Halloween Hangover Memories– Linda Knight Seccaspina
In the 50s and 60s when I grew up in Cowansville, Quebec socks were darned, baths shared, kids roamed wild, and we licked the cream off the paper tops of milk bottles. As a kid, my mother and I spent the entire month of October, being excited for Halloween and costumes were planned. There was happiness in the air Halloween night with lots of “thank you,” and “please come again” as doorbells rang and the words “Trick or Treat” were heard in the air.
I don’t think in those days that we got that much candy at home so the biggest pillowcases we had came out for the anticipated haul. Our neighbourhood was full of families up and down Albert Street, so we would get apples, Tootsie Roll pops and some paper bags full of candy. Most of the kids that lived on Albert Street climbed the big hill to William Street first. Word on the street was “the best candy in town” was located there. It was the first place I ever saw treat-size chocolate bars, and you could barely move because there were so many children.
My grandmother Mary Louise Deller Knight was not like anyone else. She would have what was called: The Halloween Buffet. She had trays of marshmallow cookies and all sorts of things that parents would advise about taking these days. She would fawn her hands over the table almost like a Price is Right model to all the trick and treaters on South Street.
In 1962 I officially became a Beatnik at the age of 11. There were no official notices, no immediate black clothing; I just got up one morning and started to write bad poetry, and that was that. The primary inspiration was the fact that my father said that Jack Kerouac was a bad influence on young people, and that was enough for me.
That year my Halloween costume was a green wool mohair sweater that barely covered my derriere, thick red tights, and a red beret. Yes, I was dressed as part of the Beat Generation. As one of my friends said it was Halloween and everyone was entitled to one good scare– and I was it he said. It was that time of year that there was a great chill in the air and sometimes it rained, and other times snow challenged us. However, most of us wore a coat over our costume, but I remember never wearing a coat with that Beatnick costume. If I remember it was basically just a sweater, tights and no pants. It was definitely the costume without dignity.
High school came and it was now that part of my life where I wanted to be accepted. Unfortunately fitting in on Halloween included toilet paper, soap and shaving cream. We teepeed quite a few houses with one ply and eggs were thrown. I knew repenting later would not cure mischief, so I declined to participate after that. Thankfully nowadays, deer destroy the carved pumpkins, and eggs are hopefully being celebrated as part of a local food drive.
Nowadays kids seldom know the past joys of trick or treating we enjoyed. Along with non-flammable costumes they only accept gluten free, non GMO, and locally sourced candy. There’s no “App” for the past to portray the scary plastic costumes of witches, vampires or ghouls of days gone by.
When I was attending Cowansville High School we would get a free morning pass to attend All Saints Day services at our local churches the day after. The reality of it all was a lot of us were tired from Halloween the night before, and it was a good way to be “out of focus” for an hour or two. While the drone of the minister’s voice carried through Trinity Anglican Church, there were some of us fast asleep in the back pews.
It took a long time to go through that bag of Halloween candy. By the end of November there was nothing left except those hard taffy kisses wrapped in orange and black wax paper. I can’t remember anything like the Pumpkin Spice flavour to keep the memories of October alive. Now I hear we might even have Pumpkin Spice Xanax for your seasonal anxiety.
Once upon a time, when Halloween came it seemed a great excuse to watch horror movies and eat candy. Now, as the last leaves fall we watch Pumpkin Spice say its last goodbyes and say hello to Eggnog and Gingerbread Lattes and the latest scare fest on Netflix. Gone may be the memories of tomorrow but never stop be-leafing. Don’t forget to turn your clocks back soon– I’m actually changing mine back to when I was 11 and the era of no pants. I’ve heard your pants won’t get too tight if you don’t wear any.
The image in the photo is that of the Service Station and gas pumps where Red Munroe and others worked. The Main Office, Parts Department (Laurie McPhail and others), Service Bays and Paint Shop were located across the road from the Legion. The car lot area had its own service bay located to the rear of the lot which had an upstairs office where all the sales staff were located etc. (Edgar Carroll, Des Smithson, Cameron Smithson, Mike Vaughan and a young Clarke LaRocque). Jack Smithson, my father, was the General Manger and as I recall, Evelyn Lotan provided administrative assistance for the business, Dalton Burns was Finance and Stewart Burns the Owner. I recall that Jack Vanbridger, Elford Giles and Don MacIntosh were the mechanics along. Can anyone else add some other names and details
Omg – that is terrific to see the old golf gas station of my father’s! Thanks for sharing! If anyone has any memorabilia of “Burns Pontiac Buick” I would be happy to pay someone for such items as key chains, callenders etc… please contact me directly!
Yes Tom, Edgar Carroll, Clark Laroque, Des Smithson, Cameron Smithson, Laurie McPhail, Teddy Metcalfe, Hughie Whitten, Mrs Lotan, Mrs Wrigglesworth, Fuzzy Barr, Ray Gallant, Billy Southwell Eddie Gosset and the list goes on!!! Fun time working between the hotel and the Legion haha!!!
Continuing on, Mike: Body Shop>> Ronny Arthur, Frank “Shorty” Morrow, Ray Pretty, Steve Mundt, Ken Brown, Paul Raymond. Front End Alignment>> Don McIntosh. Additional mechanics>> Clarence Hazelwood, Ken Bennett. New Car Prep>> Jack VanBridger. Parts>> Jack Greer. New Car Wash>>Grant McDougall and Mike Villeneuve.
Yes Don—Jack was there often as he owned Almonte Leasing. he stored some tires in the basement at the Gulf station across the street. He leased the 5 ton Flour mill trucks and we would service them on Saturdays!!
My Dad Des Vaughan worked for Jack Smithson in the early 1950’s,but I thought it was across the street from the Legion – can anyone help out with that? Before my time, as it was when he worked for Jack that he met a Bell Telephone operator who worked on Mill Street named Elizabeth, and well, the rest is history. OK, i checked with my mom, and she has corrected me. My dad worked for Gord Hill at Hill Motors
Hill motor was across from superior restaurant. Burns Pontiac Buick was across from the legion
The building on the left that my Dad Don Lockhart grew up in still has my great Grandfather’s safe in it. Unfortunately I don’t think we will ever get it back as my Dad says it would need to be lifted out with a crane.
J.C. started-up a Car Leasing Company as part of Burns Motors, and eventually went on his own working from his basement office. He eventually became the County Registrar in the Land Registry Office until he retired.
For nearly 28 years I think I watched every single episode of the Lawrence Welk Show– or, sometimes it felt like I did. Lawrence Welk was the musical voice of my Popeye candy cigarette generation. His shows carried on for almost 30 years, and after I stopped watching them I knew that my Grandmother and others had not stopped the tradition. In all honesty, Lawrence Welk never ever really went away.
Through the magic of syndication and of course the internet, the late Lawrence Welk still blows his signature bubbles to this day. I was born from a generation that has long forgotten Welk’s music, comparing it to music found in second hand shops or those occasional visits to your granny’s home. Then there were some of the odd things that I will never forget about the program. Maybe they weren’t strange to some, but I couldn’t figure out what kind of allure those Irish tenors had. Or, was there ever really a wrong time to get up and polka?
But, really it was the innocence of it all, something the whole family could watch and enjoy– especially those Lennon Sisters. It was a very different era when they were known as America’s sweethearts with their sugary smiles and angelic voices. Actually, did you know that most of Welk’s musical numbers consisted of pre recorded lip- and finger-sync performances? Finger -synching means accordion player Myron Floren was just tickling those accordion keyboards and not really playing.
Those were the days of no remote control and you had to get up to change the channel. My grandfather not only got up to change it, but he also adjusted the “rabbit ear” antenna on the top of the television set. I can still remember the clicking as it turned to one of the 5 channels we had.
What was watched on television was determined by the elders in your family. Evening television wasn’t watched until dinner was done, dishes put away, and the only television was in the living room.
We watched specific programs at night and never really strayed. Lawrence Welk was a favourite, but so was Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights. Then there was the Sunday afternoon Hymn Sing, Ed Sullivan and Bonanza on Sunday evenings, and of course Tommy Hunter’s Country Jamboree on Friday night.
Every Saturday night my grandfather would cross South street to Varin’s Pharmacy and buy a large bar of chocolate. In the winter he would sit in his chair and carefully break apart the bar so we could all share while watching the Admiral television. In the summer the treat would be a bag of Laura Secord Fruit Flavoured Jelly Slices.There are many cosy memories of huddling around the TV set with my grandparents that I will never forget.
My grandfather would only sit in his upholstered chair beside the old radio that he listened to the BBC news on. My grandmother was in her well worn armchair on the left with a stack of Reader’s Digests on the small table along with whatever needed darning that week. I sat on the long blue couch that was covered in plastic that had never been removed since its entry into the house decades ago. It made a loud crunch each time you sat on it, and the plastic stuck to you in the summer heat. But, everyone covered their couches in those days to preserve its beauty, and it was as normal as having a daily cup of tea. Today, I wondered if they all had been secretly preparing for a virus.
I still occasionally watch Lawrence Welk on PBS and memories of my ageing neighbour comes to mind who loved this show too. In the mid mark of her dementia a few years ago she and I were watching a rerun of the famed bandleader and she turned to me and quietly said during a commercial,
“You know dear, I’ve always liked Lawrence Welk. But, I think he was better before he died.”
Now that statement was worth any bar of accordion music any day of the year. Thanks for the memories Mr. Welk!
Sometimes people drop the nicest things in your mailbox. Last week I got a photo and a message from Pat McFarlane. Thanks Pat! It was all about the Storyland Bunny that sits in my yard.
Keep sending those memories in!!
The Storyland Bunny was a great joy to their family and visitors. John and her husband Richard ( Dick) met when we were all much younger before children at the Bank of Montreal. In those days we all got transferred often and kept track of our friends.
We visited John and Maria in Renfrew on our honeymoon ( before Storyland) and we kept in touch when he lost Maria.
The boys on the top left are Richard (Toronoto) and Kevin (Carleton Place).The young boy in red I have no idea.
Ronald (Toronto)- Girl in yellow top is Kristal, Carleton Place.
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.
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.
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.
Every year my father, Arthur J. Knight would be in charge of the electrical work for the BIG BROME FAIR and my sister Robin and I would be there all weekend. My grandmother would pack egg salad sandwiches and bottles of orange crush soda, and we would just spend the days there eagerly awaiting the evening show. We saw the great high wire acts, magicians, and even motorcycles riding up thin wires into the crowd from the “electrical pigeon box” above the stage. The acrobats were always my favourite and gave me goosebumps on my arms.
As a child I always had a smiling face as I walked a cow for the 1 o’clock livestock parade, and I can still hear the snorts of the horses pulling decorated wagons behind us. How could I not remember the rides that made me sick or dizzy while listening to the screams of the kids exiting the Fun House?
Saturday it all came back to me as my friend and I walked around a local country fair. It was warm, and there was no mistaking some of the scents floating through the air. We spoke about the baking contests we had entered as children–hoping to win a coveted prize ribbon. As we glanced at all the entries, we imagined how delicious it would be to sample a few at that particular moment in time.
We walked by the jams and jellies and knew that someone had worked really hard for the perfect batch. One of our favourite handicrafts was a shadow box with a vintage infant wool coat in it. Glancing at the photo inside, I knew it was once worn by the child and this memory box would now be with them for generations.
A woman in a pioneer dress carefully spun her hand dyed wool. We knew if we had lived in the past we too would have been spinning yarn to make wool sweaters for our children. Life was simple then – when no one wanted a brand name and they just wanted something cozy and warm.
I ached to go back to the age of 13 and dance to the sounds of Johnny Rivers coming out of the jukebox in one of the Brome Fair tents. After I could dance no more, a hot bag of buttered popcorn was next, and then I would try my luck at one of the games. If I was lucky I might win a small silver bracelet and they would personally engrave it on the spot. Instead of my name I would have had them etch a boys’ name I had a crush on and giggle while I watched him do it.
As children we used to watch in awe at those who were brave enough to ride the wild rides. My favourite was the Ferris Wheel. I loved it when they stopped at the top and the chair would swing back and forth. The last few years I have found the Ferris Wheel therapeutic as I find myself closer to heaven as I sit at the top. When I finally get up there I feel like my late sister is looking down at me and still shaking her head that I am still too afraid to ride the wild rides.
As I get older I search for memories to cherish and pass on to my sons and their families. Hopefully one day when I am long gone my friend will think back to the afternoon we spent together at the fair. I am sure she will remember that it was way too hot, the cow barns were very smelly, and I took way too many pictures. But, she will remember the joy on my face and the shared bits of my life that she will pass on to her children.
When I had my store in Ottawa I would get all sorts of circus performers shopping in my store that reminded me of the country fairs. Cirque De Soleil, Barnum and Bailey and finally one day “la piece de resistance” — The Moscow Circus. They came into the store in a huge group and could not speak English. I finally figured out they wanted flesh coloured Danskin fishnet hose for their high wire /acrobat costumes and purple feather boas for costume trim.
After 30 minutes with a dictionary and hand gestures I had all the women outfitted.They were thrilled and immediately all jumped into a pyramid in the middle of my store much to the delight of my customers. I smiled from ear to ear as they gave me a decorated Russian spoon for my service and I wished I could have been one of them.
My memory is still filled with past thoughts of the country fairs, but is also measured out with 7 colourful wooden spoons in a jar that sit on one of my kitchen counters given to me by the Moscow Circus over the years. In reality the memories of the Big Brome Fair will never ever leave town in my life because you can’t buy memories like that no matter how hard you try.
Brome Fair Launched in 1856, Brome Fair is an annual agricultural fair which takes place every Labour Day weekend. It is the largest rural agricultural fair in Quebec. For over 160 years, it has welcomed visitors from near and far, giving them ”a taste” of what agriculture is today- 345 Chem. Stagecoach, Brome, QC. Have Fun for me!
Mr. Claude Sylvah, proprietor of the Superior confectionery store and ice cream parlour, Mill street, Almonte, has purchased “The Candy Kitchen,” a well known business of the same kind in Smiths Falls. Mr. Sylvah came to Almonte three ‘years ago from Smiths Falls and bought out the retail stand of the Peterson Ice Cream Co. on Mill street. Read-It Started in the Candy Kitchen Restaurant– Kerfoot Fire Smiths Falls
At this time Mr. Peterson had decided to devote his time to the manufacturing end of the ice cream trade and to his newly established milk and cream business. Mr. Sylvah was one of the most energetic young businessmen that ever struck the town. He developed the business on Mill Street by leaps and bounds adding a number of new lines as he went along.
Eventually he brought his brother Arthur to Almonte and employed him as an assistant. Arthur will continue to manage the business here while Claude will be in charge of operations at Smiths Falls. The success of Mr. Sylvah since coming to Almonte has been phenomenal and is almost entirely attributable to his ability and energy. He opened in the midst of a worldwide depression in a quiet town and succeeded in spite of discouraging conditions. His many friends wish him well in his new venture and are glad that he will continue to operate his excellent store in Almonte under the capable supervision of his brother, assisted by Mr. Arthur Scott.
And now the ‘Sup’ where high school folks Met after school for cherry cokes. The jukebox playing Frankie songs, While Dinty served our happy throng.–Noreen Syme (née Kealey) click
Smiths Falls Candy Kitchen
One of the most up-to-date ice cream parlours and confec-
tionery businesses in town is the Smiths Falls Candy Kitchen.
All candies sold in this store are made on the premises. The
Ice Cream Parlour is one of the most comfortable and elaborate
that can be found in any of the Ottawa Valley Towns.
The business of the Candy Kitchen increases yearly and
Manager Katinas says that the reasons for his being able to hold and add to the trade are that only the best quality of goods are sold, the best service rendered, and the greatest variety of fancy and delicious confections sold to the public.
Once a visitor, you will always be a patron of the Candy Kitchen.
Linda, I just had to write this. On carrying a knife on a date— Noreen Tyers
Back in the 1950’s and earlier from my childhood, I was used to the sight of the pocket knife . Most men, and boys always had a pocket knife, in their pocket.
My Grandpa always had a pocket knife, and he did amazing things with it. While Grandma rested her leg on the footstool he built after dinner, he would sit on the veranda and whittle. He whittled amazing things like a little axe placed in a slice off a branch of a white birch tree.
It fascinated me as a child, what could come out of an old branch or a piece of wood from my Grandpa’s waste bucket, and it was created by a pocket knife. I was so enthralled with the little axe in the branch, that one evening when I skipped down the street to visit my grandparents, there was the finished product. A little axe in the branch. He said, ” Would you like it?” and I said yes. I still have that little axe in the birch, slightly worn and dried out a tad. It has seen the dab of glue when it was accidentally knocked off the fireplace mantel, by one of my children and snapped at the grain. My little axe still sits in the corner shelf my grandfather also made.
My Grandpa always carried that knife in his pocket, and I can remember it did get a lot of use when we went on our Summer Holidays at Richard’s Castle. It did do amazing things, like sharpen a pencil when it broke, cut a flower on our walks that I happened to admire. He usually brought along an apple and he would wipe off the knife and cut off a slice of apple.
I have to say that when he went fishing the pocket knife sat on the seat beside him. There just might be a need to cut a piece of fishing line off his spool of line and whittle a little stick and make me a fishing pole. I have to admit after a couple of sunfish catches the stick might have broken, but no tears, as another fishing pole could be created in no time.
I have to say many a screw was tightened when the screw driver was not present and an emergency happened. I even watched him cut a piece of cardboard out to place in his shoe when it developed a hole in the sole and he didn’t have time to take to the Shoemaker—-at least that is what he said. There was also those times Grandma would fold a piece of waxed paper for something and say can you cut it on the crease, out came the pocket knife and he slid it on the crease.
Now on a picnic one never knew what the pocket could cut, fruit, the top of something, and funny thing is he always wiped it off with a little hunk of rag. I have to say that the item the knife created that took my interest, was a chain he whittled out of a branch. Every evening, one summer the chain was whittled out and the shavings from the wood was dropped into an old large can. The chain was also put in the can behind Grandma’s Adirondack chair where he would bring it out while he sat on the edge of the veranda. Another link would be started. I did learn a lot of things could be done with that little knife.
As a young person, I learned that a knife was not a toy, it was not to be misused and when I was a little older I was taught how to sharpen it. Now, be careful do not cut yourself.
When I was seventeen I met my husband and he carried a knife in his pocket, like my grandfather, and the knife was always used for doing things that just came up. Cutting off a taste of fudge off a larger piece of fudge you might have bought. Yes we went fishing, we cut fruit and cut off a hunk of rope to tie something together. He also carved with his pocket knife, and I have a Donkey he carved when he attended Hopewell Avenue Public School.
You know fear of my boyfriend carrying a pocket knife never entered my mind, nor did I ever see him misuse it. It is sad to think that these thoughts now enter a young girl’s mind when and if they go on a date. Give me the olden days when a knife carved our initials in a tree, at the cottage in the summer and thought of love not to hurt or use as a weapon. The idea just never entered my mind and I am glad it didn’t. It is a shame we now have to.
Linda (Darnell) Susan (Hayward) Knight always hated her name, because in class there were at least three girls with the very same name. So, much to her Dad’s opposition, she decided to change the spelling of her name to Lynda. After all, if she was going to be a famous fashion designer, her name had to be slightly cool or have an edgy spelling.
She was so enamoured of the way her name looked now that she began sending away for free stuff. Every day after school she would walk across the street, march into the Post Office, and open up the family’s mail box. Her father would not touch the mail addressed to Lynda because he thought she was being ridiculous.
Most days, the box was full of the many free travel brochures she had requested; all addressed to someone named Lynda not Linda. She decided that once she got out of school, she would travel the world designing for the rich and famous, so she really needed this incoming travel information.
Lynda entered contests daily by the loads, all with her newly made up name. She won a pen on the Canadian TV show, “Razzle Dazzle,” hosted by Alan Hamel and a talking turtle named Howard. She loved Howard and he read her winning story aloud on the air, and then carefully spelled out her name as L y n d a.
One day, while reading Seventeen magazine, she saw that a movie studio was having a contest seeking someone to play a part in the upcoming film, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”. The movie was to be based on the Carson McCullers novel of the same name, which she absolutely loved and had read many times. Lynda had long blonde hair and was in her anorexic stage, weighing approximately 105 pounds, and of course, she had a great name now. She read the instructions over and over and thought she would be perfect for the movie.
One day, a letter from Seventeen magazine arrived in Box 35 and Lynda opened it with glee. To her complete misery it said that yes, she could have been a contender, but sadly she was Canadian and the contest was only open to US citizens. Lynda became very upset as she had been denied the chance simply because she lived on the wrong side of the border. Had they not seen the way her name was spelled?
In that time and in that particular space, Lynda thought her whole world had ended, but years down the road, she was relieved. You see, the part went to someone named Sondra Locke. Sondra, being a skinny blonde, ended up shacking up with the co-star in her next film called “The Outlaw Josey Wales”. His name was Clint Eastwood.
Sondra and Clint had a nasty relationship that ended up so badly, she wrote a book called “The Good the Bad and the Very Ugly.” If Lynda had gotten that part and ended up with Clint, she felt he would have made her change her name back pronto. Clint was a pronto sort of man.
Eventually Sondra ended up leaving Hollywood so no doubt Lynda would have made the same decision. Yes, Lynda would have returned home miserable and gone back to her old name, as nothing is forever is it?
As Clint might have said; “that would not have made Lynda’s day.” No, not made her day indeed because young hearts always run free, no matter how they spell their names.
On the lower floor of the small house next to us in Oakland was a Chinese laundry. Working there was a young man about twenty-five years of age. His face was as imperturbable as the sky, and he went about his business with the undeviating regularity of the solar system. At first he was just an ordinary man to me, but my attention became riveted upon him and my curiosity was awakened wanting to know his story.
The man seemed to live merely for his work. If I came in at two o’clock in the morning I found him with the lights turned on brightly, patiently working at his calling. If I rose early in the morning, that prodigy-of industry was up before me.
I gradually became filled with wonder at the untiring persistency of the man. Because of his neatness and politeness and exquisite care to please, the neighborhood never thought of sending its laundry anywhere else.
I began to carry my things in person to the laundry, urged on by the desire to find out something more about him. I reasoned that no man could work as he did without being dominated by such an all-absorbing purpose.
I found him intelligent, friendly, and he could speak English well.
Finally I won his confidence. The young man was in love. A gal in China was waiting for him, and he was patiently and bravely undergoing the hardest kind of toil in order to go back to his native country and. marry her.
When he told me the story I realized that he was a man, working to earn a wife, and despite these meager, unpoetical surroundings, cherishing all the dreams of a young man whose sweetheart was faraway.
Linda Seccaspina Horses with No Names Column series.
Many Chinese men ran laundry businesses between the late 19th century and the end of World War II. They turned to laundry because they were shut out of other types of work (such as mining, fishing, farming, and manufacturing) and didn’t have the English skills or capital to make other choices. Washing and ironing was considered women’s work, so it was low status and also posed no threat to white, male workers.:(
According to sources cited in Wikipedia, “Around 1900, one in four ethnic Chinese men in the U.S. worked in a laundry, typically working 10 to 16 hours a day.” John Jung, who grew up behind a Chinese laundry and wrote a book about the business, explains that “New York City [alone] had an estimated 3,550 Chinese laundries at the beginning of the Great Depression of the 1930s.”
Chinese laundry disappeared into history not because discrimination disappeared, but because of technological innovation.
April 1941 Almonte Gazette
We are sorry to learn that in the course of the next week or two the town will lose its only laundry. This institution, of the hand variety, has been operated for the last 13 years by a very meek and unobtrusive little man named Wong. He came here from London, Ont. and has been in Canada about 25 years.
Few knew his name but he was a familiar figure to many as he trudged along the streets with his bag of laundry slung over his shoulder. The passing of highly starched shirt fronts, collars and cuffs took a severe toll on what was a fair business some years ago. Then, too, the outside steam laundries cut in on his field to an increasing extent and these factors, together with others, left him with little to do.
A few days ago Wong put a placard in his window asking customers who had laundry in his establishment to call for it as he must close owing to inadequate patronage. Thus the town severs another link with the past. Not a very important one, perhaps, but it is just one more straw which shows; how the wind is blowing in country towns. Poor Wong, was a civil, decent citizen. He attended to his own business—as long as he had any—and when he had none, he decided to leave town without complaint.
One tribute that must be paid to his work is that like most Chinese laundrymen he had the knack of ironing a shirt collar and other such accessories as no one else can do it. He will be missed by those who liked their shirts, especially collars and cuffs, starched and ironed immaculately. It is safe to say the only time any customer ever got the slightest bit annoyed at Wong was when the former found his laundry wasn’t ready and had his complaint dismissed with a cheerful giggle.
Wong now proposes to go to Ottawa or London where he will work in the large shop of some more prosperous compatriot. His life here must have been a lonesome one and no doubt his failure to make things go any longer may prove, for him, a blessing in disguise.
Who’ll Help Charlie Sing? Second-Last Chinese Laundry Foundering By FRANK DALEY
There are two Chinese laundries left in Ottawa and unless something drastic is done within a few days there will be only one. Charlie Sing’s laundry has been at 618 King Edward Avenue for at least 50 years. ‘ Fifty years. That’s almost half our country’s age for ‘ heaven’s sake. And If Charlie Sing has to close on Saturday the loss wlll not be Charlie’s but Ottawa’s.
You’ve all heard about Chinese laundries and made jokes about them … but how many of you have ever tried one or are aware of the virtues of one? If you’ll bear with me a moment I’ll explain a little of our, problem. Not Charlie’s problem because he’s not only a first class launderer but also a first class Chinese cook. Already, one enterprising restaurateur has offered Charlie a job on Carling Avenue and he even drives Charlie to work. But it is our problem because if we allow Charlie’s laundry to die we allow a little anore of the city core to die.
Charlie pays $40 a month to the University of Ottawa as rent for his laundry quarters but that comes to an end Saturday because the university needs the building. This Isn’t an attack on the university; it has its work to do. But Charlie’ can’t find a place at a rent he can afford about $75 a month. That’s the first part of the problem. The second part is business. Some years ago Charlie did well: he had university students and businessmen going to him regularly. But the last couple of years have been difficult because of the. chain laundries which have opened nearby to cater to the students. They charge as little as $1 for five shirts; Charlie must charge 28-30 cents apiece.
They can advertise; Charlie can’t. They do their work by machine; Charlie does his work by hand and one old washer (he needs a new one and the other Chinese laundry, on Wellington Street, just paid $1,500 for one). The new students don’t know Charlie and couldn’t afford him if they did. And people bark at paying 30 cents for laundry they can get done for cheaper. Summer wash-and-wear clothes and laundromats have hurt Charlie too.
Well, that’s progress, I can hear you say. Maybe so in some ways but definitely not in others. – For example: if you were aware that Charlie’s sheets and shirts return beautifully laundered and smelling faintly’ of light soap and green gardens and night air . . . if you knew that Charlie’s work costs more because he does his work by hand and that his. work is much gentler on your things than machine washes … if you could see and smell and feel the prideful and gentle way Charlie does laundry … you’d use his place.
If you knew, ladies, that never not ever once has a , tablecloth returned from Charlie’s with so much as a hint of that terrible stain you thought would never come out (and often didn’t) would you be interested? If you were aware of the indescribably sweet scent of Charlie’s shirts that begin the day properly and of the sheets which make you feel like some kind of potentate, would you be stirred?
We are not all poverty striken university students. Some of us are MPs, lawyers and other professional people; or just reasonably well-salaried people who could use a personal touch in the personal service of this kind of laundry. Couldn’t we do something? Couldn’t Action Sandy Hill turn away from its buildings and trees for a moment and look at a human being and an excellent service In our community?
Couldn’t we write Charlie Sing, care of The Journal, and tell him that, yes, somebody gives a damn about sweet-smelling, personal service even if its only for tablecloths and sheets and shirts. And couldn’t somebody tell Charlie that, he has a hole in the wall someplace for about $75 a month? Someplace downtown or in Sandy Hill.
Charlie isn’t asking anything; this article was my idea not his. A city area of 500,000 can’t afford to lose the second last of its Chinese laundry, or its European tailor shops, or shoe shops or bakeries or anything else simply because they cost a few pennies more or because the parties involved simply don’t have the money to advertise.
The price and pace of big-city life cannot be permitted to snuff out the kind of elements that give it identity, individuality and quality. If you’ve got some business or a new address for ‘Charlie Sing call The Journal city desk between 9 a.m. and noon and we’ll pass the message along.