A Tale of Two Women



Dedicated to two women- one I did not know, and one I miss greatly for International Women’s Day

March 2012

A few months ago I went to an estate sale that was simply out of this world. Everything was pre-1960 and I was just like a kid in a candy store. I scored a large box of vintage patterns, hats and purses that I guarded with my life. A green hand crochet bag caught my eye because my grandmother had carried the very same style for years. When I opened it, there inside was a hand coloured photograph of a woman that was signed,

Forever yours, Lois.”

” I love you.”

I asked the woman in charge about the picture and she started telling me the sad story about Lois. Lois’s last name was Lane and I began to giggle, but I soon stopped as she continued her tale. This Lois had not been married to Superman at any point in her life and she had originally been a happy bride until her husband had been shipped off to war. Sad to say Jerry Lane did not make it, and after that Lois’s life went downhill.

Lois began drinking tequila at a bar named Moe’s and hung out in the back alley looking for someone to replace Jerry. As the years went by Lois’s looks also went downhill. She continued to carry the purse with Jerry’s handkerchief in it; the same one she had used to wipe away the tears when he left. Lois was also a huge fan of the movie Gone with the Wind like my grandmother, and tried to style her hair like Vivian Leigh. All of this was too close for comfort – the same green bag and the love of that wonderful movie.


When the movie finally came to Canada, my grandmother sat in the Princess Theatre in Cowansville, Quebec and watched all three hours and forty four minutes of it. She repeatedly told me the same story about the inspiration of that crocheted green bag. Grammy knew that my grandfather would not let her rip the curtains down to make a dress, so the bag had to do.

She used it throughout the years to hold loose change and Kleenex that held the of movies and funerals. It also carried weekly grocery lists and packets of her beloved Zinnia seeds.

Grammy placed notes inside that she would eventually take to her son’s High School on almost a daily basis. She constantly pleaded with them not to give her son Frederick a vaccination shot as others had gotten bad reactions from them. Those notes in her bag would soon be replaced with funeral notices of Frederick’s passing 60 days later after he had gotten the doomed shot. He was barely 19 years old.


Mary Louise Deller Knight- Cowansville Quebec- my Grandmother

Like Lois she was organized, and every Friday she would fill the green purse with the small black notebooks that held the working hours of the electricians working for my grandfather’s company. One day the front door of their business at 507 South Street in Cowansville was painted green, and the weekly radio ads would state,

“Visit the F. J. Knight Co. on South Street that is just behind the green door.”

No one knew of course that she had told my grandfather to paint that door green in memory of Scarlet’s beloved dress. One day the green crochet bag was filed away and not seen for years. She had lovingly placed it in a small box with tissue paper to protect it. The green bag had been substituted with a two handled black leatherette bags that were just was not as interesting as the one Scarlet had inspired.

On the other hand Lois continued to carry the same bag until she finally realized that Jerry was not coming back. Missing her superhero husband she ended up overdosing on a bottle of pills and when she died her framed picture was placed in her favourite green bag and forgotten until the garage sale.

Lois never had any children, so I have written this blog in memory of her and my grandmother. After all, everyone should be remembered at some point–because in my life, even if they were just a photograph–  we have loved them all.

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.

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