A little Class Activity at Gonzaga…

May 21, 2015

Apparently he was involved with the Sophomore B class group in 1927. He is on the left second row, first person in the photo below.

1927 Keith as Sophomore

1927 Keith as Sophomore

In 1928 he was in the Junior “B” group.  Keith is in the second row on the right first person.  The personal comments are not writings in his book.

Keith in Junr B.

Keith in Junr B.

I am assuming these were class social and political groups for the students and they would plan activities for the class.

High School Days at Gonzaga: School Activities 1925 to 1927

May 14, 2015

Keith B. MacDonald, attended Gonzaga High School from 1925 to 1929.  Gonzaga is located in Spokane, Washington. Apparently the high school is still around but now it is at different location than the university campus.

Wikipedia called it a preparatory school in this following article:


The Gonzaga University has a history section on its website that is pretty informative.


In 2002, I traveled to Spokane with my husband and we visited the Foley Special Collections department of the John Kennedy Library at Gonzaga University.  There I did research on my father’s school days and will present my findings in future posts.

The John Kennedy Library at Gonzaga

The John Kennedy Library at Gonzaga

Among his personal possessions was the Gonzaga High School Department, Spokane, Washington catalogue which covers the years 1925 to 1926 and announcements for the 1925 to 1926 year.

Gonzaga High School Catalogue 1925 to 1926

Gonzaga High School Catalogue 1925 to 1926

This catalogue is about 46+ pages and in very good condition. It is also quite detailed in all aspects of the school.  This is the only catalogue that he had preserved.

Here is the calendar for the 1926 to 1927 year (click on the photo to open it).

1926-1927 Gonzaga High School Year.

1926-1927 Gonzaga High School Year.

This catalogue has the following contents and I thought is might be interesting to see what kinds of things my father had to prepare himself for in order to attend this school.  I don’t see much difference from my experience at high school and college 38+ years later.  The only additional areas of note are, of course, the religious instruction and instead of “rules of conduct” he was given rules for gentlemanly behavior.  

Here is a summary:

1.  Calendar 1926-1927 – see above photograph.

2.  Gonzaga High School Department

3. Faculty a list of the persons who instructed the students.

4.  General Information

Gonzaga High School is a preparatory department to the Gonzaga University. It is located on the same grounds as the University, in the city of Spokane, conducted by members of the Society of Jesus as a boarding and day school for boys and young men.  It offers a four-year course made up of the standard high school subjects and is fully accredited by the State Board of Education, the University of Washington and the Catholic Education Association.

5. History and Organization which describes the buildings and campus, the St. Aloysius Church which is apparently still operating and offering mass at Gonzaga. The new, at that time, DeSmet Hall and its description.

6.  System of Education

7.  Admission:  Requires a testimonial of good character. certificate of completion for the eighth grade and if unable to present a certificate they must complete satisfactory examinations in English, Arithmetic, History, Geography.

8. Advanced standing for those in High School and graduation which requires sixteen units.

9.  High School Administration:

  • The Scholastic year begins in September and closes in mid June, two semesters first ending in February
  • Reports go the parents for their review
  • Testimonials for Good Conduct and Application to study are given out
  • Examinations must be at least 70%
  • Promotions, Prizes and Distinctions which include metals, class prizes etc.,
  • High School Graduation awarded for satisfactorily completing 16 credits.
  • Special help from instructors at request of the student
  • Discipline: to develop strength of character and to promote gentlemanly deportment, no profanity, indecent publications or pictures, no use of tobacco or alcohol.
  • Moral and Religious Training which requires Catholic students to follow the course of Christian Doctrine, to make the annual retreat, and to receive Sacraments at least once a month.
  • Physical Training which requires satisfactory standing in studies as a condition to playing on teams
  • Politeness means gentlemenly behavior, neat and clean, polite to companions and respectful of superiors
  • Co-operation means that the parents or wards of the students make sure they study and get to class on time.

10. Rules and Regulations, Divisions of the student Body; boarding students, Day students – see below.

11.  Daily Order for Boarding Students and Day Students.  See below.

Daily Order for Students

Daily Order for Students

Based on the economic situation of my Dad’s family which according to family lore was poor, I assume he was a day student.

12. Expenses: Rates for Gonzaga High School, Extra Charges, Rebates, Student Activities Fund, Private Rooms; Students Outfit for Boarding students, Further remarks, Scholarships.

Expenses for the School

Expenses for the School

13.  Present needs of Gonzaga – a request for monetary assistance to the school.

14.  Course of Studies – Remarks on the Curriculum

A little bit of the course of Study

A little bit of the course of Study

15.  First Year, Second Year, Third Year, Fourth Year, Business Course

16.  High School Organizations: Associate Student Body, Senior HS Soldality, Junior HS Soldality, Senior Academic Debating Society, St. John Berchman’s Sanctuary Society, Dramatic Club, “G” Club, The Annual Staff.

17.  High School Graduation for June 10, 1926 at 2 pm.

18. Awarding of High School Prizes a list, see photo below for awards given.

19.  Register of Students a list of names.  Keith is listed under “McDonald” page 40, second column.

Register of Students 1925 page 1

Register of Students 1925 page 1

Register of Students pge 2

Register of Students page 2 – Keith on left page second column

Register of Students 1925

Register of Students 1925 – page 3

20. Some events for the year of 1925 to 1926

Events for 1925-1926

Events for 1925-1926

Events 1925-1926 pg 2

Events 1925-1926 pg 2

It seems that Gonzaga High School was well run and planned out for the students.  How did he get to school, well, he either walked from E. Nora Street to the school or rode a bike. Gonzaga is northeast of the downtown area of Spokane. Felts Field was quite a ways away from their house.

Keith and the move to Spokane City about 1925…

May 7, 2015
Felts Field

Felts Field

The family once again moved about 1925 and settled in Spokane, the city. Their house was very close to Felts Air Field, which I visited in 2002.  They didn’t have a museum at the airfield but in one of the buildings there were pictures on the wall.  You can put “Felts Field” in a search engine and get some really great photos or images of this airfield, click images.


There was a lot of airplane history being created at Felts Field in the early 1900’s.  Apparently Lindbergh landed in 1927 at the airfield.  In later years Keith was always interested in this man and his life story.

I bet this is where it all began, my Dad’s love of airplanes.  This was not the only air show Keith would attend.  This next link is very cool.


The other children: Vivian, Gordon, Miriam, Eddie and Jean had finished high school.  Jean had been move ahead a year and graduated with Eddie in 1925.  They all went to the Normal School which is now Eastern Washington University.

Eddie’s Collection of Junk was heavily weighted toward her sisters but she did have two places that Keith made his mark in her collection.

He writes on the side of this page and doodles as well.  The spelling of Barkely is interesting.

Keith Barkely John McDonald

8 d Training School 25″

Backset Ball Star CTS – (Bloney)


Can you find the arrow that indicates where he is in the top photo?  Unfortunately, I do not know where Dad found this page and what yearbook he took it from.  It was among Eddie’s things in her scrapbook with no identifying information.

Keith's contribution to the collection of Junk

Keith’s contribution to the Collection of Junk

The other item that was included in Eddie’s Collection of Junk was a drawing of an airplane by Keith — not badly done for a young boy.  He even provides the measurements for us to see and mentions the Spokane Aviation School which must have been at Felts Field when it was called Parker Airstrip and renamed in 1925?  I have not been able to learn more about this Training School at this time.

Keith writes on it Spokane Aviation School

Keith writes on his drawing the Spokane Aviation School

Keith's autograph on his airplane drawing

Keith’s autograph on his airplane drawing

Eddie and Keith had a different path to follow from that of their siblings.

Sister Eddie, as you know, became a nurse and went to Sacred Heart Nursing School in Spokane from about 1925 to 1928. I have featured her time at nursing school in posts on this blog.

Keith entered Gonzaga High School in Spokane about 1925 and began his studies at that school. Gonzaga was both a high school and university at the same time back in the early 1900’s.

Keith and Living in Cheney, Washington 1920 to 1925

April 30, 2015

Ronald brought the family to Cheney, Washington by 1919 or early 1920. The Normal School (Eastern Washington University) was there and it was a good place for the McDonald children to get further education.

Keith’s siblings, Vivian, Gordon, Miriam, Eddie and Jean all attended Cheney High School and later go to the Normal School.

You will find more about their adventures at school under the label of “Eddie’s Collection of Junk.” See the Page at the top of this blog for a summary of this series of posts.   Just place your mouse cursor over the pages and hover at the top of this blog and the drop down menu will be highlighted.

The McDonald family is featured in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census living in Cheney, Spokane Co., Washington.  Ronald is listed as head and this is the first time that we find his sister Nellie with the family.  Just exactly when Nellie joined Ronald is unclear but from 1920 on she would help Ronald take care of his children.

Seventh, 314, 30, 32, McDonald, Ronald, S. Head, R, M, W, 54, Widow, 85, NA 93 or 98, yes, yes, Canada, English, father born in Canada, mother born in Canada, English, yes, Lumberman is crossed out and none is written in. McDonald, Nellie E., Sister, F, W, 49, S 1900 Canada, English, father born in Canada, mother born in Canada, English, none. McDonald Vivian L., daughter, F, W, 17, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota. McDonald Gordon R G, son, M, W, 15, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota. McDonald Miriam A, daughter, F, W, 13, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota. McDonald Edna L, daughter, F, W, 12, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota, McDonald Jean L E, daughter, F, W, 11, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota, McDonald Keith B.J., son, M, W, 9, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota.

Source:  1920 U.S. Federal Census, Cheney, Spokane Co., Washington, SD #5, ED# 117, Sht No. 2A (8251) West Cheney Township, Cheney, a city of the third class, enumerated 6 January, 1920 by G. H. Host.

Keith didn’t go to Cheney High School like his other siblings.  His path would be different.

Keith in Overalls

Keith in Overalls

The family story is that Keith would wander the area and neighbors would find him and have to bring him back home.  My Dad, was a very curious person and I seem to have inherited that trait.

Keith in his coat on the stairs

Keith in his coat on the stairs

Keith sitting on the porch

Keith sitting on the porch

My father was looking very handsome in his coat. I do not have a date for the above photos of Keith in his coat and overalls.  If I compare it to his 1922 photo with the family and still can’t place them.

This photo was taken in 1922 as written on the back. It looks like the same suit?

RSMcDonaldFamily1922scr - Copy

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find the house or an address of the house they lived in when they were in Cheney. I tried with the local historical society and was told that a lot of houses have been torn down and replaced.  I tried city directories which did not start happening for Cheney till later, the school census and other documents but no luck finding an address.

Keith received his grammar school diploma in 1925, unfortunately it does not say the name of the school he attended, I am assuming it was in Cheney.

In his papers I found that he indicates he attended grammar school from 1915 to 1925.  He said it was 8 years for grammar school.  This is a ten year period of time so I am now really believing he had to redo a grade or was not in school for some time period.  The family was on the move between 1915 and 1920 so that might have caused some difficulties with the schools.

Grammar School Diploma for Keith

Grammar School Diploma for Keith May 28, 1925


Keith and the 2nd Grade…

April 23, 2015
2nd Grade Front Cover

2nd Grade Front Cover

Keith’s 2nd grade school book has survived.  If he was in 2nd grade he would be 7 or 8 years old?  So that means it was about 1917 and maybe he was in school in Albany, Oregon?  There is no date nor anything on the booklet to give clues.

It is rather interesting that he spells his own surname name in the old manner of McDonell on the cover and then MacDonald on some of the pages.

Here is the book and you will note that some of the pages looked like he drew them himself and other pages look like he pasted and/or cut out items.

2nd grad page 2

2nd grade page 2


2nd Grade - page 3

2nd Grade – page 3

2nd grade page 4

2nd grade page 4

2nd Grade - page 5

2nd Grade – page 5

2nd Grade - page 6

2nd Grade – page 6

2nd grade page 7

2nd grade page 7

2nd grade - page 8

2nd grade – page 8

2nd grade - page 9

2nd grade – page 9

2nd grade - page 10

2nd grade – page 10

2nd grade - page 11

2nd grade – page 11

2nd grade - page 13

2nd grade – page 12

2nd grad page 13

2nd grad page 13

2nd grade - page 14

2nd grade – page 14

Keith was growing up!

April 16, 2015

Keith’s first years where in International Falls, Minnesota one of the coldest cities in the United States.  Here he is in a buggy with furs to keep him warm.

Keith in a Buggy as a baby

Keith in a Buggy as a baby

I know that my Dad was well-loved, and it looks like his sisters would take care of him on occasion including him in their play. He was very close to them over the years and stayed in touch.  In later years he would honor them by naming the boat he built by adding their make-believe friend Mrs. Scubalub to the boat’s very long name.  I will share the boat’s name in a future post. I think it is funny to see the sisters in the various photos holding Keith.  I like to think they had to restrain him from being curious about the camera.  A hobby he took on in his later life.

Keith with his sisters

Keith with his sisters Jean and Eddie

Keith is in the living room of the house in International Falls in the photo below.

Keith at the Window probably at the house on Riverside drive in International Falls

Keith at the Window probably at the house on Riverside drive in International Falls

The photo below was taken about 1915 and Keith is with his siblings.  The writing on the back reads that he was the one responsible for poking his eyes out. You have to click on the photo to make it bigger to see that his eyes are a bit odd. Keith is on the left, next is Jean, Eddie, Miriam, Gordon and Vivian.

McDonald children in 1915

McDonald children in 1915

If we compare Keith in the photo above which is dated 1915, we might be able to figure out how old he was in this next photo.  He looks very much the same but maybe a little younger.  The outfit is similar.

Keith in the Oval. I think he was about eight?

Keith in the Oval. I think he was about five or six?

There is writing on the back of the photo above but it is very difficult to figure out….It reads something about his birthday and school. It had been put in a frame and cut up and they used glue.  I was only able to get this much revealed.  I just know there is good stuff in the writing?

This is what was on the back of the Oval photograph of Keith

This is what was on the back of the Oval photograph of Keith

Here Keith is with his Uncle Alexander McDonald a fireman in International Falls.  See the post Alexander Thomas McDonald, Fireman, dated August 7, 2010.

Keith and Alex before 1915

Keith and Alex before 1915 – Keith is on the left on Alex’s lap, the others are unknown

The next picture was shared at the very beginning of this blog.  This is the one in which Miriam, Jean and Keith are dressed in Scottish outfits.  I believe these were taken in International Falls probably for some celebration, but who dressed them up is not known. Grace died in 1911 and Keith was born in 1910 eighteen months before her death, so it had to be Nellie or some other family member that was involved because of Keith’s age. If you look closely the costumes look like they are all of a different plaid? It is too bad they aren’t in color. Sigh!

McDonald Children in Scottish dress.

McDonald Children in Scottish dress.

  Keith, Miriam and Jean in Scottish dress

The time line for Keith’s earlier life is not clear, most is my guessing based on the photos that I have.  Once Ronald their father, left International Falls it gets really difficult to know exactly how long they were in Grand Prairie, Alberta and what really happened from 1915 to 1920 when they appear in Cheney, Washington.

Keith Barclay John MacDonald, father, grandfather and his love of Airplanes….

April 9, 2015

This blog was named for Keith, my dad, and his love of airplanes.  The gray background surrounding the posts is a reminder of him.  He would wear steel-gray cotton trousers with cuffs and dance around the living room to the records he played on our stereo. Sometimes he would grab me and twirl me around.

The time has come to share about Keith’s life.  Keith, my dad, was born in International Falls, Minnesota in 1910. Being younger than his siblings he went to high school at Gonzaga in Spokane.  He spent his school years from 1925 to 1929 at Gonzaga participating in several different sports and taking the mechanics course.  After graduation Keith would enlist at various times in the National Guard, the Army, and Air Corp. All this happening during the 1930’s and during the Great Depression.  While in the military he would learn about airplane mechanics. Keith would eventually become employed as a U.S. Air Force Inspector at Boeing.  He was also an inventor and a little bit of a political activist in his later years.  He would eventually make Seattle his home met his further bride, marry and raise a family.

Here is a review of the posts I have written on this blog about Keith’s early years.

Keith’s Parents: Ronald and Grace’s Marriage!,” dated February 20, 2010

Ronald and Grace McDonald

Ronald and Grace McDonald, Keith’s parents

Ronald and Grace’s Children,” dated February 27, 2010

McDonald Children circa late 1910

McDonald Children circa late 1910

A Baptism in International Falls,” dated March 13, 2010.

Keith's baptism

Keith’s baptism

Riverside Drive, International Falls,” dated March 30, 2010

Keith and brother Gordy about 1911

Keith and brother Gordy about 1911

Ronald and Grace: Family Life!” dated April 11, 2010

Ronald and Grace's children: Vivian, Gordy, Miriam holding Keith, Eddie scowling and Jean

Ronald and Grace’s children: Vivian, Gordy, Miriam holding Keith, Eddie scowling and Jean – Keith is the little boy in the middle.

Keith was born on the 13th of March, 1910 to Ronald S. McDonald and Grace Amarilla Barclay.  He was the sixth child of this couple and second son.  His siblings were: Leola Vivian (1902), Ronald Gordon (Gordy – 1904), Miriam Audrey (1906), Edna Lorraine (Eddie – 1907), Laurie Jean (1908) and Keith (1910).  There were two babies that did not survive. One was born before Vivian and is buried in the family plot in Brainerd.  The other baby girl was born after Keith and named Grace Elizabeth. She is buried with her mother in International Falls.

The 1910 U.S. Federal census is the only census where all of the family of Ronald and Grace McDonald is listed. Keith is 1/12 of age.  He barely made it into this census.

Line 21, 59/70, McDonald, Ronald S., head, male, white, 46, married, 12 yrs., born Canada, parents both born in Canada, working, can read and write, owns house. McDonald, Grace, wife, female, white, 28, married 12 yrs, 7 children born, 6 living, born in Minnesota, father born in Connecticut, mother born in Iowa, speaks English, no occupation, reads, writes and speaks English. McDonald, Vivian, daughter, female, white, 8 yrs., born in Minnesota, no occupation, speaks, writes and reads. McDonald, Gordon, son, male, white, 6 yrs., born in Minnesota, no occupation, speaks, writes and reads. McDonald, Marian, daughter, female, white, age 4, born in Minnesota, no occupation. McDonald, Edna, daughter, female, white, age 3, born in Minnesota. McDonald, Laura, daughter, female, white, age 2, born in Minnesota, no occupation. McDonald, Keith, son, male, white, 1/12 age.

Source: 1910 U.S. Census, International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota, April 15/16, 1910, FHL#1374720 ED 92, SD 8, Sht#4A, pg. 7499.

I have written about Ronald and Grace McDonald in past posts on this blog. Ronald was born in 1866 in Chichester, Quebec to Archibald and Mary McDonell.  I have shared a great deal about Archie and Mary McDonell, Keith’s grandparents, on this blog in search of their story and their ancestors.

Unfortunately Keith’s mother Grace died of pneumonia after giving birth to Grace Elizabeth, about 18 months after he was born.  I doubt he knew his mother.  This tragedy even affected me for it changed the family.  I shared about the loss of Grace in the following post.

An Unexpected Tragedy!,” dated July 18, 2010

About five years later, Ronald left International Falls and took the children to Grand Prairie, Alberta where he had a store. Keith, was only about 5 years old when they left Minnesota. How much my Dad remembered of his birth town, I do not know.

R.S. McDonald Leaves International Falls!” dated October 5, 2010

The Store in Grand Prairie

The Store in Grand Prairie

Ronald’s story Continues! Revisiting Grand Prairie, Alberta and mention of Albany, Oregon,” dated January 3, 2013.

Keith and his sisters in Grand Prairie July 4, 1916

Keith and his sisters in Grand Prairie July 4, 1916

I don’t think that going to Grand Prairie was a happy memory in my Dad’s life. As you can see from the photo they all look unhappy. After Ronald lost the store to his partner’s gambling he must have headed to Albany, Oregon. Various comments Eddie writes in her Collection of Junk indicate that they were in Oregon for at least a year.

By 1920 Keith and his family were living in Cheney, Washington and it is this part of the history of the family that is closer to me through their stories and comments.  Aunt Nellie was with the family and was now helping Ronald in taking care of the children.  It is not clear exactly when Ronald’s sister joined him, but she is there as of 1920.

R.S. McDonald Family Settles in Cheney, WA -1920,” dated February 14, 2013.

R.S. McDonald Family circa 1922

R.S. McDonald Family circa 1922:  R.S., Jean, Gordon, Eddie, Miriam, Vivian, Nellie and Keith

Keith is the boy in the very front – right in the middle of the picture.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers

%d bloggers like this: