Tag Archives: nostalgia

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

The Magic of Television — Linda Knight Seccaspina

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The Magic of Television — Linda Knight Seccaspina

The Magic of Television — Linda Knight Seccaspina

I once wrote a story about writing letters as a child to the media and it got me thinking.The first TV program I remember watching as a child was the Mantovani Show, and not only was it boring, but it was in black and white. But then exciting things came to television like Coca Cola and Dick Clark. Here were some of my favourites:

Cartoon Corner and Howdy Doody 

Cartoon Corner, Friendly Giant and Howdy Doody were daily favourites of mine in black and white on CBC. I also remembered having to unplug the TV when a thunderstorm occurred in the afternoon as my Mother said it was “going to blow the house up if one of those bolts wrapped around the venetian blinds”.

Razzle Dazzle

Every night at 5 in 1961 I would watch the CBC- TV show Razzle Dazzle hosted by Suzanne Somers’ husband, Alan Hamel. I had entered a writing contest and was eagerly waiting to hear if I won a pen with my “meatless meat pie” essay. A few weeks later I found out that I had indeed won a Razzle Dazzle pen for my story along with a photo of Howard the Turtle.

Hockey Night in Canada

In 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup and I was a member of the Dave Keon fan club who scored the winning goal that year for the last game. I was a proud card carrying member, and for 25 cents you got a signed glossy photo of him and a membership card. 

The day after the playoffs I brought in that black and white 8 by 10 photo of him and taped it to the classroom blackboard. My teacher Mrs. Shufelt, who was not a fan of Dave Keon or said team, had an upset look on her face when she saw it. Yes, it was worth the 25 cents I had spent on it. I can still see the frown on her face like it was yesterday.

Hello Boys and Girls, it’s time for Magic Tom!

Every afternoon as a child, I was glued to the TV set awaiting my beloved Magic Tom Auburn on CFCF TV out of Montreal. Tom once described himself as a “man who played with silk hankies” but to me and every child he was a man with something new up his sleeve every single day. Canada’s Man of Magic was never fully appreciated by my Father as he constantly said Magic Tom needed to polish his act up. 

Magic Tom once said that little girls only wanted to be three things in life: a Mommy, a Nurse, and an Airline Stewardess. It was the same thing I heard a few years later in the Cowansville High School Vice Principal’s office when I told him I wanted to be a fashion designer.  I often wondered if they were related.

Tom began his career at age 13 with a bout of scarlet fever, a magic book and a lot of time on his hands just outside Cornwall. It is the unspoken ethic of all magicians to not reveal the secrets, and once in a blue moon Tom did. Sometimes the kids thought he was cheating and expressed their sentiments– but the next time you saw the same trick, maybe you didn’t see that glass of milk sinking under the red cloth– and wondered if you had been right the first time.

Each day I waited until the end of the show to see the empty silver dish suddenly become full of candy for the kids with a simple mere tap of his magician’s wand. No matter how hard I looked I could not find out how Magic Tom did this trick. 

I later found out however that this same trick was performed in WW11 by a small group of French Patriots who were being held prisoner by the Germans. They made a deal with their captors that if they performed this trick they would be let go. There was a happy ending and they were freed. 

Magic Tom and his wife Dolores have long passed and are buried in the Cornwall region at the St. Lawrence Valley Cemetery near Long Sault/Cornwall. I hope people remember Magic Tom as a  kind man who brought magic to the people as he pushed the boundaries of wonder for all of us. 

Some people say there isn’t magic. Some people say there is. I say there always will be— as in a way, we are all magicians, and so was television when I grew up in the 50s and 60s. They provided a wonderful open door to the everyday pleasures when life was just  a simpler world.

Pass the Ambrosia! Memories of Cookbooks Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Pass the Ambrosia! Memories of  Cookbooks Linda Knight Seccaspina
Photo is a typical Robin Hood Float that was in every local parade– this one was in Delta 1937)

Pass the Ambrosia! Memories of Cookbooks Linda Knight Seccaspina

Years ago before I went to California I had 100’s of cookbooks. My favourites were the church cookbooks from the local rummage sales and I have given away a lot–but today I still have about a 100 left. 

Remember the well worn coil- bound cookbooks put out by Canadian companies? I still have well-used copies of Robin Hood, Maple Leaf  and Red Rose which are probably museum items now. These little books are full of things our grandmothers used to make, such as dinner rolls, pickles, jams, jellies, and the beloved tomato aspic. 

By today’s standards some of the ingredients are not for healthy eating: canned soup, shortening, MSG and lots and lots of mayonnaise. But these books were especially big on baking and contained classic recipes for breads, cookies, squares, cakes, and especially pies. This is perhaps where their timelessness shines through for everyone.

The recipes from my vintage cookbooks are from times I still remember, and in the 50’s my mother used to make Tuna Pinwheels and Canned Devilled Ham Canapes for her canasta parties. Bernice Ethylene Crittenden Knight was a stickler for an attractive food presentation, and she also made something called Congealed Salad for holiday meals. A combination of Orange Jello, Cool Whip, crushed pineapple, and wait for it, shredded cheese. I think my Dad called it “Sawdust Salad” and I seriously tried to remain clueless as to why. 

I’m sure everyone has a family member that says they’ll bring a “salad” to a family dinner, but then they bring some Jello concoction they found in one of their cookbooks. Bonus points if it has marshmallows in it like the amazing Ambrosia Salad.  Actually, I feel more justified in calling anything a salad if I dump leftover taco beef and salsa onto a little lettuce topped with shredded cheese.

There are many loving memories of my grandmother baking on Saturdays. The old beige crock which held the flour under the cupboards — a hint of yeast — and the mixture of sweat pouring from her forehead. This mixture was placed in loaf pans, and if the day was bright the bread was set out in the sun to rise, otherwise the pans were placed near the big black wood stove which made the room toasty and cozy.

After the dough had risen to twice its size it was quickly placed in the oven. Making bread was only the beginning of the baking day– cakes, pies and cookies followed. There might be homemade applesauce for supper, toast for breakfast, bread pudding and the other delicious dishes which came from my grandmother’s magical kingdom. It was always homemade with love. That meant that I had sneaked the spoon out of the mixture and licked it and no one was the wiser when it was used again.  

The steamed brown bread baked in a can was certainly one of Grammy’s few baking tragedies. It was so horrible my Dad took my Grandmother’s failed recipe target shooting at the Cowansville dump. I would like to think that some of those rats got to feast on one of those brown breads. Of course, maybe after sampling it, they might have wanted to be put out of their misery.

The best is all those hundreds of recipes lovingly collected, saved from the newspapers or magazines, with notes written on the side. Finally assembled into cookbooks, the secrets were still not there. I remember writing down some of my Grandmother’s recipes and next time we made it she had changed the amount of pinches and methods on her recipes.

Despite living in a healthy society, or trying to, cookbooks seem to remain every bit as popular as romance novels and mysteries. Nostalgia triggers a story about our lives, helping us reflect on traditions and moments about the days when our  parents and grandparents were alive. That’s why we should never lose print recipes, and real paper-based cookbooks. 

Those mystery meat recipes, and foods that were the same colour as rainbow radiation will always resonate with us. That’s because we get to see and relive the gravy stained favourites, and the memories of family. If reading about cookbooks has you craving a big slice of cake, you’re not alone. I was always told if you can read you can cook. I can attest that my cooking is so fabulous that even the smoke alarm cheers me along from time to time.

CLIPPED FROM
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Hazleton, Pennsylvania
18 Jul 1963, Thu  •  Page 22

Funky Soul Stew was Once Cooking in Carleton Place

Pig Candy — Cooking With Chef Dr. Dusty from Ballygiblin’s

What was a Fowl Supper?

Was the Butter Tart Really Invented in Barrie, Ontario? Jaan Kolk Files

Hobos, Apple Pie, and the Depression–Tales from 569 South Street

Let’s Just “Gruel” in the New Year

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Let’s Just “Gruel” in the New Year

When I used to watch old movies as a child; gruel was served to orphans as an economic necessity. You certainly couldn’t feed hundreds of children steak and eggs on the city’s dime and Dickens loved using gruel as a metephor for cruelty. The Dickensian delights of the Victorian workhouse, immortalised in the moment when a starving Oliver Twist dares to ask for some more watery gruel.

In my family–the gruel came with much praise and many comments every day in January — undoubting the decision of its wholesomeness along with a small side bowl of prunes for everyone’s constitution. In today’s realm it would be much like yogurt attempts to advertise for the thoughts of regular constitution.

Gruel can actually be quite tasty they say. Mary Louise Deller Knight’s was not. Like the 1976 tune “Give Peace a Chance” I was instructed to give gruel a chance- every single day. The thin porridge has had a bad reputation with me ever since. My grandmother decided the month of January should be dedicated to getting everyone’s body ready for the rest of the Winter and layers of morning gruel lining my intestines would do it.

You know maybe if Grammy had followed the old recipe above I might have given it a chance. But- she made her slushy gruel, containing oats, water, milk and onion. That’s right — onion. As my grandfather would say:

“There’s no flavour at all without the onion.”

I begged to differ.

As she rejoyced about it ‘sticking to my insides’, today I would have retorted, “They call that Dysphagia!” In yesterday’s life it was “eat your meals or starve.”

Today, in these nutritionally conscious times, gruel is an all-rounder. It’s got all the carbs and water you need to barely survive for another day. For the health-conscious gruel can be made more interesting by adding bee pollen, maca, hemp seeds, coconut butter, lentil sprouts or fermented tree-nut cheese. Consider yourself warned this might become a new food trend!

Me? I think I will just eat my ethically-sourced, fair trade hat and avoid it like the Black Plague.

More gruel recipes click here.

Pease Pudding in the Pot, Nine Days Old

Times Of Love and Dreams to Share

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Times Of Love and Dreams to Share

2015

It is December 15th, almost a week before Christmas, and you would never know it. I wrote a piece a few years ago called “Searching For Christmas” and it seems, as the years go by, it disappears more and more. The Martha Stewart Christmas CD plays for the umpteenth time, and after 17 Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel I just can’t watch another. Or can I?


I had something happen to me a few years ago that was life altering. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it, and it has literally changed my perspective on life. It was almost like learning there was no Santa Claus when I was a child. That innocence that reinforced the goodness of mankind suddenly vanished. So, I sit here and ask myself, how many Christmases do I have left? What if I had not lived, and missed Christmas that year? Well, I did live, and Christmas is almost around the corner.

So I try to snap out of this funk and remember. I remember the smell of Christmas trees and their sharp pine pungent scent, and the smell of home baking in the air. To be honest, the last years of my childhood Christmases were not spent smelling a fresh evergreen tree. It was gazing at the latest model of Sears “best in the line ” decorator trees in my Grandmother’s living room. I remember the delicate fragile glass ornaments that belonged to years gone by and the blue lights on the tree.

I can still hear Miss Watson playing the church organ next to the Chrismtas tree at Trinity Anglican Church, which also shone with blue lights. I felt like it was something that was decided upon one Altar Guild Day in one fell swoop of a pact.  Can I still hear these women talking with their glasses perched on their noses and fluffing their short tight perms? Did these church ladies decide that blue lights, and only blue lights, should be on a Christmas tree? I am positive that’s what happened and then they all went home and changed their lights to blue in a no nonsense way.

Memories then flood my mind of  two weeks after Christmas in 1995 when my sons and I stood on top of a water- soaked carpet looking sadly at a completely black Christmas tree. Staring at the remainder of a horrible fire that burned everything the day before, my oldest son wondered if his purchase of one small TY Beanie Baby monkey started the fire that turned our lives upside down for over a year. He is very much like his mother. We dwell on things and don’t give them up. We are good at that.

But Christmas went on the next year and no one was a Negative Nancy. We still watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas and baked cookies and hung up stockings and I still left small presents on the door steps of the elderly. So what to do? How do I get out of this Downer Dan mood? I decided to make  Butter Tarts–now that would make me feel festive.


Twenty minutes later after listening to Loreena McKennitt singing “Good King Wenceslas” for the umpteenth time, I take the tarts from the oven. They smell wonderful and I know they will be enjoyed. I turn the Martha Stewart Christmas CD off and file it away, not to be played for… let’s say…at least a day. Charlie Brown’s Christmas by Vince Guaraldi fills the air and I dance. I realize the holidays are what you make out of it and not to expect anyone to drop the Holiday spirit outside your bathroom door– because it just isn’t going to happen. Christmas just isn’t a season–it’s a feeling sometimes being torn for the familiar and just a chance to feel old feelings twice. If kisses were snowflakes I would send each and everyone of you a blizzard.

Living in the Past from Noreen Tyers

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Living in the Past from Noreen Tyers
Noreen Tyers—Grandparents in front of Richards Castle, in Snow Road
around the 1940’s John and Charlotte (Mavis) Lahey Summer holidays at the Stone House.


My childhood Memory– by Noreen Tyers

Memory is like a key; it opens a door to spending some time in the past.

Not too long ago, someone said to me you seem to dwell in the past.  I have found out since doing my family history, there is so much I do not know about family matters.  At my senior age maybe I will dwell on it,  as it can be so interesting.   In both my family history and my husband’s history I have gone back to the 1700’s, in my process, it goes back to discovering his great-grandfather was a Huguenot from the Guernsey Islands who settled on the Plains of Abrahams, in Quebec, in the late 1700’s. 

In our home sits a Desk made on the Plains of Abrahams which was created in the Late 1700’s, during that time, by my husband’s Great Grandfather.  The family also changed their name from LeLacheur to Lusher.  When one has the use of a Laptop there is just so much information to be found to fill in some gaps to ones heritage. Connections were made and we found some new kissin cousins we did not know we had.

Huguenots were French Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who followed the teachings of theologian John Calvin. Persecuted by the French Catholic government during a violent period, Huguenots fled the country in the 17th century, creating Huguenot settlements all over Europe, in the United States and Africa. Mar 16, 2018

In my Dad’s Family,  history was a sad upbringing and beginning of life he had.  His Mother and Dad left him and a sister in England, and came to Canada, his Grandparents brought him up.  His father died in the first world war when my Dad was four.  He went to work at the age of eight at a Mill in Rochdale, Lancashire.  He worked in the same Mill as the War Time Singer, Gracie Fields. More than once when she would come on the Radio, he would say “Many a lunch time I spent singing with Her.”  My Dad had a beautiful Irish Tenor Voice, needless to say we had some old 78″ records, with Gracie Fields songs.  My Dad did live a lonely life until he met and married my Mom and he finally found out what Family was all about. He sailed to Canada when he was seventeen, to find his Mom.  The outcome was not positive for him, his mom had remarried.

There is one thing about looking into your heritage: it is very difficult to wrap your head around some of the knowledge you gain.  I have to say that you take on a very different attitude on what is important.  I do find that when you learn more about the early years of your parents life it does make some dates far more important.  As a Child I do remember going to Remembrance Day, and finding out about my Dad’s Family.  The Service at the War Memorial in Ottawa was much more meaningful.  It did answer the question of the tear in my Dad’s eye, I have to say I noticed it and would look for it on the following services held at the War Memorial that I attended. 

I do remember being told about the flags around the National War Memorial.  My Mom was a winner at her school, Lisgar Collegiate, for an essay, on how to improve the appearance of the area of the War Memorial.   Her idea was flags around the outside area, and for many years as a child, I would come home from the service and say to my Mom, your Flags are still flying Mom.  In the 40’s it was the Union Jack Flag. I do have a newspaper  clipping showing that My Mom’s Idea was a winner.  I do have to admit it became a bragging right as a child, and I did brag to my Classmates every November 11th. I am quite sure they grew tired of hearing it from me.

You know with Covid hanging around the world, one tries to come up with idea’s to keep busy, but out of the worry of covid invading the being, you keep busy.   Years ago I started to mark down some lines and put together a series of stories of a Holiday at Richards Castle in Snow Road.  These stories were generated by Childhood Memories of Summer Holidays at the Old Stone House.  This was a holiday with the whole extended family.  It started out in 1936 when Grandpa arranged for a holiday for two weeks, each year for over fifteen years. They would travel to Snow Road and Richard’s Castle.  I did have such a good time as a young girl,, along with Prince Freddie the Frog, He sat on a lily pad in the Mississippi River.

The holiday trip in the back on an old Charles Ogilvy Department Store truck driven by an uncle or taking the old K & P Railway – Kingston – Pembroke or as it was dubbed by the locals the Kick and Push.  As children, it was a horrible trip up as we would all get motion sick on both the trains in the back of the old delivery truck.  It was a castle and we were a family of meagre means and if you could fantasize many stories could be generated, and with me they did and have lasted a good long time.

I then started to mark down stories from my childhood from living on Gardner Street.  The houses on this street could have used a paint job and some repairs, but being war time and very few men around, and a Landlord who did not like to spend money or just may have been, she did not have it.  So repairs seldom ever made it to be done, and the list of repairs just kept getting bigger and never addressed.

During the Covid shut-in time it was used to work on the Family history book, I did a write up of Family Treasures and where they came from, and who they belonged to.  When one starts a project like this you also learn by it.  In both sides of our family there were talented individuals and in most cases a lot of thought, love and technique went into the item.  Some might think they were nothing more than trinkets yet there was a story and memories with each item.  To me they are priceless and have priceless value.  I still have my doll house, with a little circular table and two chairs, and a fireplace with a mantle clock that my grandparents created and gave me at the age of around nine.  Grandpa made it and it has been special ever since.  It has gone through family, and children have used it, with the specification it came back to me.  It did and sometimes it might come out at Christmas, when one gets the desire for a Hallmark type Christmas.

My latest little pleasure is doing a family story book for kids, from the stories of Snow Road.  I do not think of myself as a writer, but I do believe I am a storyteller, who just can recall memories from a picture or an item.

If you want to think of me as living in the past, maybe I do, but over the years I have built up a lot of memories.  I do find pleasure, and my time in the past was very pleasant.  To tell you the truth, with all the spare time I have and lack of seeing too many people and being alone so much, it does fill in a void, and childhood returns, if only for a while.

No I do not spend all my time in the past, but in my pleasant thoughts and yes they were, I travel back to some happy times.  It does keep the mind active and the fingers nimble, marking them down..  One just never knows, what you might find out, something you never knew of, and maybe someone needs this information for a project they are working on. Family Tales, it’s a treasure and priceless,  to find something and check it out.  I am no Princess only at Richard’s Castle the name was Princess Pigtails, yes that’s what my Grandpa called me, and he was a wise man.

Just some thoughts and a few lines, on a quiet Sunday 

from the  ✒Of 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

The Table from St. Andrew’s in Pakenham

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The Table from St. Andrew’s in Pakenham

St. Andrews United Church Pakenham

St Andrew’s Church Pakenham-

It was just an old kitchen fall-leaf table, made of hardwood and still in its raw state with never the stroke of a painter’s brush to mar the beautiful, natural grain of the wood, but what a historic background it had. What tales it could tell of the pioneer days if it could only speak, tales of frugal repasts set on its broad surface, tales of well laden Christmas dinners with a happy family gathered abound, or perhaps of the minister’s visit when it was covered with a snowy white table cloth and the children were put on their best behavior.

But the greatest tale of all would be the time it was used, over 102 years ago. as a pulpit for the first Presbyterian service held in this district. The service was held in a blacksmith’s shop long before a church was built, and this old table, a cherished souvenir of those early days, now reposes in the basement of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian church, a strong link in the life of the church from the first Presbyterian missionary from Scotland to the present day.

Pakenham was the central point of the parish, which embraced Fitzroy, Torbolton, Pakenham. McNab and Horton. But to go back to the old kitchen table which is in as good a state of repair today as it was one hundred years ago there is a wealth of sentiment connected with it. Only the spiritual life of the church can endure and go on through all the ages to eternity, but when we look back over the long trail of time and follow the lives of those who have taken up the challenge of the cross, there is little wonder that the spiritual life of the church endures and strengthens with the years.

The material things of life crumble and fade away, but the spiritual endures forever.

The story about this table was told in 1940 and I wonder if it is still around.

St. Andrews United Church Pakenham
August 23, 2020  · 


Thank you Marilyn for extravagantly sharing your time and talents with St. Andrew’s and our community for over 50 years.
I was speaking with Ken Hastie today and he told me that St. Andrew’s in Carleton Place also used to have a table like that and it is now at the Carleton Placeand Beckwith Hertage Museum

The Handmade Tablecloth — Noreen Tyers

 If You Don’t Have a Perfect Tablecloth Your Husband’s Eye will Wander

The Dack’s Jewellery Store Checker Table

Mary Cook and her Telephone Pin

Never Miss a Chance to Dance! Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Never Miss a Chance to Dance! Linda Knight Seccaspina

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

Never Miss a Chance to Dance!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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