True Confessions —– I Just Shook Hands With My Vacuum Cleaner


mess Today I turned on my vacuum cleaner for the first time in ages. I’m an honest person, and I’m going to admit that hunting down facts and writing about local history has become a physical and mental addiction. I can blame the followers of Facebook’s Carleton Place Scene for it. Some of the posters got really got me angry one day in January commenting on what little we have to offer in our fair town. I admit I’m not happy with a few things too: like the downtown core and not aggressively going after creative entrepreneurs.

But, because local resident Edna Gardner once said “If you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know who you are!” I began to write about Carleton Place. What happens to those forgotten family things after someone passes away? What will happen to my collection of local collectibles? Some of them need to be preserved for posterity’s sake. To do that, we need a place to keep them. Now that our iPhones hold our pictures and most of us seldom put things in scrapbooks, we really need someone to record things. Do you know what goes on in our Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum– or your local museum? mus5

Have you any idea how many files of local information a Museum has? It not only has historically significantly things, but it has a lot of personal things. It’s the DNA of your town and surrounding area. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure I always say. Nobody but your mother is likely to see any value in that pencil holder you made at summer camp in 1945. But remember there are archaeologists being paid a great deal of money digging up that kind of thing out of ancient sites and putting them on display in museums. Of course some finds are not valuable in monetary means, but they connect us to what we can’t see– unless we own a time machine. Museums study them to learn more about the past. If nobody knows the deeper meaning of those little pieces; they won’t be recognized as anything particularly valuable. We now have local “dig finds” in shadow boxes by Rebecca Lapointe on display at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum dig (1)

Want to know about all our former local mills or if Uncle Billy was once on the run from a bank robbery? Come to the museum! Want to know the history of your home? Ask our curator! Even if Aunt Betty’s dress from 1920 doesn’t mean a thing to you– once it enters a museum– the moment it goes on display, it’s part of history. The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum keeps them safe and preserves them for future generations. Museums are now considered a form of popular entertainment, but they’re far more than just a place to store things that aren’t useful to a personal collector or family. So yes, I have lost my head as they say over history.

I have now become similar to one of the historians of U C Berkeley I used to giggle at and discuss things with in the post office line in Berkeley, Ca.–ONLY I hope I shut up once in awhile, and I do change my clothes daily. Carleton Place has so much to offer, and if promoted properly by the powers to be, it could a huge tourism draw. If you think where you live is ho-hum, and you think our or your museum and history is also boring- then your thinking is all wrong. As Bob Dylan once sang:  “Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial”. mus6 “If you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know who you are!” —The late Edna Gardner Carleton Place Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

2 responses »

  1. I have to admit that we’ve been here for 10 years and not visited the museum. I guess when something is close by, it’s easy to put off for another day. Good work on your part, Linda.


    • AC…. so many heritage homes.. and all they have to do is ask the museum and get info. I made a sign of all the info on my house and put it on the gate pillar. If we all did that we would have one hell of a walking tour.:)


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