Tag Archives: 1950’s

Did you Know that this one of the Malta Flying Aces Was a Doctor in Lanark?

Did you Know that this one of the Malta Flying Aces Was a Doctor in Lanark?


Anyone know the name of the former Lanark Doctor this 1952 news article is referring too? The article mentions some of the things found in Lanark such at Glenayr Kitten sweaters.

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

The Malta Aces

Squadron Leader Irving ‘Hap’ Kennedy was a Canadian fighter pilot. He flew Spitfires in Europe and Malta and Sicily and Whirlwinds and an American Kittyhawk in an amusing adventure in North Africa. He was shot down in France after the Normandy invasion and escaped.

One of the last of the future Canadian aces on Malta was a man with matinee idol good looks: Irving “Hap” Kennedy, who arrived in December 1942. His seven months of operations from Malta with 249 Squadron netted him five of his 12 victories. Like MacLennan, Hap wanted no more to do with war, and returned to the small town outside of Ottawa where he had grown up.

He became a much-loved country doctor first in Lanark Village and then back to Cumberland. “There was a need,” he says. “There were few doctors. I wanted to be a country doctor.”

His father had been Cumberland Township’s clerk treasurer. He was also a First World War veteran wounded at Vimy Ridge. For 37 years, Dr. Hap delivered babies at a rate that made him lose count He was the only doctor in the middle delivering hundreds of babies and making a powerful yet peaceful contribution to his hometown of Cumberland, Ontario, for decades.


They are out there. But soon they will all be gone. Perhaps you think of them as simply that older gentleman that walks his small dog down your street every day, the elderly fellow fumbling with his wallet ahead of you at the check out, that quiet guy who wears a badged blazer to church on Sundays, or that wonderfully kind, retired doctor who tends his garden. They live among us, blend in, live quietly and in the end they face the inevitable with dignity and quiet strength. To most neighbours and passersby, they are largely invisible, but once they were the boldest hearts, the fastest warriors, the most dashing and handsome of men, the most steadfast of comrades.

They are the fighter pilots of the Second World War. They are the ordinary men who stood up in the face of abject evil, prevailed and returned to live and love. They are the reason for our freedom. They are the lucky ones. Many did not return and those that did, lived their lives to the best of their abilities as tribute to their fallen brothers.

No one did more during their time in the RCAF, nor lived the remainder of their hard fought life with more dignity, contribution and gentleness than Cumberland, Ontario native Irving Farmer Kennedy. Known as “Hap” to his air force friends and “Bus” to his local community, Kennedy died on Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at the age of 91.

Mike Potter, Founder of Vintage Wings of Canada, had much the same thoughts when it came to describing the priviledge of his friendship with Kennedy:

“We are occasionally reminded that there are giants that walk among us, but sometimes they are heavily disguised. Hap Kennedy, as he was in his 80s when I had the privilege to meet him on several occasions, was a soft-spoken, friendly, modest and courteous gentleman, a father, grandfather, country doctor, and a strikingly handsome man in his old age. The few photos we have of him as a young man show him as the kind of clean-cut handsome young man you hope your daughter will bring home to introduce to the family, but they do not tell the whole story.

But here, behind the handsome face, is one of Canada’s magnificent warriors – a man who voluntarily entered some of the toughest and most dangerous fighting of recent times, where every engagement was the modern equivalent of hand-to-hand combat. Simply surviving Hap Kennedy’s war would have been an accomplishment, Malta in ’42, Sicily in ’43, D-Day in ’44.  But to chalk up victory after victory and become one of Canada’s most celebrated Aces of the war sets him apart. READ more here– CLICK



Irving Farmer “Hap” Kennedy


DFC   &   Bar

Click Here



The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
08 Jan 2011, Sat  •  Page


Black Crosses off my Wingtip– click here.. Burnstown Publishing

Jessie Leach Gemmill -The “Claire Fraser” of Lanark

Another Lanark Mystery– Paris Green

When I was 17- The Kitten- Glenayr Knitting Mills Reunion

How Much is that Kitten Sweater in the Window?

Stories from the Old Kitten Mill

Down by the Old Kitten Mill

Linda’s Mail Bag– Do You Have any Info on my Blanket?

You’re from the Village of Lanark You Say?

Pandemic Memories Then and Now

Pandemic Memories Then and Now



I have a mark on my upper arm that has never gone away in 65 years. Each time I look at it I remember going to the Cowansville, Quebec town hall and lining up to get vaccinated for Polio. Needles were not the dainty things we have today, and the oversized needle coming at me is something bad dreams are made of.

In those days you were told not to remove the ensuing arm scab or “great harm” would come to you. In fact, even more harm was supposed to come your way if you visited friends or went to birthday parties. Unless you were born before 1955 none of you will remember this reign of terror.

Polio had no cure then, and towns and cities were busy quarantining areas. Nothing seemed to work and some of the people in the Cowansville area did not have the money to care for a family member. In an attempt to control polio the old archaic rules came out: no open drains and have your Dad put those screens on the windows before something unholy came your way.

Posted on signs everywhere was: “Wash your hands, and have a bath every single day”. We were told also to stay away from crowds, and yes, more importantly keep the community public pools shut. Schools were closed and the Princess Theatre closed down on the Main Street. No one ever really found out how polio was spread, but basically if you didn’t clean your hands properly after using the bathroom that was a big one. For years doctors made you feel it was your own fault if you got polio. 

I can’t remember anyone hoarding anything but parents really began insisting about the danger of swimming in pools, or lakes. A study showed that chlorine was actually one of the few known chemicals that could attack the virus. When all the public pools started using an effective level of chlorine, most of the epidemic ended overnight.  If they had only had realized that polio was inactivated by chlorine, as well as by heat and formaldehyde which was the chemical used to inactivate the virus in Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine. Once they found a vaccine that proved to be effective against it, polio basically went away. 

Now COVID-19 is suddenly a real threat and we are going through almost the same panic scenario as we did with Polio and other infectious diseases of the past. Instead of staying out of pools, we are essentially hoarding masks, hand sanitizers among other things and toilet paper shelves have been emptied across the world. 

I have no doubt that come sort of  vaccine will be developed in the near future and unlike the first polio victims WHO has said a vast majority of coronavirus patients will recover. I know as a child I was petrified watching the news or listening to my parents talk about polio. But we need not to panic and to remember that your grandparents and great grandparents were called to war —– now we are asked to sit on our couch. We can do this.



Doug McCarten–I do indeed remember! Although the polio vaccination came too late for me as I had it at 2 years old! Apparently I was within 24 hrs of paralysis…..when I was getting better, I have a vivid memory of visiting the patients who were in Iron Lungs and talking to them in the mirror attached above their head! The room was lit only by the afternoon sun but with the curtains pulled so the light that did enter was muted….




Fear and Loathing of the School Inoculations

The Peculiar Case of Jeanetta Lena McHardy

Remember Polio?

A Tale of Two Women

For the Love of Laura Secord — The Rest of the Story

What Do You Do if You Just Can’t Walk Right In?


Did They Try to Run the World?

Did They Try to Run the World?


My mother Bernice Ethelyn Crittenden Knight smack dab in the middle of the front row in a Bruck Mills promo photos in Cowansville, Quebec.

When I was growing up as a child I never thought that women were supposed to be restricted to being homemakers. I grew up during a time that was a decade after World War ll. Some women had taken jobs while the men were away at war. History states that after the war, many decided to keep some sort of job, and some did, but most became the Suzy Homemaker that you see in the 1950s ads.

My mother used to work at Bruck Mills in Cowansville, Quebec before she married my father. There were 600 people that began working there in 1922 and they employed 30 men and women at the start. In 1946 when my Mother worked there were 4,000 employees: 2200 women and the remainder men. After she married she not only looked after her children and the house, but gave piano lessons and sometimes helped out during lunches at school. In fact most of the women from what I remember on Albert Street worked in various retail stores or manufactures and new appliances were being made that allowed women to spend less time in their homes. 

My grandmother worked for as long as I can remember helping the family South Street electrical contracting business and then doing the books every week on the dining room table. Saturday nights before Lawrence Welk the small metal cash box would come out and she would teach me to balance the books with my Grandfather sitting beside me. I worked in the store on Friday nights and sold fixtures and typed out invoices on carbon paper on the old typewriter every summer. I never knew I should be learning homemaking ways to please a future husband as my family taught me differently.

Looking back, the smartest woman in Cowansville was hands down Doris Wallet of Albert Street. She was a businesswoman before I even knew what business was all about. Not only did she keep her house spanking clean and look after her children, she ran a small men’s wear store on Main Street where the old Continental store once stood. Her husband Murray worked at Vilas and Doris ran the shop during the day. I loved going hanging out in the small store with wooden floors before her daughter Sheila and I went to the Bluebird Restaurant after school. She had a great personality and you could see she loved to do what she did. Years later they moved to Knowlton and had a hardware store. Doris was always involved, and I never realized how smart she was until I thought about it today.

There were also many Avon, Watkins and Tupperware business ladies during my childhood. A Tupperware manufacture had opened up in Cowansville and suddenly the local women were making money marketing and selling the new plastic products from their own home. There was always the various Tupperware parties up and down the street and when pink and blue plastic salt and pepper shakers appeared on our table you knew everyone else had them too. 

Suddenly everyone visited each other’s home and my Mother was making her pineapple squares once a week to bring to somebody’s house. As for Avon, every child I knew owned a Snoopy Rubber soap dish and our Mothers reeked of Avon’s Daisies Don’t Tell Cologne!

I guess I was lucky, but from what I see in the news archives Cowansville, Quebec was pretty progressive. In 1913 Dr. Robertson, chairman on agriculture and technical education, spoke at the town hall on the need for education on farming. He encouraged a 5 month course for men and a 3 month course in the summer for women. Robertson said the Dairy Farmers would be in trouble if women were not included. The Cowansville school board encouraged women in the 1950s to join the men as they said women would have a softer view on things and it would balance out the board.

Growing up with strong women taught me to never worry who gets the praise or the credit– just work hard, and don’t look back. Thanks to the women in my childhood I use my hands, head and heart for the good of others. I learned from the best– a foundation of women from the past.


Age 5 or 6 on Albert Street..Notice how we basically all have the same dress on that carried on for years?
Front row: the late Russell Rychard, Murray Dover Danny Dover..
Back row- France, Janet Sandstead, Sheila Wallet Needham, me and Judy Clough

A One and a Two Memories with Lawrence Welk

A One and a Two Memories with Lawrence Welk


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For nearly 28 years I think I saw every single episode of the Lawrence Welk Show– or — sometimes it felt like I did.  Lawrence Welk was the musical voice of my wax coke bottle and candy cigarette generation before I discovered  punk rock, and Madonna. His shows carried on for almost 30 years, and after I stopped watching them I knew that my Grandmother and others had not stopped the tradition. In all honesty Lawrence Welk never really went away.

Through the magic of syndication and of course the internet, the late Lawrence Welk still blows his signature bubbles to this day. I was born from a generation that has long forgotten Welk’s music, comparing it to music found in second hand shops or those occasional visits to your aged relative’s home. Then there were some of the odd things that I will never forget. Maybe they weren’t strange to some, but I could not figure out what kind of allure those English tenors had, or how about those god awful powder blue suits everyone seemed to wear.

But, really it was the innocence of it all, something the whole family could watch and enjoy– especially those Lennon Sisters. It was a very different era when they were known as America’s sweethearts with their sugary smiles and angelic voices.

Those were the days of no remote control and you had to get up to change the channel. My grandfather not only got up to change the channel but he also adjusted the “rabbit ear” antenna on the top of the television set. I can still remember the clicking as it turned to one of the 5 channels we had.

What was watched on television was determined by the elders in your family. Evening television wasn’t watched until dinner was done, dishes put away, and the only television was in the living room.



1985-Now The Goyer Complex with Varins still there.


F. J  Knight Electrical Contractors and home

Every Saturday night my grandfather would cross South street to Varin’s Pharmacy and buy a large bar of chocolate. In the winter he would sit in his chair and carefully break apart the bar so we could all share while watching the Admiral television. In the summer the treat would be a bag of Laura Secord Fruit Flavoured Jelly Slices.

There are many cozy memories of huddling around the TV set with my grandparents. There was Lawrence Welk on Saturday, Ed Sullivan on Sunday, and Andy Griffith during the week. My grandfather would sit in his upholstered chair beside the old radio that he listened to the BBC news on. My grandmother was in her well worn arm chair on the left with a stack of Reader’s Digests on the small table along with whatever needed darning that week. I sat on the long blue couch that was covered in plastic that was never removed in my memory. It made a loud crunch each time you sat on it, and the plastic stuck to you in the summer heat. But everyone covered their couches in those days to preserve its beauty, and it was as normal as having a daily cup of tea.

I still occasionally watch Lawrence Welk on PBS and memories of my aging neighbour comes to mind who loved this show too. In the mid mark of dementia a few years ago she and I were watching a rerun of the famed bandleader and she turned to me and quietly said during a commercial,

“You know, I’ve always liked Lawrence Welk. But I think he was better before he died.”

Now that statement was worth any bar of accordion music any day of the year. Thanks for the memories Mr. Welk!



Where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome 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. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.

Should I Have Done that on Television?

My Favourite TV Shows — Almonte Carleton Place

When The Friendly Giant was King on Televison

Magic Tom –A Suitcase That Was Full of Illusions

Remembering the Littlest Hobo

When The Friendly Giant was King on Televison

In Memory– The Last of The Five Little Peppers

In Memory– The Last of The Five Little Peppers Part 2 — Dorothy Ann “Dottie” Seese

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

Did You Watch Maggie Muggins?

Banking the Memories of Aretha Franklin

The Cook Girls – The Mary Cook Girls- Peter Bradley

The Cook Girls – The Mary Cook Girls- Peter Bradley

PLEASE PLAY while looking at photos

These are the sleek fashionable ladies/models of  the iconic Mary Cook from Cook’s Store on Bridge Street

Photos from Peter Bradley– that he and his father took.


All photos from Peter Bradley- “Me and my father took them as they were great friends with Mary and Wally Cook”.















Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome 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. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.


Mary Cook Photos Of Carleton Place

 Do You Know Where Mary Cook Once Worked?

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

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

Carleton Place Mod Fashion Show 1960’s

Memories of Gold Bond Stamps? Predecessor of Air Miles

Memories of Gold Bond Stamps? Predecessor of Air Miles

I remember grocery stores giving gold bond stamps for loyalty. As a kid I spent many hours filling collector books for my grandmother. I’d eagerly lick the stamps until my tongue would get dry and my mouth had an awful taste. I’d also spend hours looking at rewards catalogs to see what we could get. Just when I had it figured out, a new catalogue would arrive in the mail.  I never thought that the store-bought items were probably less expensive in the long run.

GOLD+BOND+GIFT+BOOK+CATALOG+1968 | Book gifts, Gold bond, Gifts

A department store in Milwaukee introduced the first trading stamps back in 1891, which were exchanged for goods in the store but in 1896, the Sperry and Hutchinson Company, which began issuing S&H Green Stamps that year, was the first trading stamp company that operated as an independent business, providing stamps to different types of merchants in a community, along with booklets to paste them in, and opening their own stores where merchandise was purchased only in exchange for the company’s stamps. Cold, hard cash wasn’t accepted at the stores known as “redemption centres.”

As Peter Low said: Above is the predecessor of Air Miles, Petro Points, PC Optimum, Scene Points, etc.

There were questions as to whether stamps were an advantage to consumers or took advantage of consumers. The battles raged from the earliest days but ultimately it would not be politics or lobbying that would bring down the industry but the unforeseen turbulence of a changing economy. One thing was for sure, though, the trading stamp will always be remembered.

Are the new cards any different?:) What are your thoughts?


The Trading Stamp Story


Gail Grabe Saved them for a wooden salad bowl set, some ’60’s style wall plaques, can still taste the glue from putting them in the books!

Linda Gallipeau-Johnston My Mom collected them and I collected them too – high chair, bottle warmer, bottle sterilizer. They came in pretty handy!

Kevin Kennedy IGA had them corner of bridge and franklin in Carleton Place

Jennifer Frances Oh my!!!! What a blast from my grammas past! She loved those books!

Peter Bradley I remember the funeral home just up from the Mississippi Hotel had a sign in the window saying “We give Gold Bond Stamps” They sold furniture as well and I wondered if you got them for coffins too?

Mary Ann Gagnon As the oldest, I was in charge of licking those stamps and putting them in the books for mum. I will never forget the taste (awful!), but the joy of being that much closer to the chosen item made it all worthwhile!

Dilys Anne Hagerman My mother got my first special breadspread through those stamps!

Lynda Burger My mom got a set of dishes using them.

Judy Riley I got my first good pots through Gold Bond after leaving home. Stainless steel, triple bottom

Donna Timmins I worked as a teenager in IGA, Almonte, so gave customers their gold bond stamps. Also saved & glued them into books for mom.

Judy Riley Pretty sure many christmas presents were only bought compliments of gold bond stamps in our house. Not mine because I got books and clothes but my younger sibs.

Nancy Moore My sister Kathy got her first pair of skis with these stamps! She is an excellent skier!!!

Linda Nilson-Rogers My mother used to try to get me to lick the bloody things…

Karen Wiles Cleland I still use the 20 cup coffee perc my Mom got with Gold Bond Stamps, maybe mid sixties? Definitely got our money’s worth!

Donald Scott I remember these my parents got a bedroom set from IGA WITH THESE BACK IN THE 70’S

Sandra Elwood Oh gosh, yes, I remember these and Pinky Stamps, too!!! A predecessor to the Points cards of today.

Arlene Savard My Mom bought my 1st tennis racket with Gold Bond Stamps, loved it.

James Larry Doyle My aunt let me get a tennis racquet with her stamps and I still have it.

Mary Hurdis I saved them and got sheets and pots and pans I still have

Mary Anne Harrison I still have and use the carving set my Granny O’Keefe bought with her gold bond stamps from the IGA.

Cathy Paterson I remember $2 for a book also saved up and got our dad an extension ladder for his birthday

Catherine Cochran My mom bought me my first set of silverware by saving her gold bond stamps

Sandra Houston I remember the Gold Bond books used to fill them with stamps for my Nanny and take them to the IGA

Michael Sandy Herb McDonald My first football helmet I owned was a present from my Grandmother who saved books of these stamps.

Pat Lipton it was my job the stick them in the books!!!

Sherene Baird Flint Definitely remember licking the stamps and then going to West Gate mall to cash them in for something in the catalog!!

Judy Reid Hamre We kids fought so much that one of the first things Dad used the stamps for was boxing gloves – true!


1969 Gold Strike Stamps Catalog

1969 Gold Strike Stamps Catalog


Memories and Thoughts of the Grocery Store

  1. Mitchell & Cram — History of The Summit Store 1898-1902 –Carleton Place Then and Now–Bridge Street Series –Volume 15

  2. Robberies in Carleton Place — Mr. Ed Campbell of High Street

  3. The Edwards Grocery Fire

  4. The Old Grocery Counter –Calvin Moore

  5. Dishing up the Memories of The Devlins

    Glory Days of Carleton Place–Mike Kean

    Memories of Ruth Ferguson

    Where’s the Beef in Carleton Place?

    Name That Carleton Place Butcher? FOUND!!!

    Memories of Argue’s Food Market?

    The Days of the Loosey Cigarette, Slinky and Mailing a Letter

    In Memory of Mickey Pickup– Carleton Place Dominion Store

    The Writing on the Wall Disappeared but the Memories Don’t

Saddle Shoes –Did You Walk a Mile in Those Shoes?

Saddle Shoes –Did You Walk a Mile in Those Shoes?



I was a child who missed the saddle shoes of the 40s and the 50s by a few years, but my older Albert Street friend and neighbour Verna May Wilson made up for me. There were those of of my friends who thought the return of saddle shoes in 1972 was the best thing since Lucky Charms and Lava Lamps. Then there were two or three and myself who said they hated the entire situation with I believe we said, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”. And, as would be expected, there were a few old timers that had to throw in their two cents and tell “us kids” about the “olden days”. One of my friends launched the conversation, and her first words were, “Hey, saddle shoes are coming back, and my Mother thinks that is great!” For her Mother it was like smelling wine and roses— no, more like winning a sweepstakes contest.

Some of you some will remember the old days of saddle shoes when you bought them sparkling white and clean, and then you tried your very hardest to get them dirty before the kids at school got the chance to do the job for you. Seems nice white saddle shoes just wasn’t the thing in those days, and it was very painful to have your friends trying to take every inch of bark off the uppers of your saddle shoes.



I really don’t wander around beginning conversations about saddle shoes these days, but when the subject has come up  I once again have always always expressed my displeasure with them. 

I do remember hearing Verna telling me her Mother became hysterical at the sight of the new saddle shoes when she returned home after her first day at school. They were scuffed and gave the appearance of having gone through a small war, but that was the “in” way to wear saddle shoes.

Day after day a bit more wear and tear became noticeable, and just about the time you really got the uppers of your saddle shoes to the point where they were socially acceptable with the “In” crowd things started happening to the rest of the shoes, and it was time to get a new pair.




There were all sorts of things Verna Wilson did with saddle shoes. She would change her laces to match an outfit and I swear some peaked out of their Albert Street Venetian blinds on a daily basis to see what she had done. But, this was a girl that came home at lunchtime to change into another fresh white blouse that she wore with her navy blue school tunic, and she was perfect in my eyes.

She mentioned there was a professional scuffer at Cowansville High School that would scuff your saddle shoes for a nominal price. I heard that his scuffing business was so popular that you had to wait as long as three or four days to get his attention.

My style once older never followed Verna, but it involved my Grandmother’s borrowed pearls, penny loafers, with a scent of Evening in Paris. I was also so mesmerized with tap dancing that sometimes I taped nickles on the bottom of my shoes. The coin sometimes came in handy for a call on an emergency payphone. Can you even imagine– a penny! But after months of wearing them my father began calling them “clodhoppers” as that’s what they used to call big shoes that just didn’t fit well anymore.



Shoes have always been part of everyone’s lives and they can either afford you the adoration of your peers, or jeers from the cool kids table in the lunch room. Should we get into the Hush Puppies era, or can we just stop now at Saddle Shoes and Loafers and suppress those memories?

Did you know that all these shoes we wore actually changed the shape of our feet over the course of our lives? As Leonardo DaVinci once said, “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.”  Maybe so, but after a lifetime of fashionable shoes, my feet are no masterpieces– they in fact looked like very scuffed Saddle shoes that no one would want– and that my friends are going easy on them.




I was Linda Knight, Junior bridesmaid at this wedding.:)

 - J. Dunn, Hadlock -Wilson -Wilson Wedding Held...

Clipped from

  1. The Gazette,
  2. 08 Sep 1959, Tue,
  3. Page 26

lindaaa.jpg - Youngsters Bid Saddle Shoes 1 . I I i I l 1 L I...

Clipped from

  1. Asheville Citizen-Times,
  2. 16 May 1943, Sun,
  3. Page 20
  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

What’s in the Cornerstone at the Carleton Place Hospital?

What’s in the Cornerstone at the Carleton Place Hospital?

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Second in a memory series thanks to the CPDMH 

Thanks to the Women’s Auxiliary  we know what is inside the cornerstone of the Carleton Place & District Hospital. Time capsules can be pretty boring. But time capsule nerds like me live for those rare capsules with something really cool inside.  Did you know that construction crews in Indiana were shocked to discover a time capsule from 1958 at a former mental hospital. The most exciting part? It contained a film with a message to the future–a message about electroshock therapy and psychiatric drugs. Based on the audio that’s survived, they’re talking about some pretty heavy things: electroshock therapy, and the “problems of the future.”google image


In 1957 this is how many people used the Carleton Place & District Hospital. hospital. Can you imagine how many people use it now?

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Clippings of the Opening of the Carleton Place Hospital February 14 1955

Chuck Norris Does Live in Carleton Place—Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital (CPDMH) Auxiliary

Sitting in the Emergency Ward at the Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital

Maybe We Should Film Oak Island in Carleton Place? The Day the Money Disappeared

1980 Statistics for The Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital

The Day We Lost Hand in Carleton Place — Carleton Place District and Memorial Hospital

Never Say Dye, Said Miss RIT



1920s RIT box thanks to Doris Blackburn/ Karen Blackburn Chenier

I have often wondered where I get my love of wearing dark colours day in and day out.  Did it all stem back to the tender age of 12? On a shopping trip to Granby, Quebec I once met a woman reciting poetry on the street. She was thin, cool, and wore nothing but black. Smoking a long slim cigarette, she blew perfect circles into the air and looked like she didn’t have a care in the world. I immediately assumed at that young age that one did not have to think if you wore the colour black.

But the more I thought about it, I realized my Grandmother never wore colour much either except to Rebekah Lodge meetings. Those box-shaped handmade white dresses she wore didn’t have that much shape to them, but she always added some sort of lace trim–which didn’t help much. But, most days she wore as many shades of blue as she could think of. Her friends must have wondered how she managed all those shades of dark blue she came up with– but I knew how she did it.

Dresses in those days were always “freshened up” according to Grammy and RIT  Dye encouraged creative homemakers like herself to give their dingy clothes new life for just a couple of quarters a box. The ‘catch-all’ drawers in her white bureau situated in the heart of her kitchen contained dozens of boxes of the product. Some days before she bought her washer; a pot of dye would be boiling on top of her woodstove along with lunch.  My grandfather’s eyes would be in a panic when he saw one of her dresses stewing away hoping she would not reuse that pot again for food preparation.

Most garments made out of rayon and crepe were not washed as a whole in those days, and only ‘spot cleaned’ as necessary to preserve the shape and colours. Spot cleaning was huge in my Grandmother’s world–and I always seemed to be her test subject before I went back to school after a lunch that included gravy.

Even though she wore Mitchum’s deodorant, dye ran easily, especially with the dark colours that she wore. Those Kelinart’s underarm dress shields with the plastic linings were worn to reduce those ghastly yellow underarm stains–but they never seemed to work. I know a few vintage dresses I have seen in a friends closet that have not been washed in a  lifetime– but not Grammy’s. The vast majority of the time after spot cleaning they always went back into the pot for a new shade of dark blue. Immediately the rubber gloves went on and a brick went into the pot to weigh the garment down.

I never saw my Grandmother wear pants and her life was a long and sordid tale of  boiling pots, washing machines, and dry-cleaners for her dresses. Life always needed a splash of colour she said, and even when RIT Dye was no longer popular with homemakers Grammy still continued.

In the 1960s  fashion designers began featuring tie-dyed clothing. Tie-dye became the look of a whole generation, saving the RIT Dye brand from extinction. I, being a young thriving fashionista, began tye dying with the best of them under the guided hand of my smiling grandmother. Live fast and dye pretty might not have been in her phrase dictionary, but it was in mine. Grammy made me realize having the control to dye your clothes and change your look was a part of self-expression and has always been the purpose of life for me. I realize now that  self expression was for her too as long as she had a box of RIT.


Image result for RIT dye 1950s

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

Drugs of the 1950s from Mac William’s Shelves– Iodine, Liniment and Camphor Oil

Drugs of the 1950s from Mac William’s Shelves– Iodine, Liniment and Camphor Oil


Photo-thanks to Doris Blackburn/ Karen Blackburn Chenier — now located at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

Once upon a time having rheumatoid arthritis was a really serious problem and chances are if you lived in the area you went for a walk over to Mac Williams to see what he could do about your Rheumatism and Neuralgia.

Everyone thought only old people got this disease. It was like this: “there’s gramps, limping along slowly, leaning heavily on his cane. He has the rheumatiz.” Or “there’s gramma, crocheting winter scarves–slowly, slowly–with gnarled, misshapen fingers, but she rarely complains. She has arthritis.”


Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

There were other misconceptions back in the olden days, too.  Did you know everyone thought osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis were the same disease? There wasn’t much you could do for it and chances are what Mac Williams had available were hopeful, but mostly useless.

For instance Mac would probably tell you that you could rub hot vinegar on your sore joints. Or, you could gulp down a refreshing glass of orange juice –with cod liver oil–right before bedtime. That liniment in the photo looks like it might be soothing; it probably still exists in some form that you can buy online today.

Tincture of idodine

God how I hated iodine! My Grandmother would bend my leg up and pour the whole bottle on that cut— boy, did that smart! It always left you with an orange stain and Grammy would blow on the cut while she was trying to stop you from freaking out. Of course I was known to have a scream that was heard as far as East Farnham some days if I saw Dr. Roy come near me with a needle– so no one ever interrupted their day when they heard Linda Knight scream. Ever- they knew medical madness was afoot with that young Knight gal.

Camphorated Oil

Although many people have no idea of what camphorated oil is, they have heard of it from an old song. In this song, sung to the tune of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” John Brown’s baby had a cold upon its chest, so he rubbed it with camphorated oil. As the song suggests, camphorated oil is good for colds and flu and my Grandmother sang it to me each time she pulled that darn bottle out.

Camphor oil is known for it’s strong, nasty aroma. Large doses can be toxic, but Grammy Mary Louise Deller Knight ignored all that I swear. She said she always had things in her medicine cabinet to make you feel better — and she did– but I can still smell them 60 years later.  Did you know a treatment for schizophrenia, initially was through an injection of camphor oil. And let’s not forget that same oil was used as a balm on cold sores and chapped lips. Yuck!!

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Photo thanks to Lorraine Nephin- Bruce Sadler’s vintage Canadian newspapers


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