Letter: Church, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Leaving Home in 1954

Written on Monday, July 5, 1954

Don, aged 19, is moving out to Vancouver to work for the summer before starting his studies at UBC in the fall. His brother David (older by five years and likely the David mentioned in the letter) is already there doing his own studies.

I love this letter for what all of the little details:

  • The sweet and sour meatballs, they sure must have made an impression.
  • Sunday school, church, and then evening service too.
  • All of the disorganized wandering around looking for beds to sleep in and places to stay.
  • The line at the end, saying his mother needn’t have worried. Such a universal thing to send to a worrying parent.
  • The Patullo bridge described as a monster (it’s now perhaps the smallest bridge crossing the Fraser, instead of the largest).

2886 W 5th Ave.,
Vancouver 8,
July 5, 1954

Dear Mum + Dad.

I arrived in New Westminster with Marge + Willie at about 6 o’clock. We went to Willies house and had supper. Then they took me into Vancouver to the place where Marge had been staying. She phoned the people in Masterton’s house and the lady gave me an address and a phone number but didn’t say what to do with them. the address was Friezens so Marge and Willie took me there. I went in and Friezens said they could put me up so I stayed there for the night. Next day, Sunday, we went to Sunday School (77 present) and church. Then we all went to Eastons for dinner (a jewish recipe for sweet and sour meatballs). It was really good as was supper which we had there too. Pat and Swen Easton brought David home once remember? She used to be Swen Maryat from Keleden. They have a three month old baby boy named Glen. Sunday night we went to church at Bethany again and David arrived at the end of the service so I got my suitcase and went to their place to sleep. It is small but fixed up nicely. The people up above don’t seem very considerate.

I don’t think much of what I’ve seen of Vancouver so far (not very much) but the Patullo bridge is quite a monster. I wouldn’t want to drive in this traffic but it isn’t as bad as people make out.

You shouldn’t have worried mum I was alright!

Your son,


A first letter home