Mary Cook and her Telephone Pin

Mary Cook and her Telephone Pin



Mary Cook is not only a local icon and author but she and her husband Wally also used to own Cook’s on Bridge Street in Carleton Place. She is a fashion maven, and Sunday I noticed a fabulous pin she was wearing. She told me the little telephone pin was once being sold on a dollar table at Cook’s in 1958 and she loved it so much she rescued it for herself.

I remember that old telephone and it was called a candlestick telephone that was common from the late 1890s to the 1940s.  Living in a rural area in Quebec I still saw them being used as a child.

The phrase “Number please” will never be heard again from a telephone switchboard operator when making a phone call. At least that is what my Grandmother would tell me over and over again as she sat in her rocking chair on Friday nights. Every Friday night we would both sit inside the screened porch and watch the folks coming out of the South Street Liquor Store and Varin’s Pharmacy in Cowansville, Quebec.

Friday night used to be the time you cashed your weekly paycheck, did your groceries, and talked about the weather to anyone you bumped into. I would have rather talked about Ricky Nelson and Paul Anka, but the topics of conversation on that vernadah was always about something everyone loved, but had just disappeared. It seems the day the switchboard telephone operator vanished was something that should never have happened in my Grandmother’s mind, but in reality; it was probably because she never had the opportunity to have made the final decision.

I remember the day my phone number 1386 disappeared like it was yesterday. One morning I got up and was ready to tell the operator to call 32 which was my Grandmother’s number and all I heard was a dial tone. I guess I too was not happy that I had not made the decision either, as I immediately missed their kind and reassuring voices.

Thank you Mary for reminding me of the past with your gorgeous pin today.




1960’s Fashion Shows– Once a Huge Extravaganza!

The Alice Walker Fashion Show 1974 Carleton Place

You Better Work it Girl! Cover Girls of Carleton Place 1965

Mary Cook’s Deportment Classes for Young Ladies in Carleton Place

Carleton Place Mod Fashion Show 1960’s

And Then There was Cook’s– and Most of All Mary Cook






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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