Hats, Ogilvy’s and Gaudy Teenage Years — Noreen Tyers

Hats, Ogilvy’s and Gaudy Teenage Years — Noreen Tyers

Linda’s birthday fascinator

Your picture of the hat with the Swan just made me think of this story.

I noticed this picture on my Face Book page, it was put there by my dear friend Linda Seccaspina

Oh my goodness, it did bring back some fond memories, of my gawky teenage years. You know, long legs, skinny hair down, if it was not in French Braids. Anyone who knows me believes me to be somewhat shy, and does not look forward to being the person front and centre. I have been known to walk around the walls rather than just walk right in front and centre. I did not start up conversations but did answer when asked a question. My manners were good, let’s face it I was taught right from wrong by, my parents.

This reminds me of my teenage days, but I was somewhat a gawky teenage kid. Clothes were clean, body and hair sparkled, in fact I did not care if my nose was shiny, as I did not wear make up. What you saw was what you got.

In my early childhood days I was a bit of a tomboy, dressed last to go out anywhere. I usually climbed a tree and tore my good Sunday dress or got it dirty. My mother’s favourite saying to me “WELL YOU CAN’T MAKE A SILK PURSE OUT OF A SOW’S EAR”, it was true.

Well as all teenagers do, I would go shopping my school pals, I would get a lecture before we took the bus to go to downtown Ottawa and the Department Stores, you know: Ogilvy’s, Friemans, and Astor Chapeaus, it all depended on how much money you had as I was used to going to Woolworth’s and Beamish.

Lets Play Elevator- Charles Ogilvy Store — From the Pen of Noreen ...

This one day my girlfriends and I were on a tour to find those beautiful blue bloomer gym suits to wear in School. This suited me just fine as it covered up the undies and that is all you needed, and we all looked the same, like an orphan from the streets with this outfit on.

We had managed to find our gym suit and were about to look around. Well. it started in the Charles Ogilvy Store in the Millinery Department. Now one has to just stop and think of a skinny kid about five foot four, at the age of fifteen and weight of about one hundred pounds. Oh dear the legs were skinny, the knees big, just not a fashion Queen.

Plunking hats on long hair with little style, sure did not do anything for the pretty hats, of the latest style, I should have known better as some family members had worked at Ogilvy’s and I was known by some of the sales clerks. Well the pretty bonnets were just too big a temptation and me, as the class clown, thought I should plunk one of these veiled beautiful creations and then go into the act of modelling. Let’s face it teenage girls do not need much to get giggling and laughing, mind you we were entertaining the sales clerks. We were not rough but we sure did not do the hat justice and it was more of a comedy show.

The dear ladies from the Millinery Department, came over and said,” I know you are enjoying your shopping ladies, but this does not look very professional, so I think it would be best be on your way”. I have to say I did not have to be told twice as I did not want stories coming home.

107 Rideau

Well after wearing out our welcome at Charles Ogilvy Department Store, we left and spotting the Astor Chapeaus Shop, on Rideau Street we went to try our luck there. The store clerks were not of the same character as Ogilvy’s had been and we were asked to leave immediately.

I do have to say trying on hats continues to entertain me when the mood hits and I have just never outgrown the thoughts of fun– but I still do not give a hat a good showing.

Linda, this hat would definitely, be to my liking. Thank you for the memory but I will not come and borrow it from you as me and hats do not suit and I would ruin your hat image.

I do think my head is too small or maybe the hats were too big.

That’s the hat story, and it was a fun time and I did entertain my friends, and the good souls in the millinery Department at Ogilvy’s and no my parents did not find out.

Thank God.

From the ✒
of Noreen
July 24,2020


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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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