Seniors Situation Room by Dawn Ford Scouts, Guides & Woolworths Banana Rolls 07252018

Cornwall Ontario – You have to love kids. A friend of mine, Myrna,  who was in the Girl Guides organization as a Brownie, Girl Guide, Sea Ranger and Guider, told me about her two grandsons, Graydon, who will be 6 next week and Lachlan who will be 4 soon.

Whenever the family gather at the cottage, and the two boys are there, the family raise a flag in the morning, lower it in the evening and sing “Day is Done” when they bring the flag in. If they have company, they also sing “Johnny Appleseed” for grace.

Graydon joined Beavers last fall and it happened that his parents were away, so Myrna, proud grandmother, had the honour of taking him to his first Beaver meeting.

In February, Graydon and his Dad took part in the district overnight winter camp. The district has a building which accommodates sleep-overs. The group also spent a lot of time outside. In the large hall, at supper time, the leader asked if there was anyone who knew the grace, “Johnny Appleseed”. Graydon, very excited, waved his hand saying, “I do! I do!”. Graydon was invited to the front of the hall where he led the Beavers in singing, “Johnny Appleseed”. The reward for his doing it was that his group were first in line for their food. Must have been wonderful to hear this little guy up there singing, leading the grace.

When his parents take Graydon to Beavers they often take Lachlan along also. He loves to wear a vest and hat and pretend to be a Beaver. He has been told that even though he is not 5 years old, he will be accepted in Beavers in September since he is there so often anyway. Bet he is excited!!.

Thanks Myrna for sharing this charming story and the photos of your grandsons.

Happy Birthday Graydon!

Graydon and Lachlan

I was reminiscing with my old school chum Frances Glass-Irwin about the days when we often worked after school on Friday evenings and Saturdays at the Woolworth’s Store on Pitt Street in the 1950’s.

Her first job had been at the Metropolitan Store nearby, so she already had some experience. She remembers our salary was something like $10 for Friday evening and Saturday, and about $7 for just Saturday. We never knew what counter we would be on before we got there. She remembers even working on the hardware counter. Probably we were delighted to be on the records, cosmetics or jewellery counters as teenagers.

Evelyn Whaley was the manager at Woolworth’s at the time and was always nice to everyone and especially kind and patient with Fran and I who were just learning.

One thing I remember very well was the Banana Roll (cake) they served at the lunch counter. So delicious. A friend told me that it was still being sold at Woolco in the mid ’70’s on the West Island of Montreal. I went on line and there are sites about the Banana Roll and the recipe. I typed in ” Woolworth’s Banana Roll 1950’s”and got it. Or go to Maybe time to make one.

Many people ask me how I lost so much of my hearing at such an early age – 46. I have not had the reason confirmed. The audiologists have not said one way or the other, just asked me a lot of questions about diseases as a child to which my answers were no. I only know what happened before I lost some of my hearing.

I lived in Pierrefonds and commuted daily to St. Raphael’s, Ontario where I worked at Mount Carmel House Treatment Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse. It had snowed during the night that March morning.

I was used to winter driving so I left in my Honda Civic car early about 6:30 to make sure I was there for our 8am staff meeting. Most of the traffic on the Trans Canada Hwy. was going into Montreal with very little going west. The road had been ploughed and was in fair shape.

Somewhere around St. Anne’s, I saw in my rearview mirror two transports coming; one in the slow lane and one in the fast lane; I was in the middle lane. Soon they were passing me. My back wheels started to skid. Both drivers honked their horns as they passed on either side of me.

It was a terrible noise made worse by chunks of ice crashing down on my car. I couldn’t see out of my windshield which was covered with ice and slush. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” came out of my mouth; a very urgent prayer! Soon my windshield cleared and I was still miraculously in the middle lane, the transports far down the road still on either side of the middle lane. I thank God for answering my prayer and having had a good car which got me safely to Lancaster because I have no memory of that part of the trip.

When I got there, I pulled off. My ears were blocked, like ‘swimmers ears’ and my hands felt like they were still gripping the wheel. I gave myself a bit of a rest, went and got some hot coffee because I was feeling chilled and drove to work. At MCH I went up and down the stairs a few times to try and unblock my ears but it didn’t work. Chewing gum didn’t work either. It was like that for a few days and subsided finally.

Sometime later, I don’t remember how long, weeks, maybe, I had a man in my counselling office who had a low soft voice. I had a terrible time hearing him and kept having to ask him often to repeat what he had said. Later I talked with one of our staff members and told her about it. I have never forgotten what she said: “Dawn, you have not heard well since that truck incident. Better have a hearing test.” I was shocked.

I had my hearing tested and needed two hearing aids, the hearing loss in my left ear was the worse. Luckily we had medical insurance at work and the pair cost $1,200 which the insurance paid. I know I whined for some time about having ‘plugs’ in my ears when I first starting wearing them but the day came when that complaining turned to gratitude that I could hear the rain falling, birds chirping , the soft purring of my cat and my elderly Mother’s sweet voice. I am very grateful I have them.

A friend, Bob Katz, has been feeding some squirrels and chipmunks near his home. One chipmunk in particular seems to appear regularly and is so tame now that it sits on the Bob’s knees to get the nuts.

Sometimes he has to go to the trunk of his car to get some nuts where he keeps them because of a peanut allergy. When he goes into his trunk to get some for the little chipmunk, he often follows Bob. One early morning he went to his trunk of the car to get something and the little chipmunk was in the bag of shelled peanuts in the trunk. He quickly lifted bag and chipmunk out and placed them on a bench. The chipmunk grabbed one of the shelled peanuts and sat on the bench eating it. Bob was able to take a few quick photos of the chipmunk. Cute little guy.

Photo: Chipmunk eating a peanut and the same little monkey in the peanut bag on the bench.

Courtesy of Bob Katz

Here are a few puns for all you “Lexophiles” out there from a friend:

1) You can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish.

2) To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

3) No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

4) If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

5) I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

6) I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

7) When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

8) When chemists die, they barium.

9) I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

10) I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid but he said he can stop anytime. .

Have a good week, Dawn


  1. Dawn I wrote the recipe down and I saved it as well. I sure do remember Woolworths way back in the 50s but only a little since I was very young back then. That recipe roll sounds delicious and I must make it one day. It is too hot to make the oven go just now. I almost attacked the words on paper it sounds wonderful.

  2. Great column, Dawn. Will show it to Graydon and Lachlan. Graydon is reading now so can enjoy reading it himself.
    I have good memories of Woolworth’s lunch counter. Sometimes our family would have a sandwich and maybe a coke float there.

  3. Your story on your ear loss was great. Good column.

  4. Dawn the one major thing that I remember as a child was Worlworths lunch counter like Mrs. Plumley Watt said and yes a family would get aroud that counter and eat. I am trying to remember things in my senior moments and I am lost at many things around here. There are things that I wanted to do and escaped me. Oh well tomorrow is another day and will have to mark things down to remember.

  5. This morning I was out with my daughter and my husband trying to find some pants and what a shock at some stores even the better ones nothing but garbage and we backed out of there. My daughter and my husband are dragging me to another one tomorrow. Things sure are not what they used to be. We used to buy good quality things even Wally World Wall Mart was better. Today it is pure garbage.

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