February 2 1962

Up to this point, the letters in 1960 and 1961 have been well preserved so that reading them in sequence connects the events in the Costain’s lives and makes them easy to follow. Unfortunately, 1962 has gaps, so that what starts out to be only one letter a month preserved with others obviously missing- leading to a ‘Huh?’ moment when some unknown event is referred to – is then followed by two April letters, a June one, two in July and one final one in December! After that, there are no letters until 1966, when both children are in high school and life is different- or perhaps not, you can decide. I will try to fill in some of the holes from my memory and the scrapbooks, and be glad that some of the events are recorded – having been spoiled by the wealth of detail lately!

2043 Montreal Road,
Ottawa 2, Ontario.

2nd Feb. 1962.

Dearest Mummy,
Thank you so much for your last letter. I am glad that you had got mine, but sorry that the belated Christmas parcel still hasn’t come – it will be a Valentine parcel instead! At least, I don’t think that there is anything in it to spoil!
My goodness – what a surprise! The Pems and Mona and family coming too! I can imagine that you will be in a real whirl. In a way it seems a pity to have them all at once rather than spreading them out and being able to enjoy them a few at a time, but in another way it is nice that all the preparation for one lot of visitors will do for the other contingent too! I wonder how you are getting on with your search for a house for the new arrivals. Cec thinks that once Uncle Fred has it in hand that the matter is as good as done, but as you say, there aren’t that many houses to choose from, but I hope he will get something so that you are not all worried to bits. I can just imagine the chaos in Highland Mills with getting Granny, Mamma and twins all outfitted for their holiday! I wonder how Margs is feeling now that she will be the only one left behind? If their weather has been anything like ours for the last week I should think she will be ready to jump in anyone’s pocket – we have had a solid week with the temperature never above -5°, and last night it was 27° below zero. They say warmer tomorrow – probably a lovely warm zero!
Mom and Dad Costain left us a week ago and went to Lea’s for a few weeks. It was so strange because Lea and family had had colds etc. so Mom and Dad had waited until they were over so that they wouldn’t catch them, and they just left here in time because the moment they left we got sick! They left on the Thurs. afternoon, and on Fri. morning I woke up with a real doozy of a cold, and Charlie began being sick! He was throwing up all day, and then when that was over he seem to feel much better and had no temp. to speak of, then on Sat. and Sun. he convalesced and didn’t eat much, but my cold was really going and I felt pretty awful. Then in the middle of Sunday night Linda began vomiting and she had the bug! I kept them both home on Monday and Linda got better quite quickly and my cold was much better, but as they both looked quite peaky I kept them home on Tuesday and what should happen but that I should suddenly get it and begin to be sick too! It was so sudden and violent that I just went to bed and lay there and dozed, and the children were so good – they got their own lunch and then Charlie washed the dishes and Linda got the dinner ready (hot dogs!) so Cec came home to things well organized! By next day my tummy really felt all right, just I felt a bit weak and weary, so the children went off to school and Cec stayed home in the morning and then took Linda to the orthodontist for me in the afternoon. We had good news there because Dr. Braden says that her teeth are moving into place very well and much more quickly than he had expected, so perhaps it won’t take the whole 2 years after all. We are all feeling back to normal now, except for Cec who caught a bit of my cold, but I am so glad that Mom and Dad were well out of the way of all our germs!
Just before Mom and Dad went to Lea’s Dad finished the headboard for our bed and he and Cec put it into place. It looks beautiful, and is just so luxurious as I pull out one thing for a back rest, and pull down another for a bedside table, and arrange all my odds and ends in my bedside cupboards! I have really made use of it in the week since Dad has left as I have spent quite a lot of time in bed! I long to start painting and decorating and new curtains and things but this miserable cold weather doesn’t encourage me a bit! Dad and Mom will be back here for a bit I gather, before they go down to Merle’s and I rather think that they will return here again before going West, but there is nothing definite, so we will just wait and see how things go.
With having them here we seem to have done very little in the social line this year. We were invited to the Savics on Friday Night and I was so much looking forward to an evening out, then of course I felt so awful with the cold that I couldn’t go. Cec was going to stay at home with me and then Peter called and said why didn’t he come anyway and as I was in bed and so were the children and he was sitting all by himself with no company, he was very pleased to go, and had a nice time. Since then poor Margaret and Peter have got Eddie in the hospital once more – his ulcer began bleeding internally again and he had to be rushed in. It looks as if he will have to have an operation and have part of his stomach removed, and it is such a shame for a young boy, but he has been on a strict diet, he’s been taking pills regularly and still it happens so there seems nothing else to do.
You will be amused to hear that Cec and I went and played badminton one night! They are trying to begin a Badminton Club in connection with the Church – they can’t actually play in the Church Hall as it isn’t big enough and not light enough, but they play in the school gym. I think it is a good idea, not necessarily for us, but for the young people more, so to make it go Cec and I signed up and took advantage of our built-in babysitters and went down one night. We were pretty hopeless of course, but it was quite fun, and to our amazement we weren’t crippled next day!
Please congratulate Peggy on her news for me! I really think that it is very nice as she seems really so fond of children and she can get so much help that it isn’t the tie for her that it is for someone here. Did I tell you that Eve Proudfoot is having a baby next month? At one meeting in the Fall she said to me “Did you know that I was getting a little girl in March?” and I looked at her blankly and said “No – where from?” and then she said “The usual place” and we both roared with laughter, because the way she put it I thought she must be adopting one. Sheena Kalra finally had her baby on Monday, a little girl. She has been expecting it since Christmas, and her mother flew from Scotland before Christmas to be with Sheena when the baby came, so every time I phoned Sheena would answer and I would say “What, are you still here?” and she would giggle. At last I called last week and her Mother was due to go home on Sat. and still no baby, so I don’t know whether she had postponed her return flight and was still there on Monday or not. There was a bit in the paper this week about a baby born here weighing 16 lbs.- better not tell Peggy!
Thank you so much for the diary too and the children’s letters. They arrived this week too. Charlie wants me to tell you that his school bag weighed 9 lbs. 8 oz., not 9 lbs. 16 oz. and that it was a slip of the typewriter and not that he doesn’t know how many oz. are in a lb! The children were very interested in your new dog and I hope that he will be a good watchdog for you.
I am enclosing two pictures for you that Cec took this summer. When he was having lunch with Miss Lefroy in London he took two pictures and this is one of them. We meant to have the prints done in time for Christmas, but things were so confused this year that we have just had them done now, and we knew that you would like one of your dear A.G.L. The other picture is quite good too, but Miss Lefroy is not looking at the camera, and we thought this one was better. The other is Linda in her Chinese Girl’s costume from the Operetta. We are a bit disappointed in the print as it is very wishy-washy looking, and the transparency is lovely and bright with Lindy’s jacket a pretty daffodil yellow, but they say that this is the best that they can do.

A better picture than the one she sent Carol!

The cutting out of the newspaper is of our first big wedding at St. Christopher’s, and June Bell, the bride, has taught Sunday School and being a member of the Church since we began. It is an awful picture of her – she is really a pretty girl – but I sent this one to let you see all the funny little children! It was a very pretty winter wedding – the two older girls had red velvet dresses with white fur headbands and white fur muffs with red carnations and holly sprays on, then the older boy had a white shirt with black velvet trousers and he carried the ring on a red velvet cushion. The two little pages were in white frilled shirts and red velvet trousers and the tiny flower girl was in a long red velvet dress, but otherwise like the big girls. The Guild of course did the catering for the reception – they have a big house down in Rothwell Heights and they had 100 people, and everything very elegant – two barmen and all sorts of drinks and champagne for the Toast. Eve Proudfoot made the 3 tier cake, but I didn’t want to ice it, so they got one of the confectioner firms to do it, and it looked very nice, but when we came to cut it and hand it round it was like cutting plaster! Six of us went at about 1:30, and began getting things ready and then the wedding was at 2:00 so we had time to get organized while everyone was away. We served small open faced canapes; hot curried crab canapes; cheese butterflies; chicken patties; mushroom patties (both hot); and hot cocktail sausages. For the children we served ordinary small sandwiches and a chip dip with potato chips and cookies, and then after the Toast and we cut and served the wedding cake, we had hot coffee for those who wanted it. We also made sandwiches and cookies for a trousseau tea she had before Christmas, and for this and the reception and the wedding cake we charged just over 130 dollars. I think this was quite reasonable, don’t you? And Mrs. Bell was just delighted – she said she could never thank us enough for all we done, and seemed to be more than pleased with everything, and she is one who doesn’t mince words if she doesn’t like a thing! All of this was on the Thurs. after Christmas, so you can see we really had a busy time of it. We also catered for a hot luncheon for the teachers at school on the last day of school – the very Friday before Christmas, so what with my large Christmas household of 15, things were really hopping!

You asked in your letter if Uncle Milton and Aunt Lillie came up for Christmas, and this was really the one disappointment we had. Apparently when Merle phoned them up and suggested them coming up, after we wrote and suggested it to Merle they were very pleased with the idea and Uncle was full of it, so we wrote them and told them how much we’d like them to come and it was all arranged. Then Uncle began getting cold feet – he was feeling so tired – it was such a bad time of the year – they were so busy at work etc. until finally he decided not to come. Poor Aunt Lillie was so disappointed and wrote us such a pathetic letter that we all felt so sorry for her and very sad that they didn’t come, but he is apparently nervy and this happens all the time. Merle had asked them to Brantford for the New Year weekend when they got back, but from what she says in her last letter they didn’t even go there.
We didn’t have our usual Open House at New Year – I really didn’t feel up to it with the big Christmas and all the Guild work on top of the ribs, and with the latter I had a real excuse to give it a miss. Normally I enjoy it, but it was just too much this year. Dad doesn’t use a hearing aid yet although he is still talking about it, and Cec says he will take him down to Zenith one day. He is fine when you talk to him directly, but has trouble in a big crowd as you always used to find. Myrtle is the same as ever, but has a sore hip – arthritis I gather. You probably will get her Christmas card at Valentine time along with our parcel!
I finally finished all my thank you letters today, so I feel very relieved, although I was as slow pokey as usual. However, this year my Christmas parcels were so late that at least I got most of my thank yous written before I received theirs! This is Friday and the children are full of shenanigans! They have done an hour’s homework and piano practice and are now romping like puppies! Tomorrow we have ballet, grocery shopping and library, and I feel that I should go to the hospital to see Sheena so it looks like a busy day.
I must stop now as I don’t want to go onto another sheet of paper – love to Auntie Muriel from all of us, and hello to Doris. Take care of yourself and don’t exhaust yourself polishing up the whole island for the Visitors!
Lots and lots of love from us all

August 1 1957

This August letter refers to others in a way that makes it clear that July ones are missing. I’m sure she told her mother about her sewing projects leading up to the Governor General’s Garden Party, but the main event of late June/early July must have been that Linda had chicken pox- a mild case, but there is no indication of whether she missed the end of the school year, or just spent the beginning of the summer holiday in July in bed. This letter, however, fills in the details of the end of July, although nothing momentous happened!.

P.S. Think the T-shirts will be lovely for the children – they always need them. No sign of the B. Coat – perhaps they will all come together! We are having an absolute plague of mosquitoes this summer – even worse than that first summer in Acacia – remember? Even at midday they swarm around you outside & we are always chasing them in the house. The children seem to be getting immune! Not me though!
Box 330 R.R.1
1st August 1957.

Dearest Mummy,
Thank you so much for your Wedding A. Air mail yesterday & also your last written on 22nd July – not forgetting Marg’s & Monie’s letters about the wedding which I enjoyed immensely. It was nice getting them so quickly before the wedding seemed all over & done with, & it sounded very pretty. I asked Mill if she could send me a snap for my scrapbook sometime or a newspaper cutting, but I hope that someday we will see the colour pictures too.

Hugh & Ginny will be settled in their home now & feeling very domesticated I expect! I hope that they did get our wedding present – the writing on the invitation was very squiggly & in the address it said “- – – – Seaman Mich. Rd” at least that is what it looked like, so I only hope it got there! Of course, I remember well that once you are married & a housewife it’s pretty hard to get down to those thankyou letters! I haven’t heard from any of the Sim. girls yet, but didn’t expect to as I took months to write to them. However I’m not so bad – I only owe 7 letters & 3 others to “only-at-Christmas-time” people! Did Amy tell you she had heard from me? Our letters crossed after Christmas & then she wrote again later & I just replied about a month ago so I thought I was due for a cutting remark!!
I have just been filling in a form to get Lindy a Library Card of her Very Own! I thought I would get it for her birthday as she is quite excited at the thought of it – she has always previously got a book on mine you know, but when she is 6 & in Grade 1 she can have her own. We still go down about once a week & all enjoy prowling around the shelves! Cec & I thought we would get her one of these little doll’s push chairs – you know the thing I mean?

A Stroller was the word she was looking for!

Her little pram is really very small for her now & as she is playing with her dollies quite a lot at the moment we thought she’d enjoy it. She’s a funny little girl – she saw a picture of one of these carriages in a catalogue last week & was thrilled, but it never enters her little head to ask for one for her birthday! Charlie now – he’s already made up his mind what he wants for Christmas!
Talking of Charlie – I haven’t told you our most Interesting bit of news!! Charlie had Chicken Pox!! The last time I wrote to you I was just saying it hadn’t appeared – that was the Friday. Next day, the Blachuts were going on a picnic & suggested we went too, so we got already (I baked on Fri. night & made the sandwiches & put them in the fridge) & set off about 9:15 in the morning as it was roasting hot weather & we wanted to get there before it was too hot. They took us to a lovely place on the other side of the river – about 25 miles above Ottawa – there was a bay with nice white sand & shallow water, with willow trees along the bank for shade & only about 2 or 3 other people. Quite the loveliest place we’ve ever found around here. We settled under a tree & bathed & played with the children in the water & it was really heavenly. All this time Charlie played under the tree with the sand & a truck & I decided just to let him be as all the other children were in the water but I didn’t want to force him. Then I went to play with him & here among the mosquito bites on his back (he had his trunks on) was a red spot with a blister on top! Janek had had C. P. but not Daniel or Peter, but fortunately they hadn’t been close to him! However, we ate lunch & had another bathe & then set off for home about 2, leaving the Blachuts still there. It was a good thing we did leave then anyway, because on the way home my shoulders began to burn & Lindy’s back got red & the two of us got a fine sunburn! Cec only got his face burnt but my back & shoulders were sore & are busy peeling away now! Lindy had been a bit tanned from the paddling pool, so she didn’t peel, but it was one of those hot slightly hazy days when you don’t notice getting burnt – till afterwards! Charlie only had a few spots that day, but on the Sunday he got more & felt a bit sorry for himself & on Monday he was spotty all over & had a little temp. & felt quite sorry for himself. His spots were horrid – much worse than Lindy’s – all big & blistered on top which turned yellow & crusty & then formed a black scab. You know how he likes to look “pretty” so he was quite upset at all those things on his face (round his eyelids quite badly & at the corners of his mouth) & kept coming to me & saying “I’m so worried about all these awful spots. Perhaps they’ll never go away”!! Fortunately it got much cooler & I put calamine lotion on the spots & he was very good about not scratching. While the black scabs were on he looked like a little Dalmatian puppy but most of them on his face have fallen off now, & although you can still see a slight discolouration there are no actual scars.
On the Sunday we’d invited Santiago & Jerry Swalen (Jerry & Mary – young American couple – he is Cec’s Fellow this year – Mary is down in Boston for the summer finishing her M.A.) to dinner, so we phoned & told them about Charlie & they said they thought they’d had C.P. & anyway didn’t care! So they came in the afternoon for tea & then I fed the children at 6 & we had our dinner later – I had my old friend Jo Mazotti, Salad & Melba Toast & a very nice new recipe for a Lemon Refrigerator Cake. They seem to enjoy it & ate lots which was pleasing to their hostess!
All that week I was kept on the hop with Charlie – particularly as Pauline from next door arrived the day after her mother called & the breach was healed! Of course Jimmy is still the favourite but he hadn’t had C.P. so Lindy used to dash off & play with him & poor little Charlie was quite heartbroken! Pauline had had C.P. & was very kind & used to come and play with him sometimes but he was so happy on Sat. when he could play with ‘Dimmy’ again!
We were invited to Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg’s on Sat. evening & our W.A . [Women’s Auxiliary, church organization] was on Friday so I decided I had better make me a new dress. I think I told you I had bought some pure silk black shantung a little while ago. Well I cut it out and made it exactly the same as the white & black one I made for the Garden Party. It is such a nice pattern – only takes 2 yards of 44” material. It has a shallow boat shaped neckline if you remember, & I got some black lace edging & made a frill & put it around the neck & I think it looks rather nice. I made a black sash to tie instead of a belt & on Friday I wore it with my pink hat & on Sat. I wore it with a pink chiffon scarf tied at the sash & pink earrings.

The earrings were old white flower ones – kind of crocheted – I’ve had a year or so & I dyed them! Think I’ll dye old white gloves to match!! This dress was a record I think – I had it cut out and begin sewing Thursday afternoon & had it all finished & ready to wear by Friday tea time!
Myrtle popped in then “Just to see if I looked the same – she hadn’t seen me for so long!” So I said goodbye to catching the post at noon – however if I mail this tomorrow perhaps it will repeat the 4 day record of my last letter. By the way Myrtle sent her love!
I haven’t yet told you what we did on the 26th- well, we booked a babysitter and decided we would go out to dinner, but otherwise hadn’t got into details, then on the Thurs. Phyl phoned me (Phyl & Alex have their anniv. the same day you remember) & invited us around for a drink & suggested we go out together, so that is what we did. We went around there about 7:30 & had a couple of drinks & then we went to a place on Rideau St. – La Paloma – for dinner. Fanni & Teddy had told us it was very nice but maybe we were unlucky for Cec & I were very disappointed. It was quite pretentious you know, but I thought the food was poor – I had fried chicken & it was just dry & tasteless. However we didn’t really let it worry us & had a good time.
Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg’s party was quite a big one – all the Spectroscopy Dept. All the Fellows except one are leaving this summer & fall, so I think it was a kind of farewell gathering. Velasco (the Spaniard) has already gone of course; Dr. & Mrs. Narasimham are sailing for England today, en route to India. (They were coming to have dinner with us last week & we had to cancel because of C. Pox.); then later the Dresslers (Swiss); Dalbys, (Canadian); Moores (N. Zealand – going to California); Swalenes (U.S.) – leaving us only Dr. Liu (Chinese)! It means a big change in the group with 6 new Fellows all at once –Cec is having an Englishman.
This week I am catching up a bit on my entertaining. Last night I had Phyl & Bill Dalby here with Phyl’s mother who is visiting & Dr. & Mrs. McClay. Dr. McC. is a young fellow who is Assist. Prof. at the U. of New Brunswick but who had thought of trying for a Fellowship with Cec instead. He finished his Ph.D. a year ago (Cec was one of his examiners) & when he took the teaching job instead Cec suggested he spend the summer here. He is a queer duck – a terrific bore if he once gets going – but his wife is such a nice girl!!
Must stop & get dinner – “Dimmy” is coming to have dinner with the children! Hugs from them & lots & lots of love from us all –

June 14 1957

Just a note about people in the letter who haven’t been mentioned lately. Cyn grew up in Newcastle-upon Tyne from the age of 4 in the 1920s, and the Allans were close neighbours. Mrs Allan was Carol’s friend and her daughter Nancy was Cynthia’s- they played together as children, grew up together, and remained friends for over 80 years. Cyn’s Recipe Book from her college days in the 1930s includes ‘Mrs. Allan’s Sandwich Cake’, ensuring that English teatime lived on in Canada. Here Carol has told Cyn of Mrs. Allan’s death.
On a happier note, Cyn refers to the wedding of her cousin Millie’s son, Hugh Pembleton, in New York, and the wedding present she hasn’t bought yet. She also needs to buy presents for all the babies that keep appearing in their friends and relations’ lives. There are no letters for July, so what she bought will remain a mystery, but I will post a photo page to cover July!

Wed. 12th June.

Dearest Mummy,
Was so sorry to hear about your tummy cyst & hope that by now it is feeling much better. I can imagine you would find it very tiring trailing to the hospital every day for so long and that it would all leave you feeling very pooped. Such a pity after all your vitamins, but I hope that when it is over you will begin to get full of energy again. You seem to have had a bad time lately what with one thing & another – I do hope that it is all over now.
I got your letter on Monday evening and was so very sorry to hear about Mrs. Allen. As you say she was a wonderful friend to us & quite one of the sweetest & best people I’ve ever known. Poor Nan must feel very sad even though she will be relieved that the suffering is over, but even after her mother being poorly for quite a long time it must have been a shock. I must write to her today.

I have just been writing our regrets for Hugh’s wedding – I must ask Monie [Hugh’s aunt] to put a carbon paper under her description of the Day to you & A. Moo & send it to me! I haven’t got the W. P. yet but will go shopping on Sat. Poor Cec has both his birthday and Father’s Day on Sunday so he should have a double good day!

I also seem to have 1/2 a hundred other presents to get – I haven’t got a present for Dottie’s babe yet & have the MacNamara’s baby & Paul & Angie Routly’s baby. Also Richard Haynes – I never can remember if his little brother is Michael? Anyway I have some yellow overalls for him & a pair of “baby doll” pyjamas for Barbara Heslop. It was Patty Lu’s birthday on Sunday (1 year old) & Lea invited us out to Carp for 1 o’clock dinner. We got her pink overalls & a little pail & shovel & dashed off straight after S. School, arriving at about 12:45 to find no Lea visible, no table set or anything! Wendell talked to us for about 1/2 hour then Lea & the baby appeared & finally about 2:15, dinner! It turned out there’d been a big wedding on the Sat. & they had all been to it, & so Lea had nothing ready – the cake made but not iced, & then she had invited more people from Ottawa in the afternoon & a few of Darryl’s pals for a Wiener Roast in the evening! You can imagine the chaos! Lea had gone to all sorts of trouble – paper hats, balloons etc., but nothing ready or organized. We finally left about 4:30 to miss the evening traffic as we had originally planned, not having had any B. cake – wonder how the rest of the celebrations came out! Called at Pete & Lu’s & had a nice cup of tea! Lu’s Mother is with her (leg amputated remember?) & is so nice & full of fun – you would like her.
Was so sorry to hear that you have been having more trouble for the burglar – what an upset for you all. What a pity you can’t get the roof of the porch wired & give him a great electric shock! Must stop – love to A. Moo – hugs from the children – Lots of love – Cyn.

October 12 1952

31 Acacia Ave. Ottawa

12th Oct. 1952.

Dearest Mummy, 

Thank you so much for your letter which we got on Friday. We were so glad to know that you were safely back in St.V. & happy to be home with Auntie Muriel again. I can imagine how nice & comfy it must be to be back at “Noyack” again after all your travels & to get all your things unpacked & put away. Auntie Muriel must be such a wonderful companion after Auntie Trix & her funny little ways & I can just guess what hundreds & hundreds of things you have to tell each other & talk about – practically as bad as you & me! I expect that you are thoroughly enjoying all the lovely flowers again – Ottawa is looking very lovely & gay just now too – but not with flowers, with all the gorgeous coloured leaves. Cec & I keep talking about this time last year & comparing what we did etc. & I expect that you are doing just the same. The weather has been heavenly this last week – frosty at night & lovely sunny, bright, blue-skyed days – the leaves are all colours & looking out of our bedroom window the trees are beautiful. The leaves are just beginning to fall & at first when Lindy was out in her pram & a leaf would fall into it she got highly indignant & cried for me to come & take it away, but now she just throws it out herself. The tree outside Lindy’s bedroom window is all completely golden & on Friday night the frost caught it & leaves fell down in showers, so we now have a pretty gold carpet too. Mrs Graham’s zinnias all got caught with frost too but they don’t look so nice – all black withered stalks! Do you remember Tania, the old lumbering brown & white spaniel belonging to the Earle’s? She has become a great friend of Lindy’s & comes to the pram & pokes her nose in & Lindy pats her head & very often Tania comes heir to Lindy’s morning cooky! Anyway Mr. Earle told us that Tania had seven lovely little puppies! I was amazed as I didn’t know she was even pregnant!! She is only 7 years old, not nearly as old as I thought, but this is her first litter & Mr. E said that she was so proud of them- both Cec & I thought it would be so sweet to have a little puppy, but with a Lindy & Algy & a lodger our common sense told us to leave the puppy till another day!

We have had such a nice day. Tomorrow is Canadian Thanksgiving day, so Cec has a holiday which is lovely too, but today I heard Lindy chattering when I woke & looked at the time & nearly fell out of bed when I found it was 10:30!! I couldn’t believe it, but Cec got up & went to her & she was all gay & happy & had apparently just woken up. Cec was so delighted as it was his morning to get up & he thought Linda had been so kind to her Daddy! He took her & gave her breakfast & then got ours ready & I went down for it. Lindy was just so full of fun & high spirits that she entertained us continually. Afterwards Cec took her out a walk & I washed up & cleared away as we’d had Margy & Cy here to bridge last night so there was quite a few dirty dishes around!! Both Lindy & I had a rest this afternoon & we had a thoroughly restful, pleasant day & both felt very happy about it. Lindy by the way, now WALKS by herself! On Tues. Oct. 7th she nonchalantly set out & walked into the middle of the sitting room & then sat down solemnly. Today she has been walking from Cec to me & back again & thinks it is a wonderful game & squeals with delight! Apart from walking by herself she is great on walking holding your hand now, & I don’t have to carry her upstairs anymore, she clambers up by herself. She loves to get hold of my skirt & pull herself up & walk around holding onto me – we play puff-puffs & I go along saying puff-puff & she hangs on & trots behind very pleased! Her talking is continuing & she can understand such a lot of things we say now- I tell her to pick up something from the floor & hand it to me & she will go & get it & give it to me. Such a clever girl! Cec & I were laughing over her talking the other day & Cec said it was like Chinese – a lot of words that seem the same, but the intonation is different!! For instance she says “Ba” for bath- “Bu” for bus, “Bar” for Barry, “Ba-ba” for baby & the doggy says “Bo-bo”!! She also says “Ha” for hot & knows very well what it means which is wonderful as she keeps well away from anything we say is hot. She touched one of the radiators when we first had the furnace on, & since then won’t go near them, & is very cautious over her bath water etc. & doesn’t go near the stove. She is all around the kitchen now of course & loves to take things out of the cupboards & waste paper out of the box- to my amazement though, she is actually tidy & often put the things back in again!! Her Granny Costain sent her a little sun-suit & a baby doll for her birthday, with a little dress & nightie for the dolly, & Lindy is so sweet with the doll. It is not very big, but made of some sort of rubber stuff that makes it feel just like skin, & is very cute – Lindy will throw it around & trample on it & then relent & pick it up & cuddle it! She will give you a kiss very willingly now, but she opens her mouth and sticks her little tongue out so it’s a slightly damp affair. Altogether we think she is the prettiest and cleverest baby we ever knew!

I have had a busy week somehow- for months I have been a week behind in the ironing, so last week I made a huge effort & caught up! I ironed on Monday, washed on Tuesday & ironed again on Wednesday!! On Thursday Lee invited us all over to dinner – we were a bit reluctant to accept as it is such a way over there, & would make it so late for Linda, but she had also invited their friends Jerry & Elizabeth & said we would have dinner early & we could leave as soon as we liked, so we had to say yes. I picked up Cec at the Lab. at 4:30, so that we could get through town before the 5 o’clock traffic, so we got there in good time without any difficulty. I fed Lindy at 6 as usual & she was as lively as a cricket! She just loves Barry now – as soon as we mention his name she begins saying “Bar-Bar-Bar” & crawls around looking for him. When we first got to Jim & Lee’s she made us all laugh so, as she sat beside him on the sofa & cooed & poked at him & screwed up the front of her dress & was so little girlish!! She crawls after him & plays & is very good. The other guests were late, so by the time we had dinner etc. it was way past Lindy’s bedtime, but she was as contented & good as could be – while we ate, she chewed a crust from a bread roll & occasionally came & stood at the table to see what was going on & then would go away & play on the floor – we were proud of our daughter! Eventually we didn’t get home till 9 o’clock & put her straight to bed, then Cec & I were so exhausted with her first dinner party that I retired by 10 & Cec wasn’t much later! On Friday I cleaned the whole house & even polished the dining room floor, using your stuff that is supposed to clean too, but I see some marks now which I’m going to have to remove with soap & water after all! On Sat. I washed our big bed coverlet as it was a lovely day & got Cec to help me hang it out – it was very dirty, but looks so nice now & tomorrow, if it is fine I will wash the curtains.

I forgot to tell you that Cec has made me a grand draining board beside the sink, so now I am all set there & find it so convenient after having the rack on top of the radiator. The rack now sits between the radiator & the edge of the sink & is just at a good height for me. Cec also vacuums the sitting room for me at the weekends sometimes & has been very busy at night with the old “nursery” chair. He has taken it all apart & after scraping off about 20 layers of paint finds that it is good old oak, so he is patiently scraping each rung & spindly piece & going to do a good job. Everyone who sees our room upstairs room now says how lovely it is & we think it is nice too! We have it arranged so:

The English fellow, Dan, came over on Friday evening & sat & chatted till after 10- he isn’t coming till 1st Nov. because of giving notice at his other place, so we won’t be getting any revenue till next month – sad! He will pay $35 a month for the room though & breakfasts & any Sunday meals extra, so we are quite content. He seems a nice fellow- lonely we think, so we are sorry for him. He is engaged to a girl in England & was telling me that when he was with us he’d be glad to help around the house etc. as he must get domesticated! So that sounds nice!

Lee has lent me her machine for 2 weeks while she is in Toronto with Jim’s mother, so I am going to make Linda’s curtains, finish the frill on the bed in the front room, turn some of Cec’s shirt collars & have myself a busy time. I wrote to Dottie about getting the curtain material for the sitting room, but have heard nothing from her as yet. Since Cec painted the room it looks very bare without curtains, so I will be glad to get them up. We have put your round mirror on the wall opposite the fireplace & it looks nice & reflects the fire beautifully when we have it lit.

I had a letter from Connie yesterday (I had written to her the previous week! Also A. Ettie)- not thanking me for our present to Christopher – never mentioned it! – but wants me to send her some Evenflo nipples!! Leonard hasn’t decided on which of his offers of jobs to take yet!! Also heard from Gunborg & poor Gunborg has been ill again – nearly pneumonia & had to cancel a trip she was taking to N. York with Gordon for a spree.

I had a letter- or 2 rather, from Amy about the wedding – but very nice ones really, & sending the newspaper photo etc. Cec & I don’t care for it of Ruth although it shows her dress etc. beautifully but she looks much prettier than that. I had a letter from Ruth to which she asked me to send on to you so I will when I answer it. Amy says she & Charlie went down for a day & saw them & helped them put up 30 pictures- we nearly collapsed – 30 in a room in a 4 room house!!

Ruth and Peter Haynes.

Did I ever tell you about how amused I was after Al & Betty’s wedding at Betty’s mother, Mrs. Burrough? She is a plump, kindly middle-aged woman – rather simple, you know! – & obviously wrapped up in her daughter & husband. Anyway, within the week after the wedding she rang us up 4 times- enquiring for me, telling us they’d heard from Betty & Al etc. & so on. Obviously the poor woman was so lonesome she had to talk to someone & chose us. Last week she rang up & said could she come & see me so she came on the Thurs. afternoon & had a cup of tea & saw Lindy. She had brought the wedding photos which Mr. B. had made into a book & bound & tooled a beautiful leather cover. Betty was in white & veil – made her own dress of lace. They were very good. Betty & Al have an apt. in Saskatoon & seem to be settling down. We are getting Cec’s dad to get them an electric lamp (wholesale, like our kettle!!) which they can choose, & we thought it would save them the trouble of taking it all that way. We suggested a kettle, but they had one, so we agreed on a lamp.

On re-reading your old letters have just been tickled at you winning the rum & bowls for A. Trix at Bingo – I think you did very well – the only time I ever played on board ship I never won a darn thing. I have written down the 4 small batteries for your Zenith but will wait till you write & tell me what the other things were that you wanted. Must stop & go to bed now- will be busy tomorrow with my washing & Thanksgiving Dinner – we couldn’t afford a turkey, but are having roast pork which I am going to bone & stuff!

Lindy sends a big, big kiss & hug to Grannie – I forgot to tell you she is still a little puppy about getting up on the sofa etc. although she puts the leg in the right position now, but she can get down easily from the sofa or our bed & is very careful. She objects thoroughly to Cec whistling & whenever he begins – usually in the car – she leans forward & points at him & makes a face & says “Eeaye”!!

Lots of love from Cec & me & a wiggle from Algy! – Love to A. Muriel- is Jean back yet? I would like the pattern of those 2 tiny baby jackets she made Lindy.


Beautiful clear writing on the first side, then more difficult with fainter pen on the backs of the sheets!

September 15 1952

Monday 15th Sept.

XXX from Lindy to Granny

Dearest Mummy,

It is a pouring wet Monday – so dark & gloomy, but I don’t really mind except that later on Lindy & I have to venture out to Joanisse.

Thank you so much for your last letter written a week ago. I was very sorry to hear about A. Trix’s accident & hope that she is feeling all right now, despite the strapping – although from what you say, nothing subdues her or keeps her down for long! It was a shame that it should upset all your plans so, but with Ina having to nurse Marion just then it all fitted in quite well actually, & I am sure that Janie & Bill would be most grateful to you & thankful to get away. I expect little David would be lonesome for his brother at first, but I expect you would have fun together.

Before I forget, Lindy did two things last week! First of all, on Thurs. out on the rug on the grass she very carefully set her little feet wide apart & gradually stood up by herself! Looked round beaming proudly & then gently sat down again! She has done it quite often since – mostly on the rug outside, but once or twice inside – she never waits till she falls down but very carefully sits down after a minute or two! The other thing is that she is now eating Junior Foods– not just Baby Foods! I got one or two Junior tins & thought I would try her, but when I opened the chicken soup & found it all full of lumps of veg. etc. I never thought she would eat it. However, she loved it & ate it all up without a gag or a gurgle! On Sat. I was upstairs & she was with Cec in the sitting room – then I heard her pat-pat along to the kitchen, then quietness for a while, then a little cough, so I called to Cec to investigate. Here she was right out by the back door with a basket of peaches – big bites out of 3 of them & starting on the fourth!

Last week was just about filled with Al’s wedding – all over now & the deed done! Last Mon. evening we went out to Betty’s- met her Father & Mother, (both from England originally) the bridesmaid, best man & 2 other ushers. We had a glass of sherry when we arrived, then played bridge (Cec & I with the 2 fellows- it was fun.) We had Donna to sit with Linda, but as school has begun I told her we’d be back at 11, so that she wouldn’t be late home. I told Betty when we arrived, & all evening I sat waiting for my cup of tea & sandwich, but she must have decided that early leavers went hungrey, because we left at 10:40 with my tongue hanging out!! Cec laughed & laughed at me, but I was sad!

Cec & Cy walked to work most of last week & I packed lunches for Cec to take. It made the day seem very long, but while the weather is still good they might as well do it. Lee & Barry came over & spent Friday with us. Lee had asked if she could bring her washing if they still had no hot water, but when I heard nothing all week I thought it must be O.K. but they rang up Fri. a.m. & then came. It was nice to have them & Lee & I had a good chat. In the evening Cec had to dash out after supper to a rehearsal at the Church & I got our clothes ready. Cec wore his navy suit, & I wore the navy & white dress, navy jacket, pale blue hat & gloves. It turned out to be a scorching hot day on Sat. Cec cleaned the car & got a haircut & we set out to Jim and Lee’s – it is such a long way – about 10 miles from here. The traffic at midday was so bad that I finally dropped Cec at the Church in case he couldn’t make the return journey in time & I drove on with Lindy. Everything was fine until I put her in her carriage to sleep – she wouldn’t take her milk & just yelled, so of course I stayed to comfort her & finally arrived at the church as everyone was coming out! I was so disappointed & so hot & bothered, but however, we went to the reception (at Betty’s home) & had a nice time.

Cec doing his duty as usher with confetti!

It was so hot all the time tho’, & we had coffee & sherry to drink- 2 warming things! The bride looked very sweet & all went well. Everyone kept dashing to get chairs etc. for me – I felt very preggy!! Linda was fairly happy with Lee, but when we got home we were all exhausted! I slept till 12 yesterday & we had a lovely day of rest! 

Love to all from Cyn.

August 28 1952

28th Aug. 1952.

Dearest Mummy,

I have been meaning to write all week but as usual we have been in a tizzy, & last night which was to be devoted to letter writing I only managed to write to Ruth & Amy I thought I had better get that done as the wedding is a week today – isn’t it incredible? Did you hear that the parcels had arrived safely except for one “porridge plate”? So I can replace that easily & Ruth seems delighted with them.

Ruth Stainthorpe had been Cyn’s bridesmaid, and her father, Dr. Stainthorpe, had given her away.

Thank you so much for your letter & also Lindy’s present, cards & cable. She had a lovely birthday – actually spread out onto Sat. too, as we hadn’t time to shop on the weekend Mill & Ford were here, so we decided to just give her a card & book on the day & take her shopping on Sat. a.m. We gave her all her cards at breakfast time & she thoroughly enjoyed looking at them all & so did we & laughed & laughed over the “potty” one, as that was to be one of our presents to her. We had talked about a “party” & decided against it, as we hadn’t seen Karen & Jennifer for ages & anyway thought Lindy would be really happier & less confused just alone with her presents. I made her a cake with pink icing, but I’m damned if I could find Amy’s candle & holder! I searched high & low & turned out all the drawers, but in the end I stuck some toothpicks in the middle & hope they look like a candle in the snap! We didn’t either eat the cake or take pictures till Sunday as the end of last week was so cold & we couldn’t sit outside. I got quite worried as Lindy had no winter clothes yet, but this week it is broiling- over 90° today & the mosquitoes are worse or as bad as they ever were. We can’t go on the grass at all & Lindy is smeared with 6.12 & still gets bitten. To return to her birthday – Cec came home early & we had great fun & opened all her presents. She loves her red shoes and after a struggle to get them on she was most intrigued! Of course she likes to play with them & chew them more than wear them, but on those cold days I was very glad to have them for her to wear as the floor was cold. She didn’t walk or do anything extraordinary on her birthday, but was a sweet happy baby all the time. As far as I can tell she seems just about the same as when you left & does nothing new, but probably you would see a change.

On Sat. after her nap we took her downtown & went to Frieman’s toy department. We got her some “Building Beakers” made by the same people who made the “Crackles”. They are bright plastic cups (12) which fit into each other & then turned upside down have a rim & can build on each other too. We went & looked at feeding dishes & they were $8- we nearly collapsed! So we went to that Baby Shop on Dalhousie St. where we got her harness & got a wooden toidy seat, a blue pot, a pr. of plastic pants, & a lovely little dish there. The dish is china with three compartments & in each compartment are pictures of pretty little coloured dogs, cats, bunnies etc.! The outside is chromium & holds the hot water & it is very nice we think. Linda likes it too & has been eating well. I am just thrilled with my daughter because on Mon. I cut out her early bottle (she never wakes till after 7 now & never seems to really need it) & after breakfast took her to the bathroom & put her on her little seat. She was slightly alarmed but very amused at my grunts & then amazed at the results when she grunted too!! She has performed each morning since, so see! – no trouble if you leave it long enough!!

On Sat p.m. we began to shop around for furniture for a spare room & went to a few places with ads. in the paper. We ended at a bachelor’s flat- he was selling everything & going into a furnished place & also worked at the Council & – hold your breath- we bought a desk, armchair, chesterfield, chest of drawers & daybed!! He is in no hurry for the money so we are paying him on time! The desk (oak – old, but nice), ch. of dr. (old & we will refinish) are for the front room – the daybed is just a small metal frame with thin cotton mattress & cover, will go in “your” room, & sleeps 2 people in an emergency- the ch’field & chair (about 1 yr. old- dark red-) are for the sitting room & the other chair will go upstairs. It all came this morning & we feel very pleased with ourselves & just full of furniture!! We hope to let the room early next month, so will get it fixed this weekend – it should look very nice, I think. Have all sorts of other things to tell you- Lindy’s other presents & cards- what we’ve been doing & answering your letter, but have no room & it is time for lunch anyway, so will write later in the week. My love to everyone & a hug from Lindy- please thank Auntie Trix for her share of the cable. 

                          Lots & lots of love from


The spate of weddings that suddenly appeared in the Costains’ lives in the summer of 1952 is a subtle reminder that now they are part of the older generation- been there, done that, have a baby with another on the way.  Cyn had worked as a teacher for ten years, throughout the war and after, and although Cec had just finished with university, he had been an older student at Cambridge and Michigan, with his war years as a naval officer behind him.  Now they are established with a permanent job, and the younger ones are getting married- Cyn’s bridesmaid, Ruth Stainthorpe, Keith Innes from the NRC, and then Al McNamara, Cec’s friend from university at home. Cec and Cyn are becoming part of the stable community at the NRC, staying there, looking for a permanent house, nurturing their growing families, entertaining and helping each other, as the younger post-doctorate fellows come- for 2 years- and go.  So this summer, as well as preparing for weddings, they are getting ready for a lodger to help with expenses from among the new arrivals.

August 5 1952

Tuesday. 5th Aug.

Dearest Mummy,

This is the day that you were leaving, and by now you will be well on your way. I hope that everything went smoothly & that the flight will be good – also that you have a nice welcome from Auntie Trix etc.

I wrote to you last on Thurs. & have really very little news as we have done nothing over the weekend, but my intention was to have a letter awaiting you at A.Trixie’s & although I have slipped up on that I thought I would do my best.

I said that we had done nothing over the weekend, but I meant nothing terrific! We worked quite hard & Cec cut the grass on Sat. & painted some of the room on Sunday. I got my breakfast in bed on Sunday & thoroughly enjoyed it! Monday was a Public holiday & it just poured with rain all day. Cec painted some more, but it was so damp that he couldn’t put a second coat over what he did on Sunday as it was still not dry. The ceiling is finished now & it looks grand- the walls all have one coat & parts have two, & already the room looks light & airy & twice as big. We should easily get it finished at the weekend & then next week Cec plans to take the week off & tackle the sitting room.

Lindy’s cold is just about better today, but up till now the poor little honey has been very snuffly & runny-nosed. It has been damp & coldish which hasn’t helped, but I think she is about better now. Her appetite is fine & today she & Cec were eating grapes!

You will be amused to hear that we are mad at Connie & Len! Yesterday they rang up & asked me about our babysitter – theirs was away & they wanted one for Wed. So I told them about Donna, then rang Donna & arranged it for them, then rang Connie & told her it was all fixed. A little while later Phyl Douglas called me & asked us to a little party on Wed. evening for Ruth and Keith (before their wedding), & it turned out that Alec had seen Leonard earlier & asked him & they had calmly annexed our babysitter and we had none! We were so mad – you can imagine! – we called the other girl & she was ill, but finally the “Cy – Cec combine” is coming into action & Cy is coming over for us. But wasn’t it a mean trick as they knew it was an “office” party & would surmise we’d be asked too. We are supposed to take something silly for Ruth & Keith so think of getting a “Doctor Spock”! Must stop now. Lindy sends a big hug & a kiss –                          With lots of love 

                                            from Cec & Cyn

December 18 1950

18th Dec. 1950

Dearest Little Mommy,

Just beginning a little note before I go to bed. I have had a busy evening ironing like mad, but I like ironing on Monday evening as there are nice musical programs on the radio from about 7:30 to 11 & it is the only evening that has so much nice music. Tonight they were playing lots of nice Christmas carols and music and Cec and I were thinking how strange it was to think of you hearing Christmas carols sung by a little black boys and girls all in summer clothes, with the sun shining and flowers and everything! Talking of flowers, I had such a pretty dream this morning just between the alarm and getting up! I dreamt I was walking through some fields & it seemed to be early on a sunshiny morning. I seemed to be following some directions as I counted the fields I crossed until I came to a high stone wall & above it I could see & hear hundreds of seagulls flying & wheeling & crying. I was a bit scared to open the door & go through, but I did – and on the other side was a great hillside of bare bushes & shrubs & perched on them and flitting about & twittering & tweeting were clouds of the loveliest little tiny birds – pale blue & pale pink – some pink and blue – some blue and yellow – some blue and grey – & I was just standing there with all the little things flying around. Wasn’t that a nice dream? All in Technicolour too!

We had ever such a busy weekend getting ready for Connie & Len. On Friday night I made my Christmas cake – a Christmas loaf really. I made it and baked it on Sat. morning. Then on Saturday I thoroughly cleaned the bedroom & sittingroom – behind & under everything! I polished the furniture & floor & felt very virtuous! In the afternoon Cec & I went downtown and did a bit of Christmas shopping, but came back in time to wash my hair & for us to get ready for the Physics Dept. Party.

Next Morning- (at work early– Cec has an 8 o’clock class.)

We bought a set of yellow towels for Cec’s brother Russell, who is getting married on Thursday. – we had an invitation & nice note from his bride-to-be, Errol, & although the present won’t get there in time, at least we made an effort!

We got a cute little folding umbrella from Mom Costain- it is ordinary size opened up, but pushes together & scrunches up into a little fat tube!  It is covered with a kind of blue plaid & looks quite smart. We also got Gunborg & Gordon a bottle of sherry as their Christmas present & the girls woolly mittens in various colours & patterns!

Continued- a month later!

January 14th-!!!

Dearest Little Momma,

I began this letter the week before Christmas & just never had a minute to finish it, so I am sending what there is along with a few funny things that might amoose you! One is a chart of the display we made for the open day at the Center, so you may get a little better idea of what the Field Office does. There were some pictures taken too, so when they are I’ll send some along. Also I’m enclosing some funny things we gave to Edie on the day she left- the Fri. before Christmas. The Institute collected & got her a dear little travelling bag- a little square box-y over night bag, with place for toilet things etc. – very cute. The Field Office however were supposed to give Edie a present on their own, but Sylvia & I being underlings, didn’t hear much about it, except to give our $1 each! However, eventually they decided to give her the money ($30) & each to write a poem or something silly, & we all went down to the train on the Fri. afternoon (Cec too) & we gave her an envelope with the money & envelopes with all the poems etc. & she had quite a sendoff. I miss her a lot- the Field Office doesn’t seem 1/2 such a cheery place without Edie.

The Physics Party I mentioned earlier was quite a success in the end. There were a couple of skits first & then supper then games & dancing etc. & everyone seemed to have a good time. My only gripe was that I had typed out dozens of carols & had had the sheets mimeographed for everyone & then in the end they only sang 2 carols! 

The other enclosure is a picture by Grandma Moses, to cool you down when it is hot! We got a box of Christmas cards & this bigger one was enclosed, so I thought you would be interested to see it & read about the old lady painting. I think they are so sweet & love to see what all the funny little people are doing.

Will write by A.M. in a day or so, so you will get it long before this one. 

                Lots & lots of love & hugs 



This is a Scroll we presented to Edie when she left. Shirley had the idea & I made it up (recognize a “quote” from our passports!!) and wrote it in black & red on a great sheet of paper. We put a big red & gold seal & red ribbons & it looked very elegant! Edie wrote and said she was going to have it framed!

Honorary Award of Merit

To Whom It May Concern: –

          Let it be known that on the twenty second day of December, this year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and fifty, we of the Field Office, do hereby appoint and commission Miss Edith Dunkin to be our representative in all our lands of the Americas bordering on the Pacific Ocean. This tenure shall be of thirty years duration, with an option in the favour of the Field Office to retain the services of the said Miss Edith Dunkin, the renumeration thereof to be the token payment of $1 (one dollar) per year.

          We hereby request and require, in the name of the Field Office, all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer of this Honorary Award to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford her every assistance and protection of which she may stand in need.

Gossip from England

Cyn had close friends to keep in touch with, as well as her mother, and she was so fortunate that Dottie, Nan, Anne and others wrote to tell her about what was going on in their lives and to gossip about what was happening with friends and acquaintances. In her letters to her mother she mentions Joan Cox’s wedding and hopes that she will hear about it soon.  The letter telling her survived and is presented here, showing quite a different voice and tone! Anne Winnick was a colleague from Coleridge in Cambridge where Cyn had taught, and since she was still teaching, caught her up with all the gossip from the school as well as the details of the wedding. And she finishes with a personal bombshell, probably why the letter was kept.  Anne had married Tadek, who had come to England as a Polish soldier during the war, but has now become a British citizen and got his degree.  Joan Cox’s sister also seems to have married a Pole, and they are the hosts at the wedding, with their son as the entertainment, apparently.

Joan Cox married Don Humphris, June 1950.

12 Haskington Grove 



My dear Cyn, 

First I must – or rather we must congratulate you both on your wedding anniversary and wish you all joy for many dozens of years to come. Thank you very much for your letter – you let me wait so long that the news piles up and by the time I write I forget it nearly all, anyhow I have such a pile today that I have to spend a shilling on the letter – an email letter would not be enough. By the time you have read it all you will be all out- flat out-exhausted – so you had better find a really comfortable seat & have a glass of something handy & a fan full on- you’ll need it!! Joan’s wedding- Tadek & I both went, it was a glorious day, the best day of the summer so far. Cambridge was even mentioned that day on the B.B.C. for having the highest temps. & the most sunshine. Joan looked very nice indeed in a white lace gown with a train & a little crown & veil – a very pretty frock, no bridesmaids. The groom & all the other gents wore morning suits & looked quite handsome. There were lots of children around and in the church little Stefan Cembrowicz kept on chanting after the parson & when the choir boys kept on kneeling down he called out “we all pop down”! The people were in fits as you can guess. In fact little Stefan was the centre of attraction all day – he is a cute little kid. The reception was held in De Freville Avenue- the house of course – & the garden which looked very nice for a change. The food was excellent & Jerome & Gwen made a good host & hostess- they had about four waitresses from somewhere – plenty of drinks & ice creams- & Stefan running around – once in the nude because his shoulder straps fell off his trousers – you should have seen & heard the dear old ladies – they were afraid to go to the rescue- Tadek had to go to the rescue in the end. When Tadek asked him in Polish where he lived he answered correctly. A telegram from your mother was read out with the others. Edward has some lovely pictures of the wedding in his window-big ones- taken at & in the church & at home. After the wedding they went off in Don’s little car with an assortment of cans & junk tied underneath by the wedding guests. The whole afternoon was really a very enjoyable affair & had a very amusing sequel for me – would you like to hear it – here goes. During the reception I recognized a girl who I thought was a teacher I had seen somewhere & apparently the same went for her because she came up to me & asked me whether she was right in thinking I taught at Coleridge as she was once on the Boys Department etc. & she sent her love to Waddy & Kay Harper. She had come up for the occasion especially from Surrey or Sussex. I gave the message to Waddy but forgot her name it was so funny- Bridie Elmper [?]. After describing her Waddy guessed it & said – “whatever is she doing here – she lives with her husband in Surrey & has no relatives here – the only person she knows lives in Royston where she taught once & on whom she was crazy in spite of being married to a fellow in the army – Don Humphris!!” “Well – that was the fellow who got married” said I- “Good Lord”– said Waddy “he ran around with Bridie even came to Coleridge to take her out when she came here & then met Kay Norman & took her about & the two women had a dreadful row over him & in the end he married someone else who was killed last year by lightning on the Royston golf course”! All this was news to me & I gasped as you can guess especially when Waddy said lots of women were crazy on Don- she apparently even went with the party to a pub now and then because she was very fond of this Bridie. Fancy Bridie coming up to the wedding & tagging her husband along too!! Did you know Don was a widower- do you remember that woman getting killed last year summer- I do. It certainly seemed funny that Waddy should give me the lowdown on this romance. Well so much for Joan. 

Marion Knight is getting married in September to a R.A.F. chap from Bassingbourne whom she apparently knew from Blackpool days. She brought him to the school sports & he seemed a jolly nice fellow, not like Marion’s usual types. He is big John, little John is going into a boarding school after Xmas & Wimpole Park of course closes down in Sept. all works out very well!!! 

Pearl Cutting is leaving at the end of term- this week & is going to teach in the Open Air School here – she gave in her notice here like Jessie Fisher & had no where to go – but now she has taken this job – I don’t envy her. Jessie Fisher by the way is still in her Naval school, she wrote to Pam the other week that she went to the Ascot races but but does not say whether she was in the Royal Enclosure!!! Pam searched through all the Society Magazines but could find no picture of dear Jessie!!

Do you remember meeting Brenda Brine- the new P.T. in the staff whom you said looked nice – well her life has been one eternal row with Howlett & she has told the office she can’t stick it any longer & is going to walk out at the end of term. I had a letter from your mother the other day saying how happy she was & wanting to know all about Joan’s wedding – I must answer her sometime. I met Ethel Pasquier who came over on a brief visit to England en route to the Continent, she came to Cambridge to see me (or Mrs. Desely who was away) & spent only a couple of hours here. I whisked her around the famous spots & she wrote a few postcards, one to you, gave my two pairs of nylons Marie had sent Mrs. Desely & I, & rushed back to London. She is a sweet little thing- told me of you & Cec & how happy they all are you are back in the States. Ruth & another America friend of hers Mary, were here last week Mon- Wednesday. Ruth is just the same- she came to school one afternoon to see the grand Historical Pageant the kids were giving to the public afternoon & night – you can guess how old Howlett was-Ruth thought she was awful, of course she had quite a lot of information from me first. Pam & Waddy are off to Austria on Sunday but are desperately worried as they have not heard about their passage, ticket, money, passport etc. They went to see about it today & Pam got hers, not Waddy & you ought to have seen Pam, she was more upset than Waddy about it – in the depths of despair & on the verge of tears. Sheila & the other D.Sc. Irene are very good pals now and I am so glad- you ought to hear Sheila tell old Howlett off- she went to her room one night after school & told Howlett she strongly resented her interference in her cookery lessons as had been going on lately. Old H. was so taken aback she began to soft soap Sheila & say how good she is & how grateful H. is to her for everything etc. Her Bob is still going strong – one weekend he comes to her- the other she goes to him – but poor old Sheila is worried lately about her father he has gone to a nursing home for mental trouble & strain – although he & her mother have just spent a long holiday in Norway & Sweden. Well the bigger news is coming up- Rosemary & Bill are still going strong, so strong in fact that Rosemary is going to get married! Not official yet but everyone knows! Bill is just looking for a house & Rosemary for a job in Essex near Saffron Walden where he works! What d’ye know!! She took him to the Pageant the other night- I did not go, I had Ruth etc. here but the others say she would not introduce him – he looked handsome enough with long fair hair plastered down & rather a village type – in fact Sheila says she thinks he smells!!! she could not bear to go near him. Poor Bill- poor Rosemary – but she is terribly excited- she takes him home & she goes to his home & by the things she says to me it is high time they married, if I knew Cec would not read this I would tell you a few juicy tales!! my ears flap and my eyes pop out when I listen!! Well how are you feeling- exhausted yet- well beware here comes the final knockout blow, steady yourself- take the glass in your hand for I am going to have a baby in December yes you read right – I am – Xmas Eve- but no one at school knows yet except Sheila, I dare not to tell old Howlettt I am leaving at the end of September- I shall have to go to the Office in the holiday & tell them the news- I think I shall only ask for a leave of absence now and then they won’t be so mad at me not giving in my notice before. Anyhow I really may have to go back if Tadek does not get a permanent job. Yes – it took us by surprise too – let it be a warning – don’t risk anything- not even once!!!! And to think that Jean Reed is going to all that trouble!! I’m beginning to get a bit bulgy but so far the weather has been cool & I have worn a short jacket, thank goodness only 3 more days of term, no one has noticed yet I think although this is my fifth month- but they soon will- now. Better start knitting old gal – I haven’t yet – in fact I dare not think of it. I have had to go to the hospital for lectures etc. etc. & once went to school only at 3 o’clock after hospital- saying I was not well! Luckily I have been very well- not once sick – so no one can guess.  I dreamt you were having one in January – what fun!!! I think I’ll wind up – enough news for one letter & I think it deserves a speedy reply don’t you. Very much love as ever – all best to Cec. Hope you will soon revive after reading this- Anne. 

P.S. Keep my baby a secret too.

P.S. Rosemary has had to move digs twice since I last wrote about her new digs – her landladies have told her to go- I wonder why!!!

August 22 1949

From Cyn’s Scrapbook.

37, de Freville Ave. 


22nd  Aug. 1949. 

Dearest Mummy,

Thank you so much for your letter which we received this morning. I meant to write yesterday, but what with unpacking & eating we didn’t seem to have a moment! Today has been busy too, but Cec is now doing the washing up for me while I write. Isn’t he nice?!

As you will see, we are returning Cliff’s snaps to you and are sending Cec’s for you to see. We went to see Edward this afternoon, and he is doing us some prints and enlarging some, so we will let you have some later. We also ordered our pictures & the ones for N/C & some for Cec’s people, but decided we would order what we wanted for relatives etc. later, & might even send some at Christmas as Ray suggested. We weren’t sure of what size the N/C ones were to be, so we ordered postcard size, Edward said that he had sent you yours yesterday, so you will have them to show Mary. He had a big picture of the group with you & Charlie in, & a little one of the kids throwing confetti, in his window. I have just been telling Cec that you & Charlie look like the little man & woman on the weather gauge- like little Noah’s Ark-y people, & he thinks it is rude, but I mean it nicely! Edward said that he had sent you a different picture of you & Joan where you look nice, & that he could cut off Joan, so let us know if you like it & we’ll have some done that way.

This was Cyn and Cec’s wedding present to themselves. It seems to have fallen, but was fixed.

It was quite all right about our picture, by the way. We noticed it after a while & looked all about, for it, but more or less guessed what happened, as Cec had his doubts about the plaster at the time. We will go into the shop this week & see about it – we would like to get it done again I think, & Cec is going to fix rawlplugs for it & the mirror in the bedroom. We did see Joan, but it was before we noticed it had gone, so we were quite puzzled for a while, but I thought maybe you had forgotten to tell us! I’m glad it came to you in a flash, though!

Receipt for the wedding present map.

Since we saw you on Friday, we seem to have done such a lot, but really we haven’t done much at all. We went & got the snaps on Sat. A.M. & went to the Shipping Co. & took Cec’s watch to be mended, then back to the Gr. Eastern for lunch & caught the 2:15 train. We were home by 4 o’clock & found Gwen & Jerome still here to our surprise, & the new people in too. We dumped our things- found bread & veg. from Joan & lovely, beautiful gladiolas from Mrs. Ewing – thank you very, very much, Mummy. I looked up as I got out of a taxi & saw them & knew you had asked someone to get them for us. We went shopping straight away & Claude greeted us with great joy & quite compared notes on married life with us! Also gave me all my back rations, so we got masses of nice frying steak! On our way back we called in & said thank you to Joan & Ray & have invited them to dinner on Friday as it isn’t long before they go now.

We had Gwen & Jerome up for a drink of Cherry Brandy that evening as they were leaving next day. Joan is going on to them for a week when she returns and in the meanwhile the man downstairs is looking after Tilly & we are looking after Spiv!


Sunday we slept late – despite the bed which is rather hard & lumpy & very small!  In Cannes we had 2 big divan beds pushed together to make one – here it is so small & the sides slope so that we roll into the middle. Sat night Cec won and got in the middle first, but last night I did! We didn’t seem to do anything except unpack & sort dirty clothes & cook & eat meals & take Tillie a walk, but we were busy all day! I forgot to say that Gwen has brought us the dearest kitchen cabinet. It is not very big, but so nice & neat & useful- I am delighted with it & don’t know how we would have managed without it. Also Jerome stained the other floors for us & they look very nice.

Today I sent off the cake & a note to Bebe. We decided not to send the other one to Canada, but if it is still OK by the time we go we will take it with us & deliver it ourselves. I think it should keep till Feb if Dottie says we should keep it for the christening! Cec did up the laundry & we had lunch & then went down to the Bank, Food Office, etc. & then on to Edward & Mr. Ward & home for tea. I also shopped this a.m. & washed my hair & so was busy again! Mr. Ward gave me all my back rations too, so we are wallowing! I talked to Mrs. Lock this p.m. & did the kitchen fire out & now I am going to have my bath & go to bed. The Locks are coming up for a drink tomorrow evening – they seem nice.

I forgot to say thank you too, Mummy, for my dear little stool – it is cute & so useful – thank you very much. By the way, let us know which day next week you will come- any will suit suit us, & stay overnight too if it is convenient. We will have a gossip!

Must stop now – love to AGL & thank her for her letter.

    With lots & lots of love 

      from Cyn

[Cec’s handwriting] Dear Mum,

We are settling in and it is really beginning to feel like home – it’s a wonderful feeling. See you next week. 

    Love Cec.

Cyn and Cec’s first home.