Tag Archives: words

You Talk Too Much? Linda Knight Seccaspina


You Talk Too Much? Linda Knight Seccaspina

I have been told I talk a lot, or, I believe the word is–‘chatty’. I don’t mind being labelled that as my Grandmother always told me if you didn’t ask questions, you’d never know anything. By the looks of my baby book, my family began their entries in “Babies First Words” after I was born in 1951. I know they wanted me to say “Mama” first but I dropped my old Dad’s name instead at 8 months.

I’m honest, I failed math three times in Grade 8 and got a final mark of 29 out of 200, so I am not a brainiac. I remember my poor Father’s face when he saw that report card and asked if I couldn’t have convinced them to have given me more marks for neatness. I should have asked him if saying “Bye Bye Daddy” at 17 months made up for anything.

My family was not going to accept the sound of crickets between us so allegedly the vocabulary was flying until I was 18 months. They stopped documenting after that, so obviously we all were having many fireside chats at the age of 2. Apparently word at the A & P was that there was a child in town that didn’t talk until he was 4. That was about the time Diefenbaker was running for Prime Minister. Somehow this child’s first word was “Diefenbaker’ and it was gossip fodder for months on Albert Street in Cowansville.

My Grandfather Crittenden used to visit on weekends and would always rub his hands before he ate and say “lordy, lordy, lordy”. When I was a wee gal I would sit next to him and mimic everything he did. One fine morning at breakfast, I broke the seal on my voicebox once again with new words and said “lordy, lordy, lordy” in sync with him. Funny I never saw that documented in my baby book.

Another family story was that my Father was chopping wood for my Grandmother Knight when the axe head came off the handle, and the blunt end struck him on the foot. This caused him to yell “sh*t,” which caused me to repeat it for the rest of the day. Sixty years later and that word is still my instinctive response to being startled.

When I was a child my father would bring me to many Eastern Townships rural auctions. We would sit for hours on hard wooden benches in some old barn while he bought a lot of old furniture he didn’t need. During that period of time I learned a lot of different vocabulary. My Dad met a pair of elderly twins at those auctions that had lived in the hills of the Eastern Townships for most of their lives. One of them had been nicknamed Hillside Johnny. Johnny was a recluse and seemed to talk to just a chosen few, and very few seemed to be on that list. When the folks at the auctions spoke about him and his home, it was said that his was not “a home of culture”. The more they talked about him, the more curious I became.

Johnny used to walk up and down the length of the auction barn sporting a strange shirt, soiled pants, well worn work gloves and “highwater” pinkish underwear that seemed to explode above his pants. Every 15 minutes his hat seemed to change like magic and the holes in his socks appeared larger.

As the long-haired man spoke here and there to some I overheard that his brother lived with him, but they had not spoken in 5 years. He no longer used his kitchen after they converted it into an extra bedroom and cooked on a hot plate in a disgusting over-crowded garage. There was little conversation in a home in a highly sought neighbourhood in Bromont with a view that would soon cost mega dollars in years to come.

I listened carefully as Johnny told my Dad things in so many words. He was comfortable that he had not driven a car in years, but instead rode his bike the 3.5 to 5.5 miles up and down the hills that would give a younger man a heck of a workout.

Each time my Dad saw him he handed Johnny something in a coloured shopping bag that seemed to match his underwear. What was in that bag? I never found out, and after the auction Johnny used to slowly wander silently down the road speaking to no one.

I was never neurotic about speech with my own children like my family was. I believe my oldest son’s first word was “Holstein” at 10 months, and he hasn’t stopped talking since. Skyler was a collicky baby so rides in the country were a daily event to calm him. I was always pointing out the different cows in the fields for his vocabulary benefit. As long as you talk to your children and keep them interested you can’t go wrong making animal sounds in the car which was interesting to him and the folks passing by in their cars.

Today’s baby’s first words have been said to be “tablet” or Amazon’s “Alexa” which shows how many children have switched to tech modes of entertainment similar to Ipads and the like. It just amazes me how my young Granddaughters can manoeuvre these things while I can just play slots on my iPad.

I have come to the conclusion that at 71 my conversational skills encouraged by my family will never stop. They say the less you talk the more people listen–maybe that’s why no one ever listens to me these days. I just consider myself lucky that I can walk and talk at the same time now. People who don’t know me think I am basically a quiet person. People that do know me wish I was. Or so they say!

Sending big hugs- see you next week!

Conversations with Agatha Yuill –The Buchanan Scrapbook

Conversations with Brian McArton– Henry Wilson of Carleton Place and the McArtons of Ramsay

A Conversation With Ivan Duncan — Barber — John Dunn

It’s Human Nature

It’s Human Nature

Sep. 18th, 2009 at 8:34 PM

The day was crisp and cool at the local county fair the day John died. He had a lifelong weakness for younger women, golf and Ferris wheels. He was the only one sitting in the still damp seat on the broken down ride while some of his legal vultures stood below, awaiting his final demise. It could be today. It could be tomorrow. But it would come.

John had not moved nor spoken in weeks. He was filled with remorse for a life that had been not all that it should be. His daughter joined him and gently touched the thin vein slowly pulsating in his hand. His eyes flashed open as he felt her presence and he said,

“Did you get them?”

The operator opened the door for John, who was still clutching the rest of his warm donut as he climbed out. Rain began to fall as he slowly took his last steps. His final breath came as he went to purchase another ticket for a ride he would never have. The vultures carried his body into the car and soon he would be laid to rest. It was over.

John’s daughter insisted on sitting next to his lifeless body as they journeyed to the morgue. She remembered the good times, which were few, and the painful moments in her life, which were many.

The day of his funeral, the Ferris wheel did not operate. It was cold, wet and as gloomy as John had always been. The vultures sat in the first row in the massive cathedral and the trophy wives sat behind them. Instead of prayers, whispers circulated like the wind on who was going to get the best morsels. His daughter sat alone and prayed for him. She prayed that be forgiven for all his poorly chosen roads in life.

The next day she returned to the county fair. She was read the rules about riding the Ferris wheel by a somewhat expressionless man, even though she was the only one sitting in the still damp seat. Not even the changing colour of the leaves and the promise of a rainbow could bring a smile to her face.

She remembers when she and her father were at that same county fair barely days ago. They had tried in his last few minutes to rekindle a relationship that had been splintered by pain and anger. But he was not whole– he was ravaged by cancer that would rob him of life.

She sat motionless in her seat as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, wondering if her father could see her as she rode towards the top. She asked that he return to her for one brief moment so they could say things never said, but deeply felt. No matter how angry they had become towards each other through the years, they had still had love for each other in their hearts.

The operator opened the door and she knew she had no more chances. She bought a warm doughnut, and bit into it slowly and lovingly. She smiled and threw the doughnut towards the heavens for her father to share.

He knew. He had always known. She had known. They were one and the same.

The vultures stood by the car and watched her as she walked up to the ticket booth once again.

“One, please” she said.

Once again the expressionless operator read her the rules. Once again she stalled at the top. Once again she looks up to the heavens and cried,

“I love you Dad”

Down at the bottom the aged man running the ferris wheel softly says,

“I know.”

And for one brief second when she looked at him she thought saw her father’s eyes. Sometimes we all learn things too late. The only true time you become an adult is when you finally forgive someone for being just as flawed, scarred and full of insecurites as everyone else. It’s human nature.

A Curio of Nostalgic Words

A Curio of Nostalgic Words



Photograph of the Knight family in front of the smaller dining room sideboard on South Street in Cowansville, Quebec. The late, Robin Knight Nutbrown, Frederick J Knight, Bernice Ethylene Crittenden Knight, Arthur J. Knight, Mary Louise Deller Knight, and the last one alive–me–Linda Susan Knight Seccaspina

The transparent yellowed curtains that hung in my Grandmother’s dining room never hid what mischief I was up to while she sat on the screened porch on Friday evenings. As a child I understood that the family business was open until 9, and I spent the evening hours waiting for my father in the rear of the building– which happened to be my Grandparents home on South Street in Cowansville.

I would always sit and chat with her, or watch her bake in the kitchen, but my favourite pastime was looking through the glass of her old china cupboard. There was the broken engagement ring that sat in a teacup as the ruby stone had fallen out, and a handed down figurine that my great great grandmother had received from Queen Victoria. Each piece in the cabinet had a story and my Grandmother was an amazing storyteller that made everything seem to come alive.



My curio cabinet that I hope my grandkids will love. The figurine from Queen Victoria is on the second shelf on the left in front of the green card.


Besides the china cabinet there was a very long sideboard at the end of the dining room. It held all the good dishes and silverware that were used on holidays and it seemed each set had a memory. Tucked away in the back was the black tin ‘money box’  that was brought out every Saturday night to tally up the week’s receipts.  I can still hear the click of the old adding machine along with low murmuring voices that went on for an hour with Lawrence Welk playing in the background.

While I sat on the plastic covered couch in the living room I would patiently wait to hear the closing sound of one of the compartments in the sideboard. That was a sign that Grammy would make us all a snack of saltine crackers topped with Cheese Whiz, and of course another story about anything she felt she needed to talk about.

When I was 9 my Grandparents decided to make the electrical store bigger so they cut the dining room in half and her sideboard no longer fit the new smaller room. Not one for nonsense, she did the same thing to the sideboard that she did to her Thanksgiving turkey each year. She hired someone to cut it in half so it fit the room. Even though it was now half the size it never lost one memory. For years I heard her tell visitors what happened to it and that sideboard carried on its traditions, never missing a beat.

I always assumed my Grandmother just liked reminiscing about the past, but it was really something else.  Now I can see that she was sharing her knowledge and trying to teach me life lessons along the way. When she died I not only grieved her death but I wondered what would happen without her to tell me stories about the past.

The day they tore down the old house on South Street I felt I lost my childhood, and for the first time in my life there really wasn’t any family to come home to. I ended up taking her dining room sideboard and it remained with me through a marriage, a divorce, and finally met its match in a fire in 1995.  Was this the final end to memories?

The day of the fire I realized that my Grandmother’s words would still flow through me with or without the old sideboard. She had installed this desire within me to keep history alive for future generations.

Sometimes for days or even weeks I can’t face my childhood memories, but then there are days like today that the memories run out of my eyes and roll down my  cheeks.  I understand how her words made me who I am today and that she gave me a gift that attempts to connect people and dream of a better world.

My Grandmother would be horrified that we spend less and less time in face to face communication. But, even with technological communication we can still tell a nostalgic story and now to a bigger audience. By telling a story we hope that our rendition of events is more complete than the last interpretation we heard–or so we hope. Like my fascination with my Grandmother’s china cabinet and sideboard: with nostalgic words we can dream of a brighter tomorrow, and a happier day where our inner child comes out to play once again.



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.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (US


Remembering one of the “Tom Sawyer’s” Of Cowansville Quebec

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

Ashes to Ashes and Spins of the Washing Machine

The Days of Smocking and Spanish Bar Cake

The Ghost Ship of Brown’s Hill

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – Minecraft Story of the Lake Memphremagog Monster

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

Been Caught Stealing– Bank of Montreal

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:)



Words — What Do Your Words Mean?


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One day I got an email from a beloved friend, and after I read it I agreed to write something for her:

Hi Linda,

This video came my way this morning and the message made me think of
you. YOU do this–see through the eyes of others–better than anyone
else I know.
Maybe you can put it in a blog?


It was barely eight in the morning when I began to watch the video, and by 8:05 I was in tears. Mary was right that it was right up my alley, but how could I do it justice?  Are words enough?

An author or writer is defined as “the person who originates or gives existence to anything” and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created.

Word : A sound or a combination of sounds, or its representation in writing or printing, that symbolizes and communicates a meaning and may consist of a single morpheme or of a combination of morphemes.

“The person who originates or gives existence to anything.”

I like that meaning, and it feels like literary comfort food to me. Poor grammar, bad spelling, or what have you, we always give them existence no matter what the end of the result might be. Some words are ridiculous, but sometimes they make your day. Some words are bizarre, or eclectic, and they might give you the shivers– but they all have meaning.

Some words make you laugh, and wonder what kind of person created them. What mood were they in? Who were they?Words of love can be written on rocks, paper, or even stepped upon everyday.

Some words make you very emotional, like the words “I Love Steph” were words written by my youngest son eight years before he married his wife on a rock 25 miles from my home on the road to Packenham, Ontario.  I had no idea they were there,and the words made me cry and fill with emotion when I encountered them by accident.

But what do I write for Mary?   Will my words be enough to express how I felt after watching that video?

Dear Mary,

After watching that video I wish everyone could understand that we may all look and think differently, but our hearts beat the same. Each one of us has had painful days and been comforted by family and even strangers – so why is it so hard to reach out and be kind? We all need to stop, take a moment, and be thankful for each and every second we live, and not take things for granted. How we personally respond can actually make a difference in someones life– how powerful is that? Stop assuming tomorrow will be there– as every single day is a gift.  Choose your words wisely! Remember that every single person matters.

Thank you for sending me the video,

Love you Mary!