Re­mem­ber­ing Lan­their Bak­ery

Seaway News - - Opinion -

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.

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