WWII Soldiers from Perth and Area

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A Tribute to Our Perth & Area Soldiers

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William Allan WWII

photo above:  Sgt. William M. Allan, D Company (4.2 mortars), 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. Landed at Normandy, June 6, 1944, D-Day. From the Scotch Line, Perth, ON. Became a Life Member, Perth-Upon-Tay Branch (244), Royal Canadian Legion.
(photo – used with permission of Lynne Allan -his daughter)

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Soldiers marching down Gore St

Soldiers marching down Gore Street in Perth

photo from the Perth Legion

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war-16V-E Day Celebrations

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Robert White WWII

photo above:  Robert ‘Bob’ White, son of William White and Helen (Hannaford) White of Perth, brother of local sports legend Rusty White.
photo used with permission – his niece, Janice (Jordan) Gordon
“Mr. and Mrs. W. G. White received word that their son Robert J. “Bob” White, recently decorated with the Distinguished Flying Medal for gallantry in action, has now been promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer in the R.C.A.F.  Overseas since January, 1942, and posted with the Bomber Command, he participated in some 25(?) raids on industrial Italy, Germany, and occupied France as navigator.  On completing his operations he became an instructor  and at present is carrying on in that capacity.  Born 25 years ago in Perth, he attended the public school and P.C.I. and was very popular with his fellow students.  Outstanding in athletics, Bob starred on Collegiate and town rugby teams for a number of years and made a name for himself as one of the great middle wings turned out at the P.C.I.  In hockey he was a hard hitting defense man, playing junior hockey for four years he was regular defense man with the Blue Wings when they reached the Memorial Cup semi finals in 1938(?).  After graduating from the junior ranks he played with the Perth Crescents and the Smiths Falls Mic Macs.  Bob was also an outstanding Junior base ball player, starring at third base and at the plate where his heavy hitting was a real feature.  Although his future operations with the R.C.A.F. are necessarily uncertain his many friends are wishing him every success and Perth is justly proud of her first decorated flyer in this Second Great War.

Flying Officer, Robert White Receives Medal From The King

“Fifteen members of the RCAF, most of whom are officers, attended a recent investiture at Buckingham Palace, to receive Distinguished Flying Medals from the King.  Among those who received this honor and talked with the King was Flying Officer Robert “Bob” White, whose citation stated that the award was made for exceptional coolness and courage in raids on many important enemy targets.  “Bob” has recently been promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer and has been overseas since January of 1942.  He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. White, 15 Basin St., Perth.”

‘Perth Courier’, April 6, 1944

“F.O. Robert White, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. White, 15 Basin Street, has been posted as missing after air operations.”

‘Perth Courier’ August 17, 1944

F.O. Robert White Now Presumed to Have Died

“Mr. and Mrs. W. J. White, 15 Basin Street, have been advised by the Dept. of Defense, Ottawa, that their son, F.O. Robert White, who was reported missing after air operations over enemy territory on March 31, has now been presumed dead.  A crew of seven manned the bomber which did not return and they are all presumed to have died.  Shortly before he was reported missing on March 31, Bob was decorated with the D.C.M. at Buckingham Palace by the King.”

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Lanark and  Renfrew Scottish Regiment “D” Company

Perth, Ontario, 1942

Perth remembered WWII

Back row, Left to rt:  Gordon Rutherford, Arnold Douglas, Pte. Dodds, Fred Buker, Sydney Sparks, Tom Oxford, Del Blackburn.
First row, Left to rt:  Hugh Douglas. Gilbert Blair, Jack Lackey, Leslie Fetlock, Pte. Aikman.
photo:  ‘Perth Remembered’

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Missing from the Perth Courier’s list, but not forgotten:

Burns, George 

(submitted by Brenda Burns)

Ferguson, Robert

Frizell,  Ernest Darou, died 1943, buried overseas.

Goodson, Renfred ‘Bob’ Arthur 

(submitted by Corinne Rivington)

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Hall, George Cecil   

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Laroque, Kenneth Joseph

Lee, Joseph Patrick

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(Perth Courier, July 26, 1945 page 1)

Wilmer and Ormond Paul, from Poland, Ontario

“Ormond’s war record shows that he landed in Sicily, and served throughout Italy, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland. Before he passed I asked him where he was when it was announced the war was over. His face lit up and he said, “I know exactly where I was. Nijmegen Holland.”

“Ormond Paul came home on the ‘Queen Elizabeth’, and was given a package with the Christmas dinner menu, a calendar for 1946, and a photo of the ship packed with soldiers.”

(notes from Roy Paul)

Left to Right:   Wilmer Paul, Ormond Paul

Ormond Paul, in Italy, 1944

Paul, Ormond M.F.   C-28750

Paul, Wilmer,  

(from Poland, Ontario, photos submitted by Roy Paul)

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Rattray, Howard John 
Rattray, Willard Arnold 
Rattray, Clarence William
Rattray, John Elmer

(from Carleton Place) –  submitted by Gloria Wilson

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Weir, William Devlin

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Wood, Alva

Wood, Eldon ‘Pete’

Wood, Elva

(from Snow Road) – submitted by Trish Fournier

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Roll of Honour – Calvin United Church, Bathurst (Tay Valley) Township

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Local War Heroes:  Kyle, McGlade, and Dicola

FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2010

Article by ‘St. John’s School’, Perth, Ontario:

St. John’s School Playground

to Be Dedicated to Local Fallen Heroes and Veterans

“The St. John Playground Committee has chosen two local fallen Canadian Forces heroes and one local Veteran to be part of the dedication of their new playground.

The fundraising efforts for the new playground at the school taking place under the auspices of the Let Them Be Kids foundation dictates that any new playgrounds built are dedicated to a Canadian Forces fallen soldier or veteran from the area. After much reading and research by a Grade 6 class at the school, St. John’s has chosen Flying Officer William Kyle, Corporal James Michael McGlade, and veteran Corporal Francis DiCola to immortalize in the dedication of their new play structures.

Flying Officer William Kyle, born and raised in Perth, flew Dakota aircraft as a member of the RCAF 453 Transport Squadron based out of Tulihal, India. His squadron was responsible for moving freight and soldiers to and from various bases throughout the South Pacific. On June 21, 1945, a mission Kyle was on failed to return. The story of the missing aircraft came to prominence more than 50 years later, when the wreckage of the missing plane was discovered in the jungles of northwestern Myanmar (Burma), and Veterans Affairs Canada sought to uncover the wreckage and bring it home. Flying Officer Kyle’s watch, found at the scene, allowed Veterans Affairs to identify the crew and the plane.

Corporal James Michael McGlade, born in Perth and a graduate of St. John Separate School and PDCI High School, served the Canadian Forces as a member of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. Corporal McGlade signed up for the military in 1940 and was deployed overseas in 1942. Stationed in Antwerp, Belgium, Corporal McGlade’s regiment was responsible for the liberation, capture and preservation of the vital harbour and dock facilities at Antwerp.  He was killed there in 1944 and is buried in Schoonselhof Cemetery in Belgium.

Corporal Francis E. DiCola, also a graduate of St. John Separate School and PDCI, enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a 17 year old in 1943. As a member of the RCAF Squadron 422 he was stationed at Pembroke Dock in Wales and worked as a radio operator. His job was to dispatch aircraft to various bases throughout Great Britain and the continent. While he was offered the opportunity to act as a guard during the Nuremberg Trials after the war, Corporal DiCola was anxious to return to Canada. He took advantage of the RCAF education packages offered to returning soldiers and took an economics degree at University of Toronto before returning to Perth to run the family business, DiCola Petroleum. Here he raised 7 children with his wife, Rose, and as a businessman and father, has contributed to countless endeavors in our community.

St. John’s is proud to dedicate their new play structures and schoolyard to these local Forces heroes. While the children are playing on the structures building their bodies and friendships, may they also be aware of these brave men who gave of themselves so that we could be free.”

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Be Sure to Visit the Perth Legion Hall of Remembrance:

The Hall of Remembrance displays include artifacts donated by local veterans and their families such as war medals, letters, photographs, souvenirs, and display cabinets featuring army and navy memorabilia. The collection focuses on Perth and area’s contributions in World War I, World War II, Korea, Cold War, peacekeeping missions, and Afghanistan.

http://www.hallofremembrance.ca/exhibits/index.html

Hall of Remembrance

Hall of Remembrance – Royal Canadian Legion Branch 244, Perth-Upon-Tay – 26 Beckwith Street East Perth, ON K7H 1B5   Tel: 613-267-4400 (Office)

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Library and Archives Canada Links for WWII Research:

https://library-archives.canada.ca/eng/collection/research-help/military-heritage/Pages/military-heritage.aspx

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Search the Canadian Fallen Heroes Database:

Canadian Fallen Heroes Database

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This tribute is

in memory of all of the soldiers from the Perth area

who fought bravely for our country,

so that we might live in peace and freedom.

Lest We Forget……

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Arlene Stafford-Wilson

Member, Association of Professional Genealogists
Honorary Life Member, Lanark County Genealogical Society
Author of : “Lanark County Christmas”, “Lanark County Comfort”, “Lanark County Collection”, “Lanark County Calling”, “Lanark County Classics”, “Lanark County Connections”, “Lanark County Calendar”, “Lanark County Chronicle”, “Lanark County Kid”, & “Recipes & Recollections”

Books available at local stores or email: lanarkcountybooks@gmail.com

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Thanksgiving at the Stafford House

Stafford girls framed

Thanksgiving

at the Stafford House

Everyone came home…..if they could. By the mid-1970s Tim and Roger were both in the O.P.P., which meant they weren’t always able to be there for family holidays. Judy and Jackie were busy with their careers, and I was at the Perth High School, trying to figure out what I’d do when the time came for me to try my luck in the world.

The setting was postcard-perfect. A big red brick farmhouse, with enormous maple trees displaying their kaleidoscope of fall colours. At the back of the house a dozen McIntosh apple trees stood, branches hanging low, loaded with ripe red fruit. By October it was warm in the daytime, and cool enough at night for local farmers to fire up their wood stoves. The rich scent of wood smoke drifted across the fields and was the perfect fall incense.

As we gathered together, the old house was filled once again with our pockets of conversation in the kitchen and living room. Dad and the boys were always talking about cars, and Mother discussed her menu with us, assigning our jobs – “fill up the pickle dish”, “pour the tomato juice into the small glasses”, “fold the napkins….diagonally across”.

In the evening after the meal there were games – sometimes cards, or maybe Monopoly. There were jokes and laughter, and unguarded conversations sprinkled with the news of the day, and our hopes for the future.

Stafford family card game cropped

left to right – Judy Stafford, Jackie Stafford, Tim Stafford, & Roger Stafford (the kitchen at Stafford House)

Mother’s homemade stuffing was a holiday favourite. (recipe below) This old family recipe was her mother’s. Granny Rutherford’s father owned a butcher shop – the Canterbury Meat Company, in Huddersfield, England, and savory ground sausage meat was the key ingredient to their traditional stuffing, along with dried bread crumbs and seasonings.

Canterbury Meat Company, 15 Market Street, Huddersfield, England, 1906

Traditional Sausage Dressing

There were lots of Thanksgiving favourites – the homemade pumpkin pie baked in Mother’s light, flaky pastry, the farm-fresh buttery mashed potatoes drizzled with velvety seasoned gravy, smooth buttered turnip, and light homemade rolls, fresh from the oven.

There would be many decades of Thanksgivings at the Stafford House on the 3rd Line of Bathurst. The setting was always the same – the sturdy welcoming red brick house, a spectacular backdrop of maple leaves in orange, red and yellow, as far as the eye could see. The sounds were always the same – the pots and pans clanging and clattering in the kitchen, Dad’s soft melodic voice sharing a joke or story with the boys, and the girls talking about the latest fashions, or a dreamy new movie star. The unforgettable scents of autumn were the same outside – the dried leaves on the ground, and the sweet McIntosh apples hanging low on the trees behind the house. Inside the scent of turkey filled the air for hours, along with the aroma of the sausage meat, and the homemade rolls baking in the oven.

Those special Thanksgivings still live in our hearts and in our minds – the times when we were all together, back in the old house, enjoying a special meal made with love for all to share, the warm smiles and the laughter, walking through the yard, under the colourful sprawling maples. We were home again.

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Stafford house modern version

Stafford House

Granny Rutherford’s

Sausage Dressing:

1 lb of sausage meat

2 eggs

1 cup hot milk

7 cups bread crumbs

1 c chopped celery

2 Tbsp chopped onions

1 Tsp salt

4 Tbsp parsley

1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning

Method: Fry meat until brown, drain off fat, add the eggs, hot milk, and the rest of the ingredients

Mother stuffed the turkey cavity, and any extra stuffing was wrapped in aluminum foil and baked in the oven.

Enjoy!

Granny Rutherford’s sausage dressing recipe from: “Recipes & Recollections: Treats and Tales from Our Mother’s Kitchen” ISBN 978-0-9877026-09, page 49.

Recipes-recollections-cover Aug 26 2020

(kids featured on the cover of the book: Tim Stafford and Judy Stafford, photo taken in 1947)

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

Member, Association of Professional Genealogists

Member, Lanark County Genealogical Society

Author of 10 books: “Lanark County Christmas”, “Lanark County Comfort”, “Lanark County Collection”, “Lanark County Calling”, “Lanark County Classics”, “Lanark County Connections”, “Lanark County Calendar”, “Lanark County Chronicle”, “Lanark County Kid”, & “Recipes & Recollections”

available at local stores or email: lanarkcountybooks@gmail.com

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Book Review, “Lanark County Christmas”

Just in time for holiday gift giving, Arlene Stafford-Wilson has released another fall reading classic, “Lanark County Christmas — Memories of a Yuletide Past.”

As in previous books that have showcased local families from Lanark County, and lists them alphabetically in an appendix for easy reference, this local author and genealogist includes many familiar names. But this time, there is a twist on her storytelling.

She offers chapters to others to tell their own personal tales of their Christmases in Lanark County. It’s a warm-cozy-hot chocolate-by-the-fire kind of book that is sure to have your own memories bubble to the surface.

More than 50 vignettes are shared by the sons and daughters of families who have settled in Perth and the surrounding area. They have brought to life their own holiday traditions.

From the 1940s to the 1980s, this classic will be one to pass down from generation to generation.

Who remembers making a Christmas wish list from the Eaton’s catalogue? Martha Craig does.

Dave Crosbie shares his memories of Christmas concerts at SS No. 1 in Lavant, or the Thurlow School.

Sleigh rides through the countryside — especially through the maple bushes of Lanark County — were popular among those who shared their Christmas memories, as was hunting for the perfect tree, shortbread and other Christmas cookie baking and, of course, watching the Perth Santa Claus Parade.

Christmases were spent with family — that is the common thread of all these heartwarming stories. Whether they came to Lanark County, or Lanark County visited from afar, the tradition of loved ones spending time together never fades.

Stafford-Wilson sets the stage with her own family memories. Her ancestors, who arrived here from Ireland in the 1800s, brought with them the tradition of Christmas cake, among other traditions.

“ … dried fruits were soaked in whiskey and rum, and more alcohol was added each day, as the fruit became increasingly plump and full,” she writes. “In preparation for ripening the cake, large square pieces of fresh clean cloth were dipped in hot water, then rubbed with flour to render them waterproof.”

Learn about the burning of the Yule log and its significance to Ireland. Wool socks were hung by the fire, and usually a toy made from wood and a ripe orange were discovered inside them on Christmas morning.

Stafford-Wilson said her father shared that it was a rare treat to get fruit when he was growing up, and an orange at Christmas was a juicy treat.

“The traditions and customs of our Irish ancestors were passed down through generations,” she writes, “from the very first settlers to present day.”

No matter how you mark the holiday season, may you find a little Christmas gift in your stocking by this author — it’s sure to pique the interest of many families in Lanark County.

“Lanark Country Christmas — Memories of a Yuletide Past” is available at the The Book Nook and Other TreasuresSpark Books and Curios, both in Perth; Mill Street Books in Almonte; or by contacting the author via her website at staffordwilson.com. You can also email lanarkcountybooks@gmail.com.

Laurie Weir : Editor of the Smiths Falls Record News and Perth Courier. Twitter @ljweir or IG @weir_on

Summer Slips Away Down the Road

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Autumn crept silently through the front fields and up to the old house, each September without warning.   It seemed as though one day it was hot and sunny and green in our yard, and the air was warm, as we ran up and down chasing the ball, and chasing each other.  Then one day, sometimes the very next day, the morning air was so cool that we had to wear jackets to school, as though Mother Nature had turned off the heat over night.

Maybe we just hadn’t noticed the small spattering of gold and orange leaves on the big maple tree closest to the Third Line.   I suppose we could recall some flocks of geese honking and flying over the house in the past couple of weeks, but we thought nothing of it at the time.

geese

After all, it was still hot outside, and our trees were wearing their summer greens.  Both the days and evenings were much quieter now, so we knew that meant that many of our songbirds had left for the season.  We could see the branches of the trees in the orchard behind the house were drooping with the weight of the apples, as they hung close to the ground.

apple trees

Arlene in the apple orchard

Arlene Stafford in the apple orchard, behind the Stafford house, 1964

The Perth Fair was over for another year, and we had already been back to class at Glen Tay School, catching up with our friends, and finding out what they’d done all summer.  Our teacher, Mrs. Conboy, had made the rounds in the classroom, and handed out the Hilroy notebooks, and packs of brand new Laurentian coloured pencils.

Glen Tay School

Glen Tay Public School, Bathurst Township (Tay Valley Township) Lanark County

Hilroy notebook    Laurentian coloured pencils

We were getting used to the long bus ride to school again, and rediscovered the fun of bouncing up and down in the back seat, and going over the ‘good’ bumps on Bowes’ side-road.   It was time once again to choose a new book or two, from the monthly Scholastic book club flyer.   Mrs. Conboy made her way around the classroom, recording the numbers for Wednesday’s hot dog order for Hot Dog Day, and if we would be ordering a half pint of milk for an extra ten cents, to wash it all down.

Dencie Conboy vignette

Mrs. Dencie (Tryon) Conboy, 1922-2013  (former teacher at Glen Tay Public School)

hot dog day  half pint

We noticed that the floral arrangements had been changed at Calvin Church, from bright, summer flowers, to an orange and brown fall display.

Cavanagh’s store                                                                       Calvin United Church

Popplewell’s had a pumpkin sitting on their front step when we drove by, on our way to Cavanagh’s store, and the cattails in the swamp, near the railroad tracks, were beginning to turn from their rich summer browns, to their autumn white.   Some of the flowers in our yard were turning drab shades of brown, and drooping, and we could hear the echoes of rifles being fired in the distance, as hunting season began.

cattails

Bit by bit, the late summer showed signs of change, one at a time, each one adding its two-cent’s worth, until one day, we looked up in surprise, and it was fall.  I never understood how it seemed to sneak right by us like that, and I often wondered if autumn arrived in the middle of the night, afraid to compete with summer’s glory at mid-day.  Maybe autumn didn’t want us to see it turning our beautiful flowers brown, or causing all of the leaves to fall off of the maple trees, or stealing our daylight hours away from us a minute or two at a time.

sunset fall

Some of my friends were glad that fall had arrived, and said that the summer was too hot, and they looked forward to the cooler weather.  They couldn’t wait for Hallowe’en, and the first snowfall, and skating, and hockey, and making snow angels.

Instead, I was sad to see the summer fade, and then vanish completely, greens turning to oranges, then browns, carefree days of playing in the sun changing to days and nights bundled up in coats and mittens, shivering at the end of the lane, waiting for the school bus to arrive, on those dark, cold, early mornings.

Seeing summer depart was like watching a jolly friend leaving through the front door, packing up the bright colours, and warm sunshine, in a big sack, and heading up the Third Line, without a backwards glance.  “Wait for me!”, I’d think to myself, as I watched it head up the road.  It would be three long seasons before it returned, and my heart would be heavy as I longed for its arrival, back to our yard once again.

wait for me

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http://www.staffordwilson.com

‘Summer Slips Away Down the Road’, an excerpt from “Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third Line”, ISBN 978-0-9877026-30, available in local book stores, and online.

LC Calendar

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Books available:

The Book Nook, 60 Gore St. E., Perth, Ontario

Spark Books & Curios, 76 Foster Street, Perth, Ontario

Mill Street Books, 52 Mill Street, Almonte, Ontario

or email: lanarkcountybooks@gmail.com

Memories of the Perth Fair

Perth Fair midway 1

It wasn’t just our Mother who loved the Perth Fair.  Yes, she spent months preparing for those brief few hours each Labour Day weekend, at the fairgrounds, along Rogers Road, but the rest of the family also felt a sense of excitement, rivalled only by Christmas morning!

Perth Fair logo on blue

The day had arrived!  The day that we would drive into Perth, park at our Aunt Pat and Uncle Peter Stafford’s house on Halton Street, walk up the road, and enter the gates.  By the time we got to the entrance, and Mother showed her Exhibitor’s Pass, we were bursting with anticipation. I knew that Mother would be heading straight for the Homecraft Building to check on her entries, but instead, I chose to slow down, look around, and take it all in.

Perth Fair poster 1966

She glanced back, waved, and then rushed down the well worn path, through the midway, and up to the buildings. I stood with my back against the side of the Lion’s Hall, and glanced around. There was so much to see that I didn’t know where to look first.  Being a kid, my eyes naturally gravitated toward the rides.

Perth Fair ride 1   tilt a whirl

They were all spinning and whirring, and the bright sun was bouncing off of all of the shiny metal.  There was a Ferris wheel, a Scrambler, a Tilt-a-Whirl, and the Bullet.  The Swings took up a lot of room, and so they were set up to the right of the buildings.  I could see four kiddy rides: a Merry-Go-Round, Baby Airplanes going round in a circle, Ladybugs, and a Little Red Caboose making its way along a tiny round track.

Once my eyes had taken in the rides, my senses turned to all of the sweet aromas of the Fair. Right across from where I was standing was the Lion’s Club ladies’ booth, and I could smell their fresh, homemade hamburgers, and the savory scent of fried sweet onions.  Straight ahead of me, just past the entrance was a vendor swirling a paper funnel around and around, in a circle, pink cotton candy swelling out from the stick, as he twirled it inside the machine.

concession 1  cottonn candy

Next to the cotton candy stand, was a man selling corn on the cob, and several people were waiting in line.  Folks were holding their cobs by a short wooden stick that had been plunged right into the big end of the cob, and there were two or three separate unwrapped pounds of butter set on the edge of the counter of the vending cart. The butter had already taken on a curved shape as people spun their cobs, and then salted them.

corn on a stick  corn dog

Next to the corn vendor was the hot dog cart. A tall, lanky man was grilling hot dogs on one side, and the finished dogs were spinning slowly around glistening on the grill. On the other side of the wagon, a younger lad was piercing hot dogs with long slender sticks, dipping them in batter, and placing them into a big deep fryer.  The cart had a low shelf with mustard, ketchup and relish and some diced onions for people to dress their hot dogs.

candy apples   caramel apples

There were two more food carts, so I strolled a bit farther down the midway toward the buildings. The first cart held a popcorn machine, even bigger than the one that I’d seen at the Soper Theatre in Smiths Falls.  It was a large, metal machine, painted red, and the popcorn was spilling out of the top into a big glass case.  The vendor was lifting it out with a bright, silver scoop, and placing it into small white paper bags that were decorated with red stripes and a clown’s face.

popcorn

The last food vendor in front of the Commerce building, was making snow cones.  There was a square, metal and glass machine and an old man in a dirty apron was pouring ice cubes into a big funnel on the top.  There were white cone-shaped paper cups stacked in a tall dispenser attached to the side of the machine and when he cranked the handle on the opposite side snow came out of an opening at the front.  There were clear plastic squeeze bottles lined up on a shelf, at the front of the machine, and each was labeled with a different flavour: cherry, orange, lemon-lime, grape and blueberry.

snow cone

I’m not sure if I was really hungry or if it was just from seeing and smelling all of the different kinds of food, and I thought that I might buy either a small bag of popcorn, or a blueberry snow cone. I dug deep into my pocket, and pulled out my money.  I had exactly twelve dollars, and my money had to last for the whole weekend, and this was just the first day.  I needed to save some, because my friends Susan and Jane Munro, Patti Jordan, and Debbie Majaury, would be coming into town later, and I’d want to go on the rides with them. Because the rides were $1.25 each I had to be careful not to spend money on food, so I stuffed the bills and change back in my pocket, and kept walking, taking in all the sights along the way.

midway 2

Photo: 1967 Old Home week,  David Bromley (clown on the left) Fred Mather (clown on the right)

I heard a man’s voice yelling at me, and it startled me so much that I jumped.  I looked toward the man timidly, and he was in a game booth, right behind a food cart, and he had a table set up with some wooden milk bottles, stacked in a pyramid.  He had a baseball in his hand, and called to me to come and knock over the milk bottles. It scared me so much that I just walked away.  I wasn’t used to strangers.  We knew everyone out on the Third Line, and lots of the folks in Perth as well.  None of the people we knew ever yelled at us like that, right out of the blue, and certainly not a stranger.  I walked quickly away, not looking back.

ring toss

The people that operated the games made me nervous.  They had a lot of tattoos, which was something we never saw in those days.  Many of them were a bit too aggressive. I’d played some of those games before, and although I won, I didn’t get the big stuffed bears and dogs that were hanging along the top and sides of their booth.

carnie

I’ll never forget the first time I played a game.  The back wall of the booth had four or five rows of balloons blown up, and they were stuck to the wall.  I thought I’d have no problem hitting one of the balloons, so when the man yelled at me to come and play, I thought it would be a sure thing.

prize every time

He said it was $1.00 for three darts so I handed him my money, and he handed me three darts.  Sure enough, the balloons weren’t that far away, and I hit and burst all three of them.

3 darts for a dollar

He reached down under the table, into a big cardboard box, and handed me a mangy looking stuffed snake.  It was about six inches long, and had an orange felt tongue, badly stitched onto its mouth, and two black felt eyes, that weren’t even lined up.

I looked up at the big stuffed bears and asked him why I hadn’t won one of those.  He said that my prize was a ‘small’ and if I wanted a ‘large’ prize I’d have to play and win, trading up to a ‘medium’ then win a certain number of ‘mediums’ and then I’d finally get one of the big bears. Holy cow!  Talk about disappointed!  What kind of scam was that?  Folks from Bathurst Township were used to other people dealing with them fairly. This game seemed like out and out trickery, and I wasn’t very impressed.  Still, I didn’t want to tell Mother that I’d just wasted my money, so I kept it to myself.  I didn’t even want to tell my friends that I’d been fooled like that.  I just felt stupid.

I walked by all of the other game booths, and watched people play.  Some folks walking around the fairgrounds were actually carrying one of the great big stuffed animals.  I wondered to myself how many of those mangy stuffed snakes they’d had to trade up in order to finally claim the big prize.

Perth Fair 1956

Photo: Perth Fair 1956 – L to R –  Wanda Mahon, Bette Duncan, Mary Douglas, Marsha Ann Nichols, Heather Murphy, Bill Redman (Bill operated the concession stands for the March Midway)

I walked past the last game in the midway, and there was a rough-looking older woman, holding a bunch of short, wooden fishing rods, with small black metal squares on the ends.  There was a round aluminum tub of water on the ground, and floating along the surface of the water were dozens of little yellow plastic ducks, and they each had ‘S’, ‘M’ or ‘L’, marked on their heads in black marker – small, medium and large I guessed.  I must have been staring too long at the tub of ducks because she called out at me to come and play.  She said everyone is a winner.  Not to be tricked again, I asked her what the prizes were, and she showed me.  She didn’t have huge stuffed animals, but it was only fifty cents to play, and you could fish in the tub until you caught a duck.

fishing game

I dug into my pocket, and pulled out two quarters, gave them to her, and she handed me a fishing rod.  By this time, after watching other folks play for a few minutes, I had figured out that the heavy black square on the end of the rod was a magnet, and that each of the yellow plastic ducks must have a magnet inside so they would stick to the line.  I looked down into the tub, and I could see that there were about forty or fifty ducks marked with an ‘S’, maybe ten marked with a ‘M’ and there were only three that I could see marked with an ‘L’.   I took my time, and positioned my rod right over one of the ‘L’ ducks and plunged it into the water.  Wouldn’t you know it, just my luck, the magnet had stuck to a duck with an ‘S’, the lady pulled it out of the tub, and handed me a prize.  It was a 45 rpm record in a paper sleeve.  I thanked her, and looked at the label.  It was the Shirelles’ song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”  Hmmm.  Well, the record was a few years old, but we had a record player at home, and some plastic adapters to play 45s, so this didn’t seem like such a bad prize after all.  Not bad for fifty cents!

The late August sun was working its way up into the sky, and I thought it must be close to noon.  I was starting to feel hot, and decided to head up to the buildings, and cool off inside.  The exhibit halls at the Perth Fair were grey metal arched buildings, with straight walls, and rounded roofs.  One of the buildings was known as the Commerce building, and it had lots of different vendors selling their products and services.  The other building was the Homemaking building, and this is where you could find exhibits of sewing and fancy work, vegetables, flowers, canned goods, maple products, and of course home baking.  It’s also where you could find our Mother!

Home Baking

As I walked closer to the building, there were two tables set up, right outside of the entrance.  One person was raffling off a quilt made by Mrs. Bert Frizzell, and the other was selling tickets for the annual draw to win a baby beef. Sure enough, as I approached the main door, I spotted Mother, standing along one of the baking counters, talking to Evelyn Bothwell, and Margaret Campbell.  Mrs. Willard Shaw and Mrs. Archie Ferguson were working at the next counter, arranging some of the craft displays.  The ladies all nodded and smiled at me, knowing that I was one of Mother’s ‘helpers’, responsible for carrying her baking in to the building each year, the evening before the judging took place.  I usually had a meringue pie on my lap, in the car, on the way into Perth, and there were countless trays of muffins, loaves, cakes, pies, cookies, bread, rolls and biscuits to carry, carefully, into the building each year.  Along with all of those tasty treats, she would also enter photography, flowers, vegetables and sewing, but it was the home baking competition where her talents shone.

maple syrup and honey display

Mother spotted me, smiled excitedly, and waved me over to the counter.  “Your Mother won the most points in the baking category again!” Mrs. Bothwell exclaimed, and the ladies pointed out all of the red ribbons and tags, behind the glass counter.  Mother beamed, and said that Mrs. Bell from Balderson had come very close to beating her, and that she’d have to stay sharp for next year!

prize ribbons     most points in baking 1965

There were also many other folks who won prizes at the Fair that year as well.  There was a gate prize each year, and the ticket number would be drawn, called out, and the winner received ten pounds of Balderson Cheese.  Now who wouldn’t want that!  They estimated that the crowd that year was around 15,000 and I’m not sure who won the gate prize, but someone went home that night with a big slab of the best cheese in the county.

mammoth cheese

One of the most popular events was the harness racing, and the winner was Eddie Norris of Perth. There was also a Tractor Rodeo – contestants had to drive tractors through an obstacle course pulling wagons and manure spreaders.  In the 14-18 yrs. division some of our local lads had a good showing.  Bill Poole came 1st, Allan Lowry was 2nd, and Brian Miller of Drummond Centre came 3rd.  In the 19 yrs. and over division Mervin Conboy of Maberly took first place, with Jack James from Middleville taking 2nd, and our neighbour from the Third Line, Wayne Conboy taking 3rd.

Donald Hossie, another neighbour, was the top winner in the seed and grain competition, and Mrs. Robert Moodie won the Sewing and Fancy work class with no less than 23 firsts! Mrs. John Auchterlonie, also from the Third Line, took top honours for her vegetables and fruits, and Mrs. Isobel Kent came first in the Flower competition.

flowers Perth Fair

giant pumpkin

Ray Poole was the winner of the best bale of first cut hay, and our neighbour, John Miller of Glen Tay, won for the best dairy cattle.  John’s sister Ruth Miller, won for the best senior calf.  Other winners from the Third Line included Paul, Dale and Jane Brady, winners for their 4H dairy cattle entries. In some of the other 4H competitions local lads Alfred Bowes and Brian Miller, John Miller, and Linda Bell of Balderson were winners.

showing calf      4H logo

Everyone enjoyed the light and heavy Horse Shows and the livestock competitions.  That was the first year that Charolais cattle were introduced into the mix, and so it was quite special to see them in the arena.

Horse and Charlolais at the Fair

showing calf # 2

showing at the Fair # 3

My good friends came to the fairgrounds that Saturday afternoon, and we had a wonderful time, riding the Scrambler, and the Tilt-a-Whirl, screaming, laughing, and then feeling dizzy on our walk back down the ramp, at the end of the ride.  We were all a little nervous about riding The Bullet, because while one of the two cars was right side-up, the opposite car was up-side-down.  We stood there quite a while watching other people riding, and screaming, and laughing, before we got up enough nerve to try it out ourselves.  I didn’t really like being upside-down, and some of my change fell out of my pocket, onto the ground below.  Luckily, one of our neighbours Linda Brady saw it fall, and she stood there and waited, until the ride was finished, and hung onto my change for me.

bullet ride

As always, the Grandstand shows at the Perth Fair were great entertainment for people of all ages!  Beautiful late summer evenings, clear skies, all the rides lit up, the scents of delicious food in the air, and wonderful live music, made those nights magical!

grandstand 2

grandstand

bandstand 3 edit

Everyone always came out to see the famous Trans Canada Hell Drivers!

Hell Drivers 1969Hell Driver clown

Hell Drivers at the Fair

Along with the Grandstand entertainment, one of the highlights of the Fair that year, was the Old Time Fiddlers competition on Sunday, and the musically-gifted Dawson Girdwood walked away with the top prize. Barb Closs from Lanark came second in the step-dancing competition, although we thought she should have come first, she was such a talented performer.  Watching the fiddling and step-dancing was a memorable finish to the Labour Day weekend.

Dawson Girdwood

Dawson Girdwood

The last night of the Fair, as always, was bittersweet.  We knew that it was almost over for another year.  I walked through the midway one more time, all the way to the Lion’s Hall.  The ladies in the Lioness Booth were packing up their big jars of mustard and relish, and some of the nearby vendors were starting to clean their food carts, and take them apart.

midway 4

Some diehard fans of the Fair were still playing games; taking a last spin at the Crown and Anchor wheel, or throwing one last pitch at Skeet ball, not wanting the fun to end.  Although it was getting late, there were still a handful of people on the rides laughing and screaming. The good-natured folks running the rides didn’t seem to mind and they gave these last few stragglers extra long rides.

As I walked back up through the midway, I took one last look behind me, as if I wanted to freeze the moment in my memory, then I reluctantly climbed into the car.  Dad started up the engine, and drove through the side entrance, onto Cockburn Street.

It was a wonderful fair!  I sat in the back seat of the car, tired from the busy weekend, as Mother chatted excitedly to Dad, already planning her exhibits for next year’s fair.

kids driving away

School would be starting soon, and the days would grow cooler, and the sun wouldn’t feel quite as strong as it did for the Fair.  In the weeks to come we’d bring our jackets down from the attic, and spend our evenings doing homework, instead of riding our bikes up and down the Third Line. As the daylight hours dwindled down we’d begin to see the onset of nature’s paintbrush, and its random strokes of yellow and orange, dotted across the maple trees in our yard. This would be our last taste of summer for a long while, and what could possibly be a more fitting way to finish off the season, than a glorious sunny weekend spent at the Perth Fair!

…………

Perth Fair 1963

…………

This story is an excerpt from:

Memories of Home Drummond North Elmsley

The story ‘A Day at the Fair’, original publication in:
“Lanark County Calendar: Four Seasons on the Third Line”   ISBN 978-0-9877026-30
some photos from: ‘Perth Remembered’, and from ‘Perth Fair’
L C Calendar book cover

To order:

https://thebooknookperth.com/product/lanark-county-calendar-arlene-stafford-wilson/

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Granny’s Afternoon Tea

Dorothy Woolsey Rutherford – (1893-1976) at the Stafford house

Afternoon Tea

on the Lawn

It must have been quite a sight for local farmers rumbling by on their tractors, heading back and forth between the Third and Fourth Line of Bathurst with full loads of summer hay. There she was, decked out in one of her fine silk dresses, with a strand of pearls and matching earrings, waiting patiently in a lawn chair for her afternoon tea.

Our Granny came for a visit from Edmonton every few years, and we all tried to make things as nice as possible for her stay. She often worried that she wouldn’t be able to sleep during her time with us, and so, one of my brothers was always tasked to visit the liquor store in Perth and purchase a bottle of her favourite cordial – Cherry Jack liqueur, which she claimed would help her drift off to sleep at night. It was not unusual at the end of her stay for Granny to leave the entire bottle untouched, as she claimed that it was so quiet and peaceful at our house, with the gentle rustling of the maple leaves and the sound of the crickets to lull her to sleep.

Apart from her request for the Cherry Jack, Granny was accustomed to having afternoon tea. Born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1893, Granny grew up in comfortable circumstances. Her family owned two successful butcher shops in Huddersfield, her maternal grandparents, the Fosters, owned butcher shops in Grantham, and her paternal grandfather was the owner of Woolsey’s Silversmiths and Jewellers, also in Grantham. Her family summered in Blackpool, England, a resort town on the northwest coast, and she and her siblings had a proper Victorian upbringing, enjoying certain daily rituals, like afternoon tea.

It’s been said that it was the seventh Duchess of Bedford, one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting who started the custom, sometime around 1840. City dwellers who benefited from the new invention of gas-powered street lights, began to stretch their dinner hour later and later into the evenings, sometimes as late as 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.

7th Duchess of Bedford, Anna Russell

The Duchess often described feeling peckish in the late afternoon, and began to request that her maid bring bread, butter, jam, cake, and tea to her room, around 4 p.m. each day, and from this habit a tradition was born. The upper classes seldom needed an excuse to have another slice of cake or another cup of tea, and so the custom spread quickly across Britain.

The ritual of afternoon tea for the wealthy came with a number of accessories. Fine porcelain cups became the standard, with matching saucers, special tea-sized plates, sterling silver tea pots with matching cream and sugar servers. Names like Royal Crown Derby, Wedgwood, and Spode, and in later years Royal Doulton, and Royal Albert were the usual suppliers of these fine china sets, often trimmed with genuine gold. Linens were also important, as were the types and blends of teas available, and the variety of condiments like potted jams and honey.

“Royal Antoinette” pattern, by Royal Crown Derby

There was also an important social aspect of afternoon tea, and the way in which women could entertain at home, and were free to exchange ideas, opinions, and share their views on topics ranging from the domestic, to the religious, and the political. Tea dresses became fashionable and didn’t contain the usual restrictive boning, but were more free-flowing and comfortable, often made of lighter fabrics.

Tea Sandwiches

One of Granny’s favourites at tea-time were dainty cucumber sandwiches, cut on the diagonal, with the crusts removed. Long, thin English cucumbers are peeled and sliced paper-thin. Soft, thin slices of white bread are spread lightly with plain cream cheese and a layer of thin cucumber slices are lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Tiny sprigs of dill or mint leaves may be used as a garnish.

Traditional cucumber tea-sandwiches

Tea sandwiches at the Stafford house were often served on a Lazy Susan, a three-tiered serving tray, sometimes made of silver, or fine china. Mother made several different types of tea sandwiches – Pinwheel, Ribbon – with several alternating layers, Checkerboard – with two different colours of bread, and Open-Faced – a circle of bread (she used a water glass to cut the slice) topped with a filling and a garnish. Fillings were finely chopped egg salad, ham salad, salmon salad, cream cheese with maraschino cherries. Garnishes were tiny springs of parsley, and sometimes radish roses, and carrot-curls were placed on the plate as decoration.

Pastries and Sweets

Granny’s favourites were the small Jam Pastries. Whenever Mother baked pies, (which was often) she saved the scraps of pastry, rolled them flat, cut them in circles or other shapes, placed a dollop of homemade jam in the center, folded it over, then sealed the edges with a fork tine. Mother also made bite-sized jam tarts, and dainty Cherry Balls, for a sweets-tray that was pleasing to the eye as well as the stomach. (recipe below)

Mother’s Cherry Balls

1/2 c softened butter

1 1/2 c icing sugar

1 1/2 c desiccated coconut

1 Tbsp milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

a pinch of salt

graham wafer crumbs

maraschino cherries

Method: Mix well and shape around a drained cherry, then roll into graham crumbs

For variety, may be dipped in melted chocolate.

Chill on a cookie sheet, and serve. May be frozen.

The Tea

While Mother preferred Orange Pekoe tea, and drank Red Rose brand daily, our Granny drank English Breakfast Tea – a full-bodied black tea, and Earl Grey Tea – with the essence of bergamot. At one time the Red Rose company included a small ceramic figurine in each box of their tea, and perhaps that was part of their popularity with Mother. I remember seeing dozens of the little figurines here and there, around our house, in shapes of small animals and nursery rhyme characters.

(Tea Bags were invented in the United States in 1908, but they did not become popular in England until the 1950s.)

Tea bags, or loose tea in an Infuser

Brewing Tea

Fresh Water

It’s important to use fresh water when making tea. We were fortunate at home to have well water, but if you don’t then bottled spring water will do. If there is an ‘off’ taste or chlorine in the water then it will affect the flavour of the cup of tea.

Choose Your Pot

Traditional tea was made in a silver pot, and metal will keep the water hot longer, but a china pot will retain the flavour better.

The First Cup is For the Pot.”

After the water reaches a rolling boil, the first cup of water should be poured into the pot and swirled around and then poured out. Our Dad always said, “The first cup is for the pot.” This helps to maintain the temperature.

The remaining boiling water is poured into the pot over the loose leaves, or the tea infuser, or the bag (bags), and allowed to brew for three to five minutes

Loose brewed tea is poured into the cup, through a tea strainer placed over the top of the cup. Infusers or tea bags should be removed once the tea has reached the desired strength.

Silver tea strainer – 1930s

Tea Cozy

A tea cozy may be placed over the pot to keep the tea warm. Mother made crocheted tea cozies to give as gifts, and would often inquire about the recipient’s china pattern, then she would match the cozy to the main china colour.

Milk or Sugar?

Some drink their tea black, or with a dollop of honey, or a squeeze of lemon.

Our Granny preferred to take her tea with a splash of milk. The milk was always poured in the cup before the tea, so that the delicate bone china cup would not crack or shatter.

The British began adding sugar to their tea between the 17th and the early 18th century. At this time, sugar was being used to enhance the flavour of other foods among the upper classes and was thought of as an ostentatious luxury. At that time both tea and sugar had status implications, so it made sense to drink them together.

Tea TimesWhat to Expect:

A ‘Cream’ Tea — This is a simple tea with biscuits, scones, clotted cream, marmalade sometimes lemon curd and tea.

A ‘Low Tea/Afternoon Tea‘ — This is a light afternoon meal with small crustless ‘finger’ sandwiches, 2-3 sweets and tea. This is the one our Granny enjoyed on the lawns of the Stafford house. It’s known as “low tea” because guests are seated in low chairs with side-tables on which to place their cups and saucers.

High Tea – A ‘High’ tea consists of meat and potatoes as well as other foods and tea. Families with servants often took high tea on Sundays in order to allow the maids and butlers time to go to church and not worry about cooking an evening meal for the family.

Dreaming of England

As a child, I sometimes wondered if Granny missed her life in England, her childhood in Gainsborough, and her youth in Huddersfield. Did she dream of the elaborate silver tea settings crafted in her grandfather’s shop, and did she miss the elegant table settings, dainty afternoon delicacies, and the impeccable service by their family’s domestics?

Dorothy Woolsey Rutherford

I like to think that Granny enjoyed the times spent at the Stafford house, sitting under the tall sprawling maple trees on warm summer days, enjoying her afternoon tea in our yard.

The Stafford House, Tay Valley Township, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada

Whenever Granny stayed with us Mother made delicious tea sandwiches that were as pleasing to the eye as they were to our taste buds. Her sandwich fillings were seasoned to perfection, and the small sweets and pastries were just the right finish to an afternoon tea.

Arlene Stafford-Wilson, Dorothy Woolsey Rutherford, and Audry Rutherford Stafford – 1965 at the Stafford house

Enjoy Your Own

Afternoon Tea

This lovely daily ritual needn’t be expensive, and takes very little time to prepare. Simple fillings of egg, ham, or salmon salad can be prepared ahead of time, and a few small pastries or chocolate coated biscuits will do nicely. The tea of your choice may be one you’ve enjoyed for years, or you might like to experiment and try some new varieties. Perhaps you already have some lovely fine china that’s been passed down in the family to use for your tea service. Many swear that tea tastes better served in a fine bone china tea-cup.

In a busy world, where sometimes the news is less than cheerful, taking a few minutes for ourselves with a small daily ritual might be just the thing to brighten our spirits.

If weather permits, take your afternoon tea outside, and invite a friend or neighbour. Breathe in the fresh air, marvel at the beauty of the colourful flowers in your garden, or the clear blue skies overhead. A colourful bouquet at the table adds a nice touch.

For a meager amount of expense and preparation, the simple pleasures and contentment of enjoying afternoon tea is truly priceless. Make some lasting memories with your children and grandchildren, just as I did, so many years ago, on our front lawn, sharing afternoon tea with Granny.

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Norvic Lodge, Christie Lake

Norvic Lodge

Victor Lemieux and his wife Noreen (McGlade) Lemieux were owners and operators of Norivc Lodge.  Like the other properties set along the shores of Christie Lake, they had a beautiful shoreline, framing their homey, rustic lodge.

Victor, son of Jeremie Lemieux, and Margaret Hannah James, was born and raised in the tiny village of Fournier, in the township of Prescott-Russell.  The village is situated near the communities of Vankleek Hill, St. Isidore, and Plantagenet, a largely French-Canadian settlement. Victor’s father was a Lumberman, and his mother cared for the large family.

Victor’s wife, Noreen, grew up in the town of Perth, Ontario, the daughter of Arthur McGlade. The McGlade family were early settlers from Perth, originally from County Armagh, Ireland.  Catherine McCarthy McGlade, Noreen’s mother, was also from an Irish pioneer family, from County Cork.   Noreen’s parents were married in Toledo, Ontario, October 16, 1899.

Norvic Lodge Boathouse, 1956

Noreen ‘Neen’ ‘Neena’ McGlade Lemiuex, Co-Owner, Norvic Lodge

Dining Room

at Norvic Lodge

Dining Room, Norvic Lodge, overlooking Christie Lake – c 1960

Working at

Norvic Lodge

Memories of working at Norvic Lodge in 1960, as told by Judy (Stafford) Ryan:

“The Lodge was ‘Norvic” named after the owners – Noreen and Vic.  She was called Neena, ‘Neen’, and they had a daughter Judy,  – about my age at the time.  The Lodge was on Christie Lake.

 I was the only one in our family who had the job there, but because I also had a two week job at the Optometrist in Perth, while his secretary was on vacation, at the beginning of the Summer (Dad got it for me), my sister Jackie (Stafford) Wharton, went up to the Lodge, and held my job for me for that two week period.  I think Dad was also the one who got me the job at the Lodge.  Mother did not want me to go as she figured I would get ‘into trouble’.

We were paid $10.00 a week which was given to us at the end of the Summer.  We made great tips from the Americans, who stayed in the cabins – I could make up to $100.00 a week, depending on whether or not the cabins were full that week.

Our cabin was at the top of a hill away from the vacationers.  Our day started at 7:00 a.m.  We had to be down the hill to the Lodge in uniform, to set up the dining room for breakfast, take breakfast orders, serve it, clear tables and help wash dishes, etc.  We then went back up the hill, changed into shorts and t-shirts and cleaned all the cabins – made beds, dusted, vacuumed, cleaned bathrooms, changed towels, etc.  Then, back up the hill, back into uniform, to do the lunch thing. 

We were supposed to have a couple of hours off each afternoon, to do what we wanted.  However, part way through the summer, the lady who did the laundry left, and that was added to our jobs, without extra pay.  So after lunch, we would have to do the laundry – sheets, towels, etc. and hang them out on a line to dry.  Once a week, we would have to strip the beds, but changed the towels often. 

On days when we didn’t have to do the laundry, I would take the canoe, and a good book, and head for a small uninhabited island, and read for a couple of hours.  I knew that no-one could get to me there. 

Between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. we were back down the hill, in our uniforms, to set up for dinner, etc., etc. 

After everything was done, and cleaned up for the evening, we had time to ourselves, if we had any energy left.  I worked with a girl by the name of Claudette, and she was a real party girl, and as there was a party at some cottage every night, we went out most nights, along with the guy who worked at the Lodge store and gas bar, and he was allowed to use one of the motor boats, and that is how we got to the other cottages.

Just before I arrived to work at the Lodge that Summer there had been a bad boating accident, and I think one or two people had died.  The only way I found out about it was I saw a mangled boat with blood on it, stored in behind the lodge, when I was out walking one day, and asked the guy at the gas bar what happened.

That Summer was the first time I saw death!  There was a delightful family from Pennsylvania. there – three generations – Grandfather, parents, and two younger children.  I was serving breakfast this one morning, and the Grandfather, who was always so friendly and animated, told me about the different birds he had heard singing that morning, and during the conversation, he keeled over at the table.  I ran into the kitchen and got Vic (Lemieux) – told him the old man ‘fainted’.  Vic got the son to help him carry the Grandfather into the Lounge, behind the dining room, and they put him on the couch.  I remember going ahead and serving the other guests, and noticed people coming and going to the Lounge.   Nina told me later that the old guy had died, probably instantly, and I was really shocked and upset.  That is one of those memories that is permanently etched in your memory, especially when you are only 15.”

Norvic Lodge ad – 1971

Ad – 1962

Waterskiing

at Norvic Lodge

Waterskiing Show 1963

Christie Lake Surfers

What became of Norvic Lodge?

Norvic Lodge closed many years ago, and so we are left with our memories of this special place – the home-cooked meals, Vic, Neena, the peaceful lake, the great fishing, and the excitement of the water-skiing shows will stay with us always.

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

http://www.staffordwilson.com

My Mother, she was Orange…..and my Father, he was Green

“You picked a hell of a day to get married!”

Those were the first words spoken to our mother, the day she met her new father-in-law, Vince Stafford.  He was referring to the fact that they were married on the twelfth of July. He made it quite clear that he was not pleased that his son had chosen to welcome a Protestant into their Roman Catholic family, on July 12th of all days!

Some called it Orangeman’s Day, and some referred to it as the ‘Glorious Twelfth’.  On July 12th each year, Protestant organizations celebrated the victory of Protestant King William of Orange, riding a white horse, who defeated Catholic King James, at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690.

William white horse

The Orange and the Green

When I was a kid, the Irish Rovers recorded a song called “The Orange and the Green”, about a child growing up with one Roman Catholic parent, and one Protestant parent.  We saw them perform the song many times over on a popular television show called ‘The Pig and Whistle’, and the irony of the song was not lost on us.

Irish Rovers “The Orange and Green”

Our father, a Roman Catholic, from Drummond Township, grew up attending St. Patrick’s church in Ferguson Falls, while our mother attended Calvin United in Bathurst (Tay Valley) Township.

St Patricks and Calvin

Although the feelings of bias and animosity between these two religions may seem foreign to us in these more inclusive times, they were still very much in the forefront, during the 1940s, when my parents married. Mother said she never felt accepted by Dad’s family, particularly his parents; and that never changed even up to the late 1950s and early 1960s when the in-laws passed away.

This religious prejudice ran on both sides of the fence. I recall our cousin, Ruth Rutherford, in Ogdensburg, New York, was forbidden to marry her sweetheart, a Catholic lad, and she never got over it.  She remained single for the rest of her life, unable to marry her true love.

It may be difficult for us to imagine, but there were times in our early history in Canada where it was not uncommon for the July 12th celebrations to result in violence or even death.

Montreal Orangemen riots

‘The St. Alban’s Advertiser’, July 20, 1877, p.3

In the early years of the last century, the Orangemen’s Day parades in Canada drew crowds in the thousands, and it was not unusual for fights to break out, and insults along with injuries were to be expected.

Orange Day parade Toronto 1911

Orange Parade, Toronto, July 12, 1911

Although Orangeism originated in Ireland and England, Ogle Robert Gowan, the Order’s first Canadian Grand Master is recognized as the founder of Canadian Orangeism.  It is interesting that Gowan is known to have been a frequent visitor to a local fortune teller, Mother Barnes, the Witch of Plum Hollow. Not wishing to be seen consulting a sooth-sayer, he often sent his wife and their maid to ask questions about his politics and his career.

Orange Lodges, as the membership halls were called, sprang up all over Canada, and in Eastern Ontario, they were a common sight in almost every community.  The closest Orange Hall to our house was at Wemyss, frequently used as a dance hall, and a place to play cards and socialize.

Wemyss orange hall

  “The Perth Courier” Sept. 27, 1940, p.4

Carleton Place was one of the first communities to establish a Loyal Orange Lodge, along with Perth, Smiths Falls, and Montague Township.

Carleton Place Orange Lodge

In the early days, thousands attended Orange events:

Orange celebrations Perth 1904

“The Perth Courier”, July 8, 1904, p4

Through the decades, many community organizations also held their meetings and socials at the local Orange halls.

Drummond Centre

“The Perth Courier”, Oct. 23, 1941,p.1

Carleton Place had one of its largest crowds of visitors on July 12, 1920:

Orangeman's Day 2910

In 1921, the Orange Order agreed on several resolutions, including one intended to abolish all separate schools in Canada.

Orange resolution passed

The popularity of the Orange Order celebrations continued through the 1930s…

orangemens day 1934

“The Perth Courier”, July 13, 1934, p.1

orange order flag

Flag of Canada’s Grand Orange Order

An Orange parade was often led by one of the members on a white horse, symbolizing the white horse ridden by King William of Orange, at the Battle of the Boyne.

orange order white horse

Some of the symbols worn by members of the Orange Order

orange parade symbols

Orange Order – ‘Keys to Heaven

orange order keys

To assist in the war efforts, every Orange Lodge in Canada was turned into a recruiting office in WWII

orange lodge war efforts 1940

“The Perth Courier”, July 19, 1940, p.1

Lanark County Oranges Lodges, Active in 1946

orange lodges lanark county 1946

Lanark County – Orange Order Officers 1946

orange lodge lanark county officers 1946

“The Perth Courier”, July 18, 1946, p.1

In 1957, the Orange Day celebrations were held in Almonte, and Rev. Canon J.W.R. Meaken, shared some comments as part of his address to begin the meeting:

orange order address 1957

“The Perth Courier” July 25, 1957, p.7

Interest in joining the Orange Order began to dwindle in the 1960s and 1970s, and instead of thousands attending the annual parade, it became ‘hundreds’.

orange parade 1971

“The Perth Courier” July 8, 1971, p.1

Memberships grew smaller and smaller in many parts of the country, and in Lanark County, one of the oldest Orange Lodges, in Carleton Place, closed after 185 years, in January of 2015. The existing membership would merge with the Montague lodge # 512.  (The Grand Lodge of Ireland issued the original warrant for the Carleton Place Lodge back in 1830.)

orange lodge Carleton Place closing

Left, John Arksey, County Master for Rideau/St. Lawrence County Orange Lodges,center, Kevin Bradley, Grand Master of the Carleton Place Lodge, and Mark Alexander, provincial grand master, Ontario East, of the Grand Orange Lodge of Eastern Ontario.
“Inside Ottawa Valley” Dec 02, 2015, by Desmond Devoy, ‘Carleton Place Almonte Canadian Gazette’

At one time, there were 30 Lodges throughout Lanark County. After the closing of the Carleton Place Lodge in 2015, only the Montague Lodge and the Smiths Falls Lodge (No. 88), remained. The Almonte Lodge (No. 378) amalgamated with Carleton Place in 1987, Franktown in Beckwith Township (No. 381) in 1992, and Drummond Centre in Drummond/North Elmsley Township (No. 7) in 2013.

…………

Throughout the many decades of the celebration of Orangemen, their sometimes vocal, and occasionally violent encounters with the Catholics, our family will continue to celebrate July 12th for a different reason. July 12th, for us, was the joining of the two religions, historically separated on this date, a young Protestant girl from the west, and a handsome Roman Catholic lad from Drummond Township.

mother-and-dad-dating-in-lethbridge1

Maybe they were ahead of their time.  It was 1943 afterall, and marrying outside of one’s religion was often frowned upon.  Luckily for us, the five children that followed in this unconventional marriage, would grow up in a home where we learned to respect different opinions, different points of view, and different religions.

Christmas baking

And so, the Protestant girl, and the Catholic boy were married for almost 50 years, until Dad passed away.

I still smile when I hear that Irish Rover’s tune, “The Orange and the Green”,  and July 12th, for us, will always be a special day in our own family history.

………….

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Spring Came Up the Third Line

maple girl

One of my friends from DeWitt’s Corners said that they’d seen a robin in their back yard, but I hadn’t seen one yet. The only sign of spring that I’d noticed was the steady drip of water, coming off of the old roof, in the late afternoons, when I returned home from Glen Tay School. That meant that the temperature was rising above freezing during the day, so the sap must be running again.

Sure enough, that same day, I saw Dad heading down the lane, toward the Third Line, and he had his carpenter’s auger in his hands. That old thing looked battered and ancient, but it sure did the trick when he needed to tap some trees. We didn’t have a big maple bush like Korry’s, across the road, but Dad always tapped a few trees along the laneway, so that we’d have enough syrup for the family.

carpenter's auger   spile

If anyone had bothered to stroll past the trees that we’d tapped, they likely would have laughed themselves silly. It wasn’t exactly a professional operation. None of the buckets matched. We had a grey metal pail, that hung on one of the spiles by a rusty wire. We also had a white plastic bucket, that Mother had made, by cutting up an empty corn syrup jug.  Another bucket was made from an empty Billy Bee honey container. We even used one of my old sand pails, that I’d played with on the beach, when we went to Silver Lake in the summer. Any available container was ‘fair game’. It was only for a few weeks after all, and they couldn’t afford to be spending money on something that was used for such a short period of time each year.

Looking back, it didn’t really matter what kind of buckets you used, as long as you had something to collect the sap. I used to stand at the side of the tree, and watch as the clear, sweet liquid dripped ever so slowly, drip, drip, and splashed into the bucket below. I’d lift the bucket off of the metal hook, and dump the sap into Mother’s biggest mixing bowl, hook the bucket back on the tree, and carry the bowl gingerly up the lane way, and into the kitchen. Mother would be ready with a piece of clean cheesecloth, stretched over the big aluminum pot on the stove, and she’d take the bowl of sap, and dump it into the pot. The cheesecloth would catch all of the little specks of dirt, or bits of wood, that had come from the tree, so that the sap in the pot was nice and clean.

I guess if I’d been a little older, and a lot smarter, I would have asked Dad for one of the big pails from the garage, to transport all of the sap, in one trip, into the kitchen. Instead, I emptied one bucket at a time, into the big mixing bowl, and trekked all the way back and forth, up to the kitchen. Up the lane, and down the lane, I went over and over again, until I was finished; usually just before supper time. One night I forgot to empty the buckets, and the next night the sap was overflowing, running down the side of the tree, onto the snow. No one said anything about it, but I felt bad because I hadn’t done my job, and worse still we’d have less syrup because of it.

The air in the old kitchen smelled sweet for those few weeks each year, as the sap boiled away on top of the stove. Usually by the third or fourth day we’d have enough for a little bowl of syrup for dessert. The first syrup of the year was always the lightest in colour and in flavour, perfect for eating straight out of the bowl. Dad liked to pour a little cream into his syrup, and give it a stir. He’d take a piece of day-old homemade bread and dip it into his creamy syrup mixture, until he was down to the last sweet drops, and then he’d do one last sweep of the bowl with his bread.

maple syrup jug
The other kids in the family poured their syrup over vanilla ice cream, but I liked mine straight-up, with nothing getting in between me and that sweet, perfect, maple flavour. I’d take a melamine bowl and teaspoon out of the old sideboard, pour myself a little, and enjoy it just like that.

As the weeks passed by, the syrup became darker in colour, and the flavour grew richer, and more intense. It was like magic watching the syrup change from a light honey colour to the rich, dark, amber toward the end of the run. The sap dripped slower and slower from the trees, as the days grew longer and warmer. When I waited for the big orange school bus to chug up the Third Line, it wasn’t as dark outside, nor as cold, in the early mornings,

The sun was shining a little brighter each week, and our driveway became a soggy obstacle course, as we stepped around the growing puddles of water. The snow banks finally shrunk, and shriveled away. Soon after, we’d take the buckets down, and put them away in the back porch for another year. Dad removed the spiles from the maple trees, wrapped them in a soft cloth, and placed them in the top drawer of his tool chest in the garage.

By then, the maple trees were beginning to bud, and a few of the familiar spring birds were returning to Mother’s bird feeder, in the back orchard. Almost all of the snow had shrunk down to a few dirty white mounds, spaced here and there in the yard, and the ground was spongy, cold and brown. The sun grew a little brighter each day, and stayed up in the sky later and later, after supper each night.

robin in snow

The warm weather wasn’t here yet, not even close; but all the signs were there that it was just around the corner. Each year when we tapped those maple trees, I knew that spring was not far away. It was only a matter of time now that she’d be coming up the Third Line, with all of her delicate shades of green. She’d be bringing her warm sun, and her gentle breezes. She’d slip into our yard quietly one morning, and tell all of the flowers to wake up, and show their colours. She’d whisper to the squirrels and the chipmunks, and invite them to come back and play in our yard.

black squirrel

I often wondered if spring could see us tapping our trees, and if that was her signal to make her way back into Lanark County, and into our yard. Maybe there was something magical about the syrup, and once we’d had our first taste, Old Man Winter knew that it was time for him to pack up his snow, and his cold winds, and head up north. Either way, we always knew that as soon as the sap began to run we’d be seeing spring in all of her glory in no time at all!

spring buds

arlene-stafford-wilson-in-front-of-the-book-nook-sept-11-2021

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Chaplin’s Dairy – Christmas Eve

Dad was always late getting home on Christmas Eve. It had nothing to do with the weather, which was often unpredictable that time of year, with snowstorms or freezing rain. It was because he delivered milk for a living, and December 24th was the last time he’d see his customers on his milk route before Christmas Day. Chaplin’s Dairy was closed December 25th.

For a man who wasn’t particularly outgoing, more of the strong silent type, he still managed to make a lot of friends, and was well-liked by his customers, and that was a big part of the reason he was late on Christmas Eve. In fact, he wasn’t just late toward the end of his route, he was late all day; losing a few minutes here, and a few minutes there, spending extra time with each customer, until, by the end of his route, he was running very late indeed.

It wasn’t something to complain about. Dad’s customers made a point of greeting him at the door on December 24th; the same people who would often leave a hastily scribbled note explaining how much milk they wanted, and sometimes the money they owed was left with the note, on their front steps, or between the doors, or stuck in an empty milk bottle. Christmas Eve was different. Dad’s customers not only came to the door when he knocked, but they presented him with boxes of peppermint patties, and chocolate covered maraschino cherries, packs of cigarettes, Christmas cards with one or two dollar bills inside. They made a point of shaking his hand, wished him a Merry Christmas, and thanked him for bringing their milk all year.

Long after nightfall, when he finally finished delivering to his last customer in Perth, he drove the big rattling pink and white Chaplin’s Dairy truck back to Glen Tay, then unloaded all of the empty milk bottles, brought them into the dairy, got in his car, and drove home.

He was always late for supper, and some years we waited….and waited…., but more often, Mother would just give up after an hour or so, and put his dinner in the oven to keep it warm. We were all busy, running around getting ready to go to Calvin Church for candlelight services, so Dad would often have to fend for himself when he finally arrived.

If I close my eyes, I can still see him, heading across the snowy yard, laden down with bags and boxes filled with chocolates, gifts, and cards from his customers. He’d stop just before he reached the house, set everything down, and plug in the Christmas lights that were wound around the snowy spruce tree beside the house.

He never forgot the kindness and generosity of the customers on his route, and when he’d open a box of chocolates he’d remark, “these are from the Murphy family”, or “the peppermint patties are from my customer, Mrs. Ferguson, on Sherbrooke Street. He displayed all of their Christmas cards proudly – some on top of the old black and white television, and some on the shelves of the china cabinet, and he placed the one and two dollar bills in an envelope and handed them to Mother, who saved them to use toward something practical.

As the days grow shorter and colder, and the long shadows stretch across the sky earlier each afternoon, I remember those Christmas Eves, waiting for Dad to come home. At the time it seemed like a bother, squirming in our chairs, growing impatient for our supper, and wanting the evening to be over quickly so the morning would come, and we could open our gifts, and see what Santa had left in our stockings.

It’s only now, many years later, that I realize what a special day December 24th must have been for Dad, to be greeted so kindly, to be showered with gifts, to listen to the expressions of heartfelt gratitude, the sincere appreciation, along with the warm handshakes and genuine best wishes for a happy Christmas. The fact that his customers took the time and expense to gift him with boxes of chocolates, cards and the one or two dollar bills meant the world to him. Dad told us that some of his customers were of modest means, and could scarcely afford the milk he delivered each day, let alone a gift for their milkman.

Looking back it was things like this that made Christmas special – meals made with love for all to share, the homemade ornaments gracing the tree, carols sung by candlelight at Calvin Church, the scent of the fresh spruce in the living room, and seeing our Dad beaming with pride as he passed around box after box of delicious chocolates, a gift of gratitude, for a job well done, and with warmest good wishes for a Merry Christmas.

For more about Chaplin’s Dairy

Chaplin’s Dairy in Glen Tay:

Chaplin’s Dairy in Glen Tay

also

A story about Chaplin’s Dairy, in “Lanark County Kid”:

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

Member, Association of Professional Genealogists

Honorary Life Member, Lanark County Genealogical Society

Author of : “Lanark County Christmas”, “Lanark County Comfort”, “Lanark County Collection”, “Lanark County Calling”, “Lanark County Classics”, “Lanark County Connections”, “Lanark County Calendar”, “Lanark County Chronicle”, “Lanark County Kid”, & “Recipes & Recollections”

available at local stores or email: lanarkcountybooks@gmail.com

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

http://www.staffordwilson.com