A Letter to my Grandchildren April 14, 2020 — Linda Knight Seccaspina

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A Letter to my Grandchildren April 14, 2020 — Linda Knight Seccaspina

 

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During the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, I found many letters written how people felt. I decided to write one for posterity.

To my sweet angels,

The only thing I can remember similar to this at your age was living in “a polio world” in the 1950s. Birthday parties and friends were shunned less the “polio germ” lived within them or their homes. Today, you my Grandchildren are living in a different world, yet it feels like the same world. I wonder if you will remember it like I remember the years of polio. 

Each day your Grandmother wakes up during this pandemic confused as to what day it is, yet somehow, none of this is a dream. Empty silent streets affirm the daily unimaginable reality show that we are all living through.

I don’t think I have felt melancholy until today, and after reading through some Facebook posts I see others are feeling the same way. I have made a great effort to think positive, even though I worry if any traces of COVID-19 have wandered into this house. Some nights I pull the sheet over my head in case the virus mysteriously hangs in the air. What if it suddenly infiltrates me making me feel like someone pulled a corset too tight? What if I never see you again?  I keep forgetting I am one of those that are in the high risk group and I must be careful.

I lay my head down on top of my laptop genuinely tired. Sleep is lacking greatly at night combined with the wildest dreams I have ever had. Last night I was running an auction in some stairwell and all I could see was rows of faces sitting in old wooden Sunday School chairs on each level. Faces were glued to what I was saying– but were they listening? It reminded me of a story your Great Grandmother used to tell me.

In the 1940s a Tetanus vaccination was introduced in Canada and many parents didn’t want to have their children vaccinated. Your Great Grandmother told me that she had heard stories that a child in Dunham, Quebec had gotten the inoculation and “ended up on all fours”. There is no proof regarding that statement of hers – but I know she went down to the High School daily pleading in front of a group of seated teachers and school elders. For a month she begged them to spare her children from being vaccinated, but in the end both your Grandfather Arthur and your great Uncle Fred Jr. were inoculated.

After the inoculation Fred Jr. got sick and died 5 months later. Each day when the doctor would come down those orange stairs from the second floor he would tell  your Great Grandmother that he had no clue how to help her eldest child. In 1941 Frederick Alexander Knight died at the age of 19, and the only memory that was left of him was a photo of him on the wall beside the verandah door. I have no idea what happened to that photo, and the only proof that Fred Jr. was born, lived, and died in Cowansville, Quebec is on the family gravestone that sits in the Emmanuel United Church Cemetery on Main Street in Cowansville.

There were also the occasional bats that used to fly out of hidden corners in the dead of the night in the old house. The discovery that bats caused rabies in the 1950s had increased public fear. The radio and newspapers drove your Great Grandmother to full tilt. The very transient sighting of a bat caused her to scream to keep my head down. Apparently one had gotten caught in her hair once and she didn’t want anyone to catch rabies.

Of course just like now there were conspiracy stories galore and I began to think this was one of hers. In reality, bats are not interested in flying into your hair, but they may fly close to you in search of insects. Remember that if I ever tell you that story.

Great Grammy Knight would spray her floorboards in the 50s trying to keep away any bugs that might form disease in her home. I realize today that was DDT and wonder how that generation and myself lived so long.

A hundred years ago there was something called The Spanish Flu and all your ancestors lived through it. Some survived, and some did not. But unlike your ancestors a vaccine for COVID-19 will hopefully soon be developed. Maybe our social interaction will be delayed for a while and we will have to find other ways to be together without risk.

Please remember that Facebook and Instagram can never replace the human spirit and Facetime is no substitute for being in the same room with family and friends. So all we can do now is take one hour or one day at a time and get through it smiling. Why? Because your ancestors made it through and we will too. As your Great Grandmother Mary Louise Deller Knight used to tell me:

Don’t worry my birdie, just do what you’re told and keep to the rules and you will be fine.”

She is right we will be fine– this too shall pass. I promise.

Love from your Gammy who loves you so much.

 

Lanark County Santa Letters 1918

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 25- Code Family– A Letter from Mother

 

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 24- Code Family– Built for the Love of his Life

The Original Thomas Alfred Code and Andrew Haydon Letters – —Part 1

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 2– Perth Mill

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 3– Genealogy Ennis

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4a – Innisville the Beginning

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4b – Innisville — Coopers and “Whipping the Cat” 1860-1870

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4c – Innisville — Henry York and Johnny Code

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4d – Innisville — “How We did Hoe it Down”!

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 4e – Innisville — ‘Neighbours Furnished one Another with Fire’

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 5- Code Family– “Hawthorn Mill was a Failure, and the Same Bad Luck has Followed for at Least 50 Years”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 6- Code Family– “Almost everything of an industry trial character had vanished in Innisville in 1882”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 7- Code Family–“Thank God, no member of my family has disgraced me or the name!

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 8- Code Family– “We got a wool sack and put him inside and took him to the bridge”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 9- Code Family –“I had much trouble in saving myself from becoming a first class liar”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 10- Code Family – I conjured to myself: “You will know me later!” And Peter McLaren did.

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 11- Code Family –“I continued with bull dog tenacity for 12 years without salary”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 12- Code Family–“Had I the course to go over again I would evade outside responsibilities beyond my share, even if it cost more”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 13- Code Family–S. S. No. 17 Drummond, Innisville

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 14- Code Family–Letters from Mother Elizabeth Hicks

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 15- Code Family– Love and Runaway Marriages

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 16- Code Family-“The fish would shoot back and forth and at time hit their legs causing them to fall”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 17- Code Family–“A reaper with the sickle and danced all night”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 18- Code Family–Family Records from the Family Bible

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 19- Code Family–“Michell was never known to have any money, excepting at or after tax sales”

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 20- Code Family–“Whither Are We Drifting?”– The Perth Public School

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 21- Code Family–Franktown Past and Present Reverend John May

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 22- Code Family–Field Day at “The Hill” (McDonald’s Corners)

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 23- Code Family–Brother John — John Code Goes West

The Thomas Alfred Code Journal – Letters-Part 24- Code Family– Built for the Love of his Life

When Newspapers Gossiped–David Kerr Innisville

Kerr or Ennis? More about the Innisville Scoundrel

What Went Wrong with the Code Mill Fire in Innisville?

 

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

Linda and the Lack of a Christmas Card–This is Your Christmas Letter 2017

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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