December 1 1969

I just want to say that the building of the National Arts Centre in the middle of the city near the canal, the downtown shopping district and market, the Parliament Buildings, and major hotels was a game-changer for Ottawa. All of a sudden in one building there were new restaurants, boutiques, with an attractive green space around the building and parking below, housing the three state-of-the art theatres of different sizes with lovely art inside and world class shows coming to or being created there in the nation’s capital. It made my Ottawa summers a dream- I could get last minute unoccupied seats for $1 with my university student card, and so it happened that where the well-dressed members of the audience circulated in the lobby before descending to the most expensive seats, happy but possibly scruffy students joined them and enjoyed the play or opera that much more!

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa 9, Ont.

Monday, 1st. Dec. [The day after Ottawa had won the Grey Cup! (Canadian football)]

Dearest Lindy,
I wonder how you are feeling today and if you stayed up ALL night to finish your essays. I hope that you didn’t have to as I am sure that you will be very tired anyway, poor lombkin. Charlie stayed up till 3 am with his Elizabethan Audience, typing it out, so the two of you are one as bad as the other! Of course he was held up during the afternoon with THE GAME! Did you see it and wasn’t it gorgeous? Lovely Russ Jackson going out in such a blaze of glory. Phyl had phoned and asked us to go over and see the game with them on their colour TV and said that it wasn’t a party but just them, so Charlie excused himself from staying to dinner afterwards, but said he would like to see the game. He was serving at the 8:30 so I went too and then he worked on his essay, and I made the Advent Wreath (with many thanks to you) and took it to Sunday School. Sue had had a great argument with her Mother as to whether Advent began on Sunday or Monday, Mother saying Monday, so she hadn’t got one, so I said that after we had done it in my room, I would lend it to her and that is what we did. I had 17 little children, so it was enough without joining either Sue or Debbie and of course the kiddos enjoyed it. I gave Nancy the 3 year olds to show pictures in a very simple story, and I read the 4s a proper story, and it worked better as the 3s don’t even pay the littlest bit of attention when there are so many children.
Anyway, I got back at about 12 and we rushed and had some lunch and I washed dishes and made beds and we left for the Douglases with Charlie at 12:30, and then who should arrive as well after us but Cy and Margie Garrett complete with big Saskatchewan Roughrider green and white colours on! Andy was there too, so it was quite a large and partisan company. Charlie was very well behaved and subdued, but Phyl and Margie screamed and yelled, so I did too, and it was lovely to have Ottawa win. Cy and Margie and Alex, who had been shouting for Sask. weren’t too broken hearted so it turned out to be a very jolly party. Andy took Charlie home after the game (he was doing an essay too on LOGIC), but we stayed and had a very nice dinner and arrived home at about 8:15 feeling as if we had been there for days.
Thank you very much for your letter which arrived this morning and also for the one last week. I am so sorry that you didn’t get one from me last week, but the mail is so weird – I was sure that if Daddy posted it on Thurs. morning, it would reach you on Friday, but apparently not. I am sorry that you were so disappointed over the results of your Essay, but it isn’t surprising that the first one would be more difficult as you don’t know exactly what they want or anything. At least he did say that you hit on the root of the problem, even if it was just in the last two pages, and maybe the first part wasn’t so unnecessary after all. Anyway, you will probably find out each of the profs. has idiosyncrasies and want different things, so you can’t be expected to know all this right at the beginning. I am sure that although tired you must be feeling very lighthearted and gay to get both the English and Psych. ones off your hands, and maybe they will be more encouraging. You had a busy week with tutorials etc. last week so maybe this won’t be so hard. I am glad that you found your silver ring in your bed and I’m looking forward to seeing your Trent one. I hope that you have fun at the Hockey Game on Thursday, and the Peterborough wins!
Charlie had a big boost to his morale last week – he brought home his Report and it was straight A’s! The first he ever got. Only Mr. Lafrenière spoilt the beautiful symmetry as he gave him a B for effort in French after giving him a mark of A. It was a glorious sight! He is now spurred on to even greater efforts and I do hope that all goes well.

My clever brother! I certainly never had a report like this.

He has to fill in the form this week saying which universities he wants to go to, so time is creeping on. Today is Election Day in Ontario so Daddy and I will be going out to vote for Mr. MacQuarrie when he gets home. There was a meeting of the candidates are down at the High School last Thurs. and Daddy went for a while and was given a big MacQuarrie notice which he was supposed to stand up and wave when the CANDIDATE stood up to speak, but you know how much waving Daddy would do! Maureen tells Charlie he is very worried about the result, but Daddy thinks he will get in. The MacQuarries are having Open House tonight after the polls close and Charlie told Maureen that he would be there, but I THINK he was joking!
Daddy had a phone call on Friday from Surin Kalra, and he is going to be in Ottawa for a couple days with another Prof. from Waterloo, so Daddy is having a Men’s Party tonight for them. I have decided to make Quiche Lorraine in little tartlets and goodness knows what else. What do you think – I made Christmas cakes on Sat. and for some unknown reason I put in double the quantity of butter. They were oozing in the oven and I couldn’t think why until afterwards I looked at the recipe and thought golly – I didn’t put in half a pound – I put in a pound. Don’t tell anyone (here I mean) I didn’t! Fanni and Teddy came over on Sat. afternoon to see the pictures I took up the Gatineau the afternoon Fanni and Phyl and I went up with Claire for lunch. The pictures were lovely and I was very pleased with them and Fanni is going to get me some copies and send the lot to Claire for her talk to the English Club! Anyway, I had made some little cakes of the Christmas cake mixture and they had them and both said how nice they were, so the extra butter can’t have done any harm!
I went to town on Friday morning to get money from the bank and various shoppings, and had a very interesting time. I parked on Albert St. right at the top near the Art Gallery, and suddenly thought I would go see what the Arts Centre Boutiques were like. I didn’t go into the Bistro – a kind of coffee place I think, and then there is a French Bookshop, but I went into the English bookshop and boutique and it is a lovely place and you will love it. The only thing against it is that it all smells violently of incense, but maybe they will run out of it before you come home. The bookshop has both paperbacks and big books, and is very well arranged and most suitable for browsing, and they don’t seem to mind a bit if you wander around and peer and read bits and then don’t buy! The boutique has gift-y things, some cute and all nice to look at, so I know you will enjoy going when you come home. After that, I went and shopped along Sparks St. and then dashed into Morgan’s to walk-through to Queen St. and so to the car. Lo and behold I was just dashing past the hosiery when a nice polite voice said “Can I help you, madame?” and here was Joey, doing her week’s selling there. She said it was nice and she was enjoying it and was getting paid. She also said that she was writing to you, so maybe you will hear from her first.
Ruth L. and I are going down town tomorrow to try and get the Silver Wedding present for Marjorie and Dick. I am leaning towards a cut glass decanter now – no I know it isn’t silver, but you can get those little silver labels on chains saying ‘Sherry’ and we could get one of those to make it more silvery. I looked at all the things in Birks on Friday and silver bonbon dishes and ittybitty silver trays, etc. leave me cold, not to mention sauceboats and the like!
Did I tell you that Margaret and Peter Savic had asked me to go to the Ottawa Opera Company with them last Wed? They were taking a friend and she was sick so they took me and I really enjoyed it immensely. It is ages since I saw an opera, apart from the Mozart ones we saw in Stratford, and actually, I don’t like his operas so much. [Such blasphemy from my own mother!] This was ‘Mignon’ which I had never seen before, but it was such fun, as soon as any of the important arias began I realized they were very familiar and I knew a lot of the songs. Do you remember in Little Women when Jo gets to know the Professor and he is homesick for Germany that he sings a song in German something like ‘Kenst du das landt?’ Well, to my surprise, it comes from ‘Mignon’ apparently and here was the girl singing ‘Connais-tu sa patrie?’ I was quite tickled and wished I’d had you there to poke and say ‘Do you remember?’ then and there. It was all in French, but there was an English synopsis and anyway I could understand one word in every ten! The people at the Arts Centre were as usual lots of fun to watch. There was a girl, tall and slim in a bright pink long evening coat, and when she took it off, she had a long, slim white evening dress, all covered with shimmery beads or sequins, and she had a long feather boa! With her was a very elegant young man in a dark suit, very mod, with a gorgeous flowery tie. His hair was longish but neat, and then in the paper a few days later, there was quite a write up about the Men’s Boutique Michael is working for at Carlingwood, and pictures of some of the clothes and the young designers of the things, and 2 of them looked very like this couple at the theatre. I asked Margaret how Michael was getting on but she just said OK, but the shop hadn’t yet opened, but was opening later in the week.
Must stop and make goodies for Daddy’s party. Will continue later.

SNOW SNOW SNOW snow, snow snow! That’s what is busy happening! I wonder if you were having it in Peterborough too- lucky that you have your boots. I wore mine yesterday for the first time this season when Ruth L. and I went shopping, and the soles are rubber, and have begun to perish, so I ticky-tacky as I walk along!
We had a nice morning and bought Dick and Marjorie a really pretty wine decanter – cut glass and a nice shape, but quite small and neat looking. We got a silver label saying ‘Sherry’ and I think that they will like it – I would! I now have to try and collect the money from everyone so I think that I will I take it down to the Coffee Party on Sat. and have people see it surreptitiously and sign the card and PAY ME. I am not doing anything too violent for the Coffee Party, but I will make gingerbread men on Friday and some candy or something. I have been having great fun, making funny little santa clauses out of the small wooden beads and funny small shapes of wood that the Nursery School have. I have painted them red and given them white bunny rabbit fur beards and made faces and they look very funny ha-ha and funny peculiar! Maybe some child will yearn for them.
After Ruth and I had shopped, etc. I had arranged to pick up Daddy at 4pm and when I got there found him waiting outside and he came rushing up and said ‘Do you want to park the car at the back and come and see the astronauts? They are due here in a few minutes.’ So we parked and dashed back and Gisbert was there with his movie camera and we waited on the front steps and in about 2 minutes along came the cavalcade of cars and motorcycles down the road with a big black car in the middle flying 2 blue flags with APOLLO 11 on, and they drew up at the bottom of the steps, and Bill Snyder came welcoming down the steps, and all of us clapped heartily and beamed as they got out. Of course they looked so familiar from pictures and TV that you felt they were old friends and as Daddy said they weren’t big and heroic looking but just nice ordinary fellows that you could imagine coming to dinner. Their wives were in Ottawa with them but this was a press conference they were coming to at NRC so the wives must have opted out and gone to have a rest before the dinner and big do in the evening. They were in Montreal this morning and there was a big press conference on TV at 11 o’clock which I watched – I wonder if you saw it or if you didn’t know it was happening. Poor men – it was very stiff and starchy, and they must be bored to tears with such things. Talking of TV, did you see Simon and Garfunkel, one evening? A special – Sunday I think it was. Tonight there is Alec Guinness in ‘Twelfth Night’ but I wonder if you will be able to see it. There is no doubt the colour TV is a very great improvement – even the football game on Sunday looked twice as exciting. Twelfth Night would look lovely in colour!
Surin and the other men came on Monday night and chitchatted until all hours. Surin looks just the same and exclaimed at the thought of you in University and was amazed at Charlie’s size.
I must toddle along now and take this to the post. I am determined that you will get this letter before the weekend. I am enclosing the cheque, which no doubt you will be glad to see! I have been giving myself writers cramp with Christmas cards and have finally got off those to England, Spain, Poland, Sweden, etc. which should have gone 2 weeks ago! I think I am supposed to send parcels to the rest of Canada this week, but I am paying no attention!
Lots of love honey bun – we have a fat, sleepy white pussy here who says prr-p. This morning Charlie left his big grey mittens on the radiator in the hall, and when he went to get his jacket on, here was pussy lying on top of the radiator with her front feet stretched out into the mittens!
Much love

November 29 1969

This letter from my grandmother reminds me of how different my ‘60s’ attitude was, compared to that of my grandmother and even my mother. It was the flower children era! I was at university, free to study what I wanted (unlike my mother at my age), free to wear jeans every day to class if I wanted (and I did, although I believe my high school finally stopped insisting that girls wear skirts after I left), although I also enjoyed dressing up in my mother’s creations. It’s just that the graduation ceremony and dinner/dance after were not as important to me as they were in their eyes, because they had had dances that had been rites of passage for them. By November 1969, I had moved on, and the rituals of high school no longer mattered that much. I had enjoyed the weekend, seeing my friends again, wearing my lovely outfits, going through the graduation ceremony, celebrating with my brother and cousin and friends, but I was focused on my new life and was enjoying it a lot more than high school!

St. Vincent

Nov. 29th. 69.

Dearest Lindy,
I have just realized that if I don’t hurry & get this letter to you at College, you will be going home for your Xmas vacation; I wonder how long a holiday you’ll have? – much longer than when at school I suppose? – Well! all the excitement of Graduation & the Ball, are all over – & I guess you wish you could have it all over again, or don’t you? I hope you had a really lovely time, your Mum send me the patterns of both your dresses, &, I think they were both beautiful – the mini one for graduation – would be so unusual, no other girl would have anything like it – being as how it came all the way from India! Then I liked your choice of the laminated blue material for the evening frock, exceedingly much! & my Lindy must’ve looked very beautiful!- I only wish I could have had a peep at her! Please take lots of pictures for me to see both you, & Charlie – as I hear, he was looking very smart in his new suit, with waist-coat, and all! I hope you both had a grand time & that Bruce was a good dancer – did you ‘Samba’ & ‘Jump-up’ and do all the strange, silly dances they do these days? Say what you like, a waltz takes a lot of beating!
I am sure you were all a bit worried about your dad’s operation, & having to be in hospital, &, I was so thankful to hear it was safely over & he was home again.
I wonder if your Saki cat missed you? When I was away, my little Sally cat had 4 kittens but Auntie M. gave them all away before I returned – about which I was sorry – however, she has just produced another 4 kits!! I am thinking of selling them at the Bazaar! The only trouble is, they will hardly have had their eyes open 2 weeks, poor wee things, but I do think a basketful of kittens would be quite an attraction don’t you? While I was away M’s dog ‘Andy’ was quite sick – in fact, Moo thought he was dying – however at the sight of me, he recovered! He is a good watchdog, but he barks at every sight & sound & nearly drives me silly – but we don’t like to stop him in case of thieves around.
Our church bazaar comes off on 6th – so we only have a week left & I am getting real nervous, as it’s the first time I’ve really had a stall on my own, but Auntie M. & Mrs. Glenn will help me – I sent you off home a small Xmas parcel, nothing much just a remembrance & Cyn will get you something with the cheque I’m sending her. It’s late so I’ll say good night.
God bless – much love, yours aye – Grannie.

[Written sideways on the first page:] Your nice letter came at last & I enjoyed it v. much.

November 24 1969

I am posting this on the day of the Coronation of King Charles III, and so am moving from the memories of an event in my own life that this letter raises, to memories from this blog in earlier days, when I posted my grandmother’s Memoir and then letters to my grandmother from Cyn, about the royal occasions she witnessed which were important to her. If anyone is interested, search the blog for Royal Wedding- where Cyn experienced the crowds of London herself- or Coronation- where Cyn, 5 1/2 years later, is married, mother of two, and living in Canada. These are the documents:

Carol’s School Memoir (just scroll down to the Coronation postcard, 1911)
November 23 1947: The Royal Wedding;
Coronation Day 1953;
June 10, 1953.

I will be watching on television myself, although not at 5:30 am, partly because I love choral music and partly because I enjoy the pageantry but mostly because my mother and grandmother would have loved it.

Now, back to 1969, with the aftermath of our great graduation weekend.

49 Cedar Road

Monday – 24th?

Darling Lindy,
I hope that you had a good trip back, and that you and Bruce snoozed happily. Also that you got a nice welcome back and weren’t kept out of bed till all hours. You must have been really tired – I know that Daddy and I had an afternoon nap after you left and Charlie was in bed in fairly good time.
Now, before I forget:

  1. I found your little red umbrella in your closet under your dressing gown.
  2. You left your short brown kilt here – am I to do anything about it?
  3. You left your big score of the MIKADO here – do you need it?
  4. You mentioned taking your skates – now or after Christmas?
    I think that there is something like Parcels Express on the bus, so I could send the things by that I expect as they are too heavy to mail but let me know anyway. Perhaps if you are working hard and it isn’t too long till you come home you will just leave them till later.
    Daddy has gone to work this morning and it seems strange to be more or less back in the old routine after 3 weeks occupied with Daddy and hospital, etc. He seems to be fine, but he’s coming home early today to see the astronauts splash down, and will take it easy this week. [Apollo 12’s return to earth.] I have been doing the melancholy job of stripping beds, etc. and tidying up, which is always very dull after the fun of getting things ready for your visits, but I must fly around with Christmas parcels for England and Christmas cards and Christmas cakes and making things for the Coffee Party next Sat. week so the time will go quickly. Have you any particular yearning for a special thing for Christmas? If so, let me know and I’ll see if we can afford it!
    I just phoned the Arts Centre and asked about ‘Casse Noisette’. It is only going to be here 19th and 20th Dec. and the bookings open next week so I thought it would be nice for Charlie’s birthday on Friday 19th and will dash down and book the moment that I hear. It would be fun to go out to dinner and make a real celebration of it – I might even break down and get more expensive seats!
    I have been talking to Marjorie on the phone and we are having a Nursery School Committee meeting on Wed. morning, so I have to do some work on my accounts before that. I was offering to help Marjorie at her open house on 13th December (for her Silver Wedding but people aren’t supposed to know) as Jocelyn will just be just about producing then. I also said that if you weren’t booked, I thought you would like to help Jeanie with the passing around etc. One of Marjorie’s friends is going to be in the kitchen heating things, etc. and I will be there and I thought it might be fun. If you don’t think so, we can always make an excuse, but it will be mostly people you know from the Church I expect.

Well, honey – one of my questions was answered! I hope that you get the Mikado book soon – I mailed it yesterday afternoon, so it should reach you by Thursday at the latest. I spent all day yesterday doing N. S. accounts, and we had an N. S. meeting at Marjorie’s this morning. Fees and salaries up next year!
Thank you for your letter, and I am glad that you had such a welcome and enjoyed the bus trip more than usual. I am sure that you are bogged down with your essays, so I expect this will be a very nose-to-the-grindstone week. We aren’t doing anything very exciting, except that Margaret Savic has just phoned and said that they were taking a friend to the opera ‘Mignon’ tonight and she is ill and would Daddy or I like to come. Daddy isn’t interested so I am going with loud cheers – seems like a long time since I went out. It is at the Arts Centre – Theatre? I think.
Charlie told me yesterday that the Gloucester team had won the Debating at Merivale. Apparently Kiloran got best speaker, and Penny was just a point behind and they won the senior, and Penny Scoley and someone else were 2nd in the Junior, I think. Anyway, Mrs. Pierce said that K. and P. had decided to be funny and had kind of spoofed it – I don’t know what the topic was but the example she gave me was ‘A Rock Festival’ which they translated as being the Stoning of the Martyrs. Apparently they had the audience in gales of laughter, and afterwards all the other kids were saying ‘Did you practice a lot? Did your coach help you much?’ etc. etc. and in the usual Gloucester fashion they had never seen their coach and had been frantically writing their speeches the night before!
Charlie has been on the late bus the last 2 nights with Basketball games but he will be home soon, so I had better go and finish the dinner. Whoops – just caught the cabbage burning! Lots of love from the family and purrs from pussy.

Note included with the Mikado book:
Monday a.m.
Darling – Just got the mail – here is your book – hope it doesn’t take as long to reach you as Charlie’s from you did. Went to coffee at Fanni’s to say goodbye to Claire- she gave me a little green clutch purse – don’t know if it matches your greens [Trent’s colour, gowns and all.] –
Love Mummy

I had been on the Debating Team. Although I had never won a whole tournament, I could certainly relate to the Gloucester methodology (which I carried on with my essays at Trent) of last minute preparation and had always assumed that the coach existed solely to drive the team of 4 to the event.
As for the score of The Mikado, I must have brought it home to pick out a tricky bit on the piano, and now needed it for rehearsal!

November 18 1969

This is the second letter posted under this date- the first was Cyn writing to her mother, and this one is to her daughter Linda. I am finally catching up with the letters already posted and trying to integrate the cache recently discovered with the letters carefully preserved by my grandmother. By the end of 1969 I hope they will all be published in chronological order once again. (Although there are so many new ones with imperfect dates…)

In this letter, all the events of November 1969 in the Costain household are being reviewed in a hasty manner. In Ottawa, Cec is home on sick leave from work, after a 2 week stay in hospital and a thyroid operation. Cyn is looking after him, dealing with the Nursery School accounts and focusing hard on Linda’s Graduation outfits which she is making, and accessories, which she is buying. Charlie is getting on with his Grade 13 subjects- top in Math, having trouble with an English essay- while he and his friends get ready for their Grade 12 Graduation which will be celebrated at the same time as Linda’s Grade 13. (I’m sure Cyn would be ordering his date’s corsage along with the one my cousin Bruce was asking her to get for me.) Meanwhile Linda is away at university writing her own essays, but not yet getting feedback by having them returned. (Both she and Charlie will do just fine.) The big exciting Graduation Weekend is coming up and Linda (and Bruce) will be jumping on the bus on Friday in time to get to Ottawa for the ceremony.

49 Cedar Rd.
Tues. 18th Nov.

Dearest Lindy,
What a horrid rainy morning. Charlie has just gone for the bus, Daddy is sleeping, and Saki is sitting on the radiator with her feet up on the window sill. I hope that if it’s the same in Peterborough that you can borrow an umbrella.
I am going to sew today & finish your long dress. The other one is done & I will make you a headband. Are you getting excited? Audrey Haynes phoned me last night about Nursery School money, and Janet chipped in to ask me to tell you that she & Carol Anne Dologh are having a “get-together” at the Dologh’s after the Graduation on Friday & you & Bruce are invited. She says it isn’t a party really, but it sounds fun. I asked Charlie if any of his class had come up with parties, etc. after Commencement, etc. & he said “Oh yes – Pat Kemp is having a breakfast party at 6 a.m. after the dance on Saturday night!” He said he & Bob Hirsch were trying to figure out what to do between say 1:30 a.m. and 6 a.m.!
As I told you on the phone Brucie didn’t tell me any definite plans when he called. You had better not tell him you know about his asking me to get the corsage as it is probably supposed to be a secret! I will call Mrs. Sylvester at the Maplegrove Greenhouses this morning & see how soon they have to be ordered. Oh, I nearly forgot- I had a letter yesterday from your Grannie (E) enclosing some money to get you a really nice pair of pantyhose for your Grad- wasn’t that sweet of her? I thought I would ask around town about the toeless ones & if I can’t get any I would just get you ordinary ones. I looked at gold earrings & got one pair, but they were too red a gold when I got them home, so I will have another look.
Daddy seems to be getting on pretty well. He is sleeping & eating well since he came home, but I think he had a kind of letdown. Perhaps he felt when he got home he would be OK but of course, he’s not & his nerves are jittery, &, he’s restless, but I thought that yesterday he was more relaxed, so perhaps it is improving. The scar on his neck is healing, & I got him a beautiful silk cravat to wear, so he should look very distinguished. He goes to see the surgeon on Thursday.
How is the English essay going? I hope that you were satisfied with Sparta when you got it finished & that you get this one done in time to give it to the typing lady. Charlie is struggling with his “Elizabethan audiences” & complicated matters by leaving his English notebook (plus essay outline) in the Rideau Street Library! However, he continues to top Grade 13 in Math so we can excuse his groans over English! Did you by any chance see Wayne & Shuster on Sunday evening? [Canadian comedians on TV. Their skit ‘Rinse the Blood off my Toga’ (Julius Caesar was on the Ontario Grade 10 curriculum so everyone was familiar with it) was a family favourite.] We thought they were very funny. Did you get back your 1st essay yet? Have to get Daddy’s breakfast so I must go. See you SOON.
Lots of love

November 10 1969

49 Cedar Rd.
Ottawa 9.
Monday 10th

Darling Lindy,
Just a short note to send your cheque and to say thank you for your sweet little note on the sewing machine. I am glad you had a nice time honey & it was lovely having you at home. I’m sorry I was cross sometimes but I was worried about Daddy & tired with dashing about.
It seemed awfully quiet when both of you had left last night & there was just Charlie & me, & pusskins left. I went to bed & read Little L. Fauntleroy!
This morning I talked on the telephone to Phyl, Fanni, Ruth L. a Nursery Sch. woman, Johnson Motors, Betty D. Mrs. Davis & Mary Catto, so I didn’t get much work done! Some phoned me about Daddy & some I called about Marjorie & Dick’s Silver Wedding.
I also measured at & pinned your blue skirt & will have it ready for you. I am going to go down town now on the way to see Daddy. I want new white frilly for my red dress as the other has lost its oomph & I will go into Astor Chapeau & look for the purse while I’m there.
Did you have a good trip back & eat all the goodies? I wonder what the hot cookies did to the fudge. I hope they were all edible anyway.
Must run – will phone tomorrow night, so I’ll be talking to you before you get this probably.
Lots of love

P.S. Had a letter from Grannie (E.) this morning & she had got your letter forwarded from New York.

October 28 1969

49 Cedar Road.
Ottawa 9, Ont.

Tues. 28th. Oct.

Darling Lindy,
I have just finished writing to Grannie and will just write you a short letter too to say that I hope you have a lovely weekend in Brantford and survive the change in Toronto, etc. all right! I know that you will but it is alarming to think about things beforehand sometimes. Maybe Uncle Dix will drive you in on your way back. I forwarded your Commencement invitation to you yesterday, so you will be able to make all the arrangements with Bruce about when he is to come etc. Daddy and I will get your ticket to the dance through Charlie but anyway, we will be able to talk about that when you are home next week. It’s so nice that you have this time at home so that we can get organized because it would be so hard to make things for you at a distance. I have been ironing and piecing the bits of the green sari and I am now sure that I can get it out of the material, and I think it will look very pretty. Daddy and I laughed like anything over the account of the girls measuring you in the letter we got yesterday, but anyway, I must say that I think the pear-shaped Hazell bit is preferable to having hips 31 as well as bust! I hope to have a dress more or less done by the time you come home so that we can try it on and do any minor alterations before finishing it, and then I can concentrate on the long one. I spread the gay material for your lounging pyjamas on the floor of your room with the pattern on it to see how it would go and Saki is delighted! She keeps rushing in and skidding on it, and of course loves lying on the rustly paper pattern! I haven’t the heart to put it away, but I will cut the pattern out today so that at least the paper isn’t all scrubbled up!
I was so delighted to know that the weekend with Janet and Joey went so well. In your letter that Janet brought you sounded as if you thought Joanne might be bored, but both the girls were very pleased and excited about it when I talked to them and I am sure that they both had a lovely time. You sounded as if you enjoyed it too and I think that this is a good criterion – if you enjoy a visit or party other people do too. I am glad that the goodies were a success, but I don’t suppose you had many left after the weekend. I don’t think that there are any more Snoopy strips to send you – the ones I put in the parcel were all that there were about the Head Beagle- actually, he just went to see the H.B. all filled with fear and trembling, and he never turned up, and now it has kind of faded out.

Charles Schulz October 1969.

To go back to the weekend and Jean – did you by any chance see her Formal that she made at weekend? It is out of sheer material, I hear, but knowing how sloppy Jean’s sewing can be, I wondered if you had seen it and what you thought of it. Did Janet mention Commencement or wasn’t it possible to talk about it because of Joey?
I don’t think that I have anything thrilling to tell you about since I last wrote. Oh, except, Charlie went to Dr. W. yesterday afternoon to get a tooth filled and I went to the book shop again, and I got a lovely oldie! It is called ‘T. Tembaron’, and it is by the Little L. Fauntleroy person only this is supposed to be an adult book, not a children’s. It is all about a New York paper boy, who inherits a great place in England – does the plot sound familiar? Anyway, it is enormous fun, and I sat and read it all yesterday evening – nauseating and ridiculous and I am enjoying it hugely! Something for you to Read in Reading Week! By the way do you have loads of work to do when you are home? I think that we will have to have an Early To Bed curfew so that you can catch up on all those lost hours of sleep. Poor lamb, Daddy and I were so sorry for you when you wrote about the practical joke they played on you when the kids wrecked your room. It is no fun being the victim of a practical joke and unfortunately I don’t think that you can live a communal existence without coming up against it. Let’s hope that they will grow out of this immature business, and that you won’t have to put up with it much more. The only thing to do that I can see is to pretend that you don’t care, but it is very hard. It was a shame that both Terry and Cathy were away so that you had no moral support, but I think that you were probably even more upset because you were very tired, and you must try and get to bed a bit earlier now that your essay is over.
I told you in my last letter that we were going to the Smorgasbord on Friday evening. Actually, Charlie was involved with a Basketball tournament on the Friday after school so he didn’t even know if he could come, but in the end he came with Alan and they just ate together and then disappeared. I went down at 1 o’clock with Marjorie and Mrs. James and Mrs. Davis, and Betty and Chris Best were there, and we set tables, made salad and scalloped potatoes, cut the peameal bacon I had cooked etc. We were there till about 4 and then came home. I was supposed to help Marjorie keep the buffet table supplied, but Daddy didn’t get home till 5:30 and then he was pooped so we had a drink and then went and collected Edna Renault’s casserole and got down about 6. The place was seething! We had set places for 114, but I think that we must have had about 150 altogether. Marjorie had lots of help so it seemed mean to leave Daddy on his own, so I chickened out and went with him and ate. It was a bit of a scramble, but it was OK. Not nearly as nice as when there was a smaller number of course and some of the casseroles looked very dull, and Daddy had one that he said was absolutely tasteless, but there was enough of everything except desserts and I think Mrs. G and Laura were a bit generous in the way of 2nd helpings to small boys! I made a big upside down cake, and was conservative and had a piece of it myself! Afterwards I went and helped serve tea and coffee a bit, and then when the magician came, Daddy and I came home. They made 100 dollars profit so that was quite nice.
Fr. Graham phoned me on Sat. and asked if I would have one of these Sherry parties for the parish, but he wanted it next week or the week after, so I told him that with Daddy going into hospital I just couldn’t do it. We have left it that if he can’t get anyone else to do it in this area I’ll have it later in the month. You asked on the phone for me to tell more about why Daddy is going into the hospital – well it is for tests to begin with. Dr. K. thinks his throat, sinus and nose trouble may all be caused by an allergy, and of course Granpa has had this all his life and both A. Merle and Carman have the same trouble. In addition to this the thyroid gland is enlarged, so what they are going to do is take a sort of picture of the inside of his throat with measurements and do tests for allergies, etc. and then decide on what to do. If they decide to operate (take a piece off the gland or something – Peter Savic had it done a few years ago) then Daddy would be in hospital for a week or 10 days, and three weeks off work, but we will have to wait and see. We have heard nothing more from Dr. K about going in or anything, but I presume they will let us know this week. Daddy doesn’t say anything about it you know so I can’t tell you if he is worried or what. You will be here next week anyway and find out what it is all about.
I must stop as I am STARVING! Doesn’t that sound like one of your letters? I want to sew this afternoon and horrors! I have forgotten to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner! Daddy and I go to the Arts Centre on Thurs. for ‘Hamlet’ – Charlie goes another night in Much more expensive seats! Britta Lagerquist has just phoned up to ask Daddy and me to dinner later this week- I hope she doesn’t use so much perfume this time!
Lots of love from us all and PRRR – p from Saki!
See you soon – nice –

October 20 1969

As Cyn was making Linda’s garments for her high school graduation, Linda was preparing for it by visiting her aunt and uncle in Brantford to solidify plans for her cousin Bruce to be her escort for the occasion. These two notes from Merle Moor (Auntie Merle) refer to the arrangements for Linda to visit over the weekend, but the exciting thing in Merle’s life was the Education degree she was pursuing in her sabbatical year at Wayne State University just over the U.S. border in Detroit. It would have been a 3-4 hour drive from Brantford, and my brother Charlie remembers that she bought a little Mustang- red perhaps?- to handle the weekend trips home. She was delighted with it and everyone else was charmed by Merle driving a sports car! As a teacher in her 50s, it was a sensible financial move- a Master’s degree would increase her salary and prospects of advancement, and her pension upon retirement would be based on the salary of her five best years.

College of Education Building, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

Dear Costains —
Thought you might like to have a look at the bldg where I am spending some time. Lectures last 2 1/2 hrs – usually a bare 10 min. break in the middle.
Fussy [their cat] seems to be somewhat better, but apparently her heart is not beating properly- just fluttering so she may not live much longer. 16 1/2 yrs is a ripe old age. I think somehow we figured that she would stay with us!
Just drop us a note Linda re time of arrival – Oct. 24 – I hope. We are looking forward to seeing you.
Love, Merle.

62 Lorne Cres.
Oct. 20, 1969.

756-5433 (us)
759-3425 (Lorne)

Dear Linda,
Just a short note to say how pleased I was to hear from you & to get the pictures. (If the Halls want some, I’ll get the negatives from your mother.) So glad university isn’t quite as bad as you feared & that you are enjoying it for the most part. Those TV lectures must be unbelievable, especially in subjects such as Math. [In my letter I must have alluded to my friends’ experiences at other universities, because we had in-person lectures, seminars or tutorials, plus I never had to take Math!]
Everyone here in top shape at present. We are hoping to see you this weekend so won’t try to give you any news. Since we don’t know when – or if for sure – you’re coming, we’ll meet Friday evening trains. If you arrive & find no one there, phone one of the above numbers for immediate service!
Looking forward to seeing you soon.
P.S. Bruce will be home this coming weekend of course. He is finding work fairly heavy this year.

October 15 1969

As this letter suggests, Cec’s presents from his travels in Australia and Japan have finally arrived in Ottawa- and Peterborough probably! There is no letter describing my gift, and I can’t find it to insert a picture, but: one day in the Porter’s Lodge of Trail College there was a large battered box with my name on it, come all the way from Australia. It created much excitement, which was topped only when the box was opened and a soft cuddly koala bear emerged, not quite life-sized, but pretty big, and very huggable. The soft fur was actually kangaroo, and he made a sensation on my floor. The present that was not so exotic was an opal ring, also Australian, greenish blue, because my father knew I loved opals.
Meanwhile, my mother was very kindly making the rest of a sari (which had already become a wedding outfit for herself at a summer family wedding ) into a mini dress for me to wear for my high school graduation in November, and was urging me to find a pattern for a formal dress for the graduation party the following night. This was the preoccupation of many of the girls in first year at college- snare a new boyfriend and then go home and show off! Since I had no ambitions in that direction, my mother and aunt had arranged for my cousin Bruce, now in his second year at McMaster University, to come up for the weekend and be my escort. Charlie and Bruce and I got on well so I was delighted when he agreed, and eventually we had a good weekend.

49 Cedar Road,
Ottawa 9, Ont.

15th Oct. Wed.

Darling Lindy,
I have just got a big parcel in the mail with Coral marked on the outside, so I wonder if you have got your parcel yet. Is it nice? Are you excited? I haven’t opened mine yet as I thought I should let Daddy and Charlie have some of the fun too, but I am filled with curiosity. I’ll let you know what it looks like later.
I have spent the whole morning dunning (duning?) Nursery School parents for their fees. So many excuses you never heard – car accidents – husbands with big contract – carried around in purse for weeks, etc. but the favourite is a breathless silence and then ‘Hasn’t my husband sent those in yet?’ I am having my elevenses now (coffee with no milk or sugar – ugh!) and then plan to retire up to your room and sew. I have taken up the machine and hope that your black table won’t collapse under the strain. I cut out my navy blue material yesterday afternoon and want to get it made to wear tomorrow night to go to the Little Theatre – I go to a WA meeting tonight, but I don’t think that I can get it done for that! After I have made that I think that I will make your green graduation dress and for that I want:
Bust 31 1/2_____ Waist 24 1/2_
Hips 36___ Length______34___ (filled in with pencil)
Can you get one of your friends with a tape measure to fill this in and then send it back to me soon. I know we should have done it but I quite forgot. The length I want is from the middle of the back at the neckline down to the hem. Probably if you decided which of your dresses is the length you want your green one to be and measure that one, that would be best – I don’t want to have to lose the lovely coloured edge of the sari so I need the length to be fairly accurate so I can just make a tiny hem. I am getting quite excited about making it, so I hope it looks nice. When you are down town go on looking for a pattern of a formal you would like – try the Vogue book if you can find one and if you find a short dress you like that would be OK we could just make it longer but it would be best to have an A-line so that you would have room to walk. Ditto with material – if you find something GORGEOUS, go ahead and get it!
I went upstairs this morning and found your bed which I had carefully made yesterday with the coverlet all pulled down at the top, so obviously your pussy cat snuggled in there sometime yesterday! Charlie was out at his Driver T. class last night so it was probably then. He doesn’t get to drive for quite a while yet, so is a bit disappointed I think. On the way home from seeing you on the bus, he suddenly said “I never got a chance to drive the car.” So I suggested that we go into the NRC parking lot then and there and he could have a little lesson, and that is what we did. He managed fine except for a few jerky starts, but he was cottoning onto it by the time we finished.
How did you make out on your bus trip? I hope that Amanda was a better travelling companion than the girl you came up with, and that you weren’t too late getting back to Traill. Did you get a taxi all right? We never got a chance to say a proper goodbye, but it was a lovely weekend honey, and it was wonderful to see you so happy and full of fun.
I found your winter gloves yesterday (inside your fox hood), so I am sending them to you, as it is getting quite chilly for the little paws. I have your mittens too, but they are bulky so they can wait till you come home next time. Did the other girls have nice weekends? I can imagine the chit-chat going on till all hours of the night. Is there anything you want me to send down by Janet? I thought I might give her a cake to bring down so that you would have something to eat with your cups of tea, and so that Janet won’t starve with all the Traill food she won’t like!
The dinner is on cooking and I am waiting for Daddy. I got on beautifully today with my dress and should finish it easily tomorrow – I have to do the zip, put in the sleeves and do the hem and I think that it is going to look nice. I will get that bluey-grey material from SC and make the same pattern with short sleeves I think. Lee Gander phoned up today and we are going out to a Chinese dinner before the theatre tomorrow night, and on Friday Daddy and I are going to a CAP dinner, so we are having a tres gay week. Tonight Charlie and Daddy are watching a football game, and hoping that Ottawa will redeem itself.
Next Morning.
Ottawa did win, so I came back from the WA meeting to find two happy men! Nothing very exciting happened at the meeting – I sat beside Edna Thomas and knitted. Remember your pale blue sweater to match the pale blue skirt? I cut off the sleeves sometime ago and now I picked up the stitches and knit on a welt to make short sleeves- at least I got one finished and began the other so that will be ready for you when you come home. The brown check jumper has got the zip in I discovered, but it needs shortening and I don’t know how much, so I may measure against one of your other dresses or wait till you get home.
I am finishing this letter in a scurry as Daddy has gone down to the Montreal Labs and I have the car until he comes back and I want to go to SC and St. L. We opened the coral last night and it is very pretty- one they call, staghorn, like branches, white with little green tips, and another that is like a flower in bloom – a sort of hollyhock blossom if you can imagine it. It is a creamy white and lovely, but Daddy expected them to be mounted on something, and they’re not, but they look very exotic anyway.
Must fly- Lots of love from us all


September 30 1969

This letter is from my Costain grandmother, Elida Eakin Costain, whom we had visited in British Columbia just the month before- which may explain the letter I sent, to which this is a reply. She and my grandfather lived close to their youngest son and family, and she mentions Leslie, her younger granddaughter, but it is true that our generation had many more boys than girls, so that I was the oldest granddaughter.
It is amusing to note the similarities between the letters from both grandmothers [see previous post]- practically identical notepaper, hopes that university is enjoyable for me, family news, personal interests, local events, and an awareness of the importance of tea! I’m not sure they ever met, and they were quite different people, but I was lucky to have both of them in my life.
In her discussion of the family, she refers to Merle Moor, her oldest daughter, who was taking a sabbatical to finish an Education degree in the States, her 3 sons now being adults. The Elizabeth she mentions was Merle’s daughter-in-law, mother of the 2 great-granddaughters, and I think Elida was pleased that yet another Costain connection was going into teaching. The 4 grandchildren who lived near her in Penticton were of most interest to her and the details about David’s various Okanagan Valley pets were always of slightly horrified interest to us. The clipping is sadly not very clear- Penticton was and is a tourist town but I’m not sure she approved.

357 Townley St., Penticton
Sept. 30, 1969

Dear first grandaughter,-
So good to receive a letter from you. We just received it a few days ago and the teapot stand, which I put on the table to try it out. The three legs or feet on it makes it easy to tip if the tea pot is not put carefully on the centre of it.
We hope you are all settled in well at Trent by now and beginning to enjoy the classes and getting down to study. Also, hope you are making some good friends.
Good to see Auntie Merle & Uncle Dix almost before you got unpacked from the holiday trip. Does Cyndie make up with you more quickly now? Both she and Debbie are both pretty cute little girls. [Her 2 great-granddaughters.]
I expect you will be going to Brantford for Thanksgiving holiday maybe. Auntie Merle will be home then most likely. I think Merle said Elizabeth was going to Normal school.
Too bad dad & I are not in Ont. this winter to keep house for Dix. He is going to be lonesome I am sure.
I will tell Leslie you are expecting a letter from her. Leona was here this AM for a few minutes, but I did not get her to write down your address. She did read your letter.
David has a man teacher this year and likes him very much. He is one of the Curling Club members.
David had a bull snake for a pet. He found it down at Oliver. Even Leslie got used to it and put it under her blouse. It went around her neck and then down and came out of her shorts leg.
Oct. 2
We have coastal weather this fall. [Unusual for the Okanagan which I connect with desert.] For three weeks we have had showers in the day or at night, and very little sunshine, – an hour or two, but rarely all day, so it is getting monotonous. We have a lot of green tomatoes on the vine and more sunshine would ripen some of them, I think. It does keep the cucumbers growing a little so I may get a few more dill pickles.
Are you able to use the tea set in your room? Or do they allow you to boil water?

There is a Church of God Convention in the city now and the city is full up in the north end. The paper says they are spending lots of money here. I am sending a picture of the huge tent. We have not seen it yet. There are over 6000 people from Canada and the U.S.A. and some even farther away. They plan to come every year. They keep Sat. instead of Sunday, like the Seventh-day Adventists.
I must close now and make a trip down town for some sewing materials – thread, zipper & ribbon for my new dress.
Much Love to you,
Granma C.

August 19 1969

More apologies for the gap in posting: Covid before Christmas, very minimal Xmas celebrations as a result, related health issues after, and a reluctance to attack the chronological problems caused by finding more material! However, this must be addressed, so a brief review of the events in the Costain family from August 1969 to December 1969. In August, the Ottawa family of Cec, Cyn, Linda and Charlie (17 & 16) went holidaying west to visit other Costains in Calgary and Penticton, then toured Vancouver and popped over to Vancouver Island before waving goodbye to Cec. He travelled to Australia and Japan for physicist meetings, catching up with friends and doing tourist things as well, and sending letters (already published) home too.

Cyn and the teens returned to Ottawa on the train- 3 days- painful for kids, relaxing for mother. Then Linda had her 18th birthday and focused on Going Away to University while Cyn and Charlie resumed their normal activities- September meaning Grade 13 for Charlie and the resumption of the church-run Nursery School for Cyn who was now in charge of finances, as well as teaching when needed. They took Linda and luggage to Peterborough, helped her settle, drove home, and very kindly wrote letters (already published) to keep her from feeling homesick! But both her grandmothers also had written to Linda, so back to August and September to include these, plus football details.

Grannie, (Carol Ewing, Cyn’s mother) had been staying a few months in Ottawa earlier in the spring and summer and had gone to her nieces, Milly, Marguerite, and Mona, in various parts of New York for August and September. She sent Linda a birthday airmail.

“Happy Birthday to You”
Aug. 19th 69

Lindy Dear,

It is time I was winging my good wishes to you- Darling Lindy I hope you will have a happy day & many many more – I have been looking at books (paper backs) & would like to send you one- (as an extra b.p.) but you seem to have read so many I’m afraid of hitting on one you have – so please send me a list, & when I go to Long Beach I’ll hunt for one for you – I am now busy reading ‘Island in the Sun’ & in some ways I am enjoying it, but I do think he is inclined to glamorise and exaggerate circumstances in the islands. It’s from the library here, so I must hurry & finish it, as I go to Long Beach on 25th when Mona & Owen are coming for a weekend, & and I’ll return with them. I am having a very enjoyable time with the Pems (Millie and Ford Pemberton). We went to the Barn Theatre last week & saw a musical ‘Guys & Dolls’ very amusing and the acting was first rate – some of the leading artists are from the big N/Y theatres – & although it’s a ‘Barn’ the seats are in tiers & it’s always full, although in the heart of the country.

Now tell me how did you enjoy your trip? I want to know all about the Rockies & the Glaciers & what about Penticton, is it a small place? I’m sorry I hadn’t your address there. How about Vancouver? I’ve heard that it is a fine city with lovely parks etc. I’m sure you must have enjoyed it, do tell me all about it when you have time! You must all have felt a bit lost when your dad flew off & left you on your own. Your train journey must have been quite an experience, I have no idea how long it would take you to get across Canada by Train – but I should imagine 2 days & 2 nights? Even Ford isn’t sure of that!

I’ve been out to 2 lovely restaurants, one called the ‘Fin and Claw’ & another which you & Charlie would have enjoyed called Helheah Turkey Farm Rest. where they gave us lashings of Turkey etc., I was real stuffed!! but it was a v. pretty place & most enjoyable. I spent most of Sunday with Monaliz & family – you would have loved her & her kids- they’re so sweet & friendly but not fresh!! The twins are like fish in the water & can dive well. How is your weather? It’s v. changeable here, but today is fine & hotter. I’d hoped for a card from Vancouver, I long to hear all your news; Love to you all I know how busy you must be getting ready for College. Best of luck- Grannie.

4 courses for under $3! No wonder she was full!
I love the internet!