These two women, Grace Labbe’ and Anne Burns-one led me to Home Economics, the other made me want to stay and make a difference.
Grace Labbe’ was my Grade Ten (1965) Home Ec teacher in Ottawa at Notre Dame High School. Until her death notice of July 2022, I had no idea where she was. She was not in the OHEA archives, but I did know she graduated from St Francis Xavier. She was young and beautiful and could sew. She told her young students she had decorated her dorm room in white. It was work but she loved it. Right then and there I decided to become a Home Economist. My Mum encouraged me because she was Halifax born and my grandmother had a friend who graduated from Mount St Vincent, Mrs. Ethel Boyd. Her tea sandwich protocol I still follow.
I wrote a note to Paule Labbe’, Mrs. Labbe’s daughter, to let her know and I met Paule at the funeral. I cried; she was gracious.
Anne Burns, Aunt to Elizabeth Larmond-Elliot (Ottawa Home Economics) gave me my first Home Economics job, working at Health Canada, on her book-The Canadian Mother and Child. What a summer (1972), I learned much, is a vast understatement and I made a forever friend. She had graduated from Mount St Vincent in Halifax and became fast friends with my parents, Kae and Butch Boucher. I bet my Dad’s raspberry bushes still grow near her cottage property on the Gatineau River. She and Helen Sackville opened the door to emergency feeding in Canada and Anne spoke to Elizabeth to help me on my fourth-year research project on Canola. Anne also led me to contribute through the Government of Canada. I retired from government after 35 years. Anne’s honesty and integrity were part of that.
Thank you both—I wish every home economics/dietetic student in Canada the privilege to know such people. I try to pass the torch.
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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.