Friday 31 October 2014

Pippi, A Witch and a Butterfly

Jacqueline invited two school friends over tonight.  Rob picked them all up at school.  I had the table set when they arrived with Halloween plates and cups.  They munched on white cheddar chipotle popcorn and drank lemonade, chatting all the while.  You could just feel the excitement;  this is Ashley's first Halloween since she is from Korea, and Joanna's second Halloween since she lives out in the country.

We ate sloppy Joe's and salad for supper.  Then the girls put on their costumes.  Jacqueline's butterfly was easy to put on:  a pink and black dress with wings.  Ashley's witch costume was simply a dress and a black hat.  Joanna's, however, was a little bit more difficult:  she brought jeans, a checkered shirt and a wire hangar which she held behind her head while Ashley braided her hair around it.  She was Pippi Longstocking.  Rob reminded me about how he wrote a short story in Grade 4 called "Pippi Longstocking Fights the Germans".  I asked who won the fight and Rob said Pippi.  I didn't realize she had supernatural strength.

So, Pippi, the witch and the butterfly headed out to trick or treat with Rob.  I stayed home and handed out candy.  Normally I buy two big boxes of chocolate bars because we have close to 200 kids.  But the past few years, the numbers have waned.  so this year I only bought one big box and I still had bars left over.  Likely the rain held some people back.  It was nice to see some unique costumes.  The prize for creativity went to Eddy Munster.  I didn't think kids knew who he was anymore.

An hour or so later, the girls returned, their bags loaded down with treats.  They emptied the contents on the living room floor, their faces lit up in anticipation.  Then they proceeded to trade certain items. It was exciting to see Jacqueline's friends soak it all in.  After all, what is old hat for Jacqueline is not for her friends.  Just after 8 o'clock, I closed the front door, shut off the light and called it a night. The three girls changed out of their costumes.  Rob headed to the gym.  And I headed downstairs to the computer.  Happy Halloween!

Thursday 30 October 2014

How Could You, Mrs. Dick?

The lineup outside the Hamilton Courthouse, five abreast, snaked its way around the United Empire Loyalist statue and spilled onto the sidewalk.  Everyone was trying to get a view of the person on trial.  She had bright red lipstick, perfectly coiffed hair, a fur coat and a pillbox hat.  She looked like she could have floated off the cover of Vogue magazine.  Her name?  Evelyn Dick.  Her crime? Murder.

Hamilton in the 1940's was a small city known for its steel factories and hardworking citizens.  In 1946, scandal rocked the city when a group of five schoolchildren found a bullet-ridden torso on the Escarpment by Albion Falls.  Hamilton Street Railway car driver John Dick had gone missing.  It was believed to be his torso.


Evelyn Dick, who had been known to hold lavish parties at the Royal Connaught Hotel, and who had been known to sleep around, was called in for questioning.  Police had discovered that she borrowed a Packard from a fellow Hamiltonian which was later returned, the interior covered in blood.  What was the newlywed's immediate response to her husband's death?  "Don't look at me.  I don't know who did it."

Evelyn's father, Donald MacLean, also worked for the Hamilton Street Railway.  When she was younger, Evelyn had been known to make frequent shopping trips, with handfuls of nickels, the fee for a ride on the HSR.  People were suspicious that her father was dipping into the coffers of the HSR.

Hamilton Street Railway circa 1947 courtesy

Mrs. Dick hired lawyer J. J. Sullivan to defend her during the 1946 trial.  Hamiltonians lined up outside the courthouse to get a glimpse of the villainess.  At one point during the trail, the prosecutor asked Evelyn how many men she had slept with.  "Was it 400?  300?"  "150 was her response.  And his son was one of them," she added, pointing to the judge.  After a short trail, Evelyn Dick was convicted of murder and sentenced to hang.

However, Mrs. Dick hired then unknown lawyer J. J. Robinette to launch an appeal.  Once again, Hamiltonians lined up outside the courtroom hoping to get a seat inside.  It was the talk of the town. J. J. Robinette was able to get an acquittal as a result of a technicality.  Her father, Mr. Maclean, did serve five years for his role as an accomplice, however.  It was suspected that he sawed the limbs from the body in his basement.

J. J. Robinette courtesy  

Just when Evelyn thought she would walk free, however, police made a gruesome discovery in her Carrick Avenue home:  a baby encased in cement inside a suitcase.  Once again, Mrs. Dick was on trial.  This time, the conviction stuck.  The villainess went to jail for the murder of her child.  While she was supposed to serve a significant sentence, she was released after only 11 years in the Kingston Prison for Women.  Her whereabouts since her release remain a mystery.

Evelyn Dick courtesy

Note:  My great aunt Phyllis was one of the woman in line at the Hamilton Courthouse in 1946.  She stood out in the crowd since she was wearing a suit just like Evelyn Dick's.

For more information:

1.  Read Torso (Brian Vallee).
2.  Watch "Torso:  The Evelyn Dick Story" (TV movie).
3.  Watch a production of the play "How Could you Mrs. Dick?"
4.  Listen to the Forgotten Rebels song "Evelyn Dick" at     v=OAkxFSM_rNs.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

The Boston Tea Party

Here are ten facts you may not know about the Boston Tea Party.

1.  On December 16, 1773, dozens of Colonists boarded three ships and threw 342 crates of tea overboard into the Boston Harbor in an act of political protest.

2.  The Tea Act of 1773 left the three pence per pound duty on tea.  It irked the Colonists that they had no say in creating the Act.

3.  The Tea Act was really an attempt to bail out the fledgling East India Tea Company and gave them a monopoly on the tea market.

4.  George Washington condemned the Boston Tea Party and thought the perpetrators should compensate the East India Tea Company for damages.

5.  For decades, the identity of the Boston Tea Party participants was shrouded in secrecy.

6.  The event was not called the Boston Tea Party until a newspaper account of 1826.  Until then, it was referred to as "the destruction of the tea".

7.  Three months later, there was a sequel to the Boston Tea Party; however, this time only 30 crates of tea were thrown overboard.

8.  Subsequent tea parties were held in New York, Annapolis and Charleston, South Carolina.

9.  It is estimated that the perpetrators poured 92,000 pounds of tea overboard, enough to fill 18.5 million tea bags.  The present day value of the destroyed tea is $1 million.

10.  One man, John Crane, was knocked unconscious by a falling crate of tea.  Thought to be dead, he was hidden by his fellow saboteurs and woke up hours later.

Boston Tea Party courtesy 

Tuesday 28 October 2014

The Mayflower

I remember two things about visiting the Mayflower in Plymouth, Massachusetts forty years ago:  my dad had to bend over on the decks because the pilgrims were significantly shorter than us and my mom bought me a silver pin of the ship at the gift shop.  Here is the history of the famous ship.

The Mayflower was a Dutch cargo fluyt that weighed 180 tons and measured 110 feet long.  It had four decks (main, gun, cargo) and three masts.  Square-rigged and beak-bowed, it had castle-like structures at its fore and aft, making progress slow against the prevailing winds.  Hence, the trip from England to America took over two months to complete.

Master Christopher Jones planned out the route of the Mayflower.  The ship first disembarked in July of 1620 filled with 135 people, both passengers and crew.  Many of the passengers were Separatists, wanting to separate from the Church of England.  However, hired hands and indentured servants were also on board, including four young children (long before the British Home Children came to Canada).

The Mayflower met up with another ship, the Speedwell, which sprang a leak and was abandonned, its passengers joining those on the Mayflower.  In September 1620, the ship disembarked from Plymouth, England to sail to the New World.  Its cargo deck held cannon, shot and gunpowder, just in case pirates were lurking in the Atlantic.  Its cargo hold held live sheep, poultry, pigs and goats along with food and supplies.  Its captain navigated using a compass and kept time with an hourglass.

With the voyage taking longer than expected, the food supply grew low.  Rather than risking drinking the untreated water, most drank beer on board the ship (although that seems hard to believe in case of the Puritans on board).  To entertain themselves, passengers played cards like Nine Men's Morris. Winds were strong resulting in many cases of seasickness.  Miraculously, only two deaths were reported on the voyage.

The Pilgrims' planned destination was the Virginia Colony.  However, in November 1620, with the winter approaching, they decided to dock at Provincetown, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.  There, after stealing corn and getting in a skirmish with the Natives, they decided to flee.  In December, they reached Plymouth.  While still on board the ship, they signed the Mayflower Compact, a list of rules that they would follow in the new colony.

The first winter was cruel.  The Pilgrims stayed on board the ship since they did not have dwellings to live in yet.  In the closed quarters of the ship, scurvy, pneumonia and tuberculosis ran rampant. Half of the passengers and crew perished.

The following spring, the crew of the Mayflower returned to England, taking less than half the time thanks to the prevailing winds at their backs.  That fall, the Pilgrims, thankful for their bountiful harvest, celebrated the first Thanksgiving.  Three years later, the Mayflower was scrapped.

In 1956, a Mayflower II was built.  It sailed to America the following spring, following a similar route to that of the original ship.. The Mayflower II docked at Plymouth, Massachusetts where it became a floating museum.  In 1970, marking the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrim's landing, the ship was taken over by the Natives to protest their poor treatment.  The issue was resolved and the Mayflower II still floats at Plymouth Rock.

Monday 27 October 2014

Plymouth Rock

"This rock has become an object of veneration in the United States.  I have seen bits and pieces of it carefully preserved in several towns in the Union.  Does this sufficiently show that all human power and greatness is in the soul of man?  Here is a stone in which the feet of a few outcasts pressed for an instant; and the stone becomes famous; it is treasured by a great nation; its very dust is shared as a relic."  (Alexis de Tocqueville, upon the occasion of his visit from France, 1834)

Plymouth Rock, on which 135 Pilgrims first landed in 1620, courtesy

Forty years ago, when my family visited Boston, we made the pilgrimage to Plymouth Rock.  Two things stood out in my seven-year-old mind:  the fact that my dad had to bend over when we explored the decks of the Mayflower and the bronze pilgrim figurine that my mom bought me at the gift shop. Here is the history of the great rock..

Plymouth, located on the Atlantic Ocean 45 miles south of Boston, is where the Pilgrims chose to land in 1620.  Alexis de Tocqueville called them outcasts as they were a group of separatists fleeing the persecution of the Church of England.  The group, numbering in the dozens, had first landed at Provincetown, Massachusetts on Cape Cod in November.  After stealing some corn, getting in a skirmish with the Natives and failing to find a good place to settle, they set off again.  

Henry Bacon's painting circa 1834 courtesy

On a blustery December day, they landed at Plymouth where they happened upon a giant rock which served as a natural dock.  They decided to call it Plymouth after the town that they had disembarked from in England.  Relieved to have reached land, grateful to have survived that first winter and thankful for God's bountiful harvest that first summer, the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving the following November.  

Elder Faunce, in the "Story of the Pilgrim Fathers" (1841), confirmed that his father landed at the same rock in 1623 upon arriving from England.  In 1774, on the eve of the American Revolution, the giant rock was split in two, the top half remaining at the site, the bottom half being relocated to the town's meeting house in Plymouth.  Passersby would sometimes chip pieces off the stone as keepsakes.

The 1867 structure courtesy

The rock remained there for 50 years.  In 1834, it was relocated to Pilgrim Hall where a Victorian Canopy was built around it in 1867.  As in the past, tourists would sometimes steal pieces of the rock as souvenirs.

In 1880, the top half of the rock was re-attached to the bottom half of the rock at the Atlantic shoreline.  The 1620 date was carved into the rock at that time.  Estimated to weigh 20,000 pounds in 1620, the rock now measures about a third of its original size.  

While the rock has lost much of its weight, it has not lost its intrigue.  Nearly one million people flock to Plymouth each year to view the rock, a tad more than first landed on it almost 400 years ago.

The Parthenon-like portico circa 1970's, the way it would have looked when I visited on my Boston trip courtesy

Sunday 26 October 2014

The House that Peter Tufts Built

I was tutoring my friend's son last night.  He was reading an excerpt about the Pilgrims and the Puritans.  It turns out that the Pilgrims, who sailed to America in 1620, wanted to separate from the Church of England.  The Puritans, who sailed to America in 1630, wanted to remain part of the Church of England, albeit with some changes.

Peter Tufts, whom I mentioned in my last blog, is believed to have come to America from England in 1632, possibly aboard the Griffin.  Given the date, I wonder if he was one of the Puritans.  He settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts, outside of Boston.  A multi-talented man, one of his jobs was to run a penny ferry on the Charles River.

Perhaps his biggest claim to fame, however, was the house he built in Medford, Massachusetts around 1677.  Now a museum, it is believed to be the oldest brick house in America.  Originally,the colonial home was known as the Cradock House, after one of the founding members of the Massachusetts Bay Company.  However, it was later discovered that Cradock only owned the land and had never even visited the area.  Later, Peter Tufts purchased the land from Richard Russell and built the house.  He hired brick mason William Bucknam from England to do the work.

The house, built in the American colonial design, is known as the "fort" or "garrison house" due to its thick walls and portholes.  I remember visiting the site when I was a little girl.  Our tour guide explained to us that, given that the house was built during the American Revolution, the designers were of a wartime mentality.  The portholes could be used to poke a rifle through.  The thick walls, of course, would serve as a good resistance to enemy fire.

Captain Peter Tufts sold the house to his son, Peter Jr., in 1680, who resided there for many years.  In 1728, the eastern side of the house was sold to Edward Oakes.  In 1887, the house was scheduled for demolition.  However, Samuel Lawrence saved it from such a fate by purchasing it as a wedding gift for his daughter.  At that time the house was remodelled in the Colonial Revival style.

In 1892, when the city of Medford, Massachusetts was incorporated, an image of the house was placed on its seal.  In 1932, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities bought the house to open it as a museum.  Almost 50 years later, it was purchased by the Medford Historical Society.

Saturday 25 October 2014

Charles River Esplanade: Boston's Central Park

boston skyline

View of Charles River and Boston skyline courtesy

If you read my post "The Boston Angel" ( you'll know that a kind man helped my family and I find our way out of Boston this fall. He took us on a picturesque route along the Charles River.  As the sun glistened off the blue water, the leaves along its banks bloomed in golds and scarlets.  As our car followed the contour of the Charles River, my dad said that we had a Tufts ancestor who started a penny ferry along its waterways.  I'm assuming that was in the 1800's.  I wanted to find out more about the beautiful river.

The Boston Tea Party circa 1773 courtesy

The Charles River, named by King Charles, spans the length of 80 miles.  Ironically it was at the mouth of the Charles River that the famous Boston Tea Party took place, a protest against British rule.  According to the author of Inventing the Charles River, the waterway looked quite different 200 years ago:  it was full of salt marshes and mud flats.  Hardly the place someone would go for an afternoon stroll.

A watch factory in Waltham, Mass. courtesy

Bostonians soon discovered that the river's water could be used to harness power for mills which sprang up along its banks.  With the Industrial Revolutions came textile factories.  With the invention of the train, came railway beds.  As Boston grew, the Charles River served as a natural border between the city and its neighbour, Cambridge.  It also served as a location for university campuses: Harvard, Boston and M.I.T.  Young students would row along the Charles river.  Some would even swim in the river, a welcome respite in the dog days of summer.

Harvard University campus courtesy

Twenty parks were built along the banks of the Charles between Boston and Cambridge.  Bostonians would picnic there and go for long walks along the the Charles River Esplanade.  Dubbed "Boston's Central Park", it was an oasis of nature inside the great metropolis.

Spring on the Charles River Esplanade courtesy

But the oasis did not last forever.  Fifty years ago, the Charles River was deemed toxic.  The city placed a ban on swimming in its murky depths.  As recently as 1995, the water quality was given a "D".  A group of environmentalists teamed up to clean up the river.  Eight years ago, competitive swimmers started racing in its waters.  Last year, after the river was given a "B" rating, the first official public swim was held there.  Men, women and children frolicked in the water.  Most were too young to remember a time when Bostonians could swim in the river.  The Charles is back!

Boston-07/13/13 _The Charles River Conservancy hosted the 1st public swim in the Charles River in 50 years, as participants took the plunge at a boat dock near the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade. The Longfellow Bridge is in the distance as swimmer frolic in the Charles. Globe staff photo by John Tlumacki(metro)

First public swim in July of 2013 courtesy

Friday 24 October 2014

America in Autumn

Autumn Art - Boston Charles River in Autumn by John Burk

1.  Boston's Charles River in autumn courtesy

2.  Washington's Potomac in autumn courtesy

3.  New York's Hudson River in autumn courtesy

4.  Chicago's Lake Michigan in autumn courtesy

5.  Philadelphia in autumn courtesy

6.  Nashville, Tennessee in autumn courtesy

7.  Charlotte, North Carolina courtesy

8. St. Louis courtesy

9.  Richmond, Virginia courtesy

10.  Louisville, Kentucky courtesy

Thursday 23 October 2014

Storms Make a Tree's Roots Grow Deeper

Here are ten facts about tree roots.

1.  Storms make a tree's roots grow deeper.  A rainstorm usually leaves lots of water on the ground, making the soil erode.  Therefore, the roots have to grow deeper into the soil.  Storms also bring strong winds, which can stimulate the growth of the tree.

2.  Most tree roots do not grow more than 12 inches into the soil, but can grow as much as 20 feet deep.

3.  Tree roots often extend two to three times the width of the tree's crown.

4.  Roots, unlike leaves, do not have green chlorophyll.

5.  Roots do not have a central pith (soft central tissue) like the trunk.

6.  Roots store more starch than the trunk.

7.   Roots anchor the tree, take in water and nutrients from the soil and keep the tree stable.

8.  Damaging the roots of a tree causes damage to the branches.

9.  An apple tree can have as many as 17 million root hairs.

10.  Tap roots (very deep roots) generally do not form on trees in urban landscapes.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

A Fallen Soldier

My high school history teacher, Dr. Cooke, told us an interesting story one day.  His colleague, Mr. Blackborrow, was a veteran of World War II.  A few years before my class arrived at Westmount, they had held a Remembrance Day assembly.  Someone played the national anthem.  One student refused to stand up for O Canada.  Before the first line of the song was finished, Mr. Blackborrow hopped over several benches in the auditorium, grabbed the hoodlum by the scruff of the neck, and lifted him up to a standing position.

Whatever happened to the respect we used to have for our soldiers?  How could someone attack an unarmed soldier guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?  I googled the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and discovered another disturbing fact.  The tomb, which was first established in 2000, did not get a guard until 2006.  The reason?  On Canada Day of that year, after Ottawa's giant fireworks display, someone caught three young men peeing on the tomb.  Will people stop at nothing to desecrate the memory of a fallen soldier?

While on the one hand, I am disillusioned by the lack of respect some people show to our soldiers, I am heartened by the outpouring of support for Corporal Nathan Cirillo who died today.  What a heartwarming story to hear about the two women who stopped to administer CPR to the dying soldier; it would have been so much easier to run the other way.  I am heartened to hear about the grey haired Sergeant at Arms who stopped the terrorist on Parliament Hill.  His bold response likely saved dozens of lives.

I am heartened by the images of the days following the Ottawa attack:  the Sergeant at Arms, holding back tears, carrying the mace into Parliament to a standing ovation...the endless cars lining the route of the Highway of Heroes...the fire trucks, their ladders raised, their operators perched on top saluting our fallen soldier...civilians dotting the overpasses to pay tribute to our hero...the maple leaf blowing in the breeze at half mast...Corporal Cirillo's dogs poking their heads under the fence, a forlorn look in their eyes.

View image on Twitter

Thank you, Corporal Cirillo, for your ultimate sacrifice!

May we stand on guard for our fallen soldier.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Falling for Picture Books

Here are recommended picture books for fall:

1.  Thanks for Thanksgiving (Julie Markes)

2.  One Little Two Little Three Little Pilgrims (B.G. Hennessey)

3.  I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie (Alison Jackson)

4.  Turkey Trouble (Wendi Silvano)

5.  Apple Pie that Papa Baked (Lauren Thomspon)

6.  Pumpkin Soup (Helen Cooper)

7.  Too Many Pumpkins (Linda White)

8.  Seed by Seed:  The Legend and Legacy of John "Appleseed" Chapman (Esme Codell)

9.  Apple Picking Time (Michele Benoit Slawson)

10.  One More Acorn (Don Freeman)

Monday 20 October 2014

Falling for Chapter Books

Here are ten chapter books recommended for fall.

1.  The Best Halloween Ever (Barbara Robinson)

2.  Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve (Mary Pope Osborne)

3.  The Skeleton in the Smithsonian (Ron Roy)

4.  Thanksgiving on Thursday (Mary Pope Osborne)

5.  The Great Turkey Walk (Kathleen Karr)

6.  The Candy Corn Contest (Patricia Reilly Giff)

7.  The Peculiar Pumpkin Thief (Geronimo Stilton)

8.  Coyote Autumn (Bill Wallace)

9.  Apple Orchard Race (Abby Klein)

10.  There's an Owl in the Shower (Jean Craighead George)

Sunday 19 October 2014

Congratulations, Cassandra!

I remember the day my niece, Cassandra, was born.  She had dark eyes and dark hair.  Her hair stuck straight up on her head like a porcupine.  I remember the flowered dress she wore to my wedding, still a babe in her mother’s arms.  I remember her running around double fisting bologna at the Germania Club after my mother-in-law passed away.  "Go! Go! Go!" was the toddler’s motto.  

Cassandra made beautiful music with the Hamilton Children's Choir.  She and her sister Amanda filled the old St. James Anglican Church with song.  Cassandra helped her sister blow out the candles on their birthday cake at their double birthday party.  Around the time she turned seven, she had just learned the formula for a joke and she made up one herself:  “What do you call a girl standing on a cat? --  A statue.”  Rob and I got a kick out of that one. 

Cassandra and her sister munched on chocolate Easter bunnies at my house on Thanksgiving Day 1998.  I wondered how they lasted for six months in their fridge without being gobbled up.  Later that year, when Rob and I were in the process of adopting our newborn son, Cassandra suggested that we take Thomas to Grandma and Grandpa's house for three weeks to hide out, just in case his birth parents changed their mind.  That's how much she wanted a new cousin!  

Cassandra used to come for sleepovers at my house with her sister.  Rob used to take them to Lynden Park Mall shopping sometimes.  Their favourite store was Claire’s.  Cassandra always did have a flair for fashion. 

I remember Cassandra’s first communion, dressed in a pretty white gown, her dark hair in ringlets.  I remember her grade 8 Graduation.  I remember her Grade 12 Graduation.  She was the life of the party! 

Tonight, to the strains of a pianist, cellist, guitarist and three violinists, Cassandra got engaged.  An ensemble of Kyle's friends played her favourite song, "Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die".  

What happened to the past 23 years?  Congratulations, Cassandra!  May God bless you and Kyle in your forthcoming marriage!


"Heroes get remembered, but legends never die" quote by Babe Ruth courtesy

Thursday 16 October 2014

Autumn Magic

1.  Amazing Autumn Scene courtesy

2,  Ducks in Lake courtesy

3,  Autumn Church Scene courtesy

4.  Tunnel courtesy

5.  Railroad tracks courtesy

6.  Red leaves courtesy

9.  Bridge courtesy

10.  Tree courtesy

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Peeling Back the Foil

What do you do with two hundred and sixty tons of turkey leftover from Thanksgiving?  That was the question that Gilbert and Clark Swanson asked themselves after they overestimated the number of turkeys that would sell over Thanksgiving 1953.  They rented a refrigerated car and stuffed it full of turkeys.  As the turkeys rode the rails, they challenged their employees to come up with a more economical solution to the problem.

Nebraska's Gerry Thomas, a Swanson salesman, made a trip to Pan-Am in Pittsburgh to study their frozen dinners served on their airplanes.  He "borrowed" one of their aluminum trays, then set to work redesigning it into three, rather than one, compartments.  While the frozen dinner idea had been around for about a decade, no one had married the frozen dinner to TV; that is, until Mr. Thomas.  By 1953, most middle-class American households no longer had a maid.  But they did have a TV set -- 33 million of them.  Why not market the dinners as TV dinners?  Gerry even designed the box like a TV set complete with a volume knob.


Swanson assembled two dozen women in the Fall of 1953.  Armed with spatulas and ice cream scoops, the women assembled 5000 dinners complete with turkey slices, sweet potatoes, peas and cornbread dressing.  Each TV dinner was priced at 98 cents.  Directions on the box recommended that the dinner be reheated for only 25 minutes.

One Swanson ad showed a woman arriving home at dinner time and saying to her husband;  "I'm late, but dinner won't be."  While Gerry Thomas received hate mail from some men, complaining that they wanted their wives to cook from scratch as their mothers had, the majority of Americans seemed to warm up to the idea of a TV dinner.  In the first year alone, Swanson sold 10 million.

By 1960, Swanson added a fourth compartment:  dessert.  Two years later, they officially dropped the name TV dinner.  However, the notion stuck.  With the advent of microwaves, the foil tray was replaced by a plastic one.  At over 60 years old,, the TV dinner is still going strong.