This marks the third installment in an exciting blog series for the Barrie Historical Archive, made possible by archive supporter Diana Strachan. Check out the preceding blogs here.

Last time, we felt Peggy Newman’s anticipation for the Barrie Central Collegiate formal dance and heard about her adventures with best friend Joyce Little. Today, we hear about her late-night out at the dance (along with her impressive dancing skill!), and learn about an exciting new course she plans to enroll in, where she will learn all the skills required to enter the workforce. Cheerio, ’til next time, Barrie!

May 16, 1941

Darling Mummy and Daddy,

How are you getting on? On Monday we received your 36th and our 38th letters one of which included Granny’s descriptions of the raid on Bembridge. It really must have been terrible and I hope you don’t get any raids on Basingstoke like that.

Well, I’ve been having another more or less hectic week again. Last Thursday after school I helped with the decorations for the School Dance then scurried home and had my dinner and changed and then went off to a French club meeting which lasted ‘till 10 o’clock. Ken met me from the meeting as he had been over at the school helping with the decorations and by the time we got home and I finally got to bed it was 11 o’clock which wasn’t so good with the dance coming off the next day. Anyway straight after school on Friday I went to the hairdressers and they really did my hair cutely. I then met Auntie and Joan and we went out to dinner after which I hurried home and got ready for the dance which, by the way, Ken had asked me. He called for me about 8.30 and I was not quite ready so he had to wait about until I was. Anyway eventually I was ready, all dressed up in my long blue evening dress and smelling very nice!!!

About 9 o’clock we were picked up by Emily and her boyfriend Fred who took us to his home to meet his parents and then we finally went to the dance. We really had a lovely time and I danced with lots of different people and Ken and I managed to carry off the two best prizes for not being eliminated in the elimination dance. At the end of this dance there were two couples left, Ken and I and Emily and Fred so it was decided that the boys had to sing ‘There will always be an England’ seperately (sic). Fred was the first one to sing and he really did it marvellously (sic) with all the words and everything and then Ken went on and first of all he fell down and then he forgot the words and then his voice cracked and he really was a perfect scream and I suppose he really won because he was so funny. Then we went and got our prizes, he won a gold cigarette case and I got a gold compact with the Barrie Collegiate crest on it and to crown it all the master of ceremonies announced that he thought that people should know that Ken Carter’s partner was Miss Peggy Newman, a war guest over here and that they should give her a special clap to show how glad they were to have me. So dear little me had a special clap and felt very embarrassed.

The dance went on ‘till one o’clock and then we drove to the Olympia (a drug store) and had something to eat and drink after which Fred took us for a short drive along the highway. We eventually got home about 2.15 and I was in bed about 2.30. The next day was Saturday and so I stayed in bed ‘till 11 o’clock when Joyce Little phoned up and asked me to go to a sale of work with her mother and herself which was being held at Ovenden which is a private girls’ school. So I went and there met Joyce Flynn, another girl that I know, who invited Joyce and I to supper and to a show. So again I was not in bed ‘till late.

Sunday we laid in bed till 10 o’clock and then I mucked around and did some homework and was invited to go on a bicycle hike with Joyce Flynn and Joyce Little in the afternoon. So I did and we took our tea and went to Joyce Flynn’s holiday cottage where they spend the summer. I finally got back about eight and got into bed about nine. On Monday we had school and I was just tired out and after having a long telephone conversation with Ken who asked me for a date for to-night which I had to put off ‘till tomorrow I finally got to bed pretty early. Do you know Ken calls me up every night, he is really terribly persistent. On Sunday he called up from the Olympia where he and several other friends had gathered and a little while after one of this friends called up after hearing about me and made a blind date with me for Saturday night, which I hope comes off.

Anyway from everything I have said I hope you don’t think I spend all my time just having dates etc because I’m really working hard. To-day all the girls of the school had a half-holiday because there was a cadet inspection so I went to a show after seeing a little bit of the parade. By the way, Ken is the Sergeant-Major and he has just phoned up to tell me all about it, Apparently he got a pin presented to him which he has promised to show me.

Well I suppose I have been rambling on as usual and should really stop now. So send my love to the boys and to all my friends and I hope they are all O.K. Please look after yourselves and here’s hoping we’ll soon be meeting again.

Well cheerio ‘till next time,

Tons of love
From Peggy xxxxxxxxxxxxx

June 9, 1941

Darling Mummy and Daddy

How are you getting on? We have received your 1st letter to our new address and are both excited with the news contained. So far no parcels have been received but we are still hoping. I’m terribly intrigued with the contents of my parcel and I’m simply dying for it to arrive. Honestly, Mummy, you are a terrible tease, you’ve written a whole paragraph about my parcel but you don’t tell me what it is.

Well, anyway, in two more days I shall be Seventeen, which Auntie tells me makes me a young lady (perhaps!!). To-day we have a holiday from school, it being a bank-holiday and also the King’s legal birthday. To-morrow, however, we start our exams (Groans). This is my Junior Matric and next year instead of taking Senior Matric: I am most probably going to take a Special Commercial Course. Auntie and Uncle have discussed it with me, and are all for me to take it. One can only take this course, after they have got their Junior matric: or its equivalent. It takes one year  and at the end of that year you are fitted to fill secretarial, bookkeeping and General Office positions and to write Civil Service examinations. The following is the course of study:

Typewriting, Office Practice, Filing and Office Machines: 10
Stenography: 10
Bookkeeping: 5
Business Law: 2
Business Correspondence and Spelling: 3
Arithmetic and Rapid Calculation: 4
Economics: 4
Health (Gym): 2

Total periods per week: 40

So you see it is a pretty well-rounded course. Uncle is very keen that I should take this course because he says that whatever job you do in this modern age you can always use this knowledge and Auntie thinks that if I’m not going to be a teacher or specialize in any subject that instead of taking my Senior year and at the end of that year just have the credit for it and not be fitted for any job and then have to be sent to business college and spend another year learning that I ought to take this opportunity. I am also all for it, because I like it, and I like the idea of knowing that at the end of next year I shall be able to earn my own living.

Well, anyway, to get away from this subject, my dear little Ken has left me. He’s gone to Ottawa to work for the summer and he won’t be coming back to Barrie at all because his parents are moving to another place and he will return to them after the summer and go to school there. However, he’s going to come and see me next September and he’s supposed to be writing to me but so far hasn’t, but still he’s only been gone for a week so there’s still hope. He also said he would phone me up from Ottawa on my birthday which will be very exciting.

On Friday after school Auntie bought Joan and I a pair of saddle-shoes each and also a best summer hat each. My hat is really cute, it is white felt with a wide brim in front and no brim at the back shaped rather like a bonnet with a blue ribbon round it and two ends hanging down behind. There is also a bit of lacing in felt on each side of the brim as illustrated. Joan’s hat is white straw with a wide white ribbon around it and two ends hanging down behind. It goes on the back of her head with not brim behind and a heart-shaped brim in front. (Deanna Durbin style) which makes her look as cut as cute. Auntie and Uncle are giving me a pair of spectator pumps for my birthday. The are shoes like your blue and white summer shoes, Mummy, only they are brown and white, so now I shall have two pairs of high heeled shoes. As soon as Joan gets a film in her camera I’ll have my photograph taken in my new hat and blue dress and my spectator pumps. Joan is going to give me a pair of nylon stockings, you know, the stockings made of coal, water and air.

Yesterday I recieved a lovely greetings telegram from Bobby which I thought was jolly sweet of him. Joan and I are very thrilled because we are being sent away to a girls’ camp for two weeks in August. The camp is called Camp Kitchikewana and the only thing wrong with it is that it only lasts two weeks and Auntie would like to send us for a month. However we are going to have a marvellous time and several of the girls from here are going and Emily Bell, one of my special friends, is going and we are going to have a marvellous time to-gether. Next time when I write I’ll tell you more about it.

Joan recieved a letter from Daddy this morning so I’m waiting hopefully for mine. Please send my love to the boys and all my friends. Tell Joyce I am writing her. Look after yourselves. We’ll be  home next year according to my fortune which has come true so far.

So, cheerio, ‘till next time.

Tons of love
Peggy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx