Remembering Lantheir Bakery
Frank Guindon who worked at Lanthier Bakery in Alexandria as a kid - his job was to wash the company truck on Saturdays for $4 - weighs in on the Ma Lalonde diner discussion with an interesting sidebar.
Frank recalled that Florence Lalonde (aka Ma Lalonde), the owner, ordered so many slider-type hamburger buns from the Alexandria bakery that the bakery purchased special pans to bake the “Ma Lalonde speciality” buns for the little Pitt Street diner.
This was a time when the small, slider-style buns of today didn’t exist.
Ma Lalonde might have been a hamburger flipper, but her idea to use smaller buns - which meant less hamburger meat - and sell them for 10 cents each made her a marketing genius.
For the bakery to buy special pans to make the Ma Lalonde buns, said Frank, gives you an idea how many burgers (at 10 cents each) Ma and her daughter, Gertrude, were pumping out of their quintessential greasy spoon.
Because the burgers were so small, and cheap, folks would buy 10 or 20 at a time. “Two bites and they were gone,” said Frank. “It was like an assembly line,” recalled Frank. “The place only had a couple of stools at the counter.”
Nobody can recall if the place had a washroom for customers.
To speed things up, a lofty stack of fried onions were kept near the grill to be slapped on the burgers with ketchup.
It was mostly take- out trade and Frank recalls people lining up outside at lunch time to pick up their burgers.
Frank said some guys would ask the boss to leave work 10 minutes early so they would avoid the line-up or at least get a good spot in the queue.
Today’s strict public health rules were not around in Ma Lalonde’s days. The cooked burgers were stacked unwrapped in the boxes the buns came in. Ma was ahead of her time when it came to recycling.
And speaking of recycling, the hole-in-thewall eatery’s next- door neighbour was Miller’s scrap yard. That’s another story.
And, noted Frank, if you wanted to get on Ma’s good side, you had the correct change. That was better than a compliment.
Why the busy little diner closed remains a mystery.
******************** HERE AND THERE Cornwall Curling Club senior men’s division planted a tree at the 17th hole of Summerheights Golf Club earlier this month in memory of avid golfer/curler Marcel Morin who lost a long, courageous battle with cancer last curling season. He curled right up to the end. The fund-raiser, spearheaded by Ken Waller, raised enough money for the tree and a plaque which were erected by Rory and Summerheights staff. The $550 left over was donated to Hospice. Nice touch. ... Sportsnet signed Brian Burke to a try-out contract. One of the things he had to agree to was to wear his tie in traditional style rather than his signature draped- over-the-shoulders look. ... If you are a member of the 60-plus club you’ll remember two of Hollywood’s great actors who were bona fide decorated war heroes. Audy Murphy and Lee Marvin are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
******************** SIGN OF THE TIMES When was the last time you mailed a hand-written letter? In a Yahoo poll, 49% of respondents said it has been more than a year, and 19% said they have never. Only 16% said they had in the last seven days. There was a time when penmanship was part of the elementary school curriculum. ... Meanwhile, the number of folks who still use a landline has dropped below 50% which might explain why telephone directories are not as thick, even with the small print. ... Hard to figure: We have less crime, more judges, more Crown attorneys, more court personnel, larger courtroom facilities but a bigger backlog of cases than when the city and SD and G operated with a couple of prosecutors and two or three judges ... and you could get a murder trial up and running within 12 months of the arrest.
******************** THIS WEEK 1975 Does this have a familiar ring: Contract talks between the city and Cornwall firefighters were headed to arbitration. Firefighters wanted a $2,960 raise in a oneyear contract or to be paid on par with city police. A first-class firefighter earned $12,000 in 1974, while a first- class police officer was paid $13,200. Talks with police were also headed to arbitration. ... City bus drivers were predicting a long strike after talks with the city broke off. The 21 drivers were asking for a $1 an hour increase on the base pay of $4.15 an hour in a one-year contract. The city offered 70-cents an hour with a $50 signing bonus and a pension plan. ... A survey of Tagwi High School students showed that 73% of male students favoured the death penalty for those convicted of premeditated murder while 59% of female students favoured capital punishment. The school had a population of 796 students. ... SD and G County Board of Education was looking to increase the number of elementary and secondary teachers to 948 from 907 in the 1975-76 school year. ... The board awarded cost of living allowances of $1,000 to $1,400 to its secondary school teachers. ... The federal budget added a 10-cent a gallon tax on the pump price of gasoline. The president of Shell Oil warned that drivers could expect to pay $1 a gallon (about 25 cents a litre) in the “not too distant future.” ... Domtar announced that its Cornwall plant would have its third one-week shutdown since Christmas. The company cited poor market conditions. ... The trolley bus era came to an end with the city adding 15 new gas-powered buses to its fleet. Construction of a new transit facility was under way. ... Country singer Dottie West appeared at the Glen Walter Social. ... St. Lawrence College graduated its first class of registered nurses with 58 graduates. ... Alex Herrington scored five goals to lead Paquette Glass Rams to a 14-11 win over Nepean Lumbermen in an Interprovincial Junior C Lacrosse League game. Dek Denneny and Gary Brisson had two apiece.
TRIVIA What animal embraced the Howard Smith Paper Mill logo?
TRIVIA ANSWER In 1936 the Cornwall Community Arena Fund sold $10 shares to raise money to build Cornwall Community Arena to replace the Victoria Arena which was destroyed by fire three years earlier. The fundraiser brought in $60,000 in less than a month.
THEY SAID IT Living next to the U.S. is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.