Tag Archives: Fashion

I Tried to be Normal once.. Memories of Flash Cadilac and Life — Linda Knight Seccasina

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I Tried to be Normal once..  Memories of Flash Cadilac and Life — Linda Knight Seccasina

Photo- 1983( 40 years)- Written in 2019


I tried to be normal once.. Worst two minutes of my life LOL


Last night I watched The Devil Wears Prada for the 100th time and wondered again why character Andy Sachs put up with that awful Runway Magazine editor. When I got up this morning I realized I too had once been an “Andy Sachs” and today I thanked my lucky stars that I had these “Miranda Priestlys” in my life.


Some of you might not know that once upon a time I had a cutting edge fashion store on Rideau Street in Ottawa called *Flash Cadilac. I designed 85% of the clothing in a store that was featured in many Canadian fashion magazines and an attraction on the downtown Ottawa street.


I could have never opened this store if it had not been for Saul Cohen from the Fine Togs Company in Montreal in the 60s. That man worked me to the bone from 7:30 am until 8 pm at night. Some days I just wanted to walk out of there. But, if it had not been for the ‘education’ from someone who had been in the schmata business for years I would have not learned that stamina, hard work and creativity keeps a business alive. Was I crazy? Probably, but that’s how badly I wanted to learn, and when I became a writer I encountered another ‘devil’ in my life.


I had been blogging for years on an American site that began Julie Powell’s Julia and Julia career. I was a popular blogger, but just not really learning that much. During that stint I met a woman called Elizabeth Coady in Chicago. Elizabeth Coady, was a former Harpo producer, who tried in 1998 to write a book about her time as a senior producer for Oprah. In the end Coady was stopped by the courts, which ruled that her hands were tied by the agreement she signed. So she began a celebrity gossip site and she took me under her wing and I became her lead writer.


If I thought Saul Cohen was tough Elizabeth was 100% worse- and again I wanted to throw in the towel. But, I learned how to write quickly, efficiently and prolifically, and my story links were in USA Today, Huffington Post, Time Magazine and the list went on. I learned for the second time in my life that anything you want badly enough has to come hand in hand with hard work and I thank you Elizabeth.


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition-– Steve Jobs


Thanks Amanda Thompson for posting this photo.
Flash Cadilac 40 years ago!!! Holy cow..


Clipping CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
24 Dec 1983, Sat • Page 36

I Bought Your Grandmas’s Clothes –Flash Cadilac Ottawa

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Chapter 2 –Was it Because I Have AB Positive Blood? Element #1

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac Chapter 1

Mini Memories of Retail Stores, Au Bon Marche, Liberty Stores, Orientique, and Flash Cadilac 1976

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac

The Best Adult Brownie Recipe with a side of the Vice Squad — A Flash Cadilac Story

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac — A Hello and Goodbye Hawaiian Short Story

Flash Cadilac -Sex Lies and Video Tape?

Stayin’ Alive — Reconnecting With the Friends of Flash Cadilac

Flashy Memories of Pandora’s Box ETC — Oh Ottawa Behave!

Remembering Nash the Slash at The Black Swan Pub

Thanks to Monique for sending in a photo of one of my outfits from my store…
Monique Kischel
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Linda Seccaspina This came up the other day – 1977-79 skirt and favourite wide leather belt with brass/gold hoops and links (a staple for 3 decades) 100% FLASH CADILLAC, pretty sure the top was as well.

I Bought Your Grandmas’s Clothes –Flash Cadilac Ottawa

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I Bought Your Grandmas’s Clothes –Flash Cadilac Ottawa

The Flash Cadilac Burlap Bag, thanks to Wanda Jane who sent it all the way from California( see below)

I Bought Your Grandmas’s Clothes


I learned some valuable lessons during my initial employments. One of the most important things I noticed was never let your paramours be involved in your business. I watched short-duration girlfriends be allowed to become fashion buyers and awarded free living quarters for their unqualified work. Eventually, the boss realized running a few residences could drain his finances quickly and make or break any future retail developments in mind.

Sometimes when the girlfriends, aka buyers, were ceremoniously dumped; the style direction their stores took was disastrous. But then again on rare occasions, a change in buyers every few months kept their styles current and fresh. But I watched them as I hemmed pants, and loved it when a few clever ladies brought in recycled clothing to sell.  I was impressed that it was made so well that the inside looked almost as good as the outside.

 
In the 70’s vintage clothing began to evolve, and some of the cool stores I went to in NYC like Reminiscence on MacDougal Street mixed surplus and vintage together to create a unique fashion style. There was such an upsurge in the vintage fashion trends that Caterine Milinaire and Carol Troy came out with the great book called Cheap Chic in 1975. This particular book, considered a fashion Bible is worth almost 100 dollars if you find it and re-sell it today.


When I opened my store Flash Cadilac, there were very few thrifts stores in Ottawa except for The Salvation Army, Ste. Vincent de Paul, and Neighbourhood Services. Local vintage fashion stores included: “Yes We Have No Bananas” on Elgin Street, Paddlin Maddlin’s, and Ragtime on Bank Street, and of course my friend Catherine Landry’s shop’s “Pennies From Heaven.”
The quest for good vintage finds in Canada was sparse and I used to go to Flushing, N.Y. and buy 500 pound bales of “silks” which cost me 50 cents a pound. The first time we bought such a bale we crushed the roof of the rental car we were driving when the forklift put it on top of the car. We had no clue about customs forms, and when the agent at Ogdensburg, N.Y. didn’t want to deal with us, he sent us to Prescott Ontario.

Arriving at the Prescott border the agent looked at us and the load on top of the car we had just driven 12 hours with and dryly said,“Ya got forms for this?”We had no idea that all commercial products brought into Canada needed forms and duty had to be paid.Needless to say the Canadian customs also made us cut the compressed clothing bale open. I don’t think I need to tell you what 500 pounds of compression looks like when it’s finally free. Three trips to the Canadian customs office on Carling Avenue and 10 station wagon trips later made from Prescott, N.Y. to Ottawa– we learned about importing the hard way.


At that point fashionistas were just beginning to realize that vintage was just not wearing old clothing. The fabrics and quality of vintage clothing were better because they were all made here. Gradually through the years what’s old is new again and today’s malls seem to contain stores of endless disposable clothing. When I was a child of the 50’s my mother used to say, “you dress appropriately because nobody likes an eyesore”.  After all Grandma didn’t wear Pink stretch pants that had the word “Juicy” plastered across their rear ends.

The Flash Cadilac Burlap Bag, thanks to Wanda Jane who sent it all the way from California

I was pretty naive when I opened the store in 1976. Ordered 5000 bags from a salesman thinking they would be in customers hands in a month. LOLOL

Had no idea they werebeing made in India and they took the slow boat to China back to Ottawa. Little over a year later they arrived. Boxes and boxes and boxes… and yes we had to go to customs to pick those up too.

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Chapter 2 –Was it Because I Have AB Positive Blood? Element #1

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac Chapter 1

Mini Memories of Retail Stores, Au Bon Marche, Liberty Stores, Orientique, and Flash Cadilac 1976

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac

The Best Adult Brownie Recipe with a side of the Vice Squad — A Flash Cadilac Story

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac — A Hello and Goodbye Hawaiian Short Story

Flash Cadilac -Sex Lies and Video Tape?

Stayin’ Alive — Reconnecting With the Friends of Flash Cadilac

Flashy Memories of Pandora’s Box ETC — Oh Ottawa Behave!

Remembering Nash the Slash at The Black Swan Pub

Under their eye: Carleton Place group dresses as handmaids to vote, shining light on women’s rights, discrimination

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Under their eye: Carleton Place group dresses as handmaids to vote, shining light on women’s rights, discrimination
Tara Gesner
Carleton Place Almonte Canadian Gazette
Friday, October 21, 2022

After Carleton Place Coun. Linda Seccaspina was questioned for wearing a handmaid’s costume to a public event where she volunteered her time decorating Smile Cookies, a group of local ladies decided to bring the issues of women’s rights, equality and discrimination to light.

Resident Laura Piggott organized Blessed Be the Vote, which saw women dressed as handmaids attend the Carleton Place Public Library voting kiosk Oct. 18 to cast their ballot in the 2022 municipal election.Piggott claimed Seccaspina was “publicly shamed and subsequently bullied for wearing a handmaid’s costume and ironically accused of perpetuating the ideals of oppressive regimes when the handmaid’s costume has come to represent the fight for women’s rights.”

Read the rest here CLICK

Thanks Tara

Miss Mildred Low 1930 Lanark County Politician — An Independent without Frills

Documenting the First Female Councillor in Carleton Place

Carleton Place Ladies Auxiliary — Chamber of Commerce 1987– Mary Cook Archives

Chamber of Commerce Then and Now in Carleton Place

It’s Hard for Women to get into Office in Carleton Place — 1974 –Mary Cook

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Chapter 2 –Was it Because I Have AB Positive Blood? Element #1

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Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Chapter 2 –Was it Because I Have AB Positive Blood? Element #1

Was it Because I Have AB Positive Blood? Element #1

 I was told by my doctor once that 10% of the world’s population has AB Positive blood and it’s where I get my “oddness” from. Funny, I never thought I was odd! All I knew was I didn’t want to end up in the military like my Father had daily visions of. It had come to his attention many times that I was different, and I stuck out like a sore thumb in my rural hometown in Quebec. When your father is a prominent municipal fixture, and the only electrician in town, word travels around like a bush fire that your daughter is weird or a character as they called me. Honestly, there are lots of people like myself, and then there are those that pretend not to be.

Catherine Landry ( Pennies from Heaven, Ladies Who Lunch) Me, Diane Woodward (Diane Woodward Art) and Wanita Bates ( Citizen Journalist, CBC, award winning author) at the store when it was on the ground floor where Le Chateau used to be on Rideau


My friend Wanita Bates said something once that made complete sense to me after all these years.

‘Linda, some of us have gifts to feel what is going to be in style, and you and I are one of them.” When I had my store I was way ahead of fashion trends, but when major retailers grabbed on to it and money making was involved–I was long out of it. 

So after heated arguments with my father, I left home and headed to Montreal, Quebec. I attended fashion design school on Bleury Street where I became instantly bored. Instead of great 60’s fashion and styles that I was expecting my teacher made me make pattern after pattern of 1950’s styles. After classes, I would venture into store after store, just absorbing the culture and the fashion.

After almost completing my course, I decided I needed to find a job. Well Twiggy, Mary Quant, and all the Carnaby Street styles were afloat and guess who was wearing them? My Dad was getting remarried and gave me $75 dollars to buy something for his wedding. Being the drama queen I purchased a black velvet Twiggy mini dress and a black floor length Dr. Zhivago style coat. It was a real floor duster with black faux fur trim, and Omar Sharif would have been proud.

Militmore Road, Bromont, Quebec. There I was in that Dr. Zhivago Midi coat circa 1968?? that was supposed to be the end all to me getting a job. Like the manager of Bill Blass in Montreal said to me that year,
“Kid get yourself another coat if you want a job!”
My how things have changed



So when I went for job interviews I insisted on wearing the same “ultimate”outfit I wore to the wedding. Most clothing manufactures were not into the “Carnaby look” yet and I was told time after time, “Kid, get yourself another coat”. In layman’s terms I was scaring all these fashion people with my wardrobe. Defiant, I kept wearing it. A few weeks later I got my dream job. It was working for trendy Le Chateau on Ste. Catherine Street hemming pants. It was their first store, and their clothing styles were worn by anyone who wanted to be someone. I was right up their alley– or so I thought.Sadly, I only got to work there for about 6 months, as I was basically hired for the Christmas rush. In those few months I got to meet the Montreal trendsetters, wore “Gabardine Mod” pants, and so began my lifetime eating disorder. But, it was a time I will never forget, and believe fashion has never been so exciting. Just being able to sneak into the Boiler Room on Crescent Street and watch fashion happen was mind blowing.For some reason only known to God, I was just not ‘cool” enough to work as a salesperson in their store, and rent had to be paid. In the middle of the coldest winters ever I hauled my derriere all over the Island of Montreal looking for a job.


I finally found a job at The Fine Togs Clothing Co. It was a childrens manufacture run by Blossom and her husband Hy Hyman. Actually Blossom ran the company and Hy smiled a lot and played golf. They thought I was a spunky kid and if I had stayed there, I would have probably be retiring from the company about now. They were good people.

If my grandmother Mary was my foundation for my hard working ethics, then Saul Cohen was the drywall. He expected me to arrive at 7:30 every morning and I had to ask to leave around 7:45 pm at the end of the day. The man worked me to the bone, and I just chalked it up to experience. I worked in the cutting department, sewing, swept floors, did book work, and worked in the show room. There was not one stone that he did not make me turn over, and turn over again.’Sauly” was relentless, and when he found out that my Mother had been born to a Jewish Mother  he made sure I knew about my heritage. Anytime I asked to leave early he would turn around and say to me,”Do you know how our people suffered?”.Enough said.

One day he decided that I was ready to represent the company selling their clothing line at the Place Bonaventure clothing mart. He told me I had to have, no, must wear, something conservative.So I did what every other girl my age did. I went to Sears and bought “The Suit”. It was navy blue, a box jacket complete with a knee length pleated skirt. I had red shoes and red earrings to match. That was the last time I wore something so conservative. It just wasn’t me.


I applaud Saul for everything he taught me and how someone actually got me into something that wasn’t black. Word got around the clothing market about me and I was soon hired by a competitive children’s wear company run by Palestinians. Yup, I was no peace maker between the people of Israel and Palestine, but this was a time I will never ever forget.

Patricia McCoy



Hey Linda, what a blast from the past! I still have my unique, favourite top from your store.

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac Chapter 1

Mini Memories of Retail Stores, Au Bon Marche, Liberty Stores, Orientique, and Flash Cadilac 1976

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac

The Best Adult Brownie Recipe with a side of the Vice Squad — A Flash Cadilac Story

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac — A Hello and Goodbye Hawaiian Short Story

Flash Cadilac -Sex Lies and Video Tape?

Stayin’ Alive — Reconnecting With the Friends of Flash Cadilac

Flashy Memories of Pandora’s Box ETC — Oh Ottawa Behave!

Remembering Nash the Slash at The Black Swan Pub

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac Chapter 1

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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.

Mini Memories of Retail Stores, Au Bon Marche, Liberty Stores, Orientique, and Flash Cadilac 1976

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Mini Memories of Retail Stores, Au Bon Marche, Liberty Stores, Orientique, and Flash Cadilac 1976

David Ellis–Downtown Sherbrooke’s Au Bon Marche at the corners of King & Grandes-Fourches Streets in the 1960’s





Liberty stores in Ottawa came to Ottawa from the Eastern Townships in Quebec.

Another person I owe who I am today is the late Morty Vineberg from Au Bon Marche in Sherbrooke, Quebec. I learned the retail trade from the bottom up from him, and to this day, if there is a spot for just 50 items, and I have 300; I can whip that into shape as fast as you can say “bargain designer clothes”. In those days you took pride in your work, listened and worked hard, and you learned from those that knew.

How do you explain to kids today that’s how life was? You don’t– you had to be there.

 


Memories of Au Bon Marche in Sherbrooke. 1969? –This was an ad for the Sherbrooke Daily Record for Au Bon Marche..Me on the left and the other model on the right– my fellow friend and Au Bon Marche employee Pauline. Worked at Le Chateau and manager of The Knack in the store. Where do those years go? Miss my Sherbrooke years and Au Bon Marche. Cherish what you have today because they disappear..

1982 flood in Sherbrooke Quebec . Le Chateau was part of Au Bon Marche as you can see the Le Chateau sign on the building.

It was 1972, and I was being transferred from Au Bon Marche in Sherbrooke, Quebec to their new Liberty Stores in the old Bingo Palace just after the Cummings Bridge in Ottawa — which connected Rideau Street to Montreal Road in Vanier. The Vinebergs, who were the owners, were taking a big chance on opening that store as gossip said Ottawa people did not cross the bridge into Vanier.

1896 Cummings Bridge

The first wooden bridge over the Rideau River was constructed in 1836 by Charles Cummings, rebuilt in 1845, and replaced in 1890 – draws settlement to the area that will become Vanier. Many merchants and civil servants take advantage of the opportunity to move out of Ottawa’s Lowertown, already densely populated. Janeville is founded in 1873, followed by Clarkstown some 20 years later. In 1909, the Ontario government merges the two settlements with Clandeboye to form the village of Eastview.

And so I was transferred to the other side of the bridge and I lived at Pestalozzi College. read-I Lived in Pestalozzi College – Life in Ottawa 1972

1974

Liberty Stores Montreal Road Vanier

Liberty Stores 1974 – I think the gal’s name on the right was Brenda.I managed Le Knack

Liberty Stores 1974 – I think the gal’s name was Brenda.I managed Le Knack

CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
02 Apr 1980, Wed  •  Page 79

CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Apr 1978, Sat  •  Page 9

I only worked there a few years. If remember correctly I left because there was just a lot going on at that store in Vanier and actually developed a bad case of retail anxiety.

Orientique

Six months later I was working for the Orientique Company as a merchandiser and was thrilled to be working with a great couple, Irwin and Wendy Kruger that had all these neat stores in Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor. As my friend Connie said: Crinkle cotton skirts, batik printed bohemian wrap around skirts and Jesus sandals! (soaking them in water to mold them to your feet and of course) and Tie Dye Shirts. The scent of Patchouli forever in my memory.

After that it was off to open Flash Cadilac on the second floor at Rideau and Dalhousie

Ready-Steady-Go! Dear Sheila- 1976

Dear Sheila,

I am about to open within the next two weeks, hopefully. I have had a lot of issues getting a Vendor Permit because the landlord was doing renovations in another part of the building without a building permit. So Ange got mad, and that is all it took, and we are about to open. We also had to file for a Health Permit because I am selling recycled clothes. Yes, they have to check the cleanliness of your washroom to be able to sell anything that is not new. I am so excited, we have a 9:30 am appointment with the Mary Quant cosmetic rep tomorrow.

You remember how I used to wear her makeup all the time in Montreal when I worked in Le Chateau years ago. I still remember the day she was at the Oglivy store on Ste. Catherine Street and I shook her hand. I think it was even better than when I grabbed Paul McCartney’s hand in Seattle!I was telling Ange that we have set it up just like Biba was like in London, but I will never be a Biba!

I have just added a huge Japanese-style round table with seating pillows in front of the change room. This is what have so far:

Ray Straight-Leg Jeans

Old Fur Coats

Recycled Dresses

Cozy Sweaters

Scarves

Jewelery

Russian Flowered Shawls with Fringe

Gauze Embroidered Tops

Stockings

Hanes Hosiery

Make-Up

Recycled Suede Purses and Vests

Ballet Shoes

Mary Jane Chinese Shoes

Ballet Leotards and Tights

Japanese Fans

Paper Wallets

Feather Boas

Fur Boas I make out of Fox Tails

Cigarette Holders

Ladies Pipes

I would love to carry Laura Ashley too, but, wonder if it would go with the things I have. My dream is to go to San Francisco and touch Gunne Sax clothes designed by Jessica McClintock! I am going to put a dancing girl (with clothes on of course) in the window Thursday and Friday night to draw attention. Randy, the hairdresser has offered, but I think I will pass.

If you didn’t know Randy the hairdresser acrossthe hall that was another story LOLOL

Driving into Rideau Street

The early 1970s was a cruel time for Ottawa’s locally-owned department stores. Familiar companies, which had serviced Ottawa residents for generations, seemed to fall like nine pins, replaced by national chain stores. Freiman’s on Rideau Street was bought out by The Hudson Bay Company. Murphy-Gamble’s, the grand old lady of Sparks Street, became a Simpsons. Meanwhile Eaton’s moved into the Ottawa market, launching an anchor store in the new Bayshore Shopping Centre in Nepean. But perhaps no loss was felt as badly as the closure of Larocque’s, the Lowertown emporium that catered primarily to Ottawa’s francophone community. On 11 September 1971, the Ottawa Journal revealed that the venerable store, a fixture at the corner of Rideau and Dalhousie Streets for more than fifty years, would be closing its doors for good at the end of the year. Staff had already been given their notices. It was the end of an era. Read more here click

Hidden Creeks, the Bywash and Sinkholes

Documenting Mr.and Mrs. William Fest Transportation Building or—I Want Candy

Should Life Be This Hard? Linda Knight Seccaspina

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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.

Corsets

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.

Shoes

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.

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More Kitten Mill Memories -As the Needle Surges

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More Kitten Mill Memories -As the Needle Surges
Julia James
January 26, 2021  · 
Where the 3 roads meet in Lanark looked like a busy spot in the horse and buggy days. On the left, when I first went to Lanark was, I think, Campbells Rest., not sure what was there when this photo was taken, beside it is what was or became the Kitten Mill, on that same side you can see the second storey of Young’s Furniture Store and the bridge over the Clyde River. The first place on the right side was where the Lanark Era was printed and that building is still there, up at the top of the hill you can see the Clock Tower on the Town Hall
Lanark & District Museum photo

CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Dec 1992, Tue  •  Page 15
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Jun 1996, Sat  •  Page 52
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Thu, Mar 11, 1982 · Page 33
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
13 Jun 1991, Thu  •  Page 52


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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Mar 1956, Fri  •  Page 46

Frances Somerville
April 25, 2014  · 

Went shopping and was given a reusable bag from
the old kitten mill in Lanark
memories of years gone by

CLIPPED FROM
The Expositor
Brantford, Ontario, Canada
16 Jun 1959, Tue  •  Page 1

The Glenayr Kitten Mill (A Reminiscence)

 ~ M.C. MORAN

Memories of the Kitten Mills.. Please note that the video was done by John Foliot from the Lanark Heritage Preservation Society.

When I was 17- The Kitten- Glenayr Knitting Mills Reunion

How Much is that Kitten Sweater in the Window?

Stories from the Old Kitten Mill

Down by the Old Kitten Mill

Linda’s Mail Bag– Do You Have any Info on my Blanket?

You’re from the Village of Lanark You Say?

Millinery 1909 — The Merry Widow The Mushroom

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Millinery 1909 — The Merry Widow The Mushroom
CLIPPED FROM
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
05 Oct 1904, Wed  •  Page 1
Marion Umpherson Prentice in front of her shop.

It is easy for one to sit behind the plate glass and make mind bets on the success of the millinery openings. Some deductions are obvious. The ladies and bachelors seem to get the greatest pleasure from the occasion. In fact the particular position which’ each person occupies in the social structure of the town is portrayed in their attitude on those exciting epochs .

Merry Widow Hat

When the fashion bonded public for the first time this Spring we wonder whether the Merry Widow or the Charlotte Corday, or some new favourite is to occupy the highest places for the present. The fluttering excitement of the maiden, the self poise of the matron, veteran of many campaigns, the cynical smile of the bachelor, society’s excess baggage and the thinly-veiled uneasiness of the heads of families—all pass in review before us. Judging from appearance hats are going to be very amicably worn.

Charlotte Corday Hat

The extreme horizon of the Happy World has been more or less contracted—so much so in fact that it will scarcely be necessary for ordinary men to carry a package of court plaster tor the purpose of repairing their damaged features in future. There is a new , favourite: “ The Mushroom.” It does not resemble the common or garden vegetable much, except in the name. It may be that the title was derived from the fact that with one of them in the house there isn’t “mushroom” for anything else.

The Mushroom Hat

Some people like to try on hats, some people don’t. It depends a good deal on how they look, but the ones who do not feel quite satisfied have the satisfaction of knowing; that they didn’t have their hair fixed right. Let it be understood that while the fans of the immediate future seem to a tenderfoot, to have shrunk slightly, there is still sufficient to them to prevent the summer’s sun making freckles on the end of the nose.

March 1909 Lanark Era

  • The fashion designer Lucile had designed the original widow hat for an operetta in 1907, but it influenced hat fashions for many more years.  
  • The Merry Widow hat was always black and encased in filmy chiffon or organdie and festooned in feathers.

CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Jul 1912, Mon  •  Page 2
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Sat, Sep 24, 1904 · Page 4
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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
07 Apr 1949, Thu  •  Page 7
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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
02 Nov 1935, Sat  •  Page 18
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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
07 Oct 1899, Sat  •  Page 6
CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
13 Aug 1901, Tue  •  Page 2

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

Local Women Wearing Hats– Photos Chica Boom Chica Boom

Mad For Hats!! Doris Blackburn’s Hat

Effie McCallum —– Missing Milliner

Mrs. James Prentice Hatmaker Milliner of Lanark

Mad For Hats!! Doris Blackburn’s Hat

Wearing Vintage Hats – Blowing the Lid off Katherine Newton

Bertha Schwerdtfeger — Mother of the Carleton Place Schwerdtfeger Sisters

Mad as a Hatter — Wearing Vintage Hats

Electrical Plugs — Hats– and Impressive Men – Putting on the Ritz in Almonte

Pour some Feathers on Me

Weird Wendell’s Paperback Writers

Pour some Sugar on Me– Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Pour some Sugar on Me– Linda Knight Seccaspina

Pour some Sugar on Me– Linda Knight Seccaspina

I can’t remember what year as a teen I began wearing fashionable tops made out of Sugar Bags. All I know is when I did my grandmother had a fit. It was bad enough I loved corn, but this? My grandfather said in England corn was only fed to the cows– but to purposely show yourself out in public in such a garment was a travesty to the Mary Louise Deller Knight.

My grandmother said all she could think of was the great poverty of the Great Depression. But in my mind there was a romance to the idea that anyone could make something beautiful from something so mundane as an old sack of sugar or flour or anything else.

In truth, feed sacks were used for sewing well before the depression and for several years after.  The evolution of the feed sack is a story of ingenuity and clever marketing. Women looked at these sacks and began to use them for everything in the household and also became popular for clothing items. Manufacturers saw what was happening and they began to print their cloth bags in a variety of patterns and colours.

Every mother and grandmother knew how to sew when I was growing up. Grammy and I would always go to the fabric store and pick out patterns and cloth to make clothes. Unfortunately, my grandmother loved the colour brown, because it was sturdy and basic, much like the sugar bags. I might have been sturdy in size, but I was never basic, and I grew to really not care for the colour brown. 

Truth be known I never liked much colour and still don’t, and even though I had creative genes, sewing wasn’t really my forte. In fact I should have walked away from the sewing machine. But, I pinned, I taped, and if it fell apart, well it fell apart, but the general public got the idea of my styles. I am very grateful the glue gun did not exist in those days– truly grateful.

I had never listened to anyone who tried to talk me out of my views on life, fashion, and being yourself. I was sturdy like the mighty feed bags. At age 15 I marched into the CHS Vice Principal’s office who doubled as a guidance counsellor and told him I would not be returning to school the next year. I also asked for my $10 dollar school book deposit back.

I can still remember to this day where his desk was positioned in the room, and the look on his face that was partially hidden by his oversized spectacles. In a crisp but curt tone he scolded me.

“My dear Miss Knight, what golden path have you chosen for yourself?”

“I am going to be a fashion designer Sir,” I said emphatically.

He got out of chair and perched himself on the edge of my chair and asked me loudly if I was joking. He continued in a loud monotonous drone telling me young ladies became either nurses or teachers. The elderly gentleman suggested that maybe I look into the world of home economics if “I enjoyed sewing”. 

With that I stood up and again I asked him to cut me a cheque for $10.00. With a look of defiance, a shake of his hand, and $10.00, the world was now my oyster

If my grandmother Mary was my foundation for my hard working ethics, then Saul Cohen was the drywall. He expected me to arrive at my job in a children’s wear manufacturer at 7:30 every morning and I had to ask to leave around 7:45 pm at the end of the day. The man worked me to the bone, and I just chalked it up to experience. I worked in the cutting department, sewing, swept floors, did book work, and worked in the show room. There was not one stone that he did not make me turn over, and turn over again.

‘Sauly” was relentless, and when he found out that my Mother had ties to the Jewish religion he made sure I knew about my heritage. Anytime I asked to leave early he would turn around and say to me,

“Do you know how our people suffered?”.

Enough said.

Another person I owe who I am today is the late Morty Vineberg from Au Bon Marche in Sherbrooke, Quebec. I learned the retail trade from the bottom up from him, and to this day, if there is a spot for just 50 items, and I have 300; I can whip that into shape as fast as you can say “bargain designer clothes”. In those days you took pride in your work, listened and worked hard, and you learned from those that knew.

How do you explain to kids today that’s how life was? You don’t– you had to be there– when life was never sugar coated and as sturdy as an old sugar bag.

The 1960s Almonte Fashion Show — Names Names Names

Fashion Faux Pas in the Cemetery

The Poker Face of Corsets and Waist Training -1800s Fashion Comes Back in Style

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