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NORTHERN NEW MEXICO'S
Lavinia Rae Douglas
Rae Douglas has driven the roads of northern New Mexico for thirty-four years, distributing food, clothing, and household goods to the needy. Her "family" lives in an area "all the way from Santa Fe up to the Colorado line."
"When I first started doing charity work, I could see that poor people didn't have Thanksgiving. They didn't have Christmas. It was just another day to them," said Rae. The "Christmas Lady" had found her calling. Rae loaded up her car and "went to each house herself giving out dozens of turkeys, chickens and anything she could find and pies, cakes, all the goodies."
She was born Lovina Rae Jackson in 1914 in Plainview, Texas. Her grandparents, Emma and Phillip Jackson, raised her and taught her to care about others, said Rae. "They taught me a long time ago when I was a little tiny girl that whenever anybody comes to you hungry and even if you don't have but one slice of bread and you divide." They also taught her how to work. "When I was five, my grandpa put a milk bucket in my hand and said, 'Let's go to the cow lot.' He gave me a cow of my own, and I learned how to milk."
She attended school in a "little two-room, red brick school-house five miles east of Plainview. My grandparents kept the two teachers as boarders, so they also taught me at night," Rae said. She went to high school in Plainview "but just got through three months of the tenth grade" when she had to quit because her health broke down. Then she "worked on the farm." At nineteen Rae was married briefly and had a son, Robert. "I was on my way to a rodeo and was putting water in my Model A when I met Winston 'Doug' Douglas. I had the hose in my hand and accidentally squirted water in his brand-new pair of shoes," Rae recalled. A few days later he looked her up in Plainview.
She married Doug, who adopted Robert, in Santa Fe. They moved to Los Alamos in "the last part of 1943 with two dump trucks," said Rae. "We hauled bricks to the State Penitentiary for two years.
While selling home products door-to-door "in the boondocks, I saw poverty," she said. Rae can't begin to estimate how many families she has helped, but a committee of Los Alamos volunteers makes the necessary arrangements so that the Christmas Lady's needy families are adopted for Christmas. Northern New Mexico families provide food for Christmas dinner and gifts for each member of the families they adopt.
Please see Volume 1 for complete text.