Tag Archives: arthur knight

A Chip Off the Old Block?



    The late Arthur and Bunny Knight

I have never written about my father before today. Years of pent up anger, lost years and words have created a mental block that has stopped me writing about a man that I felt never understood me. Today, after all these years I realize that even though I hate to admit it, I might just be a ‘chip off the old block’ as they say.

My late father and I were always at battle because I never knew where he was coming from, and he wondered why his daughter was always different than everyone else in thought, word and deed.

Arthur John Knight could never figure out why his daughter had to dress differently and was always protesting the Vietnam War. I came from a family that fought the World Wars in trenches, got gassed in France and helped found a Canadian Legion Branch in Cowansville Quebec- so I was expected to carry on a tradition. My Dad figured a stint in the Canadian Women’s Army might give me some stability and knock that “yeah yeah yeah (Beatles) business” out of me.


Branch number 99 Cowansville Quebec

Well, I quit school, left home at 15 1/2 and made my way into the fashion world for a good part of my life. The closest I got to a military career was when I dressed in military surplus fashions in the 70s.

One thing I always respected my father for was for his dedication to his community. He was a town alderman, deputy mayor and very active in the Canadian Legion, Lions Club, and the local Masonic Lodge. My Dad devoted a good part of his life attempting to improve the town of Cowansville, Quebec and to the 21st  Premier of  Quebec, Jean Jacques Bertrand. He was never into photo-ops, nor doing things in a very public way. Humble, driven, and unlike his daughter, he did things very quietly for the small rural town.

Like myself, Arthur trusted every single person he came into contact with and ended up losing a 50-year-old  family electrical contracting business in the 70s. The reason the business ravelled away was because he gave so many people credit. When customers didn’t have the money, he would tell them not to worry about it-to pay him when they could. It eventually caught up with him, but his suppliers and customers never forgot him and made sure that he was alright.

Today, I realize that I might be my father’s daughter, and I wish I had a second chance. But, really sometimes you don’t deserve another chance if you haven’t learned from your first mistakes. Maybe time wasn’t ready for the first one- but next time I see him after I’m gone we can begin again and make a new ending.

Happy Father’s Day Dad- sorry it took so long to figure it out and I just kept running up that hill without thinking..

In memory of Arthur John Knight 1924-1982

To Bernie and the Vets


November 11th, 2010

The above photo card was a friend of my grandfather’s whose name was Bernie. He had no family and was a great companion to Grampy Knight until he died in the trenches in WWI. Grampy always told me if anything happened to him to look after Bernie’s picture so someone would always remember. I still have it today.

When the sun rises today in Canada it becomes the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge. Today should be nothing short of a day of respect for the men and women that have and continue to fight for our countries.



Carleton Place Remembrance Day parade photo that hangs in the lobby of the old Mississippi Hotel


As a child my father and grandfather would don their dress overcoats, berets, their war medals and proudly march with their fellow war heroes behind the flag bearer of The Cowansville Canadian Legion Branch Number 99 on November 11th. The photo of Bernie was always kept in a business envelope in my Grandfather’s upper right pocket.

Grampy Knight had fought with the British Army in WWI in France and had been one of the first soldiers to be poisoned with mustard gas in the trenches. My father had participated in WWII with the Canadian Army and his greatest disappointment was that I never followed suit.

As a child I would always march in the Remembrance Day parade with the Brownies and then later the Girl Guides. We would stand on the frozen front lawn of Cowansville High School and listen to speeches and see the widows place their wreaths on the cenotaph.

dad (1).jpg
Branch 99 of the Cowansville Legion that my Dad and grandfather marched in year-Photo from Ville de Cowansville

At 11 am the lonely sound of the “Last Post” played with the mandatory two minute silence following. It was always so deathly quiet you could hear the ghosts of the dead soldiers whisper.  In the previous weeks the Legion members would sell poppy badges that everyone still wears in Canada to remember all those who were lost in the wars.


Photos of a collection photos of my grandfather and friends from WWI – Cowansville, Quebec newspaper with my Grandfather F.J. Knight in the middle. (2001)

Each November 11th we would stand and solemnly recite the poem “In Flanders Fields” and I remember it like yesterday.  The poem was written by Canadian John McCrae and my grandfather had met him during the war and the poem was written upon a scrap of paper on the back of Colonel Lawrence Cosgrave in the trenches. He wrote it during a lull in the bombings on May 3, 1915, after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, the day before.

It was first published on December 8, 1915 in Punch magazine, in London, England and became a poem that is has always been related to war heroes like Bernie. 
If anyone after reading this poem does not understand what our military goes through everyday, then please watch the video. Even though some of my memory blows through the wind now, I can still remember every word of that poem by heart. I remember them for Bernie.

Now today we remember The Battle of Vimy Ridge– one hundred years ago.


I am proud to say that my Grandfather Frederick J. Knight was one of the founding members of Branch 99 of the Canadian Legion in Cowansville, Quebec.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

Being Civic Minded in a Chocolate Rain Storm



Friday- 2:40 a.m.

At 1:08 am in the morning I finally made peace with my late father after 64 years. I always thought we were different, but in reality we are not. I never realized what I had inherited from him until last night.

Civic Pride.

If my father was alive, he would be having quite the laugh right now. Arthur Knight would find it quite hilarious that his daughter, whose mindset was “supposedly destroyed” by that ya ya ya Beatle business, was fighting for her community. It’s not that I didn’t always have it. It’s just that I didn’t know how much, until I tossed and turned in bed last night, upset about a town in disagreement over a chocolate cafe.

My father was an alderman and deputy mayor for years in Cowansville, Quebec. He was also a campaign manager for Jean Jacques Bertrand who was leader of Brome Mississiquoi county right until he became premier of Quebec.

Arthur never quite understood why his daughter did not want to trade a fashion degree for a military background– and then there was that fact I was a Liberal in a family of Conservatives. When I campaigned for Pierre Elliot Trudeau he couldn’t hide his anger, but he admired my passion. He didn’t like the way I dressed, but loved how personable I was with his customers at my annual summer job at his electrical contracting business.

I could never fully understand how my Father lost our successful family business in the 70’s that my Grandfather had started in 1920. But, in reality, he was no different than his daughter would become. He would give his right arm to anyone. When people could not pay their bill– my Father would tell them that was okay, and not to worry. He would even take Brome Lake Ducks as payment. But, you can’t pay the supplier bills with bread, or a complimentary snow shoveling, and it took its due course. My Dad had no regrets though, and neither did the suppliers, or half the town, when they showed up for his funeral.

Arthur Knight had given his life to his customers, and to the town of Cowansville, and they named a street after him when he died. I thought about the things my father had personally done and silently wished he was still alive to tell him that I was sorry for all the anger I had. As a child you don’t understand the nightly absences when your father is out supporting the town he loved. I understand it now- but it’s too late to tell him.

During my father’s tenure in council I learned that rules are not set in stone.  I know that every resident of a municipality has a right to ask their local zoning board for permission to rezone their residential property. Or you can seek a variance. Retail parking spots in a small town are not the same as a city. Things can be talked about. It can be easily worked out together.  My question is: should we really be pitted one against the other?

One big problem with being the honorable, civic, community minded is that it puts up massive barriers to being able to see straight. Sometimes you lose track of even seeing what your own personal agenda is any more. And not only is that a barrier to some humour and humility in accepting and understanding the human condition, but it makes it much more difficult to actually influence people.

You can’t side step shuffle the issue of personal motivation by talking about the tribes and tribal interests of the town as the center of competition. To motivate people you have to see behind the social roles, and speak their own language. Get in their shoes. And the world of should and could and right and wrong is not the same world as the world of personal motivations. No matter how much it should or could or would- wouldn’t it be better if we all just agreed that it was?

I have no idea why the two sides can’t sit together and hash this Manitoulin Chocolate Works problem out together. The endings of great wars and horrible divorces have been settled– why not this? Arguing can get tiresome. Aren’t we reasonable people? We are all intelligent; why is it that we can’t agree about these things? Surely it should just be a matter of exploring the matter fully.

images (28)Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place