Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 3

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 3

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Apr. 26th, 2007 at 11:57 PM

I’m addicted to sugar. It’s my best friend and my worst enemy. When I was little I used to suck on sugar cubes at my grandmother’s high teas once  a week as if they were a part of the top five food groups.


For two weeks I have been trying to get off sugar. A few jellybeans here and there, a few spoonfuls of American Idol’s low fat ice cream.  It doesn’t matter if I think American Idol knows nothing viable about ice cream- ice cream is always an option as it lights up my brain like a pinball machine.


Part of me understands that sugar makes me happy, and that worries me. If you give up both carbs and sugar, isn’t that giving up complete happiness? Much of the joy I get from eating jellybeans is the initial gush of sour and sweetness as I smack those rebellious suckers into submission.


Do you know when diabetics don’t have Dextro pills they take a few jelly beans or jelly babies instead? That tip came from the pharmacist at the local drugstore as she punched me through last week. That’s like saying that 75% of lab rats choose sugar water over cocaine? Now that brings back vague memories of a Two Ronnies sketch about wanting the sweet shop owner to give him just jelly boys, not jelly girls, because they have a touch more jelly.

It’s a common fact that if you eat too much sugar throughout the day you put your body through a roller-coaster ride. How much sugar is “too much sugar” I wonder? Did you know that a pack of M&M’s may be more than you should eat in a day? That bit of info is from the World Health Organization, who I am sure knows that by 3 pm my alter ego Lizzie Borden has appeared and I could become the prolific neighbourhood axe murderer.

I am as useless as the “g” in lasagna while the “white death” sucks me in each day and I will eat anything short of Splenda. I have heard that Splenda kills. I mean I never do anything half-ass as somehow my full derriere is always involved in everything. Coming from a long line of very knowledgeable lunatics- I think I can solve this. Maybe I just need a sugar daddy or a glucose guardian.


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Sep. 24th, 2007 at 11:15 AM

Last night there was another drive by shooting on 63rd Street. They say that crime is up in Oakland, California by 50% this year. Having lived on a drug corner for years it is actually no great surprise to us. When I went to the Post Office and saw all the candles, cards and teddy bears outside Sonny’s place I began to worry I knew the victim because everyone knows everyone here.
Lorenzo was sweeping the street by his car getting ready to set up for another day of selling bootleg CD’s. I asked him point blank who died last night. He said, “It was my nephew” and I started to cry. I knew he was barely 19 years-old and just another neighbourhood kid that thought he didn’t have a chance in life and relied on crime to get him by. I gave Lorenzo a big hug and told him how sorry I was.
I asked him,
“Lorenzo is there going to be a hood war now?”
He shook his head and said, “I just don’t know.”
I felt overwhelmed and went home and got a teddy bear, wrote a sympathy note and placed it with the others on the makeshift memorial. People in the hood don’t send sympathy cards–they set up memorials with lit candles, teddy bears, notes, and yes, the odd empty liquour bottle.
People marvel why I still live in an area that has constant crime. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The people here are real, and no one cares about the latest movies or trends. Each day is a trial just to get by.
I appreciate that and have respect for all of them especially the women that raise their families single handedly. I think I am the strongest I have ever been in my life and have proved to myself I can exist without a lot of money and appreciate everything in life now. I have learned that no one in life gives you a chance- you have to take chances. The cry of the ghetto is being heard by a nation with their fingers stuck in their ears.
The neighbours don’t call me Linda anymore- they baptized me “Lisa in da Hood”. It’s because I am getting my education on the streets of Oakland, and I now surround myself with people that can hear and appreciate the sound of my soul.
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Sep. 25th, 2007 at 8:44 AM

They say it isn’t so much what’s on the table that matters, as what’s on the chairs. Since I didn’t own a table when we first moved into our loft there was definitely no chairs. I was once what was called a freegan, and if I couldn’t find it in a thrift shop or in a dumpster– I didn’t need it. Every week I would scour a local salvage company for things and one day a spectacular chrome glass topped industrial table waved at me in one of the aisles.


It was 12 feet long by 6 feet wide and I figured the former lab table weighed about 100 pounds. For 40 dollars it was mine, but how was I going to get it the 10 blocks home? Paying the 80 dollars delivery was way out of my budget and I really wanted this table. So there were only two options-pay the delivery charge, or push it all the way home as it had roller casters.


I have never been shy of chaos, so I embraced my situation and began to push that baby home. The first part of my journey consisted of cobblestones, train tracks, and oncoming traffic on a one way street. As I approached the main street I was asked many times if I had a license “to drive that thing”. The worst was attempting to cross a pedestrian cross walk–no one would stop–and it wasn’t like they couldn’t see the darn thing. Suddenly I was playing a personal arcade game of Frogger with this table and traffic was not stopping for me.  I just had to keep this glass tadpole safe. Common sense is like deodorant, the people that need it most never use it. So I forged on and let the drivers decide if they really wanted to hit a glass table.


The glass top vibrated all the way home and on each block I would stop and talk to the table. Was it a sign of impending mental collapse? I just took it as comparing expert advice between each other to get us both home safely.


Finally, I was home and pushed it up the handicap ramp and thought I was home free until I got to the front door. Suddenly I realized I was missing 8 inches to push it around the corner. It was the old ‘whenever something is wrong- it’s always too big’ dilemma. The front door flew open and a burly man covered in tattoos solved the issue by moving the table sideways, and in it slid- glass top intact.


It in the end the table took its rightful spot in the empty kitchen and looked fabulous. I, on the other hand, had vibrating hands that were part of a sweaty body that looked like it had been in a monsoon. My motto is that if we spend all our time worrying about what might be, then we will never have what is– like the table.



Cowansville Quebec Legion- Branch #99

November 10, 2014 –7:44 PM

War was a serious business in the Knight family– even when we were at peace. From a young age I was lectured from time to time on the devastation of war. My Grandfather had lived in the muddy trenches of France for long periods of time and then spent the rest of his living years dealing with the repercussions of being gassed. He called the use of gas “a cynical and barbarous disregard of the well-known usages of civilized war”— even though they had no idea what had happened to them at the time.

To Frederick J. Knight of Cowansville, Quebec who had valiantly fought in the British army there was something more soldierly about using a sword or a gun. Gas had a profound psychological impact on soldiers – it terrified and killed many of them. Watching him hold his temples in pain from migraines every few days upset me and constantly made me question if war had been worth it. The mind of a child wondered if it had led to a better tomorrow, or had it just been a terrible waste of life to those who had lost family.

Watching my Grandfather and Father walking proudly on Remembrance Day with their medals pinned on their overcoats with the rest of the Branch #99 Legion I could feel their emotion. For me it was just a day of having cold feet and hands with the rest of the Brownies as we stood on the frozen ground in front of the cenotaph during the ceremony. For my Grandfather, Father and the rest of the former soldiers it was a chance to represent those who were no longer with us.

When my husband died my oldest son inherited a plain ring made from a spoon that was made by a friend of his Grandfather Seccaspina. He had spent two years in a German prison camp called Bergen Belsen and on April 15, 1945, Eliseo Seccaspina was liberated with 60,000 other prisoners. Unfortunately he came home with the sad news that his brother Angelo would not be coming home. Angelo had both his hands cut off by the Germans as he attempted to join his brother on the back of a truck. His body lies somewhere near the border of Italy and was never found. Some will be forever lost, but we will remember all of them and tell their stories. Each time I put a poppy on I remember–because their spirits never die– they just live on through us.

For the living and the dead we must bear witness- Eli Wiesel




Friday November 16, 9:30 pm 2007

I walked out of the subway and hauled my cart up the escalator. I had bought a lovely black bag to put in the red cart to hold anything I might find on my journeys. Actually, I got the cheapest thing I could find at the dollar store and it had a picture of “The Last Supper” on the front and back. Last week an eager young lady asked me where I got the bag and I told her where I bought my holy economical find. She told me that Jesus was her “homeboy” and we both high-fived each other. It was definitely a Hashtag #Blessed moment!

Today was to be different.

I had already seen a “Rico Suave” sort of Latino gentleman in the subway earlier in the day and he was still in the same spot, now eating a lunchtime snack. He approached me as I got off the escalator and screamed at me,

“Where did you get that bag and how can they put a picture of something so holy like that on one of those cheap bags?” Are you a Catholic?” he screamed at me.

I became aggravated and knew we were causing a scene— and then it happened– the hot dog, or should I call it an assault wiener he was munching zeroed in on me and my bag. Let’s be frank– we were covered in condiments. Was this in reality “food for the soul”?

Oh well, if God is watching I can at least be entertaining right? And with that I wiped off what I could and threw my hands up in the air. I suddenly said the first thing that came to mind:

“Lettuce praise and relish Him!”

What can I say, “the spirit” might have been with me that day, and I would like to think he approved of the message. I had it “my way”!



January 18, 2008

Three weeks ago I had the dilemma of wondering what to wear to a Christmas party. I pulled out two of my favourite jackets and tried them on. I just stood there with my mouth open. There was no doubt that the shoulder pads rivalled those of Joan Collins on Dynasty. That goes to show you how long I have had these jackets and how I just can’t seem to shake the 80’s when it comes to jackets or clothes for that matter.

Recently, someone approached me with an intriguing question:

“Did you ever wear clothes with shoulder pads?”

I looked back with curiosity and wondered where this question came from.

“Yes,” I answered.  “In fact, I still have a few jackets that have shoulder pads.”

They gasped slightly, almost in complete  shock, and their eyes were went wide like the Margaret Keane’s “big-eyed art” hanging on my wall. I silently wondered what was so horrible about shoulder pads. Did I not know shoulder pads were such a major fashion faux pas? Okay, maybe I did.

It’s hard to come to the realization that as time goes on I’m just not as “cool” as I once thought I was. Still in disbelief that in 2008 that shoulder pads were still in my closet, I realized that I was packed more than a quarter back.

Later in the day I saw a trendy looking woman with a big padded shoulder jacket on in the subway. It was an over-size number, and I thought  she looked cool until I saw she had things hidden under her jacket. In fact, huge bumps were very conspicuously protruding. The gal looked nervous, and then I saw her take one of the duct taped packages out.

Those were no pads in those shoulders– there were  drugs under that jacket!! In fact they were wrapped as Christmas packages with festive paper and duct tape! She removed her jacket and packed the items back in the over size interior pockets. Suddenly I noticed she had track marks on her arms. She was a drug dealer– but was she a drug dealer in a good way because she had padded shoulders? I guess your fashion style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. As soon as I got home I threw the darn jackets out and knew I could never look at a shoulder pad again. On a bad day there is always lipstick. 




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 (USA)


Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 2

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past Part 1

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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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