Tag Archives: cinderella

Just Add Water and Other Stories…Linda Knight Seccaspina– Sherbrooke Record Thursday Column

Just Add Water and Other Stories…Linda Knight Seccaspina– Sherbrooke Record Thursday Column

There were a lot of things I wanted to believe in as a child. I wanted to believe that the 5 cent stamp I asked my dad for was really going to win me a pair of roller skates from some obscure company in New Jersey. Those X Ray Specs never were ordered as I was told they would not work. Some inexpensive chemistry set didn’t produce a new miraculous invention I had set up in my basement after I had saved up $6.99. But the triumph of marketing over reality came to a head one day when I ordered something called Sea Monkeys that were depicted with the sweetest faces, almost like a Barbie family from Mars.

Their illustrated faces looked so downright happy on the back of that comic book I envisioned them to be like the typical family I didn’t have. Father Sea Monkey goes to the office in the morning, Mom Sea Monkey plays the perfect Mother, and the wee children Sea Monkeys are off to Sea Monkey school after their lovely Sea Monkey morning meal. SeaMonkey cartoon characters were their first lesson in false advertising. What do Sea-Monkeys look like? Nothing like the ads.

To be honest, each time I ordered them, and then years later for my children, they were nothing like they professed to be. Each package we ordered was certainly not exciting, and even though they were once launched into space in 1998 to experiment their hardiness, they died within a couple of days in my home. Dead pets are bad for business, but people kept buying them. These days Sea Monkeys come with their own replacement guarantee.

Should I tell you we were all disappointed by a snake oil salesman named Harold von Braunhut? They were actually just dormant eggs of lowly brine shrimp that came to life when water was added with the added story that they only inhabited Okanagan Lake. Yes, the gentleman was a showman that figured that since ant farms were so popular then Sea Monkeys were going to be the next big thing. His extravagant claims for the crustaceans for example was that they would come back from the dead and that they could be trained and hypnotized were convincing because they were sort of true. The Brine Shrimp do follow light.

He was not only responsible for that particular life disappointment but also another one called the X Ray Specs. When the Sea Monkey crowd turned 12 they lost interest in monkeys and went for the mail order X-Ray Spex — “guaranteed” to let you see through people’s clothes. Actually they were nothing but feathers between two pieces of glass stuck together.Von Braunhut’s X-Ray Specs are still selling after 50 years of pulling the wool over children’s eyes, and maybe some adults too. The holder of 195 patents, Von Braunhut had an uncanny flair for dreaming up inexpensive products aimed at the youth market. The former manager of novelty acts was also a master of advertising hyperbole with his attractive ads on the back of comic books sure to entice kids.

Von Braunhut, whose reported involvement with white supremacist groups, tarnished his reputation as a noted contributor to pop culture, died Nov. 28, 2003 at his home in Indian Head, Md. Before his fatal fall at age 77, he was working on his next two inventions: a pet lobster and an instant frog. Thankfully, Von Braunhut‘s estate lost control of the Sea-Monkey conglomerate, and the product is no longer associated with his family.

So there you have it – once again children were disappointed unnecessarily when really the truth wasn’t a big deal except that maybe things were not as they seemed. As a child I longed for magic in my life. I finally realized that the mice from Cinderella were never going to make me an amazing ball gown or in later years the Mice Circus in Coraline were never going to perform for me. Until yesterday…

I live in an old limestone house built over 150 years ago. The odd field mouse gets in and makes himself at home once in a while. There isn’t much you can do about the fact with three foot stone walls that now have tiny openings. My husband put a toaster strudel in for breakfast and within 30 seconds he could smell singed fur and the toaster began rattling like there was an earthquake. For all the times I dreamt as a child about Sea Monkeys and dancing mice that minute in time produced a fantasy come true. Like the hit of a loud beginning operatic note a tiny mouse jumped out of that toaster like an aerialist and pranced and danced his way across the kitchen counter to safety.

Just a heads up you are never too old to believe– and maybe I should reorder a package of those Sea Monkeys, or go down to the riverbank and see if Hammy Hamster’s friends are there. You never know!!

See you next week!

CLIPPED FROMThe MercuryPottstown, Pennsylvania11 Mar 1965, Thu  •  Page 12

How Cinderella Got to the Parade

How Cinderella Got to the Parade


Photo- John Rayner — Gloria Schryer  in the Carleton Place 200th parade Aug 1, 2019

There’s an old saying that goes: “It’s not where you are coming from, but it’s where you are going”.

Many wondered who this lovely woman was that was sitting on top of one of Bean Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd. cars in the Carleton Place 200th parade last Thursday night. The more people I asked, the more frustrated I got, as no one had a clue who she was. Others began to ask me, and I knew I had to get the story.

I began with Manager of Recreation & Culture Joanne Henderson and she told me that all she knew was that this woman wanted to be in the parade. Was she a former local beauty queen? Was she a president of a local group? Joanne added that her name was Gloria, but again, that is all she had gathered.

Sunday at the 200th picnic I bumped into Community Programmer Sydney McDiarmid and she had more of the story. Seems Gloria, whose full name is Gloria Schryer  just wanted to be in the parade. So Sydney arranged for Bean Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd. in Carleton Place to pick her up. That’s what we do in Carleton Place– we  are the town with the heart.

Joanne and Sydney called me over during the afternoon as none other that Gloria was at the picnic and I had to talk to her. I introduced myself and gave her a hug and asked her why she had wanted to be in the 200th parade. The very gracious woman simply said,

“I just wanted to be in the parade!”

She went on to tell me that she had a seen the signs looking for volunteers and had called Sydney asking if she could be in the parade. Sydney immediately said yes and Gloria went about making that gorgeous blue dress she was wearing in the photo. The day of the parade Bean Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd. came to pick her up in a car and brought her to the parade destination. Upon arriving at the Carambeck Community Centre her ride was suddenly changed to one that Cinderella’s Fairy godmother would have whipped up. Gloria said her heart began to beat a little faster as the car was just perfect. They asked her if she wanted to sit in the back seat and she said,

“Oh no, I’m sitting right up on top!”

Gloria had always dreamed of doing this, and because of Sydney and Bean Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd. her wish had been finally granted. August 1, 2019 will be a day that Gloria Schryer will always remember as she fulfilled something on her bucket list.  She wanted to go down in history as being the belle of the ball of the parade, and that ladies and gentleman she was, and is, and will forever be. Wishes are not only granted in fairy tales, sometimes it just takes the people of a small town with a big heart to grant your wish. It’s called community– and that is what we have here in Carleton Place.

Hope to see you in another parade Gloria!!

One heart can make a difference
One choice can change it all
One voice can travel the distance
And be heard all around the world


I was lucky to get a few words from Carleton Place Community programmer Sydney McDiarmid about the whole Gloria so I am adding this and thanks Syd!

It was a short few days before the CP200 Celebration Parade on August when I got a phone call from Kate Murray at the BIA Office.

She said that a lady had called looking for information about the parade.

I asked Kate if there was anything in particular she was looking for.

Kate said, all I got was her name; Gloria, and that she wants to be in he parade and gave me her phone number! I guess this is where it all started, where “Gloria- just Gloria” came to be… neither Kate or I knew her last name!

I was pretty excited about this, another parade entry!!

So I gave Gloria a call one afternoon, and let me tell you, it was one of the best phone calls I got to make.

I introduced myself over the phone saying:

“My name is Sydney McDiarmid, I work for the Town of Carleton Place as the Community Programmer, and I heard that you were looking for information about the Celebration Parade that is coming up.”

Gloria asked again who was calling.

I told her my name again and why I was calling.

“Oh yes Dear” Gloria said.

Right at that moment I knew she was such a sweet lady!

I asked her what exactly she was looking for in regards to the Celebration Parade.

Gloria said that she really wanted to be in the parade. She makes outfits/ dress that represent certain time frames through the years.

I thought this was one of the coolest thing ever… so of course I said yes!!

As excited as Gloria was though, she was a little uncertain and concerned as she wouldn’t be able to walk the full distance of the parade.

I told her to leave it with me, and not to worry! I would give her a call back in a day or two.

Now remember, we are only a few days out from the parade (and the rest of the events) so things were crazy over here!

I brainstormed a few ideas of what/ how we could incorporate Gloria in our Celebration Parade…. Then it hit me; OUR AMAZING FRIENDS AT BEANS CHEVROLET BUICK GMC!


I had been emailing April Bean prior to this as they were joining us in the parade.

I sent April an email and told her about Gloria and how she really wanted to be in the parade. April thought that was awesome and said that they would be more than happy to help out! I gave April Gloria’s phone number!

April emailed me back saying that Gloria was going to ride with them, and that they were going to pick her up at her house! How awesome is that… like really!?

The day of the Parade, I was walking down the street making sure everyone was good to go and had everything they needed.

The next thing you know, I was looking at a real life Cinderella.

I went over and introduced myself, and low and behold it was GLORIA… I finally met her! And she look beautiful.

I thanked her for her time and for joining us in the CP200 Celebration Parade.

Gloria expressed that it was a dream come true for her to be apart of an event like this and she was so happy to be “riding in style!”

This couldn’t have happened without April Bean and the rest of the team over at Beans Chevrolet Buick GMC; so thanks again!

This evening couldn’t have been better. It couldn’t have been better for the organizers, the participants, and the spectators!

It was truly wonderful seeing so many people out to celebrate this amazing town that so many of us call “Home”.

Carleton Place is a home, and a home filled with so many great community members who make it the best place to live.

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

Someday my Prince Will Buy Me a Cinderella Stove

The Peanut Parade Carleton Place

So When was the First Santa Claus Parade in Carleton Place?