Seniors Situation Room by Dawn Ford – Bishop’s House Restoration & Tiger Tales! 09178

Cornwall Ontario – There is a little coin container on the counter at the Burger King Restaurant on Second Street East to collect some money to help with the funding of scholarships and bursaries for financial aid for students at St. Lawrence College. Every bit of change helps. According to the web site, the bursaries and scholarships can range from $500 to $3000. For more information on the financial help application or on how you can donate, please call the St. Lawrence College at 613-933-6080 or visit their web site. Kudos to the Burger King Restaurant for helping the student fund.

If you are lucky to have a great mother like I had, you have been very fortunate. When I went into nurses’ training I was really too busy in my new life to think about all my Girl Guide, Life Saving swimming badges,  and high school memorabilia which were somewhere in a drawer as far as I knew.

My Mom got them all together and sewed them on a pillow including pins. She sewed my Gold Cord I had earned in Guides all around the edges. On the upper left corner is the Gold Cord pin and next to it on the right is a little star shaped pin on brown felt, my Brownie pin. On the top right is a little four sided red and white pin from CCVS high school.

One day when I went home for a visit, there was this gorgeous pillow waiting for me.

There are also badges which she had sown on the back. Must have taken quite a lot of sewing but she did it. Now I have this treasure to remind me of the old days and of a wonderful Mother who took all that time to make me something very special.

Some people are asking for another fun limerick. Here is an oldie by

Author Unknown:

“There once was a man from Nantucket,

Who kept all his cash in a bucket.

But his daughter named Nan,

Ran away with a man

And as for the bucket, Nantucket.”

The Glengarry Fencibles Trust, which is a non-profit organization formed by a group of dedicated people, have worked hard to raise money the past few years to save the historic 1808 Bishop’s House in St. Raphael’s, ON from demolition and to restore it. When I read about the Bishop’s House and the group, my mind goes back to the days in the 1980’s and 90’s. At that time it housed Mount Carmel House Treatment Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

When I first moved to Glen Norman, ON in 1981 there were no nursing positions available in Alexandria. I got involved in volunteer work in the community. I also wrote weekly columns for the Glengarry News and the Cornwall Standard Freeholder about local events and people, which was the most fun I ever had ‘working’. One day in the summer of ’82 I had a call from the CEO, Ray Billard, of Mount Carmel House asking me to do an article for the center.

I had never been to the Bishop’s House before and I remember as I drove down that long driveway how peaceful the area seemed.

During the interview with Ray, he found out that I was a nurse and asked if I would come once a week as a volunteer to look after the nursing -medical concerns of the residents. There was no detox at that time and some of the residents arrived in less than good shape. I agreed and every Monday I was a volunteer nurse at the center taking blood pressures, withdrawal, checking meds, etc. or taking them to a doctor. It was a whole new field of nursing for me. You never know which way life will turn at any time.

In the fall Ray announced that the center had hired Father Mac Burke as Program Director and that he was qualified to teach addictions to the staff, which would give us our addiction counsellor’s diplomas. Ray also said that the center had secured funding to train and hire a Family Counsellor and asked if I would come on board full time as Nurse and Family Counsellor. Dr. Nat Shah became our Medical Director in 1983 which was an enormous help to the center. He was always only a phone call away and his secretary Bernadette Caron was always helpful whenever we called.

I was trained with other staff members and we earned our CAC (Certified Addiction Counsellor) diplomas. This designation was later changed to ICADC (International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor) and some of us also earned the CCS (Certified Clinical Supervisor) diploma.

At one point the center received yearly government funding but the program was then cut from 6 weeks, to 4. The staff had to hustle to get the whole program into those 4 weeks. I worked at the center for 14 years and look back now with so many wonderful memories of the incredible residents, caring, dedicated staff, our very special volunteers and the spiritual 12 Step Program of AA that helped save so many lives.

Photo above is from my photo album in the early 1990’s.The statue in the front is one of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I asked Ray why it was named, “Mount Carmel House” and he said it was because, in the Bible, many battles were fought and won on Mount Carmel.

I spoke with Dane Lanken, treasurer of the Glengarry Fencibles. I was interested to hear more about the new plans to have to demolish some sections which had been added to the original building over the years; one will be the dining room. I remember so well when it was first opened. We were so happy to have a large spacious dining room but apparently it was made at the time without a foundation. The center had wanted to redo the bathrooms on the first floor to make them accessible for people in wheelchairs, etc. but couldn’t because they were part of the original building.

For more information on the work being done on the Bishop’s House restoration and the Glengarry Fencibles Trust or to make a donation to help with the costs of the restorations of the building, go to or mail to: The Glengarry Fencibles Trust, 4162 Military Road, Green Valley, ON. KOC ILO or email at They are also on Facebook.

Here is something you may never see again, a Sears Catalogue.

This one is dated 2014.

I kept it for some reason, not knowing that the Sears store was going to ever close.

We all miss the store very much and had hoped that the catalogue part might still remain.

I am told that the Sears stores are still open in the USA. Too bad that we couldn’t have a catalogue office here.

I can’t keep up to this cat. I never know where I will find him sleeping somewhere in this house. Here he is back on a couch in his little white bed which he had abandoned for some time, preferring the bed on the floor in the hall or in his little house or on my bed.

Now we are back in another room, all snuggled up with a face that says, “You woke me up again!! Don’t bother me. I’m napping”.

That is fine, Tiger but take your catnip mouse with you!! I got into bed and felt something…his mouse!! He had left it in my bed. Little rascal!! Cute little rascal, though.

Here is a cute joke from a friend:


A man was riding his Harley alongside a California beach, when suddenly the sky clouded above his head, and in a booming voice, God said, “Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.”

The astonished biker pulled over and yelled,” Build a bridge to Hawaii, so I can ride over anytime I want”

Disappointed, God replied, “Your request is too materialistic. Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking-the supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take!! I can do it but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that could possibly help mankind.”

The biker thought for a long time. Finally he said,” Okay, God. I wish that I and all men could understand women. I want to know how she feels inside, what she is thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says,’nothing’s wrong’, why she snaps and complains when I try and help and how I can make a woman truly happy.”

God replied, “You want two lanes or four on that bridge?”

Have a good week, Dawn


  1. Tiger you are so cute. You and Fitzie reign in my heart. I love seeing both of you in pictures. So nice and comfie and he says do not disturb. LOL LOL. I love animals very much.

  2. Great article Dawn.

  3. Dawn, I enjoyed reading all about the Bishop’s House and also what your Mom did with all your Guide memorabilia.

  4. Dawn I have my daughter’s Brownie badges that she had for a short while in Brownies in her drawer on her badge scarf. My daughter didn’t like camping and gave up on Brownies here in Ottawa. All of those years have passed by and were some of the best years of our life. I remember taking her to Brownies to the school where she attended here in Ottawa. Those were the better years.

  5. I also had a wonderful Mom that sewed all my Brownie, Guide & Ranger badges on a cushion. Our mothers were saints! Just took my second grandson to his first Beaver meeting.
    Enjoyed your column.

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