Tag Archives: be yourself

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac Chapter 1

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac Chapter 1

Saturday I posted this picture of Wanda Jane–originally from Ottawa, originally from Disco Viva, and now of California. She used to shop in my store in the 70s and Saturday was the first time we had seen each other in 47 years. So I decided Im going to put my book about my store online. Im getting older and I want none of you to forget that its okay to be yourselves.. and sending big hugs. Keep the message going..#beyourself

Chapter 1- ‘Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac.

To Dan Webb who got me to write these stories.

Self Employed? Even though I’m a Jedi, I’m Not Invincible!

Friday, Jan 16th, 2015.

“Hi, my name is Dan. I just saw your post on the Facebook Lost Ottawa group. You spoke to my Small Business Management Class at Algonquin College back in 1996. A speech we all never forgot. Just wanted to say Hello!!”

As I read the Facebook message again I was amazed people remembered me. After all, I had opened my business before the internet surge, and most of my customers were on the verge of forgetting everything, like myself. Two weeks previous I had actually found the speaking engagement itinerary from Algonquin College along with the complimentary pen they gave me. As my eldest son said,

“Keep the pen Mum, it could be a collectors item one day.”

I remembered the hour-long speech and cringed. Speaker number 5 was my position between the Second Cup Business Franchise and the students ‘nutrition break’. It was a tough slot to be in. I wanted to be different, so I remember walking in lip-synching to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”. Knowing that Maureen Donnelly would not have done anything similar in her discussion previously about car dealerships; I figured I walked alone. The 50 odd business students sat before me with their mouths open after that entrance, and I immediately told them that if they wanted to hear how glorious owning a small business was that they should have invited Corel’s Michael Copeland. I patted a front row student on the shoulder and told him,

“Honey, don’t think you are going to get rich, as there ain’t no Love Boat dockin’ at the retail port anymore.”

Relentless, I continued to tell them a small business was like a giant Mousetrap game, and to make sure all your balls run smoothly so you don’t get trapped financially. My entrance to life in the business sector began inside the very first Le Chateau store on Ste. Catherine Street in 1967. Again, I asked the bewildered student how old he was that particular year. I told the crowd if I had to do it all over again I would have stayed in school– but most teachers in High School thought I was a taco short of a Mexican Combination Plate. There was no choice for me but self-employment, as who in their right mind was going to hire me. The trail of life had to be forged on my own like Reece Witherspoon in the film “Wild”.

I offered those gullible students some really great business advice like: if your store becomes successful, don’t let your 83 year-old senile Grandfather become the floorwalker, as he is libel to make people nervous. Or, never rent the former premise of Marvel Beauty School, as it’s going to take awhile to get the perm smell out of the place. Remember if a Chinese restaurant next door has a fire, you are most certainly going to deal with a lingering smell, and a wall full of water pockets. Some how I related to them that a burgeoning store owner uninterested in their customers was like a sad mime, and then went off on a tantrum on how I hated mimes. Anyway, the rent was right, and so began Flash Cadilac in 1974 on a budget of $1500.

Who else would instruct these young impressionable business students that making a big sale was like stages of phone sex I asked myself? I believed I described it as, “getting in there quietly, and building the momentum until you get that big orgasmic sale.” Explaining to them that my initial customers were from the gay community, the Rocky Horror crowd, and strippers from Pandora’s Box made their mouths drop. Never become a statistic I said.

I advised one young man that his dreams of opening a chain of stores should be dashed unless he had a relative in each town. The staff in my Toronto Yonge Street store were dealing drugs out of the store at 3 am and even my alarm system wasnt catching them. I lamented how business gets tough, and the only way I could sell things after the Rideau Centre opened, was if people could smell I was losing my shirt on Betsey Johnson apparel.

The most important message I repeated three times: even if you rent from family get a lease, and ads saying “find me behind the yellow line” really means I am truly behind a yellow duct tape line.

No matter what I went through, I stressed my customers throughout the years were my family, and we became a community. I always encouraged my fellow local business people, and never trashed local musicians that made it big like Alanis Morisette. Insisting, after a local backlash, complete with stickers, that said we had to “give the bitch a break”.

I never gave up, never became mainstream, and never looked back. If you can’t be true to yourself and like what you sell—well, what’s the use? Never ever regret what you do! Before they opened a business I said in closing, do research, make sure your finances are in check, study hard and graduate, and always believe in yourself. In my best Yoda voice I smiled at them and said:

“Adventure, excitement-a Jedi seeks not these things.”

Because of Dan and the public response on the Facebook group “Lost Ottawa” I decided to reminisce about Flash Cadilac in words. In years past I would not go near any mention of the store as it hurt too much to go down memory lane. It’s amazing how you get into a mindset that what you did for decades had nothing to do with you, but in reality, it will always be part of Ottawa’s fashion history.

Should Life Be This Hard? Linda Knight Seccaspina

Should Life Be This Hard? Linda Knight Seccaspina

One day this week I decided to wear a polka dot jumpsuit instead of pants. At my age I should know better, and the days of wearing a bodysuit with snaps at the crotch are over- so are  buttons in the back of anything. I had worn the jumpsuit before, but could not remember who did the buttons up in the back. So that day I had to program any trip to the washroom lest I just walk around with the top part hanging around my waist.

I made it through the day, but once again I asked myself why I kept this jumpsuit. Rescuing a designer jumpsuit at a steal for $7.00 at a thrift shop should not be the answer. It’s not like it was trapped at the store.

Skinny Jeans

For most of my lifetime I have suffered for fashion beginning with skinny leg jeans.  My legs are not skinny, so why am I wearing them?  Did you know skinny jeans have been known to cause weakness in your ankles? I once read a news article about a woman who spent the day packing and moving for a friend wearing her skinny leg jeans. Apparently after the event she could no longer walk and spent several hours lying on the ground.

Skinny jeans didn’t put her in the hospital, wearing a pair of skinny jeans that were probably at least 2 sizes too small did. Back in the day, the only way to zip super tight jeans up was to lay flat on the floor, or on your bed and use a fork to get the zipper up! Then you had to find someone to pull you up and stand you up straight!  We didn’t listen then, and  I am still not listening now.  For some people like myself “Fashion Week’ lasts all year, and every single day that I am alive.


Why am  I also interested in the fashion trend called waist training that has been around since the 1800s? Do I really need to follow this fad at 71? Aren’t my bones cracking enough? I can’t sit, I can’t breathe and my body is really from McDonalds ‘and loving it’. The goal for wearing a waist trainer– if you can wear it for 10 hours a day for at least 8 weeks– is a miraculous transformation. But, how do you get through the first 5 minutes?

Putting on the waist trainer was enough of a workout for the first day. I don’t think my organs moved at all, and my health seems fine after I got it on. “After I got it on” should be the keywords here.  But who really knows what’s up with my insides anyways? They aren’t talking!  Just curious, what part of the mirror thought I looked spectacular in one of these things.

When I was a child, my grandmother wore one. I loved the Eaton’s flesh coloured model, the salmon satin, and the lace. My grandfather used to have to put his foot on her back and heave ho.That was so romantic and it did nothing for her very ample waist except freeze it in place for eternity.


Thirty seven years ago I delivered a ten pound male child. There isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t remind him, like Beverley Goldberg, that I was in labour for 28 and one half hours. What did I get from that day in August of 1985 besides a beautiful healthy baby boy? Well, the next day the top of my left foot became very puffy and has remained that way for 37 years. The nurse said not to worry at the time because it was only postpartum fluid swelling– and it would go away. Well that fluid moved its home furnishings and plants and has squatted on top of my foot since that day in 1985.

Anytime I buy shoes the right foot takes a size 9, and the other foot needs the box the shoes came in. I wore trendy heels every day of my life until that day, and now when I find shoes that fit I buy what they have in my size. Black, size 10 and flat.

You don’t need a “warning” for this craziness. It’s called common sense. Do you see warnings on hammers saying: “Striking repeatedly on the head may cause brain damage”?

Life is always full of interruptions and complications isn’t it? Or, do I now consider common sense like deodorant? The people that need it most  just never seem to use it.

Related reading

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac

Fashion Faux Pas in the Cemetery

The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

The Best Little Chin Hair Post on the Prairie

Would You Go Out Without Makeup?


Is something wrong with our society when others clap and cheer just because celeb women are brave enough to come out on stage with no make-up on?

Some commented on different sites that the secret is now out why so many relationships start to go down hill after that first sleepover. Other comments said they looked like they were dragged over 40 miles of bad road – face first. That made me angry, and kudos to all ladies who forgo makeup daily for their inner beauty– as we are all beautiful ladies – inside and out.

Special note to the person that I once saw comment somewhere that all 50 something-year-old women should be in makeup all the time.
This is a picture of me as raw as you can get this morning. I am what I am and proud of it at the age of 64, and yes, I do glow in the dark. Actually, my British-bred white skin can summon boats lost at sea better than any lighthouse.

I challenge every single woman to do this!


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

What Should I Wear to Ladies Who Lunch?



This week I have been asked by many what they should wear to Ladies Who Lunch in Carleton Place this Saturday, June 6th.  What should I wear to show people I have ‘rattled my pies’. Rattle your pies? What the heck is that?  Last year I read a blog about “rattling pies in the sky” by a friend named Kit Duncan and was confused because I had never heard that term before. Being Canadian I have heard of a “pie in the sky”, but no where had I heard of pies being rattled. I sat there after reading her post and wondered how much pie rattling I really had accomplished.

When I was 14, because of my theatrical flare of dressing, people told me I should become a fashion designer. My father could not deal with those specific “pies” and the constant conversation of my dreams to him were ignored. He found me “flighty” and way too creative for anyone’s good, and when I was having trouble in school he strongly suggested a stint in the Canadian Army, like he had done.

My grandfather, concerned about not losing the “creative child” as he called me, insisted I be sent to England to the London School of Design. It was 1967, and I had dreams of Carnaby Street, the Beatles and fashion. My father was not amused and he wanted my pies in the sky kept at home and preferably on Canadian soil. Long story short, my grandfather died in early August of that year and any promise of schooling in the UK came to a screeching halt. After a lot of arguing I left home and attended fashion design school in Montreal.

Was it the right pie in the sky?

I think so.

I worked very hard and opened my own business at age 24. From 1976-1997 I owned a couple of clothing stores that made an impact on the Ottawa Valley locals. Through my clothing designs I let people become who they wanted to be through fashion as I applauded their acceptance of being themselves. I told them that being different was okay. Watching my shoppers grow up and having their children come into my stores was amazing. First and foremost; it was always important to me to always be there for those who needed to talk and for those who felt the pressures of being unique.

So come as yourself. Be yourself-you don’t need to prove to anyone who you are by what you wear–because you are all talented and unique in your own way. Remember, she believed she could, so she did. You don’t need fancy clothes for that.

(May 2015) Available at amazon.com

(May 2015) Available at amazon.com

You’ll Always Be My Superhero – Super Dooper Hero Day Carleton Place Photos


Please play music while viewing photos


THIS WAS 2015– Come on down tomorrow for 2016 events!!




LAWS -Heroes Taking care of our Lanark Animals (shhhh Beth is the Cat)








images (4)






My personal superhero Mary Cook


Life hits you hard. But it takes you three seconds to decide if you are a superhero or not.