Dearest Lindy- I carefully wrote down your college address – & now I cannot find it, so this must go to Ottawa & be forwarded. It will probably turn up sometime after I posted this – I am enclosing a PC to remind you of the tropics now that winter is here! I have now been home in St. Vincent two weeks & 2 days – but it seems ages and ages ago since I flew off from Kennedy Airport. Last week we had a great celebration as St. Vincent assumed its ‘Statehood’. There were all sorts of functions beginning with a Service of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral, which was truly packed; Jack Otway [their nephew] came from Trinidad that morning & went with us to the service. Then he went with me to a Cocktail party next afternoon at the Botanical Gardens – fortunately, it was fine – as there were quite 1000 people there, but inspite of crowd, Jack & I quite enjoyed ourselves – eating snacks, & drinking juice! There were also banquets & balls, & lots of jumpings-up & steel bands in the streets, & much rejoicing everywhere. We now have a Governor (English – at present) & a Prime Minister, & other men to run the government – mostly black. I am so glad you got home for Thanksgiving & I wonder if you are returning for your graduation sometime soon? A case of better late than never eh? Your Mum told me your friends were talking of going to spend a weekend with you. I wonder if it came off & if they all packed into your room? What a squash! How about your music & singing. I hope you’re keeping them up – & are you in the choir? Write & give me all your news. Mill writes they’ve had snow already – very early surely? I hope it’s not too cold with you? Very much love from me, & Moo, & Jacko! Yr loving- Grannie.
Darling Lindy, I have just finished writing to Grannie and will just write you a short letter too to say that I hope you have a lovely weekend in Brantford and survive the change in Toronto, etc. all right! I know that you will but it is alarming to think about things beforehand sometimes. Maybe Uncle Dix will drive you in on your way back. I forwarded your Commencement invitation to you yesterday, so you will be able to make all the arrangements with Bruce about when he is to come etc. Daddy and I will get your ticket to the dance through Charlie but anyway, we will be able to talk about that when you are home next week. It’s so nice that you have this time at home so that we can get organized because it would be so hard to make things for you at a distance. I have been ironing and piecing the bits of the green sari and I am now sure that I can get it out of the material, and I think it will look very pretty. Daddy and I laughed like anything over the account of the girls measuring you in the letter we got yesterday, but anyway, I must say that I think the pear-shaped Hazell bit is preferable to having hips 31 as well as bust! I hope to have a dress more or less done by the time you come home so that we can try it on and do any minor alterations before finishing it, and then I can concentrate on the long one. I spread the gay material for your lounging pyjamas on the floor of your room with the pattern on it to see how it would go and Saki is delighted! She keeps rushing in and skidding on it, and of course loves lying on the rustly paper pattern! I haven’t the heart to put it away, but I will cut the pattern out today so that at least the paper isn’t all scrubbled up! I was so delighted to know that the weekend with Janet and Joey went so well. In your letter that Janet brought you sounded as if you thought Joanne might be bored, but both the girls were very pleased and excited about it when I talked to them and I am sure that they both had a lovely time. You sounded as if you enjoyed it too and I think that this is a good criterion – if you enjoy a visit or party other people do too. I am glad that the goodies were a success, but I don’t suppose you had many left after the weekend. I don’t think that there are any more Snoopy strips to send you – the ones I put in the parcel were all that there were about the Head Beagle- actually, he just went to see the H.B. all filled with fear and trembling, and he never turned up, and now it has kind of faded out.
To go back to the weekend and Jean – did you by any chance see her Formal that she made at Th.giving weekend? It is out of sheer material, I hear, but knowing how sloppy Jean’s sewing can be, I wondered if you had seen it and what you thought of it. Did Janet mention Commencement or wasn’t it possible to talk about it because of Joey? I don’t think that I have anything thrilling to tell you about since I last wrote. Oh, except, Charlie went to Dr. W. yesterday afternoon to get a tooth filled and I went to the book shop again, and I got a lovely oldie! It is called ‘T. Tembaron’, and it is by the Little L. Fauntleroy person only this is supposed to be an adult book, not a children’s. It is all about a New York paper boy, who inherits a great place in England – does the plot sound familiar? Anyway, it is enormous fun, and I sat and read it all yesterday evening – nauseating and ridiculous and I am enjoying it hugely! Something for you to Read in Reading Week! By the way do you have loads of work to do when you are home? I think that we will have to have an Early To Bed curfew so that you can catch up on all those lost hours of sleep. Poor lamb, Daddy and I were so sorry for you when you wrote about the practical joke they played on you when the kids wrecked your room. It is no fun being the victim of a practical joke and unfortunately I don’t think that you can live a communal existence without coming up against it. Let’s hope that they will grow out of this immature business, and that you won’t have to put up with it much more. The only thing to do that I can see is to pretend that you don’t care, but it is very hard. It was a shame that both Terry and Cathy were away so that you had no moral support, but I think that you were probably even more upset because you were very tired, and you must try and get to bed a bit earlier now that your essay is over. I told you in my last letter that we were going to the Smorgasbord on Friday evening. Actually, Charlie was involved with a Basketball tournament on the Friday after school so he didn’t even know if he could come, but in the end he came with Alan and they just ate together and then disappeared. I went down at 1 o’clock with Marjorie and Mrs. James and Mrs. Davis, and Betty and Chris Best were there, and we set tables, made salad and scalloped potatoes, cut the peameal bacon I had cooked etc. We were there till about 4 and then came home. I was supposed to help Marjorie keep the buffet table supplied, but Daddy didn’t get home till 5:30 and then he was pooped so we had a drink and then went and collected Edna Renault’s casserole and got down about 6. The place was seething! We had set places for 114, but I think that we must have had about 150 altogether. Marjorie had lots of help so it seemed mean to leave Daddy on his own, so I chickened out and went with him and ate. It was a bit of a scramble, but it was OK. Not nearly as nice as when there was a smaller number of course and some of the casseroles looked very dull, and Daddy had one that he said was absolutely tasteless, but there was enough of everything except desserts and I think Mrs. G and Laura were a bit generous in the way of 2nd helpings to small boys! I made a big upside down cake, and was conservative and had a piece of it myself! Afterwards I went and helped serve tea and coffee a bit, and then when the magician came, Daddy and I came home. They made 100 dollars profit so that was quite nice. Fr. Graham phoned me on Sat. and asked if I would have one of these Sherry parties for the parish, but he wanted it next week or the week after, so I told him that with Daddy going into hospital I just couldn’t do it. We have left it that if he can’t get anyone else to do it in this area I’ll have it later in the month. You asked on the phone for me to tell more about why Daddy is going into the hospital – well it is for tests to begin with. Dr. K. thinks his throat, sinus and nose trouble may all be caused by an allergy, and of course Granpa has had this all his life and both A. Merle and Carman have the same trouble. In addition to this the thyroid gland is enlarged, so what they are going to do is take a sort of picture of the inside of his throat with measurements and do tests for allergies, etc. and then decide on what to do. If they decide to operate (take a piece off the gland or something – Peter Savic had it done a few years ago) then Daddy would be in hospital for a week or 10 days, and three weeks off work, but we will have to wait and see. We have heard nothing more from Dr. K about going in or anything, but I presume they will let us know this week. Daddy doesn’t say anything about it you know so I can’t tell you if he is worried or what. You will be here next week anyway and find out what it is all about. I must stop as I am STARVING! Doesn’t that sound like one of your letters? I want to sew this afternoon and horrors! I have forgotten to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner! Daddy and I go to the Arts Centre on Thurs. for ‘Hamlet’ – Charlie goes another night in Much more expensive seats! Britta Lagerquist has just phoned up to ask Daddy and me to dinner later this week- I hope she doesn’t use so much perfume this time! Lots of love from us all and PRRR – p from Saki! See you soon – nice – Mummy
As Cyn was making Linda’s garments for her high school graduation, Linda was preparing for it by visiting her aunt and uncle in Brantford to solidify plans for her cousin Bruce to be her escort for the occasion. These two notes from Merle Moor (Auntie Merle) refer to the arrangements for Linda to visit over the weekend, but the exciting thing in Merle’s life was the Education degree she was pursuing in her sabbatical year at Wayne State University just over the U.S. border in Detroit. It would have been a 3-4 hour drive from Brantford, and my brother Charlie remembers that she bought a little Mustang- red perhaps?- to handle the weekend trips home. She was delighted with it and everyone else was charmed by Merle driving a sports car! As a teacher in her 50s, it was a sensible financial move- a Master’s degree would increase her salary and prospects of advancement, and her pension upon retirement would be based on the salary of her five best years.
Dear Costains — Thought you might like to have a look at the bldg where I am spending some time. Lectures last 2 1/2 hrs – usually a bare 10 min. break in the middle. Fussy [their cat] seems to be somewhat better, but apparently her heart is not beating properly- just fluttering so she may not live much longer. 16 1/2 yrs is a ripe old age. I think somehow we figured that she would stay with us! Just drop us a note Linda re time of arrival – Oct. 24 – I hope. We are looking forward to seeing you. Love, Merle.
62 Lorne Cres. Brantford Oct. 20, 1969.
756-5433 (us) 759-3425 (Lorne)
Dear Linda, Just a short note to say how pleased I was to hear from you & to get the pictures. (If the Halls want some, I’ll get the negatives from your mother.) So glad university isn’t quite as bad as you feared & that you are enjoying it for the most part. Those TV lectures must be unbelievable, especially in subjects such as Math. [In my letter I must have alluded to my friends’ experiences at other universities, because we had in-person lectures, seminars or tutorials, plus I never had to take Math!] Everyone here in top shape at present. We are hoping to see you this weekend so won’t try to give you any news. Since we don’t know when – or if for sure – you’re coming, we’ll meet Friday evening trains. If you arrive & find no one there, phone one of the above numbers for immediate service! Looking forward to seeing you soon. Love Merle P.S. Bruce will be home this coming weekend of course. He is finding work fairly heavy this year.
As this letter suggests, Cec’s presents from his travels in Australia and Japan have finally arrived in Ottawa- and Peterborough probably! There is no letter describing my gift, and I can’t find it to insert a picture, but: one day in the Porter’s Lodge of Trail College there was a large battered box with my name on it, come all the way from Australia. It created much excitement, which was topped only when the box was opened and a soft cuddly koala bear emerged, not quite life-sized, but pretty big, and very huggable. The soft fur was actually kangaroo, and he made a sensation on my floor. The present that was not so exotic was an opal ring, also Australian, greenish blue, because my father knew I loved opals. Meanwhile, my mother was very kindly making the rest of a sari (which had already become a wedding outfit for herself at a summer family wedding ) into a mini dress for me to wear for my high school graduation in November, and was urging me to find a pattern for a formal dress for the graduation party the following night. This was the preoccupation of many of the girls in first year at college- snare a new boyfriend and then go home and show off! Since I had no ambitions in that direction, my mother and aunt had arranged for my cousin Bruce, now in his second year at McMaster University, to come up for the weekend and be my escort. Charlie and Bruce and I got on well so I was delighted when he agreed, and eventually we had a good weekend.
49 Cedar Road, Ottawa 9, Ont.
15th Oct. Wed.
Darling Lindy, I have just got a big parcel in the mail with Coral marked on the outside, so I wonder if you have got your parcel yet. Is it nice? Are you excited? I haven’t opened mine yet as I thought I should let Daddy and Charlie have some of the fun too, but I am filled with curiosity. I’ll let you know what it looks like later. I have spent the whole morning dunning (duning?) Nursery School parents for their fees. So many excuses you never heard – car accidents – husbands with big contract – carried around in purse for weeks, etc. but the favourite is a breathless silence and then ‘Hasn’t my husband sent those in yet?’ I am having my elevenses now (coffee with no milk or sugar – ugh!) and then plan to retire up to your room and sew. I have taken up the machine and hope that your black table won’t collapse under the strain. I cut out my navy blue material yesterday afternoon and want to get it made to wear tomorrow night to go to the Little Theatre – I go to a WA meeting tonight, but I don’t think that I can get it done for that! After I have made that I think that I will make your green graduation dress and for that I want: YOUR MEASUREMENTS Bust 31 1/2_____ Waist 24 1/2_ Hips 36___ Length______34___ (filled in with pencil) Can you get one of your friends with a tape measure to fill this in and then send it back to me soon. I know we should have done it but I quite forgot. The length I want is from the middle of the back at the neckline down to the hem. Probably if you decided which of your dresses is the length you want your green one to be and measure that one, that would be best – I don’t want to have to lose the lovely coloured edge of the sari so I need the length to be fairly accurate so I can just make a tiny hem. I am getting quite excited about making it, so I hope it looks nice. When you are down town go on looking for a pattern of a formal you would like – try the Vogue book if you can find one and if you find a short dress you like that would be OK we could just make it longer but it would be best to have an A-line so that you would have room to walk. Ditto with material – if you find something GORGEOUS, go ahead and get it! I went upstairs this morning and found your bed which I had carefully made yesterday with the coverlet all pulled down at the top, so obviously your pussy cat snuggled in there sometime yesterday! Charlie was out at his Driver T. class last night so it was probably then. He doesn’t get to drive for quite a while yet, so is a bit disappointed I think. On the way home from seeing you on the bus, he suddenly said “I never got a chance to drive the car.” So I suggested that we go into the NRC parking lot then and there and he could have a little lesson, and that is what we did. He managed fine except for a few jerky starts, but he was cottoning onto it by the time we finished. How did you make out on your bus trip? I hope that Amanda was a better travelling companion than the girl you came up with, and that you weren’t too late getting back to Traill. Did you get a taxi all right? We never got a chance to say a proper goodbye, but it was a lovely weekend honey, and it was wonderful to see you so happy and full of fun. I found your winter gloves yesterday (inside your fox hood), so I am sending them to you, as it is getting quite chilly for the little paws. I have your mittens too, but they are bulky so they can wait till you come home next time. Did the other girls have nice weekends? I can imagine the chit-chat going on till all hours of the night. Is there anything you want me to send down by Janet? I thought I might give her a cake to bring down so that you would have something to eat with your cups of tea, and so that Janet won’t starve with all the Traill food she won’t like! Later. The dinner is on cooking and I am waiting for Daddy. I got on beautifully today with my dress and should finish it easily tomorrow – I have to do the zip, put in the sleeves and do the hem and I think that it is going to look nice. I will get that bluey-grey material from SC and make the same pattern with short sleeves I think. Lee Gander phoned up today and we are going out to a Chinese dinner before the theatre tomorrow night, and on Friday Daddy and I are going to a CAP dinner, so we are having a tres gay week. Tonight Charlie and Daddy are watching a football game, and hoping that Ottawa will redeem itself. Next Morning. Ottawa did win, so I came back from the WA meeting to find two happy men! Nothing very exciting happened at the meeting – I sat beside Edna Thomas and knitted. Remember your pale blue sweater to match the pale blue skirt? I cut off the sleeves sometime ago and now I picked up the stitches and knit on a welt to make short sleeves- at least I got one finished and began the other so that will be ready for you when you come home. The brown check jumper has got the zip in I discovered, but it needs shortening and I don’t know how much, so I may measure against one of your other dresses or wait till you get home. I am finishing this letter in a scurry as Daddy has gone down to the Montreal Labs and I have the car until he comes back and I want to go to SC and St. L. We opened the coral last night and it is very pretty- one they call, staghorn, like branches, white with little green tips, and another that is like a flower in bloom – a sort of hollyhock blossom if you can imagine it. It is a creamy white and lovely, but Daddy expected them to be mounted on something, and they’re not, but they look very exotic anyway. Must fly- Lots of love from us all Mummy.
This letter is from my Costain grandmother, Elida Eakin Costain, whom we had visited in British Columbia just the month before- which may explain the letter I sent, to which this is a reply. She and my grandfather lived close to their youngest son and family, and she mentions Leslie, her younger granddaughter, but it is true that our generation had many more boys than girls, so that I was the oldest granddaughter. It is amusing to note the similarities between the letters from both grandmothers [see previous post]- practically identical notepaper, hopes that university is enjoyable for me, family news, personal interests, local events, and an awareness of the importance of tea! I’m not sure they ever met, and they were quite different people, but I was lucky to have both of them in my life. In her discussion of the family, she refers to Merle Moor, her oldest daughter, who was taking a sabbatical to finish an Education degree in the States, her 3 sons now being adults. The Elizabeth she mentions was Merle’s daughter-in-law, mother of the 2 great-granddaughters, and I think Elida was pleased that yet another Costain connection was going into teaching. The 4 grandchildren who lived near her in Penticton were of most interest to her and the details about David’s various Okanagan Valley pets were always of slightly horrified interest to us. The clipping is sadly not very clear- Penticton was and is a tourist town but I’m not sure she approved.
357 Townley St., Penticton Sept. 30, 1969
Dear first grandaughter,- So good to receive a letter from you. We just received it a few days ago and the teapot stand, which I put on the table to try it out. The three legs or feet on it makes it easy to tip if the tea pot is not put carefully on the centre of it. We hope you are all settled in well at Trent by now and beginning to enjoy the classes and getting down to study. Also, hope you are making some good friends. Good to see Auntie Merle & Uncle Dix almost before you got unpacked from the holiday trip. Does Cyndie make up with you more quickly now? Both she and Debbie are both pretty cute little girls. [Her 2 great-granddaughters.] I expect you will be going to Brantford for Thanksgiving holiday maybe. Auntie Merle will be home then most likely. I think Merle said Elizabeth was going to Normal school. Too bad dad & I are not in Ont. this winter to keep house for Dix. He is going to be lonesome I am sure. I will tell Leslie you are expecting a letter from her. Leona was here this AM for a few minutes, but I did not get her to write down your address. She did read your letter. David has a man teacher this year and likes him very much. He is one of the Curling Club members. David had a bull snake for a pet. He found it down at Oliver. Even Leslie got used to it and put it under her blouse. It went around her neck and then down and came out of her shorts leg. Oct. 2 We have coastal weather this fall. [Unusual for the Okanagan which I connect with desert.] For three weeks we have had showers in the day or at night, and very little sunshine, – an hour or two, but rarely all day, so it is getting monotonous. We have a lot of green tomatoes on the vine and more sunshine would ripen some of them, I think. It does keep the cucumbers growing a little so I may get a few more dill pickles. Are you able to use the tea set in your room? Or do they allow you to boil water?
There is a Church of God Convention in the city now and the city is full up in the north end. The paper says they are spending lots of money here. I am sending a picture of the huge tent. We have not seen it yet. There are over 6000 people from Canada and the U.S.A. and some even farther away. They plan to come every year. They keep Sat. instead of Sunday, like the Seventh-day Adventists. I must close now and make a trip down town for some sewing materials – thread, zipper & ribbon for my new dress. Much Love to you, Granma C.
Dearest Lindy, How are you getting on at College? Of course, I heard from your Mummy all about your arrival there & that Charlie went with you, & everything went well, but I want to hear more details from you, now you are nicely settled. I gathered you had a very nice room to yourself – but the colour scheme must have been rather a shock at first – reds & purples sound loud after your creams & gold, but it’s wonderful what one can get used to isn’t it? Cyn told me it was very nicely furnished and carpeted – so I hope you are remembering to keep it nice & tidy, is it inspected daily? [Shades of a pre-WW1 British boarding school!] It was nice that you 1st year students were there earlier than the others & had a chance to get to know one another before the rush & studies began – & I hope you have met some really nice boys & girls you can be friends with. I wonder how you got on, as just after you went to College, we heard on the radio that temperature in Canada had dropped from 80° to 40° & I thought of you & how you would not have your Mum handy to turn on the thermostat as soon as the temp. dropped – did you wake and shiver? We have been having some lovely, fine days, sunny, but chilly in the shade. You will be surprised to hear that I am still in New York. My time with Monie was cut short – as an old Uncle of Owen’s came to stay with them so I have been with Marguerite in the meanwhile, but will be returning to Mona this week until the 15th Oct. when I fly off to St. Vincent once more. Soon after I get back, our little island is to gain its independence, & there are to be great celebrations I hear – so I’ll be just in time for all the excitement!
We have had quite an exciting Service in Church today as the Bishop was there for confirmation & there was also a christening & Marguerite was presented with the Bishops’ cross- a big honour, but poor Margs was so nervous she didn’t enjoy it! although she did get a kiss from the Rector, who is a fine big, jolly young man – Must fly to the post now, so bye-bye. Write soon. Much love, Grannie.
This letter from my grandmother reminded me of more things I had forgotten! I have long been critical of my uncle Carman, but he could sometimes give marvellous presents that were spot on. (He could also give one that reflected an interest you had had two years before and out-grown.) As my grandmother suggests, sending me roses on my 18th birthday was a thrill, being totally unexpected for one thing, and also because when we had visited that summer and I had expressed doubts about going away to university, he had assured me that it was going to be a success, that I would enjoy it, in fact I believe the ‘best years of your life’ were mentioned. A bit sad if that’s really what he felt, but reassuring at the time in spite of the cliché.
18 Curley Street, Long Beach.
This is Labour Day & a holiday here, so I can’t post a long letter I wrote to your Mummy as I have no stamps – so have decided to enclose a note to you & to send you my verygoodwishes for Life at College. I don’t know when you go or what your address will be, so you must let me know, as I am sure you will enjoy getting letters when away from home.
That reminds me I heard from Aunt Muriel recently & she said “I’ve had such a nice letter from Linda- quite the best yet – she is growing up fast, so is Charlie, I can tell by their letters”- I was so pleased to have Cyn’s letter telling me all about your lovely holiday, I hope you enjoyed it all as much as yr Mummy did, she was especially raving about all the nice eating places & food you had all had. The island with the Zoo & performing whales & porpoises must have been fun – & that beautiful Butchart Gardens must really have been exquisite, or was there too big a crowd of sightseers for you to really enjoy them?
Monie’s roses are still flowering nicely, they had lots of rain in July & early Aug. so the roses are showing their gratitude, although it’s now very dry & hot & the lawns are turning brown. Cyn tells me your vegetables & flowers are flourishing – but so are the weeds – I hope you are helping to pull them up?!!
I enjoyed hearing a bit about your birthday – but tell me a bit more – did you wake up & lie & think – at last I am 18 & really grown up – or did you feel as usual? But I bet you must have had a big thrill when you were presented with a bunch of beautiful red roses by Carman – I was thrilled to hear about them!
Remember I wrote about books – I wonder if you have read- ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank – it’s a real life diary – written by a Dutch girl during the war. You probably have read it as it was a best seller. [I had.] I got it from the Highland Mills Library- do let me know if you’ve read it.
Monie & Gwen send their love, their dog ‘Penny’ is very sweet but getting to be fat & middle-aged like his master! They also now have 2 cats ‘Peppie’ is a big fine tiger – he is a smoky grey tabby & nice & very dignified, & as he comes stalking into the room he looks v. ‘tigerish’. Then the other one is still a kitten 5 months, & is a stray Gwen brought home, he is v. cute & playful & his name is SAM! Forgive my awful scrawl, hope you can read it. Give Charlie my love – he’ll be starting school this week, I do hope he works hard for a scholarship tell him. Hope you continue to get good news from your Dad – I hear your G.H. [the groundhog, my father’s bête noir] is growing fat on apples! He should have a name – Much love and all the Best from yr fond Grannie- PTO
P.S. I meant to ask you, how are you getting on with your contact lenses, I hope you are getting used to them- for folk to see your pretty eyes minus glasses! Love C.E.
I started this blog as a means to transfer family archives to a more permanent format and share them with family and anyone else in the world interested in the past, living through what is now history, family relationships, and tiny details such as the price of a beef heart in the butcher’s shop in the 1950s. (Spoiler alert: 25¢) At the time, I had organized my grandmother’s horde of letters written to her by her daughter Cynthia into binders chronologically by date, from her childhood up through my childhood. I also had my grandmother’s photographs, roughly organized into albums in some cases, or into manila envelopes by my mother after my grandmother’s death. Another resource was my mother’s scrapbooks, kept from the time of her marriage, which have provided a visual element to many of my posts, and gave context and helped with the chronology of events when there were gaps in time from missing letters. With the help of my cousin Raey, I started this blog with a bit of family history told through my mother’s stories, and then transcribed the letters, learning how to dictate (which is maddening and requires constant correcting but is preferable than typing every letter out laboriously), add photos, and post the result- and getting great pleasure from it. Most of the letters are Cyn’s to her mother Carol, with a few from friends and family that were also preserved added in for interest. And that worked well until I reached 1969 when I left home for university.
This fall, 2022, I was happily transcribing letters from the fall of 1969 about Linda moving to Peterborough, Ontario- strolling down memory lane discovering things I had forgotten, and remembering wonderful friends I sadly lost touch with long ago- when I went rummaging for memorabilia to add to the pictures from the scrapbook, and discovered More Boxes! It turns out that I inherited some of my grandmother’s packrat tendencies to go with my forgetfulness. That first term at Trent was preserved in letters sent to me from friends, my grandmother, my father, my brother, and almost daily, my mother. I had committed the academic sin of publishing before I had organized my primary sources. And because I have been doing this in order by date, I must stop now- having published up to mid-November 1969- and go back to August of that year for 20 or more posts, to include the material I have just found. (Maybe WordPress would have a better way of doing this, but I am reluctant to delete already-published posts for the sake of chronology.) Then, for 1970 on, I have to integrate the rest of the letters from my university years with those already in the final binders, a difficult task since, unlike my grandmother, I did not keep envelopes, and my correspondents got careless dating them, so in some cases the year will have to be worked out by context. I thought I was nearing the end of my material, but I have just added a year more to my task!
So, my apologies to those who have been following this blog- we will now go back a few months to focus even more on the upheaval that occurred when the first child was leaving the nest. Let me assure you that the letters made this very much easier on the child in question!
November turned out to be a very busy month for the Costains- Cec had surgery, both children had Commencement, and Cyn had to manage it all. Her October letter to Carol had told about tests Cec was having in hospital the first week of November, and the planning and buying of new clothes for the children, but it is not until a month later that she gives all the details. [Next post: November 18, 1969] But, in keeping with the unspoken rules of writing-letters-to-mothers, she never shares the fears that the adults must have had, however relieved they all were after the diagnosis.
Meanwhile, Cec has been in hospital, Linda has come home for Reading Week, shopped, and been fitted for her new dresses, Cec then had a thyroid operation and spent another couple of weeks recovering- with excitement of the graduation ceremony and dance, combined with the visit of his nephew Bruce to accompany Linda, to entertain him. His friends and colleagues sent cards with messages of concern, as did his daughter (who had seen him the weekend before his operation that Tuesday, and was going home the next weekend for her graduation .)
Dear Daddy, Sat. even. Bruce hasn’t phoned yet, so I don’t know when he’s coming. I got my essay done in time (the very nick of time) and have been resting. But Sat. evening is impossible to sleep on, so I’m enjoying myself watching a group of very happy people just went through the hall singing “Jingle Bells” and pressed me to join them, but I was laughing too hard- and I’m a good little girl. I’m going to sleep in tomorrow, hope you are home & can do the same. Love to all. Linda Card Page: For Daddy Get Well Soon… I Sure Miss You. I’m glad I’m coming back on Friday, I’m going to have fun. I hope you’ll be well enough to enjoy it. Love Linda
This letter is the final one in the two month Linda-goes-to-university diversion, after which the letters go back to Cyn writing to her mother Carol instead of her daughter. (I’m sure she did go on writing to me, and that Grannie did too, but the first two months were the only bunch of letters I preserved, although a few from Cyn over the university years have survived.) At this point, Carol’s visits to relatives in Ottawa and New York are coming to an end, and she is going home to St.Vincent where she lives with her sister (Auntie Muriel). Cyn’s letters will continue the saga of Linda at Trent- most events long since forgotten by me- as well as her daily life and news, although when Carol got them is another matter, the cousin in New York having to send on her post to the West Indies…
Traill, Trent Wed. Oct 8.
Dear Grannie, This is the shortest of notes, just to tell you I’m doing fine and loving it here. I have lots of friends, and like all my classes. Tomorrow I’m going home though because it’s Thanksgiving this Monday in Canada, and I’ve managed to get no lectures on Friday this week so I’m leaving after my last lecture at 6 on the 7:15 PM for Ottawa. I haven’t really been home- sick – to cry my eyes out every night I mean – but I’ve missed everybody. And letters mean a lot to me so I’m very glad for yours. Mummy sent Alan and Donna’s picture to me & I think he looks a scream. Donna’s outfit is darling. A lot of the boys & professors here have beards, moustaches & long hair. Charlie is going to look scalped when I get home, after living with these types.
I’m looking forward especially to seeing Daddy, because I haven’t seen him since August. Also, there are lots of kittens living around here – although we’re not allowed 4 footed animals in residence – and we smuggle them into visit us, so I’ve been missing Saki too. You’ll be glad to get home and see your friends – both 2 & 4 legged – again. Say hello to June for me. I have Auntie Muriel’s book trough here with my favourite paper backs in for relaxation- everything from Jane Eyre to Elizabeth Gouge. And your teapot, (that is, my teapot that you gave me) decorates my bookcase – my table & shelves and walls are all cream coloured so I need a bit of colour.
I am taking English – all Shakespeare; History – Canadian only, darn it; Greek & Latin Literature in translation; Ancient History; and Psychology. I have about 12 hours a week in class – lectures or tutorials. We have these gowns – dark green, which doesn’t match anything, and they are an awful nuisance. We can wear whatever we want, so I can put on my slacks on cold days. It is very beautiful here now, with all the leaves turning – a perfect Thanksgiving weekend. A couple of West Indian girls are thrilled, and really looking forward to the snow – though I know they’ll get tired of it.
Well, it’s getting late and I’ll be in a bus for a long time tomorrow evening, so I think I’ll get to bed. Thanks so much for writing, if we don’t get at least one letter a day, we get awfully depressed (because everyone else seems to get mail when we don’t) so please keep it up. My love to everybody & have a good trip home. Bon Voyage. Love Linda