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Leigh's Terrific Tales

STORY BY: Leigh Beauchamp Day
YEAR: 1947
LOCATION: Hamilton, ON

Leigh sent us these stories and this photo by email:
"I was born in May of 1947. My Mum was from a French Canadian family who lived on a farm in a place called Grand Calumet Island. She had 6 sisters and 4 brothers. As I was born out of wedlock while she was living in Hamilton, ON - where she worked in a radio factory and lived in one of those large white buildings bit for women who were moving to the cities to work in the factories. She was so embarrassed that I learned recently - after she passed away - that even though her family knew she had had a child, no one in the family , not even her Mother saw me or a photo of me until I was 3 years old and she was engaged to Leo Beauchamp.
After I was born she worked in a drug store, in the cosmetics section. She kept me in one rooming house and paid for the landlady to look after me. While she lived in another boarding house..... This was so no-one would gossip about her. Poor girl was ashamed of this until about a year or so before she passed away.....
Being at the beginning of the boom, I was very traditional - thinking 18 was the perfect age at which to get married. I was engaged to a fellow I had dated since 16, and we were to get married on July 15, 1967.
A month before the wedding I canceled it - yes I had to send out cancelation notices. Cancel the church and the rest reception and return wedding presents. We both ended up marrying people more sited to what we really wanted. Him a baby in the first year, furniture and a savings account for the kids' education.


Me - travel, part-time modeling, including being a model on a 1970's game show called Anything You Can Do, with Don Herron as the emcee, saw the Beatles on Toronto, The Stones in Montreal (and more recently in Halifax), lived in a few major cities, went to University, studied Comparative Religion and Neuropsychology - focusing on brain wave patterns and handwriting, studied Handwriting Analysis in New York (early 70's by then) and built a career in communications. On the way worked as a long distance operator,on the front desk of major hotels - when women were just barely being accepted to be cashiers, and not relegated to the switchboard. Went to India, learned Indian Temple Dancing..... Good thing I saw that we were on different trains before the wedding..... He was 4 years older, so I was on the Boomer Train just as it was leaving the Station.


Oh and our 25 year old is a history buff, so I'm taking him to see your show.... I think he will love it. The friend who had to leave early, mentioned above, had her mother, her husband and her two sons with her.


She is now a United Church minister, born in 1963 in the Yukon. As they were leaving we were talking about the TV test pattern you had up. As late as the 70's they couldn't get CBC and had programs flown in on tapes a wèek after they were seen by the rest of the country....


In the late 70's I had a government contract to assist with marketing the Telidon project - the precursor to shopping on line. So I had no idea parts of Canada were still at the stage where they couldn't get CBC.....


We talked about American Bandstand. Until we moved from Fort Erie to Grand Calumet (Mom had become a widow) I was among the Bandstand followers. Justine was my favorite and I wore my hair like hers for years.


In Fort Erie we could get the two Buffalo stating, but not CBC - until we had the rabbit ears. Favorite show- My Pet Juliette. Can you imagine a singer agreeing to that show title today???


When we moved to 'The Island' (in 1961) they were all two years behind in fashion and a number of other things. It was there that I learned that in spite of me and my friends actively trying not to do so - I had developed some Americanisms: huh instead of aye was among them. Oh and American Bandstand was quickly replaced by The Don Messer Jubilee.


Two years later we moved to Hull, Quebec. Kennedy...remember belong glued to the TV... I was living in Calgary when Bobby was killed and during the race riots..


So - I think I really enjoyed your show!"
Clearly, you did, Leigh! Thanks for sharing.


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