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Mary MacDonald
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 Sydney, Cape Breton County  Birth Place
Mary MacDonald
Màiri ni'n Eachainn Hughie Raghnaill
Sydney, Cape Breton County

Settled by emigrants from North Uist and Berneray, for generations Loch Lomond was noted for its vibrant Gaelic singing tradition. Milling frolics, psalm singing and visiting were important aspects of the social life of the community there. Long time Sydney resident Mary MacDonald was born and raised in Loch Lomond not far from the lake shores. Her father was a farmer and blacksmith whose forge was a popular place for locals to congregate. Her mother was descended from a Danish emigrant who married a local woman, learned Gaelic and quickly assimilated with his Scottish neighbours. MacDonald recalls the sense of community and wonderful neighbours her family enjoyed in Loch Lomond. When she was old enough, Mary moved to Sydney to attend high school. From there she went to Normal College where she earned her teaching licence. After marrying another resident of Loch Lomond, MacDonald taught school in Whitney Pier for more than three decades. For several years, she cared for her mother as well; speaking Gaelic with her regularly. Today Mary continues to play the organ in church, bake regularly and keep abreast of news from Loch Lomond through her sister - a life-long resident. - Shamus

Interviewed by Jim Watson
Camera operated by Shamus Y. MacDonald
December 06, 2006

Total Play Time: 01:01:42

00:12 Mary introduces herself
01:48 the farm; her father was a blacksmith; the garden
04:37 the children worked in the garden; bugs in the garden
06:43-08:23 talking about her father's work View | Listen | Transcript
08:26 the people of Loch Lomond were from North Uist; Johnny Allan MacDonald
09:36 land grants; the United Church and Gàidhlig services with presenting
14:52 food; fish
16:42-18:03 keeping the house warm; how her mother lit the fire View | Listen
18:09 the store nearby; kerosene lamps
22:44 Holy Charlie
23:52 making marag; keeping meat
28:18 chickens
29:40 she married a MacDonald fellow; the Holmes' were from Denmark
35:19 pastimes
38:33 parts of the year; Halloween; Christmas
42:57 summer work
44:58-46:35 oatmeal View | Listen
46:40 fairies; the evil eye; signs
49:34 Mary tells how she learned the Gàidhlig
50:38 thistles
51:59-53:03 black flies, horse flies etc View | Listen
54:58 hardwood
55:57 the weather; farming

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