Mary Cook’s Deportment Classes for Young Ladies in Carleton Place

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I wrote about a fashion show organized by Mary Cook in the 60’s at the Carleton Place Town Hall. Mary Cook also had deportment classes and Janice Tennant Campbell sent me this picture from the 60’s.

janice

Jim Amy Kirkpatrick

I remember that you never carry 2 gloves. Not wearing them put them away. Also when you sit your legs should make an S. I questioned this and Mary said the best I could do with such short legs was a C.
 
Julie Kirkpatrick
I remember her coming to teach some of this to the members of my 4H group. Around 1974 ?? We were at Pooh Bell’s house …..can’t recall why there LOL. I have distinct memories of walking across the living room with a book balanced on my head. Mary saying “shoulders back, chin up and arms softly at your side “. LOL. I often think of that while I’m slouched in a chair. 
Lorraine Nephin
Lots of girls took them. Every time I slurp my soup Keith says did Mary Cook teach you that. We didn’t go to Toronto. We got to go to a fancy restaurant in Ottawa and we all had to order spaghetti and eat it properly with a spoon and fork.
Carol McDonald
Recognize Janet Knowlton , Edith and Charlie Knowltons daughter . Edith ran a grocery store across from Maple leaf dairy in CP.
 
Lynne Johnson we went to Toronto too by train and stayed at the Royal York. I remember going to Chatelaine mag and also to a shopping district where I bought a really cool mini dress. And being taught how to eat our food and how to hold (not!) onto a railing on stairs. How to properly stand and walk. Many are ingrained in me to this day!
Lori Armour
Lynne Johnson me too! We got to stay in a hotel downtown and got to be in the audience for a taping of Front Page Challenge.
 

Until the 1960’s educational institutions incorporated social graces as a crucial aspect of a well-rounded curriculum, and finishing schools specialized in etiquette, deportment and proper manners at the table. Private deportment classes were run locally by Mary Cook. They were taught how to sit, how to speak, how to dress, how to wear their hair, how to entertain, how to be a house guest, how to eat correctly and how to just generally be a polite person in society.

Comments: Dawn Jones— When i was a young girl in 4-H club, Mary paid a visit to one of the weekly meetings and taught us the finer points of etiquette.

Karen Blackburn Chenier- My mother signed me up for “charm school” with Mary in grade nine.Classes were held upstairs of the Cooks store on Bridge St every Tues night.Important topics such as hygiene,,silverware placement ,etc. were discussed . As a self conscious 14 year old i was mortified that anyone would know I was attending and after being dropped off would hide in the doorway.Graduation included a trip to TO on the train for a 1 night stay and a visit to the taping of Front Page Challenge where I remember Pierre Berton trying to peek down Adrienne Clarkson’s neckline.All in all a memorable time and i still proudly sign my name Karen Blackburn Chenier CSG {Charm School Graduate}

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Carleton Place Mod Fashion Show 1960’s

 

Mary Cooks Deportment Class..

From deborah Bowker -I often wonder if Mary Cook realizes what an influential person she has been in so many lives that are graced to know her. Her teachings and guidance for oh so many Deportment Class students will follow each of us throughout our lives. I cannot begin to count the number of times – daily – that her lessons pop into my head, heart, and actions … She has been instrumental in helping to shape the lives and characters of many, many, grateful lives ! She holds my deepest and grateful gratitude … ❤️ — with Mary Cook.

Photo of Mindy Merkley-Melinda Cook above ( aka Mary Cook’s daughter) Her memory today of the fashion shows she helped her mum with. Thank you Mindy!

“I can’t remember the number of times I walked that runway as a child. Mom always managed to find a way to make us cooperate to participate in those shows. I can still remember that slanted floor of the stage and the changes rooms we had in the back. There were many times I’d be running around in just my underwear looking for my next dress or outfit to wear. We used to have The Red Room on the second floor of our store where mom would have us practice before the fashion shows. We called it The Red Room because it had plush red carpet. She used to hold her deportment classes there and mock fashion shows for the girls in the classes. She would also hold small fashion shows there for customers when new styles of clothing came into the store. The second floor was loaded with ladies and children’s wear. When we were kids, and both mom and dad worked at the store, they’d hire Honey Blaine to babysit us at the store. I remember playing hide and seek among the hundreds of hanging dresses and crawling into display cases. You’ve brought back some fantastic memories Linda. Thanks for the gift.” NO thank you Mindy for sending this..🙂

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.

7 responses »

  1. My mother signed me up for “charm school” with Mary in grade nine.Classes were held upstairs of the Cooks store on Bridge St every Tues night.Important topics such as hygiene,,silverware placement ,etc. were discussed . As a self conscious 14 year old i was mortified that anyone would know i was attending and after being dropped off would hide in the doorway.Graduation included a trip to TO on the train for a 1 night stay and a visit to the taping of Front Page Challenge where I remember Pierre Berton trying to peek down Adrienne Clarkson’s neckline.All in all a memorable time and i still proudly sign my name Karen Blackburn Chenier CSG {Charm School Graduate}

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