Why Am I Obsessed with History?

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Thank you to Sean N Michael Rikley-Lancaster from the *Mississippi Valley Textile Museum for allowing me to tell my tales and many opinions at the Algonquin Museum Studies class. Last time I spoke there was in 1991 about small business. Some of these kids had not been born yet LOL

 

So why am I doing what I do every single day- 7 days a week?  Why do I sit here hour after hour, day after day, and get caught up in time–actually time gone by? Some days I don’t know–and then I get an email from someone saying they saw one of their ancestor’s names- or they read one of my stories on the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page  or People From the Eastern Townships and remember what their grandparents told them. I see how happy it makes people– so it makes me feel that I am on the right road for my legacy.

 I think it’s almost like: “We Interrupt This Program … Words That Change Lives”

History is a glimpse into the past and it grounds us in the present and serves as a template as we journey into the future. Each decision we make moves us a step at a time. At times, this travel is with a defined step and other times the steps are convoluted– and heck, I have always wanted to be a time traveller. So this is one way I guess.

I decided that if I was going to write about history it was going to be on my own terms. I do not have any fancy college degrees– barely scraped through high school– and protesting the Viet Nam war and bad professors at Sir George University/Concordia was way more important to me than an education. It was about getting street smarts and doing things on my way, and not listening to others, which gets me into trouble sometimes. Well sometimes a lot.

 

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The late Carman Laloonde and me at his daughter’s wedding (Heather Lalonde) where we spent most of the afternoon discussing local history.

 

So some days when I start posting on the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page at 5:30 am I think about some kid in years to come that might scroll Google on their phone, or whatever they will have then, and come across one of my articles. I am hoping they might say,“hey that is pretty cool” and tell someone else.

Every single day I see the faces and hear the voices of Lanark County and the Eastern Townships as I read personal memories and newspaper archives. They are my past, and I am their future. We all travel the same road. History is about people and the events that shape and change our lives.

R. G. Collingwood said:–“History is for human self-knowledge … the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.”

I am going to end this on a funny note. In my first book I wrote about winning a Twist contest at Cowansville High School in grade 5 with someone called Jimmy Manson. Man, did I have a crush on this guy, and I approached “my love” for him much like I write about history. I was “focused” on my adoration of him– today, we would call that stalking. Today 55 years later I have been writing about history for 3 years. What happened to Jimmy?

Jim began his academic career in Jamaica in 1980 teaching West Indian history after earning a diploma in education from McGill University. Upon returning to Canada, he completed a Master’s degree at Concordia University in 1983. His MA thesis dealt with U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba after the Spanish – American War.

During the remainder of the decade, Jim taught in the Quebec public school system and freelanced as a sportswriter for The Canadian Press. He began his university teaching career at Concordia and McGill Universities in 1991 after completing his comprehensive exams towards a doctorate in history (Canadian – American relations) at Concordia.

While teaching at Concordia, he became involved with an organization known as Routes to Learning Canada (RTL). Over the subsequent decade he served as an educational consultant to RTL and led scores of historical excursions across Quebec and Canada.

Jim has taught the History of Canadian -American Relations at the Montreal campus of Champlain College since it opened in 2007. He began teaching in the CORE Division at the Burlington campus during the Fall of 2012. In addition to teaching and writing about Canadian – American Relations– and there is so much more we could cover two pages here.

Today the both of us no longer dance to Chubby Checker but we both speak and write about history ( Jimmy is the REAL historian (Brome Mississiquoi Historical Society)- I am the National Enquirer Historian), and who knew that would happen? But what’s different about the both of us?

In Jimmy’s world –history does not include aliens. In my world and local Lanark County writer Arlene Stafford Wilson’s world it does! The truth is out there as they say, so keep history alive.  No matter how you spread the word–I am counting on you for it. It’s for our future generations.

 

Dedicated to my favourite historian  Carman Lalonde who sadly left us last year in May of 2016. Last night I got a lovely phone call from someone in Middleville hoping to find out the location of an old photo and we talked about him– I miss him– terribly.

 

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N.B.–*Mississippi Valley Textile Museum from Almonte, Ontario- word on the street is that they are going to “partner” with the Bruck Mills Museum in Cowansville, Quebec.

 15936729_10154217573273587_5023717394352344246_o.jpgMy mother who used to work for Bruck Mills is dead centre front with the white dress. Everything comes 360

Related Reading:

In Memory of Carman Lalonde — Grandfather, Father and Historian of Lanark County

Dedicated to my Weekend Protesting Hippie Generation — Nothing Changes Does it?

Should You Ever Stop “Burning Down the House” About Things that Matter?

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

 

 

 

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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.

4 responses »

  1. I love your history lessons – please don’t stop. I came to Carleton Place over 40 years ago, so it is a new area to me, and I find your history lessons very educational. This is a fascinating area and there is so much to learn.

  2. Linda, thank you for the efforts you put into your historical research and writings. In my ongoing family research you provide new doors to open and learn. Bob

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