Civvy street dance

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I found this scrapbook in November of 2014. It was put together by a soldier who designed the decorations for a “civvy street dance” that took place in May of 1945, or around the end of the European theatre of WWII. The scrapbook mostly describes the making of the scene of the dance, but also includes a few clippings and an Canadian Army Art Exhibition booklet.

I’ve always thought this was a pretty cool item. It tells a less known but interesting story, that being the difficulty of reintegrating soldiers to civilian life – particularly after a war as long and painful as WWII. There were plenty of concerns regarding the ability of the soldiers to adjust to their new lives, and many civilians were even anxious that their return would spark an increase in crime and violence given their long exposure to the horrors of the battlefield. PTSD, then known as “battle fatigue” or “shell shock” was known of but not widely understood, and many people didn’t know how to relate to the veteran whose personality was often much changed from what it was before the war.

The “civvy street dance” then would have been bittersweet for many. While most veterans enjoyed being back home, many were also anxious about their future as a civilian. I suspect the dance was made to help ease soldiers into their reintegration, perhaps by providing a taste of the pleasures associated with civilian life. I wonder if this scene is still packed away somewhere, or if it was tossed out long ago to make room for the new.

Here’s a few relevant links if you’re interested in learning more about this part of our past:
1. CBC radio segment from 1944 discussing the complexities of reintegration (link)
2. A look at the government programs created to help with reintegration after WWII (link)
3. A review of a book specifically written on the topic of post-WWII reintegration (link)
4. The Amazon page of the book in question, which appears to have some great reviews (link)
5. A reading about the history of PTSD (link)

Towards the bottom I also included a set of four WWII-era photos I found two summers ago. Two were taken at CFB Uplands near Ottawa, and two were aerial shots presumably taken somewhere over the Ottawa Valley (which happens to be around where I grew up).

I hope you enjoy these scans! If you like this sort of post let me know – I can try to do them more often going forward.

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(Does anyone know what a “honey dew shop” would have been? I googled the term but didn’t find much).

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The scrapbook ends there. One page appears to be torn out, and the rest thereafter are blank.

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This booklet is tied in to the very back of the book. On one of the pages is written a message relating to Bruno Bobak, a well known Canadian war artist. On the very back pages of the booklet is glued a newspaper clipping and a greetings card from 1944. To see a bigger view of any of the photos below, click on the photo and then click the “view full size” button on the bottom right hand side of the screen.

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Here are the other WWII-related photos as promised. I found these two summers ago from in TMR. The planes look to be Spitfires.

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First aid for fighting men

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It’s been less busy this week than I expected it would be. My only finds of note so far came Tuesday night in Mount Royal. This spot has started producing a few things in recent weeks.

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I liked the vintage llama lamp that was put out front of the pile. I might put it to use once I find a matching shade.

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There were some books and magazines in one of the black bags. I figure I’ll be able to sell the Birks catalogues (right side) for a modest profit. They’re all from the 1970s and 1980s.

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I also found some ancient cider; …

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… a couple bocce or pétanque balls (with a weird magnetic tool stuck to it);

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… and two boxes full of paints and other crafting goods. One of the boxes was in with the recycling – it really boggles my mind sometimes what people put in their bins! Most of the paints are half-full and still good. I’ll likely leave them on the street for someone else to find.

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Otherwise, I stopped at the place where I found the jewellery boxes from my last Mount Royal post. These people are moving (the house is sold) and I imagine their place is just about cleared out.

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I was excited to see some jewelry and other junk at the corner of one of the bags. There was a package of old dry cigars in there too, if you’re wondering what’s at the bottom of the picture.

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There were several cufflinks, though only a few pairs. I really wish I was able to find the second of the one on the far right. It’s by N.E. From, a Danish modernist designer and is made of sterling silver. If I had a pair they’d be worth around 100$, but instead it’s just a cool chunk of silver.

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One pair of cufflinks were marked as being 9 karat gold on silver.

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I’m sure they have a bit of value, although I can’t say I’ve researched them yet. Does anyone know who that makers mark belongs to?

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There were also some pins. I think the one third from the left features the logo of Quebec’s Liberal Party, which seems like a classic thing to find in Mount Royal. They have voted Liberal (at least federally) since 1940. The pin forth from the left features a Union Jack and the unofficial flag of Northern Ireland.

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I thought this was going to be an Air Force pin, but instead it’s from a pilot school in Australia.

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These look like shoulder patches for some kind of uniform. The buttons have anchors on them, which makes me think they’re somehow nautical-related. Does anyone have any ideas what they might be for?

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I also found a yard long photo from a school in Belfast (dated 1957); …

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… an old group photo, also from Belfast;

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… this thing, which I think is some kind of nautical slide rule;

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… a cool tobacco pipe by Falcon of England;

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… a few scents;

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… and some tea. These box were opened, but since each tea bag was individually packaged there was no risk of contamination.

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However, my favourite finds here were a couple of WWII-era documents. This one is a booklet titled “An Atlas of Gas Poisoning.” It was published in 1939.

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It describes the symptoms and treatment of mustard gas poisoning. Mustard gas was used a lot during WWI.

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This book definitely makes me appreciate the fact that I will likely never have to worry about such things.

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The second one is a pamphlet called “First Aid for Fighting Men.” It was published by the War Office of England in 1943.

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It’s a very interesting document – click on the photo for a better look. I could sell it for around 20$, but I might just keep it for my personal collection. It’s just one of those things that act like a time warp, giving me a more real understanding of what fighting in that war would have been like.

I hope to have a yard sale this Sunday. I have so many things to unload. Send me an email if you’re interested in coming! I’ll also share the location on my Facebook page.

My belligerent lucky charm

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On Wednesday I went to Mount Royal and stopped at a house that’s been producing for a while – the same one that provided the WWII RCAF cap and Expo 67 ephemera not long ago.

In the middle of sorting through the recycling bin an SUV pulled up beside me. I turn around and saw a neighbourhood security guard who I’m sure was the same guy that told me to leave the area way back in October. I’ve since had contact with other security officers in the area but none that has given me any real trouble. This time around he took my name and address, gave me a warning and told me I’d face a 219$ fine if caught again, all the while acting fairly belligerently.

I left but came back around a bit later to finish the job. I’d rather risk a 219$ fine than miss out on an amazing trash pile. Inside the bin was a treasure trove of old newspapers, photos, and other ephemera, much of was related to World Wars I and II. It seems that the family previously living in this house had a extensive military background. This stop was definitely one of my finest as a trash picker, and much of the best stuff came after I returned for the second time.

It’s annoying that I could be fined for picking in Mount Royal going forward. It’s one of my favourite routes due to its beauty and interesting history. Regardless, I doubt this will keep me from going and if fined I may elect to fight it in the courts. I’d be curious to know what by-law mentions trash picking. I should have asked him!

On the other hand that security guy might be my good luck charm! I found great stuff last time I talked to him as well, including a collection of newspapers from the end of WWII.

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This atlas, published in 1913 is cool in its own right…

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However, it’s what was stashed between its front and back covers that was particularly interesting. There were many old, mostly pictorial sections of newspapers, older than I’ve ever found before. They cover many different topics including: the Hindenburg disaster, the coronation of King George VI, the 1939 Royal Visit, the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, various post-war celebrations, and the building (and collapse) of the Quebec Bridge in 1916. There were also newspaper clippings mostly related to the WWI.

It’s an amazing collection and many of the papers are in really good condition. They’ve likely been stored in that book for quite some time. I had never heard of the Montreal Standard before. It was apparently a pictorial newspaper published between 1905 and 1951.

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(Just to note: you can click these thumbnails below for a better view. You can also get an even closer look if you go to the bottom right of the popped-up image and click “view full-size.”)

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I’ve always been a bit of a map nerd so this piece is one of my favourites. It’s a (WWI) War Map of Europe published in 1914 by Rand-McNally and given out compliments of Canadian Sirocco Company. They apparently made fans and blowers way back in the day, so long ago that it’s hard to find any information about them on Google. I can’t find a single mention of another map like this one. It’s a great piece that would look really good framed.

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These photos were found in the middle of a scrapbook mostly full of newspaper clippings and military-related ephemera. Two are group shots labelled “Uplands 24/4/44.” Uplands likely refers to the former RCAF training school at Uplands just south of Ottawa. Many airmen were trained here before being sent to fight in Europe. These photos are amazing, particularly the shots of the planes in flight which don’t seem to be very common. Some great history right here!

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I also enjoyed finding these two WWII-era RCAF Christmas cards, both of which were apparently never used. The design of the one on the right is especially cool – the logo is printed with some kind of blue, fuzzy fabric while the inside features a great drawing and typography so typical of the era.

There’s still enough neat stuff to warrant another post! It may take time though as I began the second part of a regular temp job today. It involves re-delivering stored boxes to students returning from summer vacation. It’ll keep me busy for the next couple of weeks, but I’ll probably be able to post and will definitely have the time for a few trash runs.