A Curio of Nostalgic Words

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A Curio of Nostalgic Words

 

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Photograph of the Knight family in front of the smaller dining room sideboard on South Street in Cowansville, Quebec. The late, Robin Knight Nutbrown, Frederick J Knight, Bernice Ethylene Crittenden Knight, Arthur J. Knight, Mary Louise Deller Knight, and the last one alive–me–Linda Susan Knight Seccaspina

The transparent yellowed curtains that hung in my Grandmother’s dining room never hid what mischief I was up to while she sat on the screened porch on Friday evenings. As a child I understood that the family business was open until 9, and I spent the evening hours waiting for my father in the rear of the building– which happened to be my Grandparents home on South Street in Cowansville.

I would always sit and chat with her, or watch her bake in the kitchen, but my favourite pastime was looking through the glass of her old china cupboard. There was the broken engagement ring that sat in a teacup as the ruby stone had fallen out, and a handed down figurine that my great great grandmother had received from Queen Victoria. Each piece in the cabinet had a story and my Grandmother was an amazing storyteller that made everything seem to come alive.

 

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My curio cabinet that I hope my grandkids will love. The figurine from Queen Victoria is on the second shelf on the left in front of the green card.

 

Besides the china cabinet there was a very long sideboard at the end of the dining room. It held all the good dishes and silverware that were used on holidays and it seemed each set had a memory. Tucked away in the back was the black tin ‘money box’  that was brought out every Saturday night to tally up the week’s receipts.  I can still hear the click of the old adding machine along with low murmuring voices that went on for an hour with Lawrence Welk playing in the background.

While I sat on the plastic covered couch in the living room I would patiently wait to hear the closing sound of one of the compartments in the sideboard. That was a sign that Grammy would make us all a snack of saltine crackers topped with Cheese Whiz, and of course another story about anything she felt she needed to talk about.

When I was 9 my Grandparents decided to make the electrical store bigger so they cut the dining room in half and her sideboard no longer fit the new smaller room. Not one for nonsense, she did the same thing to the sideboard that she did to her Thanksgiving turkey each year. She hired someone to cut it in half so it fit the room. Even though it was now half the size it never lost one memory. For years I heard her tell visitors what happened to it and that sideboard carried on its traditions, never missing a beat.

I always assumed my Grandmother just liked reminiscing about the past, but it was really something else.  Now I can see that she was sharing her knowledge and trying to teach me life lessons along the way. When she died I not only grieved her death but I wondered what would happen without her to tell me stories about the past.

The day they tore down the old house on South Street I felt I lost my childhood, and for the first time in my life there really wasn’t any family to come home to. I ended up taking her dining room sideboard and it remained with me through a marriage, a divorce, and finally met its match in a fire in 1995.  Was this the final end to memories?

The day of the fire I realized that my Grandmother’s words would still flow through me with or without the old sideboard. She had installed this desire within me to keep history alive for future generations.

Sometimes for days or even weeks I can’t face my childhood memories, but then there are days like today that the memories run out of my eyes and roll down my  cheeks.  I understand how her words made me who I am today and that she gave me a gift that attempts to connect people and dream of a better world.

My Grandmother would be horrified that we spend less and less time in face to face communication. But, even with technological communication we can still tell a nostalgic story and now to a bigger audience. By telling a story we hope that our rendition of events is more complete than the last interpretation we heard–or so we hope. Like my fascination with my Grandmother’s china cabinet and sideboard: with nostalgic words we can dream of a brighter tomorrow, and a happier day where our inner child comes out to play once again.

 

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (US

relatedreading

Remembering one of the “Tom Sawyer’s” Of Cowansville Quebec

Hobos, Apple Pie, and the Depression–Tales from 569 South Street

Ashes to Ashes and Spins of the Washing Machine

The Days of Smocking and Spanish Bar Cake

The Ghost Ship of Brown’s Hill

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – Minecraft Story of the Lake Memphremagog Monster

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

Been Caught Stealing– Bank of Montreal

Angry Mobs, Wolves and Bloodsuckers –Selby Lake

Memories of UFO’s Earthquake Lights and Gale Pond

Misty Glen Mountain Snow Bunny Hop

Music in the 60s- Memories of Herman’s Hermits

Back to The Future — Twisting Your Dignity Away

Groovy Hints on How to Catch and Keep a Boy – 60’s style

The Dreams of a Sugar Plum Fairy

I Was A Free Range Child

Scrapbook Photos of Cowansville

6 Seconds of Cowansville High School – Our Miss Phelps

The Benefits of Having a Large Human Chassis for Traction

Linda and Christmas Cards– and the Lack off–This is Your Christmas Letter:)

 

 

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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.

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