Stayin’ Alive — Reconnecting With the Friends of Flash Cadilac



For years I never thought about my stores without sadness, so I completely blocked them out of my mind. Then Webb Dan, former early 90’s Algonquin student, and Facebook’s Lost Ottawa got me going again, and I finally wrote a book about Flash Cadilac. This month it seems like it has been old home week, reconnecting with some of my book’s characters like: Catherine Landry, Kris Ronzoni, and her mother, legendary Assunta, former Le Caprice owner–not to mention a host of other people. A month ago, Jim Goyette and Ron Beasley began to PM me on Facebook to come to their home for a party.

As most people know, since the stroke, I no longer drive anywhere out of a 10 mile boundary. But, I was going to try and drive to Kanata to see my friends. After Leslie Hodge died last week it became a personal mission, as her death affected me like no other. A reminder to us all never to put off reconnecting with people you love. As the day approached, I began to freak out, as Jim gave me directions, and after going to Google maps, I really began to sweat. Jackie Koupri was driving in from Kingston so she offered to pick me up. Whew!


Last time people saw me I was like maybe 30 something, and now I am like, ahh, almost ? But as they say, getting older ain’t bad especially when you consider the alternatives. I knew that Angelo was there with me in spirit as our oddness made him laugh, and just fascinated him some how. Not to mention the last time I had seen Jim and Ron Ange was in the middle trying to stop one of their legendary fights in our back yard. No matter what has gone on these two have been together for almost 40 years and they could write their own book. Gotta love them!


Some of the friends that gathered were the customers and staff that remembered the beginnings of the store on the second floor, not when it became a ground floor store. There was talk about Sarah Clothes, Paddlin Madlins, Ragtime, and Bagel Bagel. We spoke of fashion shows Flash Cadilac did at Sac’s Disco Bar and Reflections (Old Embassy Hotel) and life in general. No one talked about their aches pains and wrinkles, because at this moment in time they did not exist. Disco music constantly flowed by a cyber source and I remarked last time we had gotten together records were involved.


We also talked about sex and AIDS and how life changed after that. Who was doing what and with whom, and ceasing  the rumour that Michael LaFleur had not dropped dead of a brain aneurysm on Queen Street years ago and was indeed live and well in Vancouver. Michael did reply on Facebook that if you were going to die– Queen Street might be the perfect location. We talked about everyone: Wanda, Dennis C, and remembered that before Denis La Violette left us for the shining Broadway lights of NYC he was indeed a manager at McDonald’s in Ottawa.

Great food, fantastic people, and even though we had been apart for decades we remembered what we once and still do mean to each other– no matter what has passed down the river of life. I don’t think there was anyone there that had not been through some tragedy through the years, but no one really talked about it, because it didn’t really matter.As Ron lamented, none of us wears sz 26 pants anymore (did we ever?), but by God we are still alive, and life would always be La Vie en Rose. It was an afternoon that I will never ever forget. Thank you!

Flash Cadilac Book available on Amazon or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place


Apologies to those who pictures are not here as I am a notoriously bad photographer with my iPhone– Example Marion Godwin and her husband Bobby.


About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

2 responses »

  1. Ragtime boutique ! whatever became of redhead Shirley .. she disappeared .. what a flashback I partied with Jim and Ron in the 80s funny we never met ! we lived in same building for years in Vanier. Missing Ottawa !


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