500 Days of Women | Day III | Dora Mackenzie

Today, March 23, 2019 marks the occasion of what would have been my grandmother’s 109th birthday. Grandma Dora is one of the most important influences in my life. She was a mixture of modern and traditional: she never wore pants but insisted on owning her own livestock and keeping her money separate.
Dora’s community involvement, 1967
Colourized image of Bluenose

Mary (Dora) Dorathea MacLeod was born on March 23, 1910, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the eldest of six children. Dora was proud of her Celtic roots: she used to tell us the story of how her mother’s uncles built the famed schooner Bluenose (Smith & Rhuland shipbuilders, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia). When Dora was two, her family journeyed west to Saskatchewan, where she live most of her life.

Bloodstone: Dora’s birthstone and favorite rock

Dora was a talented violinist and artist and choose to pursue one of the only career options for women of her era: teaching. In 1934, a head injury from horse and buggy accident resulted in loss of ability to walk, speak and care for herself. Her mother and my grandfather nursed Dora back to health.

It was like having pirate’s treasure. She taught me that a rock can be pretty just for being itself, it doesn’t have to be an emerald.

My sister Tara on Grandma’s rock collecting and jewelry making

I grew up living in the same farmyard as my grandparents and as a toddler insisted on calling them Big Poppa and ‘Lil Poppa (I guess this is what they mean when they say children learn gender norms!). Grandma encouraged me to pursue higher education and helped pay for my first degree. In later years, she lived with my family.

L to R: Aunt Mabel, me, my daughter Andrea, Grandma Dora, 1993

She had a wild temper and stubborn nature that seems to have been passed down the family line. Picking flowers from her garden, playing her violin, eating garden produce, and other normal kid stunts would often bring the wrath of Grandma Dora. I loved her immensely.

Peace 🕊 & 💗 Progress,
Colleen

500 Days of Women

4 thoughts on “500 Days of Women | Day III | Dora Mackenzie

  1. Tara

    She was amazing in so many ways, often when I hesitate to do something I remember the tiny woman driving a huge 1/2 tone truck through which she saw the road basically through the sliver of road exposed between the inner curve of the steering wheel and the dashboard!

    Then I feel silly for hesitating and jump in with both feet. I (unknowingly, I had forgotten today’s date) felt driven to work in the garden all day and I feel her (and Mum’s) hands on my shoulder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 500 Days of Women | Day 16 | Progress, Not Perfection – Doc MacLeod's Musings

  3. Pingback: Deep Dive into Benzos | Part 2 of 3 |A Skinless Grape – Doc MacLeod's Musings

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