A whole pile of treasures from the thrift shops

O Canada! in Up and Away

The first entry in a classic Canadian primary-school reader from 1946, called Up and Away, that I found at The Bookworm used-book store in Madoc. I like the artwork – especially the scene of Montreal (our former home, and Canada’s biggest city at the time that Up and Away was published) at the top of the left-hand page. Such a sense of optimism and promise in those images!

You know, much as I love you readers and appreciate the time you spend here at Meanwhile, at the Manse, I really shouldn’t be telling you what I’m about to tell you. Why? Because I know perfectly well what’s going to happen. You’re all going to get in your cars and come up to Madoc and Tweed and visit the thrift stores and get to all the good stuff before Raymond and I can.

What a disaster that would be!

But anyway, I’m just so delighted with our finds from a local thrift-shop excursion this past Saturday that I can’t stop myself from sharing them by way of this post.

Would you like to hear about those finds? Of course you would.

Up and Away reader

Up and Away, part of the “Canadian Reading Development Series” published in 1946 by Copp Clark.

First stop: The Bookworm in Madoc. I’ve written before (that post is here) about that dandy little store, which is operated by volunteers and raises money for the excellent cause of supporting the Madoc Public Library. What I especially like about The Bookworm is how eclectic the selection is; you just never know what you’re going to find. And boy, we found a lot this past Saturday. I won’t even go into detail about the interesting prose translation of Homer’s Odyssey, and the massive two-volume set about all the mammals on earth (published by Johns Hopkins University), and the dozen or so other treasures that we found. But I will tell you about the primary-school reader whose image you see here, and whose charming first entry is shown at the top of this post.

I don’t think I would have used this reader back in the days when I attended Madoc Township Public School; it would have been 20 years old at that time. But I have to admit it looked kind of familiar. In 2015, it comes across as a sweet little memento of a simpler time, when Canadian kids apparently looked like this:

Young Canadians To-Day, from Up and Away

And when you wouldn’t offend anyone’s sensibilities (or at least, you didn’t care if you did) by publishing a Judaeo-Christian psalm in a general-audience textbook:

The Lord is My Shepherd in Up and Away

The 23rd Psalm, in a school reader! Can you imagine that today? On the opposite page and above the psalm, by the way, are the concluding verses of Longfellow‘s The Wreck of the Hesperus – guaranteed to give a small child nightmares.

I was also charmed by the inclusion of a poem by the American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, whose work I admire. She tended to have a bit of an edge, and you can definitely see it in the last line of this poem; though perhaps the editors of Up and Away thought it would go over its young readers’ heads, and maybe it even went over theirs:

Travel in Up and Away

Gracious, all this enjoyment from just one book! But of course you want to ask, “What other treasures did you find, Katherine?” Well, here you go:

Poetry of Mid-Century

Is that not a Canadian classic? Good old McClelland and Stewart and its New Canadian Library of inexpensive paperback Canadian literature. And you have to love the design and colours of this midcentury cover – not to mention the book’s collection of early poems by the cutting-edge Canadian poets of the day.

And then there was this book, which I almost didn’t nab because it seemed a little ordinary from the cover…

A Book of Classical Stories

… but which did have nice illustrations and was kind of funky generally…

A Book of Classical Stories cover page

… and the deal was finally sealed when I discovered a lovely local bit of history stamped inside the front cover:

Johnston, the Druggist

Now isn’t that something? “Johnston, the Druggist” is, of course, Johnston’s Drug Store, still in operation (though in Madoc only, not Bancroft; and no longer selling textbooks) all these years later. (I’ve mentioned Johnston’s many times before, like here and here; and this post tells you about a new direction that the venerable business has recently taken.)

Okay, that’s The Bookworm. Let’s move on to Hidden Treasures in Tweed, another volunteer-run shop, this one raising money to support the very good work of Community Care for Central Hastings. At Hidden Treasures, Raymond and I picked up a basketful of things, and I do mean a basketful – we even found a bushel basket like you used to see (and maybe still do?) at apple orchards and whatnot. Here are some of our not-so-hidden treasures in that basket, three vintage games:

Basketful of games

And here’s a closeup of the Travel Trio of travel-sized board games – don’t you just love the colours and design from, I’m guessing, c. 1970?

Travel Trio games

And here is the price tag on the Travel Trio, which intrigues me:

Travel Trio price tag

Why a “Catalogue Price” as compared to “Your Cost”? What catalogue? Where would this boxed game set have been sold, I wonder?

Okay, now we get to what might be the coolest find of all, something that cost me all of about 10¢, I think. Get a load of this souvenir drinking glass:

Lindsay Dairy Day glass front

Wow! A souvenir of “Ontario Dairy Day, Lindsay (Ont.), June 16th, 1954.” I love this glass partly because I have Lindsay farm connections through my uncle, aunt and cousins; and partly because I think it’s so amazing that it has survived these 61 years. This glass is rather older than even I am!

And here’s the back, a little bit of Ontario dairy-farming history in and of itself:

Lindsay Dairy Day glass back

You probably can’t read the full text on the back of the glass, so here’s what it says: ONTARIO DAIRY PRODUCERS CO-ORDINATING BOARD Co-ordinating the Work of:– Ontario Cream Producers’ Marketing Board, Ontario Whole Milk Producers’ League, Ontario Cheese Producers’ Marketing Board, Ontario Concentrated Milk Producers’ Assn. Designed:– “TO PROMOTE THE WELFARE OF ALL ONTARIO DAIRY FARMERS”

Now, I am rather fond of a nice glass of cold milk with my grilled-cheese sandwich come Saturday lunchtime. Thanks to Saturday’s find, I now have possibly the coolest local vintage glass ever in which to enjoy my dairy product of choice.

And to think it was just another day at the thrift shops…

8 thoughts on “A whole pile of treasures from the thrift shops

  1. As one of the cousins mentioned toward the end of your post, I should probably note that dairy producers like our neighbours the Callaghans–who were likely involved in said Dairy Day–do have the best giveaways. Ice cream! Chocolate milk!

  2. I suspect that that reader went to the Bookworm from my pet teacher, Gayle. She took a whole lot of readers etc., in there recently. The tumbler brings back memories as my dad was the Eastern Ontario rep. on the Ontario Cheese Producers . Would you believe there used to be a monthly cheese exchange sale in Madoc? There were so many factories that buyers used to meet in Madoc on a Thursday night each month to bid on and purchase cheese from all the local factories, something like 15-20 factories sold cheese there.

    • Okay, that is just great local history! I had no idea that there were such things as “cheese exchanges,” though of course I did know there once were lots of cheese factories in the area. (In fact just today, on the way home from Campbellford via Hoard’s Station, Raymond and I drove by what was once the Central Cheese Factory – now a different kind of business altogether, but retaining “Central” in its name. I’d quite forgotten about that one until that moment.) I wonder – are there photos or records of those “cheese exchange” nights? I would love to see that. So much to learn, and so much that should not be forgotten…

  3. I wonder if the little trio of games came from yet another dinosaur, Consumers Distributing. That could explain the price sticker.

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