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Arts & CulturePoems of the past

Poems of the past

We were delighted to receive a sheaf of poems from Noreen Syme written over the years about her time growing up in Almonte long ago.

Below is some information about Noreen, together with the first of her poems we’ll publish in the coming weeks.

Noreen Syme (née Kealey) was raised in Almonte along with her seven brothers and one sister. During her school years, she served pie and burgers at the Almonte landmark, the Superior Restaurant. This is where she honed her great pie-making talents. She married her high school sweetheart, Ronald Syme, in 1953. Despite his military career taking them on many postings as far as Germany, Almonte and the Ottawa Valley always called them home. Noreen raised four sons and one daughter, all while pursuing her own career at Bell Canada. She is a grandmother of five and great grandmother of three. She now resides in Carleton Place.


Home again through mist of tears,
Sweet memories roll back the years,
Almonte – my home, you have my heart,
Through all my life, you’ve been a part.

I stroll your streets so dear to me,
And faces haunt my memory.
Here’s Irish Town – Bob Scisson’s Store,
The Tower – part of our folklore.

Up Martin Street – the old High School,
Where Frank Thom taught the golden rule.
The colours still are orange and black,
Still champions of field and track.

Gord Fraser’s just around the bend,
Where after school we met our friends,
Hot dogs and sundaes and much more,
Milkshakes so thick they barely poured!

Down Queen Street, on my left I see
Old Doctor Dunn’s – a saint was he.
He birthed our babes, our illness cured,
No one too rich, no one too poor.

The Mississippi now appears,
It hasn’t changed much through the years,
I still hear laughter from the flume
On carefree summer afternoons.

Reflected from our river here,
Our Old Town Hall I see so clear,
Great rows of books in every text,
Miss Kelly peering over her specs.

The railway crossing’s just ahead,
Steam engine days alas, are dead.
The old stone station is no more,
Where once the City Local roared.

And look, there’s Rooney’s Pool Room now,
A new facelift – it’s moved up now,
But 80’s lads still linger there
And rate the girls as they appear.

And now the ‘Sup’ where high school folks
Met after school for cherry cokes.
The jukebox playing Frankie songs,
While Dinty served our happy throng.

The old Post Office – obsolete,
Where winter morns we warmed our feet.
Births, deaths, and gossip we did share,
While picking up our letters there.

At Peterson’s – a legend here,
Where Louis started his career.
Now city people make the trip,
Our country’s best ice cream to lick.

Now nature’s gift – our waterfall,
Each season comes, we stand enthralled.
The foam and spray of early spring,
The icy jewels that winter brings.

New England town up on the hill,
The Bay, the Island, Rosamond’s Mill,
I end my stroll. Yes, I’ve come home.
Almonte, my home – no more to roam.

Noreen Syme




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