Tuesday, 9 June 2009
I was born when my sister Camille was 2 years and 10 months old. You may think this age would make her the nearest sister to me but there was a sister between us; Jacquie. Camille had two older brothers and three older sisters; she was the 4th girl born and the 6th child in a family that would be comprised of 13 children.
Many of my early memories of Camille are always combined with her and Jacquie as they were inseparable as children. Many of my earliest memories of Camille are more stories that I have heard from other family members.
Camille was named after my paternal grandfather who my mother loved. My Mom says that Camille was always like her namesake. She would listen to all that was being said. Always gave the person talking her full attention and then would add on what she wanted to say, but never interrupting and always patient to get her turn to speak.
There are two memories of Camille that really stand out in my mind from childhood and they are once being left at church on Christmas Day and seeing Camille get into the car and shut the door not knowing that I was running to get in behind her.
The other was of Camille and I walking to Windsor Park Inn and her telling me that she was pregnant. I was 12 and she was 14.
I remember my Nana reading my tea leaves and telling me that I had just found out that someone was going to have a baby. I was so stunned as I was sworn to secrecy. But there it was in the cup for the entire world to see, a little teddy bear.
Camille was a beautiful child with dark brown hair and blue eyes. She didn’t have as many freckles as the rest of us. One time Camille pulled Jacquie into a closet and cut off her hair, she let Jacquie cut her hair too. In the end, they both got their heads shaved.
I actually had a debate with Mom, Suzie, Mickey, and Jacquie the other day about Camille and aliens. I believe that Camille truly felt that she was abducted by aliens and that they did experiments on her. The rest of them all argued with me saying that Camille had made the whole thing up. So what is it Camille, is it true or did you make it up?
Every time I think of this memory I laugh my head off as it is so funny and brings my teen years right back.
Mom and Dad had gone on their first trip away to British Columbia. Colette and I were fighting with Jacquie and Suzie, Camille was married at this point and was over at the house too. Colette and I were about 13 and 14 and Camille must have been 16. She hoped in the car with Suzie and chased us down the back lane of Elizabeth Road. There was a barrier up so Suzie and Camille had to get out of the car to reach us. I remember Camille shaking like a leaf (she was so mad) and grabbing Colette and throwing her in the backseat of the car. Har har har, it is so fucking funny to me right now. I can see it all. You will hear more of this day in the near future.
Camille is calm and kind. She has severe arthritis and has since her 30s. She is very brave and never complains. I complain her under the table over and over and over.
I’m not sure but I think that Camille, Jacquie, Colette and Lori slept together. I remember Camille scaring the shit out of Colette by crawling under the bed to the wall and sticking her hand over Colette’s face in the dark. We all shared a room and Mickey, Shelly and I would have been in the other bed laughing our heads off while poor Colette would have been screaming and Camille would have been high-tailing it to get the hell out of their before our Mom (Hell-on-wheels) would get in the room.
Camille married young and left home so our lives were so different and while she was raising her children I was out living my life. And so though we always loved each other, we really didn’t spend much time alone together.
But now, well now is what matters. Camille and I are very close and I adore her. Camille is ‘The Keeper of my History’. Camille is who showed me how to steal all the lovely pictures I share with all of you. Camille is the mastermind.
Even though I am many of my sisters’ favourite, I am not Camille’s. Since I have been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer Camille has totally been there for me. Camille knows how to listen to my heart and I know how to listen to hers.
Describing Camille I would say that she is an attractive woman and she has a very warm smile. Camille has beautiful blue eyes and is sincere, empathetic, private, gentle, soft-spoken and caring. Camille is like Mom described her to me a few days ago; Camille was a loving child and is a loving adult. I am happy that Camille is my sister.
Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood. ~~ Louisa May Alcott ~~
I love my sister and she means the world to me. Camille thank you for the privilege.
Happy 56th Birthday Camille. Love Renee, Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene, Nathan, and Josephine.
*artwork by Kelly Vivanco