CHRISTINA (MacDONALD) DOUGLAS
The seaside town of Dornoch, Sutherland on the East Coast of Scotland was Chrissie's birthplace. She was baptized in Dornoch Cathedral. Her father William MacDonald immigrated to Canada in 1920 to work on a farm near Yellow Grass.
A few months later in October 1920 she crossed the Atlantic Ocean by boat with her mother Jessie (Ross) MacDonald landing in Montreal. There they boarded a train for the trip across Canada to Saskatchewan. She was too young to remember but her mother said it was a frightening experience for a young woman with a child.
Her father rented a farm four miles north of McTaggart in 1921 where her three sisters and one brother were born.
School was two miles from their home. She walked half a mile to where
she was picked up by a neighbour family driving a team and democrat (small
buggy). When she was older she drove her own horse and buggy or rode horse
back to school, carrying an oat-sheaf in the buggy or a bag of oats tied
on the saddle to feed her horse at noon. On a cold winter day her father
drove her and her brother and sisters in a bob sleigh with straw and robes
to keep warm.
That was the way they traveled on their family's winter outings that included Christmas concerts, local dances and visits to neighbours. They especially enjoyed their visits to the Kennedy's who had one of the first radios with two earphones. They all took turns listening.
|At school in the cold weather they sat with their jackets and boots
on until the 'Good Cheer Stove' put out enough heat to thaw out their feet
and inkwells on their desk. Their recesses and noon hours were often spent
skating on a nearby pond when it was frozen. During the warm weather they
sometimes got an unscheduled holiday when a family of skunks decided to
make a nest beneath the school.
Teachers in those days had thirty to forty pupils in various grades one to eight, along with a few in grades nine and ten who required some guidance with correspondence courses, all in one room.
For grade eleven and twelve she attended McTaggart High School, driving by horse and buggy in good weather. When the weather turned bad she would stay in McTaggart in a room above the store which was rented to her. A few years later the store burned down.
She remembers the day they got their first car, a brand new Model T Ford. You can see her in the back seat of the picture below. Side curtains snapped into place as protection from the cold and wind. A far cry from today's comfortable way of travel but at that time a car was a luxury.
|As a teenager she went to work helping different families in the area,
receiving five to ten dollars a month. The McGillvary family moved their
cattle to Manitoba to find feed. She went with them to tend the children
and spent the next two years in Reston working for Dr. C.C.Casmpbell. She
never received any letters from home, as her parents had no money for stamps
(3 cents at the time).
Things were looking up!
|World War II broke out and ration coupons were issued for gasoline, sugar and other necessities that were in short supply. Many of her school chums joined the forces, some were killed in action, some taken prisoners of war and others returned to begin a new life.|
|On October 14, 1940 she married Albert
Douglas, a childhood neighbour. They lived on Albert's family farm
one half mile from where she spent her childhood years.
The Wedding Party - left to right by nose
There they raised four sons and enjoyed twenty-seven happy years before building a house in Weyburn in 1968. Their doors were never locked during those years. Vandalism was unheard of.
Sons Ross Bruce Owen & Eric
|During those years Chrissie involved herself in many community activities.
She served on 4H Club booth committees, McTaggart Hall committees, Prairie
View Community Club, Queen Elizabeth Home & School, president, historian
and catering committees for the Knox Presbyterian Church Women, Weyburn
City committees, fair judging, and member of the Priscilla Club, a ladies
She was a member of the Sir Frederick Haultain Chapter of the IODE and served on the IODE's Provincial Executive for five years. Sir Frederick's hat is in the IODE section of the Weyburn Museum.
|She took a Floral Design course in Olds, Alberta in 1971 and worked
in the Floral Arts Shop on 3rd St. in Weyburn.
She served on the Weyburn Arts Council, Canada Week Discovery Train committee, Weyburn Diamond 73 committee, and compiled Weyburn City's 75 Year History Book.
|For many years Chrissie sewed all her own cloths and made her own hats. Chrissie's personal interests have included painting (pastel, oil & water colour), ceramics, brush & ink art, calligraphy, horticulture and hydroponics. Her activities have included dancing, curling, skating, cross-country skiing, and of course her award winning back yard perenniel garden.|
Having been elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Assiniboia in 1968, Albert spent most of his time in Ottawa. Chrissie acted as his contact for the constituency and spent some time in the House of Commons attending special occasions such as the opening of the Parliament. She was invited to a reception held to recognize the success of the first astronauts.
A highlight for Chrissie was hosting Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau
and Wheat Board Minister Otto Lang at a picnic at the farm with many neighbours
|After a brief illness, Albert died in 1971. Following his death she became involved in volunteer work with the church and with various committees such as Weyburn Arts Council, the Diamond 73 Committee, Canada Week 79 as well as with the IODE, where she served on the Provincial Executive for several years.|
|Travelling to different parts of the world has been an enjoyable part
of her retired life. Visiting the Holy Land made a lasting impression.
Chrissie has also toured Europe, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji
and Tahiti and many areas of Canada and the United States. She has enjoyed
observing the different lifestyles throughout the world.
Living through the best of times and the worst of times has made her appreciate what we have now, a standard of living to which most parts of the world are unaccustomed.
She is sure there will be many changes in the years to come. She feels that another economic depression will occur, but in a different form than the one she lived through. However, her experience leaves her firmly convinced that learning to accept and adjust to different situations builds character.
March 2007 Chrissie was honoured at a surprise 90th birthday party attended
by friends and family from across Canada. To read about it use the red
arrow on the left to make your way back to the Main
Menu and then select Family
Events.or click here Chrissies
90th to display the Menu for that Family Event.
Chrissie's hope is that her grandchildren and great grandchildren will continue to enjoy peace and prosperity.