London Shows, Xmas 1958

January 7, 1959

Dear Dad and Russ,

I’m sending this to you at your office, Dad, ’cause I rather think it’s a bit too big to fit into the apartment mailbox. The enclosed is a programme from Sylvia’s show, “West Side Story” and Sylvia has written you both a little note on the back of the programme.

London couldn’t have been nicer – had a splendid time with the old Ottawa crowd (Bob, Joan and Sylvia) – such a good time, in fact, that I’m planning to do an encore visit next month, just for a weekend this time, but long enough to see Sylvia’s show once more and perhaps do a bit of pre-returning-to-Canada shopping. Both Bob and Joan took leave for the full time I was in London so we have lots of time together.

Entertainments included: “West Side Story“, “My Fair Lady“, “Long Day’s Journey into Night” (a beautiful play!), “Roar Like A Dove”(Comedy), “The Mouse Trap” (an Agatha Christie thriller now in its 7th year in London), “Living for Pleasure” (a hilarious review), and “the Nutcracker” by the London Festival Ballet Company. “West Side Story” was by far the best show – not only because of the fact that Sylvia appeared therein – but just generally speaking it topped everything else – a truly terrific show. Sylvia has a wonderful part and, as the newspaper reports indicated, really does come close to stealing every scene she’s in! Unfortunately, “My Fair Lady” was very disappointing – the record is far better than the actual show! Rex Harrison appeared to be drunk all through the first act and almost fell asleep on the stage during the second part of the show. However, the “good shows” more than made up for this one effort.

The West Side Story souvenir book autographed by Sylvia

The West Side Story souvenir book autographed by Sylvia

We had a wonderful Christmas together and I played Santa Claus for Bob and Joan (who were just like a couple of kids opening their gifts). We had a big party on New Year’s Eve too. When we weren’t going to theatres or cinemas, we were sampling all sorts of exotic foods in Soho. Bill of fare included: Italian, Greek, Indian, Chinese (twice), Turkish and French eatables – all very delightful. And, of course, we consumed great quantities of turkey and ham “at home”.

Inside of the Programme - and there's Sylvia's name

Inside the Programme – and there’s Sylvia

Bonn looks particularly horrible after the bright lights and fun of London, but I keep reassuring myself with the knowledge that I do not have very long to go now. I completed and handed in my questionnaire re: sailing on the Homeric so I do feel now that I have at least got a “foot in the door”. I have masses of things to do here before leaving – not the least of which will be an enormous inventory of all my personal effects (a most imposing list after 3 1/2 years of accumulating odds and ends from all over Europe!)

My Fair Lady (Stanley Holloway, Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison) by Richard Searle

My Fair Lady (Stanley Holloway, Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison) by Ronald Searle

The head of our personnel division was visiting here in Bonn for the past two days and I had a little interview with him. He thinks I’m doing a very wise thing completing my university and indicated that if I was looking for summer work during the next four years, I should drop into External and make inquiries. This might be a good idea but we shall see how things go.

Your letter of December 30 was awaiting me when I returned to Bonn on Monday, many thanks for the calendar pads and clipping on Sylvia. I was glad to hear that you were able to get together with the Toughs at Christmas time, even if it meant transporting the turkey all the way across Ottawa, and I hope that your New Year’s Eve with the Toughs and Barb Johnston was a success too. I was also glad to hear that Graham Creelman met you at the “Y”. Yes, the Happys have a new daughter – I wasn’t able to arrange a see them in London as my time was pretty well taken and they live quite a distance out of town as you and Russ probably remember. I was also glad to hear about my airpacks coming to Bonn. As I mentioned before, I will sure be able to use them and will most probably have to supplement my luggage anyways with another trunk.

Your forthcoming trip out west sounds terrific, Dad, and I will try to have a letter arrive in Saskatoon about the same time you do. I wrote to Aunt Clara and Uncle Russ yesterday, thanking them for their Christmas present (socks and handkerchief). By the way, I also received a very nice gift from Pete Hodgins – two tins of good old Canadian maple syrup. Very thoughtful of Pete.

I cannot say for sure just how long it will take my VW to reach Canada as it depends a lot on when the freighters sail from Hamburg. I certainly hope that it will be there when I get back as I will be needing it for Haliburton. However, Johnny York wrote the shipping firm yesterday, making inquiries for both of us, so we should know something within a week or two.

I am thinking of buying myself a portable Remington typewriter before returning to Canada. I can get one through a firm in Copenhagen for $127.50. Before doing this, however, I wonder if you could make some inquiries re: Canadian prices to see if they would be any cheaper in Canada. The model I am interested in has an 11-inch carriage and, I believe, is known as the “Office-Writer”.

Well, I guess that’s about ’30’ for now. Have a wonderful trip out west, Dad!

Lots of love, Dave


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