Seniors Situation Room by Dawn Ford Games We Used to Play as Kids OCT 19, 2014


DawnFord_SSR_YouthfulOne of the great things about being a senior is that you have a lot to reminisce about.

A friend Sandra and I started remembering some of our fun as kids growing up in Cornwall.

We were at our Tai Chi lesson just before it began. She was commenting on the fact that the kids don’t seem to be outside much today or having the fun we had. We couldn’t imagine not getting out after supper to play when we were kids. We don’t know how we had time to go to school because there was so much fun stuff to do. There was a whole neighbourhood of kids waiting outside for us to play with.

My Mom would tell us to be home before dark or she would come and gets us. Who wanted that to happen? It would be so embarrassing. Worse still, though, if Mom sent an older brother to chase us younger kids home. He would be what you might call, mad. There was a 9pm curfew for all kids in the city to be in and we all knew it.

We talked about all the parades. It seemed there were parades all the time. I loved to watch the kilts swaying when the Blackwatch Band came strolling down the street, bagpipes piping. And the bass drummer held the big drum up and banged away. It was so exciting. We also had a pet parade and kids brought their animals and walked down the street in parade fashion. Some had a pet in the basket on the handlebars of their bikes. I have photos of the Cadets at CCVS marching down the street and the CCVS band were in lots of parades, even marching to a football game at SLHS. It was an exciting time to be a kid. Now, except for the Christmas Parade ( which is unfortunately at night ) ,we don’t seem to have any parades.

We were interrupted by our Tai Chi instructor because the class was starting. It didn’t stop the debate, though. Sandra would say something like ‘Hide and Go Seek.’ I’d reply, ‘Marbles’…in that old purpley-blue whiskey flask bag’… Then, ‘YoYos’ , answered by,’ Roller Skates with the key around your neck’. The list went on during the hour practice. Tag. Bat the Ball. Checkers. London Bridges Falling Down. Kick the Can. Monopoly. Darts. Hop Scotch. Pea Shooters. Water Pistols. Skipping Ropes. Double Skipping. Younger kids playing ‘Ring Around the Rosey’ and Bean Bag. The swimming pool. Mrs. Moore who taught swimming at The Pool, our one and only pool.

It was in Central Park, now Horovitz Park. Boys swam in the morning ,girls in the afternoon one week and the opposite the next. Lying on your towel in the sun on the sidewalk near the beautiful Band Stand. (where did it go?…probably where the glass stained windows from the entrance to the Cornwall General Hospital went..’.no one knows where’.) The John Pectus Chip Stand at the park near the pool where my brother Ed worked after school sometimes. Baseball at King George Park or Memorial Park.

In the winter, skating at the old rink on First street or one of the parks. Sliding down the big hill behind St. Columban’s Church with old friends such as the late Wayne Carpenter and late Bob Roffey. We’d come home frozen and have to listen to Mom say, ‘Don’t you kids have enough sense to come home when you get cold?’ No, Mom.

Jumping off the shaky old Sliver Bridge. The By Wash. Peering down over the guard railings at Sheik’s Island which overlooked the Rapids with Mom behind shouting, ‘Don’t go too close.’ The Rapid Prince sailing down the St. Lawrence right through the Rapids.

Mr. Spinella in his horse drawn carriage with a tinkling bell around the horse’s neck as he pulled the cart down the street selling ice cream cones, 5cents each. When you heard that bell, you ran and got, hopefully, a nickel People could litter in those days and if you were lucky, you might find a couple of pop bottles. At Fred Firth’s store at York and Fourth, you could trade them in for 2 cents each. Another penny and you were all set for a cone if you hadn’t already spent it on candy. The kids loved to hear that bell in the evenings.

Going on the street car with Mom and my 5 siblings to St. Lawrence Park for the afternoon. Our treat was peanut butter and banana sandwiches (Yum) and Kool Aid.

And we loved to watch George Maybee’s dad delivered the milk in a horse drawn cart . And who could forget the Banana Roll Cake at the Woolworth Counter on Pitt Street?? The list goes on and on. So did we.

We were lucky to have such a patient instructor who just ignored us as you would any 8 years olds who are fooling around in class. After the class, we got into the movies. It cost 12 cents to get into the show at one point. Then you needed another nickel for a drink and I forget how much the popcorn cost. There was the Palace, the Capital and The Roxy (now the Port). Who can forget the Oaters? We thrilled to the sound of ‘Hi Oh Silver. Away’ and the galloping hoof prints of the Lone Ranger on Silver and Tonto on Scout, his horse. Roy Rogers on Trigger with Bullet the dog and Dale Evans on Buttercup serenaded us with ‘Happy Trails to You’. The Sons of the Pioneers sang the old favourite ,’Cool Water. Gene Autrey and Hopalong Cassidy.

We decided that we better leave the musicals and other movies for another day, much to the relief of our friends waiting for us. The musicals alone would take another hour of a Tai Chi class. After all, you can’t tell all the attributes of the handsome and wonderful Howard Keel in five minutes. We still have a lot more to go through. We hadn’t even touched on all the radio shows like, ‘The Shadow Knows’ , ‘The Green Hornet’ and ‘Amos and Andy’. And what about all the wonderful music? This could take up a lot of class time. Was fun, though, walking down memory lane.

And years later, as teenagers, Spin the Bottle. Remember???

And just exactly where was that Silver Bridge??

The Alzheimer’s Society Office on Second Street has a sign that says, ‘Welcome.’ It is true. You are welcome there. I went in to see about their group support meetings and met Dayle Whitney and Joelle Perral. Both are very pleasant and helpful. I later thought how nice it was to be greeted by pleasant and welcoming staff, especially if you went in there troubled and looking for help. I picked up some brochures which are very insightful as well as offering tips on prevention. The group support meetings will be starting in the fall. You can call them at 932-4914 for more information.

I think I know now what a ‘Senior Moment’ is. When I opened my fridge the other day, my cat Tiger, big big baby, dashed in to sniff the celery. I heard myself say to him, “There isn’t any celery. I will buy some for you later.” Is that a little flakey or what, talking to a cat who doesn’t know a word of English except for the very rare and very occasional ‘no’ .And promising to get him celery to sniff when I don’t want him in the fridge sniffing anything. Yes, I think this is one for sure.

DF oct 2014The summer Newsletter from Child Haven International is in and it is so wonderful to read. Page after page of smiling little children, most of them orphans. Some have a parent who can’t or couldn’t look after them and they are cared for by Child Haven International in one of the homes. The children look happy and healthy.

According to this latest newsletter, there are 11 homes. In the home Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India there are 49 children and 8 women, in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India 192 children and 15 women, in Kaliyampoondi, Tamil Nadu, India 297 children 35 women, in the Maitreya Foundation, New Delhi, India 24 children 1 woman, in Savarsai, Maharashtra, India 48 children 4 women, in Kathmandu, Nepal, 203 children 22 women, in Tibet in China 41 children 4 women, in Chittagong, Bangladesh, 67 children 15 women, in Ghaziabad, India (informal Education) 60 women, in Tribal Home , City of Pen, near the Savarsai Home 50 children. Many other children are sponsored for education but are not living in one of the Homes .

Where would all these children and women be without Child Haven International to care for them? Go to their web site @ or e-mail: for more information. The phone number is 613-527-2829. Here is one of the adorable children:

As Fred Cappuccino, one of the co-founders would probably say, ‘This is the cutest little boy in the whole world. ‘ I agree.

Here is a cute joke:

An old guy walks into a bar, sits down and starts to cry. The bartender, concerned, asks him what is wrong?

Teary eyed, the man replies, “I married a gorgeous young woman two days ago. She is intelligent, loving, passionate, a great cook, sensitive to my needs and wants and my best friend.”

The bar tender looks at the weeping old fellow for some seconds and then says,” She sounds great What is the problem?”

The old guy sobs and says ,” I can’t remember where I live.”

Have a good week, Dawn


  1. And playing in the pile of leaves, and watching our gravel road turning into concrete while selling cold drinks to the labourers. All the lanes in the east end actually leading somewhere. The bark from Domtar on the school playgrounds and the big Leduc’s mall. Best of all, pinning the girls to the ground while playing hide and go seek.
    Endless Summers and biking to Long Sault. Thanks for sharing Doris.

  2. Thanks for sharing the good times of Cornwall Dawn. I am a woman of 63 years old from Cornwall but live in Ottawa and most of that I remember. I have a much older sister who was an RN in Cornwall and head of nurses and I know that you know her but won’t reveal who she is. Yes the Cadets at CCVS and she was one of them back then and the cadets ended the year that I started at CCVS. You brought up a lot of things that happened in my day as well. I remember the old General Hospital and I remember the stained glass windows in the front entrance and the huge concrete fishbowl. I remember taking swimming lessons at Horowitz Park and Mayor Horowitz is a relative of Jamie Gilcig and he was Cornwall’s best mayor. Dawn you can tell Jamie a great deal about Mayor Horowitz. Cornwall’s past was a great deal better than today hands down. I remember the whistle from Courthaulds that made us go in at 8 p.m. then another whistle would blow at 11 p.m. for the workers to leave their work for home. Dawn I love reading about Cornwall’s past. The horse drawn buggy that would deliver milk and bread and mom would leave a quarter in the milk bottle and we would have fresh milk in glass bottles. Dawn you are a great lady and thank you for the good memories. I mentioned that to a lady here in Ottawa who is a number of years older than me and she thought that I was kidding her and made fun of me by telling her that. Cornwall back then was like looking at a great place to raise a family. Ottawa has never experienced that kind of a life. It is hustle and bustle nowadays with a great deal of stress. Thanks for posting those great memories of Cornwall and love to read everything about those good days.

  3. Jules and Jack, thank you so much for your comments and for sharing. It is true. We were so lucky to have so much available for us to do and enjoy and now, we have great memories.

  4. Dawn you are most welcome. We sure do have good memories of Cornwall’s past but today it is a wacky place but nothing like the dangers of Ottawa especially today with the shootings on Parliament Hill and the Rideau Centre. I never liked the Rideau Centre and always has been a very bad place to shop since it is loaded with gangs. There are shooters still loose on Parliament Hill and area and stick to the news. Canada is very vulnerable to attacks and the easiest in the world to attack. I am staying put inside here my area is very bad which is the south end.

Leave a Reply