October 8 1950

803 Granger,

Ann Arbor. Mich. 

8th October 1950.

Dearest Mummy,

We are having a wet Sunday afternoon- nice – and I am writing letters and ignoring the chores! Cec was going to go back to the Lab. & do some work, but the rain has discouraged him & he is sitting reading- supposed to be writing letters too! He is busy again at work – building up his apparatus, having at last got some equipment. Dr. Sutherland brought him 2 things (tubes) from England which Cec has had ordered here for months but couldn’t get – so Dr. S. got permission to bring these 2 which Cec had used in Cambridge. Wasn’t that nice?

Talking of Cambridge, reminds me that Cec got a letter this week from George- remember the fair, shy, nice Canadian? He is in Ottawa now working there, having finished his thesis etc. but not heard the results. He tells us that your friend Charlie is finished too & is out at the Univ. of British Columbia in Vancouver, & puts in brackets (married) so I am bursting with curiosity!! Bob Stewart he says is also going to U.B.C., but doesn’t say if he is there yet- I am wondering if Veronica really did have another baby or not. That means that all of his friends have really left Cambridge now, but it will be nice when we are in Ottawa because besides George working there, Cec says that most of the others will be going there fairly frequently, so we will be able to keep in touch with them. 

Connie and Leonard will be sailing from Liverpool on Tuesday, and I am going to write & have a letter waiting for them when they arrive in Montreal. I wrote to them when we got back from Canada & wished them a nice crossing etc. & invited them to come and spend Christmas with us, which I think will be fun. Cec had vaguely talked of going to Lee’s for Christmas, and Joan and Ray were very insistent that we come & spend it with them, but with seeing Lee this summer we don’t feel we have to go again, & although we would like to see Joan & Ray again, we would rather spend Christmas at home, and Cec suggested asking Connie & Len & I thought it was a lovely idea. Dr. S. saw Leonard in Cambridge & Len told him they would be here for Christmas, so that seems O.K. Len said in his last letter that Connie hadn’t been well, but I didn’t think much about it. However Dr. S. says that she had a kind of nervous breakdown, but I hope she’ll have a nice time coming over & feel better when she arrives.

Dr. S. himself came back last Monday from England (flew both ways) feeling very tired, and developed a terrible cold & has been in & out of bed all week. Poor Gunborg is pretty well worn out too, with all her work on the house so she hasn’t been feeling very cheery either. On top of all the work of getting the house ready– she has got the job this coming week of entertaining the Bishop of Ely who is coming here for about a week. They knew him in Cambridge – he was a Don or something there before he became Bishop – and he christened the children so they of course are very pleased to have him as they say he is a dear, but Gunborg is in a flat spin at the prospect of entertaining in her present state of chaos! She is having to give a dinner party for him on the Sat. Evening- 10 or 12 people – and has enlisted my aid, so I’ll be buttling for the Bish!

We got two letters from you this week- one mailed on 30th & one on the 26th-, & thank you so much for both of them. I was so sorry to hear that you were worried about us though, because you hadn’t had a letter, but was glad to see by your pencilled note on the back of the envelope that one had arrived. I thought that I had written long before the 22nd, but can’t be sure, as the first week or so that we were back seemed such a muddle. Now that I am organized, I will try and be better. In the first letter I wrote after I came back I know I told you of my raise at work and being on the permanent staff, so if you know about that, there won’t be any letter missing, but you said in your letter about Janie writing to you and your not getting the letter, and I certainly never heard from her either. I have been thinking that I should write and send some little thing for my god son, but thought I would wait till they got home, and now I feel that I might as well wait & send a little parcel at Christmas as we don’t know exactly when his birthday is. The Budleigh Salterton P.O. must have rats or something- Cec suggested that perhaps Bill was still carrying the letters around in his pocket, but surely he’d have found them before now! Tell Janie it wasn’t my fault this time, will you?! What is their new address?

I have just made a coffee cake, & put on the coffee instead of having tea – it seems more like a coffee day! My dieting is fairly good during the week, but is inclined to fall off at weekends, & I don’t think I’ve lost much weight yet! I weigh on Gunborg’s scales & haven’t had a chance recently – all the drugstore scales say different things- one yesterday said 134!! I’m still wanting Patsy’s diet & see what that will do for me!

We have had such a nice week this week. On Monday Cec gave me a surprise! We have begun a new budget since we came back, (saving our money for a car!) and we get $5 each pocket money- bus fares, coffees, stamps, birthday presents etc.! Anyway, when Cec took our week’s money out of the Bank on Monday he told me he had practically spent all his pocket money already as he’d bought something, but wouldn’t say what it was. I’ve been wanting a housekeeping purse, & on getting my P.-money suggested I go & buy one, but when we got to the shop it was very crowded & I left it- only to find when I got home that the surprise was a beautiful red billfold & purse combined which Cec had had for me all the time! It is lovely red leather & has a purse, place for identity card with cellophane cover, place for bills at the back, and a secret place for bills hidden away! It is lovely & I am so proud of it! Just a week or so ago, I got another present- a new band for my watch. The watch was fixed, & Cec got me such a pretty little gold band – tiny hearts & flowers – which goes so nicely with the little flowers on the watch. Aren’t I a lucky girl? Our budget seems to be doing well this time, & with our present rate of saving we hope to be able to get a 2ndhand car by Christmas- won’t that be fun? Probably won’t finish paying for it till Feb. but that won’t be long- then we’ll begin saving for a refrigerator! In Canada they cost at least $300, whereas here you can get a very nice one for $200, & if you have it for over six months you don’t have to pay duty taking it into the country, so it seems worthwhile doesn’t it?

Cyn seated in front, NOT wearing bobby socks!

On Thurs. I was talking to Gunborg over the phone (I have my own telephone on my own palatial desk in my own office- shared with one other girl- at the office now! Important that’s me!) and she said that Gordon’s cold was so bad that he was in bed & asked me to go to a concert that night for which they had tickets. There are 2 series of concerts in A.A. this winter-the Big Series, & the Little or Extra Series- the S’s have tickets for the first, but we thought the Little Series sounded nice & 6 concerts would be just a nice number, so we got tickets for those & our first concert is on Tues. with Laurenz Melchior singing. On Thurs. Gunborg & I heard Helen Traubel sing- she is a great Wagnerian soprano & sings at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. She is an immense woman- 6 ft. or so, with a huge bust, but slim hips, so looks top-heavy! We could just imagine her in a helmet & breastplate being all Wagnerian! She sang some German Lieder & negro spiratuelles very quietly & beautifully, but when she stood & bellowed Tristan & the Valkyries etc. we didn’t think much of it!

On Friday I met Cec in town after work & we had dinner, then we went to the pictures. Gunborg & Gordon were to come too, but Gordon’s cold was still bad so Gunborg came alone & we went to see “Kind Hearts& Coronets”. It is an English film you know, & I had hoped to see it, but we didn’t get the chance before we left England, so were delighted when it came here. It was crowded & everyone who has seen it has said they laughed more at it than anything they’ve seen for ages, & we enjoyed every minute of it! It was a huge success – very amusing & well done, & very subtle wit and humour – we all came out feeling very gay, & Gunborg who had been very quiet the night before at the concert, cheered up immensely!

Yesterday, I did my housecleaning & grocery shopping – in the afternoon there was another football game, & Gunborg didn’t want to go, so Gordon, who is feeling a bit better, asked Cec to go, and as it was a nice sunny afternoon and Michigan won this time 27-7, they had a nice time! I gave them a drink when they got back, and Gordon felt fine! Cec got dinner for me, as a treat, and later in the evening we went up to the drugstore and had another Treat- chocolate milk shake! Spoiled!

You were scolding me in your letter about not telling you Anne’s News, but blame her not me! She wrote & told me with great injunctions not to tell anyone etc. so when I wrote back I said could I tell you, & saved her letter to send you all the Cambridge gossip, but now that she writes & says yes to tell you, she has told you herself! Her last letter made me quite cross – I had written all about my job etc. as being my only news, & she wrote back and & said, “Your big news was not news I’m afraid- you’d mentioned it in 2 previous letters- 1 before getting it & 1 after”  but as she never answers my letters at all, how was I to know I’d told her! She has told you all the gossip, so I won’t bother to send her letter, but re. the various people – the man Marion Knight is marrying is someone she knew long ago at her home in Blackpool – I think it is nice, as she was a nice girl really & I think John would be O.K. if he had a proper home. Margot’s “Hep” is a funny mousy little man who used to come & see her at weekends & she would always return to him after having been engaged to other people etc.! Sheila’s Bob is a fellow she got to know in Cambridge when I was there & she went to the May Ball with him. He left that summer, & Sheila was on & off with him that winter, & it was supposed to be off when I left, as he was v. serious in intentions & Sheila wasn’t. However her intentions seem to be serious too, now! His photo looks nice, so I hope they’ll be happy- I sent Sheila a card.

I was sorry to hear about your missing Patsy’s boat & not getting to see her off- also not being able to give her the cloth. I hope she has a good trip and keeps her elegant figure till she meets Tony! Cec and I laughed like anything over Alex Hughes flying to Barbados & being so scared – he sounds a dope! And from what you tell me about his being so conceited and bossing Peggy around etc. the more I hear of him the less I like the sound of him. Did the other girls ever say anything to you about him? When you write about them all visiting each other etc. I can’t help thinking of when Peggy got engaged writing pathetically to Brenda “that of course she realized they would never receive her or Alec in their homes” but it doesn’t seem to matter out there much, does it? I was amused about Patsy saying to you & A. Moo about Jean fussing so & never being content – it seems that other people think as I do!

I must stop now & go & cook dinner. I’ll answer the rest of your letters & send it by sea, so that this won’t be too heavy! 

        Lots & lots & lots of love from Cynnie

[Cec’s Handwriting] Dear Mom,

Yes, we are planning on getting a brand new 2nd-hand car, so sometime! we may be able to drive down part way – Too bad you are on an island. Cyn is ever such an important executive now – no longer licks her own stamps. Bye for now. 

        Love Cec

[Then in pencil at the start of the letter, Cec writes: PS I just beat Cyn at cribbage & she’s sulking & crying same as she used to. Love Cec.

June 22 1950

Here is the missing letter, where Cyn is telling her mother all about getting a job, but misdated so I posted it out of sequence!  I believe this was written on June 22nd, not July, mostly because of the contents, but also because there are two other letters dated July 22nd which I’ll post after this one.  I should be reviewing my material in advance- apologies.

22nd July. [actually June] 1950.

Dearest Little Mummy,

It seems ages since we’ve heard from you, but I hope that it is just that you are busy having a good time, and not that you have more cold or sore throat.

Well, since I wrote last week, what do you think? Your daughter has become a wage earner again! On Monday, while Cec was away, I cleaned up the flat & then in the afternoon ambled down to the Administration Building of the University, thinking I might get a job to begin in a week’s time, or next month or something! However, they said would I like a temporary job, so I said yes, and off I was sent at once!! It is in the Institute for Social Research, which is a Dept. of the University, & that first afternoon I was sent to a Dr. Katona, & typed part of a book he is writing on Economics etc.! Since then I have gone each day & have had all sorts of different jobs, & enjoyed it very much really! After typing for Dr. Katona for 3 days, I was shown how to type stencils, then how to use an electric typewriter! It has the same keyboard as the usual one, but you just touch the keys instead of banging them, & instead of each letter taking the same space, the thin letters like i only take 2 “units” as they’re called & the fat ones like m take 5, so the finished result is very neat & looks more like the page of a book. I typed a great long article on Atomic Energy Control on that on stencils, then learnt how to work a mimeographing machine & stencilled off 100 copies of the article. Another day I learnt how to use a dictaphone, & typed the minutes of a meeting from one, so I have been having fun!

The hours are 8.30 – 12.0, and 1.0 – 5.30!! I get paid .85¢ an hour which works out at about $34 a week, which is nice! The first couple of days I worked solidly through, with no breaks & was fair wore out, but I am in an office now with two girls who have initiated me! and I take a break of about 20 minutes or so in the morning & 1/2 hour in the afternoon. There is a room in the building that has a machine with choc. bars, & a machine for coca-cola, & a machine for coffee!! You put your nickel in, & out pops a paper cup & in shoots a stream of coffee & you press buttons for cream & sugar!! The 2 girls are Florence, who is the Office Manager’s secretary & is going to have a baby in Aug. & Lois who is an account clerk & is coloured & is working her way through college. Quite a number of the girls are coloured & it is quite a change for me!!

Cec got back from Columbus safely on Tues. evening & all last week we had our lunch in a drugstore, but this week we have been taking sandwiches etc. & eating them in Cec’s room in the Physics Building as I am quite nearby. It was Cec’s birthday on Friday & I gave him a new key case & an attachment for his camera, so that he can set it, then dash round & get in the picture himself! His birthday spread right over the weekend, as on Sat. we went to the theatre & saw Shaw’s “Getting Married” with Cedric Hardwicke & Arthur Treacher which was very good, & had a big dinner of roast chicken & strawberries at home, & on Sun. I made his birthday cake!! I had a real busy weekend what with cleaning & one thing & another!

Dr. S. was in Columbus with Cec, but didn’t get back till Sat., so we went along & kept Gunborg company on Wed. & Fri. evenings & on Sunday they invited us & the Simpsons & Dockerills & showed us some of their coloured movie films which were lovely.

It is getting late now & I am so sleepy (my early rising!) so I will stop & go to bed. Cec has gone to work this evening & will probably be back late, so I am not going to wait up for him. With all my toiling I have never managed to write that letter answering yours yet, but I’ll do it sometime. My love to Auntie Moo- and lots & lots for you-

    from

          Cyn.

P.S. Sorry this is a dopey letter – it is v. hot & I am sweltering! 

P.P.S. Cec advanced me $10.00 & on Sat. I bought myself 2 prs. nylons, 1 navy blue summer skirt & 1 white pique blouse!—