Saturday, 13 June 2009
I was born when my sister Suzie was 5 years and 10 months old. Suzie had two older brothers and one older sister; she was the 2nd girl born and the 4th child in a family that would be comprised of 13 children.
Many of my earliest memories of Suzie are of her generosity and love and affection for all of us. Suzie was probably the original member of the family who thought of others first (she would be followed by others with that trait, but I was not one of them).
I have so many memories of Suzie from my childhood. I remember Suzie passing out in church one day and how we all had to back up and give her air.
Suzie and I had the most fun ever when we traveled. We always drove together. From the ages of 13 to 17 (my ages) my parents would pack us up in two cars and a camper and we traveled across Canada and the United States for two months. I have been in every province except Newfoundland and every state except Alaska and Hawaii. Just imagine the fun Suzie and I had driving one of the cars (this is in the early 70s), listening to music full blast and taking two of the younger kids with us. Usually if I had my way it would be Shelly.
One time we were in California and ran out of gas so we parked in a little parking lot. My Dad went on to get gas somewhere and was going to bring it back. He was gone for over four hours. Let me set the scene.
I’m reading a book on the Hell’s Angels. In the car are Suzie, Gerry, our cousin Mo, and me. I’m telling them all about what the Hell’s Angels do to people. Rev, rev, rev, we see (no shit) about 30 bikers and they are blocking the road behind us and stopping cars. They are jumping on the cars and pulling people out. Now we are shitting ourselves. Especially after the stories I told on rape and drugs and murder.
Gerry and Mo in the back are terrified. Suzie’s teeth are chattering. I’m laughing and scared shitless at the same time.
It is getting darker and we now realize that the place we were parked at is a strip joint. People keep going in and out. Now the bikers pull up and go in and out. We are slunk down in the car and all I can hear are Suzie’s teeth clicking together. I start telling her another story and she yells at me to ‘Shut the fuck up; you are scaring Gerry and Mo.’ Har har har.
I look at her to say something and I jump a mile. One of the bikers has his face pressed against her window. I just stare; she says ‘What?’ I keep staring, she turns around and sees him and becomes absolutely paralyzed. (I am laughing so hard right now.) He looks at us and then looks in the back where he sees our little brother and cousin and then walks away. I am kept on the lookout and keep telling them that I think they might be coming back. They are all in the strip joint at this time, but I thought they might come back to kill us.
Hours later our Dad comes and proceeds to tell us about the wonderful family they met that gave them gas and I think they actually stayed there and ate dinner and visited while we were in the car being scared shitless. I love it. It was so scary and fun.
Suzie was a beautiful child with white blond hair and blue eyes. I don’t think Suzie had any freckles which was practically a family trademark.
Here is more of the memory I have of when my parents went away to British Columbia. Suzie was left in charge of the house and all of us kids. There were probably still nine of us at home.
Colette was a total little bugger and would just take off and so on this particular night (like most nights) I was on her side and said she could go out. Suzie was having none of it. So it ends up being me and Colette against Suzie, Camille, and Jacquie. At one point Jacquie and Camille are trying to corner Colette and I have Suzie who is five years older then me up against a wall and I won’t let her go (Suzie is a cupcake and we all know it, she is nonviolent and won’t hurt a fly). Finally Colette escapes the house and I escape with her. Then we see Suzie and Camille driving like maniacs trying to corner us and we run into where there is construction in the back lane.
I just thought of another story of Suzie and I on our travels in that green little car. When we were in the States in some godforsaken hellholes and it was probably 120 degrees. I would take my top off in the car and we would drive and Suzie was always mortified 'Renee, put your top on.' "No." 'Renee, put your fucking top on.' "No." Now she is laughing her head off 'For Christ sake Renee, put your top on.' "Suzie you are not supposed to use God's name in vain, I'm telling Mom and Dad." har har har.
Good times. Great times really. Hardy har har. I seriously don’t know why this is so funny, but it was to me, and seriously still makes me laugh. I loved the fun and chaos we had in that house.
Suzie is giving and loving and the only person, now that my Dad is dead, that still calls me by my nickname ‘Lover’. I melt when she calls me that.
I think that Suzie slept in the bedroom downstairs with Kathy, but I’m not sure. I don’t remember her being in our room.
I should be Suzie’s favourite and she says that I am, but I doubt her sincerity. Suzie makes me laugh because she says I am an angel, when she of all people knows that I am not.
Describing Suzie I would say that she is an attractive woman and when she truly smiles her eyes sparkle. So I can always tell when she is faking it. Suzie has beautiful blue eyes and is generous, compassionate, naïve, sincere, and selfless. I wish that Suzie would care more about herself than she does for others. But I guess that is her nature. As my Mom would say, Suzie would give anyone the shirt off her back. I am happy that Suzie is my sister.
To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. ~~ Clara Ortega ~~
I love my sister and she means the world to me. Suzie thank you for the privilege.
Happy 59th Birthday Suzie. Love Renee, Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene, Nathan, and Josephine.
*artwork by Kelly Vivanco