Tag Archives: collecting

Clippings of the Almonte Collectors

Clippings of the Almonte Collectors


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 02 Jul 1994, Sat,
  3. Page 63


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 02 Jul 1994, Sat -



    Blasts from the Past– Collecting Calendars

  3. Antique Furniture? The End of an Era?

  4. Do You Know What I Found?

Click Click Click

Click Click Click


I am left with a handful of photos that were never discovered in a drawer. My sister Robin, myself, and my Mother Bernice Ethylene Crittenden Knight at Anita Vaughn’s cottage at Selby Lake.


It was a cold day in October of 1963 when I watched my father throw the contents of the piano bench into the burn barrel in the backyard. My Mother had died in September after being very sick for years, and I realize now that my Father was trying to get rid the past. Photos of my childhood, newspapers clippings and the family tree book that my Mother’s cousin Iveson Miller from Island Brook hand wrote for her rose to the sky in smoke and ashes.

As a child and even a young adult I never missed those photos or even thought about them twice, but for the last few decades I mourn what my late sister Robin and I lost. Both my parents were only children, and I no longer have snapshot evidence that our past existed because of my Father’s photographic purge.



Some of the photos I collect
Judging from what I see at estate sales and auctions, more and more people are getting rid of old photos, as it seems they only want to keep the memories they represent, not the photos intact.  Family pictures are potent storehouses of long-forgotten memories and a key resource for future generations. So as most people know, I rescue photographs and memories of strangers.

One sunny Friday afternoon I rescued some things out of random boxes at the local flea market. The seller told me that the family of the deceased had left most of his belongings as discards on the street.



Some of the photos I collect


There were mysterious French books and a host of other wonderful things all selling for a dollar each. What caught my eye was an old green cardboard box full of personal correspondence and photos. I could not wait to get home and start to do research about what I had found on the internet.

I found out that the box once had belonged to a *Professor John Hardy who had written a book about the study of Historians in the French Restoration. After reading some of his received correspondence I learned that he specialized in French Restoration History and had taught at Yale, UIC, and was renowned by historians everywhere.



Some of the photos I collect


As I did more research, another professor, *David P. Stanley, had written a seven page obituary online about Professor Hardy, obviously out of the great respect he had for him. I was shocked when I read each page that Stanley had written, as it was everything I had envisioned about Professor Hardy, yet I had never met him. Yale University had headhunted him to teach after his first book, and he had almost completed a manuscript on Guizot that he just could not seem to hand in for publication.

So what happened to this treasured correspondence file? In the end I decided where its rightful place should be and I sent it to a former love interest of Hardy’s in the northwest that I had a photo of. There, his box of memories sits in privacy on a desk to be cherished by her forever.

Hardy’s manuscript about Guizot was never found and not a single soul knows where it is. I assume the old professor felt that no one would appreciate it and had hidden it away or gave to someone for safe keeping. But someone did care about the old professor and there will never be a day that will go by that I do not think about the late Professor and how I found his “messages in a bottle”. Every photo and every family item means something and the memories are priceless and last forever.
* Name has been changed for privacy reasons.



Some of the photos I collect

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.Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)



Middleville– Yuill- Photos Laurie Yuill

Photos of Laurie Yuill- Somerville/Mather Picnic 1937–Charles Home, Lloyd Knowles House–Foster Family

Photos of Beckwith Township Fire Dept 1970s

Carleton Place Photos 1920s

Tom Edwards Appleton Photos 1910-1920

Tales from an Auction–Everyone Knows a Hillside Johnny!




When I was a child my father would bring me to many a rural auction where we would sit for hours on hard wooden benches in some old barn while he bought a lot furniture he didn’t need. During that period of time I learned a lot and took that knowledge with me every single time I ventured into a thrift shop or an estate sale. I might not be a mathematician, but I can tell you when things were made and how much they’re worth pretty quickly.


My home is filled with Lanark County finds from estate sales and acutions. Most of my clothing is vintage, and yes, to put it bluntly, comes from dead people. Sometimes I argued with the customer once in awhile when I volunteered for the Oakland Children’s Hospital Thrift Shops in California,

“Where do you think all this stuff in thrift stores comes from?”

In California the auction is a lost commodity, and every Friday estate sales leap out at you from Craigslist by the hundreds. Every single Friday was once dedicated to seeking the cheap, the unknown, and meeting really interesting people. One of these sales found me sitting on a curb with two twins in their 70’s discussing sales and life for a few hours until the sale opened up.

I told them of a strange estate sale I attended last year where handcuffs were hanging from the ceiling and hundreds of naked pictures were glued to the wall of the garage. One has to wonder what the surviving family thought when entering Grandpa’s home and seeing he enjoyed more than reruns of“The Waltons.”


All Photos by Linda Seccaspina

The elderly twins had lived in the hills for almost 40 years and told me of a strange neighbour they felt was out of the Twilight Zone that had been named Hillside Johnny. John was a recluse and seemed to talk to just a chosen few, and they weren’t one of the few. The more they spoke about him and his house that was not “a home of culture” as they said, the more curious I became.

It didn’t take long before Hillside Johnny walked up and down the street sporting a “shirt”, soiled pants, well worn work gloves and highwater pinkish underwear that seemed to explode above his pants. Every 15 minutes his hat seemed to change like magic, and the holes in his socks got bigger.


The long-haired man spoke here and there to some, and I found out that his brother lived with him, but they had not spoken in 5 years. He no longer used his kitchen after they converted it into an extra bedroom and cooked on a hot plate in a very over-crowded garage. This in a home in a highly sought neighbourhood in the Berkeley Hills with a view that costs millions  of dollars.

I watched as he seemed to take us all in with some sort of amusement, and told whoever would listen that he had not driven a car in years, but instead rode his bike the 3.5 to 5.5 miles up and down the hills that would give a younger man a heck of a workout.



As he stood behind me in the final moments before the sale opened, the organizer handed him something in a pink paper shopping bag that matched his underwear. What was in that bag? No one found out and John disappeared from the line wandering down the road clutching the bag with a significant aroma trailing him. Would he add whatever was in that bag to his collection in the garage I silently wondered?
After that final thought we all marched into the house and mayhem and bedlam ensued. I opted not to get the vintage 70’s Levi Strauss pants and instead purchased a teapot purse and more sunglasses. My sons still shake their head when they see my attire and collections, just like how we viewed Johnny I guess– and their late father always asked them what they were expecting from me and said,

“You know your Mother has always been a little different!”

Just like Hillside Johnny I guess…. oh well–all- Johnny B Goode:)



Related reading:

Howard McNeely- I Aim to Please

H B Montgomery Auctioneer

50 cents I ’m bid–Auctioneer Clayton Hands

Antique Furniture? The End of an Era?

In the Year 1923 —- “BHM”– (Before Howard McNeely)