Tag Archives: Linda Seccaspina

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac

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Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Nov 1978, Wed  •  Page 40

Wednesday, November 29, 1978 Page 41– By Rose Simpson Journal Reporter  ( see info about Rose below)

 Photograph, Jan Marshall, 24, a designer at Flash Cadilac, models purple slouch pants, made from a rubbery, shiny material that looks like leather, but Is a lot cooler. Klm Green, 18, shows off a shimmering block low-cut top with slouch pants. The high heels are a must..Linda in bottom corner photo.

Below, Nancy Cambareri, 19, a Flash salesgirl, models the Wonder Woman look. And on her right, Karen Cameron, 18, wears a tuxedo. Red vinyl corsets are big sellers this year. So are 10-karat gold false fingernails, and leopard-print pants. Tuxedos for women and zoot suits are THE Items on the New York dance floors, but Ottawa women aren’t exactly lining up to be the first on their blocks to own them. 

Strippers, secretaries and disco queens looking for the unusual can usually find it at Flash Cadilac above Le Chateau on Rideau Street. There are clothes which range from the exotic to the erotic. Customers may pick up a sex aid while picking out a formal. And you can bet your silk pyjamas you won’t find your satin slit-up-to-the-waistline skirt anywhere else in town. 

Flash’s clothes are made in the backroom by 15 seamstresses working under the eye of owner Linda Seccaspina.. Linda is Flash Cadilac. The 28-year-old designer who hails from Quebec’s Eastern townships dresses in the most outrageous fashions. She colors her hair (calls it Crazy Color) in the colors of the rainbow. She has a business that is growing so rapidly she says she can’t make clothes fast enough. 

Outrageous fashions popular in conservative Ottawa? “Oh, I think New York is much more conservative than Ottawa,” she insists. “When I was in New York last time, I had purple hair. I wasn’t wearing anything too out of the ordinary satin running shoes, you know. But I couldn’t get a cab driver to pick me up. They all just stopped and looked, locked their doors and drove away. “They don’t do that in Ottawa.”

 Linda’s father’s reaction to her mode of dress was similar to that of the New York cabbies. She says she has always dressed “different. As a dress designer, she began with more conservative firms but says she felt restricted. When she and partner Angelo Seccaspina opened Flash Cadilac, she began to cut it her own way. She has never looked back. She is now designing clothes for stores in other Canadian cities, but she maintains she wants the business to stay small. 

She likes the intimacy she used to have with her old customers. She knew them all by. name when Flash Cadilac first opened its doors two years ago. “But you can’t just sell to a select group. You have to sell it to Joe Q. Public. Now I go out into the store and I don’t know anybody.” “It’s really kind of sad.”

Linda and Angelo have opened another store across the street called Flaming Groovies, which caters to a larger public. But she treats the two stores differently. “This one is my baby. Sometimes Angelo says ‘let’s send some clothes over to Flaming Groovies. I say no. I’m very possessive. I guess it’s because this is where it all started.” 

Linda Knight Seccaspina- Flaming Groovies 1970s Rideau Street- Flash Cadilac was across the street Sheila Wallet Needham Photoread The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

Linda is planning to give Flaming Groovies a chance—for Christmas, Linda is designing a section of clothes all in emerald green to celebrate the opening of the movie The Wiz. She says she got the idea after seeing the movie previews, one scene Shows the characters , ; living In the Emerald City decked out in green. A large section of Flash Cadilac features lingerie In all shapes and sizes. Most of the underwear is as sheer as Saran Wrap. Linda says most of the strippers and dancers in town frequent her store because “we have a much bigger selection than most other places.” Much of it is brought from larger cities. 

Linda is considering making her own exotic lingerie for the dancers because “even though we have the best selection, there needs to be more to choose from.”The underwear is bought by as many secretaries as dancers”, she says. 

Corsets and garter belts are very popular with the buying public. “A girl comes here, you know, if she wants to buy a little something to surprise her husband with.”  Linda attributes her success to the popularity of disco and disco dress.’ Disco Is non-verbal and outrageous. It is glitter and shine and satin. It is loose, and free-flowing with lots and lots of material.  Flash Cadilac clothes have all those free-flowing qualities. 

Linda says her gay customers have also helped her business, “They’re always the first to get in on a good thing,” she says.’They were the first with disco, and they were our first customers.”

Linda’s predictions for the winter —Black. Black and glitter is very big. Shiny, gold is definitely but in the states tuxedos are very popular; but the ones I have aren’t selling very well. “Slouch pants (pants baggy around the waist and tight at the bottom) are very big, too. Any dresses or shirts with lots and lots of material.

CBC Archives has just released an old documentary about Disco from 1978? that my good friend Jacki Alexandra sent me that not only worked for me and is a BFF.It’s all in french but if you were into Disco Viva etc you need to watch this. If you remember my store Flash Cadilac on Rideau Street in Ottawa at 15:28 until 21:00 you can see the store and hear me interviewed.. I had purple hair in those days.. dark purple so thats why its so dark…Enjoy

One gal/model had to quit working for me the day after this came out in the Ottawa Journal as her family said she had disgraced the family by posing.

I was not happy having to open Flaming Groovies next to LUNA on Rideau Street. I had enough work with one store and I knew having two close together would not help. But Angelo insisted.

I wore one of the cowl tops in the photo to the local gay bar The Coral Reef which used to be under the Rideau Street parking lot on Nicholas. Someone said, ‘Who is that new drag queen?” I was actually honoured as my make up must have been done right. LOLOL

What happened to Ottawa journalist Rose Simpson?

The article was written by Rose Simpson in her Ottawa Journal days… Rose Simpson with her new book —BUY HERE click

or read her blog click

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

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

or read other stories available in the book below on the Amazon’s of the World

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

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The Best Adult Brownie Recipe with a side of the Vice Squad — A Flash Cadilac Story
Linda Seccaspina shares three fabulous shots from a Flash Cadillac photoshoot at Ottawa’s Skateway Roller Disco in 1979.
Writes Linda:
“The other day Lost Ottawa posted memories of Skateway on Morrison Drive, which is now Lee Valley Tools.
We did a few fashion shows there and this is one from 1979. When I look at the clothing now, I realize we were lunar years away from everyone in fashion LOLOL!
My store Flash Cadillac on Rideau Street in Ottawa was the first business in Canada to start using lycra spandex for active wear and bathing suits. I remember trudging down to New York for it, and also that the first plant to begin making cotton lycra (in the 1980s) was in Granby, Quebec.
Memories of the past… Thanks Lost Ottawa for reminding me.”

My books always include a recipe or two, and the day I found this recipe I was almost arrested by the Vice Squad. I was holding  a basic Brownie recipe the whole time while I was arguing with someone who thought he was Serpico.

Why was I arguing with him you ask?

Because, he thought I was letting children play with vibrators.

Was he kidding me?

I may be a few fries short of a Happy Meal sometimes, but that would never happen under my watch.

Flash Cadilac,  as most of you remember, had a small naughty novelty section. It wasn’t huge, and maybe all of three shelves in a plexi glass cube that had a lock on it. It was way before it’s time, and I bought everything from a place of ” ill repute” on Canal Street in New York City. It was harmless stuff in those days. A few cheezy gaping mouth rubber dolls, vibrators, creams, and lotions. Nothing  like on the scales of today.

A customer of mine got so furious I would not take back a dress she had worn a few times. I told her I would give her a credit, but no refund, as it was ready for the trash. I thought I was being more than fair. So, she did what every other angry customer does. She called the Vice Squad and told them I was allowing children to play with sex toys from the case. Because my store was so eclectic and then there were the assumptions that I was created in hell, they believed her. 

A day later after the incident, as I was carrying on a conversation clutching the recipe, a crowd of lumberjack storm troopers came busting through my store looking for the alleged toddlers playing with the battery operated devices. They ravaged the place looking for over an hour.  As I stood there arms akimbo wearing a Dolly Parton wig they tried to bust me for a gift box holding a set of gold balls.

Gold Balls?

Yes, these cracker jacks were mixed up just like I was when I first bought those things.  I thought the Harmony Balls were for hand relaxation at first. Then, I was told the hard cold truth, and realized that the strings attached to the balls were not for Eastern peace and tranquility.

So I asked them to show me where Ben Wa Balls were illegal.They couldn’t, so they moved on.

So Francois, as I shall call him, asked me why I was allowing young children to play with the pleasure goods.I began to laugh, and became furious, and said he was seizing everything that looked questionable. For another hour they pillaged every inch. All they could come up with was one lone item. It was a hot pink vibrator that had a bear climbing up a tree. Turned on, the bear went into motion. The rest you can discuss amongst yourselves. He put it barely three inches from my face and said,

“This MADAM will be seized.”

I began to laugh, and told him if he thought that looked like a realistic male penis, then he had an anatomy problem.

Off they went with the contraband vibrator never ever to be seen again. Myself? I went home and made the brownies.

So that’s today’s story girls and boys. The secret to these brownies is two things:

Do not over bake them, and the frosting. Putting the frosting on top of the hot  brownies makes it turn to a fudge consistency.

          Linda’s Adult Brownies

8 tbsp butter, margarine or whatever you use.

4 ounces of semisweet chocolate coarsely chopped up. I use chocolate chips

2 large eggs at room temperature

Pinch of salt

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup  chopped walnuts if you want nuts.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Lightly grease a ‘square’ pan

I melt the butter in the microwave, but you can  also melt the butter in a small sauce pan over low heat.

Next add the chocolate. I take the bowl out of the microwave and add the chips. The  I nuke it for 45 seconds. I take it out and stir and voila, they are all melted.

In a large bowl combine the eggs and salt and bet them for 30 seconds.

Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light. About a minute or so.

Add the vanilla, the melted chocolate, and butter and beat until smooth.

With a spoon, stir in the flour until just blended. Add the walnuts if you want them and pour into prepared pan.

Bake about 25 minutes.

I wait until they are firm on top, but never crusty and pulling away from the sides of the pans.

Keep them moist people.

Frosting

4 ounces of chocolate either coarsely chopped or again I use the chocolate chips.

A couple tablespoons of butter or it’s equivalent

1  1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1/4 cup of milk, cream or Carnation Milk and keep adding if needed.

I melt the butter and chocolate the same way as the brownies in the microwave.

You do not want a thick or runny frosting.

Medium consistency, so it flows like lava on the top of the brownies.

When the brownies come out of the oven, immediately put the frosting on top. Yes, Immediately.

You need a few hours for the frosting to set, but it is so worth it.

Variations:

I also can put peanut butter chips in the batter, and then sub the chocolate chips in the frosting for the peanut butter ones for a sort of peanut butter cup brownie also shown in the picture.

But those are only for a real sweet tooth as they are very sweet, but still luscious.

Everybody Hurts – Sometimes — Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Everybody Hurts – Sometimes — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Everybody Hurts – Sometimes Linda Knight Seccaspina– Sherbrooke Record Column

I don’t know if any lollipop in the world could have made me smile after lining up at the town hall, or was it the fire station, on the Main Street in Cowansville in the 50s. There we were– 100s of kids in line for a polio shot with doctors and nurses pushing those ugly needles down in our arms. Loud cries pursued like clockwork, and children were led out with a lollipop in their hands mixed with tears. That image has never left my mind, nor the two hours one Friday night at Dr. Roy’s office on South Street with someone trying to pin me down for yet another inoculation.

At my age now I have been picked and prodded all my life and one more is not going to make a difference. But this week I got a COVID booster and there was no treat for me after I had received it. I seem to miss that little act of kindness after something significant in my life. You go through hours of labour and at the end there is your baby, or you get hit by a car like I did at age 6, and there were stacks of Illustrated Classics Jesus comic books given to me by my Grandfather Crittenden.

So what happened and when?

Enduring a bout of strep throat at the age of 17 my Grandmother asked me what I wanted to eat as a special treat. I told her there was nothing I would enjoy more than KRAFT spaghetti. It had to be KRAFT, nothing else. After hours of dreaming about boxed spaghetti she turned up with a bowl of vegetable soup. Is that where it turned all wrong? Or was it just Mary Knight’s way of saying– everyone that hasn’t felt well should have vegetable soup, bread and butter and a piece of cheese for their first meal. 
All I know is that when I got that COVID booster this week, there was no lollipop, no stickers, just a full shot because I am 70. I could have really used a treat when I had the aftershocks afterwards: you know: “the fever, headache, fatigue and pain at the injection site”. For 24

hours I could not move, and in my mind an ear worm song of “It’s a Small World“ was playing in my head. It’s still playing actually.

My husband Steve understands ‘treats’ and even though I was dead to the world he asked me what I felt like eating. I said,

 “I would like a McDonalds Chicken Burger please”. 

He looked at me in the way Mary Knight used to look at me and said,

 “Are you sure you wouldn’t like a bowl of soup?” 

I gave him ‘the look’ which he understood immediately. I don’t know how husbands figure things like that out but there was no other conversation after that. But Steve doesn’t treat me like regular glue anyways, I’m always glitter glue to him.

As I began to eat that chicken burger I realized that was not what my body wanted, and could barely take a few bites. But that was my treat for all this and why didn’t my mind or body want the treat. It was obvious that my body was still in distress and Mary Knight’s remedy of a bowl of soup, bread and cheese would have been better. I went back to bed and never thought about it again.

At 2 am I woke up and my hair was soaked just like I had gone swimming. Obviously the fever had broken and my body was going back to normal. I smiled. Now where was that treat? Yes, I thought, I needed that treat even if it was now cold. I ventured downstairs quietly and looked in the fridge. Nothing there. Then I looked at the garbage pail. Sitting on top was the McDonald’s bag and there inside the box was my chicken burger. Some of you are saying,

“Oh no she didn’t”

I am telling you right now, “oh yes she did!”

Pulling a George Costanza from Seinfeld, I took out what was left in that container and I ate it all. You have heard the saying, “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight”. It was after midnight, and I was going to have that treat still with the ear worm of It’s a Small World playing through my head.

Life Interrupted — Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Life Interrupted — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Our new editor at The Townships Sun, Rachel Garber thought it would be a great idea if I wrote about our late editor Barbara Heath. Normally it would be an easy task for me, but in this case I had never met Barbara. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t know her– but in reality, we knew each other. They say to have a close friendship you need to meet each other first which helps strengthen the bond. Barbara and I did not need that, as we easily exchanged over a 100 emails between each other and felt like long lost sisters.

I first met Barbara years ago when she emailed me about a story I did about the rumoured 30-foot- long monster called Gog, Manaloo, Memphre, the Anaconda, or the Lake Monster of Lake Memphremagog. Somehow she had seen it on Facebook and asked if the Townships Sun could run it. Since I had spent the first  night  of my honeymoon looking out the motel window which faced Lake Memphremagog searching for that creature; it was a story that was near and dear to my heart.

And so, as they say, began the online friendship of Linda and Barbara. I had been writing for years in the States for publications about celebrities, murders and pets and she assured me that history was my thing and she was right. She encouraged me to keep writing with my heart, and to pursue my potential. It’s not like I needed anyone to encourage my prolific writing, but even though we were the same age, it was like someone putting their arm around you. It was always that way between us. She represented a part of my self-identity.

Barbara under the CIBC sign.

We both believed in saving heritage like the Tomifobia church which is a short distance from Stanstead, Quebec. The poor wee church was sold and abandoned for years and it left a mark on both of our hearts. She was a fighter like myself and we both stood up for the wrongs in our communities. Barbara with the closing of the CIBC in Stanstead and me with stormwater management ponds and supporting local business. It doesn’t matter how slowly we now moved along, we just had to make sure we didn’t stop. Neither of us kept our feelings in a drawer to be forgotten.

I am heartbroken and I should have known her health wasn’t getting better. In March she sent me two beautiful jewellery artifacts that belonged to her mother. She said in a letter, 

“I hope they bring you joy and show your spirit. You are certainly a valuable member of the Sun Family.”

Barbara did not wish to have any services, like myself. We both had figured out that lots of things happen after you die and none of them involve the deceased. I had told Barbara that when I die, cremate me and stick a tree on me. I wanted absolutely no headstones so these genealogists I have been writing about for years will come looking for me. She always thought that was funny.

Barbara,

We never met, yet we knew each other well, almost like we were friends before, 

We never met, but we both grew up in the Eastern Townships and loved and breathed history,

We never met, but you sent me letters from those that enjoyed my writing in the Townships Sun and told me never to stop writing. 

We never met, but you were a friend and a mentor, and for that I will be eternally grateful and never ever forget you.

I wish there was email in heaven.

Linda

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

Here Comes the Sun! The Townships Sun

Never Miss a Chance to Dance! Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Never Miss a Chance to Dance! Linda Knight Seccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina 1968 and Saul Cohen working at Place Bonaventure from-Ramblings of a Rebel with a Cause!

Never Miss a Chance to Dance!

No one in this world wanted to take over tap dancer Ann Miller’s job more than I did. After 70 long years of random attempts, all that remains is a pair of silver tap shoes tucked away in a cupboard long forgotten. I used to wear them on a day to day basis for many years as I always believed one should be on call if someone had the odd tap dancing job. In life I have always winged it: life, eyeliner, just everything.

As a child my mother told my father that I had natural rhythm and would probably belong to a professional dance troupe. Actually, what she really wanted me to be was one of the dancers on American Bandstand, but I had other goals in mind. When I was eight I wanted to fluff out my tutu and be the Sugar Plum Fairy so badly that I accidentally bumped the reigning fairy off the stage during practice. Seeing the stage was a foot off the ground, she was luckily not hurt, and I was to remain a Waltzing Flower forever.

At 17 I had my first “break”. I became one of the regular “crowd” dancers on a Montreal based TV show called “Like Young”. Every Saturday afternoon I lined up outside CFCF-TV sporting my grandmother’s orthopedic brown lace up shoes, ready to dance. Those borrowed shoes were just super for dancing and they looked fabulous with my floor dusting Le Chateau gabardine pants. I was nothing but double-trouble on the dance floor.

After the show was over we would all head downtown and refresh our spirits at the Honey Dew restaurant on Saint Catherine Street. One giant glass of Honey Dew along with a hot dog and then it was off to Place Du Soul. It was the “all ages” place to be, that was right across from the Greyhound Bus Station in case you had to leave town quickly. Each week I resumed my Sugar Plum Fairy dreams of long ago– only this time it was for the coveted title of go-go cage dancer. The elevated cages were about twenty stairs up a shaky ladder and it became a weekly goal to try and fight the others to be queen of the dancing soul-castle.

One weekend James Brown was the headlining act and even though I had issues with vertigo I decided I was finally going to be dancing in that cage that evening.  As I stood in line waiting my turn I told several people that the lead singer Bruce from “Les Sultans” was soon to be coming in the front door.

“Les Sultans” were the French Canadian version of the Beatles in those days, and I tell you that line stopped being a line in about two seconds flat. Smiling a very large sinister smile I climbed those twenty stairs wearing a short print mini dress, white boots and a huge white bow on top of my head. I never looked down once and realized quickly there was no lady-like way to climb that ladder without flashing my underpants. Remember, there is always a wee bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good.

James started to sing, “I Feel Good,” and it couldn’t have been a better song. I stayed up in the cage as long as I could and danced my boots off. Others got tired of me hogging the limelight and tried to climb up and get rid of me. I threw my boots down one at a time.  Last song, bootless, and eyeliner running down my face James threw me a kiss in the air and sang “I Got You”. I would never live my mother’s dream of being one of Dick Clark’s dancers, but finally, I was the Sugar Plum Fairy of Soul and covered in a “Cold Sweat”!
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here, we should dance. When you are sixty and still dancing, you become something of a curiosity. If you hit seventy and you can still get a foot off the ground, you’re phenomenal. Now, with a cane, dancing can be difficult, but I still dance like nobody’s watching. Because, in reality, they aren’t watching you. That’s because they are all too busy checking their phones. Why be moody, when you can shake your booty!

Communicating About History with Humour? — Jim Sharp Comments

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Communicating About History with Humour? — Jim Sharp Comments

“I am not amused!”

Comments From Old Ottawa And Bytown Pics October 2021

Jim Sharp--While we’re talking about Carleton Place families, Bill Findlay and his wife were touring Scotland once and ran into the Queen of England who broke down in her Landrover and apparently was invited for tea afterwards.

David Jeanes-–Hey Jim Sharp I thought from the movie “The Queen” that Queen Elizabeth knew how to fix Landrovers from her work as an army driver during World War II.🙂

Jim Sharp–David Jeanes– Guess she didnt have the right wrench

I have been writing and documenting community history for a very long time with over 6,300 blogs about history. I believe humour is important telling history sometimes, as people seem to remember what is written longer. Everybody knows the tragedy of history, yet, there is no denying that the past is often very funny and yesterday Jim Sharp’s comments on Old Ottawa And Bytown Pics not only made me laugh, but I will never forget the story.

Do we think that serious textual stories are better, more “literary,” whereas maybe something in a lighter fare is for the under educated? If so, then we have a problem. Today’s generations are not interested in facts, and to get them, or a lot of other folks to read about history, it has to be interesting. I don’t know about you but reading traditional text really doesn’t inspire me to want to know more, so I decided to take the ‘vanilla’ out of some history. I mean what would you rather read–

“A faintness came over him, and together with the evacuations his bowels protruded, followed by a copious hemorrhage, and the descent of the smaller intestines: moreover portions of his spleen and liver were brought off in the effusion of blood, so that he almost immediately died.”

Well, maybe that is a terrible example–but today, one of the younger generation would ‘text’ that sentence something like this:

“Hey! That man just %^&* out his internal organs and I will never eat Pigs In A Blanket again”.

What about a local lad who was so popular that the crowd at one of our local Ottawa Valley threw so many various items at him out of adoration that he died of asphyxiation? What will you remember? Pie Winners? I don’t think so. But, interesting tidbits sometimes helps you remember the rest of the story.

Mill of Kintail Road off Highway 28

Of course we all remember Brothel Bertie  (King Edward the VII) who probably exercised his prowess around the local Lanark area, including Ottawa. When he visited in 1860 he might have ended dying from bow chicka wow wow when he had a drink at Bennie’s Corners. Apparently, a certain lady from a local Ramsay farm had caught his eye. I don’t know about you, but reading about those “old community spirits” keeps my interests up and makes me want to know more. Read more here-Taking Sexy Back with Brothel Bertie aka Edward the VII

Ice Ice Baby, Ice Ice Baby
All right stop, Collaborate and listen

On the 18th of 1897 Carleton Place was advertising for someone to introduce military drills and exercise in the public schools. For $600 a year the individual they hired was to instill serious discipline into the local school child. It was mentioned that 15 minutes a day plus the occasional ‘polite and necessary’ beating would increase the brain function from all that sitting sideways and slouching forward that a normal child does during the day.

Really? Really?

As Maestro Fresh Wes once said: “Let your backbone slide!”

McKay Street Bakery to the left of me– Peden’s to the right–Here I am stuck in the middle of Bell Street with you. Read-Snippets of Bell Street we Should Not Forget ( photo from Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum)

The Central Canadian newspaper wanted the school system to hire Joseph McKay, son of James McKay, Carleton Place Bell Street baker for the position. He rose in his long militia service here from lieutenant of No. 5 Company in the late 1870’s  to lieutenant colonel of his regiment at the turn of the century. The Rifle Ranges at Carleton Place were constructed during Lieut. Colonel McKay’s command and the newspaper said it would be hard to find a more efficient man for the position. A no nonsense man I believe was quoted in the newspaper.

Black Jack Jonathan Randall- Outlander with a little photoshop

So what else did I remember when I read the newspaper article?

I somehow saw Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Mackay who had risen to Major by that point in time looking something like Black Jack Jonathan Randall from the hit TV show Outlander instructing those Carleton Place children with a snap of his crop.

I don’t think there is a “chance in Inverness” that I will ever forget this story now–nor will you.

Tales of the Queen’s Underwear and all those “Accidents”

Why Am I SOOOOOOO Obsessed with History?

Taking Sexy Back with Brothel Bertie aka Edward the VII

Maybe We Should Film Oak Island in Carleton Place? The Day the Money Disappeared

Living In Constant Sorrow in a Lanark Swamp — Soggy Bottom Gal

Friday Nights with Brian Murphy

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Friday Nights with Brian Murphy
Photo by Jim Roy

Every second or third Friday night for a number of years CHEZ-FM DJ Brian Murphy could be found in my store Flash Cadilac talking to me for hours. I will never understand how we became friends, as we were different as night and day. But there he was sitting on a stool next to my cash register, and we always had hours to chat about stuff. Both of us had a love of music, but no one knew more about music than Murph. I loved to tease him about his love affair with Dire Straits, and he would in turn constantly mention my extremely bad taste in music. But sometimes he would admit that some pop music wasn’t all that bad. I wonder what he would have thought of BTS. Murph, I’m going to ask you that when I hopefully got up into rock and roll heaven, unless Hell is Gothic, and well, you know, I might enjoy that.

Brian was never there to shop, and seldom took interest in my customers (even the sexy ones) unless they mentioned music. I always had a Diet Coke or two for him, as he got thirsty discussing life, and sometimes he overwhelmed me with his knowledge. You could never have a 15 minute conversation with the music genius–his musical thoughts came in volumes. He would talk endlessly about his record collection in his basement which was floor to ceiling, as well as covering the stairways and hallways. Brian, you would be happy to know (in later life) I married one of “your tribe” who had 7000 records to get rid of in Berkeley, California to move here to Canada. I know you would have told him what was more important in life LOL.

After Brian was let go amid the big CHEZ-FM shuffle I wondered what he was up to when I no longer saw him anymore. When I read his obituary I was devastated and angry at myself for not reaching out to him and hoped to God his frog collection would be taken care of. He will always be the Sultan of Swing to me and so much more.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I wonder what Brian would have to say about a particular genre of music I’m playing. When he died CHEZ-FM posted the following on their website:

“Heaven has just welcomed its new music director.”

If tears could build a stairway, 

And memories a lane.

I would walk right up to Heaven

And bring you back again.

The Brian Murphy Fund
*Application and donation links found below*
A Sub Fund of the Education Foundation of Ottawa and An Endowment Fund within the Community Foundation of Ottawa
This award is in memory of Brian Murphy, host of CHEZ 106 “The Source” “Blues 106,” “Jazz 106” and other programs. He was known as one of Ottawa’s most original people. Brian will be remembered for his encyclopedic knowledge of musi

Please leave comments so I can them all here for permanent doucmentation… thanks

CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
18 May 1991, Sat  •  Page 51

This is Artcetera, speaking from the home of Brian Murphy, host of CHEZ’S The Source, Blues 106 and Jazz 106 programs on Sunday nights. The shows reflect Murphy’s eclectic tastes in music, a subject for which he is wildly enthusiastic. He’s also a champion talker. Let’s listen in.) Now I’m going to get myself in real serious trouble with what one friend calls the jazz ayatol-lahs, and another friend calls the jazz weasels. Because really what jazz is, even though it has become in a sense an art form ta-dah ta-dah, is pop music. MOZART WROTE POP MUSIC, or adapted pop music. And nothing makes me angrier than the jazz ayatollahs or the jazz weasels, or the BLUES ayatollas or the BLUES weasels, people who are so structured in their musical taste.

. . . I’ve always gotten from certain people in the Ottawa jazz scene the ayatollahs, the weasels the feeling that they really can’t take me seriously when it comes to jazz. Why? Because I like rock and roll. (It’s me again. We’re talking to Murphy because May 24 is his 50th birthday, and CHEZ is dedicating the day to his music, and also holding a birthday party for him at the Penguin. The radio station is broadcasting from his house that day, and they’ve asked him to pick 125 to 150 rock songs, and they will make up the playlist for the station that day.) I just took a page for every letter and as songs came into my mind I started going through them … So you got a list that starts A’s: Allman Brothers, Ramblin Man and Animals, House of the Rising Sun. B’s: The Band, The Weight, The Beach Boys, Good Vibrations, here’s a tough one, Beatles, I’ve got two, Am The Walrus and In My Life. And I’ve got Bonzo Dog in here, which will probably come out, and this particular song means a lot to me: Urban Spaceman . . . (Music magazines spill on the floors of Brian Murphy’s house.

There’s barely room on the kitchen table for the breakfast he eats at 4 p.m. he doesn’t go to sleep until 8 or 9 a.m. He collects things in the shape of frogs, and frogs spill along the shelves of his living room in ceramic and plastic and wood. A frog quilt spills off his bed. CDs spill out on top of the thou sands of albums kept in the boxes in his basement. Books spill on his desk. Words spill out of Brian Murphy.) First of all, above all, I’m an entertainer. I’ve got to make people feel good. That doesn’t mean that occasionally I can’t stop and make them think about something or make them angry about something that makes me angry. But at the same time as I’m entertaining, I’m kind of teaching. I’m taking all of this lore, all of this knowledge, all of this listening, and sifting them through this particular body and mind, and what comes out is some kind of synthesis of all this stuff. (May 24 is also the 50th birthday of Bob Dylan.

Above Murphy’s basement sanctuary, where he goes to turn on a record and read some science fiction and think about the connections that run through music, above that sanctuary is a sign: ‘The Most Famous Album Never Released: Bob Dylan & The Band The Basement Tapes.’ Basement. Tapes. Connections.) Dylan was the wordsmith. Dylan was the man, the person who opened the words up for everybody. In a sense, Bob Dylan made poetry acceptable to the masses. What a horrible way to have to put it. (Murphy rocks from leg to leg, from subject to subject. He loves music of all kinds, he hates people who put it into pigeonholes, he wants people to understand . . . There are only kinds of music another line I’m going to steal and it’s been attributed to Kurt Weill and it’s also been attributed to Igor Stavinsky there are two kinds of music, good music and bad music.

Take your pick. . to understand something called Sturgeon’s Law, a law that says that 90 per cent of everything is trash. Mur phy’s Corollary puts Brian Murphy that at 95 per cent. So you shouldn’t be surprised … – -J Pop music is banal and all of those things, but! lot of it more than you realize is great music. It can move you. “I’d be surprised if a lot of pop music is bad- ‘ A lot of everything is bad. But when it’s good; -” we just ask Brian Murphy.) . Part of what I try to do is I go through life trying to find these perfect records. To me the ultimate compliment about a piece of music, no matter what its genre, is it makes you feel good to be alive.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada18 May 1991, Sat  •  Page 51

Missing Berkeley Series – Larry Thrasher

Clippings of –The Naughty Boys –The Eastern Passage -60s Music

The Canadian Beatles aka The Beavers- Mike Duffy was their Road Manager –Bands of the 60s

Saturday Date with “Thee Deuce” in Almonte

Dance Hall Days with The Coachmen
The Coachmen Return!!! Born to be Wild Circa 1985

The Day I Tried to Long Tall Sally Paul McCartney

Kindle Fire Minutes of “Dancin the Feelin“ with James Brown

Music in the 60s- Memories of Herman’s Hermits

Back to The Future — Twisting Your Dignity Away

I Lived in Pestalozzi College – Life in Ottawa 1972

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I Lived in Pestalozzi College – Life in Ottawa 1972

Looking at the unassuming apartment complex now, who would’ve known that a college once existed here at 160 Chapel Street? Known as the “People’s University,” Pestalozzi College was a student-run cooperative residence that existed in the late 1960s and into the 70s as a free-thinking, open-concept school, based on the model of Toronto’s infamous student-run Rochdale College. Some of the extracurricular activities that occurred in the building included literary readings and the Ontario Provincial Gay Liberation Conference in 1973 as well as Ottawa’s first public gay dance, hosted by GO (Gays of Ottawa, who also had their headquarters there). Existing as an alternative school, the entire building was a strange mix of open education, residence, and “free love and good drugs” that eventually fell apart in much the same way that Rochdale did. By the late 1970s, both school and building existed as a community centre of sorts, offering facilities for artists’ studios and yoga classes before the entire building (with very little notice) was converted by its owners into an apartment complex, Horizon Towers. A holdover from the Pestalozzi days, the Sitar Indian Restaurant on the ground floor still exists (417 Rideau St., 789-7979). The Water Tower Project

Photo from-https://www.villagelegacy.ca/items/show/118

It was 1972, and I was being transferred from Au Bon Marche in Sherbrooke, Quebec to their new Liberty Stores 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.

I needed a place to live and the kind store owners had decided I was to settle in with a nice family in Alta Vista. Well, that thought went into the dumpster, and the only place I wanted to live was Pestalozzi College on Rideau Street. Being a former weekend hippie, 23 years-old and the future owner of the “den of sin clothing emporium” called Flash Cadilac on Rideau Street–well, you can see where this was going to go. I rented a room in a 10-man unit with 9 other men because I knew this was where I was meant to be. One-bedroom apartments at Pestalozzi went for $145 monthly; two bedrooms, for $180. Single rooms in four, five and 10-man units rented for $85 monthly; double rooms, for $65 per person. How could you beat that price to live in what I considered “the place to be”.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
16 Mar 1971, Tue  •  Page 31

When I first got there they had a volunteer system to do some of the chores like vacuuming, but 1/3 of the building did not agree with that. Similar to the piano that I once practiced on the 6th floor, well, the thought of volunteering left the building and the minds of the 650 residents. I have no idea why they thought that would work out because even if we all got along, cleanliness was not a priority in our unit, or any other unit by the looks of them. But there was still the 22nd floor library reading room in the $7.5 million building at the corner of Rideau and Chapel Streets with the television room next to the reading lounge to make you feel like you belonged.

Pestalozzi was a lot of small communities combined into a village, like our 10-man unit– it was a series of communal units. Sometimes the residents were sitting horizontally grouped around a floor reading and talking–or there might be a group of parents or those that love bicycles, you name it. It seemed that each group knew what they were doing, like ours, but no one had no idea what was going on in the building except when the continual abuse of the garbage shoot set on fire each week.

There was a board of eleven members and the hired maintenance, security and bookkeeping staff. I was immediately labeled a ‘wacko’ in my unit as I have never been the ‘average bear’. I wore floppy hats and vintage clothing being an eclectic fashionista since a very young age. Then there was the fact that I have lots of opinions and am not afraid to speak them. But, soon they overlooked the freakiness and became like brothers. They were the first to defend me with Halloween masks and fake axes to rid me of bad dates. But, I still felt safe even with the occasional break and entry, stolen bicycles, drunks and once in a while, drug dealing. I guess I moved there too late to see the nude parties on the roof and the most eccentric thing I ever saw was some of the male students in my unit trying to teach their dogs to climb trees. Maybe I just didn’t want to see it, as this is where I felt I belonged, good or bad.

A year and a half later, one gentleman from the 10 man unit (Angelo Seccaspina) and I were a couple and we moved to one of the one bedrooms in the building. I can’t begin to tell you how bad it got after that. You have heard about the miracle of birth? Well, cockroaches can do that too. Seeing one on the floor or your counter is no problem, but when they disappear you know you have issues. I swear the building became ground zero in Ottawa and they had military training. We tried everything known to mankind to get rid of them but those cockroaches moved up floor by floor until they reached the top and raised a victory flag. The dream was over, and we moved to the farthest point in Nepean to get rid of them.

There is still not a day I don’t regret living there. It came after protesting the Vietnam war, and standing up for what was right, which I still do. It was a great dream they had, and I can say I was part of some of it. But sometimes dreams don’t pan out quite like you want them too and the building lost money each of its first five years with the utility and mortgage payments regularly going unpaid. After losing more than $5 million, the college was finally taken over by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. in 1976.

Comments-

I visited Pestalozzi in the summer of 1971, IIRC, looking to stay there for my first co-op work term in Ottawa from U of Waterloo, but it did not work out. (I don’t think they were really organized yet.) In Waterloo, I stayed several terms with Waterloo Cooperative Residence, which was the most successful of the student co-ops in Canada. I see it’s still going.- Jaan Kolk

You might enjoy this photo from WCRI, Phillip Street, in the 1970s. It was the first warm day of spring 🙂

No description available.
You might enjoy this photo from WCRI, Phillip Street, in the 1970s. It was the first warm day of spring 🙂
-Jaan Kolk

Linda

I completely forgot about Pestalozzi and Rochdale, until reading your article.

I came to Ottawa from Montreal in 1969, on my way to Vancouver, but never made it out west. I rented a room at the 30 Gilmour co-op, now it is a halfway house. Ottawa was much different then, I remember going to a school on Lisgar street, for a free meal everyday. You’ve brought back memories that I’d forgotten about. I do remember your store Flash Cadillac, but I don’t think I ever visited.

I’ve often wondered what became of all the folks that came and went from 30 Gilmour. There were people from all over, including a few draft dodgers, one of which actually came here with his Dad. We all got acting jobs as extras for a couple of days, in a film that was being done here. There happened to be a neighbour who worked for Crawley Films and came over to ask if we would be interested in making a few bucks. We even had to join ACTRA to make it legal.

Those were the days…we thought they would never end.

Cheers Bill Shattuck

Angelo and I stayed together off and on until 2014 and he helped me open Flash Cadilac at 174 Rideau Street in 1976 and closed in 1997. Sadly, he passed away in 2014 from cancer. During his bout with cancer I continued writing on what it was like to live with cancer and then turned to history. Who knew after writing for decades and being printed in the U.S. for years I would have turned to history, but that is where my heart is and will be until I die. To pass the past along is an honour.

Flash Cadilac, Ottawa, Ontario.Flash Cadilac was a unique store before its time. It opened in 1976 at 174 Rideau Street in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It was owned by fashion designer Linda Seccaspina and her late husband Angelo. The emporium was one of the longest running stores in downtown Ottawa and Linda closed down everything in 1996. (I had Savannah Devilles after Flash for a few years –The Last Skull of Savannah Devilles

The store was not without controversy. It was deemed a den of sin by some, and had a large wall that carried photos and autographs of many famous people that had shopped there.Their clothing was often featured in Flare Magazine, and the beginning TV years of CJOH-TV’s “You Can’t Do That on Television”. Canadian music stars such as Lee Aaron, Alanis Morisette, Glass Tiger, Toronto(band) and many more wore Linda’s designs. She was also a great supporter of street kids and helped as many as she could to get them off the street.Linda went on to open another store after Flash Cadilac for two years called Savannah Devilles, closed it, and seemed to disappear out of sight. She was featured on the Canadian Women’s Channel “W” before her store closed and declared an icon of Canadian fashion. The Ottawa Citizen upon the closing of the store called her “The Mother Theresa of Punk Rock”.

That was lovely, but if I had to pick a bio for the store I have always loved the following written by blogger, chef, and friend: Doff Doppler aka Devin Goulden.In the beginning there was Flash Cadilac, a store notoriously known for its apparel: leather, lace, whips, chains, tattoos, and piercings. I would say that sums it all up folks!

Jaan Kolk–You might enjoy this photo from WCRI, Phillip Street, in the 1970s. It was the first warm day of spring 🙂

Scully, You are Not Going to Believe This!” Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Scully, You are Not Going to Believe This!” Linda Knight Seccaspina

As a fan of the X-Files I have always believed that there is someone else out there in the skies. However, sometimes I thought my late father was nuts when he insisted I join him in a spaceship watch outside on his driveway. In the late 60’s he claimed to have seen something up in those starry skies on Miltimore Road hovering over the Brome Pond area– which I blamed it on too much exhaust coming out of his Ford Pinto. In 1974 it happened again and this time he made me sit for what seemed like hours to see what he claimed was another UFO. Of course I never saw anything unusual and usually handed him a glass of wine and told him to go watch The Rockford Files.

Today, going through the news archives I found out that there were indeed many UFO sightings in the Eastern Townships in that time frame and my father, Arthur Knight, might not have been so crazy after all. In the late 60’s many sightings in the Sherbrooke area have been documented and Michael Phelps sent a letter to the Sudbury Star in 1990 in response to a request by the newspaper for personal encounters.

The letter discussed a 1968 incident at an Ayer’s Cliff cottage on the shores of Lake Massawippi that his family was renting. Walking home one evening the whole sky was lit up like giant spotlights being turned on. He looked across the lake and saw  3 or 4 balls descend and after a few seconds they were gone. His sister had seen the same thing, but later they found out that it had not been a visit from beyond, rather it had been nothing but what they call ‘earthquake lights’. These lights in the sky are caused by electrical properties of certain rocks in specific settings. When nature stresses certain rocks, electric charges are activated, as if you switched on a battery in the Earth’s crust.

On the 15th of July in 1974, a UFO wave swept the Sudbury, Ontario and once again the Eastern Townships area. Among these were some UFOs that had a bell shape and that was what my father had insisted he had seen in his second encounter. In October of  the same year a bell-shaped UFO was also seen between Deauville and Rock Forest, and in this case, the object was orange in colour.

So today I sit here, over 30 years later, and wonder what my father actually saw. Did he see spaceships, or was it natural mineral gas lights coming off nearby Gale Pond? For those that have no idea what I am talking about– Gale Pond, which is now called Lac Gale, sits on top of Gale Mountain in Bromont. 

As a kid we used to climb the rough trail up the mountain where a former volcanic crater sat at the top, disguised as a natural lake. There we would mingle with the campers of Gale Camp that Reverend Peacock of the Anglican church in Cowansville had begun in 1944. Kids would swim off the dam on the south end of Gale Pond and the water warmed up faster than any other lake after a good rainstorm. But did we ever see any spaceships coming out of the water, or was there anything else that would have been labeled odd? Not that I remember! The only thing that would have had something similar to wild lights and burning speed would have been the Farr boy’s toboggan zipping down that trail coming from the top of Gale Mountain.

So what did my Dad see? Personally, I believe there are just two possibilities– either we are alone in this universe, or we are not.  I guess we will never know– but after doing research for this story, more of my childhood came back in a flood of memories. It’s just so hard to forget an area that gave me so much to remember– even on the subject of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

UFO Sightings in Lanark County 1982 — Lanark Village

Was it the Germans Or UFO’s that Invaded the Ottawa Valley in 1915?

Saturated with UFO activity Lee Cole 1994

Unsolved Mysteries — The Almonte Woman Abducted by a UFO (Part 2)

More UFO Sightings in Carleton Place!

Was it a UFO? A Meteorite or a Fuse Box? A Carleton Place Legend

Memories of UFO’s Earthquake Lights and Gale Pond

Did the Germans Start the Fire at the Portland School in 1915?

Letting my Hair Down — Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Letting my Hair Down — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Letting my Hair Down — Linda Knight Seccaspina

I still have my original crimping iron from the first day of the “Regretful HairStyles 80s” era. It’s the colour of pink candy floss and works better than anything new on the market. When it comes to crazy hair and makeup, no decade trumps the 1980s– but throwing this crimping iron in the trash can is out of the question at this point in my life. They say ‘Old is not gold’, but honestly this crimping iron is along for the ride like the wine coolers, the cassettes and the mall. So do I still crimp or curl my hair? Personally, I always try not to anger the beast, and most days my life is held together by a single bobby pin.

Regretfully, I lost a vintage 1920s Marcel curling iron in my hair styling repertoire that I found in my Grandparent’s barn on South Street in Cowansville, Quebec. It was part wood and part metal and should have had a danger sign on it. Vintage curling irons were once heated on the fire or the stove for the most part, so I used my grandmother’s wood stove to warm it up. I was warned never to curl your hair with a vintage curling apparatus as they are dangerous and you can burn your hair off, and might even singe your scalp. Each time I used it my grandmother would get hysterical and tell me to be careful. In the hair salons of days past they used to try it on a piece of paper first before they curled their clients’ hair. Why am I thinking there must have been a few minor salon fires in those days?

My grandmother, Mary Louise Deller Knight got her first perm when she immigrated to Canada and it really didn’t go very well. She kept telling the hairdresser her hair hurt under one of those over-sized dryers and no one listened. It was a sad day after that my friends. Mary loved to control everything in her life, and sad to say you can’t. That’s why hair was put on your head to remind you of that very thing. So after they lifted the lid,  a lot of Mary’s hair fell out and eventually grew back very thinly.

Mary tried every potion and lotion known to man and finally she gave up, and that’s when Eva Gabor came into her life. They always say that beauty comes from inside– inside a hair salon actually– and we would make quarterly trips to Montreal to buy her Eva Gabor wigs and I never ever discussed it. When she asked me questions about certain styles I chose my words very wisely—until her golden years. That’s when she plopped those wigs on her head sideways, backwards, and any other position known to man, and someone had to tell her. 

It doesn’t matter who you are, just remember that no one really has control over their lives and your hair is here to remind you about that fact. On great days it swings like the hair in an old Breck commercial and on the bad days it’s frizzy and wavy when you can expect a day of total loss of control. You are as strong as the hairspray you use and always remind folks that the messy bun you are sporting actually took 18,501 tries. Thank you to the past few weeks of Canadian humidity– I always wanted to look likeThe Lion King said no one ever. Your comb is not a wand.

In the end my grandmother made me promise that when she died to make sure her wig was on her head straight which I did. Dead or alive– you need to look like you are not having a bad hair day, as after all, no one is looking at your shoes.