September 26 1967

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

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

26th Sept.

Dearest Mummy,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


4th Oct.

July 15-18 1967

On Saturday (I had my dates mixed) we drove to Sutton Coldfield (peculiar name!) through the Welsh mountains. The views were magnificent & we took a few pictures. We met some awful traffic jams – cars waiting for miles back while the crossroads in the tiny villages got stopped up. Of course it is the weekend, that probably accounts for it. We met Auntie Dottie and Tim (whom I think is a poisonous little brat, spoilt) and the cat Pooh (wild a bit, but he lay on my lap.) After tea we met Peter and his fiancée Val Hurst. She’s the one who designs rings. She is petite, a shoulder length blonde, vivacious and drinks more beer than I have ever seen Daddy. At supper we met Richard (I have his room & like his taste in books) and Uncle Ken. I like them all. Later we met Jim and his girlfriend Gill. She is dark and pretty and rather quiet and she wears contact lenses. I can’t decide who I like better – Gill or Val. Daddy obviously likes Val better, you should see him jump up to light her cigarettes. By the way, Auntie Dottie smokes cigars! Little thin ones but really!

The next day Charlie & I & Tim went for a walk in the park. One of these woody overgrown ones. We walked for miles! I got absolutely exhausted and we still hadn’t turned around. Finally we got fed up & turned around and he walked us all the way back. It rained off & on. I do not like that child!

In the evening we went to Grace & Bob Speller’s for drinks – quite nice & Daddy talked to John & his wife who are coming to Canada I think.

Warwick Castle

On Monday we went to Stratford upon Avon, stopping off at Warwick Castle on the way. It marvellous – after the ruins it was nice to see one intact & well cared for. The most marvellous things in it were the portraits. Henry the eighth & Elizabeth & Henry VIII as a boy (sweet) and Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria. There were lovely tapestries of faery woods with princesses & bears and heroes in. One room had Marie Antoinette’s bed in it and my favourite thing in the castle – Marie Antoinette’s clock. The clock was flat iron – sort of like a sundial with Roman numerals traced on & lines & delicate iron hands. And on the points of the hours coming out from the middle were the Twelve Stations of the Cross in little medallions of red and white china. The whole thing was so delicate and somehow like Marie Antoinette, poor thing.

Stratford definitely disappointed me, I think the Ontario one is much nicer. Of course this one is the real thing, though. However I enjoyed seeing the relics of Shakespeare’s life, we saw all the houses of he & his children except Anne Hathaway’s cottage which was too far to walk. It was so hot that we couldn’t do much. The outside of the theatre was horrible but the inside was lovely & ‘All’s Well that Ends Well’ was lovely too. Back to Dottie’s for bed.

Today (Tues.) bid a mournful goodbye to Auntie Dottie & Uncle Ken (who are very nice & he has lovely books in the attic including two Scarlet Pimpernels which he lent me and three lovely Dornford Yates which I read all but 1/2 the last and it was too precious to take away! Boo-hoo!) and a cheerful one to Tim and set off for Oxford. We stopped on the way at Jean’s and met her in person and her husband Peter & Patsy who are very nice. [Cyn’s Hazell cousins.] They have a lovely garden. I would have liked to have met Patsy’s son. I saw a picture of him.

Queen Elizabeth I

May 5 1957

Box 330

Sunday 5th May.

Dearest Mummy,
It is a lovely day after a week of cold windy weather. We had a beautiful warm spell over Easter & for a while afterwards & things were just looking lovely & then it suddenly got so cold & even froze some nights & people who had put out plants etc. got them all frosted. However we weren’t so venturesome & indeed Cec is being very correct about his gardening this year – all the seed catalogues etc. tell you to begin seeds indoors & as we haven’t had too much luck putting them straight into the garden & the season is so late beginning here anyway that we thought we would try it. So last weekend Cec made some flats & sifted soil etc. & planted them & already we have some funny looking little things! I giggled at Cec as he worked so hard over getting them all done nicely & then he said “Well, I hope they won’t be a success!” & when I said “Why?” in horror he said “Well, I couldn’t bear the thought of having to do all this every year!” However he is already talking about what he’ll do next year so he can’t be too serious! We planted Cosmos, Clarkia, Brackycomb, Petunias, Lavendar, Zinnias, Nemesia, Portulaca, Stocks & Perennial Iceland Poppies. Also Tiny Tim Tomatoes & some Baby Muskmelons for down the hill! We have ordered 6 more rosebushes & 3 new chrysanthemum plants & Cec divided up all the orange lilies in the Fall so we have quite a few perennials now – also some delphiniums & a peony we got last year & sweet williams. My Bleeding Hearts from Mrs. Carleton are all doing nicely but Cec is having grave doubts about the chicken manure he dug in so laboriously in the Fall. You know it was on Ken’s advice he did it, but our things seem to be so late compared to other peoples & our bulbs are so slow. Of course the latter may be caused by the transplanting as in the places where they weren’t disturbed they are way ahead, but poor Cec is going to be so disgusted if they don’t do well after all his hard work.
The children have been playing out all day with Jimmy except for going to S. School, & I gave them a picnic lunch on the grass & they had a lovely time. They are both looking so well & rosy cheeks now & seem to get so much dirtier than they ever did before! The bathroom wash basin always seems to be filthy & Charlie’s towel is just like the pictures you see of little boys’ towels! Charlie is quite lonesome on school days with no one to play with now, as he had such fun at Easter with Lindy & Jimmy, so he will be delighted when summer holidays come. He is very pleased at the thought of going to school & in S. School this morning I heard him holding forth to the teacher in front of all the children so he isn’t shy! I meant to begin a letter to you last night, but I began to make a book for my S. School – a Touch & Feel Book. They give you outlines of a sheep, bunny, dog, bird etc. and you cover them with cotton wool, velvet, feathers etc. to get the right feel – it was fun but it took me hours! Cec was at a Men’s Do at Boris’ & I spent the whole evening stuck up to the eyebrows! My class is still going strong & I have pretty regular help from a lady Mrs. Kuhn whose little girls come so it is all right, but I find I spend at least one evening a week making things for it & getting things ready. Do you remember Flora Wansborough a thin dark girl further down the hill towards Ben Rothwell’s? They adopted a baby boy just over a year ago & we coffee together occasionally – anyway she is an Anglican & I got her interested & she may come & help teach. She came & watched last week. Yesterday afternoon the Anglican Ladies had a big Maytime Tea & Sale of Work down at the School. It wasn’t anything to do with the Sunday School really but all the mothers etc. got together & organized it & the idea was to make money for a Fund as the beginning for a church some day. They sold tickets at 25¢ for the Tea & then had an Apron Stall, Children’s Wear Stall, Baked Goods, Plants, Candy Stall & a Recipe Stall which I thought was such a good idea. I’ll tell you about it because it might be a new idea for your May Fair or Bazaar sometime. They had 13 very luscious foods set out looking very attractive, then in front of each one little samples of the cake, cookie etc. stuck on toothpicks for people to taste & they were selling the 13 recipes typed on a sheet for $1. 00. They had some foreign recipes, some pickles etc. & I thought it was very good – Pat & I got one between us – 50¢ apiece! Pat has it at the moment & is going to type me a copy – they have the recipes from various people you know, which always adds interest too. I thought I had done quite well as I sold 10 tickets; made chocolate truffles for the Candy Stall; made coconut cakes for the tea; made choc. layer cake for the Bake Stall & sent 2 jars of pickles. Then I heard of a lady who had sold over 70 tickets, made 2 aprons, 2 children’s play suits, made bread, cakes & sent jam to the Bake Stall & was in charge of the Candy Stall & made dozens of lots of candy. Whee! Anyway it turned out to be a big success, & had lots of people there & I hear today that it made over $500 which seems wonderful for such a small group with no real church organization behind them. I was going to take Linda & Charlie, but then Linda got an invitation to Diane Kuhn’s birthday party (in her class at school) so Charlie decided he would rather stay at home & play with Jimmy. Lindy was to go as a storybook character, so I spent the Friday morning making her a little red cloak with a hood. Do you remember some red lounging pyjamas I swapped with Jessie long long ago? Then at my Halloween party in Cambridge I made them into a red petticoat? WELL – now I made Lindy into a cute Little Red Riding Hood! Lu gave her a pretty red moire skirt of Leslie’s a little while ago & they exactly matched & with a white blouse & a little basket she really looked like the storybook! I took her to the party & then took Pat & Mrs. Tomlinson & Joanne & Susan to the Tea – lots of people were there – even Mrs. Rothwell making funny remarks about Anglicans! I got some cookies & small cakes, some candy, a kettle holder & a pair of darling little “baby doll” pyjamas! The top is flowered cotton with little white panties, but unfortunately it is too small for Linda (they had no bigger sizes) so I will send it to Barbara Heslop for her birthday.

I was so pleased with myself yesterday morning as I went to town & had such a successful shopping spree. I had thought I might get a suit this spring but I looked around earlier & they all had these straight tight skirts which are so bad for my poor seat! Then I decided I would get a coat as the only non-winter one I have is my grey raincoat from trousseau days which is very sad now, & I saw a nice black bengaline in Simpson Sears catalogue (water repellent too) which was just what I wanted so I sent off for it. I was so disappointed when I got a card saying it was out of stock so on Sat. I went downtown & found just the same thing at Freimans’ & in my size too. I got it there & then & then hopped upstairs & got a little pink lacy hat & a pink scarf (I already have a new high-heeled black suede shoes). I also got Nan a pair of red corduroy “scuffies” (slippers with no backs) reduced to $1.00, so felt very successful! I dashed home & got Cec to mark the hem of my coat & shortened it then & there & wore it to the May Tea with my new hat & felt so pleased as everyone was dressed up to the eyes & I felt quite chic too. I have my white straw that from last summer I’ll also wear with the coat & I got some pretty white material with a black flower spray on it to make into a dress, so it will all go nicely. Do you remember a pretty navy coat Lila had on that day we drove out to Kingsmere? Well, mine is very like that.
I feel quite free to concentrate on our summer wardrobe now as I have at last finished the slipcover for the sofa & feel very pleased with it. Cec & I had such a busy time last week after Easter. I told you how he began painting & finished the bathroom & it looks so nice & fresh.

Then I got some pretty yellow nylon & made a new curtain & we got 20 yellow tiles (plastic) & tiled around the wash basin. It looks most elegant & it is such an improvement as the wall got so splashed behind the basin & it spoilt the paint. We are very pleased with it. Then Cec began on the kitchen & painted that (I helped but I was mostly sewing the slipcover. ) It is a very pretty pale blue, walls & woodwork, with the brown cupboard doors. We have also moved things around & now it is like this-

It is such an improvement having the stove near my workplace in the corner near the sink & the fridge is just as convenient on the other side & not so much in the way. It takes the stove away from the door too & when we sit at the table we are not as close to it. Cec has hung the bread box below the window & under it we have a new white garbage can! I have some blue and white spotted material to make frills for the tops of the windows but haven’t done so yet. I think it looks very nice though & I’m delighted with it.
All last week then, Cec was painting hard in the evening & I was sewing away & in the day time the children & I were busy gadding! Lindy was on holiday of course, & on the Wed. we went to tea with Susi Dressler & saw the little twins – so sweet – just a month old, then on the Thurs. we drove over & had lunch with Lee & Barry & Dougie; on the Friday we went & had coffee with Flora & then on the Sunday the Atchisons [Cec’s sister & family] came to dinner! Cec planted all the seeds last weekend too, so it really was a busy time. The A’s were all well after a bad winter of colds, chickenpox etc. but little Patty Lou is growing fast & beginning to walk & Lea is still enchanted with her baby. Cec & I we’re saying that she really missed so much of Darryl’s baby hood with working that this is really new & fun for her & she just thinks Patty is wonderful. I was handing on some of Lindy’s little things I still had – but not the prettiest ones! Aren’t I mean – but some of them are too sweet to give away!
This week we had a party on Tuesday – a surprise birthday party for Lila! You know she is so good about sending the children birthday, Valentine, Easter presents etc. etc. & one day Cec & I were talking & I said I didn’t really like surprise parties but that I thought one for Lila might be fun, so we had one! We invited mostly those with children whom Lila treated as she treats ours you know – Phyl & Alex, Nan & Don Ramsey, Joan & Boris, Ray & Doreen Moore (the N.Z. couple but they couldn’t come – Doreen is sick – preggy again – R.C.’s poor girl ) then Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg, but Mrs. H. couldn’t come as she was away, & Dr. H’s secretary Mary & Santiago & Dr. Velasco. I phoned Lila a little while ago & said I wanted her & Mary to come out & arranged a day in a very casual way, & then Alex & Phyl picked them up & got here about 8:50 & all the rest at 8:30 having put their cars around the side. Then when Lila came up everyone sang Happy Birthday & we gave her a pretty pink corsage & a card signed by all the children! She was quite pink & confused, but very pleased I think & we all had a nice evening. We chatted & then played quite a good card game that everyone can join in, & we had Punch to drink. Then I had coffee & tea & a big pretty tray of open faced sandwiches like I used to have in Cambridge & then a big birthday cake. I made it white with a wreath of pink rosebuds around & Happy Birthday Lila in the middle. It was all over & everyone leaving by midnight but we felt we’d had a good time & enjoyed it anyway so we hoped everyone else did! We had a nice card from Lila full of raptures afterwards!
On the Wed. the children & I had another kind of party – Charlie & I picked up Lindy from school in the car & went downtown for lunch & then we went to see Walt Disney’s “Cinderella”! I was very keen to take them as they have a Cinderella book with pictures from the movie & they were both thrilled at the idea. Lindy just loved the whole thing & enjoyed every minute, but poor old Charlie got a bit tired & kept saying “Is this the end?”!! However I really think it was quite a success as it was their first full length film in a theatre – I loved seeing it again too! Then we went out to tea to Mrs. Kuhn’s on Thurs. & Lindy & I got our haircut on Fri., so those are all our activities! Cec was back at work every night except the party night last week, so he was really tired this weekend but he got some good results, so he was quite content. Next week I hope we all are going to have a quiet week – I feel we have been living hectically for quite a while!
Thank you so much for your last letter (29th) which I got yesterday – I am so sorry that none of our things reached you for your birthday though. Somehow your letters come so nice & quickly now though, that I assume mine do to you too, but I hope that by now the parcel as well as my long letter will have arrived. It was my fault about the A.M. not getting posted though- so don’t blame poor Cec! I had a bunch of letters to mail – paying bills etc. & your A.M. & some library books & my purse & so on & Charlie & I got in the car & I put them all on the seat between us. Well, what with Charlie & me & all the other things your letter & one of the others slid down the back of the seat & I didn’t notice they were missing when I mailed the rest. Then a few days later I saw a little white thing sticking up & pulled it & lo and behold – letters! I’m sorry! I’m so glad you had a nice birthday – yes we did think of you – and had such a lovely picnic – how nice of Auntie Muriel. You told me the girls had sent you a pretty dress but you didn’t tell me what it was like, but your new hat sounds very pretty too. What a pity Noel Coward didn’t come to Church on Easter Sunday & see you in it! But I really can’t imagine him dashing to Church at the crack of dawn as you & A. Muriel do! What a pity you didn’t see him though although I feel he must be too too conceited for words! Your telling me of him reminds me that I nearly forgot to tell you of someone I met unexpectedly at the May Tea yesterday – Mr. & Mrs. Hughes from Acacia Avenue – remember? They have built a house out here at Rothwell Heights- not way down by the river, but in some woods that we rather liked – moved in just about a month or so ago. They were very cordial & most pressing that we should come & see them, so we must do so & see their house – Mrs. H. tells me it has “What my Mother would call a Charles Dickens window”!! What do you think she means?! I guess a bow window or one with leaded panes!
The Church Procession you saw sounds a most exhausting affair – I’m glad you didn’t try to join in. The new man at Hazell’s sounds as if he will take some of the work off Uncle Fred’s shoulders which will be a relief for him, but as you say Alan Gunn doesn’t sound as if his return will be very permanent. I wonder if you got any bargains at the Sale? They have been having big sales in all the stores here but somehow nothing I needed!
You were asking about Charlie – he’s not nearly such a tender little plant as he used to be & doesn’t cry so much, but still that lower lip can quiver in a very pathetic way! He doesn’t cry at the Barber’s or having his hair washed now & is quite independent – Lindy at last will have her hair cut at the hairdresser’s but has to hold my hand! I am going to make her pink & white sun dress soon – we both think it is very pretty – when I get a nice pattern.
You were asking about our finances – well we are doing quite well & have it last paid off the money we borrowed on our insurance when Charlie was born!! Also we have joined a Civil Service Co-op Savings Society which takes the money out of our pay cheque before we get it so perhaps now we will amass a huge fortune!!
I don’t seem to have been reading much lately – too busy sewing! But I ploughed through a long but interesting biography of Richard III! We don’t belong to a book club at all now – the English one was nice but we got a bit tired of it & the U.S. ones we never seem to get books we like!
I think the table mats for Ginny & Hugh are a very good idea – I’m sure they’ll like them. [Cyn’s cousin Milly Pembleton’s son was getting married in the summer, and so Carol and Cyn were considering wedding presents.] I must get them something & send it off – I thought of something in the china line, but I’ll go & have a look around. Mill very kindly asked us down this summer but I think we’ll postpone it till another year – we thought we would just stay home & save our money this year! But having just begun the savings plan we want to get a good start, & even at the cottage you seem to spend a lot of money & we were counting up & on our trip last year we spent $500 about. That includes things we bought & everything, but still! Talking of table mats I really like yours much more than Amy’s – they look cleaner (!) & the colours are so pretty & cheerful. She keeps impressing on me that she only sends to children now, so obviously I’ll not get the big ones!
By the way, I got the photo album from Una at last – so silly- all these pictures & only a few with you in & I haven’t a clue as to who any of the other people are! If she said sent it to you, you might have been amused at it, but really there are so few with you in that it seems quite pointless to send it to me.


Monday. I am just finishing this off this evening & have just had a birth announcement of Dottie’s baby – a son! Ken writes a note on the bottom that the baby & Dottie are both doing well. Born 16th April & weighing 7 lbs. 2 oz. but no name. Cec says that anyway he won’t be so spoiled as a baby girl would have been! [Ken & Dottie’s blended family now has 4 boys!]
I must stop as I am yawning me head off! Must send Nan her birthday card & will send her Scuffies tomorrow – my love to Auntie Muriel – big hugs & kisses from Lindy & Charlie & lots of love from us all –