Glory Days of Carleton Place- Dear Miss Powell by Terry Kirkpatrick



This week I posted about the Lashley family and Sherri Iona mentioned her Grandma LASHLEY’s sisters.

“Olive and Fern Powell lived together in their parents’ home on Sarah St, a white frame home. The girls never married. There was a story that a well known politician in Ottawa who Fern worked for as a secretary asked her to marry him. She turned him down, but he gave her the ring any way. Olive was the French teacher at the High School,  and she taught all her nieces and nephews, along with a grandniece (me) and nephews. Fern loved to travel the world and Aunt Ollie loved to shop. To this day I still want to visit Switzerland and see Lucerne and the Matterhorn because of her stories.”


terryaa—-Carleton Place’s own Terry Kirkpatrick left a comment and I have to add it for the sake of history, as after all, it is the people that make the history of the town. So Terry is our guest author today.

Olive Powell was my French teacher through Grades 9-13. She once told a story about a great saying of Frenchmen if they want to tell you you were “full of s**t” (my words not hers – I can’t imagine Olive ever uttering a profanity). She would say “tu parle comme un pantouffle” and the burst into laughter.
Photo of Miss Powell from Sherri Iona-This is Olive’s pic in 1968 yearbook. Not sure what year she retired but she was there when I graduated gr 12 in fall 71.
So, in Grade 9 I’m recruited by Les Cadets Lasalle in Ottawa, a French-speaking Catholic drum and Bugle Corps. Everything happens in French. So I think I’m being entertaining one day and say to one of the French guys : “tu parles comme un pantouffle” and burst into laughter like Olive used to do….. – total silence and the guys are looking at me like I’m unable to tie my shoe laces. Yeah, forgot that Olive’s Parisian French doesn’t necessarily make it to the Outaouais.
What a great story about a former teacher. Sherri told me that her Aunt Ollie had dementia or Alzheimer’s when she died. But, Sherri said Olive always seemed to know her. Her sister Fern suffered during her final years from after effects of Shingles and chronic pain.
Olive Powell remembers her favorite cookies at the store:  “They were pineapple cookies.  Made in the exact shape of a pineapple.  I thought they were delicious.”
Ollie, Fern, Gladys and Robert (junior) were all siblings. Here is actual wedding picture of Sherri Iona’s (Lashley) grandparents – John Lashley and Gladys Powell. Sharri said the picture would be at the Powell residence on Sarah Street in Carleton Place.
Photo courtesy of Sherri Iona

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.

4 responses »

  1. I have very fond memories of Miss Powell. I recall everyone on the first day of the Grade Nine French class being given a sheet of foolscap upon which we would write down our parent’s names (maiden names of mums), siblings, aunts, uncles, etc. Miss Powell sought to understand who you were and whether any strengths or weaknesses in acquiring French were ‘genetic’. On occasion, there were tears as the CPHS students (usually boys!) would butcher proper Parisian French pronunciation using their God-given Lanark Cty twang. Nevertheless, there was a genuine caring for her students. For years after graduating from CPHS a group of friends (Anne Morris, Andrea Armour, Bob Young, Liana Coleman, Scott Ferguson, Nancy Ryan, and several others would go to the Powell home on Dec. 24th and sing Christmas carols. Invariably, we were invited in for Turtles as they were listening to the Carol Service from King’s College in Cambridge. THANKS, Miss Powell.

    That close-knit town seems long-gone now…….


  2. I lived next to the Powell sisters when I first came to teach in Carleton Place. I started teaching in September of 1971 and they were both retired by then. I used to try to help them out when I could and spent many an afternoon listening to their stories with my cup of tee. They enjoyed having company.


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