Tag Archives: teenage years

Riding Around in the Back of a Truck

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Riding Around in the Back of a Truck

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Photo- Linda Seccaspina

 

In the old days we rode around in pickup trucks and no one batted an eye. I remember going to and fro from football games in a back of a pickup with other teens and yes,  we hitchhiked down the road. Were we fearless then, or dumb as a bucket of gravel?

 

What else did we used to do that we no longer do….

Use a phone book

Figure out math in your head

Make photo albums

Record your favourite TV show on VCR tape

Cut things out of a newspaper

Send a handwritten letter

Look up the spelling of words in a dictionary

Use a phone booth

Get your cheques back from the bank every month

Write a cheque

Buy an encyclopedia

Develop a film

Visit a travel agent

Remember phone numbers

Carry a boombox and cassette player

Make a mixed tape

Buy newspapers

 

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  11 Aug 1945, Sat,  Page 22

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  27 Aug 1945, Mon,  Page 11

 

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

 

I Was A Free Range Child

Pour Some Sugar on Me! The Demise of the Penny Candy

Antique Furniture? The End of an Era?

 

 

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Friday October the 13th– 6:30.. meet in front of the old Leland Hotel on Bridge Street (Scott Reid’s office) and enjoy a one hour Bridge Street walk with stories of murder mayhem and Believe it or Not!!. Some tales might not be appropriate for young ears. FREE!–

 

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Been Caught Stealing– Bank of Montreal

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Cowansville Main Street from Ville de Cowansville– Bank of Montreal on the right with the pillars.

Another in the series of life in the Eastern Townships as a child….

Today I had to do some Bank of Montreal research for a story I wrote about Lanark County. It is pretty easy for me to get lost in time when I do this and certain words bring back flashbacks of my past childhood even though I am really not looking for any more memories these days.

I know Cowansville’s first bank was the Eastern Townships Bank which later turned into the CIBC- but I never banked there- nor did my family. In fact, I can’t even remember what it looked like inside- but, the Bank of Montreal on Cowansville’s Main Street will haunt me for life.

It wasn’t a fancy place, but I still remember some of the graduates from Cowansville High School that worked there. I can still see their poufed hair, cardigans and smiles while I deposited my 5 cents here and there as a child. But it isn’t the memories of  fashion, money and Main Street that still haunt me. It is the manager’s office that sat on the right as you walked in the door that I remember, because I sat there once for a whole hour  sweating out of fear.

It began innocently enough- Scholastic Books had hit Cowansville High School and I had been picked by my class teacher to look after the orders. September’s order went in flawlessly and so did October and November– things couldn’t go wrong- or could they?

In December I had $19.00 of cold hard cash from my fellow students and things began to go downhill. It was the Christmas season and somehow the book money gradually got spent dollar by dollar and the order never got sent in. I consider myself a pretty honest person, and maybe I am confessing everything now because the end is near– but when I told someone the story yesterday they thought it was funny. Well, it wasn’t at the time.

Week after week went by and so did the dollars. A couple went for a hot chicken sandwich lunch at Le Patio restaurant when I was short of lunch money. A few went to the Princess Theatre to see Beach Blanket Bingo as I was an avid fan of the old teen beach movies and still am. But each and every single night I woke up in fright because I didn’t know what to do. In reality I knew the impossibility of the situation and even Magic Tom from CFCF-TV couldn’t replace those dollars for me. If I had been smart I would have immediately told my father the whole story, but I always seemed to be in the dog house with him so I remained silent.

 

 

In January my teacher asked me if I had heard from Scholastic Books and I lied and said no. She insisted that I must write a letter to the company inquiring about the late pending order, and I did. Actually, I typed out a fake reply from Scholastic saying they had received the money and the order would be shipped shortly. It was the beginning of what we would call today alternative facts. The teacher read the letter out loud to the class and I remember fellow student *Bobby Perkins looking at me telling me not to worry. You have to know what a sympathetic student Bobby was to understand how the guilt increased ten fold after his kind words.

At recess I was asked to show the letter to the principal and he insisted I must go to the Bank of Montreal after school to see if my Dad’s cheque had been cashed. I knew that my Dad had not written a cheque, and I knew that Scholastic had not sent that letter, but like an idiot I sat in the manager’s office. I remember feeling like I was slowly sinking down to the depths of hell on that leather chair. With my head down and sensing immediate doom looming the manager tried to call my father. My father was a busy man and they were not able to reach him- so once again I was off the hook.

The next day as more students in my class asked about the pending Scholastic order I thought I was going to be sick. To make matters worse my teacher asked me to stay after class. I knew what was coming–but little did I know what I had done that had given her the first clue that I had been trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.

The teacher told me she knew that I had been lying because of one specific reason. What was that I wondered? Well, it seems that I had spelled the word Scholastic wrong on the header of the letter I had typed up. The jig was finally up and I was relieved. I went home and what I should have done weeks ago I did that night. I confessed to my father and he immediately wrote a cheque to Scholastic and the book were received a week later.

That summer I typed out invoice after invoice every single day on one of those awful old typewriters at his electrical store to pay back the money I had so stupidly taken. My fellow students never found out what happened and today after I read page after page of Bank of Montreal history I knew it was time to come clean. Fifty one years later I would like to apologize to my fellow students at Cowansville High School.  May I mention the name of Bobby Perkins once again? That kid should have become a lawyer– as one gentle look from him would get anyone to confess.

The moral of this story–you can try to be perfect all you want. Just remember there is someone out there that knows and remembers the bulls%*t behind the lies. Thank you to the late Mrs. Donna Luce for being so kind– there is not a day I do not remember you.

 

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*Bob–Bobby Perkins Loved the story Linda …… I didn’t become that lawyer (PhD in Chemistry), but had 40 years teaching experience making students uneasy with my calm manner and stare.

 

 

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Donna (Parsons) Luce–1922 – 2015- teacher extraordinaire of Cowansville High School

Passed peacefully at Maison Knowlton House on October 17, 2015. Wife of the late John Luce, sister of the late Angus Parsons, June O’Hara, Betty Cunningham, and the late Graydon Parsons. Beloved mother of the late Heather Mizener (Nelson), Carol Fleming (Samuel), James Luce (Agnes), Cathy Luce (Réal). Loving grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of twelve. She leaves to mourn many friends, nieces and nephews.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

Related reading…

Angry Mobs, Wolves and Bloodsuckers –Selby Lake

Memories of UFO’s Earthquake Lights and Gale Pond

Misty Glen Mountain Snow Bunny Hop

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

Back to The Future — Twisting Your Dignity Away

Groovy Hints on How to Catch and Keep a Boy – 60’s style

The Dreams of a Sugar Plum Fairy

I Was A Free Range Child

Scrapbook Photos of Cowansville

6 Seconds of Cowansville High School – Our Miss Phelps

The Benefits of Having a Large Human Chassis for Traction

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

Groovy Hints on How to Catch and Keep a Boy – 60’s style

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Yesterday I found an old yellowed book that was hidden away, and by its dog-eared condition I had used it well. Not being the most attractive girl in school my “crushes” were legendary and they carried on for years. One of my “prey” was a local French Canadian boy whose name was Alain Jacques. I stalked him for almost two years in High School and now I look back on it and feel terrible that this poor guy was put in such an awkward position.

 

“Sew yourself a big fun bold print dress- and make a necktie to match for him.”

I designed and made most of my own clothes from the age of 12 on, and they were styles you might not even wear on Halloween. One day I remember walking into the local hangout in a baby blue floor length Granny Dress (6 months before they were popular), white go- go boots and a buck tooth smile. In my narrow little fashionista mind I was sure Alain would swoon over me immediately. But once he took a good look at me I could tell there was no way I was ever going to be asked to make him a matching tie.

“Does this boy play the guitar? Ask him to drill a small hole in one of his guitar picks and wear it around your neck.”

I honestly tried to let him know how interested I was in music by changing the location of my weekly piano lessons. I dropped my old teacher like a hot potato when I found out there was an instructor right next door to where he lived. I would sit outside after my lessons and gaze at his bedroom window for an hour or so. One day he caught a glimpse of me and quickly pulled the curtains closed. If I would have had a ladder it would have put up against his house and I would have climbed in. There was no way I would have settled for guitar picks either.

“Want to meet him? Start a petition and ask him to sign.”

 

In my own artistic way I wrote a song about him to the tune of The Beatles’ “Nowhere Man.” I believe it went like this:

“He’s a real Nowhere Man,

Sitting on his garbage can,
Making all his nowhere plans
for him and me,

Doesn’t have a point of view,
Knows not where he’s going to,
Isn’t he a lot like me?

Nowhere Man please listen,
You don’t know what you’re missing,
Nowhere Man, my world is at your command!”

Signed: Mrs. Alain Jacques

We used to literally hang out of the High School windows at lunch time staring at all the cute French guys that used stand across the street. You could not miss Alain as he was tall with a blonde Beatle haircut and always sat on a garbage can. I had hand written many copies of my love poem and gave this “masterpiece” out to a few friends. One of them immediately thought he should know of my brilliance and gave him a copy. He looked up at me after he read it and I waved frantically having no idea I was about to be mortified for the rest of my life. When I found out what happened I slithered out of the window to my desk never to be seen again- for at least 48 hours.

“Always, repeat always, leave a party, dance or anything else with the same boy who brought you. If you meet a groovy boy during the evening there is always next time.”

 

Because I was overweight, had large teeth and smelled sometimes there was no way any guy was going to ask me out. I was the girl that wrote stories that were seized by the teacher, had bad marks and talked a lot. I had no family life so I lived in a fantasy world with an imaginary beloved and I ran with those thoughts daily. Eventually I hoped that Alain would join me in my world in a small home with Sears furniture and ready made kids.

To learn if he likes you, gather two acorns. Scratch his initials on one, yours on the other. Toss them into a pond, river or lake. If they float close together-yes he loves you; if they float apart-sorry ‘bout that.

I had a friend whose mother was into some mumbo jumbo stuff and she told me if I wrote his name 500 times a day he would finally succumb to me. So for 7 days I wrote: “Mrs. Alain Jacques” over and over in my notebook instead of doing homework. Alain never did come running and my friend suggested that perhaps I should have dropped the “Mrs.” for it to work.

 

“If you follow only one rule, let it be this one. Be yourself. The really strong boy-girl relationships are based on what people really are, not on what they pretend to be.”


 

The problem was that I was a freak and I scared him off by being a stalker. If I am 64 then Alain must be 67 and I wonder if he ever thinks of me and laughs. Maybe he has lost most of his hair, is not as cool anymore and been married a couple of times. I swear I will never forget him and I can bet my last bottom dollar he has never forgotten the crazy stalker whose name was Linda Knight.

Dedicated to Roger and Alain Jacques where ever you are.