Marshall was right (FGK 268)

Mom was funny! I sometimes feel that I missed out on her sense of humour. Maybe our senses of humour were just different. But I get a real kick out of some of these letters. And while she hardly ever sent me letters while I was away, she would send the kids little tokens all the time – little souvenir type things or bookmarks – so that they knew she was thinking of them. And they loved it, they would get so excited when there was mail from Grandpa and Nana.

Also, it figures her phone number had a CL in it….

618 N. Halifax Ave

Daytona Beach

Oct 17, 1956


You’re probably wondering if I’m still alive or not it’s so long since I wrote to you! I’m beginning to think you’ll just have to be satisfied with two letters a week.

I’m glad you got my telegram Sheila, but i”m sorry I got you out of bed. What time did it come? You see i had to get it off before school so I did it quite early and forgot about the time difference! If I know you, you probably needed something to get you up!!!!

We’ve been having rather rough weather here as you’ve probably read so actually I haven’t been going out very much. Yesterday I went to Mrs Frank’s and she thought that I was doing just fine. Some Saturday she’s going to drive Jetty and I over to Florida State University in Gainesville because she thinks I’d be able to go there. I’m writing for a catalogue first. She’s sure nice isn’t she?!

Jetty’s father arrived last night and she’s leaving at noon tomorrow. He rented a car and after I had physio we went for a drive down the beach. We went further than I ever had before and farther down there is quite a bit of wild life (animals you own – maybe people too!!)

Marshall was right – he said everyone would write a lot at first and then drop off – well so far everyone else has been pretty faithful but I would like to hear from my family once in a while. Yesterday I got a little note from Sheila – first word in a week! So – get to work. If you stop so will I!!

School’s going fine. You’ll get a report card around the first of November. It’ll probably make you rather ill but they say it happens to the best of us so maybe you’ll recover!!

I just got my last letter sealed up when I remembered you wanted my phone number so I wrote it on the outside. If you missed it it’s CL2-8072.

Oh yes, the man at the laundry and the man who runs the National Airlines both said to say “hello” to you mom!! You sure must have made a hit down here! I’d keep my eye on her if I were you Dad!!

I’ve only spent $10 since you left two weeks ago and that’s not bad considering I bought some clothes and all sorts of extras kept cropping up. I pay my rent again this Saturday. I hate writing cheques!!

The basketball team is starting up at school now! Just wait and see we’re going to beat all the others – that’s if our star players don’t get kicked out of school first!!

Well, I just go do some French – just homework I’ve done in it compared to Latin it’s a snap.

Love Margie xxxx



Mom’s Valedictorian Speech (FGK 263)

As far as I can tell this is mom’s valedictorian speech when she graduated from high school in Florida. Personally, I found it really interesting to hear her perspective on private schools since, as I’ve mentioned, I always thought I was sent to one because they just didn’t want me around. One thing I found extremely stressful about that school was the fact that we were divided into “sets” – it was either 1-4 or 1-5 I can’t remember which. Set 1 was the “smart kids” and we got progressively stupider as the sets went down. This wasn’t something that was hidden or suspected – it was just a fact. Then all of our grades were publicly posted outside the classroom. So it would be Melissa, Math 10, set 2 (I actually was in set 2 for math it stressed the hell out of me- pretty sure I belonged in set 4), grade 62 or whatever. And I would be there ranked in order along with the rest of the class so we all knew each others’ business. That said I got a remarkably impressive education that year that I was there – it’s only been recent years that I’ve really appreciated that and sometimes wondered what my life would have been like had I completed school there. Either way – it makes me very happy to read and remember how much Mom loved her time in Florida.

Faculty, fellow students, friends, needless to say tonight is full of expectations for the future and , yet, we cannot help looking back over our past school days. As we do we are grateful for the many advantages that we have received. We have been a little more fortunate than others perhaps, in that we have had the extra benefits available in a private school.

Our opportunity for this additional education dates back to the early schools in America. These schools were based on the English Grammar School, using their textbooks, teachers, and methods. “Dame schools” were established and small children were sent to the homes of the village women to learn their alphabet and a few words. Since the government, at that time, was reluctant to undertake the education of the masses, all these schools were independent. In later years, the sure place of private schools was established by Supreme Court decisions which stated that everyone has the right to go on and try to obtain a higher education, if it is possible.

The growth of the private school since the early days has been phenomenal. Today, in the continental United States 13.9% of the total school population attend independent schools. Most of these schools strive to avoid becoming overcrowded, but at the time of the report they are filled to capacity.

We feel there will always be a continued need for independent schools as they are particularly suited for the rigours instruction of the ablest students and have the opportunity to find, guide, and educate adequately these students. This overcomes one of the serious drawbacks in mass education – the fact that since the average high school is geared for the overall student, there is no real program for the advanced student. By tradition, equality in education has been used to develop the rising generations, but contrary to general practice, the private schools do not equalize their students. They do not limit their exceptional students to the requirements of the average. Each is given work according to his abilities and those who can go on ahead are not kept back. Students are developed to the full extent of their capacities because each is considered as an individual – not merely the member of a group. It has been truthfully said that a student goes through a large school, but a small school goes through the student.

As some 92% of private school graduates enter college, emphasis is placed on the scholastic side of the curriculum. the student spends more time on his studies which are not the “snap” elective courses, but the heavier courses essential for success in college. The University of Kansas reported that of a survey made of 300 freshmen, two-thirds had not taken the necessary literature courses required for college. Private schools try to overcome this defect by giving the student as much preparation as ossicle for their freshman term. Because of the small classes instructors can give the prospective college students the work and advice required more easily.

We have found an independent school can better fulfill the needs of the student. It is free from political control, hence it is in an advantageous position in that it can carry out methods that cannot be tried in the larger, more complex systems until proven. This means that it is able to adapt its curriculum to the changing needs of today. A well balanced program can be planned to fit the total personality of the student, developing him to be independent intellectually and socially. He is not only guided in his classes, but is taught how to appreciate his leisure time. He is encouraged to do extra reading, attend dramatic performances, and be active in his community. We feel, that under the present pressure in education today that the private school is preparing its student more for society and his obligation to society.

The fourteen of us who have stepped across another threshold of our lives here tonight maintain that we are here for two purposes. One, to be honoured: honoured by you, our parents, our instructors, our friends, upon the completion of a task begun 12 years ago. But, more important, is the second reason we are here- to proclaim to you our belief in the future and our promise to take our places in that future. Being now a part of the young adult world, we are aware of the uncertainty of the future but with the guidance you have given us during our formative years, we strive forward with the strength and faith you have nurtured in us. For this we are grateful.

There is a beautiful Ingenious saying which said “A man once said to a lump of clay ‘What art thou?’ The reply was ‘I am a lump of clay, but I was placed beside a rose and I caught its fragrance.’ We have been placed in your hands for these years and we have caught your strength and faith – your fragrance. With your continuing guidance the future is bright in an age of uncertainty.

Thank you.


The Doodads Keep Coming Apart (FGK 262)

32 Dix Ave

Ormond Beach

Oct 13, 1957

Hi y’all!

We’re spending a “quiet Sunday at home”. For some reason I didn’t want to do anything but stay at home and rest. However, as it turned out I’ve spent nearly all my time doing homework. That goes for the whole weekend.

We were supposed to have a party at Serge’s house this week but it has been cancelled because of the flu. We were also supposed to have a beach party on Friday I don’t know whether we’re going to have it or not. If we don’t I may go with Barb and some kids to a football game in Orlando.

Barbara Linkous is back from the North. It’ll be good to have one of the old gang back.

A visitor just dropped in on Webbs. As soon as she found out I go to Seabreeze Private she asked me if I knew “those “O’Bryne girls” as a matter of fact I do and really like them. I think they’re full of life and lots of fun, she thinks they’re wild, undisciplined brats. They’re full of Irish fun, laughter and goodwill but I”m afraid Mrs Webb thinks they may be too wild. – Don’t worry I’m not “wild”.

We went to see Elvis Presley’s picture Friday night. Very lovely movie.

I’m going to Mrs Franks for my exercises on Tuesday. We are going to decide whether to go every week or every month. She sent me a birthday card and wants me to go to Gordon’s for a shrimp dinner sometime.

I was down to the beach last week but didn’t see anyone I know.

The typewriter arrived in fine condition. We had a bit of trouble getting it unpacked but it’s ok now except for the “a” and “d” keys have to be ganged to kingdom come before they’ll print. It sure is cute and I really like it. Thanks so much.

Barbara is historian of the DCT now. They had an article about it in the paper today.

Nancy has been calling quite often lately, usually right at supper time. They are all fine and send their regards.

Larry is doing fine, he’s about as poor at writing home as I am.

We’re playing some tapes on the tape recorder right now. There are some old ones Larry made before he left. There’s one where he is interviewing which is quite funny.

The school car took me to school the other morning as they happened to be going by our house. Webb’s car is getting quite run down the doodads keep coming apart but we keep praying that it will stay together for a while longer.

I wore my green suit when I went out last week and all the kids really liked it. I wore my reversible shirt today.

School is doing ok – I guess.

Must go now

Love to all


ps say “hi” to Anne and everyone.


Tornado Scares and Tobacco Greenhouses (FGK 261)

With tornado scares and tobacco greenhouses being built we certainly know we aren’t in Alberta anymore! No wonder mom enjoyed Florida so much (not for tornadoes and tobacco -but other things), it really sounds like she was having a great time and had lots of people to hang out with and care for her. I had to include a photo of the letter – I know I talk a lot about the handwriting in some of these letters – but this one was particularly beautiful. And it was on that crinkly paper that people used to use (she says like she wasn’t alive and writing letters in the time of crinkly paper).

As I go through these letters I realize that this could be the last generation where we can find these kinds of gems – who wants to sort through the millions of spam emails I have to find anything of value? And even at that most of what I send is via text and that gets lost with time. (Although I did blog when my kids were little and that has left us with a wonderful diary of that time. I printed them off into little books for Dad years ago and now they’re mine again.) I so appreciate all of these letters. I started this journey as a way of grieving mom and trying to learn more about her – but it’s given me so, so, so much more than that. I’m really grateful for this whole process. And I should say it hasn’t always been an easy one for me. It’s brought up a lot of feelings, memories, and emotions that I’ve been working through. While it hasn’t been easy it has been so worth it. There’s plenty more to come, but I also want to thank all of you who read this and share these memories with me. It means a lot ❤️.

624 N Peninsula Drive

Daytona Beach


April 20 – 58

Dear Mrs. Copithorne

Every week I think of writing you but things get in the way.

We are having beautiful weather now -sunny and warm. Margaret and Nancy were on the beach again yesterday afternoon and they are both getting quite brown.

We had a tornado scare one day this week. The schools were let out at 1pm but the storm passed by on either side of us.

Mr Adams flew home a week ago and phoned last night that he expects to be back by Wednesday morning. Had to see about getting the tobacco greenhouse started before he came back.

Margaret says you may come to Daytona next month. If you do we would very much like for you to stay with us. We have an empty room with Bill being away to school.

If you would consider this we would enjoy having you.

We would not want you to feel tied down – but be free to come and go as you would like.

Expect this is a very busy time on the ranch. Doesn’t seem like another school year is almost over.

i was asked this afternoon to be one of the chaperones for the junior-senior prom next month. Peg is a junior this year.

Know you will enjoy seeing Margaret graduate. We will miss having her stop by when she goes away to school next year. This is all part of their growing up and being able to manage on their own.

She does this so well and so cheerfully.

Trust this finds you all well

Regards to the family

As ever,

Hazel Adams.

This handwriting is a work of art (and there’s Jessie’s butt because she insists on being part of this process).

We’re always fooling around (FGK 259)

1061 Volusia Ave

Daytona Beach

Dear Mom, Dad, Marsh, and Sheila

Hi!! Just thought I’d better write you and let you know I’m still alive. These past two weeks I’ve had so many other things to think of that I”m afraid my schoolwork and letters got neglected. Don’t expect too much of my report card this time especially in French and Latin and I don’t feel Mr Rich would feel so so disposed as to give me extra good marks either. – you can imagine what they think of me!!! Right now I’m busy trying to get my schoolwork caught up.

Christmas – sorry to get this bit up so late but —- Adam’s have been swell get them something really nice. Carharts have also been nice and i don’t know what I’d do without the Colonel so… if you have time try to get something for Donna, Kay and Janet. I think I’ll buy Mrs Franks an electric alarm clock. That seems to be all I can think of right now but I’m so sleepy (I just finished my homework). Mrs franks is rally making me behave. When I was on my own I kept later hours etc but she is making me go to bed an hour earlier and seeing I do my homework!! One of the boys from school picks me up in the morning and takes me home in the afternoon. I go down to Robbie’s at noon with all the other kids from school for lunch. Mrs Adams phones me up last night and invited me over for lunch today so I went and had a nice chat with her and Nancy. There’s the nicest pair of girls my age – Bobbie Lou and Sherry – living next door and we have a lot of fun visiting back and forth. Jetty phones every night – she has got permission from her father so she will probably be leaving Rich’s any day now.

I’m sure having a lot of fun with Mrs Franks. We’re always fooling around. She considers me her daughter already I think. There’s this character here who I’m out particularly crazy over when he phones up we have a system now either I haven’t done my someone etc so I can’;t go out or we’re just leaving to go somewhere. Works too thank heaven.

We had a shower for Kay yesterday before she goes to the hospital yesterday. We went to her house in New Smyrna and had a ball. New Smyrna won’t forget us soon.

I’ve got so many invitations for Christmas I don’t know what to do. Sounds like I’m going to be busy round ‘bout that time.

Well must go do Christmas cards

Love Marg xxxxx

ps will write more when have time.


Becoming a Nurse in Florida (FGK 256)

Well, this letter is certainly an interesting gem that I never imagined that I’d find. Auntie Sheila was going to join Mom in Florida? I’ve never heard of this before – has anyone else? Every once in a while I come across something in these letters that reminds me how deeply Auntie Sheila loved my mom. I can only assume that she was wanting to relocate there to be with her 16 year old younger sister. I wonder what happened? This certainly could have changed the course of her life since she met my uncle at her job placement in Vulcan not too long after this.

State of Florida

Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education

230 West Forsyth Street

Jacksonville, Florida

November 7, 1956

Miss Sheela Copithorne (this is their typo not mine)

RR#2 Calgary

Alberta, Canada

Dear Miss Copithorne

This is to acknowledge with thanks your letter of November 2, 1956 regarding licensure as a Registered Nurse in Florida. For your convenience, we are enclosing a reciprocity application form.

We would like to call to your attention that in order to be eligible for licensure in this State, the applicant must be a citizen of the United States or have declared legal intention of becoming a citizen.

The applicant must also have had three months Psychiatric Nursing (written in pen beside this “I’ve only had 6 weeks” – Must have been written by Auntie Sheila), including both theory and experience.

Please be sure of our desire to give you every assistance possible in becoming licensed in Florida, and we will be looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,

Florida State Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education

Hazel M. Peeple’s, R.N.



Must Go Wash My Hair (FGK 255)

32 Dix Ave

Ormond Beach

Feb 3, 1958


How are you all? For once the weather was warm enough to go out and get a tan. Some of us went down to the beach this afternoon and it was just jammed . All the race fans are in town.

I went to a party last night with Barb and some of her friends last night. We had a very good time.

It was supposed to be a wiener roast but it started to sprinkle so we moved it indoors. It got nicer later however.

We went to a rock’n’roll show last week. It was in the Peabody Auditorium. That was the first time I’ve been there. It’s a lovely building, just new.

I got my ticket all right, thanks. It will be nice to have that $18. I’m getting Col Sampson to write an educational letter for me so I should get someone else to write the personal one, and someone who has known me for a long time. Or do you think I should get Mrs Webb or Mrs Franks to do it?

I couldn’t wait for my doctor’s forms any longer and had to send in my application papers without them. Please send them down as soon as you can so I can forward them.

School is doing ok I guess. It gets rather boring sometimes but I think I’m passing. French and Latin are still my hardest subjects.

I got a letter from Sheila last week and one from Geordie.

We are all doing fine here. Mrs Webb has had a cold all weekend but so far Barbara and I haven’t got it.

Sounds like you are having lots of excitement with the curling. I’ve been trying to explain to them down here what curling is. The nearest thing to it seems to be shuffleboard.

Say “hello” to everybody for me. Must go now and wash my hair.

Love Margi


It’s such cold soup (FGK 250)

It seems these (not so) passive aggressive nudges about letter writing and the quality of letters is genetic!! I’ve often thought that in the 1950s Vulcan probably felt as far as Florida, just sans a long plane ride. But not being able to phone, or the luxury we have now of FaceTime must have made the miles seem so much longer. Was the saying “cold soup” something that was a thing in the past and somehow got lost? Because I’m going to revive it in my vocabulary. Cold soup bothers the heck out of me, I thought it was a really good description.

I was always so mad at mom for forcing me to go to Brentwood, I didn’t want to go and I believed in my heart of hearts that it was just because they didn’t want me at home (and I still think there’s some truth to that). But mom always swore that it was because she loved her time at boarding school. These letters help me see that there’s probably some truth to that as well. Grieving is a complex process.

I don’t usually read letters in advance, but I did see one ages ago that I think may have explained the situation mom is talking about here. I wasn’t sure of the context so I shelved it for a later date and that may be now. I’ll have to go searching for it again.

1061 Volusia Ave

Daytona Beach

December 11, 1956


Well!! After a week of dead silence I at last got some letters but alas only to find them composed entirely of questions! No news. You know the affair a la Rich is such cold soup to me now it is rather boring to write about it now but dear folks here is a letter composed entirely of answers. I hope you enjoy it.

I’ll send Janet something for Christmas, Mrs Franks home is much more convenient for me than Rich’s was – only one story three shallow steps into it and I can climb all but steep steps myself now. I have a bedroom to myself. There is no one else living in the home. Mrs Franks says the only reason she didn’t take me before was we had the arrangement with the Rich’s and she didn’t know how to get me to school. She wouldn’t tell an untruth and she said it’s convenient. You know I was only going to stay here temporary and the Colonel had some other places hunted up but she said it was lonesome before (she doesn’t go out except with the other woman secretary, and her daughter at the office) and everything worked out so well she asked me if I would like to stay here permanently. Of course I said yes because she is so much like a real mother and we get along so good.

The expense of all this would certainly be more if you came down. I hate to bug you but you know I”m a much better business woman than you are. Since I’ve started running my own life i”m paying $60 or more dollars less in a month than I was when you set me up. You’ll be more expensive of course if you come down and set up housekeeping because then there’ll be two of us. You wouldn’t save physio money because Mr Walsh is paying that for me. By the way it would be very nice of you to write him at 701 south Beach Street and thank him.

I meant what I said about getting into the house myself. I can get up the steps. There is room for my wheelchair. Carharts drove me to Mrs franks the day I left Rich’s and offered to anything for me, left me their address, and made me feel much better. I guess i can give them a try.

Mrs Franks gives me physio at the office now and naturally does a much better job than Mrs Rich and I am showing a marked improvement already. Charlie drives me there after school and I do my homework until it’s time for me then she does it after I get dressed we come home (to save another question Charlie is a boy from school and a safe driver).

Mrs Franks and Mrs Jenny (her secretary friend) went and got all my stuff from Rich’s. Hank (leave me tell you about him sometime!!) offered to get my board for me but I preferred to hire somebody so Mr Ollenlike gave me the name of a man who does that sort of thing so he did it for $1.25.

Mrs Franks lives by the arch on Valeria Ave a few blocks from the hospital. She doesn’t leave me alone in fact tonight she was scolding (teasing) me about having to curtail my social life ‘cause I”m leaving her alone. I’ve always got invitations to places to go even if she did want to go out.

I can get to church now too. She doesn’t have TV but I’d never have time to see it anyway. I never have to stay alone at school becuase I always come home and go to schoo with one of the boys.

There!! That’s all the questions answered. Your letter sounded as if you were frantic. Mrs Frank and I were laughing away over a joke last night and we thought after just how it’s too bad you can’t see us. I feel guilty having such a good time when you up there are so worried. Cheer up1! I don’t supposed you’ll be pacified until you see it yourselves.

I just love Daytona. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t think I”d be coming back to Florida next year. To think I almost went to Cochrane and I never would have known all of these kids! By the way we’ve had our senior class (12th grade) elections (which are lifetime) and I”m class treasurer. Ah the life of a senior!!!

I always have my lunch with the rest of the kids from school at Robbies and Tony is always inquiring about you and says to say hello to you.

I’m sure getting teased about my accent you know either me or them has one – they say I say aboot and they say some words so funny to me.!! Great fun! Running out of paper so must go

Love Marg xxxxx

PS ordered your Christmas gifts last week but they may be late. Am enclosing pictures of the house please return when finished with them. Guest room is mine.

Got my blue coat today. Thanks a lot.


Love Letters in the Sand (FGK 248)

Wait… Mom liked pin-up/muscle boys? This is not the woman who raised me!!! Haha. Oh how she mocked me for buying Tiger Beat. I could tell I am not a 16 year old girl because now I am much more interested on the things that were on the back of the clip outs. Lots of them backed onto a comics page and I kinda wish that they’d included all the comics. Remember the weekend comics – the “colour comics” – what a big deal they were!! And then when they started printing them as their own little book!!! Oh I loved that. Anyway, I included some of the backs of the clippings as well.

32 Dix Ave

Ormond, Florida

June 25, 1957

Dear Margaret

By now you have probably gotten my postcard. Marilyn’s baby was born on the 21st. It’s a little girl. She weighs 8lbs 4 oz. I haven’t seen her yet.

I got a letter from Barbara yesterday. It was very nice to hear from her.

It is raining out now.

I am going to the show tomorrow to see “The Wayward Bus”

My newest records are:

Jenny, Jenny – Little Richard

Searchin’- Coasters

Elvis’ new one is really cute. “Love Letters in the Sand” is still number one.

I am sending you some more pin-ups of the Mr. America contest. Boy that Deanne Cates is in everything. I think I am finally getting a little tan. I haven’t been to the beach for a couple of days now.

Well Margaret, I will have to close now, for the mailman is coming. Will write later. Write me soon.

Love to all



We’re all so nervous (FGK 246)

32 Dix Ave

Ormond Beach

May 18, 2958


No letter at all last week but I guess you’re busy. I know i sure am. I got an average of 4-5 hours of sleep every night last week and went about 48 hours without any sleep at all. I had to put my term paper in and typed straight through from 3pm Thursday ‘til 1pm Friday stopping only to eat supper and to drive to school in the morning. All the seniors are the same – we’re all so nervous that our hands actually shake all the time!

I had to to to Mr Bailey’s yesterday for a meeting. I am head of the planning committee of the senior banquet and prom so I had to work out the seating arrangements. I have to make a short speech that night too. That is the night after our exams and the night before our graduation ceremonies and afternoon reception. I have to be at the reception all afternoon because I am a class officer and in the receiving line.

There was a barbecue for all the seniors last night so we all had to go. The sophomores and juniors were giving it. I had a pretty good time. It was a lot of fun. I wish I didn’t have to leave here.

Adam’s say to tell you their invitation still holds. Mrs Franks called to say she has an extra room with twin beds in it and will be glad to accommodate you all, meet you at the plane and all that. Cal Sampson was inquiring about your place to stay too so I guess you won’t be sleeping on a park bench anyway.

Our exams sound as though they are going to be very tough, most of us are scared to death about them.

We tried on our caps and gowns last week. It sure was a good feeling. They look so nice. They are white with a blue tassel on the Moros board. I wish you all could see me in it. I look like a very scholarly person if I do say so myself!

Adams invited me over to the country club this afternoon. I don’t know whether I’m going or not.

I have a mound of English and Latin this afternoon.

Must go

Love Margie

I think I will probably have a nervous breakdown before the end of the month!!!!