Tag Archives: seccaspina

Girls Just Want to Have “Fun-gi” Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Sports & Sports– Ville de Cowansville
Forty-six children from the Cowansville Municipal Swimming Pool, who received their Red Cross Certificate, accompanied by their teachers, Ms. Roland Boucher and Mr. Paul Meunier, and officials of the Red Cross (The Voice of the East, August 21, 1962)- Ville

Girls Just Want to Have “Fun-gi” Linda Knight Seccaspina

I stood there and peered through the chain link fence watching the cutest boy in town make a spectacular dive into the town pool and melted. The summer had begun and I had yet to make decisions between sitting at home reading my books, or doing something really special.  Would it be sitting under a tree reading the latest Nancy Drew or would I be learning how to be an Olympic style swimmer? I wanted to stand on the diving board, jump into the air and amaze my friends. No one was going to stand in my way even though I was petrified of water.

Anyone that knows me is quite aware of my fear of anything to do with water. It began the day my late mother stood me on the end of a lake pier much like Patty McCormick from the film The Bad Seed. Over and over she told me not to stare into the water less my reflection pulled me in. Of course I stared into the water, fell in, and needed to be rescued.

After telling my best friend about my summer vacation dream she told me I should start small by conquering a lake first. So the next Sunday at Selby Lake I slowly ventured into the water inch by inch. I thought that swimming might not take all that long to learn until one of my friends came roaring out of the lake covered in blood suckers.

As I stood on terra firma and watched a few men try to burn the suckers off the boy’s body with a lighter I suddenly thought that this might not be the best idea. Sure enough, that first day I stood there at the Cowansville pool feeling quite alone, shuddering from fear and looking very uncool wearing a rubber swim cap.

Not only am I afraid of water, but I also have an issue with feet, germs and wetness. After exiting the change room I had to figure out how to walk to the mandatory shower and exit without my feet touching the floor. I tried very earnestly to put my foot down on the wetness of the concrete, but all I could feel was imaginary bacterial ooze crawling through my toes.  I closed my eyes, ran under the shower as quick as I could, and then stood by the end of the pool.

Actually I stood on the edge of that pool for about 7 days and then graduated to sitting on the edge until the instructors became very concerned. Was Linda ever going to swim, or would she end her summer vacation still being a landlubber? Finally one day I courageously stood on the ladder and slowly descended into the blue water. For another two weeks I spent most of my time in the water but now only desperately clutching the edge of the pool with my hands.

Every lesson I would assume the same position until one day I made a miraculous headway. As I approached the pool one morning for lessons I saw the town fire truck parked right next to it. It seems that someone either polluted the water with their bacterial laden feet or there had been way too many “accidents” in it. The fire trucks were filling the pool, which was now only 4 inches deep, and I quickly ran through the germ laden floor, down the ladder and into the pool. With the water lapping dangerously around my ankles I mimicked every swimming style known to man air guitar style. I was finally in my element and was achieving my summer goal. I was swimming!

To this day I do not swim in lakes and still have fear of water due to the movie Jaws premiering years later. However, my biggest fear was met that very day I achieved my first diving board jump. I did not drown, but a week later I had a strange rash on my face that grew with the speed of light. I had contacted what is called Staphylococcus Aureis, or in layman’s terms- Impetigo. Some people blamed the water, but in my mind I knew where I got it from–it had to be the concrete changing room floor. But, in the end strong delusions travel around like cold germs on a sneeze. As my Grandmother treated my rash she said to me:

“Just wash your hands my birdie and say your prayers, because germs and Jesus are everywhere!”

Can I get an Amen?

The Other Seccaspina Christmas Story — Howdy Ho!

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The Other Seccaspina Christmas Story — Howdy Ho!

Sophia and I in jammies on chat talking Sunday once again about Mr. Hanky!

Every year I add another addition to our family’s Christmas light story. It’s a Hallmark moment for our family, but rest assured we have others. This story I am about to tell might not be for some– but I urge you to have a sense of humour, because we all need a giggle these days.

A long time ago when my eldest Schuyleur ( he prefers Skyler now) was going to Caldwell School he was into animation. He would sit for hours at his desk up on the second floor and draw. I was really amazed what he did and always thought he might join PIXAR in his later years, but following his late Father into business prevailed.

We were always fans of the animated show South Park. Maybe I was a bad Mother to allow them to watch South Park, but I have always encouraged humour in life and certainly not to take life so seriously. That first episode that Mr. Hankey appeared in he became a hit around our home. The episode was written and directed by the series’ co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The Mr. Hankey character was based on an idea from Trey Parker’s childhood. Heavily influenced by the Peanuts Christmas special A Charlie Brown Christmas from 1965, “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo” was the first South Park Christmas Special episode.

Schuyleur at this point had graduated his artistic talents to FIMO, and he created many interesting things. I still have a tiny tea set he made me with the teapot having a cat head which I will give to his daughter. The height of his creations was something I had no idea he was making, but it still makes us all laugh today. Tucked away in the china cabinet, sitting in a pink depression glass cup, is Sky’s childhood rendition of Mr. Hankey. He is missing his Santa Hat, his tiny arms and white gloves, and I had to draw an eye on as the black Fimo piece had long dropped off. But, this piece of art will never miss the family history behind the creation.

So what was the story behind this rendition of Mr. Hankey? Sky had worked very hard on this piece and placed it in a box ready to take it to school for an art show to speak about in his french immersion class at Caldwell Elementary. He was so proud of what he had done and could not imagine what was going to transpire next. It appears upon returning home that he was not allowed to speak that afternoon about his creation as the teacher took one look at it and said:

” Pas de poo dans l’ecole Schuyleur!”

Which loosely translates into: “You had better get that thing out of Dodge boy!”

Schuyleur being a comedian like his Mother thought this was hilarious. I reminded him that humour was good but not to let loose with it in elementary school. He should probably save that for that creative 5 figure job if he was lucky to get one down the line. I never did hear from the teacher as that week one of my wacky fashions designs was on the cover of the Toronto fashion newspapers and she probably thought it would be like talking to a wall.

Last night I was babysitting Sophia and I encourage my grandkids to tell me stories and then she asked me for one. So Gammy told the story of Mr. Hankey and the Christmas Poo. She thought it was hilarious and asked me to tell it over and over. She could not believe that Uncle Schuyleur had created this funny little piece of Fimo. Today I told the story once again when she called me on Facebook– and I told her the family heirloom would never leave the china cabinet as it would always be part of our family history. Yes, that’s right family history– after all– some stories offer beautiful leaves, and some just offer trails of nuts. But remember, no matter what— it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking.

Sometimes he’s nutty, sometimes he’s corny
He can be brown, or greenish-brown
But if you eat fibre on Christmas Eve
He might come to your town..
Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo
He loves me, I love you

relatedreading

In Memory of The Man Who Loved Christmas

The Story Behind the Christmas Lights on Stonewood Drive

Remembering the Christmas Star

Memories of Christmas 2006

Linda and Christmas Cards– and the Lack off–This is Your Christmas Letter:) 2016

Linda and the Lack of a Christmas Card–This is Your Christmas Letter 2017

Linda and the Lack of a Christmas Card–This is Your Christmas Letter 2018

I Never Met a Fruitcake I Liked

Horses with No Names- The People’s Father Christmas

Just Another Day in Fawlty Towers — Part 2 — To Hell and Back

My Neighbours –Photos of the Cliff- McCann House and Springside Hall

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My Neighbours –Photos of the Cliff- McCann House and Springside Hall

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Summer 2017- The Sweeney family lives here now and the Nephin’s bought it from Laurel McCann.

Mr. W. Cliff and his wife Susannah (Sussie) Cliff once owned this home on the corner of Lake Ave East and Campbell Street.  Mr. Cliff had once been the editor of the local Carleton Place newspaper. The Central Canadian and was said to be a very fluent and flowery writer. The local newspaper was founded in January 1876, under the sponsorship of William Bredin of Carleton Place, with William W. Cliff of Napanee as editor and publisher.  There were 1,800 persons living in Carleton Place at the time. The Man Who Received the Carleton Place Newspaper for Life

The next residents were the Cecil T. McCann family. He was the proprietor of the local downtown pool room and had once been a resident of Westport. He and his wife Laurel (Costello) had a family consisting of: Marilyn, Karen and Thomas. Laurel McCann was my friend, and if you think I am outspoken you never met Laurel. She was one of a kind, and I will forever miss her.

 

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Photo-Susan McCann

The original fireplace in the McCann home. Kate Sweeney says it no longer exists as it was replaced with less ornate bricks and stone and converted to gas. But, the amazing original French doors are still there- Kate says they are really unusual as they’re set at 90 degrees to each other. Structurally, they’re pretty unique from what she has seen.

She also added when the new extension was added the original external windows were kept, so they can see both from the kitchen and sitting room into the sun room.

 

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Cecil on the Campbell Side of the house. My house in the background.–Photo-Susan McCann

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Susan McCann’s Father burning leaves. Remember those days? You can see Springside Hall with the original fence. When we bought it- it had a white picket fence. Originally, there was concrete pillars with pipes as a fence. The carriage house is in the back and we tore it down in 1988 as it was falling down. You can see the white summer  kitchen on the back of the house. That was not there in 1981 when we bought the home. There was just a hole in the ground where it had been, and we built the stone addition and garage where it was. Photo-Susan McCann

 

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Susan McCann’s Aunt Marilyn on the front porch of the McCann home. That veranda was taken down and stored in the garage. I bought it at Laurel McCann’s auction sale when she moved. It is now my side veranda on Campbell Street.

 

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Laurel McCann’s front veranda is now my side vernada on Campbell Street.

 

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This photo was on the McCann pool room wall–Susan McCann sent this to me last night along with some photos of my home.. This is a blast from the past in Carleton Place. This would be the iconic Cecil McCann and the other old lads in the restaurant. The sign says Dorothy’s Tea Room which became The Eating Place. Photo-Susan McCann

 

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Tom Edwards Lori Rothwell. Bought lots of Howick jeans there from her and Mrs McCann at the Korner Kupboard. (She had great taste)–Elenor Rothwell is in the edge of the pic as well. Photo-Susan McCann

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Photo thanks to Wendy Healey 1973-1974

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Springside Hall was once an entire block belonging to the Morphys and the Crams. The home was built in three cycles. The Morphys  in 1867. The Crams added an addition in 1910 and my family in 1988 and 1995. The Cram family ran the local tannery on the site of the present senior building on Sussex Street. Their family consisted of a son Arthur,  who passed away in a motorcycle accident on High Street in the 1920s and two daughters.

After the Cram parents died the girls moved to McArthur Avenue into a home formerly owned by Franklin Abbot. Mr. George Raeburn a CPR station agent and his wife Mae Finlayson bought the property and later had it surveyed and sold the back portion to J. Arthur Hobbs and his wife Kaye McLeod who built a house on it. After the Raeburns, it fell into another family’s hands for a year until the bank took it over.

We bought it in 1981 and the first person I met was Muriel Simpson who just walked up to the back of a tall ladder Ange was standing on. Laurel came out of her house with her constant cigarette in hand telling Muriel to go back in the house and give us a breather LOL. Update on the Time Capsule in Springside Hall

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

relatedreading

Reusing the Past of Carleton Place — The Morphy’s and the McCann’s

In Memory of Tom McCann

Memories of the Bracewells of Carleton Place

The “Margaret Thatcher” of Campbell Street

Reusing the Past of Carleton Place — The Morphy’s and the McCann’s

In Memory of Stuart White of Carleton Place

October 13, 1977 George W. Raeburn of Lake Ave East— Artist and C. P. R. Man

What I Learned From Rhoda Morgenstern

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Valerie Harper died Friday in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer at the age of 80.  She and The Mary Tyler Moore Show hold enough personal memories for me to last a lifetime. Please raise your hand if you wanted to live in Mary’s apartment and wear all her clothes.  I used to sit around watching a snowy television set minus today’s remotes, iPad or cell phones, and always related to Rhoda Morgenstern– because she and I felt the same way about life.

You’re having a lousy streak. I happen to be having a terrific streak. Soon the world will be back to normal. Tomorrow you will meet a crown head of Europe and marry. I will have a fat attack, eat 3000 peanut butter cups and die.” – Rhoda Morgenstern-

Rhoda helped me get over bad adolescent memories like Valentine’s Day and other horrid ‘heartfelt’ festivities in school. I can never remember any year being a Hallmark moment and sometimes you just wished the day would go away. Like Rhoda I kept waiting for that magic moment to happen and it never did until many years later.

“Allow me to introduce myself, I’m another person in the room – Rhoda Morgenstern. .” 

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Like Valerie Harper in her final television sitcom days as Rhoda,  we search our entire life to find the answers, to accept ourselves. As I type this I want to tell Valerie Harper that you gave me the message I needed to understand years ago.

Rhoda finally found husband Joe, and after decades I finally found my Hallmark moment. My “Joe” helped me accept myself for who I am, and he “can always take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.” Real love is not based on romance, candlelight dinners and walks along the beach– it is based on respect, compromise, care and trust.

 

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These beloved women from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda” created characters that meant a lot to each and every one of us. The humour and laughter they brought is nothing compared to the inspiration and lessons about life we have learned from them. They have proved that friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest, it’s about who came, and never left your side. We truly have been blessed by their longevity, and for some of us they changed our lives.

Me? I am  trying to ‘live every moment as much as I can’. Thanks Valerie Harper for your words of wisdom. I have not stopped living each day to its fullest and I bet Hallmark doesn’t even have a card for me either– and that’s okay with me– because it was okay with you. I will miss you Valerie Harper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Memory of The Man Who Loved Christmas

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In Memory of The Man Who Loved Christmas

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Please note that my sons light show runs every year.https://lindaseccaspina.wordpress.com/2020/11/19/remembering-the-christmas-star/. check out this link

This morning I found this picture of my late husband Angelo a few months before he died. Sick as a dog with cancer in 2013, he sat there and directed his troops (Perry and Steph) on how to get the job done.

Our front yard Christmas display at 77 Lake Ave East rivalled the decorating of Clark Griswold in the film Christmas Vacation. It was a giant tribute to Christmas that could be seen for miles. Even though Angelo’s health was quickly deteriorating, he still made sure the house was ready to go that final year.

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I never understood why we owned half of the Carleton Place Canadian Tire Christmas light section–or the mountains of boxes of lights that were everywhere throughout the house. In fact the day I found 85 brand new boxes of lights hidden behind the couch in the study I think I looked something like this.

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To be honest we had stopped decorating the interior of the house in a big way after the fire in 1995. Two years ago, I sucked my heart in and decorated every single room for the Carleton Place Hospital Foundation Christmas House Tour. Not everyone was behind my decision, but I had to make this effort in his memory.  I knew that the house would never again display his talents and love for the season, and wanted to do it as a tribute for his love of Christmas.

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For anyone that thought Ange just threw lights up every year, you would be wrong. Each display was well thought out, and every year he wanted the latest and greatest. Last week my son asked me what I thought his Dad would be up to this year if he was alive. I lowered my head and tried not to laugh as I knew we would be up to our necks in something that lit up or made noise. Our vestibule looked like the picture above for weeks on end and I finally tried my best to ignore it.

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Now the only thing that is left from his last display is the star and lights around the upper level of the house. I cannot take them down, but yet I can’t seem to turn them on. The only time those lights were lit was Christmas Eve, his birthday and Father’s Day–now the bulbs have all burnt out. As for the interior, the only thing consistent is Angelo’s year round Christmas tree.

After the fire we all remembered the ravaged Christmas tree that stood in a corner, so instead, he put up a giant tree in the TV room and bought music boxes.  That tree has stood there 365 days a year since December 1996 and will never ever come down.

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Traditions do continue, and generations carry on, and I am proud to say that my youngest son Perry carries on his Dad’s love for Christmas–just not in this yard anymore, but at his own home. Stephanie made an official announcement on Facebook, so I guess writing it here isn’t letting the Christmas cat out of the bag. A lot of the lights being used on Perry’s display are from his Dad’s original collection.

Sophia’s Animated Christmas Light Show Begins Tonight!!.. My late husband Angelo Seccaspina used to light up Lake Ave East every Christmas season until he died. But for a few years my youngest son Perry believes traditions do continue, and generations carry on, and he carries on his Dad’s love for Christmas–just not in this yard anymore, but at his own home with over 33,000 lights. A lot of the lights being used on Perry’s display are from his Dad’s original collection.

The tradition begins once again this year TONIGHT- Sophia’s Animated Christmas Light Show Sunday December 16th at 6. The light show of over 33,000 lights will be on EVERY night from 6-9. Don’t forget to tune into 88.3 Griswold FM.

Please feel free to share and spread the word!!

267 Stonewood drive, just off 9th line in Carleton Place.

Merry Christmas ❤️

Thanks Perry–your Dad has not set his course by passing ships, but by the brightness of each and every one of your twinkling Christmas lights. You can read all about this ongoing Hallmark moment  tradition here. In Memory of The Man Who Loved Christmas CLICK — https://lindaseccaspina.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/in-memory-of-the-man-who-loved-christmas/

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May all your troubles soon be gone–the Seccaspina Christmas lights still keep shining on. Thanks Perry–your Dad has not set his course by passing ships, but by the brightness of each and every one of your twinkling Christmas lights.

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Angelo and Axel 2012– In memory of them both.

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Perry 2015

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Perry and Sophia 2015

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Perry 2016– and so it began and like his Father things seemed to multiply.

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Perry 2016– Sophia is the director now– and soon will be running her own show.

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Perry 2016

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Christmas Lights 2012