And That’s the Way it Was….

And That’s the Way it Was….


And That’s the Way it Was…. Linda Knight Seccaspina as read in the Sherbrooke Record

The first TV program I remember watching as a child was the Mantovani Show, and not only was it boring, but it was in glorious black and white. Because we lived 14 miles from the Frelighsburg–Vermont border we were lucky to be able to receive American television channels, but my family insisted on progressing musically from Mantovani to Don Messer’s Jubilee. My father always hated radio and I think he couldn’t wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too.

For a few years my father had a special plastic sheet stuck to the front of the black and white TV that ‘simulated’ full colour. It was sold as a cheap alternative to buying an expensive color TV set and its promise had sucked my father in. Finally he gave in and bought one of the first colour televisions on Albert Street in Cowansville and our home instantly became the local tourist attraction. After seeing everything in black and white for years my world had now progressed to technicolor with a new neighbour coming in every night to watch my father play around with the “horizontal hold” button.

Of course he was the only person allowed to touch it and he spent a great deal of time on the roof adjusting the antenna to get the best picture. After constant calls to Lechausseur’s TV on the Main Street he became obsessed with something called tubes.  Picture tubes were expensive, and it was a sad day if the repairman told you that you needed a new one.

This TV was considered state of the art in those days and was not like the old black and white where he used to take all the tubes out “to test them”. Tube testing was usually a Saturday morning project, and sometimes I went with him. Back in the 50s they used to have a display setup in the local drugstores and I used to watch him put the tubes into a display socket and a meter would tell you if it was good or ‘fried from overuse’.

Once you had colour TV you never went back to black and white- you just went to what was called an “upgrade”.  In the late 60’s some of my friends used LSD instead, and their whole lives became Technicolor without television. Instead of drugs my family just continued to ‘upgrade’ and in lieu of Don Messers Jubilee we inherited The Tommy Hunter Show on Friday nights.

Who knew a Hoedown, Tommy Hunter and Brenda Lee could all exist in colour together? That is the exact moment I seriously thought drugs might be the answer.  Canadian professor, philosopher, and public intellectual Marshall McLuhan once said,”The medium is in the message”. I shook my head after I heard Brenda Lee’s message full of Technicolor words,

“Brother, if you want to get the lowdown, come along and let’s all have a hoedown.”

You bet your sweet bippy Brenda! Don’t you wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence sometimes? There’s one marked ‘Brightness,’ but it has never seemed to work. For me anyways.

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As read in the Sherbrooke Record Quebec


  1. 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 and The Tales of Almonte


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Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 9

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 8

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 7

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 6

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 5

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 4

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

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

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

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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