Tag Archives: nostalgia

Halloween Hangover Memories — Linda Knight Seccaspina

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<strong>Halloween Hangover Memories</strong> — Linda Knight Seccaspina

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.

Happy November!

And a One, and a Two….. Linda Knight Seccaspina

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And <strong>a One, and a Two….. Linda Knight Seccaspina</strong>

And a One, and a Two….. Linda Knight Seccaspina

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!

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

Back to The Future — Twisting Your Dignity Away

The Day I Tried to Long Tall Sally Paul McCartney

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

In the Flume of the Almonte Flour Mills Ltd

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In the Flume of the Almonte Flour Mills Ltd

Swimming in Almonte

Boys who are good swimmers are having a great time these hot days in the flume of the Almonte Flour Mills Ltd. This is a great place for swimmers who can look after themselves because it is deep and clean and affords facilities for diving and jumping from the railway embankment. The flurne has been a popular place for swimmers over a long period of years. It is said in the old days some of the good divers used to climb up on the roofs of boxcars on a standing train and take headers into the river. They would have to be good to do that. Whether they are a nuisance to the proprietor of the plant is unknown but not likely they are as their howls of enjoyment will be drowned in the sound of the machinery.

Also read-Robert Bryson and Stuart Dunn — Canoeing Down the Timber Slide

My mothers name was Victoria Lee-Cavers,my grandparents were Everet & Pearl Lee they were the Janitor of the Post Office in Almonte.I am so glad to see the Superior Restaurant is still there. I go home every year to put flowers in Auld Kirk Cemetary .I miss the old days. Jumping off the bridge swimming in the Flume, Chip truck , the movie theatre. squashing pennies under the train wheels —

Jenn Mckay I knew the Flume to be the deeper water by the mill (the fancy one where people live now)

Jn Mck

Anna Nitschke, I thought so. Just saw the pic was of the bubble. Lol

Russ Thompson

The bubble was the shallow side the flume was the deeper area by the mill. What a great childhood fry and gravy at the soup or the old hotel a swim in the bubble a jump from the bridge to the flume then head to Peterson’s for ice cream. Life sure was better back then.

Russ Thompson

The river always smells when the water drops been doing it for as long as I can remember. I remember as a kid swimming at the bubble bath ( train tracks for those new to town, that’s when the town had tracks and trains) and there would be green slim on the rocks every summer when the water levels dropped. Eventually the sun would dry it out. 

-photo–almonte.com

Martha Sheldrake

It might be somewhere on ‘the island?’ Or maybe the lower river looking at the bottom of Bay Hill? It’s definitely a bridge – which might be the railway bridge, but I can’t remember any tall structure like that in the background in town.

Ken MacDonald

Maybe if the photographer was standing on the bridge by flour mill looking downstream with the island on the left and the dairy property on the right.

Along the left side of photo next to the edge might be a lamp post on the bridge. The power plant to the rear of the photographer on his left and flour mill to the rear right. Depending on the time frame maybe a smoke stack or chimney from one of the mills in the background.?????

If you drive across the bridge today and look down stream the new replacement bridge should be there!

Sean O’connor

Lana Lackey when you take the riverwalk path from old town hall parking lot heading down to when you get under the old railway bridge the chutes between the pillars where the small drop in river churns the water up that’s the bubble bath. The picture is just upstream of the bubble bath.

Bobby Gallant
I swam there and at the bubble bath and at the flume all my child hood and through my teens. Played a lot of a game call earth and also a game called tv shows at the Almonte beach
Phot othe millstone

Ron Finner

Spent many a day at the flume just swimming and enjoying being a kid !! 😎🤠

Laureen Horton-Robinson

As a girl we weren’t supposed to but I swam at the flume and the bubble bath as well. Loved it.

Darrin Bree

Lots of swimming at the bubble bath. Jump in behind the fire station and slid down to the bubble bath .then floated to the post office jump out and started over again

july 1970

July 1971

Robert Bryson and Stuart Dunn — Canoeing Down the Timber Slide

Young Girl Nearly Swept into Appleton Flume — Mahon

Murder or Accident — Bates & Innes Flume

Remembering the Old Log Timber Slide

Here’s to Verna May Wilson Hadlock’s Shoes Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Here’s to Verna May Wilson Hadlock’s Shoes Linda Knight Seccaspina

I was a child who missed the saddle shoes of the 40s and the 50s by a few years, but my High School friend and neighbour Verna May Wilson Hadlock made up for me. I really don’t wander around beginning conversations about saddle shoes these days, but when the subject comes up I once again express my opinions. It seems the more I age, my bag of opinions overflows solely supported by personal observations of course.

I do remember hearing Verna telling me how her Mother became hysterical at the sight of the new saddle shoes when she returned home after her first day at school. They were scuffed and gave the appearance of having gone through a small war, but that was the “in” way to wear saddle shoes.

Some of you will remember the old days of saddle shoes when you bought them sparkling white and clean, and then you tried your very hardest to get them dirty before the kids at school got the chance to do the job for you. Seems nice white saddle shoes just weren’t the thing in those days, and it was very painful to have your friends trying to take every inch of “bark“ off the uppers of your saddle shoes.

Day after day a bit more wear and tear became noticeable. Just about the time you really got the uppers of your saddle shoes to the point where they were socially acceptable with the “In” crowd the main part of the shoe began to deteriorate– and it was time to get a new pair.

There were all sorts of things Verna Wilson did with saddle shoes. She would change her laces to match an outfit and I swear some neighbours peeked out of their Albert Street Venetian blinds on a daily basis to see what she had done. But, this was a girl that came home at lunchtime to change into another fresh white blouse that she wore with her navy blue school tunic, and she was just so perfect in my eyes.

Verna mentioned there was a professional scuffer at Cowansville High School that would scuff your saddle shoes for a nominal price. I heard that his scuffing business was so popular that you had to wait as long as three or four days to get his attention.

In 1972 the style of saddle shoes came back.There were those of my friends who thought the return of saddle shoes was the best thing since Lucky Charms and Lava Lamps. Then, there were two or three, and myself, who said they didn’t care for the entire situation. As would be expected, there were a few old timers that had to throw in their two cents and tell “us kids” about the “olden days” of shoewear.

My style, once older, never followed Verna, but it did involve my Grandmother’s borrowed pearls, lace up brown orthopaedic shoes with a scent of Evening in Paris. I was also so mesmerised with tap dancing that sometimes I taped nickels on the bottom of my shoes. The coins also  came in handy for a call on an emergency payphone. Can you even imagine– a nickel? But, after months of wearing them my father began calling them “clodhoppers”– as that’s what they used to call big shoes that just didn’t fit well anymore.

In Grade 7 I wandered into Hashim’s Clothing store on South Street and fondled the most god awful shoes you can imagine. They were vinyl lime green elf shoes trimmed with fringe. What I saw in those shoes I have no idea, but I had to have them. My father relented and came to Hashims and spoke with the salesclerk about the possibilities of getting deformed toes from being squeezed into those pointy shoes. She assured him of course with the words of a podiatrist that I should be fine. As I glance at my large claw toes today that look like they grew like wayward tree roots I am reminded that yes, those shoes had something to do with my toes after wearing them in the rain sleet and snow.

Shoes have always been part of everyone’s lives and they can either afford you the adoration of your peers, or jeers from the cool kids table in the lunchroom. Should we get back into the Hush Puppies era, or can we just stop now at Saddle Shoes and Loafers? Did you know that the shoes we wore actually changed the shape of our feet over the course of our lives? As Leonardo DaVinci once said, “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.”  Maybe so, but after a lifetime of fashionable shoes, my feet are no masterpieces– they in fact looked like very scuffed Saddle shoes that no one would want– and that my friends is going easy on them.

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 11

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Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 11
Grandaughter Tenley

South Street Cowansville, Quebec

Linda Seccaspina

January 10 at 12:57 PM  · “Skyler Seccaspina · New colleague. First day on the job.”

As I see my granddaughter Tenley sit at her Dad’s desk I remember my days of sitting at the desk at the F. J.Knight Company on South Street in Cowansville. My grandfather and dad had a business of being electrical contractors for over 60 years. They also had a retail store where they sold fixtures and whatever you needed for electrical work in the front of the house. I sat at the front desk in that store every Friday night for 14 years selling lightbulbs and whatever while my Dad Arthur, chewed the fat as they say, with his customers.When I was 12— I was promoted to working summers typing out invoices with carbon paper (three layers). There were so many pieces sold per invoices it drove me nuts. I also did the window/ window sills display for them… pretty funny when you think of it. At 3 pm every day my Grandmother Mary Knight came into the store with cheese and crackers and a glass of milk. Friday nights,when the store closed– it was Tommy Hunter on TV and then more cheese and crackers. I was always trained to work hard, respect people, but have a damn opinion please LOLOL– So it gives me great joy to see Tenley ‘helping” her Dad, and I already know she has opinions.

Linda at age 2

Feb 21, 2022

It’s 10:03 am and I am just doing my email. Once upon a time I was up at the crack of dawn ready to seize the day– not anymore. My eyes still red from weeping during the ‘chick flick’ marathon last night on the E channel. Favourites such as: Pretty Woman, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, still have most of my senses.

My routine has changed, no doubt about it. I have to sit on the edge of the bed for a spell every morning. The old engine and brain needs to warm up, and sometimes I wonder if I should just go back to bed. Then I get up and wander to the next bedroom and sit down to get my clothes for the day. I remember the days I did not make sound effects when I got up to go up anywhere.

‘Sit down’ seems to be the key word these days. I glance at my phone, get the day’s news and realize that it’s okay to get up as the world will not end today. Maybe tomorrow…. I’ll take my chances today.

I throw my underwear and pants down the stairs to the bottom floor so I can put them on without falling over. You know what they say: If you get your leg through one pant leg and not fall over, it’s a really good day.

The bathroom is next and I purposely do not bring my phone in there, or I might not be out of there until 11. I sit there and decide what I am going to feed Steve for breakfast and lunch. I know we are going to my daughter-in-law’s mothers for dinner, so one last thing to wrap my brain around, as it’s still not up to mid speed.

Underwear is on– with now mandatory protection –as the TV ads are true, and I will not go any farther with that information. I open the door and go sit on the couch. Pants on, I am ready to seize the day. Maybe.

Steve has been sitting there for probably a good 30 minutes, but he says nothing. I remove the butter to add to the frying pan and a giant chunk flies up in the air and lands on the floor. I quickly pick it up, examine it and throw it into the frying pan. Glued to his phone he begins to laugh having seen that stunt of mine. I tell him it wasn’t dirty, and then ask if he has eyes in the back of his head. He laughs and tells me he would have done the same thing.

It’s 10:30 now and instead of posting history I have wasted 30 minutes writing about getting older. At least I am not as old as I will be next year. But I live and forget my age, I can still ‘drop it like Im hot”– I just may now need a little help getting up these days!!!

I’m not dead yet!!!

Happy Family Day!

Linda Seccaspina

Linda at Grammys on South Street in Cowansville, Quebec.

Today I thought about my Grandmother and her insistence on wearing clean underwear on a daily basis. These days I can’t seem to find anything decent in my drawers. There’s just something about a pair of well worn granny panties that makes me feel safe, so I stick with what I know best.

My late mother constantly carried on about my underwear. In her case it wasn’t so much if they were clean or not, but whether they had more holes than swiss cheese. I always told her not to worry, that I would just pretend they got torn in whatever accident I had if need be. But she never stopped..

“What will they say if you get into an accident?” she frequently repeated mimicking my Grandmother.

Each time they mentioned the underwear situation I began to worry. If you are in an accident, do they refuse you at the hospital for having unattractive underpants? Do the gynecologists have coffee among themselves and talk about what underwear they have seen that day? Does medical staff prefer granny panties or thongs?

To encourage me I was given 7 day underwear for my birthday when I was 5. Did you actually wear Monday on a Monday? Did it really have some deep meaning that we did not know about? If you got in an accident did someone quietly mention to you on the ambulance gurney that you were wearing the wrong day of the week?

At age 6 I actually did get hit by a car and was carried into the house by neighbours. I woke up on the living room couch with Grampy Crittenden handing me an Illustrated Classics comic book about the story of Jesus. My Grandfather quietly asked my mother if I was okay. My mother said,

“I think so, but I am so worried she didn’t have good underwear on and we don’t want the town to talk. Her underwear was so stretched out and worn she could have fit the whole town of Cowansville in them!”

Yes, those enormous baggy briefs are regularly thought to be everything you wouldn’t want in an undergarment. To make it worse the younger generation lumps them into a category of being only for the Golden Girls set. I am proud to say that when I had my heart attacks a few years ago I am sure the medical profession was still not impressed by my underwear choice and talked for days about it. Anyways at my age thermal under is now considered really hot underwear and I am too busy thinking about the afterlife now. Question to self- Should I bring a change of clean underwear?

April 30, 2019 ·

The Story of the Green Pea– A Linda story from the past…

Today at the CPDMH fundraiser at St. James Linda dropped a pea down her cleavage. She felt it there but she could not reach it– especially with folks around. So she endured it and walked over to the dessert table. She told her friend Francis from St. Marys that she had a pea down her and if it fell out of the bottom of her dress it was hers. It still did not come out. So she walked back to the table and felt it travelling down her. She knew the pea would free itself soon. As she sat down out came the green pea from out of her crinoline and she said to everyone at the table. “Ive got it!” — In all occasions you have to give ‘Peas a Chance’ right?.. peace out my friends and have a wonderful day!! Keep history alive no matter what it is..:)

Remembering Allan Code—
When I was interviewing Nancy Code Miller years ago I told her how her father had saved someone’s life. In the early 90’s I taught aerobics at the Sussex Club in Ottawa. One of the members was on the verge of depression. Her husband had left her, she had two small children, and was destitute. When a friend was driving her to Smiths Falls, she saw Alan Code’s dealership and stopped to look at the cars. She had advised Mr. Code she would probably not be able to afford it, but he patiently sat down with her, and they picked out her car from the colour to the upholstery. The delivery date of 6 months was her goal to get her life in order. I don’t think she ever did pick up the car, but she eventually got a job, and all was right in the world. She told me she credited her success for the future to Mr. Code. He had given her hope. In talking with Nancy today, I can see the apple has not fallen far from the tree. Tip of the hat, and a big hug to you both, for believing in our small town of Carleton Place.

It “Depends”

I used to watch a lot of channel 700 with the Vintage Songs from the Past. They just played Gino Vanelli’s “I just want to stop” and I stopped typing- yes I stopped posting and typing. It brought me back to the day when I was buying purses for my store Flash Cadilac from this gal from England who was staying with a friend below Gino Vanelli’s apt in Old Montreal. He heard us talking about him and came downstairs and sang this song to me. I almost peed my pants. Time has flown by, and as for peeing my pants? I just stare at the Depends commercials now and realize time is drawing near. LOL

Photo– 1995? After the 54 Rock Fashion show I put on. LOL Exhausted

Just Like Me– They Long to Be Close to You

I am sitting here listening to The Carpenters realizing that no song today will ever give me the same reaction their songs did. If silk had a sound, it would sound like Karen Carpenter. I am fighting back the tears right now as their songs echo through my headphones. The Carpenters were played continuously for times of angst in my life, and  honestly, sometimes left me more depressed than I already was.

Then I remember one summer evening driving back to Ottawa from a White Zombie concert in Montreal and trying not to fall asleep at the wheel. I was bringing three other people home, and everyone was fast asleep- that was no help. I began to laugh at my shenanigans at the venue that night screaming in zest at Rob Zombie that “I wanted to bear his children”. Giggling at those minutes of nothing but pure insanity could still could not keep me awake.

Insert- one Carpenter’s Gold CD in the car CD player and I begin to sing at the top of my voice with the windows open. Surely that would keep me awake! First track ends and the song “Close to You” comes on. Immediately I hear three voices in the back seat begin to sing the song together in great harmony. I was shocked — these folks knew every word of The Carpenter’s song. I realized then and there that when Karen Carpenter sang– she touched everyone’s soul. After that night I was never sad when I heard the Carpenters melodies because I realized life is a gift–don’t be sad—as someone, somewhere, is still wrapping it up for you as “We’ve Only Just Begun!”

Today I got my “HOBIpalooza” shirt in the mail and I was smiling like a young girl with a David Cassidy poster on my wall. For those of you who don’t know who David Cassidy is, that’s your Google homework today. 

Who is HOBI ?– well, he is J-Hope from the South Korean band BTS. I love this band as they make me smile and their music is infectious. So when J- Hope performed in Chicago a month ago, this senior citizen wanted to go.

The very last time I had been to Lollapalooza was in the 1990s in Barrie, Ontario.That was decades ago when I had seen Rage Against the Machine at least a couple of times and was a huge Jane’s Addiction fan. Years have passed, and now I don’t think I could bring myself to walk into a very used porta potty, or stand for a few hours– even with a trendy glitter cane. 

I’m in the Netflix portion of my life now sadly and there isn’t a day I don’t miss  the excitement of a good live concert. BUt, I’m not going to pay triple digits to listen to that one good song– even if J-Hope has many.

So allow me to be thrilled to have one of the concert T Shirts that didn’t cause me to sprain a tendon or stand in a line to pee. Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional– and I’m never going to grow up.

What was it with Peter Fonda in 1969? I never did watch the film Easy Rider until the 80s, but I sure loved Peter Fonda. One could say he was the ‘cutest, easiest rider’ of the many icons. Fonda and Dennis Hopper didn’t just play cocaine-dealing motorcyclists riding their way across a fast-changing America. Both became poster boys for an equally fast-changing film industry. To me he was a lanky, long-haired icon of countercultural rebellion of which I was certainly part of. Peter Fonda and I were both “born to be wild”.

It was near Christmas in downtown Montreal that last year of the 70s. I was searching for the perfect gift for my friends and I soon found IT at the very back of Simpson’s Sears. There in the camera section were black and white posters on the back wall of Peter Fonda sitting on his bike. When I asked about them the salesclerk said they had just come in and the stock had not been brought down yet. I was determined to have one of these cherished items for my friends and I to put on our walls, so I asked if I could wait. She rolled her eyes and agreed while she called the stock room.

That day was December 21, and you can imagine the crowds at the counter buying film to take holiday photos, and I was definitely in the way. Each time a different salesclerk asked if they could help me I just smiled and said: ” I’m waiting for Peter Fonda!” . I glued myself to that Simpson Sears floor for the next 90 minutes. I was not leaving without Peter.

I knew my father was not going to be happy seeing another thing going up on my walls, but posters to me were brand new. Posters had been originally a method of advertising and promotion, but in the 1960s, a new crop of psychedelic signs became the signs of the counterculture, and I was involved. My stepmother, who was so enamoured with Pierre Trudeau. She had put his poster up on the living room wall to annoy my father who was a campaign manager for Jean Jacques Bertrand who served as Member of the Legislative Assembly for the District of Missisquoi in Quebec. If Pierre could be up on the wall so could Peter! I mean they had the same name after all LOL.

The posters eventually came downstairs and plopped on the counter, and I happily bought 6 at the price of 99 cents each. I will never ever forget that day and the 60s. Easy Rider was never a motorcycle movie to me– it was about what was going on in our lives as teens and freedom. Today, I still try to be who I am, but every day it’s harder to “get my motor running and venture to the highway”– but there is no doubt I was born to be wild LOLOL.. That never changes.

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 10

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 9

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 8

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 7

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 6

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 5

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 4

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 3

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past — Part 2

Linda’s Nickel Opinions — Blasts From the Past Part 1

My Grandfather’s Knife- Noreen Tyers

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My Grandfather’s Knife- Noreen Tyers
who carved these initials in the picnic table at Metcalfe Park in Almonte? 🙂

Linda, I just had to write this. On carrying a knife on a dateNoreen 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.

Richards Castle near Snow Road

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.

Noreen Tyers

Related reading…

To Noreen Tyers with Love

Living in the Past from Noreen Tyers

For the Love of Fungi and Leprechauns By Noreen Tyers

Hair Attention — Noreen Tyers

The Handmade Tablecloth — Noreen Tyers

Cutting a Christmas Tree at the House of Old at R. R. # 4 — Noreen Tyers

Making the Fudge for that Special School Affair 1940s Noreen Tyers

The Teeter Totter Incident Noreen Tyers

Childhood Movie Nights at Reliance Motor Court in Eastview — Noreen Tyers

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

Sending Thoughts of Winter to You, from my Wee Dog Ruffy Noreen Tyers

A Trip in the Carrying Case– Noreen Tyers

Just Me Growing Up in the Early 1940’s Noreen Tyers

Grandma and the Cute Little Mice– From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Another Broken Bed Incident — Stories from Richards Castle — Noreen Tyers

Lets Play Elevator- Charles Ogilvy Store — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

At Church on Sunday Morning From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Jack’s in Charge-Scary Stories — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Adventures at Dalhousie Lake at the Duncan’s Cottages —- From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

I am Afraid of Snakes- From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Hitching a Ride Cross Town — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

My Old Orange Hat –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Out of the Old Photo Album — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Snow Road Ramblings from Richards Castle — From the Pen Of Noreen Tyers

Summer Holidays at Snow Road Cleaning Fish — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Snow Road Adventures- Hikes in the Old Cave — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Putting Brian on the Bus– Stories from my Childhood Noreen Tyers

My Childhood Memory of Richard’s Castle –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Grandpa’s Dandelion Wine — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Wedding Tiara — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Art of Learning How to Butter Your Toast the Right Way — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Smocked Dresses–From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Kitchen Stool — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Flying Teeth in Church — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Writings of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Memories of Grandpa’s Workshop — Noreen Tyers

Cleaning out Grandmas’ Fridge — Noreen Tyers Summer Vacation at Richard’s Castle

My Flower Seeds — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Barbra Ann Scott Doll –Noreen Tyers

Greetings From Ruffy on Groundhog Day Noreen Tyers

That Smell Of The Lanark County SAP Being Processed — Noreen Tyers

Adventures at Dalhousie Lake at the Duncan’s Cottages — Noreen Tyers

The old Sheepskin Slippers Noreen Tyers

I Have Just Placed My Missing Memory on a Milk Carton

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I Have Just Placed My Missing Memory on a Milk Carton

Berkeley, 2012

For years my late grandmother, Mary Louise Deller Knight, would repeat her life stories and anything else that she felt she needed to say. At first I would remind aging Mary of her increasing repetition and then I would just nod my head and focus on other things.

To add to the situation, Mary also forgot how long she kept things in the freezer. During the years of increasing memory loss she had created her own breakfast specialty called ‘Freeze Dried Waffles’.  Sometimes I would hide them in my pocket after she served them, and then skip them across the Yamaska River like stones. Mary Louise never really got any better with her memory and I hoped that I would not have the same issues.

The year is now 2022 and I am ten years younger than Mary Louise was in the prime of her ‘broken needle’ storytelling era.  I can recall anything right down to the finest detail of whatever happened to me thirty to forty years ago; but ask me what I did five minutes past and I am at a loss.

I began to worry I might be getting Alzheimer’s and then someone explained the difference to me.  Not finding my keys – that was one thing, but if I did not know what a key was, then that was an issue. This morning I sat down and wrote what I needed at the store, on the top of my hand. I have long rid myself of hand written notes as I can’t find those either, unless I stick them in my sports bra. Cash register receipts, keys and credit cards also store quite nicely inside that spandex athletic bra.

Down in the subway, I pulled my disposable Tracfone out and stared at it. The back looked quite odd and I couldn’t figure it out.  Suddenly part of my phone was handed to me by a woman who realized I had no idea what was going on. Of course; the back plastic cover had fallen off!

I thanked her and told her how much I appreciated it and how forgetful I was sometimes. She told me not to worry because she was exactly the same. Her cell phone had broken one day and when she took it back to the Verizon store she had literally begged them to replace it with the same model. They told her that her phone was outdated, no longer available and the end of story, much to her horror.

She finally received a new phone and told me she sat there for days trying to figure it out. Only when a neighbour loaned the frustrated woman her high school aged son to help her was she finally able to use it. She longed for the days of being able to buy something with only one sheet of instructions. I laughed and told her these days you needed a PhD to operate a food processor. She smiled and said,

“I do have a PhD, and I still can’t figure anything out without calling a 1-800 number to India.” 

She continued sharing stories and told me not to worry, as we are not alone in this world of memory loss.  It is simply because we have too many details to remember now.  Between the passwords and Facebook upgrades, our mind has instantly created a lot of interior heavy fog banks. Had that also been my grandmother’s problem? Did she keep forgetting because of an overload of recipes and unfinished church work in her head?  I smiled to myself as I realized I might have ten good years before I start serving freezer-burned food.

Suddenly I had a panic attack and realized I could not find my address book. Of course, I had put it in my sports bra an hour ago. Note to self: Must replace bra soon, as the elastic is wearing out due to content overload.

Related reading

Thunderstruck – Riders on the Storm —- Linda Knight Seccaspina

And Now for Something Completely Different– The Junk Drawer……. Linda Knight Seccaspina

Church Lady Memories by Linda Knight Seccaspina

Me and Nancy Drew- Linda Knight Seccaspina

THE POEM THAT ONCE WAS US….

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THE POEM THAT ONCE WAS US….

A person named Howard Urtick wrote this poem and it brought back so many feelings and memories from the world I grew up in. If you’re of a certain age, it might resonate with you as well. ❤

THE POEM THAT ONCE WAS US

A little house with three bedrooms,

One bathroom and one car on the street;

A mower that you had to push

To make the grass look neat.

In the kitchen on the wall

We only had one phone,

And no need for recording things,

Someone was always home.

We only had a living room

Where we would congregate;

Unless it was at mealtime

In the kitchen where we ate.

We had no need for family rooms

Or extra rooms to dine.

When meeting as a family

Those two rooms worked out just fine.

We only had one TV set

And channels, maybe two,

But always there was one of them

With something worth the view

For snacks we had potato chips

That tasted like a chip.

And if you wanted flavor

There was Lipton’s onion dip.

Store-bought snacks were rare because

My mother liked to cook,

And nothing can compare to snacks

In Betty Crocker’s book

Weekends were for family trips

Or staying home to play.

We all did things together,

Even go to church to pray.

When we did our weekend trips

Depending on the weather,

No one stayed at home because

We liked to be together.

Sometimes we would separate

To do things on our own,

But we knew where the others were

Without our own cell phone.

Then there were the movies

With your favorite movie star,

And nothing can compare

To watching movies in your car

Then there were the picnics

At the peak of summer season,

Pack a lunch and find some trees

And never need a reason.

Get a baseball game together

With all the friends you know,

Have real action playing ball

And no game video.

Remember when the doctor

Used to be the family friend,

And didn’t need insurance

Or a lawyer to defend?

The way that he took care of you

Or what he had to do,

Because he took an oath and strived

To do the best for you.

Remember going to the store

And shopping casually,

And when you went to pay for it

You used your own money?

Nothing that you had to swipe

Or punch in some amount,

And remember when the cashier person

Had to really count?

The milkman used to drive a truck

And go from door to door,

And it was just a few cents more

Than going to the store.

There was a time when mailed letters

Came right to your door,

Without a lot of junk mail ads

Sent out by every store.

The mailman knew each house by name

And knew where it was sent;

There were not loads of mail addressed

To “present occupant”

There was a time when just one glance

Was all that it would take,

And you would know the kind of car,

The model and the make

They didn’t look like turtles

Trying to squeeze out every mile;

They were streamlined, white walls, fins and “skirts”,

And really had some style

One time the music that you played

Whenever you would jive,

Was from a vinyl, big-holed record

Called a forty-five

The record player had a post

To keep them all in line,

And then the records would drop down

And play one at a time.

Oh sure, we had our problems then,

Just like we do today

And always we were striving,

To find a better way.

Oh, the simple life we lived,

Still seems like so much fun.

How can you explain the game,

“Just kick the can and run?”

And all us boys put baseball cards

Between our bicycle spokes;

And for a nickel, red machines

Had little bottled Cokes?

This life seemed so much easier;

Slower in some ways.

I love the new technology,

But I sure do miss those days.

So time moves on and so do we,

And nothing stays the same;

But I sure love to reminisce

And walk down memory lane.

With all today’s technology

We grant that it’s a plus!

But it’s fun to look way back and say,

Hey look, guys, THAT WAS US!

Childhood Memories of Roy Brook –The Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Childhood Movie Nights at Reliance Motor Court in Eastview — Noreen Tyers

Thunderstruck – Riders on the Storm —- Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Thunderstruck – Riders on the Storm —- Linda Knight Seccaspina

Donna Deliva photo  ·

It was a wild and woolly week in Eastern Ontario last weekend, and as I write this some folks still do not have power in our area. As I looked at the forecast last Saturday morning for a Royal Tea at noon I never expected the line of storms headed our way would soon strengthen into Canada’s first derecho in decades. This particular storm did nothing but wreak havoc across Ontario and Quebec. It was the strongest derecho storm in Canada this century, blasting Ontario and Quebec on Saturday with winds peaking at 190 km/h in Ottawa, killing at least 11 people.

Years ago as a child I used to sit on top of a pile of lumber at Dion’s Lumber yard next door and watch what everyone called “heat lightning”. I don’t see it anymore and wonder why, and then I learned that there is really no such thing as “heat lightning.” What we were actually seeing was flashes of light reflecting off of clouds from lightning in a distant thunderstorm.

When lightning was heard overhead things would shut down in our house. We had to turn off the television and close the venetian blinds so the lightning would not wrap itself around them. To those that thought the latter was an old wives tale– it wasn’t. I saw it happen many times. So, we were all told to sit still in a chair with very little physical movement like the 2013 film Don’t Move. I was sure that if the lightning hit it would accidentally unleash a demonic force that might rip our family apart. So, my mother rattled the piano keys at thunderous levels playing Glenn Miller songs while the storm raged on.

Meanwhile down the street some of my friends were not allowed to wash dishes or take a bath because lightning could travel through your pipes. Using any part of your home’s plumbing was a risk during an electrical storm. Fireballs had been seen flying out of faucets, and you didn’t dare get near electrical outlets. My Mother sometimes used to open all the doors and windows to let the thunder ball out if such a thing decided to go down the chimney. Her cousin had been struck by lightning, so I suppose she held that fear all that time.

If you were in the basement during a storm you better not be barefoot according to my Grandmother, or you would get shocked. It was due to some story about our Cowansville, Quebec water reservoir being built over an active spring. I held whatever I needed to hold until after the storm as the lightning was supposed to come and rise up through the toilet and tickle your backside, or something like that. Take off any clothes that had zippers because the metal attracted lightning and hiding under your bed should be a last resort, as box springs were metal. It’s a wonder we weren’t all on “happy drugs”!

Talking on the phone was a no no as lightning travelled down the wires and the crackles on the phone line could make you deaf. One storm had supposedly fried all the phones on South Street, but no one had ever admitted their phone had been totaled, but the local folks still believed it.

Hanging out at the park was forbidden during a storm as you were made to get out of the pool instantly if anyone heard a rumble. Of course the person that began this rumour was the same lady that told me I couldn’t go swimming after eating because I would get cramps and drown. That lifeguard had heard that little bit of advice from our Mothers that brought us there, and she didn’t want to get in trouble with them.

My Mother used to tell me that her Mother used to draw the sign of the cross on the window glass and mirrors in the house, and also on her forehead, to prevent the strike of lightning. All I could think of was that she was mixing up religion with lightning rods, and I still say a church that has a lightning rod is truly a lack of confidence.

The odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 12,000, but scientists say climate change may increase the chances to about 1 in 8,000 by the year 2100. That’s fine I won’t be alive by then, but I do ask that others make the right decision about not getting struck by lightning. Could all those Mothers and Grandmothers be completely wrong with their stories? Remember, the road of life is paved with a lot of flat squirrels that couldn’t make a decision.

Killed by Lightening– Martin Rachfort

Hit By Lightening— The Sad Tale of Henry Crampton

Lightening Strikes Again –The Storm of 1972

The Day The Wizard of Oz Came to Carleton Place

Pour some Sugar on Me– Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Pour some Sugar on Me– Linda Knight Seccaspina

Pour some Sugar on Me– Linda Knight Seccaspina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Do you know how our people suffered?”.

Enough said.

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

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

The 1960s Almonte Fashion Show — Names Names Names

Fashion Faux Pas in the Cemetery

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

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