Tag Archives: gilman

It Wasn’t the Dress — Reckless in Berkeley

It Wasn’t the Dress — Reckless in Berkeley

Based on true thoughts of the song by Romeo Void and Aidan Quinn

I grew up on television as a child. Shows like Donna Reed and Father’s Knows Best promoted “the high school prom” as a magical thing that was special. I remember they always said: “it will only happen once, and then it’s gone forever and you’ll never have it back”.

Well, let’s face it I hated high school and just wanted to graduate and be done. I wasn’t a scholar unless it was literature, history or art, and I knew from a very young age I wanted to become a fashion designer. Being a mathematician wasn’t my calling and even getting honours in other subjects I was held back a year because of math– and that kind of put a small tear in the crinoline as they say.

As far back as I can recall every May, all the school classes were brought to the Cowansville High School  gym to see how the graduating class had decorated for the annual dance. It was always the most beautiful use of crepe paper that we students had ever seen and I always went home and designed what I imagined I would wear to that particular dance.

The first dress I ever designed for my imaginary prom was a burgundy lace dress I had seen in the Simpson’s Sears catalogue. It had a high ruffled neck, empire waist, and a very romantic look. I did end up wearing it to a Christmas dance but by the time I finished the dress, it looked nothing like the one in the catalogue. My dad said I had better invest in a girdle because it was so tight.

A year later the graduating class’s theme was “Under the Sea” and my creation was a peach, yes peach, crepe, yes crepe, angel dress. It had a very gathered bodice and flowing cathedral sleeves. The dress turned out alright but somehow I got the length really wrong. It barely covered my derriere and I only wore it in the house and never did that dress grace the outside nor see a dance floor.

I created many dresses for my imaginary prom events, even wearing out my Mystery Date Game in the 60s. Mystery Date was very popular during my teens with the ultimate goal of collecting outfits around the board to get that perfect outfit for your dream date for the prom. I didn’t win that often even though I had a full outfit, but the boy waiting behind the door never seemed to be a match.

By 1999 I still had not gone to a prom and because I seemed to dress every day in things that I had designed I had let the notion go of ever going to one. It was only a dance after all– even though 1950s and 1960s TV had tried to convince me otherwise, and let’s face it I was now 48.

Living in Oakland, California my now husband and I went most weekends to 924 Gilman in West Berkeley. “The Gilman” is now a landmark mostly associated with being the springboard for the ’90s punk revival led by bands like Green Day, Operation Ivy, and other popular punk bands. Our passion has always been music and Steve moonlighted as a DJ for KALX and was a music reviewer. One week they decided to have a Punk Prom and I was so excited that I would be finally going to a prom with a date. What would I wear?

924 Gilman Celebrates 30 Years of Bay Area Punk Rock Glory | SF ...


By now I knew it wasn’t about the dress so I could follow any theme as there wasn’t one– and, when did I ever follow a theme? Instead of going for a traditional look I opted for a white bustier, a fairy skirt, white fishnets, my big black Doc Martens and a cone of hair on either side of my head. 

I am sitting here now at age 69 years of age wondering after all those years why I ended up choosing to look like Punk Rock Heidi? Well, my prom outfit is not your prom outfit and after all, it could have been worse– it could have been a dress needing a girdle or something that would flash your moonpies.

But, I did get my slow dance with my Prince Charming and maybe that’s all I ever wanted. In reality everybody makes the graduation dance out like it’s some big ‘rite of passage to adulthood’ or something. It’s not. It’s just another dance, and if you can’t be the prom queen it’s okay to be the dancing queen which I loved to be in those days. After all if you remember your fairy tales Cinderella never asked for a prince– she just asked for a night off, a nice dress and a prince.

This is my favourite grad clip

We saw the Dropkick Murphys at 924 Gilman in 1999

This and That About Gilman Corner



Brome Lake and Knowlton, QC, about 1930

There are no pictures of this area I can find– I had to substitute.  If you have any send them to me: sav_77@yahoo.com

Bert Drouin read an article of mine and asked me about Gilman Corner. He was looking for information about his great great grandfather John Smith Gilman, married to a Mehitable Taylor Cooley. He couldn’t find out his place of birth, so he thought John might have come from Gilman’s Corner. Here  is the skinny on Mehitable Taylor Cooley and John Smith Gilman. If you have any information please contact me.


Photo from Michael White from People From the Eastern Townships

John Smith Gilman

Birthdate: circa 1821
Death: Died August 19, 1852 in Compton, Coaticook, Québec, Canada
Place of Burial: Compton, Coaticook, Québec, Canada
Immediate Family: Husband of Mehitable Taylor Cooley
Father of Lewis Eugene Gilman

Mehitable Taylor Gilman (Cooley)

Birthdate: April 3, 1820
Death: Died May 28, 1895
Place of Burial: Martinville, Coaticook, Québec, Canada
Immediate Family: Wife of John Smith Gilman
Mother of Lewis Eugene GilmanShe is buried In the Martinville Cemetery, Martinville, Quebec, Canada.

I didn’t find out much except for other Cooley’s that moved into Fulford. Hope to do more on that soon. But, I cannot believe how a great proportion of the Eastern Townships was founded by Americans. I have put some historical information here– but what do you remember about Gilman’s Corners?


They call the juncture of Routes 104 and 139 Gilman’s Corners, and this community was built around a mill complex on the river that included a wool factory, a sawmill and a flour mill run by the Hungerford family in the 1800s.

The original family house sits opposite the prominent Anglican Church of the Ascension. Be sure to visit the F. G. Edwards General Store on McCurdy Rd., changed little since first opening in 1852.

There are two interesting landmarks: a rare round barn and a marker erected where Brome Township’s first settler, Henry Collins, built his house in 1795. From the main intersection (Rte. 139) follow Scott Rd.. past the round barn to Miltimore Rd., and turn left. The Collins marker sits in the field on the left side of the road near the top of the hill.

Did you know the Brome County Historical Society  has fourty  interesting  letters by Daniel Spencer Gilman written mostly from LOWELL, MASS, to his relatives in the Township of Brome, L.C.. Many of the letters are to his father, Moses Gilman (whose wife was Patience Spencer) who lived on the farm on Bondville Hill.

The grandfather, Dudley Gilman, came from Gilmantown, N.H. and settled in 1799 on the site in West Brome still called Gilman’s Corner. Spencer (as he was called) was born in 1817, the oldest son of Moses and Patience. Spencer did not marry, he went ot the California Gold Rush in 1849 and died of typhus fever while there.

The letters brought historical and labour news of Lowell, Manchester and Boston, etc., and mention Tom Thumb, President Polk, The Iron Steam Horse, topics of the day from Mesmerism to Alcoholism, from Millerism to politics, from the Daguerrean Art to National celebrations. Spencer also mentions the young men and women from Brome and Dunham areas who go down to Lowell to work and find it hard to stick it out. The letters are amazingly well-composed, and humorous, he shows a wise philosophy and a high thoughtful regard for his family.


Camping in the Eastern Townships woods about 1900


Judy Goyette-MarshMy dad and his brothers walked from their farm ( now Call’s Mill’s Park ) on Stage Coach Road to Gilman’s Corner to catch the bus to school .

Rob Forster —They’re blending Gilman’s Corner and West Brome together, despite the fact that they’re kilometeres apart and rather distict communities, or were. What I most remember about Gilman’s Corner from the 50-60s are the Persons’ Construction site, with all the weird heavy machinery parked and the blacktop maker in the centre constantly spewing white smoke every summer, the down-market Gilmore Inn, which featured live rock & roll and became the county’s longest running strip bar, the several restaurants including the locally owned Gratton’s Diner, and for quite a while an army surplus store located where the saw mill is now.

David Hawke –There was also Cloutiers Renault dealership. Pete Persons readymix plant just down the road. Definitely a different community than West Brome.
Rupert H Dobbin-If you don’t know the difference between Gilman’s Corner and West Brome you’re definitely not a Townshipper.

David HawkeThe reason for so many Americans in the area is the influx of those loyal to King George during the revolution (United Empire Loyalists) were forced to flee the 13 colonies and so many from the east coast arrived between Missisquoi Bay on Lake Champlain and Lake Memphormagog that the government opened up the area, which became known as the Eastern Townships, to settlement. After the war many relatives also came to join those already here. East Farnham is one community settled by these, mainly Quaker immigrants from the US.

Richard BilowI remember buying a number of items at the army surplus store. Also remember spending far too much time at the Gilmore Inn.

Rob ForsterThe gravel pit was where the Persons operation was located. There’s a possibly legendary story that Mr Persons refused to relicence his truck fleet in a timely fashion one year and invoked his political protection when the QPP tried to fine him. The story has it that the local chief of the QPP (as the police force was called then) got so angry and frustrated that he challenged Mr Persons to a fistfight, winner take all as it were, and they duked it out together right in the gravel pit. The Chief won and the plates were all changed soon after. As I said, that is the story.


Gilman Cemetery
Brome County, Quebec

Scott’s Road, West Brome, Brome Co. Qc.

Contributed by Marilyn Davis, Aug 23, 2003

Gilman Corner is found on the cross section of Highway 104 and 139 in West Brome.

I have researched this old burial ground and with the help of Joan Westover, can provide the following information.

What a shame they can’t leave things where they were put in the beginning. I have not been happy since I learned what actually happened, but you can’t stop progress.

It seems that the Gilman cemetery was located at Gilman corner, where the Papillon Restaurant now stands. It was removed to Pettes Cemetery on Sep 23, 1959, because Comet Construction wanted to make an asphalt plant and gravel pit there.

The stones were put into one large monument in Pettes Cemetery. I have found no information as to why that was done, instead of each stone placed as they were in Gilman Cemetery.

– Marilyn Davis

Boright, Welthia Maria, b. 1845, d. 1849
Cutler, Saran Ann, b. 1830, d. 1869, w/o Hiram Cutler
Daniels, Ira D., b. 1850, d. 1874
Dwyer, William A., b. 1869, d. 1877
Gilman, 2 children, b. 1830, d. 1830, ch/o U. & A. Gilman
Gilman, Abigail Mason, b. 1805, d. 1880, w/o Elijah P. Gilman
Gilman, Artimissa Spencer, b. 1798, d. 1854, w/o Uriah S. Gilman
Gilman, Artimissa, b. 1828, d. 1832
Gilman, Dudley, b. 1758, d. 1819
Gilman, Dudley, b. 1819, d. 1819
Gilman, Edmond U., b. 1797, d. 1827
Gilman, Elijah P., b. 1802, d. 1877
Gilman, Eliza, b. 1818, d. 1838
Gilman, Martha, b. 1784, d. 1841, w/o Dudley Gilman
Gilman, Mary Harmann, b. 1761, d. 1832, w/o Dudley Gilman
Gilman, Sarah Ann, b. 1828, d. 1828
Gilman, Sarah, b. 1808, d. 1838
Gilman, Uriah S., b. 1795, d. 1871
Gilman, Wm. C., b. 1842, d. 1855
Gleason, Eunice Cleveland, b. 1781, d. 1858, w/o Isaac Gleason
Gleason, Isaac, b. 1776, d. 1854
Huntley, Elmira E., b. 1850, d. 1850
Huntley, Ethan R., b. 1795, d. 1871
Huntley, Hannah White, b. 1798, d. 1867, w/o Ethan R. Huntley
McPherson, Maude, b. 1875, d. 1877
Pickle, John, b. 1792, d. 1850
Stone, Sarah D., b. 1849, d. 1849
Stow, Lydia Stone, b. 1780, d. 1846, w/o Thomas Stow
Stow, Thomas, b. 1772, d. 1861

Gilman (Daniel Spencer) Letters

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News