I don’t know very many stories from my maternal grandmother’s childhood. I guess I didn’t ask enough questions and now it’s too late. I can only recall three stories, so they’ve come to seem cinematic, emblematic. The first is the story of how grandma’s parents took her to see the Dionne Quintuplets at the Dafoe Hospital and Nursery in 1938, where she stood behind the one-way mirror of the open-air museum and watched the sisters sit in the sand and “play.” The second is the one where her parents took her to a particular annual parade in the big city of Toronto, where no doubt her family expressed unseemly political sentiments alongside other Northern Irish immigrants. The third story I remember is the time grandma’s parents took her to see Queen Elizabeth (the current one’s mother, and the one portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter) when she was on one of her long Canadian waving tours. I imagine the family joined a crush of breathless Commonwealth revelers. I wonder if they made eye contact.
So even though my enthusiasm for the royals is mainly gestural— mostly I just like watching how much my friends get into it (and I love encouraging and enabling them)— grandma, this morning’s YouTube session is for you.
Yvonne was never interested in the company of men.
GROWING UP ISN’T GIVING UP: OR,
Having spent a long time examining and discussing this photo of the grown-up Dionne quintuplets last night, I now firmly believe that there’s a grown-up Dionne quintuplet correlate for each and every one of us, a grown-up Dionne quintuplet face that expresses the deepest, most un-pin-downable part of ourselves. Mine’s bottom right, Andi’s is top left, Anya’s is bottom left. Which is yours?
my new friend a., not to be confused with my other new friend a., shares my love of vintage child stars, the freakier the better. she sent me this fantastic rendering of the dionne quints along with this quote: “Interestingly, each girl became emotionally the closest to whomever they shared a sac with; Cecile tended to be alone the most.”
i visited the dionne family home in northern ontario when i was twelve as my bat mitzvah gift from my dad. when my grandmother was around that same age she visited Quintland, the semi-open air museum where the dionne girls were displayed throughout the 1930s. relatedly, my brother went to a hockey hall of fame when it was his time to become a man, because we like to mark religious occasions in the most canadian way possible.