Tag Archives: childhood

Peter Kear — Winter Life in Lanark — Photos– 1945-1963

Peter Kear — Winter Life in Lanark — Photos– 1945-1963

All images and text Peter Kears

The Lanark Village I knew (1945-63), for which I have fond memories: Getting climatized to the Village winters after our transition from ‘Toronto the Good’ in June 1945. Likely the winter of 1946-47 on Canning Street with my mother and brother, Tom, with Ben Willis’ home and farm in the background. The gentle and elderly Ben Willis would become a grandfather figure to me as I helped to care for his horses. Note the name of the sleigh, ‘Spitfire’ – great and effective marketing in the early post-WWII era!

Lots of outdoor winter fun in the Village in the late 1940s when nights at -30C were the norm! (Photo: my mother and I with dog, ‘Tipsy,’ making our way across George Street with the old Town Hall and Clock Tower in the background after yet another snow storm!

The Drysdale, Foster, Kear kids – and others, but not sure of name – enjoying winter fun between the house we rented at the time from Nettie Baird and the 1902 Zion Hall on York Street. Fortunately for me, living in the Village was truly an idyllic childhood after transitioning from ‘Toronto the Good’ on the 1st anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1945!
For various reasons, I realized very early that my experience was not the case for all kids in the community.

Same location on York Street in front of Nettie Baird’s house on York Street. My brother, Tom, and I tobogganing with the older Blackburn brothers, Neil and Louis. Good times in the Village!

Same location and winter activity with lots of snow of building forts. In the background you can see the Clyde River frozen over and if you closely, a shingle mill on Canning Street that burned down the following year.

Photos of the Lanark Village I Once Knew–Peter Kear

Photos and Postcards of Lanark Village –Laurie Yuill

Lanark Village School Photos — 1901 Graduates names names names

Photos With a View- Lanark Village

Never Sit on Your Old Photos — Lanark Photos by Pete Kear

Memories of The Country Fair – Linda Knight Seccaspina 

Memories of The Country Fair – Linda Knight Seccaspina 

Memories of The Fair – Linda Knight Seccaspina 

Every year my father, Arthur J. Knight would be in charge of the electrical work for the BIG BROME FAIR and my sister Robin and I would be there all weekend. My grandmother would pack egg salad sandwiches and bottles of orange crush soda, and we would just spend the days there eagerly awaiting the evening show. We saw the great high wire acts, magicians, and even motorcycles riding up thin wires into the crowd from the “electrical pigeon box” above the stage. The acrobats were always my favourite and gave me goosebumps on my arms.

As a child I always had a smiling face as I walked a cow for the 1 o’clock  livestock parade, and I can still hear the snorts of the horses pulling decorated wagons behind us. How could I not remember the rides that made me sick or dizzy while listening to the screams of the kids exiting the Fun House?

Saturday it all came back to me as my friend and I walked around a local country fair. It was warm, and there was no mistaking some of the scents floating through the air. We spoke about the baking contests we had entered as children–hoping to win a coveted prize ribbon. As we glanced at all the entries, we imagined how delicious it would be to sample a few at that particular moment in time.

We walked by the jams and jellies and knew that someone had worked really hard for the perfect batch. One of our favourite handicrafts was a shadow box with a vintage infant wool coat in it. Glancing at the photo inside, I knew it was once worn by the child and this memory box would now be with them for generations.

A woman in a pioneer dress carefully spun her hand dyed wool. We knew if we had lived in the past we too would have been spinning yarn to make wool sweaters for our children. Life was simple then – when no one wanted a brand name and they just wanted something cozy and warm.

I ached to go back to the age of 13 and dance to the sounds of Johnny Rivers coming out of the jukebox in one of the Brome Fair tents. After I could dance no more, a hot bag of buttered popcorn was next, and then I would try my luck at one of the games. If I was lucky I might win a small silver bracelet and they would personally engrave it on the spot. Instead of my name I would have had them etch a boys’ name I had a crush on and giggle while I watched him do it.

As children we used to watch in awe at those who were brave enough to ride the wild rides. My favourite was the Ferris Wheel. I loved it when they stopped at the top and the chair would swing back and forth. The last few years I have found the Ferris Wheel therapeutic as I find myself closer to heaven as I sit at the top. When I finally get up there I feel like my late sister is looking down at me and still shaking her head that I am still too afraid to ride the wild rides.

As I get older I search for memories to cherish and pass on to my sons and their families. Hopefully one day when I am long gone my friend will think back to the afternoon we spent together at the fair. I am sure she will remember that it was way too hot, the cow barns were very smelly, and I took way too many pictures.  But, she will remember the joy on my face and the shared bits of my life that she will pass on to her children. 

When I had my store in Ottawa I would get all sorts of circus performers shopping in my store that reminded me of the country fairs. Cirque De Soleil, Barnum and Bailey and finally one day “la piece de resistance” — The Moscow Circus. They came into the store in a huge group and could not speak English. I finally figured out they wanted flesh coloured Danskin fishnet hose for their high wire /acrobat costumes and purple feather boas for costume trim. 

After 30 minutes with a dictionary and hand gestures I had all the women outfitted.They were thrilled and immediately all jumped into a pyramid in the middle of my store much to the delight of my customers. I smiled from ear to ear as they gave me a decorated Russian spoon for my service and I wished I could have been one of them.

My memory is still filled with past thoughts of the country fairs, but is also measured out with 7 colourful wooden spoons in a jar that sit on one of my kitchen counters given to me by the Moscow Circus over the years. In reality the memories of the Big Brome Fair will never ever leave town in my life because you can’t buy memories like that no matter how hard you try.

Brome Fair Launched in 1856, Brome Fair is an annual agricultural fair which takes place every Labour Day weekend.  It is the largest rural agricultural fair in Quebec.  For over 160 years, it has welcomed visitors from near and far, giving them ”a taste” of what agriculture is today- 345 Chem. Stagecoach, Brome, QC. Have Fun for me!



A person named Howard Urtick wrote this poem and it brought back so many feelings and memories from the world I grew up in. If you’re of a certain age, it might resonate with you as well. ❤


A little house with three bedrooms,

One bathroom and one car on the street;

A mower that you had to push

To make the grass look neat.

In the kitchen on the wall

We only had one phone,

And no need for recording things,

Someone was always home.

We only had a living room

Where we would congregate;

Unless it was at mealtime

In the kitchen where we ate.

We had no need for family rooms

Or extra rooms to dine.

When meeting as a family

Those two rooms worked out just fine.

We only had one TV set

And channels, maybe two,

But always there was one of them

With something worth the view

For snacks we had potato chips

That tasted like a chip.

And if you wanted flavor

There was Lipton’s onion dip.

Store-bought snacks were rare because

My mother liked to cook,

And nothing can compare to snacks

In Betty Crocker’s book

Weekends were for family trips

Or staying home to play.

We all did things together,

Even go to church to pray.

When we did our weekend trips

Depending on the weather,

No one stayed at home because

We liked to be together.

Sometimes we would separate

To do things on our own,

But we knew where the others were

Without our own cell phone.

Then there were the movies

With your favorite movie star,

And nothing can compare

To watching movies in your car

Then there were the picnics

At the peak of summer season,

Pack a lunch and find some trees

And never need a reason.

Get a baseball game together

With all the friends you know,

Have real action playing ball

And no game video.

Remember when the doctor

Used to be the family friend,

And didn’t need insurance

Or a lawyer to defend?

The way that he took care of you

Or what he had to do,

Because he took an oath and strived

To do the best for you.

Remember going to the store

And shopping casually,

And when you went to pay for it

You used your own money?

Nothing that you had to swipe

Or punch in some amount,

And remember when the cashier person

Had to really count?

The milkman used to drive a truck

And go from door to door,

And it was just a few cents more

Than going to the store.

There was a time when mailed letters

Came right to your door,

Without a lot of junk mail ads

Sent out by every store.

The mailman knew each house by name

And knew where it was sent;

There were not loads of mail addressed

To “present occupant”

There was a time when just one glance

Was all that it would take,

And you would know the kind of car,

The model and the make

They didn’t look like turtles

Trying to squeeze out every mile;

They were streamlined, white walls, fins and “skirts”,

And really had some style

One time the music that you played

Whenever you would jive,

Was from a vinyl, big-holed record

Called a forty-five

The record player had a post

To keep them all in line,

And then the records would drop down

And play one at a time.

Oh sure, we had our problems then,

Just like we do today

And always we were striving,

To find a better way.

Oh, the simple life we lived,

Still seems like so much fun.

How can you explain the game,

“Just kick the can and run?”

And all us boys put baseball cards

Between our bicycle spokes;

And for a nickel, red machines

Had little bottled Cokes?

This life seemed so much easier;

Slower in some ways.

I love the new technology,

But I sure do miss those days.

So time moves on and so do we,

And nothing stays the same;

But I sure love to reminisce

And walk down memory lane.

With all today’s technology

We grant that it’s a plus!

But it’s fun to look way back and say,

Hey look, guys, THAT WAS US!

Childhood Memories of Roy Brook –The Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Childhood Movie Nights at Reliance Motor Court in Eastview — Noreen Tyers

Strange Folklore from Ontario –BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD

Strange Folklore from Ontario –BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD

Canadian Folk-Lore from Ontario. 25 


336. It is popularly believed that a child may be affected prenatally 

in various ways. Hand-like discolorations in infants, for instance, 

are attributed to blows received by the mother. Even the sight of 

unpleasant objects are supposed to produce similar effects. One woman 

was frightened at a mouse, in consequence of which her child exhibited 

a mouse-like excrescence. Another was frightened by a rabbit, upon 

the child was born with a hare-lip. 

337. Children may also be afflicted with various cravings as a result 

of such influences. A certain woman had an abnormal desire for an 

alcoholic beverage, which was denied to her by her husband. As a 

consequence the child had a similar craving. The same idea is held 

with regard to various foods. In such cases, if the woman’s appetites 

or desires be satisfied, the child will not be injuriously affected. 

338. A baby should have a fall before it is six months old if it is to 

have good sense. (An Ottawa informant.) 

339. A gift of some kind should be placed in the hand of a newly- 

born child the first time you see it. This is for luck. Any sort of 

trinket will do. (An Irish woman living in Toronto.) 

340. The first house an infant is taken to will have a birth in it 

within a year. 

341. To kiss a newly-born baby brings good luck. 

342. A baby must not see itself in a glass, or it will be vain.  

343. If a child is born with a tooth, it will be hanged,  

344. If its mother carries it in her arms the first time she walks in 

the open air after its birth, it will never take a serious cold.  

345. The first house its mother enters with it in her arms will be 

sure to receive a similar blessing (i.e., have a baby, too) during the 


346. To take a newly-born babe into the topmost room of the house, 

then into the basement, and then into every room in the house, is 


347. It is unlucky to name a baby after a dead person. The child, 

it is said, will die very young. 

348. If a child has two crowns on its head, it will live in two king- 


349. If it is born with a “veil” covering the face, it will be gifted 

with “second sight.” 

Did You Know About Dr. Barnardo’s Baby’s Castle? British Home Children — Home Boys

Thomas Sloan Inventor Baby-Walker Carleton Place

Does Anyone Want to Adopt a Baby? 1900s

The Reed Baby Carriage

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

Babies in the Textile Mills

Updates–What Happened to the Cardwell Orphans?

The Children of Ross Dhu Part 2 Hilda Martin

Who Won the Baby Contest in 1889?

You must have been a Beautiful Baby–Lanark County Family Names

The Children of Ross Dhu –Evacuation to Canada

The War Children that Tried to Come to Canada–SS City of Benares

The Hart Children of Lanark — Laurie Yuill


Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past 10

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past 10


Market Street Goodwill Complex- San Francisco

From Years of writing on Live Journal


November 3rd, 2005

I just finished packing at the same time for the second straight night in a row. It was all horrible packing tonight. ( I refer it to kindly as bitch packing) Most of it was going over to the UK.
I made sure that Mr Cambridge in South Wirral had lovely soft pink tissue to protect that size 22 white mini dress he bought for himself, and the Gothic hat I made and sold with 7 yards of black bridal illusion net was packed with equally nightmarish tissue to please the dark kinder-goth girl in New Mexico.
I got up late today as I was so tired from the past two days of posting and packing. I literally ran to buses and the subway today just to keep on track. I have all my hunting spots down to a specific time when they bring new things out.
I was a good 30 minutes behind today. Even “Cashier Joe” at the Community Thrift shop said to me “You’re late today” and I just laughed and rolled my eyes. I started off the day going up Market Street to the Goodwill salvage depot. On the way a brisk cold damp wind was blowing hard. It was darn cold.

I saw this old woman backing up  against the wall of the Bank of America building and felt really sad for her. I thought how sad it was that she was lifting her dress and getting the hot air to blow up her skirt from the vent to warm her up. I soon found out that was her way to relieve herself. As things were flowing down the walls I was very quickly flowing up the street trying hard not to catch any down winds.
I got into the salvage place and started going through bins. The man who own the Sharks vintage chain and his pickers and a whole slew of Latinos from the flea market were forming this very straight line in front of the chain fence that separates the Goodwill workers waiting for bins of clothing to come out.

I found this great piece of vintage fabric from 1971 from Walt Disney’s movie The Aristocats. I was looking at it and the guy from Sharks comes over:

He says ” Hey Linda, I see you here every week, want a job?”

I looked at him and started to giggle and politely said no. Me and my ‘allergic nose’ can barely stand 30 minutes in here, and I am going to come here every day earning basically $5.00 bucks an hour? I think not. Once a week is enough for me.

I paid for the stuff and the cashier said “New bins coming out soon”.
I said, “Oh they come out at noon? ” He said, “No, every 30 minutes.”

I mean that’s crazy–these bins come out like cinnamon rolls at a take out place. These people stay there all day every day and all day long just to get stuff to sell at the flea markets and vintage stores. I immediately hear horror movie music in my head.

My fun find today was a great silk skirt from the J PETERMAN COMPANY for a buck. Yes, that J Peterman CO. If you are a Seinfeld fan like me you know when I  wear that sucker this week there is going to be one gory description full of adjectives.

I leave the salvage place on the rest of my hunting journey while Shark Man keeps asking me if I need a job. I am allergic not only to dust but to stupidity, so I decide to speak to him in fluent sarcasm. Shark Man laughs and says he will see me next week.



Have you ever asked yourself why everyone loves quilts? What drove families to  gather in their communities and make quilts for their families? Quilts connect everyone and they speak about former lives of families, and their joys, their hardships, and their homes.

Seven days after my birth I was placed in a quilt my grandmother had made and brought immediately to her home as my mother was ill. I was tucked into my crib with the same quilt I came home from the hospital in.

One night my father gathered me up in that same quilt and smuggled me into the Royal Victoria Hospital hoping my mother might remember me as she had postpartum depression. I can still see her looking down at the cards she was playing solitaire with while I was holding on to the edge of that dear quilt in fear. To this day I will never forget that image – my father says I was barely two,  but I still remember the grayness of the room. While my life was sterile and cold, the quilt held warmth and security. My grandmother always said that blankets wrap you in warmth but quilts wrap you in love.

At age 12 my mother died, and my grandmother sat with me on her veranda and wrapped that same quilt around me while I cried. Life was never the same after that, and the quilt was placed on my bed like an old friend when I stayed with her.  I would stare at the painting on the wall while I tried to sleep and thought that a lot of people understood art but not quilts. If I had a lot of money I would own a quilt and not a piece of art, because in the end which gives you the most comfort?

When I got married at age 21,  my Grandmother sat at the dining room table for weeks and worked on a quilt for my new home. As I traveled down the road of life the quilt was always there while people came and went. Although it was aging gracefully it was still heavy and secure anytime I needed it. Through death and sickness it held comfort, and the promise that it would never desert me. This quilt held my life with all the bits and pieces, joys and sorrows, that had been stitched into it with love.

At age 47 the quilt died peacefully in my arms. A terrible house fire had destroyed it, and as I looked at the charred edges I realized the thread that held it together had bound the both of us forever. Now it was time to go down the final road by myself,  and remembering the words of Herman Hesse I began the journey.

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”


Romancing the Princess Theatre Linda Knight Seccaspina

Last night I dreamt I was sitting in one of the maroon velvet chairs of the Princess Theatre in Cowansville, Quebec. It was dark in that theatre and I was alone, but the light from the projector still shot across the room, yet there was nothing on the screen.

For years the Princess Theatre was a safe haven for me. Every Saturday afternoon, I would go to the matinee and be whomever was on the screen. Growing up in a small town you did what you could for entertainment. My limited picks were the local swimming pool, neighbourhood kids, and the Princess Theatre for movies. Because the theatre was small we seemed to get the big movies later than the rest of the world – but 50 cents and a bag of popcorn was a sure fire way to put a smile on your face.

The Princess Theatre was where I first saw Edgar Allen Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum, which scarred me for life. Seeing The Sound of Music was the closest I ever came to seeing my Grandmother enjoying her own personal hootenanny while caterwauling along to the songs in the film.

Small town gossip spread quickly among the rows of that theatre and for weeks we hear rumours about the local minister being told not to laugh so loudly at the risque antics in the film Carry On Doctor. Summer romances began on the second level and continued into the colder months, and sometimes there was more steam coming out of the balcony than there was outside.

Drive-Ins were illegal in the province of Quebec as the Catholic Church deemed them pits of sin that could take you halfway to Hell. Had they only looked at the balconies of the Princess Theatre I swear that place would have been shut down in a Cinerama moment.

Esther Williams and her swimming extravaganzas on that movie screen had me hooked making me want to create my own musical number. One day after seeing Jupiter’s Darling I stopped at the local five and dime (The Ritz) and bought one of those flesh coloured nose plugs. Arriving home I dragged out my wading pool in anticipation and went to work.

The hose was hauled out from underneath the porch, pool filled, and I would sit and wait patiently until the water warmed up from the sun. Once ready I would don my one piece bathing suit, rubber cap and nose plugs.

I always seemed to entertain the afternoon passersby on Albert Street as I would kick my legs up in the air and do my personal version of synchronised swimming. Once most of the water had left the pool from overuse I would get out and bow to no one in particular. Seeing the pool was no more than 3 foot around and barely ankle deep I must admit it was quite the MGM presentation. In my mind I was presenting The Greatest Show on Earth

I had never became a talented swimmer from the encouragement I got from movies, but each time I watch an old move I remember the Princess Theatre in Cowansville. Some old theatres have gone by the wayside, but the memories have lasted in our hearts, mine especially.

What do you remember about your Main Street?

Every Friday night as a young child, we would walk up Albert Street to make our way to the Main Street of Cowansville, Quebec. Everyone was there with smiles on their faces and you could hear the sounds of a jazz band playing from the Hotel. There were clothing stores filled to capacity with people purchasing things, and you could see men in haberdasheries standing on small stools being fitted with pants.

We would stop and look carefully at the store windows and then make our way down to the hat store. Their veranda was yellow and white with many gorgeous hats in the window. I watched my mother point at one and saw my father tell her to go buy it.

Inside it smelled of lilacs and I would sit on one of the fabric covered benches and watch everyone try on hats. The women who worked in the store seemed like they were right out of the fashion magazines and their hair was coiffed in the latest styles.

I remember the hat that my mother bought that day and watched the daisy trimmed straw hat being carefully wrapped up in tissue and then placed in a brown paper bag. The cookie store was next and I was allowed to buy 3 cookies covered in peppermint icing that had chocolate drizzle on them. I never touched them until I got home as I wanted to savour every bite.

After my mother died my father would take me up to Brault’s drugstore every Saturday night where I was allowed to purchase one magazine and a chocolate bar. My father never really talked to me much as he was always busy, but this brief time that we spent together each week is something I will always remember.

He would never understand the teen magazines that I bought but figured it was useless to argue with me about considering another choice. Sometimes he brought me to the Blue Bird Restaurant where we would have a chocolate milkshake and my father would talk non stop to the owner. They would talk about the fire that happened years ago and destroyed most of the street and how chain stores were coming in and might possibly ruin the smaller businesses.

One of those chain stores was Canadian Tire and when it opened there was a line up that stretched down the street and around the corner. They had sent everyone catalogues beforehand and everyone wanted to see all the good deals they professed to have. The kids got a free sucker and balloons and I remember the man that owned the hardware store nearby standing in his doorway with a huge scowl.

Main Street was the place I bought my first lipstick and eyeliner. I was in seventh heaven when pantyhose came to town and was proudly displayed in the Continental store window. That was the same store that I bought my first 45 RPM’s and actually one day I was dared to steal one by my friends – that was the first and last time I ever pulled that stunt. The fact that it was Shelley Fabares’ “Johnny Angelwas not really the perfect thing to put between your loose leaf binder with the name angel in the title.

As I got older and moved away things changed. They erected a shopping centre and an A & P came to town shutting the Dominion store down quickly. People opted to go into the air conditioned mall rather than putter along a dying street. The Princess Theatre no longer had a full house, and it only held remembrances of watching Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music with my grandmother. No longer did Bonneau’s grocery store stand on the corner and the street now held French bakeries and a cafe that sold exotic waffles with strawberries and cream.

There was no family left to complain to about the changes, and no one really remembered the old stores anyways. The Bank on the corner shut down and became a restaurant and all you could smell was retail death in the air.

The evolution of retail has hit most small towns; from Main Street to shopping malls and then on to big box stores. No one remembers when a trip to the Main Street was a big deal and now frozen food and big screen TV’s have replaced homemade cookies, theatres, and shoe stores. Now only floral displays with donated benches are many a town’s dream of hoping to attract customers that might remember what it once used to be. We know the magic is still there, you just have to remember. Remember to #supportlocal they are counting on it.

Fifteen young women crammed into an Austin Mini, bringing to Britain the new world record for the number of people in a Mini. This effort beats the previous record set by US college students. (Photo by Ron Case/Getty Images)

The Benefits of Having my Human Chasis

One snowy New Year’s Eve I remember leaving a dinner with friends that invited me to crowd into a Mini Austin for a ride home. It was not exactly an invite per say – it was actually more of a dare to see how many people we could fit into the “Cooper”. One by one we piled into this tiny car with me scoring a seat riding shotgun.

Since I seemed to have the largest “chassis” in the group it was only fair that I house a couple more people on my lap. There was no way in the world we would ever reach the Guinness World’s Book of Records total of 21. We had no super smart Malaysian students that had once figured out the solution and no one volunteered to sit in the boot of the car.

Packed to the rafters with 9 people the driver attempted to leave and immediately the wheels spun in the fresh new snow. We were all pretty uncomfortable at this point and voices of desperation start to surface to the top.

My father Arthur Knight always insisted that you keep bags of sand or salt in the trunk for traction in case you got stuck in the winter. However there was no sand or salt in the back end of this car, only a bunch of lightweights.

I sat in the front seat slowly losing the feeling in my legs due to the human load being forced upon me and suddenly had an idea. I could be the “living” bag of sand in the rear and hopefully that would help. After shouting out my idea everyone agreed and the doors opened with people literally falling out into the snow. I immediately got into the back end and the passengers reassumed more uncomfortable positions. With a huge push from a passerby we were off.

The car swerved and slipped in the snow but one by one we were safely dropped off and had enjoyed a life experience we would never forget. Arthur Knight’s bag of sand, who was really his daughter in this case, had saved the day.

I decided to look this traction myth up on Snopes.com and the page was completely blank. Had Arthur Knight had it all wrong? I found a few discussions on a few automotive boards and one man had this to say.

“So while extra weight generally improves traction, the only safe place to put it is in between the wheels. That’s why, for traction, we suggest car-pooling. In fact, when recruiting car-poolers, you could start by putting up a sign at Weight-Watchers.”

After more research I decided to go back to Snopes when I found another link about the topic. Again the page was blank and the lone entry was about a woman called “The Human Couch”.

Legend goes that a 500 pound woman had to be brought to the ER after she had experienced shortness of breath. While they attempted to undress her an asthma inhaler fell out of one of the folds of her arm. A shiny new dime was under her breast and a TV remote control was found in one of the folds of her lower extremities. Her family was extremely grateful they found the remote and the doctor said it was the first time he had found buried treasure.

No wonder it had been an entry selection when I typed in “sand weight and car”. I sit here and giggle about what I have written and wonder if people reading this will consider my story legend or lore. At least I wasn’t listed as “The Human Couch” because losing a TV remote is a felony I hear in some countries.

Betty Betty Betty

I always believed in Betty Crocker– well, I wanted to believe that the first lady of food was real. Similar to finding out that Nancy Drew’s author Carolyn Keene wasn’t real, one day Betty Crocker was no longer real either. I realized that dear old Betty was just a brand name and trademark developed by the Washburn Crosby Company.

The story goes that they chose Betty as her name because it sounded as American as the Apple Pie she would show us all how to make. The original Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook was first published in 1951 and everyone knows someone that has a Betty Crocker Cookbook in their home. Betty, like Margie Blake from the Carnation Company, was important to me as my mother died young, and food somehow replaced parental figures. Well, that’s what a few years of therapy taught me.

The recipes from any Betty Crocker Cookbook are from leaner times, and in the 50’s my mother used to make Tuna Pinwheels and Canned Devilled Ham Canapes for her canasta parties. Bernice Ethylene Crittenden Knight was a stickler for an attractive food presentation, and she also made something called Congealed Salad for holiday meals. A combination of Orange Jello, Cool Whip, crushed pineapple, and wait for it, shredded cheese. I think my Dad called it “Sawdust Salad” and I seriously tried to remain clueless as to why. 

Families all loved baked bread, but I guess not all people liked Betty’s Fruit Loaf recipes because on page 78 of my vintage Betty Crocker cookbook, the former owner of the book hand wrote:

“Terrible, even Nookie the dog turned it down.”

The steamed brown bread baked in a can was another baking tragedy. It was so horrible my Dad took my Grandmother’s failed recipe target shooting at the Cowansville dump. I would like to think that some of those rats got to feast on one of those brown breads. Of course, maybe after sampling it, they might have wanted to be put out of their misery.

Betty Crocker’s 7 minute-frosting that my mother would put on some of her 1950s nuclear coloured cake was a family favourite. Then there were the Floating Islands, homemade Rice Pudding, chilled with whipped cream and cinnamon on top. My grandmother’s specialty was steamed English Pudding, and when she was done, she would soak lumps of sugar with orange extract and then place them decoratively around the pudding. One by one each lump would be lighted with a match which would result in a near miss family dinner explosion each time.

Nostalgic triggers a story about our lives, helping us reflect on traditions and moments about the days when our  parents and grandparents were alive. That’s why we should never lose print recipes, and real paper-based cookbooks. Those mystery meat recipes, books, and foods that were the same colour as radiation will always resonate with us because we get to see and relive the gravy stained favourites, and the personal notes in the margins. If reading about Betty Crocker has you craving a big slice of cake, you’re not alone. Time to bake!

Related reading

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Part 9

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 8

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 7

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 6

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 5

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 4

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 3

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 2

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past Part 1

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past

Remembering the Past — No Swimming in the River Before the 24th of May Weekend and Other Things

Remembering the Past — No Swimming in the River Before the 24th of May Weekend and Other Things
Visual Storyteller · 20h
Only noticed this week that there’s a bell in the Post Office Clocktower. Only visible from Beckwith St.

Tara-dawn Taylor The last time this bell rang out was during the anniversary of 100 years of the end of the war, it rang out 100 times along with a few other bells in town. read As Time Goes By — The Old Post Office Clock

Jo-Anne Dowdall-BrownMy Dad always told me he would know if I did something wrong before I would get home! True words!

Joann VoyceBack in the 1950’s that bell chiming at 11 pm was our curfew. I could make it from most places in town to my home by the time it had rung 11 times

American suburban childhood, 1950s : TheWayWeWere

Sherene Baird Flint—I grew up in Carleton Place,Ontario during a time when everyone treated each other like family (we never got away with ANYTHING, and I mean NOTHING!!!) that is because everyone knew whose child I belonged to!!

We went outside to play, got dirty and we didn’t eat fast food (it was a treat). We ate Bologna or jam sandwiches, raw hot dogs and cooked homemade food. We ate penny candy, yes, I said, “penny”, and fake candy cigarettes, black cat gum.

On weekends we would go for a drive and drop in to visit someone (no planning a week in advance). If they weren’t home, we would drive a little farther.We played kick the can, Red Light Green Light, Hide & Seek, Truth or Dare, Red Rover, What Time Is It Mr. Wolf, Tag, Dodge ball, Baseball, jump rope, and road hockey.

We rode bikes and raced against each other.We cried if we couldn’t go outside and play. There was no bottled water, we drank from the faucet and the garden hose (don’t forget to let that water run for a minute because it was hot when you just first turned it on!).

We watched cartoons on Saturday morning (everyone looked forward to Saturday morning cartoons! Especially bugs bunny, our parents loved it because they were able to sleep in knowing we were occupied). We watched hockey, comedy movies and played cards or board games.

We played in the woods, built forts, and rode our bikes for hours WITHOUT a cell phone. When you fell you wiped off the dirt and blood and kept on going. If you wanted to talk to your friends, you had to go to their houses and find them.

We weren’t AFRAID OF ANYTHING. Our parents knew that when the street lights came on we were on our way home. If someone had a fight, that’s what it was…a fight.

Kids DIDN’T HAVE ACCESS TO GUNS when I grew up. Dusk was our curfew. School was mandatory, and we watched our mouths around our elders because ALL your neighbours knew your parents, so we knew if we didn’t, we were in big trouble when we got home.I really miss those days. We were taught to be respectful and we didn’t give our parents a hard time. We had a respectful fear of our parents, teachers, AND THE LAW!

We were taught to work hard for what we wanted.Life is short, very short…..be humble and kind and respectful.Re-post if you’re proud that you came from a close-knit community and will never forget where you came from!

Ted HurdisYes to all of the above. Nestle quick and toast with peanut butter and jam to watch the cartoons. Gum out of the hockey card packs. Some things are better gone like ” ****** babies ” candy. Imagine asking for that on a candy store today !! Wow.. Coffee Talk– Coolidge’s Penny Candy and Rochester Street– For Tom Edwards

Alana Flint Great description Sherene! I remember and did all of that! We used to bike to the park with our 25 cents to spend at the shack…a hot dog, drink (in a glass bottle) and a chocolate bar. We’d spend the day swimming and get sunburned (no sunscreen). Rossy Doyle would be at the park in the afternoon with games and puzzles for us to use. I had many skinned knees from the Twirlers. Good times!

Dale CostelloDid all that and even had a paper route too. Played street hockey under the street lights on Rochester Street. Had a BB gun, but hit a neighbor kid and got into trouble. Didn’t like him anyway.

Ray PaquetteIn the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am reminded of a similar fear we had as kids growing up-polio. The similarities with COVID 19 are striking: until Dr Salk and his vaccine it was constantly on our minds, particularly in the summer. We all took precautions based on the latest public health warnings but as with COVID 19, we were able to get through it…🤔

Ted HurdisRay Paquette no swimming in the river before the 24th of may weekend. You could get polio.🤔🤔 read Remember Polio?

Nuhaka Dreaming 1: A 1950s childhood in regional New Zealand was not all  conservative dullness | RNZ

Ray PaquetteTed Hurdis We south end boys would get an early start on the swimming season by swimming in Dibblee’s Quarry ( Mahogany Spa) at the end of Napoleon Street…

Dan Williams Can you remember going out to Dibblee’s quarry to get an early start on the swimming season? The quarry ice was gone earlier and the spring sun helped to increase the water temperature to almost an acceptable level..

Dan WilliamsHey Llew Lloyd being from the better side of town we had our own quarry, Dibley’s, to swim in. It was however not used much in my time except for rafts. In my brothers day it definitley was a swimming hole with great places to dive from. I can also remember picnicing there with my family

Ted HurdisRay Paquette swam there many times freaking out when the crawfish would nibble your toes

Margaret GreerDon’t forget Saturday afternoons at the Movie Theatre. For 25 cents !The cowboys always won and we would all would cheer. read Memories of Carleton Place — The Roxy and Marilyn Monroe

Ray PaquetteLlew Lloyd Or a comic book at Mac William’s on the way home…. read Before and After in Carleton Place — Mac Williams and The Good Food Co

Jill SeymourRay Paquette does anyone else remember the unique smell of William’s store. I loved it and every time someone mentions the store in these posts I get it back😊

Marilyn WhiteFree swim lessons in the morning and playing there until supper. The life guards were your friend. Playing in Treasure Valley. Boys and girls playing together. It was the “ best of times”! read Looking Deeper at Treasure Valley in Carleton Place

Diane Lackey JohnsonVery well written, Sherene. Things were sure different back then. Too bad kids today don’t have the same experiences.

Nancy HudsonYour posting certainly sounds like the Carleton Place I grew up in way back in the 50’s. Lived at the park in the summer and the rink in the winter.


Memories of Carleton Place — The Roxy and Marilyn Monroe

As Time Goes By — The Old Post Office Clock

Coffee Talk– Coolidge’s Penny Candy and Rochester Street– For Tom Edwards

Pour Some Sugar on Me! The Demise of the Penny Candy

Before and After in Carleton Place — Mac Williams and The Good Food Co

Looking Deeper at Treasure Valley in Carleton Place

Remember Polio?

The Teeter Totter Incident Noreen Tyers

The Teeter Totter Incident Noreen Tyers

I was with my sister and brother and the in laws yesterday visiting my brother, and you know a topic just SEEMED to come up. You know friendly, family happenings in childhood, that today just might be causing pains or the occasional ache.

When you get to be on the senior side of things a lot of body parts just do not do what they were designed to do, or did when were a child. The topic of knees came up, both my siblings sometimes have problems with this body part, mine seem to be fine right now, who knows what tomorrow might bring. My thought about the health of my knees could be as a result of hanging from my knees on a branch of a tree might have strengthened them as a child and helps in the old age. You do not want to ask about other body parts as they could be sometimes dysfunctional. Some may say the brain functions some times are a tad bit slow, but we do eventually tune in.

After this discussion, I thought it is the KNEES they are discussing and not the shoulder and collar bone area. You see when we lived on Gardner Street there was a teeter-totter or some called it a seesaw. It was in Mrs. Gardner’s backyard, and if her granddaughter Joan or if you asked permission you were permitted to play on it. You must abide by Mrs. Gardner’s rules and be on your best behaviour, and no stepping on the flowers please.

Well it was a bright sunny day, and the Sewell kids and the Ing children were not home. We did ask my Mom could we go down the street to play on the teeter totter and our instructions were to make sure you ask Mrs. Gardner. Wouldn’t you know Mrs. Gardner was not home so we just decided it was fine; we would not walk on the garden, we would have a couple of turns and then go home.

Well brother Jack and I headed down the street and our younger pesky sister Grace said she wanted to come. We said no, but she started to cry and said, “I will tell MOM, if you don’t let me come”. She was cute, but she was a pest, and she did have a big mouth if she wished get you in trouble. She was known to scream if she did not get her way, so we let her come along.

We were having such a good time Jack and I, until the pest wanted a turn, so we let her get on one end. We went up and down a couple of times, and I have to say Grace was enjoying her ride, but as sometimes children do get bored, brother got off and said, “You take a turn with you and Grace”.

Now he was coaching from the ground, mind you I need little coaching, and he said put Grace in the air, I DID. He yelled jump off, I DID. Oh my, Grace came crashing to the ground and it was almost instant a CRY of pain. I stayed with Grace as she was crying and Jack went two doors down to Grandma.

Quiet Playground | My childhood memories, Childhood memories ...

Well Grandma was not impressed, and realized that there was something wrong. She asked me to run and get your Mom. I did, and the next thing I knew she was taken to the Doctor. She did look strange as one arm hung down a little further than the other. We had to stay with Grandma, now she was a women of few words, but I could tell she was mad.

What seemed to be a long time, Grace came home with her arm in a sling, telling my Grandmother she had a broken collar bone. In somewhat of a quiet voice my Mother said, “Home and to your bedroom!” Funny thing she never sent us for the punishment stick, it was just TO YOUR BEDROOM!

Can you believe my sister got some gumdrops from Grandpa?

Now she was a spoiled child as well, and maybe she should have stayed at home and not be a pest, It was her own fault. SO THERE. 🙂

From the ✒
of Noreen
August 2020

Childhood Movie Nights at Reliance Motor Court in Eastview — Noreen Tyers

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

Sending Thoughts of Winter to You, from my Wee Dog Ruffy Noreen Tyers

A Trip in the Carrying Case– Noreen Tyers

Just Me Growing Up in the Early 1940’s Noreen Tyers

Grandma and the Cute Little Mice– From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Another Broken Bed Incident — Stories from Richards Castle — Noreen Tyers

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

At Church on Sunday Morning From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Jack’s in Charge-Scary Stories — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Adventures at Dalhousie Lake at the Duncan’s Cottages —- From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

I am Afraid of Snakes- From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Hitching a Ride Cross Town — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

My Old Orange Hat –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Out of the Old Photo Album — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Snow Road Ramblings from Richards Castle — From the Pen Of Noreen Tyers

Summer Holidays at Snow Road Cleaning Fish — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Snow Road Adventures- Hikes in the Old Cave — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Putting Brian on the Bus– Stories from my Childhood Noreen Tyers

My Childhood Memory of Richard’s Castle –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Grandpa’s Dandelion Wine — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Wedding Tiara — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Art of Learning How to Butter Your Toast the Right Way — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Smocked Dresses–From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Kitchen Stool — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Flying Teeth in Church — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Writings of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Memories of Grandpa’s Workshop — Noreen Tyers

Cleaning out Grandmas’ Fridge — Noreen Tyers Summer Vacation at Richard’s Castle

My Flower Seeds — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Barbra Ann Scott Doll –Noreen Tyers

Greetings From Ruffy on Groundhog Day Noreen Tyers

That Smell Of The Lanark County SAP Being Processed — Noreen Tyers

Adventures at Dalhousie Lake at the Duncan’s Cottages — Noreen Tyers

Bytes from the Brain — the Dish Towel and Blue Speckled Plate

Bytes from the Brain — the Dish Towel and Blue Speckled Plate

Mercer Island late grandparents home in Washington DC.

The Blueberry Debacle- Linda Seccaspina

My grandparents once lived on Mercer Island, Wa. just off the I-90 Seattle floating bridge. In September of 1963 my Mother died and in the summer of 1964 my Dad sent my sister and I to visit them. It was 1964 and it was a summer of rebellion for me. So much so I think my Grandfather was ready to ship me back to Canada the next time I did something wrong.

My grandmother insisted on chores and one afternoon wiping the lunch dishes I spilled some grape juice all over the dishtowel. I don’t have to tell you what that dishtowel looked like and I immediately panicked. So, I did the only thing I could think of. I tossed the now purple tea towel into the raspberry bushes in the backyard. I figured landing in the midst of 30 bushes with long thorns would keep the dish towel hidden forever. Like Niki Saindon’s story below– it was all about staying out of trouble.

For weeks my Grandmother Winnie looked for that towel deeming it a present from an old friend. I was questioned about it until she went on to something else I had done. A month later my grandfather was picking some raspberries and up came that dish towel that now was spanking clean thanks to the rainstorms that had passed us over. He didn’t say much, but he had this look on his face that said it all. He threw it on the lawn in my direction and I brought it in to Winnie saying it must have fallen off the clothes line. If I remember correctly she had the same look.

how to remove blueberry stains titlimg

Johnson Bros. England 6" Bowl/ Flow Blue "Holland" Pattern / Circa ...
The Broken Plate- Niki Saindon

When I was a kid, I accidently broke a plate (China blue speckled thing) and fearing my mother’s wrath I buried it in the driveway. Forward 10 years later when we were developing our business at home and landscaping needed to happen. Behold the plate unearthed and no one knew how it got there…but me ;). Funniest thing for me….for my family to find.

Image may contain: food
Beverley J Wylie

When repairing fences in paddock years back we found this. Keeping safe in the china cabinet in case we ever need a new set of teeth…lol

The Summer of 1964

Banking the Memories of Aretha Franklin

Banking the Memories of Aretha Franklin




When you reach a certain age like myself and someone famous dies it affects you. Especially if that someone played predominantly from the musical soundtracks of your life like Aretha Franklin. At 67 there is still not a day that goes by that I don’t play her music. I always knew this day would come, but when she died on August 16th I felt that a piece of me had faded away and suddenly felt really old.


According to scientific report, our musical idols die young. Many of them die from drug overdoses, drunk-driving accidents and that the average lifespan of  musicians is only 45. So let me get this right– I am going to live longer if I’m not participating in any of the above? Somehow I would like to feel reassured, but I don’t, and I am not banking on many extra years these days.


In 1967 Aretha released the song Respect and life was never the same for me. With ironed hair that I had set on empty orange juice cans and my mini tent dress, I danced to her music on the weekend in the basement of the old bus terminal on Depot Street in Cowansville. Not once did I ever think about getting older and protesting about getting senior discounts only when I supposedly had one foot in the grave at age 60.

In 1968 I became part of the Pepsi Generation and watched American Bandstand on TV in colour dancing to what was called Slo Jams to Aretha singing Natural Woman. Living a few blocks from the Montreal CFCF studios I was a regular audience dancer on the TV show Like Young. When I screamed hysterically when Bobby Darin and Englebert Humperdinck appeared on stage, no one ever told me at age 60 I was going to get a very important letter from my bank.


I had no idea dancing to her music at Snoopy’s on Dorchester Street in 1969 that the very day I turned 60 it was going to be an important milestone for me. I was too busy making cassette mixtapes of Aretha’s songs to even think of gray hair, sore knees and retirement. In 2011 the bank would thank me for being a client for many years. Because I was turning 60 they would give me me a monthly rebate of $4.00 on my monthly fees instead of charging me $13.95 a month. The bank was definitely paying this Natural Woman a little Respect. Or were they? Playing Chain of Fools on my stereo on a daily basis I never thought about the the extra $4.00 savings each month. Would $4.00 buy me a package of Depends down the road?


As the years passed and slowly entering my golden years Aretha’s music was still always part of my life, and so was my bank. The bank seemed to know as I danced around the kitchen in my pajamas to her music last Thursday with uncombed hair that I would need a colonoscopy as part of their cherished older clientele. That’s right, they were Saying a Little Prayer for Me that I would do the right thing when they sent me that letter last week.


Aretha, I  am going to remember every time I danced to your songs on the radio, my transistor radio, reel to reel, 8 tracks, cassettes, CDS, YouTube and now ITunes. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world. The choir upstairs just got a little better. As for the bank knowing my every move all these years? Thanks for always checking up on me, I’m doing fine, but I’m really going to miss Aretha Franklin. But, please send candles next time in your letters as they are costing me more than the cake now. My body called the Freeway of Love is a lot older now– but you knew that A Change was Gonna Come.


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


Mary Louise Deller Knight — Evelyn Beban Lewis–The Townships Sun

The Secret World of Menopausal Mary

Hobos, Apple Pie, and the Depression–Tales from 569 South Street

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past Part 11

Jack’s in Charge-Scary Stories — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Jack’s in Charge-Scary Stories — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers
Dear Linda
Another story for you

Childhood , Oh so scary childhood “Mom don’t leave big brother in charge” maybe we can come with you… Please!

Jack’s in Charge-Scary Stories
I have a brother who I love dearly but as a twelve year old left in charge of his two younger sisters while Mom and Dad went down the street three doors away to visit Grandparents.  Brother dear was left in charge, OH DEAR, oh dear.

My Brother, could not do any  wrong, in my Mothers eyes.  He always obeyed my mother’s request, at least he told her he understood and he would go get our parents should there be any trouble    Sweet Boy, NOT ..  OH YEAH!  I would say to my sister oh here we go again what will he do now? He was a good brother but he sure scared us sometimes.  He did know how to creep us out!

In my childhood there was no television, you would listen to the radio, and on Sunday evening there were horror or horrible shows as I would call them.  Sound effects and voices were so scarey, creaky doors, screaming people, piercing sounds, footsteps to name a few.  I still shiver

Dear Brother would get two chairs and place them in front of the radio.  He would then say, sit  down,  First time it happened we thought we were going to play, musical chairs or something.  But OH NO., Brother dear would go and get a couple of my Dad’s ties and tie us to the chair.  He would then turn up the radio and shut off the lights.

Oh we were so frightened my younger sister would be crying, I would be screaming and no he did not stop   He would just wait for a scary part in the program and then he would crawl under the chairs and grab our legs. The programs THE SHADOW KNOWS and the GREEN HORNET.

I do not know how my sister and I survived, you know much later in Life around the age of 45, it was discovered I had been born with a hole in my heart, this problem was never medically repaired or had any family Doctor  known it was there. Over  the years this caused major heart problems , and I ended up with Open Heart Surgery.. Here was this sweet thing scaring us to death, he was supposed to protect us, so I thought.

When the shows were over he would untie us put everything away, my parents would come home shortly after.   Once again my sister and I would say that Brother was mean to us and tied us to a chair.  Mother would say, “I don’t think he would do that.”  She would ask him ‘’did you put those programs on the radio’‘and he would admit to it.  Mom would say he will not do that again and that would be the end of the conversation.

Needless to say the next trip down the street by our parents to our Grandparents we would know, Here comes the Green Hornet, and experience the same treatment.  One night shortly after, my mother, went out she did not go down the street right away, when the lights went out, she came in and caught him.  WHEW   we were safe AND THEY WERE NOT HEARD AGAIN.  So ended LISTENING TO THE GREEN HORNET AND THE SHADOW KNOWS, and I am stronger for it.  I think!

From the pen of Noreen—July 2018
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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

  1. relatedreading

Adventures at Dalhousie Lake at the Duncan’s Cottages —- From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

I am Afraid of Snakes- From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Hitching a Ride Cross Town — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

My Old Orange Hat –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Out of the Old Photo Album — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers


Snow Road Ramblings from Richards Castle — From the Pen Of Noreen Tyers

Summer Holidays at Snow Road Cleaning Fish — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Snow Road Adventures- Hikes in the Old Cave — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Putting Brian on the Bus– Stories from my Childhood Noreen Tyers

My Childhood Memory of Richard’s Castle –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Grandpa’s Dandelion Wine — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Wedding Tiara — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Art of Learning How to Butter Your Toast the Right Way — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Smocked Dresses–From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Kitchen Stool — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Flying Teeth in Church — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Writings of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Memories of Grandpa’s Workshop — Noreen Tyers

Cleaning out Grandmas’ Fridge — Noreen Tyers Summer Vacation at Richard’s Castle

My Flower Seeds — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth