Seniors Situation Room by Dawn Ford – Playing Cowboys & Indians in Cornwall MARCH 5, 2017



CORNWALL ONTARIO – My friend Frances Glass-Irwin and I often reminisce about growing up in Cornwall, which was a few years ago, of course.

She said that she remembered when she was about 10 or 12 years old walking all the way down to near St. Lawrence Park (where the St. Lawrence College is today). There were three boys in her neighbourhood whom she played with often, probably doing boyish things she said.

They would play along the river banks, gathering tadpoles in glass jars. Often they took off their socks and shoes and waded in the water. They would cross over the little bridge on the locks over the canal at Augustus Street, go over to the river where the boat houses were and play there. She said that her parents probably never knew about it. She remembers they had Roy Rogers’s holsters with cap guns and they all played cowboys and Indians. They used to also make bows and arrows by cutting branches out of the trees in the orchard in the middle of the street block where she lived. Fran said her grandchildren love to hear the stories of the naughty things she did as a child. Now she laughs about it and says it was a good thing she went to Brownies and Girl Guides and learned to behave.

Ditto for most of us I bet. I guess we all did little naughty stuff as kids and didn’t tell our Moms. We used to go on our bikes to Lover’s Lane to see if we could catch any couples smooching there. We didn’t ever see anyone but we tried. My Mom didn’t know that either.

Fran also reminded me that we used to go with our Girl Guide group to visit the people in the nursing home at Mulberry and Water Streets on Christmas Day bringing them little gifts and singing carols for them. I remembered going there but not where the nursing home was. Fran has a really good memory.

Where the RCAF Wing is today on Water Street was once a family home. I think the Lalondes lived there but don’t quote me. I couldn’t find anyone who remembers. We were told not to go down to the river on that property because there were blood suckers in the water. Probably not true but it worked and sure kept us away.

When I was maybe about 14 or so I was working to earn my swimming and lifeguard badges. One thing we had to do was swim in our clothes for the lifeguard badge. I remember as clearly as if it was today swimming with my clothes on in the canal near York and Water Streets passing the old ‘Mac’ (now Marie- De-La-Ferre) practicing, fully clad. I broke the first rule of swimming also which is to never swim alone. What I can’t remember is how I got out of the canal. I could jump in but getting out??? Maybe there were steps near the bridge at Augustus Street over the canal. And what if a boat had come?? I don’t think I even thought about that at the time. My Mom never knew about that. There are some things you couldn’t tell your Mom or if I had, I am sure I would never have swum in the canal again…ever.

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Child Haven International will be having a Fundraising Dinner. It will be held at the Ramada Inn, 805 Brookdale Ave, Cornwall on Friday March 31 at 6pm. There will be a silent auction and bazaar. Entertainment will be provided by Dave Barkley of the Limelight Music Academy. Ticket price is $60.00. Go to: to buy tickets on line or call the Child Haven office in Maxville 613-527-2829 or Elaine MacDonald at 613-938-7763 in Cornwall.

The dinner will be hosted by Bonnie and Fred Cappuccino and Dr. Nat Shah, co-founders of CHI. They founded CHI in 1985 to help orphaned and destitute children and women in need of food, clothing, healthcare, education, moral and emotional support. There are ten projects in four countries: Tibet, Nepal, India and Bangladesh.

From the old family photo album: I found a very yellowed newspaper clipping about Ron Ward, my cousin. Ron played hockey and lacrosse. The article announced his being named AHL Rookie of the Year. It is dated May 15, 1969, West Springfield, Mass. It states that:

“Forward Ron Ward of Rochester Americans was named yesterday’s winner of the Dudley “RED” Garrett Memorial Trophy as the American Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year in the 1968/69 season.

Ward, a native of Cornwall, Ont. played two seasons in the Central League and one single game in the Western League before joining Rochester. He had 35 goals and 47 assists in finishing 6th. in the AHL scoring race.

He will receive a $300 cash award as a runaway winner of the rookie honours with 32 points in balloting by the league’s sports writers and sports broadcasters. Garnet Bailey of Hersey Bears, and later the Boston Bruins, was runner up with 19 points.”

A friend’s cat stole the bath tub plug and apparently likes to steal socks too. Guess my Tiger Boy isn’t such a monkey after all.

I would never have thought or admitted to being a ‘pack rat’ but I guess I have been. I seem to find all kinds of things from the past I have kept and forgotten about until I go looking for something else. I just found this wonderful prayer by Chief Yellow Hawk that had been given to me by a resident of Mount Carmel House Treatment Center many years ago. I had it framed and it hung for years in my office.

I will share it because it is so beautiful and inspiring:

O, Great Spirit, Whose voice I hear in the winds,

and Whose breath gives life to all the world,

hear me; I come before you, one of your children.

I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes

ever behold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things you have made,

my ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may know

the things you have taught my people,

the lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be superior to my brothers,

but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself.

Make me ever ready to come to you

with clean hands and straight eyes,

so when life fades, as a fading sunset,

my spirit may come to you without shame.

Chief Yellow Hawk


The Campaign for Better Hearing is suggesting that we get our hearing tested after the age of 60, according to a Zoomer Newsletter (http://www.everythingzoomer.campaign-better-hearing-says-test-ears-60-years/?ZT. The article states that 47% of Canadians experience hearing loss over the age of 60 but early detection can reduce the negative effects such as depression, social isolation and health issues. It states that these problems are not always linked to the hearing loss by many who don’t know they can’t hear clearly. To book a free no obligation hearing test at a center near you,

go to Http://

Here is a cute joke:

When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, “It’s no use, Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights.”

Have a good week, Dawn

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  1. Great column Dawn. We sure have lots of good memories from our childhood – we didn’t need lots of money to have fun.

  2. Thank you for sharing that beautiful prayer, it inspires me to know more of Chief Yellow Hawk. I appreciate why you were motivated to frame and hang it where you could view it each day.

  3. Very nice.

  4. I am thinking back to when I was a child and yes Dawn is right we didn’t spend a lot of money to have fun. Hide and seek and everything and we had a great deal of fun. Today kids are inside the house and there is no more fun.

  5. A nostalgistic column – Cornwall was a great place to grow up. Very lucky to have such freedom as a child. Great for Fran that she lived near the canal and river and had that area to play.
    Myrna Plumley Watt

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