OHEA is pleased to introduce Cindy Christensen, Provisional Member to the Association. Welcome, Cindy!
Over the past decade, she has worked for various start-ups, non-profits, and governmental organizations throughout North America and Europe. She is passionate about diversity, inclusion, and equality in terms of technology implementation. Recently she founded the Institute for Innovation, Culture, and Technology, a social enterprise based in Ottawa which aims to empower marginalized individuals with the technical knowledge and tools to succeed in an evolving digital economy. Her research aims to increase awareness of various barriers faced by marginalized groups and seek ways to improve their user experience through accessible technology interventions and inclusive policy strategies. She is interested in becoming a home economist and she is currently working towards her P.H.E.c designation with the Ohio Education Association.
As part of celebrating World Home Economics Day on March 21, 2022, we
had the privilege to interview our very own Margaret Dickenson, a renowned author and award-winning Professional Home Economist. Read on to learn more about Margaret's journey and her remarkable career in home economics.
What does home economics mean to you?
Many may have their own perception of the term home economics. As for myself, it encompasses skills to equip one in creating a balanced, healthy, stable, and satisfying home/family life. This includes the ability to cook, understanding the nutritional quality of food and their preparation, efficiently practicing the management of household tasks, time and schedules, finances, and having some basic knowledge of apparel and sewing, plus of course, a focus on child-rearing and maintaining a happy family life. However, when asked about my degree, I always also specify that I am a graduate of Foods and Nutrition.
What are you most proud of in your career in home economics?
Numerous career successes, stem from my solid, diverse, and practical studies in home economics - and certainly, a passion to do my best, as well as a strong work ethic. I have indeed been blessed with many proud moments in my career.
Winning the latest two prestigious international awards is an amazing and significant recognition. “From the Ambassador’s Table - Blueprint for Creative Entertaining” was honored as for being a historically first cookbook specifically providing the blueprints for creative entertaining. (i.e.,: Deciding on the choice of event, how to organize the event, dealing with invitations and excepting invitations, designing appealing menus, working out seating plans, how to set a table, service of food and beverages, table manners and of course, a full repertoire of tantalizing recipes including hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, soups, salads, palate cleansers, main courses, accompaniments, desserts, finishing touches/chocolates and basic recipes.)
Also “Margaret‘s Table - Easy Cooking and Inspiring Entertaining” received one of the very few special awards as a tribute to my expertise in entertaining. This was a remarkable international salute to my well-honed art in developing and practicing a very unique and personal style of successful and memorable entertaining.
There is a quote by Maya Angelou that I am especially fond of: “People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” When it comes to entertaining her words ring very true to me. I always want to “Wow” my guests and leave them enchanted with special memories long after the event.
No doubt, in addition to having had my own lifestyle and cooking TV series, seeing these cookbooks win a total of 11 international awards, I’m also particularly proud of having been named “Alumna of Honour 2011” for the University of Guelph.
In Memory of Robyn Miriam Clare
loving nieces and nephews in Alberta, British Columbia and London, Ontario. She was predeceased by her father, Edward Pierce, mother Mayme Buchanan, and her sisters, Jocelyn and Marion. She leaves behind many adoring friends at Amica Bayview Gardens, who will miss her spirit and joy for life. In her final days, Robyn was blessed to be surrounded by the love and support of all her daughters and grandchildren. Born in Estevan, Saskatchewan in 1922, Robyn graduated in 1944 from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in Home Economics. Shortly thereafter, while working as a dietician at Vancouver General, Robyn met and married her handsome Harvey, who was struck by her dazzling looks and vivacity. They were married for 65 years. She and Harvey moved to Montreal, then subsequently to Sarnia, and back to Montreal (where her four children were born), finally settling in Toronto. Despite her move to the East, Robyn kept her prairie spirit and deep bond with the West. Wherever she went, Robyn worked hard to make a beautiful home for her family. She was a generous and active member of her community, serving on the board of Visiting Homemakers and volunteering at the Oriole York Mills United Church. She and Harvey enjoyed the theatre, symphony, and concerts in Toronto and loved their yearly outings to Shaw and Stratford. In their retirement years, their love for new experiences, sights and adventures kept Robyn and Harvey traveling together, and with lifelong friends, for many years. After Harvey passed away in 2011, Robyn, fiercely independent, continued to socially flourish in her wonderful surroundings at Amica. Robyn was a long-time member of the Donalda Club where she enjoyed golf, curling, dancing, and many social events. A consummate cook and hostess, she loved to entertain family and friends and she welcomed many family visitors from the West. Many Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners were attended by the whole family at her home, where all enjoyed her delicious cuisine. Robyn was a force to be reckoned with, gifted with boundless energy and strength. She embodied style and elegance in her dress and in her home. She was an accomplished pianist, a skilled bridge player and a spirited conversationalist who stayed current with political, social, and world events. She loved to laugh and was always the life of the party. Robyn lived each of her 99 years to their fullest. A private memorial service will be held for the family. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.
Published by Toronto Star on Mar. 12, 2022.
View Robyn's original obituary by clicking here.
In Memory of Elizabeth Crosbie
CROSBIE, ELIZABETH ANN September 24, 1934 September 8, 2021 With great sadness we announce the peaceful passing of Elizabeth Ann Crosbie (Betty Ann, nee Baldwin) at Mount Sinai Hospital on September 8, 2021, after a brief illness, just 2 weeks shy of her 87th birthday. A true trailblazer, Betty Ann completed a BSc at University of Toronto in Home Economics in 1957, going on to have an extended career in education and writing. Her career began with teaching Home Economics to high school students, going on to teaching History of Costume (at University of Toronto), completing her time there in 1977. She went on to teach Women's Studies (at Ryerson), Fashion History (at Sheridan College), Evolution of Fashion (at IAD), with the highlight being her four summers teaching 20th Century Fashion near Nice on the Cote d'Azur. As part of her hands-on interest in fashion and clothing, she authored a bi-weekly column for the Toronto Star called Made To Measure for 23 years. She never lost her sharp eye for a good (or not so good) piece of clothing, or a fashion faux-pas in any period movie or TV show. She was also an avid traveller, completing 69 trips, all very carefully documented. Her passion for travel superseded all else, with a particular soft spot for England (not the least West End shows), and the south of France. She passed this passion on to her children and grandchildren. But her fondest memories would have always included times spent at the cottage, which her father (Harry Baldwin) built himself on Mountain Lake, in Haliburton. She leaves behind her son, Ian Crosbie (Jolie Lin), and grandchildren, Megan, Nathalie, Marina, Julianne and Davis. She was tragically predeceased by her loving husband, Donald Archibald Crosbie, her son, Douglas Baldwin Crosbie and daughter-in-law, Christine Helena Crosbie (nee Schmidt). She will also be missed by her many nephews and nieces, cousins and friends. The family extends thanks to the team at Mount Sinai Hospital for their attentive care and assistance during Betty Ann's final days. The family plans to hold a joint celebration of life in spring 2022 subject to COVID restrictions. In Betty Ann's memory, donations may be made to a charity of your choice.
Published by the Toronto Star on September 24, 2021. Click here to view Elizabeth's official obituary.
Having been invited to write this blog for the Ontario Home Economics Association, I thought I’d start by sharing a sample of fond memories of my 30.5 years in the classroom. After a frenzy of reading memorabilia back to 1971, I had material for multiple pages. Yes, I AM one of those teachers who saved every thank you card I ever received. Thank you to all my former students!
Let’s start with “ Parenting” (now “Raising Healthy Children“) .
I taught the grade 11 Parenting course at least 35 times and loved it. It was our most popular Family Studies (Social Sciences) course and attracted large numbers of males and females. The first day in class was memorable. This is a True Story! The students would come to class wanting to know when they would get their assignments. Seriously.
In the parenting course, simulations that put students in the role of partner, parent and/or caregiver are effective teaching tools, popular with parents ( I still have a picture of the proud “grandparents” to their daughter’s “egg baby”) and excellent exposure to the rest of the school. I have been told that asking for assignments on the first day is unique.
A few years ago, I met a former student (now a lawyer) with his son and daughter. They were about 8 and 10. After the usual introductions, I asked them how their Dad was doing as a parent, since I had taught both their Dad and their aunt, his sister. As their Dad grinned behind them, they thought for a minute and then gave me a careful and positive evaluation of his parenting skills: “ firm and fair, follows through on discipline, plays with us and reads to us every night. All in all, he’s a pretty good Dad”, they said. I loved meeting the three of them. Big perk of the job.
Anyone who has taught high-school students knows that being the “big tough guy” is part of the developing persona of young males. Since a number of them took Parenting, it gave me an opportunity to see them in a different role, that of a loving uncle or big brother to a small child.
Having a children’s party as part of the curriculum was one of the assignments the students enjoyed. They would have to plan games, food and décor for a children’s party. And they could bring a small child ! I have to admire the parents of the pre-schoolers for allowing them to spend part of a day surrounded by teenagers. But they did. Perhaps too many regulations would prohibit this activity now, but these parties were a huge success. As the teacher, it gave me a chance to see my students as loving people; hugging and comforting their small charges. This interaction revealed teenagers for the wonderful people they are. Reports in the media don’t tell these stories enough. When our son was about 9 months old, I took him to a party with “ mummy’s “students. He immediately attached himself to the toughest young man in the class! I think he was attracted to his hair and jewelry! An awesome time was had by all. I was so proud of both of them. Our daughter, 4 years older and in regular school, was jealous.
Which leads me to our two children, who in their words, had the “best baby-sitters ever”. They wanted a “real” babysitter when we went out; “ real” by their definition being one of mummy’s or daddy’s students, not a grandparent. “They play games with us, build legos and teach us gymnastics and football ‘n’ stuff.” Our children are in their 30’s and still remember their favorite babysitters.
Family studies, unlike other subject areas, deals with the daily patterns of families and as such can promote a closer bond between student and teacher. Normally quiet students feel more comfortable sharing life experiences in class. How their parents met, how long their Mom was in labour before their birth, how much they like being with their nieces and nephews, and their plans for the future are comfortable topics for discussion. Frequently they stayed after class in groups or individually to talk about personal problems and ask for advice. Many Family Studies teachers are also qualified guidance counselors. It is a natural fit.
Over the years I was able to help a grade nine student learn some quick and easy meals to prepare for his younger siblings because his Mom worked nights. I had the honour of becoming a sort-of-Mom for a young man who had lost his Mom. We had “Mom and son” chats daily. Some of my “Families in Canada” students participated in the “Canadian Living” TV show to give advice to parents on the rearing of teenagers. Another great memory! And I’ve had to say good-bye to several of the “ best ever” who lost their battles with cancer. Devastating. Never forgotten.
I’ll end with a very special meeting at McDonald’s with a student I taught in my first year of teaching. She was in my “Housing and Interior Design" grade twelve course. Since I’ve always taken the word “Economist” very seriously in my teaching, I included money related skills in most classes. I had developed a “ How to Buy a House” game. That was what I called it so the students wouldn’t realize that math, real estate and legal jargon were part of the “game." Working in pairs, they “bought” a house, learned new words, did the math calculations up to and including “closing costs."
So here we are, both parents of adult children in line for a coffee. She said, “ I have been meaning to thank you for that great “buying a house game” we did in class years ago. It helped my husband and I when we were buying our house AND I passed along your advice to MY CHILDREN. That “game” was really helpful. THANKS. "
Best day ever. Forty-five years later.
Who wouldn’t want to teach Family Studies?
It is time for seeking nominations for the AGM OHEA awards, again!
Consider nominating a peer P.H.Ec. (Registered, New Graduate or Retired Member) for the OHEA Founder's Award who has contributed meaningful, and exemplary volunteer service to the Ontario Home Economics Association, the workplace, and the community-at-large for a number of years.
To nominate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of 100 words or less with the following information:
1. Name of the nominee
2. Why the nominee is worthy of the award.
Submission deadline: April 15, 2022.
The Board of Directors will review all nominations and decide on an awardee which will be announced at the May/June 2022 AGM. The winner will receive a plaque in the mail and will be recognized in the OHEA communications.
The Ontario Home Economics Association, a self-regulating body of professional Home Economists, promotes high professional standards among its members so that they may assist families and individuals to achieve and maintain a desirable quality of life.