May 2 1956

True, Cyn’s 41st birthday was the month before, but I’ve already posted her mother’s card! This was from me!

2nd May 1956
4th May.

Dearest Mummy,
At last I am thanking you for my birthday presents! Actually they didn’t arrive as late as it looks, with my writing in May – they arrived the very day I posted your last letter – but that was bad enough, wasn’t it? Someone must have been trying to hatch them out! Anyway late or not, they were very welcome and it was really nice having them to look forward to! Thank you so much for my lovely mats. I do like them & of course we have already been using them. Everyone I show them to likes them just as much as I do, but I don’t think anyone would fall for them at $5.00 – my friends are poor like us! It is so nice to have eight too & I know that they will all be used to bits. I am still reluctant to part with my old ones, battered as they are. It was sweet of you to send me the panties too – very much needed! Of course Cec laughed & called them bloomers, but the fact remains that they fit my posterior a lot better than the tiny briefs! The children were just delighted with their books & “Henry’s Wagon” particularly is a great favourite. If you remember it at all, on the last page the little boy is all painty & he says “Bessie – I’m a little messy”! & the children think this is the funniest thing they ever read – they go into gales of mirth over it & are always quoting it!

Besides my birthday parcel & card we all want to thank you too for our pretty Easter cards & little presents which arrived at the same time. The children love “Puppy Pals” & I love my little notes which I have already been using. You will probably have nearly forgotten all these things as it is such a long time since you sent them but we are enjoying them just the same!
I am sitting in bed writing this – my favourite desk! – & snuffling away. The children got colds last week – not bad & they went very quickly, but we had a few busy days & they both seem to freshen them up this week & today I have it. It is no wonder as we have had the coldest, most un-spring like weather. On the few occasions the sun does shine, everyone thinks “Oh at last” & then it is gone in a minute. It was the wettest April ever recorded & imagine – our crocuses are just blooming & one or two brave scillas and nothing is growing it’s so cold. Summer time began last weekend but we are doing no gardening yet.

The last time I wrote was nearly 2 weeks ago & I was getting ready for my party. I finished my dress & everyone was very complimentary & I think it looked all right! I wore the black velvet cummerbund (I bought to go with that black lace skirt) & black accessories, but I’m still not too keen on the colour. I have worn my grey & black striped suit quite a few times & am very pleased with it – everyone thinks I’m so clever – me too! The party was kind of queer! Not our fault & the food was a success! I had drinks with cheese straws & cheese canapés; fried chicken, asparagus au gratin, salmon mould, tossed green salad, melba toast & butter; chocolate soufflé or mince pie & whipped cream; coffee. The queerness was due to the fact that everyone seem to be coming or going or gone all evening! To begin with Cec went downtown to pick up Pete & Lu & Santiago at 7:45, so I expected everyone about 8.0. Teddy & Fanni arrived then, but poor Cec had to wait nearly 3/4 of an hour as all the others were late, so they didn’t arrive until nearly 8:30. Then Teddy & Fanni broke the news that their wretched female guest was arriving by train at 10.0 & Teddy had to go & get her! However, we all got going & after a while began dinner, but before dessert Teddy had to get up & go, & then we’d all just finished our dessert & were having coffee & I cleared away when Teddy came back with Miss Hughes (I told him to bring her) so I served them dessert & coffee & we all sat back & then not long after they finished Pete & Lu said they had to go. It was just after 11, but apparently they didn’t want to be late, so of course Cec had to take them & Santiago & the others left too. Cec said later “What a mess!” & I felt so too – we never had time to sit & enjoy ourselves which was so annoying.
I had cleaned & worked so hard getting ready for the party that last week I just sort of sat back & let things slide! Pat & her girls came up to tea one day, & we took them with us in the car to the Library another day & then one morning we went to Margie’s to see the new baby. Of course Lindy had been longing to see her so she was very thrilled, but just saw her for a minute as she was going to sleep. Margie looks fine now & her parents were leaving this week as everything seems to be going well.
On Friday the children got an invitation to little Wendy Ramsay’s birthday party on Sun. so great was the excitement. I went downtown on Sat. to buy birthday presents for them to take & I got Lindy a crinoline! She has been longing for one, so I got her a little white nylon net waist petticoat & she wore it under Gunborg’s pretty red & white Christmas dress. I also got Charlie a new suit as his little brown suit is too small & he needed one for the summer – it has navy shorts & a blue shirt and he was just as tickled as Lindy! On Sunday we all went off to S. School (Charlie comes regularly now – tags along after me all the time, but is very good) & then had lunch & rests & got ready for the party. They set off with Daddy very pleased, holding their presents & full of excitement – Daddy was to leave them & call for them later & Lila was to be there! After a little while I heard Cec driving back & glanced out at him & here was Charlie with him! In he came, very red eyed & weepy & lip going down & his Daddy disgusted at him! Apparently they got in & got their coats off & all was fine when it suddenly struck Charlie what was really going on & he began to howl to go home! He was quite happy to be back although rather sad at missing the birthday cake! However Lindy had a simply wonderful time & Nan said she was as good as gold, so I’m glad one member was a credit to the family! S. School has really made an enormous difference to Lindy, so I hope it will do the same for Charlie – in time! About the S. School I am trying to get an assistant as I have about 10 nearly every Sunday now – about 20 on the register – & it is very hard to try and keep track of them all. If one wants to go to the bathroom & I take her, they all want to come too! So I’m trying to get a high school girl to come & help with them – I still make all sorts of cute things for them & we had a darling little model for David & his sheep & now we are doing Jesus at home in Nazareth & I have cut out pictures for that.
On Mon. I was at the dentist again & have one more time to go – Friday. They are all fillings but none bad – so far I haven’t had to have any injections to help me along. Charlie says he’s going to show the dentist his teeth on Friday but we’ll see what happens! Tuesday we had the car & shopped & went out to Orleans & got meat etc. I got some for Doreen, the New Zealand girl & took it round – she is just due to have her baby & is sitting waiting to depart! She is going to the St. Marie de Montfort Hospital on Montreal Road near here so I’m interested to hear what she thinks of it. Phyl & Alec Douglas & family have just moved out to one of the houses on Research Rd. (where Doreen Moore lives) behind the Montreal Road N.R.C. They are building this summer & had to move from Acacia, so have gone there in the meanwhile. It is v. crowded for them – only 2 bedrooms – but also just $40 a month rent! Fanni & her 3 boys are off to Switzerland on Sat. – Teddy will follow in 2 months time & they will all come back in Sept. They have let their house & Teddy is staying with friends. I don’t envy poor Fanni one bit – the thought of that ocean trip & then the train with the three boys makes me shudder! It is just about arranged that we leave on our trip to the States at the beginning of June & call at Ann Arbor on the way, as the Sutherlands are packing up around the 20th. We will really only be away for 2 whole weeks, but with 3 weekends, so I think that will be long enough for us all & yet give us time to visit. I keep planning what clothes we’ll take, but if the weather doesn’t improve I’ll have to change my ideas!
Did I tell you that all the Canadian Civil Servants got a pay boost? Cec’s is $500.00 a year & he will get another ordinary raise in June so it all helps! We are going to try to save the raise!
I have always meant to comment on the West Indian curry lunch you had when you were with Ford & Mill etc. at Bequia – it sounded very intriguing, but I don’t think I would ever have the nerve to make it “sight unseen” as it were! I’ll have to try it first! Actually I don’t care for curry too much, but maybe I just have never tried a good one – certainly I’ve never had one with all the exciting side dishes. I make one or two Chinese dishes now, but “American Chinese” really! I want to get a Chinese cookbook!
I am reading your old letters & come across the comments on Ken & Cec working out a fire alarm system – there are lots of them on the market – Cec & Ken just wanted to save money & make their own! Cec helped Ken make his & fix it, but we didn’t get ours yet! You also ask (re. Gordon Sutherland’s job) who is Director of N.R.C.- well, it is different – Dr. Steacie is the President of the Council, but the Council Members themselves are all from all over Canada (universities etc.) Dr. Herzberg is the Director of the Physics Division with a special affection for the Spectroscopy Dept!
Talking of babies, you were asking which June’s was – a great big boy apparently, so George should be pleased about that! I got a note from her & all seemed to be going well, but we don’t correspond regularly.
Cec was very interested about Angela Kellman not being allowed to get a job – he thought it was all baloney & he asked a few other fellows & they never heard of such a thing, but he says he will phone up tomorrow & find out for sure.
I have been meaning to thank you so much for your good intentions over giving me £10 for my birthday which were foiled by the British Gov’t! Aren’t they silly? Cec wondered what they would have done if you’d just sent me a cheque & I’d sent it to be deposited. Anyway it was very sweet of you to think of it. Sometime what I would like is a nice twin set – any colour except red! Actually if you got Nan or someone to buy it & mail it to me as a present I wouldn’t have to pay duty, so would really be much nicer for me than my ordering it from a shop. I would love little button up cardigans for the children too, as the little old blue ones have been so useful, but I don’t mean to bankrupt you! My boosum is 34” now!
You certainly seem to be having a general exodus from St. V. just now, but I hope some nice people come in their places! Have you seen any more of the young Hatch couple – the girl sounded v. nice, but you don’t say much about her husband. Is your stamp friend Mr. Turton coming back or is he leaving all together? I was very interested in all the scandal & wonder if any more has happened about the Webb woman – I can’t understand these females that leave their little children- I read “Anna Karenina” the other day & she made me sick. Always gawping on about how she loved her son & then going off & leaving him. So it’s not just St.V. – it’s in Russia too.
It is now Friday & I have got my teeth all finished thank goodness. Linda had a touch of earache last night & as it was a miserable rainy day Cec came home & stayed with the children while I went. They were quite sorry to miss the jaunt as they love to go in the bus & afterwards we usually have lunch in town. They sit & play in the dentist’s waiting room while I am having my teeth done & are very good. On Mon. my appointment was an hour & they just played & chatted together all that time.
Yesterday I made Charlie a little pair of shorts out of the famous blue corduroy & I have begun a little jacket out of it for Lindy, so she will have a little suit with the skirt. This is it & this is the nylon orlon shantung I made my other dress of.

It is a bit like this- very full skirt. I am getting pretty quick at making things now which is good as you know how my interest can wane!
Must stop as it is late & I have to add a bit to Cec’s letter to his mother. I didn’t hear from you last week so ‘spect I’ll get a letter from you tomorrow just after I mail this.
The children send hugs & kisses – they are just as sweet as ever – at times! And at other times they’re awful!!
Lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn.

I was charmed by Cyn’s mention of Cec and their landlord Ken fixing up a home-made fire alarm, even though one could be bought commercially. In those days, of course, there were no smoke detectors so I don’t know what they came up with (I was only 4 so have no memory) but it reminded me that Cec’s ingenuity was not confined to his Lab. Thirty years later when he had achieved his long-held ambition to have a swimming pool in the back yard, he spent a happy month clambering about on the garage roof with black hoses, installing his own passive solar water-heating system, to his great satisfaction. And I can put this laptop down on the coffee table he designed and made for us and remember all sorts of his clever projects through the years- sandboxes, a doll’s bed for Christmas 1955, and in the future as we grew older, a swing, a teeter-totter, badminton courts, vegetable gardens, and, working with his dad one summer, the final touch to the outside patio- a stone barbeque for summer parties.

April 20 1956

20th April. 1956.

Dearest Mummy,
I got your letter of the 15th today & thank you so much for it. I was wondering how you were getting on all by yourself and knew that it would seem very odd to begin with, but it is amazing how soon you get into a new routine & you are so busy with your May Fair that I expect the first strangeness will soon pass. It will be nice if you & A. Trix get out to Mrs. E’s house – it will be a change & you will get some bathing. A. Trix is a boss of course, but she is lively & will keep you on the hop!
Now for news – yes, Big News from Dottie! She is engaged & going to be married very soon & is terribly thrilled & lyrical about life! Isn’t it wonderful? I am so delighted & happy for her. She met him when she was down in Birmingham staying with Grace Spellar, & he is a widower, with 2 boys & is 44 & tall dark & handsome, so it all sounds eminently suitable, doesn’t it? His name is Ken – isn’t that fate! Apart from these details I didn’t gather with much more as Dottie’s letter was short & sweet, so of course I am yearning to ask 100 questions. Oh – and I forgot – Marjorie is engaged too! They are both such marriageable girls that it isn’t any wonder, but it is so nice, isn’t it! I feel really pleased about it all.
I heard the news on Tuesday & told Margie, Lu & Willa at our Ladies Outing! We went to the French Buffet (where we went with Phyl & her mother) & ate & ate & then went to a Honey Dew & sat over a cup of coffee & talked & talked! I had on my stripey skirt & jacket & hat & all the girls were most complimentary & I felt so tickled. Didn’t cost me a penny, m’ dear!! Did I tell you Cec & Pete went to Montreal last weekend for the Radar Officer’s Reunion? They left at 8.0 on Sat. morning so the children and I drove Cec down to the station and saw the train! They came back at 3:45 on Sun. afternoon after having had a good time, so it wasn’t a very long stay! I had to take Charlie to Sunday School of course, but he wasn’t too bad although stuck to me like a leech of course! However he liked it apparently as he says he’s coming every Sunday now!
On Mon. I cut out & began a dress for myself – some yellowy-greeny nylon orlon shantung I got a while ago. I’ve just finished it to wear tomorrow night when we’re having Fanni & Teddy, Lu & Pete & Santiago for a buffet supper. I want Lu & Fanni to meet & as Fanni & the boys leave for Switzerland at the beginning of next month there’s not much time. The Blachuts were having an unexpected visit from an English girl friend of Teddy’s brother, so we asked Santiago to even the numbers & now they get a telegram the girl isn’t coming till Sun.!! Will tell you about my dress in my next – can’t decide whether I really like it!
Will be thinking of you on Sun. Lots & lots of love from us all – hugs from the children- Love from Cyn.
P.S. Lindy has been a little devil this week – hope it’s a phase!

Leaving the question of my behaviour aside- I was actually very sweet- I thought I would remind readers about Cyn’s close friend Dottie Burton, whom she hadn’t seen since she left England in 1950. Dottie and Cyn had met at their domestic science college and had spent the years becoming great friends as well as learning to teach. Dottie knew Cyn’s Newcastle friends too, so they shared social events, and Dottie may have been the first one of their circle to marry- one of the men they played tennis with! But the war intervened. Dottie’s husband died in 1944, leaving her with their son Peter. Now in her early 40s, Dottie has met and is marrying Ken Wilyman, and creating a blended family which was more unusual in those days than it is now. Cyn is delighted at her happiness and that of her sister (?) Marjorie. Dottie was my godmother, was lovely to visit whenever we turned up in England, and supported the idea of this publishing project. I’m only sorry I didn’t start it while she was still alive- she died in 2014 in her hundredth year.

March 5 1956

In this letter, Cyn mentions the fact that in the coming September, Linda will be going to school! The interesting thing about school, is that a new elementary school was being built that year, in Cardinal Heights, the subdivision on the other side of the highway, so that Linda, and Janek, and Joanne, would be in the first Kindergarten class in the new school, within walking distance of their homes. Cyn has mentioned the Sunday school at St. Margaret’s that she has been helping with- and it now appears that the congregation has divided and that they are holding Sunday School classes in the unfinished new school for local Anglican children. I assume that church services are being held there too- it went on for a few years until they managed to get a church built right next to the school. Baby boomers expanding the amenities!

Another Costain baby-boomer out west!

March 5th. 1956.
Dearest Mummy,
My, what a gay time you’re having! Cec & I are enjoying hearing all about it practically as much as you’re enjoying having it! We got your A.M. letter from Bequia on Sat. & loved hearing about all the fun you were having there & are looking forward to the next installment! Thank you so much for writing when I am sure you had lots of things to do.
You will be waiting for the next installment from me too, as I have been very bad about writing lately – the time seems to have flown & I am amazed that it will be Easter so soon. One reason why the past week has flown is that we have been in great demand socially- most unusual! You know how it is – we go months without going anywhere & then suddenly we get all the invitations at once. I told you about going to Mr. & Mrs. Green’s last Sunday night to meet Leonard & then that Leonard came to dinner on Monday so that was quite a busy beginning to the week. Then on Wed. the Dalby’s – a young Canadian Fellow and his wife whom I’ve mentioned before – asked us to bridge & Gundron & Ben Kleman too. Phil Derby & Gudrun don’t play bridge so I played with the men while they played Scrabble. It was quite fun, but she produced coffee very late (also very strong) with huge slices of angel food cake with ice cream & frozen raspberries – lovely, but Gudrun & I both had indigestion next day! Both Cec & I felt quite “hung over” next day – due to lack of sleep, not liquor! This mid-week frivolling is so unusual for me nowadays! On Thurs. I had the car for shopping & in the afternoon the children & I went to Gudrun’s for tea & Phyl Douglas & her family were there too. Both Phyl & Gudrun were most impressed at how much Lindy’s shyness has improved. She is quite self-possessed now with the other children & was away with them having tea which is a change. Charlie still sticks to me, but Lindy is really doing so well now & I think it is the S. School that has helped her a lot, as well as her age & the fact that she is is growing out of it too.
On Friday morning we went round to Fanni’s for coffee & Lindy even stood up to Daniel, so she is coming on! On Sat. morning Margie phoned & begged us to come over that evening as she was so fed up & wanted company, & could we get a sitter, so I called Fanni & she said she’d come. She has been wanting to come as she insisted she owed me a sitting, but I usually get Mrs. Martin. However, Mrs. M is now permanently booked on a Sat. night by the French Dr. in the new house up the road – isn’t that mean? So it is nice if Fanni & I can exchange. We had a nice chat at Margie’s & a short game of bridge, but it was 1 a.m. again before we got home so I really feel dissipated! Margie is due to produce in 3 weeks time, & really looks fine. The Dr. prophesies another boy! Can you imagine – Peter is 3 this month & she is still feeding him! She says he is too lazy and won’t eat if she doesn’t! On the other hand, when the children & I were there to tea one day Peter ate a whole box of cookies quite as a regular thing! He is so disobedient too – 3 or 4 times Margie told him to do things & he just ignored her & Margie just did them for him! Grrr!
Both my little angels!!! have runny noses and croaky voices today, but I hope that neither will get much worse. They have both been so wonderful at throwing off coughs & colds this winter, but I’m hoping they will do the same again & that they won’t get bad. Charlie has been really drippy today, poor little fellow, but quite cheerful.
Besides all our gallivanting I have been quite busy sewing. Or at least preparing to get busy! Mom Costain sent in her Christmas parcel a piece of navy linen-y material left over from something of Leona’s to make Lindy a skirt. It wasn’t very much & I tried this & that but no way could I get it that it wasn’t going to be very short for her, & it seemed silly to make her something that would only last a little while. So I dug out my scrap box & found an old navy & white cotton dress Gunborg gave me & cut a piece from that & made a nice little pinafore skirt like this-

with inserts of the patterned material. The skirt has unpressed pleats & is full & the whole outfit looks very fresh & cute with her white orlon blouse. Next I had bought some pale blue pinwale corduroy at S.Sears sale for 97¢ a yd. & got 6 yds (the amount the pattern said) (36” wide) to make me & Lindy each a “jumper” i.e. pinafore skirt. However when I spread it out on the floor I cut out my skirt, then Lindy’s, then a little jacket for her & there is still a piece left big enough to make trousers for Charlie!! I feel like one of these cartoons of women who buy material at a sale & have the whole house & family draped in it! I began Lindy’s little skirt this afternoon & made it just the same as the navy one as it looks so cute. I thought the little jacket & skirt to match would make a sweet little suit in the spring & of course everything I make is made with 1/2 an eye for now & 1/2 an eye for school in Sept.! But it is really fun seeing Lindy’s wardrobe grow under the shadow of my machine – I think I get even more fun out of hers than mine, & she is thrilled at each thing I make! Maybe by the time she is more critical I will be more experienced!
I have been talking about Sunday School but don’t think I have ever told you about our start at the new school. First of all, the day it was to begin (the Sunday after our party) we awoke to find ourselves snowed in! Cec began shovelling the driveway at 10:15 & 11 a.m. he had just cleared one tire track to the road & it was up to his waist in places! Pat Tomlinson phoned & we decided we’d have to give up as we couldn’t get the car out & walking would be pretty tough too & we certainly couldn’t take the children. However we have been each Sunday since (3 times) & it is going fine. I have about 10 little children on my register but happily have only had 6 at a time & that is plenty! I am not taking Charlie at the moment- I told him if he came he wouldn’t be able to hold my hand all the time because I had to look after the other boys and girls too, so he decided to stay at home with Daddy! Lindy is in Pat’s class & is very good & doesn’t bother about me at all now. We still have a few disadvantages- 1) none of our teaching materials have come yet i.e. pictures, books etc. 2) there are no toys for my little ones to play with although we are trying to collect them. I bring things from home in the meanwhile 3) the school is not finished yet & odd jobs are being done all the time, so it means we have never been twice in the same room. In the end we will go into the Kindergarten room when it is done, but we have 3 groups – mine (2 to 3 years) Pat’s (4 to 5) & a Mrs. Dunn’s (5 to 6) so it is quite difficult. Particularly I find it difficult to keep the little ones’ attention when there are other things going on but however I suppose I can’t have everything perfect! Lindy is still very thrilled with Sunday School & of course is getting nicely familiar with the school itself. She has learned the Lord’s Prayer by heart from having me read it a few times & hearing it on the Morning Church Service on the radio. I am enclosing one of her pictures for you which I know will amuse you & Auntie Muriel!

A potluck Lab. party to make up for not having one at Xmas!

The other thing I was going to tell you about was the Valentine Party which I really think was a big success. I had all the girls leave their food in the cold room downstairs & Lila had made a lovely centrepiece for the table – a big red heart with white frill around and BE MINE on in sparkles & little Cupid’s hovering over an old-fashioned lady & man kissing! We chatted & had drinks & then had games I had arranged – by the way it wasn’t a surprise for Cec – he knew all about it, but just he had no work to do for it!! We played the “Book Titles” game where you draw & then a form of charades where a man & a woman’s names were picked out of a hat & then they drew a slip telling them what to act out for us to guess – i.e. my name & Alex Douglas’ were drawn & we picked Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald; Mrs. Herzberg & Jack Shoosmith did Bluebeard & his 8th wife; somebody else Grace Kelly & the Prince of Monaco etc. It was quite fun. Then another game was a Magazine Treasure Hunt & each group was given scissors, a pile of magazines, & a list of things to find i.e. 1) a wedding ring 2) a bouquet of flowers 3) a love nest etc.! By this time it was 11 p.m. so we got the supper ready & what a banquet! The main trouble was that we had too much! I had told each to bring one ordinary family size dish but so many brought 2 or 3 dishes! I made a big dish of assorted meats (ham, salami, boned stuffed chicken, spiced beef); Mrs. Herzberg hot rolls; Joan Stoicheff, tea, coffee etc.; Phyl Douglas a moulded salad; Phyl Dalby a tossed salad; Mrs. Shoosmith peanuts, chips etc. for earlier; Mrs. Narrasinham was to bring 1 Indian dish, but brought 2 of rice & 1 of veg! Mrs. Velasco also brought 3 or 4 different kinds of snacks & Doreen Moore & Nan Ramsey each brought 2 huge trifles! Oh – I forgot, Gudrun brought a lovely hot fish casserole too. You can imagine how we all stuffed! Fortunately I persuaded everyone to take their leftovers home, so we weren’t left with all the surplus! Everyone really seemed to have a good time though & enjoy themselves & the funny Swiss Dr. Dressler said as he left “Thank you very much Cyn, I enjoyed myself much more than I thought I would!” !!
I must stop now as I want to include Lindy’s picture – will write again soon. Love & hugs from us all – Cyn.

November 22 1955

Box 330
Ottawa R.R.1.
Dearest Mummy,
I am late writing to you & have two letters & your parcel all to thank you for. We loved getting them all and I meant to write and say thank you last week, but we have all had such a collection of wretched colds that I just have felt in no fit state! Charlie began it all about a week ago & then Cec & Lindy got it & then me – all the same type with coughs & runny noses. Lindy wasn’t bothered quite so much I don’t think, but poor little Charlie had a real whopper & although they are both still runny nosed their coughs aren’t so bad & I think they are over the worst. Mine was about at its peak last night, but once I got going today it didn’t seem so bad, & as Cec’s is getting better I think we’re all on the mend! I am just so thankful the children don’t get really ill like Gudrun’s with temperatures etc. Lindy & Charlie get a bit cross & weepy but are really very good & sleep well.
We had our first big snow-fall yesterday (did you get any?) and so today I took the children out in it for a little while & they had great fun making train tracks in it. It is bright and not windy so it’s really lovely but I didn’t think too much of it while I was hanging the blasted sheets on the line! I can see I won’t be doing that much more this winter! Margie has just got a new washing machine & dryer & she phoned me up in the middle of the morning & gloated over me!
I am having so many interruptions! Just had Eatons here with my 2nd installment of Christmas presents (which I hastily hit in the cold room) & a few minutes ago the Pest Control Man. Yes – we still have our animal & Myrtle was convinced it was a rat & of course had a 100 kittens. She has kept phoning & bothering us & have we done this & that till Cec & I were sick of her. We have set traps, but she was determined to poison it which Cec didn’t want to do in case it died in the walls. Anyway the P.C. man she sent for says after looking around here & seeing the rubber balls he’s chewed & heard about the rubber erasers he’s eaten (one mine, one Mrs. Rs!) says he thinks it’s a chipmunk or squirrel! He says a trap is best & has shown me how to set ours so he won’t eat the bait & go away! (Has done that 2 or 3 times already!) I hope we get him but that I don’t see him in the trap. Myrtle has him in her hot air registers & chewing her cupboards etc. – you can imagine the fuss she makes!
I seem to be all in a muddle in this letter what with dashing hither & yon & coughing & snuffling & I haven’t got your letters right here to answer, so I will wait & answer them later & tell you all about what fun we had with your parcel then too & in the meanwhile I will just ramble on which is simplest for my addled brain!
Yesterday we had quite an experience which so easily might have been a tragedy. It was about 20 to 5, getting dark & the roads all slippy from the snow & the children & I looked out of the window to see if the mailman had been & saw Jimmy from next door going to go across the road to get his Granny’s mail. We watched him & I was just saying to the children “Look how careful Jimmy is crossing the road” when he just seem to dart out amongst the traffic & was knocked down by a Colonial bus coming from Montreal. I saw Mrs. Carleton go out & I thought I’d go to help her & just met the bus driver coming to ask me to call an ambulance, which I did & then phoned to the police & he phoned his depot. By then the children told me some men had carried Jimmy in the house, so I went over there & found they’d carried him in on a blanket & he was on the floor but quite conscious but scared to bits of course. He could move his arms & legs & wanted to get up but we kept him still as one ear was bleeding a little. Apparently the driver put on his brakes at once & when he was knocked down the wheel was locked & so just pushed him along a little without going onto him. Of course the old lady was in a state, so I phoned her daughter for her, & the other daughter & helped her get ready to go in the ambulance with Jimmy. Just then the ambulance came & took them away & so I dashed home to the children who were so good – just standing watching the cars & very thrilled with the excitement! Then the bus driver came back to get my name & address & what I knew about Jimmy, then Miss Carlton came home & I called her & brought her in & told her what had happened & then the police arrived & were in the middle of taking down my account of what had happened when Cec arrived for dinner – & nothing ready of course! However, I phoned Miss C. later & she told me the other sister & husband were down at the hospital with her mother & that Jimmy had been x-rayed & seemed quite all right but he was to stay overnight in the hospital just to make sure, & I have heard from Mrs. R. now that he is coming home this afternoon. Poor little fellow, I am so thankful it has turned out so well.
One minor detail was that I had just washed & waxed my kitchen floor & decided not to do the stairs as it was getting late. Only the bus driver & I went in the kitchen, but the stairs & dining room were full of melting snow & mud from peoples’ boots & I felt so pleased I hadn’t wasted my energies!
Well here I am again – I seem to have written pages and not said much, so I better get going. First of all the parcel! We loved it! And the children were so thrilled over everything and rushed to tell Cec about all the things Grannie sent them when he came home. Lindy of course was delighted with her bracelet and has worn both it and her “barette” ever since they came. Charlie got the magnet & little clown etc. & has carried them around in a little box for days! They each love their little books & Charlie immediately grabbed the funny little hat as his & calls it his “cowboy hat” & looks a hoot in it! More his size than Allan’s though! I am just thrilled with your bargain material & keep telling everyone of how you got it all for 50¢! I have a dress pattern which I was going to try but the material I thought of buying was over $?.00 [West Indian insects bored two holes through the entire 18 pages so sometimes the transcriber is at a loss!] a yard so as I need quite a bit I was hesitating as I didn’t want to be too rash on my first trial for myself! However now I shall have no qualms over experimenting with your material & am panting to begin. Have to make Barbara Heslop’s nightie yet – I’ve made Anne’s & Jani’s skirts – they look immense but better big than small!! Do you remember sending me a red belt for my birthday? Well I thought it would go nicely with the navy material & my red shoes & new red bag. I don’t think the thinner material for top will matter – I haven’t decided whether short or 3/4 sleeves yet.
The Bazaar certainly was a Noble Effort & did very well I think. I was telling Pat Tomlinson about you helping with the Turkey Dinner when we were at Sun. School last week & said “I wonder when St. M’s Bazaar is? “& she said “When do you think? Yesterday!” She knew nothing about it till her M-in-law made some mention of having been, & of course we had been in S.S. not church other Sundays, but we got no notices or anything. Unlike Margs’ Pat says their Bazaars are never a success & I don’t wonder much! To go back to your Bazaar, I laughed over Monie’s Afghan – what a pity it wasn’t a nice lavatory seat or a case of liquor! When you had your Turkey Dinner did A. Ettie recall the Ham Dinner I went to in the church hall with Hugh Brown & how A. Ettie giggled over the Jews coming & then nearly collapsed when she realized Marg’s friends were Jews too!
You ask about Lindy & Sunday School – well we’re still going as you can see & Pat T. takes both Joanne & Susan & now Charlie wants to come! Just the last 2 weeks there’s been a big improvement – the big S. Sch. has moved over the road to a hall they’ve hired & the Church Hall is just for the little ones. They put up partitions & make little rooms & have the little chairs & tables down & it is fine. The S. Sch. teachers are under the impression that I have a heaven sent way with babies (having soothed weeping small girls for a few Sundays) so last week they asked if I would look after the tiny ones on the stage so I had 5 little girls of 2 and under! We had all the toys up there & crayons etc. & I just had to keep them happy! Actually we got on fine & the adults kept coming up to tell me what a wonderful difference it made as the other children weren’t distracted by the little ones & the toys. Five was O.K. – hope there won’t be 15 next week! Lindy came with me last week, but next week she is to go with Joanne into Pat’s little class & little Susan is to come with me – at least that’s the plan!
Thank you for sending on my Father’s letter. I will write at Christmas & send some small things. Cec & I have decided to send him a year’s sub. to Reader’s Digest as he always seems to be quite interested in it & as our Sub. is up this year I won’t have any to send onto him. A. Muriel wrote & told me about the book which she read & liked very much. He has had my address on letters & parcels etc. but must have forgotten it.
Tomorrow (now Wed. – freezing rain & horrid – my sheets froze to the line & were stiff as boards! Grrr!) is your Thanksgiving & I shall think of you all eating turkey & having a yummy time while I make our Chilli for dinner! It is a good thing I won’t be tempted as I am dieting again & plan to try to lose a bit before Christmas as I’m sure to increase again then!!
I have been very busy this past week trying to organize a Lab Christmas Party. They used to have one in the Lab you remember, but that is illegal & they haven’t had it in the past couple of years & Cec refuses to have anything to do with it. Everyone says “Oh, it’s too expensive to have one outside“ & when you say “Well how much?” They say “Oh, I don’t know, but too expensive!” So I decided to find out! I got some information from Lu & got in touch with a girl who organizes their parties & she was wonderful & told me lots of things & a place available & just everything, so I handed over all this to Miss Bedard & the outcome is we’re having a party for $1.50 per person, which includes supper! We couldn’t get the room on a nice day before Christmas so have booked it for the Friday after, so it will be a Pre-New Year Party & should be fun I think – I hope so as I am to blame!
I was so glad to hear that Marga is so well & full of fun now – she certainly seems to be a busy little woman with Bazaars & Luncheons & dinners at her M-in-laws. I hope the old lady is all right again after her fall.
What fun to go to the Cat Show – the wee white kits must have been sweet, but actually I am easy- ?sy about another animal just now! Lea wants a kit as she has mice & apparently Grenier’s had some but when I asked they were all gone.
I have begun to do Charlie’s mattress – all by hand of course, & found it took me over 2 1/2 hours the other morning to do one side! It’s not often he is off it for 3 hours at a time – particularly when I haven’t a thing to do! – so I haven’t tackled the other side yet, but already Cec says he is much drier at night – warm & toasty, but not sweaty. It isn’t the cause of the eczema of course, but sweating does aggravate the itching.

Talking of my new hat (flat by the way!) I got Linda one last week – a white wool cap with a tail down the back & with red braid & trimmings. She is tickled to bits with it & with her dark green snowsuit & red mitts she looks very cute. Oh & I also got her new red boots & Charlie has her brown ones, so she is very chic!
Our dinner for the Herzberg’s went off very well – except my Cheese Soufflé collapsed of course! But they were so nice & really seemed to enjoy themselves & so did we. They thought our children were so good! Charlie of course kissing & hugging them all affectionately! (Last night he told me I was the sweetest girl in the whole world! And another night when I was going out he kissed me & said “Keep nice and safe!”). We had the New Zealanders (Moores) to dinner on the Sunday & that was quite fun too but golly, their two little kids had every single toy in the whole house in the sitting room when they left. Chaos! She is preggy again – the little boy is about 1 1/2 I guess and Sharon 3. (Catholics!)
I am enclosing a letter from Lindy & she asked me to tell you please to send her more paper dolls! You remember the pretty little paper dolls we had at the cottage? She has cut them all out herself now & they are lovely – she is so neat & careful. The letter was her idea & she got Cec to spell the words for her but she did all the letters herself & when you spell “Grannie” she can just write down G etc. etc. without being shown. Isn’t she clever!!!
Lots of love & hugs & kisses from us all – have a Happy Thanksgiving –
Love from Cyn.

November 10 1955

Box 330
Ottawa R.R.1.
10th Nov.

Dearest Mummy,
Thank you so much for your letters & the pictures which I am enclosing. Cec has got the colour pictures of the children for you but has left them at work! I found some P.C.s & a picture of Allan & a few newspaper cuttings etc. of yours behind the bookcase in your room, but thought I might as well just mail them out to St. V. sometime as you have quite enough luggage as it is & they would probably weigh at least an ounce!!
Why I was routing behind the bookcase was of course because we did a great turnaround of rooms & “yours” is now the children’s. Linda’s bed is where yours was; Charlie’s crib in the corner where the bookcase was; his ch-of-drawers between the end of the crib & Linda’s bed & Linda’s ch-of-drawers where the little couch thing was. Their clothes are in the closet and they seem very pleased with it. We are too, particularly as we still have our animal! It goes through to Mrs. Rothwell too & through her registers into the kitchen, but so far it only goes in our walls & in the cold room & in the roof! Everyone seems to think it must be a rat – lovely!
We have made the other bedroom into a combined study – spare room like this

Cec hopes that if he can shut himself away in seclusion he may do some work & if the desk is in there I won’t use it as a hold-all & pile stuff on it! We have put the brown chest of drawers downstairs in the entrance hall with mittens, scarves etc. in, & a plant on it & the mirror hanging, & it looks very nice. All the plants are flourishing & we potted a dark red chrysanthemum which is doing nicely too. The little couch bed we put in our bedroom along the window wall & it looks all right. Of course with no desk in the sitting room we’ve moved that around too- my favourite occupation! – and it is now like this:-

We are simply delighted with our “new” sofa & it looks very nice we think – with each thing we do better. We didn’t use all the material by any means & I now think I will try my hand at making a foot rest thing. This arrangement of the sitting room is quite good and with the little bookshelves in the corner we have the radio accessible but not noticeable & it is much neater!
As you will gather we got the sofa done before our party on Friday & a good time was had by all! We had Stuart & Willa Woods (you met him once in Ethel St.), a Dr. Kalra from the Council (an Indian bachelor – very nice & amusing) & Marjorie Bedard from the Council – works in Administration there & has quite a lot to do with Cec’s group.

I had met her at the Herzberg’s – she’s 30 to 40, nice looking in a career-womanish way & her home is in Ottawa. Of course we didn’t know if she was RC or not, so I thought I better be safe with fish on Friday, so we had: – Shrimp Jambalaya, Stuffed Eggs, Tossed Salad, Melba Toast; then Apricot Cream with Sponge Cake & Coffee. Everyone was very complimentary which was nice.

Both the children & I had bits of colds last week – nothing much, but runny noses & Linda got a cough & I think it must have affected her disposition as she is cross as two sticks this week! Anyway on Sat. to cheer me up I went to the library & then on downtown to get a new hat. I made quite a tour of Ogilvie’s, Caplan’s, Frieman’s etc. & didn’t see anything thrilling, but ended up at a little hat shop where I got quite a cute one for $6.00 – brown velvet like yours & sitting on the top of my head, but it has little brown velvet flowers at each side with a diamanté centre in each one, so it is quite frivolous. Cec approves & I am tickled to bits. On Sunday however, I decided we shouldn’t go to Sunday School as we were both coldy so I haven’t worn it yet. We drove around to the houses behind the Montreal Rd. N.R.C. though to see a family who has just arrived from New Zealand. He is a Fellow in Cec’s group & has with him his wife & little girl & boy – each about a year younger than Linda & Charlie. Their name is Moore & we found them in this little house with no furniture except beds & a kitchen table & chairs & it took me back so forcibly to Ethel St. & made me count my blessings. They had a dreadful old anthracite stove in the kitchen & were having such trouble with it so we lent them our Corn-Popper pan & electric ring to help out. I took her with us to Loblaws & they are all coming to dinner on Sunday. Fanni came home with her baby on Sunday, so I took around a gingerbread & a nice red plant I bought (have forgotten its name – has a trumpet-like flower). She had a woman in every day & of course on Tues. the woman got flu & Fanni was left to cope, so I went around and got Janek at 9 a.m. & kept him all day – he was very good, but Linda was a little b—! I don’t know if she was jealous or fractious from her cold still, but she whined & wailed all day till I could have bitten her!
Tomorrow is Remembrance Day & it is a holiday here. Cec will be glad of the rest as he went back to work last night & got home at 3:30 a.m. & then off with Teddy at 8:15 this morning! We are having Dr. & Mrs. Herzberg & their daughter Agnes to dinner tomorrow evening. They are still camping out in one of the N.R.C. houses as their new one in Rockcliffe isn’t ready – we were in 2 minds whether to ask them, but decided that if they were anyone else we would ask them at once, so we shouldn’t hold the fact of his being a Director against him! Dr. H. is a vegetarian of course so that is a problem to begin with! I have decided on: – Cheese Soufflé, Mushroom, Celery & Noodle Casserole, Chicken Livers in Bacon (for us!), Salad, Rolls: then an Orange Chiffon Pie I think.
This has all been about us & what we’ve done & eaten, so I’d better answer your letter now. Yes, I was surprised about Princess Margaret & felt very sorry for her – all the publicity & everything, but hope that now Peter is out of the picture she will eventually find someone else. – 16 years older was a lot, I think apart from the divorce difficulties etc.
Charlies eczema has been pretty good lately – & you know what we found! While he slept on the little couch bed in your room he kept toasty warm but never got all wet & sweaty – as soon as we put him back in the crib with the plastic covered mattress he gets soaking wet again & itchy of course. So I am going to get some ticking & try to cover the mattress – the plastic is split anyway, so something would have to be done. I have cut the eiderdown & bound the cut edge & covered Charlie’s half with pale blue cotton with cowboys on & he loves it – it keeps him beautifully cozy.
I hope the Bazaar & Turkey Dinner were a success. I could use the latter right now – I am hungrey! I have made an Apricot Loaf, so think I’ll try it! I forgot to tell you, Lindy was thrilled with her letter, mag. & Betsy McCall’s. She spent 2 whole days cutting them out – said she didn’t need my help & did them beautifully with great care & was absolutely absorbed by them. She is very keen now on writing & can print nearly all the letters of the alphabet & is beginning on numbers. She is also beginning to read! Came to me the other day with a book & said “Look Mummy – L-A-D-Y – Lady!” Charlie is learning to say his “L”s at last & on prompting will say “Linda “& “Hello” quite clearly!
Must stop before my arm breaks – Lots of love to A. Ettie & Monie & Margs & lots & lots for you from us all –

January 29 1955

From the summer of 1952 when Carol went back to St. Vincent before Charlie was born, up to this point, she kept Cyn’s letters, so there is a record of the Costains’ lives in detail, once or twice a month, as the babies grew, and Cyn and Cec put down roots in Ottawa. Now that Carol is planning to visit in 1955, the letters surviving become more infrequent- this long letter is the only one from January, although there are references to others, presumably Air Letters, that are missing. After this one, there is one letter from April, then Carol- Grannie- arrived and mother and daughter could catch up on all the years of things missing from letters, and the children could get to know Grannie instead of having imaginary picnics with her picture! I will be able to illustrate those months because of Cyn’s scrapbook, but the letters in 1955 do not resume until after Thanksgiving in the fall, when Carol left for New York to visit her sister and nieces on her way home.

Sat. 25th Jan. 1955.
Dearest Mummy,
I was busy in the kitchen this afternoon & Charlie marched in, so I said “Hi, boy!” & he gave a great grin & said “Hi, Hyn!” As I was giggling over it I thought I hadn’t told you much about your remarkabable grandchildren lately & that I better get to it while I remember a few of their doings & sayings because they seem to grow & change so quickly. They really play together very nicely now – of course with various fights & squabbles in between! – but they play Mummy & Daddy to Linda’s dollies & will walk around solemnly together pushing the pram. Charlie will look after a baby very carefully when Linda gives him one to hold, & says “My itta (little) baby!” They will walk hand in hand now sometimes, & look so sweet & Linda will help Charlie take his shoes etc. off. Charlie talks about everything now, but still not nearly as distinctly as Linda always did. She spoke so clearly right from the beginning, but he still needs an interpreter! He can’t say “L”s & says “ ‘inda” & even “Hewo” for Hello etc. He has such a sense of humour though & a real chuckley laugh – it makes you just laugh to hear him. One evening he got up on the kitchen chair & was looking out at the lights of the cars coming up the road in the darkness & suddenly he saw his own reflection in the glass & said “ ‘ook! There’s me!” then waved violently “Hi, me!” Charlie still eats very well – particularly his dinner – & he loves potatoes & gravy! When I am getting dinner ready he’ll come into the kitchen & say “Davy tonight, Mummy? Any Davy tonight?” & if I say yes, he gets so excited and rushes to tell his Daddy! Linda is still terribly conservative in her eating & won’t try new things, but she eats a good breakfast & fairly good lunch, although varies over her dinner. They both still drink lots of milk & love fruit & fruit juice. Like Peggy’s little girl, Charlie still has his bottle of milk! He will drink everything else out of a glass & has for ages, but he won’t drink milk, so I haven’t bothered – the Drs. say “what does it matter – give it to him if he wants it” so I don’t mind!
We still have Banney and Jonaclo with us – I was most amused to hear that it was quite a Hazell “trait” & that you & Monie both had little friends. I knew it was quite common with children, but don’t you think 2 1/2 years old was pretty young to begin? It usually seems to be children of 7 & 8, so I thought Lindy was pretty clever!! I also think her vocabulary is amazing for 3 years old – of course she picks up a lot of words from books & doesn’t always know quite what they mean, but she uses them quite correctly. For instance one of her favourite remarks at the moment is “What is your problem?” & another “I’m so confused!” Both of these she actually gets from Alice in Wonderland & she loves them! One day Cec was talking & said something was “really _ ” & then he hesitated & Linda said “extraordinary!” & that was just the word he wanted! Last week I promised Mrs. Blachut I would look after Janek & little Daniel (the baby) one afternoon while she went to see a friend with a new baby in hospital. Linda was very thrilled over this & kept asking when they were coming & said “Mummy & Daddy have guests & visitors & I have guests & visitors too!” We made some cookies & she was helping they collect the things for them & when we were ready to begin she settled herself & said “Now we’ll get down to work”! Afterwards I was telling her that she & Janek & Charlie could have a little party with juice & cookies at her table & she was very pleased & said “Oh yes! I want my party to be gay!” Don’t you think that she has an amazing choice of words? I may say that when we came in from a walk this morning she said “Take off your scarf, Mummy – you look just like a little carrot stick!” But she certainly can make me laugh with her bright remarks.
One day a few weeks ago I was ironing & Charlie & Linda were playing around in my bedroom (that’s where I iron). I had made the bed, but hadn’t put the coverlet on, & the first thing I knew they had it off the chair & spread comfortably in a corner of the room & Lindy informed me they were having a picnic on it (grass with flowers I presume!) They trotted off to the kitchen & there were all sorts of preparations & finally they came back & settled down with your picture from the dressing table on the coverlet beside them & a little jar with some little bits of bread in & they sat & ate this with great enjoyment & said you were at the picnic with them! Another thing that Lindy said one time which made me laugh was when I had put them to bed for their afternoon nap & said “Night! Night!” just as I was leaving “But Mummy” said Linda “It isn’t Night Night! It should be Lunch! Lunch!”! I always tell her now when we are going out & Anne the babysitter coming & although they both like Anne we have the occasional fuss when I tell them & then in 5 mins. it’s over & they don’t care. Anyway the last week or so Linda keeps asking each day “Are you going out tonight? Or staying at home with the children?”! I think I must have told you about Anne- she is a Dutch woman who lives just down the road & has a little girl & boy just about Linda & Charlie’s ages. She is young & round faced & jolly & so good with the children, so I never feel a qualm at leaving them with her, but she is expecting another baby this summer so I don’t know how long she will feel like babysitting. When we have guests in Lindy & Charlie know all about it of course, which is one of the disadvantages of having all on one floor, but Lindy is very fond of waking up just as they are going & demanding to get up & wave to them. One night she informed me “I like to see my friends go!”
I was telling you about Janek and Daniel coming one afternoon – last Thursday it was. Actually it turned out to be a terrible cold day – it dropped from about 15° to 5° below zero during the day & there was a fierce wind blowing the snow into great drifts.

By afternoon our driveway was practically drifted across with snow & I wondered how the Blachuts was, so I wasn’t surprised when at last she phoned me and said “Oh Cynthia – I am stuck in the driveway!” She said both the children were crying & she couldn’t get the car to budge, so I said “well come round & have tea with us instead” & they did & we had a nice time! After they left I flung some dinner on & told the children to watch out of the window & went out to shovel the driveway a bit so that Cec could get the car in. Besides the drift across the middle of the driveway there was another huge one just by the highway & Cec could never have even got off the road, so I shovelled & shovelled for 3/4 of an hour & got a space cleared & it was COLD! I blew my nose on my hankie & put it in my pocket & in a few minutes when I went to blow again it was frozen hard! When Cec came home he had some soup & then went out & shovelled the rest before he could get in – it went down to 20° below that night, but it was -40° at Chalk River where Joan & Ray are! It has continued so cold since then & of course we still have these huge piles of snow as it never melts, but out here it is really beautiful – it never gets dirty & messy as in town & you look out for miles around at beautiful white fields without a footmark or a trace & it is lovely.

Telling you about Fanny getting stuck reminds me of a dreadful day I had last week. I had the car & decided to get a lot of things done, so I dressed the children & we planned to go quite early in the morning. However the people in the apartment below Mrs. Rothwell’s house (Mrs. R was away) phoned to ask if I would let their dog in – they let him out before they went to work and he hadn’t come back when they left. So I put the children in the car & seeing Prince sitting out in the snow I went to let him in. Talk about wild goose chases! That darn dog would not either come near me or the house! He would trot off across the snow on a little path & I would career after him only to find of course that my weight was more than his & plonk! I would sink through up to my waist practically! After about 15 minutes of this I left him to it & returned to the car with snow in my boots, my sleeves & even down my neck! We drove to Orleans to the butchers & then drove to town as I wanted to go to the Customs Office. I got 2 shirts from Harrods for Cec at Christmas, both 16 collar, but one is about 2” smaller on the shoulders, chest, sleeve etc. than the other & doesn’t fit him at all. If I take it to the Customs I get my duty (I paid to get it in) refunded before I send it back. We got downtown & I was parking the car when a helpful man informed me I had a flat tire! I didn’t know what to do as it was getting late, so I abandoned the Customs & as the flat wasn’t quite flat drove to the nearest service station & got them to change the tire. It was cold & windy, so I took the children to a supermarket nearby & we bought a few things, then I decided I’d better just come home as the children’s lunch was due & they were getting fed up, so as soon as the car was ready I just turned & drove home. We have to back into the garage now as the driveway is so steep & slippery we can’t back out, so I was trying to do this & the children were yakking & of course I got agitated & drove into the side of the drive & got the car stuck in the snow! You can imagine! However, I took the children in & later in the afternoon when they were asleep had another go at both the car & that wretched dog & had no success with either! In fact the car got worse as it was on a slope & the only way it would go was the wrong way! Cec & Mr. Blachut finally jacked it up & pushed it over a couple of times when they got home that evening & then sees could yes it in the garage, but I was so frustrated!
I don’t seem to have told you much of our doings this year – in fact my letters have been very scrappy I know. Well we have really been out quite a bit – we all went over to Jim & Lee’s on New Year’s Day & had a lovely turkey dinner with them – we tried to make the children go to bed & have a sleep in Jim & Lee’s bed afterwards so we could have some peace but they just chattered & called out so in the end we gave up & came home. Lee is well – very large of course, & fed up with waiting – but feeling pretty good. The baby is due sometime the beginning of Feb. but Dr. Smith thought it might be early – however no news yet. The phone rang this afternoon & I was sure it was Jim with news, but instead it was Ray between trains – had been to New York to a meeting. We had a chat but he had no time to come out – they are all well. Then another night we went to Margie & Cy’s for a Buffet Supper – there were supposed to be others there but no one else could come because of colds or some other reason, so there were just the 4 of us & we had a nice time. The boys had got a “hockey game” for Christmas with balls and little levers etc. & it was a great fun & Margie & I as well as Cec & Cy got quite hilarious over it!
Another night we went to the Ramsay’s – Nan & Don, remember them? They had their 3rd daughter in September & have just recently sold their little house & are now in a nice big one but plan to build in the spring I think. They had quite a crowd, 12 or 15 I think, & we played some games & had a very nice time – to my surprise I may say, as I hadn’t particularly wanted to go!! Did I tell you that the 3 new Fellows to the Spectroscopy Dept. came before Christmas? They are all married, one from Sweden, one Australia & one S. Africa. The latter I haven’t met, the Australians are so-so but the Swedish man & his wife are very nice. They have an apt. on Putman St. – just below Acacia – so are near the Douglasses – they have two little boys, 20 mths & 5 yrs, so the older one goes to school with Donnie Douglas. Poor little fellow he could speak no English to begin with so it was very difficult for him, but Mrs. Clayman says he is very happy now. I took the children one morning to Phyl Douglas’ for coffee & Mrs. Clayman & her youngest boy were there & we had a nice little party.
Cec & I thought we would be really foresighted one night & we booked Anne a week ahead to come one evening so that we could go to a show as we haven’t been to town for ages. Then of course when the evening came there was nothing that we particularly wanted to see! However we went to see Walt Disney’s “Vanishing Prairie” & ended by enjoying it very much – it is all about animals so I liked it much more than the desert one which was a lot about snakes & creepy- crawlies!

A week ago Sunday we took the children & had tea with Mr. & Mrs. Shoosmith – they have a new house they moved into not long before we moved here & it was the first time we’d seen it – it is very nice. Last week I went out 2 nights running, by myself – such goings-on! On Tues. I drove over to Lu’s & had supper with her about 8:30. Pete is away & Lu phoned & asked me & although it is a long way I thought it would be fun. We had a nice chit-chat just by ourselves, but it is 10 or 12 miles across the city & it was snowing so I didn’t really relish the drive. The next night I went to visit Mrs. Rothwell who had in the lady who lives in the house opposite, Mrs. Cardinal, & her sister, & we all played bridge. Mrs. R. & Mrs. C. are of an age & have known each other since school days I think, so there is great chattering!
Our sole venture in entertaining was a Buffet Supper we gave on the 7th. We had Lila (the girl from Cec’s work I’ve talked about); a fellow from Belgium who has been here more than a year but we’ve never had him out before – his name is Dr. Charles Courtois & he is also a Jesuit priest!- ; Phyl & Alex Douglas; Mr. & Mrs. Clayman (the Swedish couple); & Fanni & Teddy Blachut. Cec brought Lila & Charles home with him from work & we had a cup of tea then the rest came at 8, but it meant I had to be all organized by 5:30 – however, I was! With Charles coming & I knew Teddy was a Catholic too & it being a Friday I had to have a fish dish, so in the end this was my menu.

Danish Fish Pudding with
Lobster & Mushroom Sauce
Spanish Rice
Chicken Livers in Bacon
Green Tossed Salad
Pickles – Hot Rolls
Peach Spanish Cream and Pineapple Bavarian Cream
Christmas Cake

We gave them Marsala wine to drink before dinner & then afterwards played Rumoli & a few had high balls & beer, but mostly ginger ale – a very temperate crowd! Everyone raved about the dinner & I think it was nice too! The fish pudding was a great success – I made 2 & put them on to steam about 6 & had the sauce all made ready to heat up. The Spanish Rice and rolls were ready to heat up to & the chicken livers on toothpicks just take about 10 mins. in the oven, so I really had very little to do at the end. Everyone ate everything & seemed to enjoy themselves – it was just about the end of my Christmas cake which you can see didn’t last long. I was amused at you wondering that I should make one when you didn’t think the children would eat it – what about us!!

Mon. 31st Jan.
News! News! Lee had her baby sometime early this morning – another boy – & both doing well. Jim phoned about 10 a.m. & told me – he took Lee into Hospital about 1 a.m. & the baby was born about 7, so that wasn’t too bad – especially as there were no signs till about 9 yesterday evening. Jim says that they didn’t mind which it was so neither are disappointed at a little boy, but of course Cec & I had a giggle & thought they weren’t as clever as us!!! Jim is staying home a few days to look after Barry & then going to work a few afternoons while other friends in the apartments look after him. We talked about it with them before, but with our being so far the side of town it makes Jim’s work very far away so it seemed more of a hindrance than a help to have Jim & Barry here, but I suggested that if Lee doesn’t come out of H’pital until a week today that perhaps they could spend the weekend with us, but we will wait & see.
It is still so cold – hardly gets above zero each day, so we are staying in – the children & me, that is! I am sure that Monie & A. Ettie will feel so tickled when they hear of all this winter weather – if it is anything like this in N.Y. they are really missing a hard time. Do you know- Lindy & Charlie have been in bed an hour or so now & Lindy is calling out in a kind of chant- “Mum – mee – I am a little bit lonely – Char – lie is asleep – I am a little bit lonely”! Today she was wailing & whining before dinner & I told her she must be tired, she had better go to bed, whereupon she wailed “I’m not sleepy- I’m worried!” & then later she said she was “missaluble”!
I was so pleased to get your last A.M. & hear that A. Ettie & Monie had arrived safely & that you were all having a wonderful time talking your heads off. And such lovely presents too – how nice of them & how exciting! What fun that they are with you in time to see Princess Margaret too – which reminds me I was dreaming all about Cec & I apparently being in St. V. too & getting a gold printed invitation! I have just been reading about Princess M. leaving London today – I hope she has a nice flight across the Atlantic this cold & stormy night – I wonder if she gets agitated too, just like we do when we are off on a journey?!
I got Jeanie’s letter last week, but haven’t been to town since so haven’t got her patterns yet. Will probably go on Sat. as I want a few odd things & it’s so much easier to go by myself. If I take the children down it’s all right to go to one place & do one thing but more than that is too much for me! I went downtown about a week ago & got Linda a new snowsuit – actually hers was still all right but Charlie has been wearing Lindy’s first little snowsuit handed down & it was really too small for him & not very warm, so the poor little fellow got her present one handed down again & she got a new one! Actually you can hardly tell as I got dark green again, but there is such a limited choice of colors. Scarlet is a favorite, but Linda doesn’t look nice in it, navy blue is another, but it is so dark for her & makes her look pale & wan. I had thought of brown but saw none in that colour but instead got this one for $14.95 reduced to $8.00 so got a bargain I thought. It is nylon, windproof & waterproof & a lovely thick quilted lining – the little cap is separate & is unfortunately too small so I want to see if I can change it – if not I’ll get a little woollen hood.
Your new glamour hair-do sounds most intriguing – my hair is a mess at the moment – you know how it goes straight with the dry air in the house in the winter & the last time I had a cut it seem to make it look worse. Lindy’s & Charlie’s are both quite straight now – but both will wave quite nicely I think when they are a little older. Charlie still creates when he goes to the barber & the last time the barber made quite a hash of it & you know how little boy’s hair grows straight down their little heads & they have a kind of little fringe? – well his is all lopsided & he was really shorn too – not enough left to curl anyway! It is getting a bit darker too – will be Cec’s colour I think, not very fair.
About the debate on “to come or not to come” of you & A. Moo I can quite imagine all the discussions! Really I think it would be so nice if you both came – even though you wouldn’t have much money – if you visited all your friends, relations, daughters, nieces, sons-in-laws, nephews etc. etc. you wouldn’t “sit-down” on anyone very hard & as Cec says if we ever can save enough money to visit St.V. we will certainly sit down on you! I think it would probably be much more fun if you came together as you would probably do so much more & visit around more if you have each other for company. In N.Y. for instance A. Moo likes to sightsee (& I know A. Ettie isn’t too keen) & you & she could probably have a good time just going to places together. While you’re here too, I am still so tied with the children it would be nice because you & A. Moo could go quite a few little trips together – a day or so in Montreal – & a boat trip & so on which I couldn’t do & which you probably would never bother to do alone. Tell A. Moo she’ll probably be glad she’s deaf & able to turn off her earphones sometimes when both my children begin yelling!! I do think it would be lovely if you could come though – for one thing the children are really so much sweeter now than they ever will be again. Once they get older & go to school they aren’t nearly so cute & it’s a pity you shouldn’t see them when they are such fun – particularly little old lover-boy Charlie! He is so loving & cuddly & when he gets older he probably will be too boyish to show it whereas now he’s just a real smoocher! (Ask Monie for interpretation!!)
This is really turning out to be some letter, isn’t it? I really should have ended on the last page, but as I didn’t here I am with 2 more sides to fill! I haven’t mentioned Lea & Darryl in my last few letters – well, as far as we know they have left Ottawa & gone to stay with Merle & family at Port Arthur. Lea phoned one day saying that’s what she planned to do & we’ve heard nothing else. What precipitated this, was that a week before Christmas & a week or so after Lea got a nursing job at the Civic Hospital & 2 or 3 times had attacks of “hypercardia” I think it’s called. Anyway it is a sudden attack of very rapid pulse & heartbeat which leaves the person quite exhausted & is caused by strain, tension etc. She’s been leaving having them for the last 6 months & told to rest etc. but this time the Dr. told her she just have to get away or she would be in for a really serious illness & breakdown. The whole business is still incredible – all the time Wendell has been in Ottawa working at this book salesman job (house-to-house sale of encyclopaedias) every penny he has made has gone on payments, gas & repairs for the car he insisted on buying. He’s never paid his mother anything for lodging, never paid for any food, never even bought Darryl Christmas presents – & yet he & Lea just about chain-smoke & neither of them have given that up. Cec & I just can’t understand them & goodness knows what will happen – we feel kind of sorry for poor Merle who has enough bothers of her own.
I haven’t heard from Dottie or Nan or anyone since Christmas – I must also write to Mrs. Scott. Thank you for telling me all about poor Mary Egan – what a terrible time she has had. I wonder if Michael & little Anne are paralyzed or what – or if there is hope that Anne with treatment will be all right. [Mary’s husband and daughter seem to have caught the polio virus, which was affecting people around the world in the early 50s. In Canada the Salk vaccine was available in 1955 and on.] I haven’t heard any more from poor Anne in Cambridge, I must write to her again.
I felt so mad at Jessie – really she is the limit! I sent her & the children a birthday parcel in Oct. No reply. I sent them all a Christmas parcel. Two days after Christmas a card from her – air mail – posted about Christmas Eve! Then last week a thank you letter from Zinnia & a P.S. Your parcel is on the way! I said to Cec I thought I’d stop sending them presents because Jessie is such a one – I sometimes think the parcels I send are the big attraction! Certainly little Zinnia is very good about writing thank you’s, but I wonder what sort of education & up-bringing she is getting – one letter she wrote about “somethink” & this one is full of film stars & going to the pictures every week etc. A far cry from the Eton & the Upper Ten I feel! Must stop – this will cost a fortune! Love from Us All to You All – A. Moo, A. Ettie, Monie & You – Kisses from the children –
Lots of love from Cyn.

P.S. Remember Frank from Australia in Cambridge? Heard from him – marrying a N. Zealand girl next month.

It was expensive: 40¢!!

December 19 1954

The inside of Linda’s was in French, but since neither of us could read…

Box 330
Ottawa RR1
19th Dec. 1954
Charlie’s Birthday.
Dearest Mummy,
I am afraid that I have left my Christmas letter to you very late, but I seem to have been so busy each evening, and I really felt so upset about poor Anne and Tadek that I couldn’t feel cheerful & Christmasy for quite a while. I still think about her so much of course & everything we do I can’t help contrasting with her and her little family, & feeling that we have so much. I had a letter from Anne last week – it crossed with mine to her. She thought I probably hadn’t heard as she realized that Smithy had sent her letter to Ethel Street. She was telling me more of the accident – it was a car coming up behind Tadek which knocked him off his bicycle – it was driven by a Baptist minister & there are no witnesses so he disclaims any responsibility so there will be no compensation. Tadek’s skull was fractured & he was taken to hospital & never regained consciousness but died 3 hours later – Anne was with him. Poor Anne – you know how desperately she feels things – I don’t know how she’ll carry on. It is Janita’s 4th birthday today & yesterday we got a card from her & little Chris to Charlie – so sweet of Anne to think of us in the middle of all her sadness. We had sent a card to Janita too but I’m afraid it would be late, as our local P.O. is still hanging fire – the grocery part of the store has been open for ages but they are still waiting for this, that & the other for the P.O. so in the meantime it is quite difficult to get things mailed & stamps bought, particularly as it has been very snowy.

We had a huge snowfall yesterday – on top of all we had before – and it was very wet solid snow so poor Cec has been shovelling hard for 2 days to get our driveway clear! Our garage being under the house the drive has quite a slope & if there is any big obstruction the car just sticks! One of Charlie & Linda’s presents for Charlie’s birthday was a pair of red snow shovels (quite big!) and so we thought it was silly to keep them one more day when the snow was so gorgeous yesterday so we gave them a day early & they were a huge success. Linda loves the snow – shovels & falls in it & rolls about, but Charlie is still very cautious if he falls down he is so encumbered with boots, snowsuit etc. that he just lies there & yells till someone picks him up. He hates a cold wind & he just cries to go in if there is one – I know just how he feels! Cec was to go down & get the tree yesterday, but the snow was so thick & he was trying to clear the snow all morning, so never got a chance. However I went downtown in the bus & had a good afternoon shopping & did everything I wanted to do. Ordered the turkey amongst other things – I got such a pleasant surprise – a turkey just over 10lbs. cost just over $5.00 – I thought it would be $7 or $8.00. Talking of turkeys reminds me of the beef tongue – 25¢ for the whole thing! But it is quite a joke – Mrs. Blachut & I (we go together, taking turns to drive) have discovered that it depends on which man is serving us as to how much it costs! I have had them twice & paid 25¢ each time but Mrs. B. gets them often & has paid up to 60¢ & 70¢ for them! It was a mess in town yesterday – crowds as you can imagine & ankle deep slush & water. I got my hair cut too & as everyone was really very cheery & good tempered despite the weather I came home feeling very pleased & as if I had done a good afternoon’s work!

Little Charlie had a nice birthday I think – he isn’t very conscious about things yet, but he knew something important was happening! When Cec & I said “Happy Birthday” to him at breakfast this morning I asked Linda if she would said it & she replied “Oh I said it to him in bed this morning!” She was very excited about everything & chose a card with a little boy on for him & helped me make the cake etc. The milkman set was a huge success – all it is, is a little red wooden crate with a handle & in it 6 little white wooden milk bottles, but Charlie just loves the real milkman! He always watches for him & I keep some little empty glass jars in one of my bottom cupboards & he plays that these are milk bottles. Well, I saw a little toy in some child’s house a while ago – a little wire crate with those little cream jars (glass) that you get cream in in the best restaurants here, so I sent off to tour the toy shops about a month ago, but no one had ever heard of such a thing! Finally I mentioned it to Esther Calaman (the girl with the baby to whom we’ve lent the playpen) & she had seen something of the sort in a little hardware store near her & got it for me. It was worth all the trouble as Charlie was entranced & has carried it around all day & given everyone milk. It was very sweet this morning – Linda took it away from him & wouldn’t give it back so finally when we took it from her & gave it to him she howled & was mad. Charlie watched her a while & then said “Linda not happy?” & when Cec said no, he said, “Make Linda happy!” & went over & gave her his precious milk bottles! They are beginning to squabble now of course & Charlie comes in tears saying “Linda bammed me” so yesterday Cec said “Well if Linda bams you, you should bam her!” So Linda then said indignantly “But then I would cry too!” Lindy has just invented a name “Miss Rabbit Mosing” which she either calls anyone or makes up someone to fit & Charlie has taken it up & it is so funny to hear him in his funny little deep voice, saying “Help me, Help me, Miz ‘Abbit Mosing!”
To continue with Charlie’s birthday he wants me to thank you so much Grannie for his lovely blue T-shirt, his little book & the pretty birthday card. The T-shirt is sweet & he put it on straight away & looks so nice in it with his blue eyes just as blue as the shirt. The little Indians are cute too. He dressed up in it with a nice little pair of brown short trousers (with a bib & straps) which Lea Gander gave him ages ago & with blue socks & brown shoes & he looked a pet. Linda had on your last Christmas present – the pretty pink dress with blue smocking. She looks lovely in it now – before it was a tiny bit big but now it is just right, & she looks like a little doll. She wears her sticky out taffeta petticoat under it & it makes it even cuter. The little book you sent is a great favourite already – especially as it has in “The Owl and the Pussycat” which Cec recites to Linda sometimes – as there was a bit in the middle he never could remember, this is a big help! Thank you very much dear Grannie & a big, big kiss from your boy. Both he & Linda were saying good night to your picture & the Queen’s picture hanging on their bedroom wall tonight.
Besides the milk bottles Cec got the children Sewing Cards which I don’t remember ever seeing before but Cec says they had them as kids. They are pictures with holes punched along the outlines & there are things like coloured shoelaces to thread through the holes [heavy cardboard dolls, as I remember them, with clothes to ‘sew’ on] Linda can do it quite nicely but Charlie likes to put the laces hanging around his neck best! Cec thought it might distract him from unlacing his (Cec’s) shoes which he is very partial to! The book for Charlie was about a puppy – he is beginning to listen to stories now but isn’t nearly as interested in books as Lindy. For her I got a dear little book of Prayers for Children. It has sweet illustrations of children & has all sorts of little prayers & graces etc. as well as The Lord’s Prayer, The Lord is My Shepherd, Gentle Jesus etc. I had been trying to explain God & saying prayers to her & a book seemed a good idea & she has been very interested in it.
I made Charlie a white cake with chocolate filling, white boiled icing all over, & then round the edge choc. cigarettes to make a fence & inside some chocolate covered animal crackers! I wrote Happy Birthday Charlie in blue & he had 2 blue candles! Boris & Joan came to tea & brought little ice hockey sticks for both & a ball, so we had fun! We all just hope the sticks won’t be used as weapons!
With not getting the tree we haven’t got our decorations up yet, but hope to do so tomorrow. One thing we have hung up is our Christmas stockings! I made them of green & red felt & they look very nice & are much admired! They are hanging in a line over our picture window so:

The names were written in white pipecleaner, which also featured in the decorations.

This is a very rough drawing but it gives you an idea. Cec & Bunny’s socks are green with red on, & Lindy, Charlie and mine red with green on. I have made my Christmas cake (by my old Cooking School recipe) but not iced it yet & want to make some gingerbread men.
We will be spending Christmas Day by ourselves after all. We asked the Ganders but not long after they came to see us that Sat. (2 weeks ago) Lee had a lot of blood from the rectum & although Dr. Smith didn’t think it was too serious she is taking things quietly & staying at home. We have invited Lea & family for Boxing Day – we felt they could hardly leave Mrs. A. on Christmas Day & also, mean as it may sound, we didn’t want to spoil our Christmas & really they are not cheerful company. They came out last Sunday, Lea & Daryl in the afternoon & stayed to dinner & Wendell later & Lea had quarrelled with W. & she told me it all of course & although I am on her side entirely & agree with her & think she has a wretched time, it doesn’t make for a jolly party.
I don’t think we have been anywhere or done anything since I last wrote – Cec has just about finished writing his paper & it will be off his mind before Christmas. I have been up to the ears with Christmas cards & letters – thank goodness they are all over.

She’d already sent 13 parcels off in November, and included this page for Carol in this letter.
Hard to read, but not as bad as bits of the letter!

Thank you so much for your letter (A.M. form) received yesterday Mummy- I do get one every week & always look forward to them. I know I should answer them more particularly, but I really mean to – please say to Jean when you see her that Charlie would be delighted with Charles’s suit!
How exciting getting all ready for A. Ettie & Monie’s visit – they will be all in a thrill getting ready for it too! Your new Christmas kitchen floor must be very nice & such a help. By the way I have ripped up my English dress & by this-ing and that-ing think I can fix it – will let about 8 inches in the skirt to make it look decent & countless other things- take out pockets, shorten bodice, shorten hem etc. etc. – doubt if I’ll get it done for Christmas!
Must stop – bedtime – I do hope that both you & Auntie Moo have a very, very happy day on Christmas Day. We will all be thinking of you & you can imagine just the 4 of us attacking our turkey! We are so intrigued with your present to us – it has arrived safely & is put away. Hope ours to you is in time.
Hugs & kisses from Linda & Charlie & lots & lots of love from us all – Cyn.

November 22 1954

In this letter, we finally hear something about this Bazaar that my grandmother has been preparing for! Both Carol and her sister Muriel (A.Moo) were very involved with the affairs of the church in St Vincent, not only attending services, but doing the flowers for the services, and helping enthusiastically with fundraisers such as the Bazaar. (Cyn will follow their example in the community she has now moved to, but needs to join in creating an Anglican Church in their area first!) All ages must be catered for, so besides Baking Stalls, Jams and Pickles, White Elephant, Handicrafts and Clothing, and, best of all, the Afternoon Tea, it seems that Carol’s task for the Bazaar was setting up some sort of Lucky Dip where children got a mystery prize for their pennies. Cyn’s little cars and doll’s bottles were probably wrapped in pink or blue paper and carefully handed out to the correct gender, or perhaps picked off a tree by the child in person while their mother shopped.
A note of explanation about Sea Island Cotton- this was an export of St. Vincent’s that Carol’s father, J.G.W. Hazell, had started in the 19th century and it was obviously considered a high-end product!

Mon. 22nd. Nov.

Please thank A. Moo for her letter.

Dearest Mummy,
Thank you so much for both your last letters (9th & 15th). I was looking forward to hearing about the Bazaar & was delighted to know how well everything went & that your tree was such a huge success. You must feel very pleased with yourself after all your hard work & it is so nice that your efforts have been both appreciated & rewarded & makes it all well worth while. I am glad that the little things I sent went well & another time I will know better what to send.
I have been busy with my Christmas presents & have them mostly “pretty” wrapped & just brown paper to put on. The last date is 27th, so I have a few days grace & should get them away in time. Like you I am sending you 2 parcels & hope neither gets too battered. Did I tell you we have a new store opened nearby, which we are all thrilled about? It is a super market on a small scale, but has all the necessities & in addition is to have a P.O. I have been longing for it to open so that I could mail my parcels there instead of taking them to Dube’s, but they have been held up – however I hear it is to open this week, so I still might manage it.
I have been longing for your Mrs. Larriere this past week! I have been toiling over some alteration jobs & with no sewing machine & no fitter, I have thought of her longingly many times!! The first job was a nylon shirt of Cec’s – his best white one actually, which has been languishing in my cupboard since spring. Reason? In a hurry one morning I put a hot iron on the collar! I felt so badly as it is a good shirt & of course Cec never has enough & instead of getting scolded, he was just sorry for me! So at last I set to & made a new collar all by hand except the final machined edge to make it look professional (I did it on Mrs. Rothwell’s machine) & to my joy it looks fine & Cec was so surprised & pleased when I showed him his resurrected shirt! By the way I got him a new shirt from the catalogue the other day & it is called “Our Finest Shirt” & is made of Sea Island Cotton. It has a great long blurb about how wonderful it is, so I felt that I was supporting home industries by getting it! My other alteration job was for myself. My Gor-ray skirt was such a success & so reasonable that I sent for a brown Gorray pinafore skirt which came a week or so ago. Unfortunately it was too big all over, so I started in & took the top from bottom, ripped underarms, took out the zip & did a wholesale renovation. Took in each side, shortened the waist & the hem & now it looks very nice & I am pleased with it, but with no machine it is a slow job. That is to be our next big buy. I have got a new blouse to wear with it – white with a silky stripe & short sleeves.

My Harrods dress is still hanging fire. I was quite annoyed at Willa as she left it well over 2 weeks & when I phoned & asked her she said no, she’d decided it was a little too tight. There is one other girl who says she’d like to try it, but after my success with the pinafore dress I feel ready to rip it up & try my hand at it too.
Since I last wrote nothing much has happened. Cec had an official holiday on the 11th but went back to work just the same. Lea phoned about 4 & asked if they could come out to dinner that evening so of course I said yes. I only had sausages but made scalloped potatoes & scalloped tomatoes & corn & then a coconut cream pie so it spread! Things continue awkward with them, but at least Cec & I feel that Lee & Wendy are happier together now than they have been. Cec is still working all the time- every week night, Sat. afternoon & even last night. I had the car last week during the days & one day the children & I went to Joannise (still like to go there) another day out to Orleans to the butcher ( a beef tongue .25¢!!) & another to town. The latter was fun but exhausting! Linda won’t go in a lift so we climbed 4 flights of stairs to Freiman’s Toys (me carrying Charlie) then down, then upstairs again 2 to the Ladies!! Had a fellow from Cec’s Lab. to dinner on Friday – Canadian Chinese, Hin Lew, very nice. On Sat. went to Pete and Lu’s for a late supper & had a lot of fun. They have all new furniture etc. in their sitting room – we gasped!! xxxx from Lindy & Charlie – Love from us all – Cyn

November 10 1954

Box 330 Ottawa RR1

10th Nov. 1954.

Dearest Mummy,
Don’t know how I got so behind-hand with writing to you – the time seems to fly & I have been Christmas shopping which takes me many evenings poring over the catalogues!! However it is mostly done now, just one or 2 little things I want to get in town & then only to wrap, pack & mail them!! I don’t know what you will think of your present – at least it is original! Cec says the colour doesn’t suit me but perhaps the sun will fade it & anyway I hope it suits you!! When I am a little more organized I will maybe send you a list of what I got to send people in England – some people, like Bar & Joan Cox I am dropping off the present list & just sending cards to- it seems crazy to send presents when I don’t even write to them except at Christmas!
Well your Bazaar will be all over & I hope that it was a huge success. You worked very hard over it & I am sure that you must have had a great sense of achievement when you saw all the stalls arranged nicely & everything ready & I do hope that you were pleased with the results & that all the children enjoyed having something to spend their pennies on! I forgot to tell you when I was writing about Christmas that one day Linda said to me “Mummy, I think I’d like Santa Claus to bring me a new dolly” & little old Charlie came trotting up & said “ ‘anta Claus, ‘orsie!” so he has cottoned on to the meaning of Santa Claus pretty quick! Carol Appleyard had a lovely little rocking horse that played a tune as it rocked, so of course this was a big hit with Linda & Charlie & Charlie has remembered! We don’t think we can rise to such an elegant animal, but the catalogue has a plainer model for about $6.00 so we are contemplating! Talking of your Christmas present, don’t be disappointed that the mesh panties aren’t included – I will send them maybe for your birthday if you can last that long! (Do like A. Moo!!) but you can’t get summer things like that till the spring, so I thought I’d better wait rather than send you a substitute type which you mightn’t like so well.
Had I had my “Ladies Night” when I last wrote you? Anyway I know you I told you I was going to have it & it passed off very well. I like Mrs. Blachut, the Swiss lady very much. She is slim & tall & dark & quite vivacious – in her 30ies somewhere. Mr. Blachut is nice too, but very formally polite you know, in the Polish way, but she is very natural & easy to get to know. Her name is Fanny & we now call each by our 1st names & it always makes me want to giggle thinking of the expressions about “your Aunt Fanny”! He is another Tadek, but she calls him Teddy. Flora, the girl married to the Englishman is nice but a bit odd! Very thin & gawky with deepset dark eyes & a big beaky nose – about 24 to 26-ish I should think. She talks on in a vague way, but not having children she isn’t up in the general mothercraft chat! Elaine is the English woman & she seems nice too – she hates cooking & loves gardening – but of them all I like Fanny best. Shirley Aitken (Hughes) is nice too, but a bit aloof I feel – I don’t know if it’s her manner or if she really is! She looked quite tummy-ish the night she was here, so either her muscles have gone to pot or she’s that way again!
We had June to dinner a few evenings later, & poor girl. I do feel sorry for her. George has the most impossible job & they never seem to be able to settle down to a decent normal life with him dashing about all the time. He is more or less transferred to Montreal now & after Christmas when June’s Fellowship with the Council ends they will be moving there. June hates the thought of it as she is just beginning to like Ottawa and of course Montreal is so French & much more city-ish.
We have been seeing quite a bit of Betty & Al McNamara lately. I introduced Betty to the little butcher out at Orleans & last week I had the car so the children & I went over and had coffee with Betty & then we all drove out to the butchers – it makes quite a nice little trip & the children love the car. They both go in the back now & are quite grown-up & independent. Cec & I went over to Betty & Al’s on Friday evening for bridge & coffee & had quite a nice time, but golly! both Cec & I think Betty is getting more & more like her Mother all the time! We feel quite sorry for Al (probably he doesn’t mind at all!) as the parents are over at least once a week & they go to the Burroughs on Sat. or Sun. & Betty just seems to quote her Mother continually! What Mother says is introduced into every conversation & as you’ll have gathered we don’t think much of Mother’s opinions anyway! Father is such a nice interesting little man, but he never gets a “quote”!! Their house is quite nice – actually quite big – sitting room, kitchen & 2 other rooms down & bathroom & 2 bedrooms up, but they’re not using upstairs as they have no need to & no furniture anyway. It has been all re-painted which is nice & the heater in the sitting room isn’t obtrusive. They are allowed 1 year there ($40.00 a month rent) & then must move, but they should have saved a bit & got organized by then.
The Big event last week was that Linda & Charlie were invited to their 1st Birthday Party! Fanny called up about Tues. & invited them to come on Sat. as Janek was 3, so you can imagine! I was a bit dubious about how they would get on without me, but in the end Fanny asked if I would come too as there were to be a few Mothers there & she asked if I’d help give them tea while she was busy with the children. So I was there too & I don’t know if it was a good thing or not! On the Friday we went shopping & got Janek a paint box & Lindy a pair of party shoes! She has always had just the little brown lace up ones, so I got her a pair of black kid with a strap & buckle & a crisscross on the toe.

She was absolutely thrilled with them but believe it or not just yelled in the shoe store! I don’t know how or why, but she is terrified of any man touching her or coming near her even, & although I say I’ll put on the shoe, she still makes a fuss. I usually have the shoe man come out here & it’s still the same performance. Anyway on Sat. a.m. I bathed them & washed their hair & after their afternoon sleep dressed them in their best. Charlie blue & white Viyella romper suit from England & Linda in the little blue georgette dress with white lace insertions that Mary Egan sent her. Underneath she had a frilly taffeta petticoat (from Til & Lois) that made her dress stick out & a blue bow in her hair. They really did look sweet – just 2 little dolls – & so pleased with themselves! Well, off we all went & found 16 small children there – ages 1 1/2 – 8!! My 2 were just stunned! And so many of the children were the big fat round faced type you know & my 2 little blossoms looked like little frail small flowers in amongst them all!! They had tea first & as long as I was around things went quite all right, but as soon as I disappeared into the room with the adults one or the other came after me! They knew none of the other children except Janek, who of course was so excited he knew no one & anyway 1/2 or more of the children were Swiss or Polish & talked their own language! The worst moment was when everyone sang “Happy Birthday” – Linda burst into tears & howled! You know how she has always hated noise & I don’t think she had ever heard a lot of people singing before! Afterwards they played games like Blind Man’s Buff etc. which the little ones didn’t even notice. They just played around with toys etc. & mine were quite glad to come home with their balloons & I was exhausted! Really rather a doubtful pleasure, but I think 16 was a lot for their 1st venture! Next year we will begin having small parties here & they will get used to them – I hope!
On Sunday afternoon Boris called up to say they were going for a walk around our district so could they drop in & so of course we were delighted & asked them to stay for dinner – roast pork, applesauce, baked squash, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, Tenby Cream & Joan brought a cake! We had a nice evening & Boris was very tickled with his godson – he says he has a million dollar smile! Gunborg said she thought Charlie had the most devastating personality of any small child she’d ever seen. He is still as cute & affectionate as ever & will go to all our friends & put up his face & say “Kiss me” & then “ ‘Ug” (hug!) – he even wants to kiss the milkman & bread man for whom he has a great affection! He talks a lot now of course, but not so clearly & doesn’t enunciate so well as Linda always has – he needs an interpreter! One night Cec was at work & Charlie woke up & yelled. I did everything I could think of & kept asking him what was wrong & he kept saying something & getting nearly in a frenzy because I couldn’t understand. This went on for about 1/2 hour & I had smacked him & left him & had to go back 2 or 3 times when Linda finally said “I think he wants a jellybean!” I ask you!!! He then said through sobs “Yes – bellybean!” – I gave him one – he said “Nank you. Bye Bye” & everything was fine!! At the moment he is the politest little boy you could wish to have- he says “Nankyou” & “Pease” without prompting at all – long may it last. He is also the laziest little lump – he turns his big blue eyes on you & says “Help me Mummeee” or raises his arms & gives a big smile & says “Mumee carra me”! If you refuse the lip goes down and great tears well up & he sobs his heart out & of course you feel a brute!! Lindy & he are now really beginning to have great fun playing together – they seem to me to be very imaginative for such young children – they play going in street cars & trains & driving the car of course & Charlie loves to be the milkman. He has always loved since he was about 7 or 8 mths. old giving you ‘pretend’ things- he will take your hand & carefully pretend to put something in it & you of course have to thank him. The other day he was pretending to pour tea in a little cup & Cec said “Mind, you’re spilling it!” & Charlie just roared with laughter — spilling pretend tea!
I don’t think I have ever told you of Lindy’s little imaginary playmate have I? Soon after we came to this house Lindy told me that she had a little friend & her name was Banney! She lives in Linda’s closet & has a little brother called Jonaclo. Her mummy is called Joan and her daddy is Big Jonaclo! We have Banney with us all the time & whatever we do Banney does too – for instance Banney got party shoes too & went to a party of course! Banney is sometimes naughty – Linda will give a sudden slap on air & then turn to me & say “Banney was going on the road!” & of course whenever I say “Don’t suck your fist Lindy” or some other “Don’t”, the reply is “Well Banney does!” Lindy is quite intrigued with the “comics” in the evening paper now – like you she likes Ferdinand (the little man in the funny hat – remember?) & one about a dog & another about some little girls. Each evening Cec reads her these & then later on she gets the paper & reads them to Banney!! You can imagine how funny it is sometimes & Lindy also loves to make up words. She’ll come into the kitchen & ask “Where is my gunshi?” So I reply “Oh I threw it in the garbage!” & she says “Why?” & I say “It smelled so horrible!” & we both begin to giggle!
I must stop now – it’s after 11- Cec is at work of course – every week night he goes back now, but we hope the end is in sight as he is writing a paper on his work now to be ready for publication at the end of this month & then we can all relax! We are having cold frosty bright weather but no snow yet. I take the children out a walk each morning as it’s so nice then & gets dark in the late afternoon. We have spent nearly 3 weekends on our storm windows – taking down screens, washing windows, washing storm windows & now painting the wretched things! Just have one or 2 more to do though.
Thank you so much for last A.M. of the 1st – meant to send A. Moo birthday card but forgot till too late – please give her my love & belated good wishes. Glad you had such nice farewells for the Coutts, such a pity they’re going but hope you get someone else nice. Must stop.
Lots & lots of love from us all. xxx from Lindy & Charlie – Lots of love from Cyn.

P.S. Had letter from Anne. Jessie F. back from Jamaica- not married yet. Trying S. Africa next!

October 29 1954

But first, a note enclosed with oddments sent by sea:

A sea note!

14th Oct.
Dearest Mummy,
These iron-on patterns might be of some use to you. You will probably wonder why I got funny birds, but most of the patterns here were very ugly & in this type were all in these rather strange colours, so the flowers looked queer.
I am enclosing a few of your stamps I have lying around – I have lots more, but still on envelopes – will send them to one day! I am just going to wrap up your earphone batteries to mail – just got one cord – hope that is O.K.
Cec is at work (10:30 p.m.) & I intended to write more letters, but my eyes are closing on me so I think I will retire to bed.
Lots & lots of love – Cyn.

Fri. 29th Oct. 1954.

Dearest Mummy,
A nasty cold rainy day, & the children are having their afternoon nap, thank goodness! Thank you so much for your last A.M. – it was the one you wrote in a hurry, remember – & it got here on Mon. Since I last wrote I have had a ceaseless round of activities!! Or so it seems to me! Actually nothing hair-raising, but much more than I usually do!
On the Thurs. of last week Lea (Atchison) & I went to the movies to see “Three Coins in the Fountain” which we both thoroughly enjoyed. It was quite an ordinary story of 3 American girls working in Rome but it was in beautiful colour with lovely shots of the city & was very pleasant & romantic! Of course Lee was additionally interested with Wendell having been there, & she enjoyed getting out for a little fun, so we plan to do it again.

On Fri. Cec was to go to the bank & phoned me in the afternoon that he hadn’t gone, but might go at 5. I had the car so finally we arranged that the children & I should go & pick him up then we’d all go down town & go to the bank & have dinner. We went to just an ordinary little restaurant on Sparks Street but I was thrilled not to cook dinner & we had fun. The children were both very good & slightly subdued as of course it was dark & Charlie hadn’t seen the bright lights of the city before! However when we left & were walking to the car they both just bubbled they were so full of fun & Cec & I just roared at them! Linda was jumping up & down saying “Look! Look! A streetcar! Lovely streetcar! Horrible streetcar!” & Charlie was shaking his head & yelling “Horribee! Horribee! No! No! Horribee streetcar” & they would both shriek with laughter! Such children!
On Sun. we had Mr. & Mrs. Shoosmith to tea. I don’t know if you remember hearing of them when you were here. They are an English couple – (45 to 50)- who came to Ottawa about a year before we did. He is a technician & works for Dr. Herzberg & is very nice – the wife was v. discontented at first but much better & nicer now. They have one son, now in University & have recently built new house, so we had quite a nice time talking gardens & houses! On Mon. morning Betty McNamara (now moved into a house not far from us) drove around for coffee. Afterwards we drove out to Orleans the little village where a good butcher is & we both bought our week’s meat. We had a nice chat & it will be nice having them fairly close.
On Tues. night I had a Ladies Night! Since Mrs. Rothwell has had me over a few times I felt I should reciprocate, & I asked Mrs. Blachut, Mrs. R., Flora Wansborough (lives down the road, married to an Englishman), Mrs. Aitken, (Mrs. Hughes’ step-d.) & Mrs. Duffield (English, married to Can. & have 4 boys- lives nearby). All came except Mrs. R, who was going away! Cec said I was lucky as it would have been her party! We had Marsala (wine) to warm us up & chatted & then had coffee, snakes & meringues! Quite pleasant, but a little strange as none of us knew any of the others well & I was the only one to have met all before.
On Thurs. (last night) Cec brought June home to dinner with him. She has been 3 or 4 months in Eng. & is just back. Saw Geo. one day, then he to Calif- coming home 2 days & then flying to Eng. so poor girl is fed up! Loved her time in England & still would like to live there but told Cec & I a long story of an appalling English couple she’d met here who loathed Ottawa & were so critical & the girl wept all the time etc.!! So June is changing for the better!! Must stop – Hugs & kisses from us all – xxx from Lindy & Charlie – Lots of love – Cyn.