, cozy, ‘jingle bells’ experience in my opinion. There was no ‘one-horse open sleigh’, instead a pair of horses dragged a flatbed strewn with straw on runners slowly though fields covered with knee-deep snow. The jolly companions on the wagon competed in shoving their weaker ’friends’ off the wagon into the snow, forcing them to run to the point of exhaustion to try to scramble on to the conveyance, sometimes aided by compassionate friends, or repelled by nastier bullies. The bridge of Linda’s nose received a lifelong bump when she was helpfully pulled on – along with several more victims who ended up on top of her and her glasses. The hot chocolate served at the end of the ride was poor compensation for the experience.

At school there were preparations for the musical play to be performed in the spring, and at home more personal excitement. It had been arranged that Linda would meet Sharon in Toronto during Spring Break to join the other bridal attendants for dress shopping. An air ticket was bought for Linda’s first flight alone- and I can clearly remember how I was dressed for that trip. I had a grey suit with a jacket and pleated skirt. With it I wore a white pillbox hat, white gloves (both nylon with stretchy elastic) and white socks with black shoes. John and Sharon met me at the airport and we joined the other junior bridesmaid and Sharon’s two adult friends at a bridal shop and proceeded to try on dresses. I was shy- I only knew Sharon of the party, and uttered no opinions on the outfits, but it was finally agreed that we would be wearing pretty green full- skirted dresses with white accessories. I went to Brantford with the party for the weekend, and presumably they put me back on the plane in Toronto, and I returned home with great relief. I wish there existed a letter giving Cyn’s take on the excursion (I expect I had plenty of opinions to express about it once I was home) but I remember nothing more. Probably Cyn had agreed to make sure my dress was fitted properly when it arrived, and now we just had to wait for the summer.

Easter was at the end of March, and Cyn’s birthday followed, with celebratory cards from her closest friend in England, Nancy Heslop.

The school play that year “Asses’ Ears” was a musical telling the story of the Greek King Midas, not involving his golden touch, but his later offence to the god Apollo’s music, punished with donkey’s ears. He hid these under turbans but his barber knew the secret, and whispered the news to the corn- and the growing corn rustled the news to the reapers. Grade 7s and 8s were involved in the singing chorus- and Linda and her friends were also the secondary singing-and-dancing barbers, with a jolly song “Midas has got asses’ ears” to perform. It was presented in the auditorium of the new high school that had just been built, and the Grade 8 students were very interested to see the school they would be going to after their graduation in June.

In June, there were exams, we passed, got our report cards, and Linda would be going into Grade 9 in the high school built beside the new bypass, the Queensway, a four-lane highway designed to relieve Ottawa’s traffic congestion, and link the growing suburbs being built east and west of the city.

Graduation from Grade 8 was a rite of passage that involved one of Cyn’s most successful dresses for Linda- a white sleeveless dress with a panel down the front, embroidered with pink rosebuds. This was the first time I wore nylon stockings- with garter belt and suspenders attached (pantyhose had not been invented then)- to be followed by the second time later that summer, as bridesmaid. I felt almost adult- I would be going to high school, and when I started there I would be a teenager.