Part 1

chapter-1

gracehospital2Above  is a picture of the Salvation Army Grace Hospital taken in the 1950s on Wellington Street in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Sue was born at this hospital in 1955.  The hospital which built in 1922 which which saw some 3,000 births there yearly.

Steven, Sue’s husband Steven was born there as was well was Sue’s brother Chris. The hospital was torn down in 2002. A long term care facility was built in its place.

Below is a picture of Sue when she was 3 months old, in July 1955 taken in Ottawa.

 

Sue when she was 3 months old in July 1955

Sue when she was 3 months old in July 1955

 

Below is a picture of Sue’s first home when she was a newborn in 1955. The apartment was at 84 Holland St near Wellington Street in Ottawa.  Sue’s parents rented the above bachelor apartment. The apartment building exists to this day. This is a current photo taken in 2007.

house-84-holland

Sue Clark’s story begins …..

My name is Sue Clark Wittenberg. I am 53 years old. I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I am currently married to Steven Wittenberg of Ottawa. I have been married three times. I have a brother named Chris who is a year younger than myself.


I have called myself Sue since I was a teenager. My real name is Suzanne. My cousins in Whitby, Ontario teased me relentlessly about my name Sue when the Johnny Cash song same out in the late 60s called “A boy named Sue”.

I was born at 12:15 a.m. on April 9, 1955 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and my parents are Paul Andre Edmond Legare and my mother is Theresa Lucille Sage Legare. My dad is called Paul or Andre and my mom is called Theresa or Terry. My brother was born in May of 1956 at the same hospital where I was born. His given name was Christian but we call him “Chris” My brother and I are 13 months apart in age. My mom got pregnant after my brother was born and had a miscarriage.

I was baptized at the Notre Dame Roman Catholic church in Hull, Quebec that burnt down in 1971. I was only a week old, as was the Roman Catholic tradition of baptizing babies at that time. On the day I was baptized there were 6 other baby girls named Suzanne being baptized too. Suzanne was a very popular name in 1955.  My godparents were my dad’s parents, my grandfather Albert Legare and my grandmother Yvette Legare.  My middle name is Yvette.

My mom’s family moved from Kazabazua to Hull, Quebec to an apartment over the Edmond Funeral Home on St. Joseph Blvd.  My mom was a teenager. My uncle Herbie and his wife were moving out so my Grandma Sage took over the apartment. My mom and grandma and Uncle Lyman lived in the apartment. Mom was the youngest of 11 kids.  

It was a tough life in Kazabazua. The family had to walk up the hill to get water and had to walk into village to get groceries. 5 of mom’s brothers went to serve in World War II. Uncle Lyman stayed at home. Mom’s two sisters also served in the same war.

My dad was born in Quebec City in Quebec in 1933.  My parents were born in the same year. Dad’s father Albert Legare got TB when my dad was a child. My dad and his three siblings, his two brothers, one named Gerry and his sister Carmen were put in foster homes in Trois Riveires in Quebec until my grandfather got better. My grandfather went to the Royal Ottawa Sanitarium in Ottawa to recover.  It was the 30s and the great depression was happening and people suffered greatly.  My dad got rickets from malnutrition.  He told me one time a neighbour gave him some potatoes to eat. His youngest brother died in an accident.

My dad took our family to Trois Rivieres to see his former foster parents who were elderly when we met them in the late 60s.  Dad also took us to Quebec City where he was born. Quebec City is a beautiful city rich in Canadian history.  I liked the cobble stone streets and the people were friendly.  I can understand French and read it but I cannot speak it.

My mom met my dad through one of her friends. Mom’s friend Theresa had a boyfriend named Gerry Legare and mom met his brother Andre who later become my dad. Mom and dad became fast friends and then later on fell in love.

Dad spoke broken English when he met my mom. My dad’s mother tongue is French.

My dad’s mom Yvette did not want my dad to go out with girls as he might have gotten distracted from his studies. Dad did not listen to his mother. Mom and dad dated secretly for years. Yvette sold Avon and dad’s father Albert worked over at the paper mill.  Albert beat his wife Yvette.  Dad studied at the University of Ottawa and then got his Bachelor of Arts degree in the late 50s.

Mom got pregnant when she was 21 years old.  My dad Andre had just finished his studies a the University of Ottawa. Mom and dad were Roman Catholics. In the 50s the only choices you had when you got pregnant out of wedlock was to either move away to another city and go to a home for unwed mothers or to get married. My parents choose to get married.  My mom was being pressured to have an abortion with me and mom stood her ground and didn’t.  Mom and dad had a shotgun wedding on September 28, 1954 in a Roman Catholic church called Notre-Dame Church. Mom wore a nice blue suit when she got married my aunt Olive told me.

The church later burned down on September 12, 1971.  No attempt was made to save it. The following year, its stone walls were demolished. Only the presbytery, built in 1889, has survived the wave of demolition. Hull, Quebec.

My mom’s dad Joseph Sage died when she was 4 years old in 1937.  It is one of those skeleton in the closet stories that some families have. My mom told me her father died when he was on a sleigh in the winter and the sleigh turned over and my her father froze to death.  Joseph Sage was of Portuguese heritage.

My aunt Cannie my mom’s sister says her father had a heart attack near the CPR railroad tracks he used to lay down.  My dad told me he looked up the story about my grandfather’s death in the newspapers. He told me that my grandfather committed suicide. I don’t know the real story is and I wish I did.

Grandam Mary Sage was born in Low, Quebec.  Grandpa Sage grew up in Martinsdale, Quebec.  Grandma Sage grew up on a farm.  We called her NaNa.   Her mother died when she was young so her aunt came over to live with them.  Grandma’s parents came from Ireland.  Her mom was a Sullivan and her father was a Flynn

My mom has her parents engagement picture on her bedroom wall.  In the picture, Grandma Mary Ann Flynn as she was known before she married Grandpa had on a long white dress and her hair was long and draped over her shoulders and she was smiling.  As was the custom in the early 1900s the engaged couple had pictures taken of them separately. My grandpa Joseph Sage’s picture shows him standing tall in a nice suit with black hair and a moustache. He was a tall man with an olive looking complex – tall, dark and handsome.  Grandma was Irish and Grandpa was Portuguese.

My dad’s family moved to Hull, Quebec also when he was a teenager. My grandfather Albert worked at the paper mill and his mother grandma Yvette sold Avon. Albert beat his wife. My dad had a brother named Gerry and a sister named Carmen

My parents were poor. My dad was a clerk in the Federal government. My mom didn’t have a job.  My parents took me home from the hospital to their upper bachelor apartment at 84 Holland Ave in Ottawa. The apartment was near Wellington and Scott Streets near Tunney’s pasture where many government employees worked.

I was told by my mom that when I was just a toddler she would put me out in a wooden playpen close to the sidewalk early in the mornings when the employees were walking down Holland avenue to go to work at Tunney’s pasture where the federal government Health Canada was situated.  I would throw my toys onto the sidewalk so the people passing by would have to pick up my toys and hand them to me.  I was an extrovert from the start.

Mom also told me one day that she had put me in a carriage outside at the front door of the apartment building.  About a half hour later she went to get me and I was missing carriage and all.  My mom got frantic and called everyone one she knew to see if they had seen where I had gone but to no avail.  Two hours passed by and two preteen girls knocked on my parents’ apartment door to tell my mom they had taken me all over the community to show me off.  I guess they thought I was a little living doll.  Mom was angry and told the girls never to do that again and they didn’t.

Our family moved when I was three years old to 178 Carruthers Street near Scott Street not far from Holland Ave.  We lived in a upper apartment that had 13 stairs to the main street.  I remember good times and bad times at Carruther Street.

My brother and I shared a bedroom. My brother was in a crib and I had my own small bed. My brother called me “Tuzane” as he could not say “Suzanne” as my name was too difficult for a young child to pronounce.

The teenage boy across the street taught me how to skate. My father would make a rink and slide in the backyard in the winter.

One day when my mom and I and my brother had a nap in the afternoon as we always did, my brother Chris decided to go for a walk outside. It was winter and Chris managed to put on his snow suit by himself and his boots. My mother woke up and could not find my brother Chris and she was very upset and worried. She called the police and all the people she knew. She told me to get dressed and go outside and look for my brother.  I was about 4 years old.  Chris was a year younger than myself.

I went outside and it was a very cold winter day.  I looked all around and could not see my brother anywhere on Carruther Street.  I felt worried too.  All of a sudden I turned around towards Scott Street and saw my brother Chris smiling and waving his arms as he was walking towards me.  My brother said “Tuzane, is mom mad”?” Yes” I told my brother Chris and I walked up the stairs to our apartment and my mom gave my brother a  beating that he wouldn’t forget.

One of our neighbours was a mother who was an amputee. One of her hands and forearms was missing. Another neighbour of ours was a developmentally delayed boy with disfigurements to his face and hands. He used to throw stones at Chris and I. He lives near me around the corner now and he has changed.  He is very nice and friendly and we speak often when I bump into him. His name is Michael.

We had a wooden swing outside in the backyard. One day my brother was on it and I got hit in the face when it went up into the air. I was hurt but not badly.

One day a man with a old fashioned camera came by. He had a horse with him. He asked my mom if she would like some pictures taken of me and Chris and she agreed. She dressed up in our finest clothes. I remember the man putting a drape over his head and then he took some pictures. Chris and I were on the horse in the pictures. I had long brown hair with ringlets and had on a pretty dress and Chris had on a small suit. We looked so cute in these pictures. My mother has most of our childhood pictures.

My mom asked her sister Caroline “Cannie“s daughter Linda to come and babysit. My cousin Linda was coming over to our apartment when she saw my mom push me down the 13 stairs outside our apartment and I fell on the ground in front of my building. Linda didn’t say anything. She was too afraid too.

My mom told her to do some household chores when she was babysitting my brother and I.  When my mom got home Linda forgot to do the housework.  My mom threw Linda across the room.  Linda told her mother Aunt Cannie and she never sent Linda to babysit us again. Aunt Cannie never said anything to my mom.. She did not want to rock the boat.

I remember my third birthday party at Carruthers.  In the picture I have a nice cake in front of me with candles and some gifts.  I looked so happy. I hid my pain as a child.

I was a nervous child and I had to go and see the doctor because I chewed my right thumb nail down to the cuticle. My mom had to immerse my thumb in some type of heated liquid solution in order that my thumb nail would heal.

My brother and I would swing from the kitchen cabinet doors. My parents didn’t like that very much at all. We would play outside together in the backyard and we had lots of fun together.

One day I remember an awful thing that happened to my brother Chris, he must have been about 3 years old. I saw my dad push my brother from the living room into my dad’s bedroom where he hit his chin on the steel metal bed frame. My parents took him to the hospital to get his chin stitched up . He still has a small scar on his chin to this day. My parents I assume lied about how my brother’s chin was split open. Child abuse was a taboo subject for so long.

Mom was washing dad’s clothes one day when he looked into one of his pants pockets and found a hotel receipt from Montreal.  Mom put two and two together.  Dad was away on some weekends with some of his friends. Dad admitted to having had an affair with a secretary.  Mom was devastated.  She loved my dad so much and was really committed to him. My aunt Olive said my mom never got over what my dad did. Mom lost 90 pounds in three months after that incident. My uncle Lyman did not recognize my mom when she had lost all of that weight. Mom was an emotional eater like me when things bothered her, she would go to the fridge and get some comfort food.  Mom’s weight has gone up and down like a roller coaster all her life.

My mom went to work in the evenings at the Westgate Restaurant at the Westgate Shopping Center in Ottawa. She was saving up money to put a down payment on a house. My dad had a mini Austin car.  I remember my father wrapping my brother and I in blankets as he walked down the stairs to put us in the car to pick up my mom from work the late evenings.

chapter-2

January 18, 2008

Above is a current picture of where Sue’s grandmother Mary Sage lived with her son Lyman Sage.
Their apartment is the top right apartment. The apartment was located at 241 St. Joseph Blvd in Hull. which was attached to the former Edmond Funeral Home. See picture below. They lived there for more than 40 years. Mary Sage’s oldest son Herbie and his first wife lived there and then moved out and then Grandma Sage and Lyman moved in and took over the apartment in the late 40s. They lived there for more than 40 years and then moved to Cobourg where they lived with Aunt Caroline.

Above is a picture of the former Edmond Funeral Home in front of Grandma Sage’s apartment which faced ST Joseph Blvd in Hull, Quebec

Above is a picture of Sue’s mom Theresa Lucille (Sage) Legare when she was in her late 20s. She was a beautiful woman.

Above is a picture of Sue’s father Paul Andre Emond Legare who was handsome. He was a young man going to the University of Ottawa in the early 50s to get his Bachelor of Arts degree which he got.

Above is a picture of Sue and her brother Chris in 1960. Sue was five years old and Chris was 4 years old. This picture was taken in Sue and Chris’s bedroom at their family’s basement apartment on Lebrun St in Eastview now called Vanier and part of Ottawa now.
Above is a picture of Sue’s family’s apartment building on 124 Lebrun Street near Des Peres Blancs Blvd in Eastview, afterwards called Vanier which is not part of Ottawa. This is a current picture taken in 2007. Sue’ s family lived there in 1961 in apartment #1 in the basement apartment.

Above is a picture of Sue’s first public school on Genest Street in Vanier. Sue started kindergarten
there in 1960 when she was 5 years old. Sue started in French kindergarten until her mom got sick with jaundice and then she was put in English kindergarten. In Grade 1, Sue stared at her teacher and her teacher struck Sue across the face. Sue told her mom Theresa and her mom went to see the teacher. Sue never got hit by her teacher again. Sue and her mom were met the mother superior of the nuns on these stairs by the white entrance doors. The nun wore a black habit right down to the ground. Sue yelled and hid behind her mom and said “Mommy, there’s a witch in front of us, hide now”. Sue’s mom explained to her that the woman in black was a nun.
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My family moved to Lebrun Street in Eastview which is now called Vanier and which is part of Ottawa now. We lived in the basement of a triplex and our apartment was in the basement. I was 4 years and would start kindergarten the next year which was 1960. Chris was three years old. We used to play on the swings in the backyard. Across from us was the White Fathers.

The White Fathers, a seminarian and teaching order from Africa, had used the location to house and teach the students of their order. When the White Fathers decided that the location was no longer useful for their useful for their means, the lot and buildings were open to the market. The city of Vanier seized the opportunity to use the location and expropriated the land for the city of Vanier. Vanier’s greater need for a new City Hall made the White Fathers site a perfect solution. Some of the forest which was across the street from our triplex has been preserved. The Vanier Libary is now part of the this location.

Wayne and his family lived above us. He was the same age as my brother Chris.

Ann lived in the next building with her two daughters and her husband.

There were lots of kids on our street. The hoola hoop was the rage and it was the late 50s. Everyone had one. We had a black and white tv and I used to watch Dr. Kildare, my favorite show.

I started kindergarten at the La Genest shool nearby. I was five years old. My mom took me to my first day of kindergarten at school with me wearing a pair of my brother’s pants with huge holes in the knees. My mom was embarrassed by this.

All hell broke out that night when dad got home. Mom told dad to give her money to buy me some new clothes and new beds for Chris and I. Mom chased dad with a rolling pin and he hid in the bathroom. Mom broke the door and had to cover the holes with a towel. There was lots of screaming going on that night between my mom and dad. Dad relented and gave mom the money.

My brother remembers being beaten with a broom by my mother because he turned on the kitchen faucet which filled a peanut butter cookie mix sitting in the sink with water ruining the mix. Chris remembers that night at supper dad noticed his arms covered with sratches and abrasions
from the beating earlier in the day from mom. He recalls that mom rushed him into the bathroom with the door closed and telling him not to tell dad what she did to him – or else!

The kids on our block started a street theatre where we would be the actors and invite all the moms and dads to watch our plays. I was Snow White once and my brother played a prince. We had lots of fun with the kids on our block.

I remember when Aunt Theresa and Uncle Jerry came to visit with my cousins. Marcel used to wet the bed and this upset my mothers as she noticed his mattress was wet. I recall passing by the bathroom oen day when my cousins were visiting and my aunt Theresa pleading with my mom to stop forcing
Marcel’s head into the toilet bowl to teach him a lesson not to wet the bed. This was my mother’s cruel way of punishing a kid. My mom was sadistic.

Wayne the neighbour upstairs was my brother’s friend. They would play together. One day I came home from school and I could hear my brother Chris screaming his head off. Mom was calling a taxi to take Chris to the hospital. Chris had a cut on the top of his head whereWayne hit Chris on the head with a hammer. I remember going to emergency ward of the Montfort Hospital with Chris and my mom. I recall hearing Chris screaming as he stitched up the top of his head.

Mom would take me and Chris skating at the White fathers and they had a little ice rink. The forest had bit maple trees and the sap would be falling from the trees in the spring. We had a wild cat one and my mom did not like it because it would claw at everything, so she told me to put it near the forest and I did but not before the cat scratched me real good in the face first.

Mom got jaundice and the whole family had to get shots because of it. I had long hair and my mom would comb my long hair every morning before school and then braid my hair. My mom was too sick to do that so she took me to the hairdresser and had my hair chopped off really short like a brush cut. I was so humiliated to say the least. On the floor were my beautiful braids piled up in one corner of the floor. I had beautiful auburn hair.

I started in French kindergarten until my mother got sick. I remember singing songs in French. In kindergarten I remember having a nap on the floor and laying down with a blanket with the other kids in my class. After our nap, the teacher would give us cookies and a small carton of milk. We sat on small chair and tables. I did hand painting and all sorts of crafts for kids.

One day we were playing house. One boy tried to take my plastic toy broom away from me and I hit him on the head and he cried. In my kindergarten report card, it said I needed to co-operate more with my peers.

I went to grade one and I liked school. I remember at the Lajuenesse school that we would play with yo-yos the new fad. I recall watching Pollyanna the movie in the school auditorium.

One day I was staring at my grade one teacher and she asked me why I was staring at her and I had no answer and she walked up to me and slapped me across the face. My mom heard of what happened and went to see the teacher the next day and grabbed her by the throat and told my teacher in no uncertain terms not to do that to me ever again and she did not.

I used to play with an older girl next door called Isabelle. She had lots of nice toys and especially beautiful dolls to play with. One morning I went to her apartment to play with dolls. I went back home for lunch. My mom made us chicken soup and sandwiches. We heard someone knocking on the door and my mom opened the door. Isabelle informed my mother one of her dolls was missing. Mom closed the door and looked very angrily towards me.

“Suzanne, come into your bedroom with me right now” my mother ordered me and I did. She closed the door and told me to take off my yellow turtleneck with long sleeves. She took a belt and whipped my arms with it.

“Did you take any of Isabelle’s dolls?”, my mother demanded of me. “Mommy I did not take any dolls, it is the truth, mommy” I cried as I told my mother. My mother did not believe me and she whipped my arms some more until there were welts on my arms. She told me to put on my turtleneck and leave the bedroom and say nothing to anyone about what happened.

I went back into the kitchen with tears rolling down my face as I finished my lunch. My brother looked very nervous and anxious as he saw my tears. He knew mom had beat me. He heard me yelling when my mom was beating me.

About an hour later, Isabelle knocked on the door again and said “sorry, Mrs. Legare, but I found my doll”. Mom said goodbye to Isabelle and turned to me and started to cry and hugged me and said she was so sorry. Mom took some of her grocery money dad gave her every week and took me shopping. She bought me a small farm house with little farm animals made of plastic. We then went to see one of her friends who had lots of cats. She was dying of cancer.

My dad was a great storyteller and would read us a story or tell us one of his stories before we went to bed. We loved our dad reading stories to us.

One day my dad told my brother he was not wanted in the family and he had to pack up and go. My brother looked very sad as he went into our bedroom and packed up some of his clothes in a shirt and my father gave him a broomstick to put his clothes on. I went hysterical and told my dad that I wanted Chris to stay. Chris started to cry and my dad told my brother to leave and he did. Chris started to climb the stairs from the basement apartment and then my dad grabbed him and told Chris he was only joking. My dad had a sick sense of humor. My dad could be cruel at times.

Mom and dad smoked cigarettes. Mom often would send us to the local convenience store to buy her cigarettes and we would spend the change on candy, and a few cents in those days could buy you lots of candy. We had lots of dental work done when we were young because we ate so much sugar. My brother and I still have a “sweet tooth”. My father paid a small fortune to have our teeth fixed by an oral surgeon, Dr. Morin in Ottawa. He had an office for years on Gloucester St.

Wayne the neighbour upstairs went to his family’s cottage one year and he was run over by a car and had to stay in bed for a few months.

I remember Christmases very well when I was young. Mom told my brother and I to go to bed early as Santa Claus was coming. I told Mom to put out some milk and cookies for Santa and some carrots out for Rudolph the reindeer. If I woker up during the night to ask if Santa came by the apartment, she would say “not yet, but you better get to bed before Santa sees you”, mom would tell me.

We had lots nice presents. I had a nice doll from my grandma Mary Sage in a plastic case. Chris got
lots of toys like a train, a car etc. We got the game Tiddly Winks. I got a doll and a baby carriage. I remember my dad taking pictures of the family. Chris all of sudden went over to my doll carriage and poked the roof with a pen and then poked my doll’s eyes with a pen. I started to cry.

My dad went to Mexico to see the deep jungles and went with a friend named Roger. We took dad to the airport and that was the only time I saw my dad kiss my mom on the lips. My mom and dad never showed any affection towards each other in front of my brother and I. My parents rarely hugged my brother and I.
We grew up in a home without love. We had lots of food and nice clothes and a clean house. Kids affection and need to be nutured and to be treated with respect and not be violated in any way. Chris and I suffered greatly in our childhood.

My parents did not have the proper parenting skills in order to provide a safe and happy environment for us as kids. I was a nervous child waiting to be hit or told off at any minute. I walked on egg shells for most of my childhood. My dad ignored me most of the time and he did Chris. All I needed as a child was to have a safe parent hold me tight and hug me and tell me that they loved me. I became an insecure person as a result of the abuse. I was not taught to be assertive when I was a child. My parents would violate my boundaries. I am assertive now but it took me many years of therapy to be able to gain the confidence and stand up for myself. I became empowered and knew I would not let people push me around anymore.

My mom hired an older girl who went to the same school as me to walk me to and from school. My mom paid her. Along the way the girl would sometimes kick me if I walked too slowly. I told my mom what the girl did to me and she went to the girl’s house and told off the girl and fired her.

Mom’s friend Ann lived next door. One day mom and I went to visit Ann and her kids. Ann had a real rifle laying on the table and mom picked it up for a joke and pointed it at Ann laughing. Ann yelled “Don’t shoot, its loaded, Theresa”. Ann was as white as a ghost. My mom was in shock. Ann’s husband was a hunter.

Mom and dad both decided to visit Mexico. I was sent to live with my Aunt Sheila and Uncle
Denzil in Cobourg, Ontario while my parents were away. My brother was sent to stay with grandma Sage and uncle Lyman in Hull, Quebec.

Mom and dad were gone for at least a month.

Aunt Sheila was British. She was real nice and she had three kids, one was a baby. She use let us make things out of playdough and then cook the pieces we made and put them in the oven to cook. One day Aunt Sheila had to pick up carriage that was sent to her from her family in England. Uncle Denzil was a tall man and he was nice too like his wife. One day my uncle took off his shirt and I saw a big hole with a scar where a wound had once been. I asked what caused the scar and he said he had a wound from World War II. Denzil Sage, my mom’s brother, along with 4 of his brothers and two of his sisters fought in World War II.

Around the corner in Cobourg lived my Aunt Caroline and her husband Stewart. He was in the Army like Uncle Denzil. Aunt Cannie had two teenage girls Linda and Carole Flay at time, her two sons came after in her change of life. Cannie was a nurses aid at the local hospital for years. There was a big playground on the grounds surrounding the townhouses. Uncle Stewart was an alcoholic.

My aunt Caroline remembers giving me a few coins everyday and watching me run like a bat out of hell to stop the iceman with his machine. He would ring that bells as he came by and I would bolt of the aunt’s door with pigtails and arms flying and I would run as fast as I could and I would yell, Mr. Ice cream man, stop, stop” The man would laugh as I came up to his ice cream machine that was a bicycle and machine in one. I still love ice cream to this day.

Cobourg was a small town with not too many people. I was four years old and I had lots of cousins to play with. I had a ball. My aunts and uncles spoiled me you could say. I was very talkative and had lots of energy and I played all day.

After a month, my parents came back from Mexico to take me home. My aunt Sheila opened the door with me in her arms. My mom said to me “Hi Suzanne, mommy and daddy are back to take you home. I told my mother “You are not my mommy, Sheila is” My aunt Sheila just laughed and handed me over to my mom

My parents had a wonderful tan and they gave me some toys and souvenirs from their trip. Mom and dad gave all of my aunts and uncles some gifts. My father drove my mom and I to Hull, Quebec to pick up my brother. We climbed the two big staircases to reach my grandma’s apartment. Chris looked well fed and happy.
Uncle Lyman spoiled Chris and took him everywhere with him to show him off. Chris was real cute. He had all these curls with dark brown hair and beautiful blue eyes, he was a real cutie.

Mom and Dad and grandma Sage and Chris went to the back of the apartment facing St. Joseph blvd.

Graphic Text next ….

I had to go to the bathroom. Uncle Lyman was in the the kitchen next to the bathroom. He motioned for me to follow him into the bathroom and I did. Once he and I were in the bathroom he put the latch on with a hook to close the door. He then put me up on the toilet bowl cover that was facing the mirror. He whispered to me to pull down my red shorts and my panties and I did. I was only four years old. He then bent down to kiss my gential area for a few minutes and then said “that is real pretty, you know”. He pulled up my panties and shorts and then told me “don’t tell anyone, this is our secret” and I said ok. He then took the latch off the door and we both went onto the balcony where everyone was.

I did not know my uncle abused me as I was too young so I never told anyone about it for many years later. I recall going to visit my grandma and Uncle Lyman and my uncle would say “Suzanne is my favorite niece, she is such a beautiful and nice girl, just look at that pretty face and all those ringlets, she looks like a little doll, like Shirely Temple”. Lyman would always fuss over me way too much all of the time when I visited Grandma’s house.

Grandma Sage went to a Roman Catholic church across the street for years. I went to a bazaar with her and my mother. In the 80s, her church was torn down and made into a nightclub – a disco and my grandma was real upset about that. I was called “Disco Viva” I used to disco dance there from 12 midnight into the wee hours of the morning. I always brought my brother to watch out for me. I called Grandma Sageone night and told her I had danced at the disco the night before and my grandma said “Blasphemy” I felt bad that I told her. She was real upset with me for a long time.

Grandma Sage would send money to the Little Theresa Mission. Grandma and Grandpa Sage’s engagement pictures were on her living room walls in oval frames from the early 1900s. My mother took them when grandma and Uncle Lyman went to Cobourg. My mom put them on her bedroom walls.

chapter-3-use

 

January 18, 2008

Above is a picture of Sue’s cousin Linda Flay. This picture was taken at Linda’s graduation from Nursing School. Linda is a nurse at the Cobourg General Hospital. Linda is remarried now and has 3 grown children. Jennifer is a teacher in Ottawa. 

Below are two pictures of the apartment building where Sue lived at 178 Carruthers St in Ottawa near the corner of Scott St.  The picture to the left is the staircase leading to the  upper floor 2 bedroom apartment.  To the right is the front of the building.


 

 

Our family moved when I was three years old to 178 Carruthers Street near Scott street not far from Holland Ave. We lived in a second floor apartment that had 13 stairs to the main street. I remember good times and bad times at Carruther’s street.

My brother and I shared a bedroom. My brother was in a crib and I had my own small bed. My brother called me “Tuzane” as he could not say “Suzanne” as it was too difficult for a young child to pronounce.

The teenage boy across the street taught me how to skate. My father would make a rink and slide in the backyard in the winter.

One day when my mom and I and my brother had a nap in the afternoon as we always did, my brother Chris decided to go for a walk outside. It was a cold winter day and Chris managed to put on his snow suit by himself and his boots. My mother woke up and could not find my brother Chris and she was very upset and worried. She called the police and all the people she knew. She told me to get dressed and go outside and look for my brother. I was about 4 years old.

I went outside and it was a very cold winter day. I looked all around and could not see my brother anywhere on Carruthers Street. I felt worried too. All of a sudden I turned around towards Scott street and saw my brother Chris smiling and waving his arms as he was walking towards me in his winter snowsuit. My brother said “Tuzane, is mom mad”? Yes I told my brother. Chris and I walked up the stairs to our apartment and my mom gave my brother a beating he wouldn’t forget for a very long time.

One of our neighbours was mother who was an amputee. One of her hands and forearms was missing. Another neighbour of ours was a developmentally delayed boy with disfigurements to his face and hands. He used to throw stones at Chris and I. He lives near me around the corner now and he has changed. He is very nice and friendly and we speak often when I bump into him. His name is Michael.

We had a wooden swing outside in the backyard. One day my brother was on it and I got hit in the face when it went up into the air. I was hurt but not badly.

One day a man with a old fashioned camera came by. He had a horse with him. He asked my mom if she would like some pictures taken of me and Chris and she agreed. She dressed up in our finest clothes. I remember the man putting a drape over his head and then he took some pictures. Chris and I were on the horse in the pictures. I had long brown hair with ringlets and had on a pretty dress and Chris had on a small suit. We looked so cute in these pictures. My mom has all those pictures.

My mom asked her sister Caroline “Cannie” daughter Linda Flay who was a teenager to come and babysit my brother Chris and I. My cousin Linda was coming over to our second floor apartment when she saw my mom push me down the l3 stairs outside our apartment and I fell on the ground in front of my building. Linda didn’t say anything. She was too afraid to.

My mom told her to do some household chores when she was babysitting my brother and I. When my mom got home Linda forgot to do the housework. My mom threw my cousin Linda across the room. Linda told her mother Aunt Cannie and Cannie never sent Linda to babysit us again. Aunt Cannie never said anything to my mom.. She did not want to rock the boat.

I remember my third birthday party at Carruthers. In the picture I have a nice cake in front of me with candles and some gifts. I looked so happy. I hid my pain as a child.

I was a nervous child and I had to go and see the doctor because I chewed my right thumb nail down to the cuticle. My mom had to immerse my thumb in some type of liquid solution in order that my thumb nail would heal.

My brother and I would swing from the kitchen cabinet doors. My parents didn’t like that very much at all. We would play outside together in the backyard and we had lots of fun together.

One day I remember an awful thing that happened to my brother Chris, he must have been about 3 years old. I saw my dad push my brother from the livingroom into my parents’ bedroom where he hit his chin on the steel metal bed frame. My parents took him to the hospital to get stitches. He still has a small scar on his chin to this day. My parents I assume lied about how my brother’s chin was split open. Child abuse was a taboo subject for so long.

Mom was washing dad’s clothes one day when he looked into one of his pants pockets and found a hotel receipt from Montreal. Mom put two and two together. Dad was away on some weekends with some of his friends. Dad admitted to having had an affair with a secretary.

Mom was devastated. She loved my dad so much and was really committed to him My aunt Olive said my mom never got over what my dad did. Mom lost 90 pounds in three months after that incident. My uncle Lyman did not recognize my mom when she had lost all of that weight. Mom was an emotional eater, when things bothered her, she would go to the fridge and get some comfort food. Mom’s weight has gone up and down like a roller coaster all her life.

My mom became pregnant after she had my brother Chris. My mom had a miscarriage.

My mom went to work in the evenings at the Westgate Restaurant at the Westgate Shopping Center. She was saving up money to put a down payment on a house. My dad had a mini Austin car. I remember my father wrapping my brother and I in blankets as he walked down the stairs to put us in the car to pick up my mom from work.

Carruthers Street was in the poor section of town. I do remember playing with lots of kids and having fun.
There was a school across the street.

I remember my mom coming into the bedroom I shared with my brother who was in a crib. I had a small child’s bed to sleeep on. My mom told me I had enough of having a bottle at night and she was going to cut it up and I would never see my bottle again. I screamed and cried all night. I was old enough to do without a bottle.
I must have been 3 years old. My mom took a knife and my baby bottle in two.

I remember another babysitter. She was a young teenager and she come into my bedroom and close the lights and then put a latch on the outside of my bedroom door. I screamed and hollered and told her in my small child’s voice, “don’t lock me in”.

I remember getting out of my bed during nap times and selling my marbles to a kid on our block. I liked to sell things and still do. I love flea markets and I love to go to shopping centers and have a meal and a coffee and see everything at all the shops.

I have gaps in my memories throughout my childhood.  I have repressed some of these memories because I believe they were too traumatic.   In time I may remember them  probably when I am ready.

chapter-4

January 18, 2008

Above is the picture of the Riviera School in Touraine, the back yard of the school
Above is the picture of the Riveria School in Touraine from the front of the building.
Above is the back yard of the George Etiennes Cartier School in Touraine, Quebec

Above is the front of the George Etiennes Public School in Touraine, Quebec

Above is a picture of the French church in Touraine, Quebec called ?????

The picture above is the French church that was in front of the school in Limbour, Quebec

Above is a picture of the school yard in Limbour. This was the French school. The English school was a little school house that was to the left of this picture but has since been torn down.


Above is a picture of the Foster’s house in Touraine on Calais Street. Claire, Ernie and Michael
Foster lived here in the early 60s. Their house was directly across the street from our house
at 66 Calais St.

Above is a picture of the Courturier’s house which was right next door to us. Carmen, Renee and their two kids Andre and Anne-Marie Courturier lived in this house. Carmen’s mom lived with the family also.

Above is a picture of Sue’s family house at 66 Calais St in Touraine, Quebec. A recent picture taken in August 2007. Paul Andre, Theresa, Chris and Sue Legare lived here in the early 60s. Sue’s house
was on a corner lot.


Here is a picture of my father Andre Legare practicing Karare downtairs in our
house at 66 Calais St, Touraine, Quebec My father has a black belt in Karate and used to teach Karate. I have a green belt in Karate. The whole took Karate at the Langelier Karate Studio which was the corner of Rideau Street and Colonel By Drive where the Rideau Center is now. Our family also took karate at the George Sylvain Karate studio on Queen Street. That building has since been torn down and now a huge office building is situated there.

Calais Street Touraine, Quebec (1960 – 1967)

Our family moved into the Riviera housing development in Touraine, Quebec which was situated across the river from Hull and next door to Pointe-Gatineau where my grandpa
Albert Legare lived.

We moved into a bungalow at 66 Calais Street which was a corner lot. The housing development was new and the streets were not paved yet. In the Spring and when it rained
there was lots of mud everywhere.

Across the street from our house lived the Foster family: Ernie, Claire and Michael. Ernie the dad was from England. Claire the mom was Canadian and Michael was their only
child.

Next door to us lived the Couturier Family: Renee the dad, Carmen the mom and Andre and Ann-Marie were their children. Carmen’s mom lived with them.

Across from the Couturiers lived the local priest who preached the sermon on Sundays at the local church which was situated in the basement of the Riviera School. The mass was in French and mom and dad would give us 10 cents each and sent us on our way to church every Sunday morning. Mom and dad stayed home. Mom told me once when dad was a young altar boy that one of the priests tried to touch him somewhere where he was not supposed to and this turned off from going to church ever again. My parents were Roman Catholics.

Calais Street had lots of kids. Rosemary down the street had three sisters.

Chris went to school which was in a model house. Chris sat at the back of the room and got sick because the window was open and mom went down to the model house and gave the teacher a real rough time.

Mom and dad could have sent us to French school but never did. We were taught in English.

Chris and I were soon packed up every morning with our lunch and had to get the school bus to go to the Limbour English school a few miles away. On the lot the school was a huge French elementary school. We had our small two storey two classroom school at the back of the lot.

The Bertrand twins were our classmates. Their mother May Bertrand taught the kids in touraine everything from ballet, majorette, dancing and everything in between. She said she had been in the ballet in England. Mom let her use our basement for some of the classes. My brother Chris and I took ballet in the basement of Riviera Elementary school. Chris was the only boy taking ballet lessons.

I was 6 years old and Chris was 5. The Couturier kids were in similar ages to us. Andre and Ann Marie were our playmates. Michael Foster was few years older than us but he played with us too.

Michael had an aquarium with lots of exoctic fish. His mom and dad were real nice too.

One day Michael and I were playing Monopoly and I looked after the money and took more than I should have and Michael flipped out and took the whole game board and threw it up in the air.

Michael and I were sitting on my front cement block steps to my front door. Michael and I developed a puppy love crush on each other. Michael bought me a 10 cents ring and put it on my finger like it was an engagement ring and I was so pleased and overjoyed. We talked about our future together. He was 10 years old and I was 7. Michael said he wanted to be a forest ranger and I would be the wife and have the kids and we would build a house in the forest.

I saw Michael a few years ago at the Kelly Funeral home on Carling Ave. He was driving the car for the bereaved families. My friend Maureen was going to the cemetery to bury her second husband.

Michael was driving the car and I asked him “Are you Michael Foster that used to live on Calais Street when you were a kid”. He replied he was. So we started to update each other with what had happened to each of us over so many years of not seeing each other. Michael was married and had one daughter. His dad Ernie died of cancer. Michael drank too much and had a heart attack and his wife told him to stop drinking and he did.

I told him I was divorced from John Clark, that I had worked for National Defence as a civilian secretary and that I was an antipoverty activist and an antipsychiatry activist, a shit
disturber so to speak. He asked about my brother Chris and he asked if Chris was married. I told him my brother was single.

My uncle Athel who was called Pete was a chronic alcoholic and he and wife were having problems because of this. His kids Stephen and Robin were left in my parents care
for perhaps a few months. They were close in age to me and Chris.

One day my mom gave Robin a new umbrella to use as it was raining. Mom told Robin to take care of the umbrella and not to break. Well Robin was a kid and we know what kids can do, they are not perfect at times. Robin took the umbrella and somehow it got broken.

When Robin got home my mom was real mad as she loved at her broken umbrella. Mom marched Robin into the basement and gave her a beating. Me, Chris, and Stephen witnessed the incident. It was horrible to hear Robin’s cries downstairs in the basement. My mom could be real mean and cruel.

We kids on our block went into the nearby forest that had a small stone grotto. We loved to play in the forest all year long. We saw this one big tree and decided it was going to be our very own tree house where we could sit and have some fun. We found a thick branch and put into the crack of the tree and climbed onto individual branches that we wanted to sit on. We later on nailed on boards to our branches to sit on.

One day Michael and some of his friends who we were estranged from for awhile came by and tauted us kids while we were sitting in our tree house. Michael and Monkey face his friend as we called him because he had big ears started to throw big chunks of stones at all of us.
None of us were hurt as we ducked carefully. I told my mom about this and she had a talk with Michael’s mom. He never did that again.

I remember when the Barbie doll came and the GI Joe Doll. I used to play with Ann Marie’s dolls as her mother Carmen bought her kids anything she wanted; she spoiled her kids real rotten. She got her kids a pool in the backyard, gave her kids the best birthday presents and at Christmas they got all the latest toys.

Carmen was real nice to our family. She gave us food, drove us around in her car. Carmen was lots of fun. Going over to play with her kids was fun. We had all the toys anyone could ask for to play with.

Renee, Carmen’s husband had a woodworking room where he created beautiful wooden bowls, coffee tables etc. Renee used to drink lots of jars of instant coffee to keep him awake as he had to jobs everyday to go to.

One day my brother was playing with Michael foster. They were playing in a snow bank in the front of our house. Chris got his snowsuit pants wet from the wet snow. When entered our house, mom noticed that Chris’s pants were wet and she ordered him down to the basement. The basement was not finished off yet. Mom beat Chris with a piece of wood and he tried to protect himself with raising his hands and a chunk of flesh fell off his little finger and has a scar on his finger that is plainly visible to this day from the beating. No attempts were made to bring Chris to the hospital for stitches or for pain relief. Years later my brother showed me his scar on his finger and I was a Treats coffee place in downtown Ottawa and I just broke down and cried in front of everyone. Seeing that scar brought up a whole bunch of bad memories about my childhood. Chris took my hand and looked at me compassionately. We lived through our war at home with all the abuse we got.

I love my brother but sometimes being clash as we both have bad tempers and we would do not see each other for awhile until we settle our differences. This is one such time at present and we are not talking to each other. Eventually we will resolve our differences. My brother Chris has a kind and good heart, he is a gentle soul.

I skipped a grade when I was in Quebec. The school system in Quebec at that time was more advanced. Chris and I were in the same grade for years as he was one year younger.

It was fun taking the big yellow school bus to the small little English school on the school property that sat a big French public school run by nuns. Some boys would bully and taunt my brothers but Chris was never afraid because the Bertrand twins liked Chris and always protected him. You could say the Bertrand twins were kind of wild. Mary Ellen Foley and her younger sister Marion came in my school bus from Cantely as did Ann and Pasty Burke. Brian Lauber an his sister Cindy and Michael Murphy got on the same school bus as we did. One of the French students in Limbour, a young girl got on and she was an amputee. Her lower arm was missing. It was fun riding in the school bus along the narrow and winding roads in Quebec near the water.

Some of the French kids did not like us, there was a growing resentment amongst them and us. One day in the winter, the English us built a small snow fort and we and the French kids were throwing snowballs at each other not in a very playful way. One French got hit in the eye with snowball that had a stone. We never had any more snowball fights on the school property again. Donna and her sister Debbie were our school mates too. Debbie was obese and we all made fun of her and called her “Debbie Beaufart”. We were not very nice to her and I regret doing that. Kids can be real mean.

I learned to penmanship. The kids did not print but wrote out their exercises with writing. I can write beautifully.

The Bertrand twins were always up to some mischief for sure. I had long pigtails almost down to the my waist and one day the twins got their blotter of ink and dipped my the lower part of my pigtails in the ink. One day they got behind my desk and tried to unscrew the bolts and one leg of the desk became wobbly.

There was a forest behind the school and the boys would love to get garter snakes and chase all the girls during recess time.

At the Limbour school the kids would sing the latest songs by the new group from England called the Beatles. I liked Paul the best, I had a small crush on him and was devastated to learn later on he got married.

The Monkees came out with their music and I liked to watch their show. My favorite Martian was on TV as was Bonanaza and Lost in Space. Ed Sullivan was a great show. The Momma and the Papas came upon the music scene. The 60s had lots of good music and I was there to see it all happening.

In the Riviera project we kids roamed all around the streets and into the forest and our parents never worried about us kids. It was really safe in those days for kids to be alone.
No one ever bothered us. We had loads of fun.

One day I came from school and saw my mom crying in the livingroom. She was sitting in her bathrobe. I asked her what was wrong. The livingroom drapes were closed. Mom got up and took off her bathrobe and she was naked. She turned around and said “Look at my back” She had big bruises and welts on her back. I asked my mother if the boogey man came in a did that to her. “No” she said “your dad did this to me”. I was quite shocked as I adored my dad and waited for him outside our house waiting his car to pull into the driveway.

We had a black poodle named Pierre and he did messes all over the floor, he was not trained properly. Mom would abuse Pierre and take him downstairs and beat him, I can recall hearing the poor dog wimpering in pain.

Carmen Couturier did catering and fell in love with Norman a fellow employee. She told her husband Renee who she was still living with. Norman would call mom and mom would send one of us kids to get Carmen so she could talk to Carmen. One day Renee was home and heard me telling Carmen to come to my house as she had a phone call from somone. I called Norman “Bozo” after the clown on daytime tv. Renee ran after Carmen and pulled out of her hand and yelled “who are you speaking too”. Carmen and all of never said anything to Renee.

Carmen would drive all of us to the Gatineau Park where there were nice lakes and picnic areas to eat at. Carmen and Normal would sneak off into the woods by themselves to have some private time together. We would eat hot dogs and sandwiches and would burn charcoal bricks to start a fire to roast the meat we brought with us. One day Chris walked on top of a hot charcoal brick someone has thrown nearby and I could still remember hearing Chris scream and we all yelled, get into the water and he did. Chris had a big blister on his foot for awhile. I felt bad for Chris.

All the English kids left the Limbour school and then went to the newly built Riviera School. We had one class that was English and the rest was for French kids.

I used to walk down the hallways with a heavy foot and my teacher Lola Lafontaine would say “You walk like an elephant, Suzanne” and the kids would laugh.

Lola Lafontaine was my teacher from Grade 1 to 7. She was very nice person who laughed alot. She was married but did not have kids for quite a while. I believe that Mrs. Lafontaine keep up my spirits during the day, it gave me a reprieve from my mothers abuse and I looked forward to going to school everyday.

I had an excellent memory and I was second in my grade for many years until Mary Ellen Foster was sick. Mary Ellen was always got the best grades but this time I outbeat and
got the highest marks for a few months.

We were in a Roman Catholic school system and we had to learn cathecism everyday. We would have to kneel down on our desks and take turns says the prayers “Our Father” and “Hail Mary”. Brian in the class stuttered badly. When it was his turn to say the prayer, he did and the kids did not laugh. We accepted his speech impediment.

Carmen left her husband and took off with her lover Norman to another city with her two kids.
I missed Andre and Ann Marie. After a few months Carmen came back home with two kids in tow. The affair with Norman her lover had fizzled out.

One day, Michael and I were sitting on his porch steps when we saw a thin black labrador stray dog going past us. I said to Micheal “that dog looks awfully hungry, I think we should feed it”. So Michael went to the dog and guided it to his house and gave it some food.

We both liked the dog. Michael asked him mom when she came back to work if he could keep the dog and she said yes. I told Michael he should name the dog “Cindy” and he did. Cindy did lots of meses. Ernie Foster took a rubber hose and beat the dog and she soon was well behaved. Claire Foster would give us homemade popsicles. She was real nice. She always had a ready smile for everyone.

One day my dad told me I had crooked legs so I went over to Ernie Foster to ask what he thought of my legs and told him what my dad had said to me. Ernie laughed his head off and said my legs were perfectly fine.

The local English priest came over to our classroom one day and asked our teacher Mrs.
Lafontaine “who has the loudest voices in the class”. Our teacher pointed to me and to boy in our class. The priest wanted us to say the prayer at the front of the Cantley church when we would be making our first holy communion. He would drive some of around and teach me the prayers to read. He was really nice to us all. My mom bought our outfits for our holy communion event. I got a white lace dress with a white weil and with white gloves and leotards and white shoes. Chris got grey pants with a black blazer and a white ribbon to wear on one of his upper arms. I looked like a miniature bride when I was all dressed up. There were about
15 girls dressed in white and about the same number of boys dressed up in the grey pants and black blazers. My brother had a stye in his eye.

My grandparents Yvette and Albert Legare came to our first holy communion. I was squirming ans wiggling in my pew and I was talking during the service and my mom motioned for me to stop and I did. My name was called out and I had to go up the front of the church and kneel down and read a long prayer. My voice was loud as memorized the prayers and said it.

After the ceremony, Bishop Window stood outside the church and shook everyone’s hand.
He gave me a silver dollar for my efforts that day. A few years later I spent the silver dollar and I regret doing that to this day.

Mom made a big birthday party for her mother Grandma Mary Ann Sage who was turning
60 years old on March 25th. Mom invited all of her siblings, only one did not show up.
Grandma got lots of gifts and a nice cake. It was nice to see all of mom’s siblings and their
families. The house had lots of people in it that day.

Mom wanted to make some money for Christmas and decided to go to the little shopping center a few blocks away and apply for a waitress job at the local restaurant and she did.
She got the job. Mom did not tell dad right away. The first night she was supposed to
start her job, mom told dad she had to go to work. Dad got furious and threw mom out
of the house in the middle of winter with no shoes or coat on, she had on her slippers.
Mom walked in the snow to the Fosters house across the street and called her sister
Olive who lived in Ottawa to come pick her up. Dad went over the Foster’s a few minutes later and told mom to come home, that it was ok. Her sister Olive did not pick up my mom.

My dad had a dry sense of humour that I picked up from him. I can still recall his laugh as he told of his funny stories. One day my dad the family at the supper table “We adopted you,
Suzanne, you were an ugly baby and we felt sorry for you”. I got upset and my dad told me he was only teasing me and he told me I was a beautiful little girl.

One day Chris and I were late for supper and he told us to come into the kitchen and we had to line up next to each other. Dad kicked us hard in our lower spine with pointed patent leather shoes.

Mom asked May Bertrand’s older son to babysit my brother and I one evening. My parents
left their car at home as some of their friends would be picking them up. We had fun with
May’s son. He was a nice guy and he was lively. I went to bed as I was tired and he asked that Chris stay up and not go to bed. I heard drawers in my parents

My dad had a dry sense of humour that I picked up from him. I can still recall his laugh as he told of his funny stories. One day my dad the family at the supper table “We adopted you,
Suzanne, you were an ugly baby and we felt sorry for you”. I got upset and my dad told me he was only teasing me and he told me I was a beautiful little girl.

One day Chris and I were late for supper and he told us to come into the kitchen and we had to line up next to each other. Dad kicked us hard in our lower spine with pointed patent leather shoes.

Mom asked May Bertrand’s older son to babysit my brother and I one evening. My parents
left their car at home as some of their friends would be picking them up. We had fun with
May’s son. He was a nice guy and he was lively. I went to bed as I was tired and he asked that Chris stay up and not go to bed. I heard the drawers in my parents’ bedroom being opened and closed. The babysitter was looking through my parents things.

The babysitter asked me if he wanted to go for a ride with me and Chris in our parents car and I said no. Chris went out the door with May’s son. I was worried and I called my Aunt Olive in Ottawa and told her what happened. She told me to tell the babysitter no to do out again with the car when he came back with Chris. I told my parents when they came home and they
told off the young man.

A few years later the same young man was walking with girlfriend along the highway leading to Touraine when a car hit them both. May’s boy died but his girlfirend survived. I was so sad at his funeral. May was devastated. Everytime I go onto this highway I remember this tragic
incident.

Touraine was a great place to grow up in. It had a huge forest where we all the kids went to play. I remember my brother covering me up with autumn leaves as I lay on the ground.

My dad had a friend who lived in Touraine. His friend was married and his wife’s name
was Theresa Cyr. She was a great person. Her house was a mess but she had a carefree
attitude and she was good to her two boys. I liked her alot. I wished she was my mother.
She is in politics on the Quebec side.

The English kids went to the Jean-Etiennes School in the project. We had two English classes in this Roman Catholic School. One of the boys was Porutugese, new to Canada.
One day in the winter of 1967, my brother Chris got pushed into the snow by Eduardo.
Chris told my mom at lunch time when he went home what Eduardo did to him. Later that
afternoon, my mother showed up in the school yard during recess and came up to my brother
and asked him to point to Eduardo and he did. My mother went up to Eduardo and grabbed him by the throat, cursed at him, and then dragged him to principal Mr. Prud’homme’s office.
Chris remembers his classmates telling him that mom was nuts; they told him what he
didn’t recognize in mom’s behaviour.

My father was into Karate and I recall seeing him break red bricks with his hands. He would line up two or three bricks and then one hand would go down hard on them and the bricks would break, a part of Karate training.

One day and I were practicing some Karate moves and my dad punched me in the stomach hard and I told my dad that hurt and he grabbed me and hugged me, something he did very rarely. My dad never hardly any attention to me and never hugged me much at all. I craved for my dad’s approval and I never got it. Mom never showed my brother and I any affection at all too. My parents were cold towards us. We got feed good food, had a clean house and clothes but were never given any type of affection, warm, love, nor affection. We were treated as though we were part of the furniture, that is how I felt when I was growing up as a child.
I did not realize how bad my childhood was until I meet some of classmates parents and they
were so nice, loving and caring. I realized one day that my parents had lots of problems,
and that they were disturbed. I had a very unstable upbringing. I never knew when my mom
would belt me or beat me or yell at me and that made me into a very nervous and hyper child.
I have been in therapy since I was l7 years old. I left psychiatry l7 years ago and found
alternative therapists which I still talk to and see. I am still a very nervous and hyper person.
You never forget the abuse but you learn to heal slowly. Some memories are too painful and I believe will never heal…

My husband Steven is nearby as I write this book. Some of the memories are so painful I am crying as I am writing this. Chris and I suffered greatly in our childhood. I am writing this book
because it very therapeutic for me and I am getting out of some of the painful stuff bottled up inside of me for years. Child abuse happens in all economic societies.

Our family went to see my mom’s sister Olive and her family in Vancouver. My dad’s brother Gerry and his family went along too. He had a long trailer on the end of his car. We had fun having lots of picnic along the way. It was nice to play with my cousins Marcel, Diane and
Louise Legare. My dad used to show a slide to everyone of Chris peeing at a picnic and I thought this was very insensitive of my dad to do that. My dad could be insensitive and cruel too like my mom.

Mom sold Tupperware and she sold lots of it. She also sold Stanley products too. Mom was an extrovert and liked to have fun and she did.

Mom had friends she would invite over for a big supper, a social gathering. Helen Cherry of Ottawa would show up along with Betty and then some of her well to do friends from Montreal would come to see her. Mom would make gourmet food, she sure could cook. They would bring a hostess
gift for Mom and sometimes they gave us kids some gifts too. We would wash all the dishes up afterwards and give mom a needed break as it took her lots of time to plan and prepare her parties. Pictures would be taken of the dinners. We all enjoyed ourselves.

One day Theresa Cyr brought me and Chris to a mini golf putt place near Touraine. I won my very first game in mini golf. Theresa then brought me and my brother to a restaurant attached to a gasoline station. I orderd french fries my favourite food. After the small snack, Theresa drove us home. We found that a few days later the garage and restaurant blew up because of a gas leak. We were just plain lucky nothing happened to us a few days before. I counted my lucky stars. I may not be rich but I sure am lucky.

I remember my dad going to see my uncle Lyman about a loan. Lyman was loaded. He worked at the Rockcliffe base in Ottawa in the canteen section. He never travelled and only stayed at home. He bought a new car every few years. Dad gave some lie about why
he need the $200 or so. The real reason was to pay for the bail to get his father Albert
Legare out of Pointe Gatineau jail as he had been arrested for beating up his wife Blanche at their home.

Our family went to the old Ottawa General Hospital to visit my grandma Blanche who was beat up real bad by grandpa. My dad told me and Chris to stay in the waiting room. My parents
visited Blanche for awhile and then we left.

Blanche was beaten up by grandpa Albert because he got angry that she was giving money to her daughter and his son, Aunt Theresa and Uncle Gerry. Blanche was supposed to
save the money for their vacation.

Blanche never returned to Albert, they split up. She lived on her after that. They had a beautiful home in Pointe-Gatineau, Quebec near the woods and near grandpa’s job as paper
inspector.

My parents got a dog a white siberian husky which they named Kimoo. We got Kimoo as a pup. He sure was cute. My parents did not know how to train him and he made messes all over the floor. Finally, my mom gave her dog to the neighbours next door to the Couturiers.

The Courturiers could not train the dog either and they had the same problems and soon gave the dog away.

Our family went to see my mom’s sister Olive and her family in Vancouver. My dad’s brother Gerry and his family went along too. He had a long trailer on the end of his car. We had fun having lots of picnic along the way. It was nice to play with my cousins Marcel, Diane and
Louise Legare. My dad used to show a slide to everyone of Chris peeing at a picnic and I thought this was very insensitive of my dad to do that. My dad could be insensitive and cruel too like my mom.

We slept in our cars. One night Gerry wrapped on the one of the car windows and he looked very frantic and upset. My dad rolled the window and asked what was wrong. Gerry said the
trailer on the back of his car was falling slowly off the side of the mountain where he parked his car for the night. My father rushed over to his brother’s car and they both managed to pull
the trailer back up onto the road. Everything turned out ok.

Dad was driving and looked into his rearview mirror in his car and car a small volkswagon flip into the air and roll over several times into a ditch. Dad pulled over to see if he could assist
the people in the car. Dad had first aid training. There was a man driving and his mom was
his passenger. He told dad when the car was starting to flip he shoved his mothers car down towards the car floor boards and told her to cover her eyes and she did. The lady had glass in her eyes and few cuts an bruises but all in all she had no serious injuries. The man had a few bruises and glass as well on his clothes and in his hair. They thanked my dad for his help.
What caused the accident was that a truck loaded up with wood had dropped some wood and the piece of wood got caught between one of the wheels making the car flip out of control.

My aunt Theresa Legare was a very nice lady. I could tell she was not been treated very well by Gerry.
Gerry very unstable and could not keep a job and the family was always on the go as Gerry could not pay the bills and they moved from place to place constantly.

My aunt Olive pulled out a red carpet as we went up the stairs to her house. Her kids Patsy and Dow and her husband Johnny Burns all greeted us. Olive made a nice supper for us all.
I can remember seeing the mountains from my aunt’s house. My dream is to one day
move out to Vancouver with my husband Steven, his sister Lynn lives out there with her three
kids and husband and all the her grandkids.

I just met Lynn my sister-in-law yesterday. She came to Ottawa from Vancouver where she live with her husband and son. She came to Otawa to visit my husband Steven, and her sister Donna Carr in Stittsville and her father Donald Wittenberg who lives in the retirement home called Stillwaters in Bells Corners, near Ottawa.

Lynn took me and Steven out to Tucker’s Restaurant in the market area of downtown Ottawa
on Friday, August 27th. She paid for the meal and she was very cordial. I like her, she is a descent and nice person. Steven does not see his sister Donna nor his dad Donald. That story will come later in my book….

Lynn has a husband Doug, and son Stephan and two daughters named Rachel and Lucie.
Both daughters have kids. Rachael is married with two kids and Lucie has two kids also.
Rachael has a cute baby named Charlotte. She has blond hair and big rosy cheeks, a beautiful baby for sure.

Lynn’s son Stefan Thordarson and Cary Campbell: Cary and Stefan have been playing music together for the past 3 years but both of these musicians have been honing their skills for many years. They are both part of the rock band Voodoo Buddha that played at the Vancouver Fringe Festival in 2005. Stefan is the violinist in the gypsy-jazz band Stringfever that has toured BC schools, and played at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Cary has studied guitar for 4 years and is a member of the Britannia Secondary School Band. He recently played saxophone on the funk band Paint’s latest CD. Cary and Stefan performed at the Dragon Boat Festival and the Unleashed and Unashamed Youth Festival in 2004. This duo has gypsy-jazz, rock, and folk influences. They explore the work of legends such as Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.
I have never met my nephew Stephan but I wish him all the best of luck with his band. Lynn took violin lessons from Doug and then fell in love. Doug is Stephan’s father.

My cousin Dow got his name as his father named his after the Dow Ale. Dow later changed his name to George and now he is called George Burns.. we all know about the other person with this name the famous comedian who lived to be 100, God bless his soul.

In 1967, it was Canada’s centennial year. I went to Expo 67 twice that year. Once with my family and again with the school. Expo 67 was very exciting to me. I was 12 years old and my brother Chris was 11 years old.

chapter-5
January 18, 2008

To the left is a picture of Russ Jackson holding a football. Russ was a quarter back with the Ottawa Rough Riders. Russ was Sue’s high school principal at the Champlain High School in the pictures below. Sue attended Champlain High Schook from 1968 – 71. Russ Jackson was a nice man and a good principal. He would always stop and say hello to all the students as he went through the hallways of the high school. The picture above to theright is a picture of Russ Jackson in 1996 holding the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup.

Russ Jackson has been described as the best Canadian-born quarterback to play in the Canadian Football League. Following his outstanding 12-year career with the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1958 – 1969. Jackson is still part of the Canadian football scene as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats radio colour commentator on CHML-AM radio

See a video of Russ Jackson playing football see – History by the Minute at:http://www.histori.ca/minutes/minute.do?id=14250



The two pictures above are of Champlain High School now renamed the Center Jules Leger.
The school is on Lanark Ave in Ottawa across from the CBC TV station.


Above is a picture of the singer Paul Anka taken in the 1950s. Sue and her family lived in Paul Anka’s house where he used live in the late 1950s. In 1957, Paul Anka wrote his famous song “Diana” in the basement of the house at 87 Clearview Ave near Island Park Drive in Ottawa. A para transpo driver told Sue once that when he was a teenager he would listen to Paul Anka sing while he was listening at the basement window. Sue’s neighbours, Mr and Mrs. Hart who lived next door would hear Paul Anka playing his music. Sue and her family lived in that house from 1967 – 1971.



Above is a picture of our house at 87 Clearview Ave near Island Park Drive in Ottawa.

The front door entrance to our house at 87 Clearview Ave in Ottawa West.

Above is a picture of my family taken at 87 Clearview Ave. Left to Right: my brother Chris, me (Sue), my mom Theresa and my dad Paul-Andre


Above is a picture of my grandma Mary Ann Sage’s 75th birthday party in

 at my Aunt Olive’s hose at 951 Alpine Ave in Ottawa West. Left to Right: 
Back Row:
 Uncle Lyman, (me) Sue wearing the white suit, Aunt Olive wearing glasses, cousin Patsy (Olive’s daughter), Uncle Pat
Front Row: Grandma Sage and my brother Chris wearing glasses.

My grandma Mary Ann Sage was Irish. She would throw salt over her left shoulder. She was superstitious too. She was a devout Roman Catholic. My mom could only marry a Roman
Catholic and not a man she liked who was protestant a sportscaster on the news.

The Sage family headquarters was at grandma Sage’s apartment in Hull, Quebec. All the Sages went to the martriach of the family. Grandma only stood about 5 feet tall. She had these
small eyes and she was smart as whip, never missed a thing and I loved her. Grandma Sage
was born in 1986 in Low, Quebec and she lived to be 103 years old. There was a big birthday party for Grandma Sage when she turned 100 years old in 1996 in Cobourg, Ontario, I was not there as I have not seen my parents since 1993. Grandma Sage was 103 years old when she died at the Golden Plough Retirement Home in Cobourg, Ontario in 2000. Aunt Cannie went to see her and it was a hot summer day and there was no air conditioning in the retirement home. Cannie went to get her a cloth to put water on it to put on Grandma’s forehead. Grandma said she was not feeling well. Cannie turned around and her mother was dead. Cannie called her daughters Carol and Linda to come over and they did. Grandma Sage is buried in Cobourg, Ontario along side withher son Lyman Sage who died a few years later. I did not go to my grandma’s funeral either. I have been estranged from my parents since 1993.

I want to go to see my grandma Sage’s tombstone and pay my respects to her.

I never visited my Grandma Sage when she lived in Cobourg because my uncle Lyman lived with her and my aunt caroline in the same house. Lyman molested me when I was four years old and I held some animosity towards him. I told Aunt Cannie what Lyman did to me and she understood my not visiting Grandma or her. I told her my aunt that Lyman tried to molest he sister Olive’s daughter Patsy when she was a teenager. Patsy was sleeping in the spare bedroom in Grandma apartment. Uncle Lyman came into the room and put his arm up her nightgown up her thigh and Patsy told Lyman “I am gonna yell and tell Grandma what you
are doing” Lyman quickly left the bedroom. One day I was visiting Grandma and uncle Lyman
came out of the bathroom which was locked with little Venus, Patsy’s little girl.

I told Patsy what Uncle Lyman did to me and told her I saw Venus coming out of the washroom with him.

I started high school at the Champlain High on Lanark Ave in West Ottawa across from the CBC
Headquarters and near Island Park Drive.

My grandma Mary Ann Sage was Irish. She would throw salt over her left shoulder. She was superstitious too. She was a devout Roman Catholic. My mom could only marry a Roman
Catholic and not a man she liked who was protestant a sportscaster on the news.

The Sage family headquarters was at grandma Sage’s apartment in Hull, Quebec. All the Sages went to the martriach of the family. Grandma only stood about 5 feet tall. She had these
small eyes and she was smart as whip, never missed a thing and I loved her. Grandma Sage
was born in 1986 in Low, Quebec and she lived to be 103 years old. There was a big birthday party for Grandma Sage when she turned 100 years old in 1996 in Cobourg, Ontario, I was not there as I have not seen my parents since 1993. Grandma Sage was 103 years old when she died at the Golden Plough Retirement Home in Cobourg, Ontario in 2000. Aunt Cannie went to see her and it was a hot summer day and there was no air conditioning in the retirement home. Cannie went to get her a cloth to put water on it to put on Grandma’s forehead. Grandma said she was not feeling well. Cannie turned around and her mother was dead. Cannie called her daughters Carol and Linda to come over and they did. Grandma Sage is buried in Cobourg, Ontario along side withher son Lyman Sage who died a few years later. I did not go to my grandma’s funeral either. I have been estranged from my parents since 1993.

I want to go to see my grandma Sage’s tombstone and pay my respects to her.

I never visited my Grandma Sage when she lived in Cobourg because my uncle Lyman lived with her and my aunt caroline in the same house. Lyman molested me when I was four years old and I held some animosity towards him. I told Aunt Cannie what Lyman did to me and she understood my not visiting Grandma or her. I told her my aunt that Lyman tried to molest he sister Olive’s daughter Patsy when she was a teenager. Patsy was sleeping in the spare bedroom in Grandma apartment. Uncle Lyman came into the room and put his arm up her nightgown up her thigh and Patsy told Lyman “I am gonna yell and tell Grandma what you
are doing” Lyman quickly left the bedroom. One day I was visiting Grandma and uncle Lyman
came out of the bathroom which was locked with little Venus, Patsy’s little girl.

I told Patsy what Uncle Lyman did to me and told her I saw Venus coming out of the washroom with him.

Our family moved from Calais Street in Touraine to 87 Clearview Ave in Ottawa West, a former home where Paul Anka’s family live. Paul composed his famous song “Diana” in the basement. An ambassador and his family just moved out of the house and our family moved in. Mrs and Mr. Hart lived next door. They remember hearing Paul singing in the basement as the window was near their house. The Harts were a nice elderly couple. Eva Cowan and her husband and her adopted daughter Mary lived on the corner across from the Harts. The Shouldice family lived across from us. Janice Shouldice attended Champlain high. Her brother was developmentally delayed. I sometimes went over to see Janice and we played board games. Janice was bit older and very sophisticated and mature for her age.

I would walk down Clearview and cross Island Park Drive to go to Champlain High. Mom bought me some new clothes to start clothes that I did not like. Mom told me to wear a heavy brown knit sweater and a fake leather skirt and brown knee highs with ugly pointed shoes. I was so embarrassed I told her I would pick out my own clothes and not her.

Champlain High was a nice high school. The football player Russ Jackson was our principal and he was a nice man who was very handsome. I took a commerical class as my dad thought girls should be a secretary or a nurse. I did not want to learning typing etc. I did not do the academic courses, Chris took these courses.

I failed art in Grade 9. I sure did, I am not artistically inclined. In my next semester I took music lessons and learned the recorder which I enjoyed. I passed that course. I failed my
first term of typing. We had blank keys on our manual typewriters. Mrs. Healy my typing class teacher would hit my fingers lightly if I looked down at the keys and I did often. We would learn to type by music. I can type quickly these days as I have been typing for over 35 years. My fingers fly across the keyboard.

I joined the Library class. I was shy in those days believe it not. I had a few friends in high school. Nancy Benoit was my best friend. Leigh McGuire and Christine were also my friends.
Both Leigh and Christine were adopted. Their parents were really nice and the lived in nice homes too.

Miss Burbridge taught grade 9 English. I liked to write poems and I did often. One day Miss
Burbridge asked our English class to write a poem and to put up our hands when we were
finished. I was one of the first ones to put up my hands. Miss Burbridge walked over to me and picked up my poem and waited for the other students to finish writing their poems.
After the class was finished, Miss Burdbridge told me to stay after the other students walked out the classroom. I wondered to myself what did I do wrong, oh no, I wondered.

Miss Burbridge told me she read my poem and saw a rare talent in my writing one that she did not see too often. She encouraged me to write stories and send them to as many
magazines as I could. I felt very flattered as no one really ever gave me encouragement at all.
I still like to write and I do. I don’t have to rewrite anything, it just flows out of me naturally.
I am very lucky to have that talent. My grammar may not be correct sometimes but I do try my best.

This next piece is vey disturbing to read, just a warning to you all before you read this:

My brother told me this. Chris was a student in Grade 8 at Connaught Public school on Gladstone Ave near Parkdale Ave. Mr. Bacon was his home room teacher. A woman knocked on Mr. Bacon’s classroom door and told him Chris has to go home immediately.
So Chris left his school and went home. Mom told Chris to go out to the side stairs and open
the storage door under the stairs and get the bucket and brush we used for washing the car.
We had a built-in storage shed under the outside side stairs.

Chris got the bucket and brush and went into the basement where mom was waiting for Chris.
Mom told Chris to fill the bucket with water and then go get his pet mice out from the furnace
room. After doing what mom asked of him, Chris was told to get on his knees and drown all his mice in the bucket using the car brush. Chris was horrified. Even for mom, Chris thought
she had hit a record for cruelty. Chris cried out and told mom he couldn’t drown his mice.

So mom drowned Chris’s pet mice one by one. Mom would take a mouse from the cage
and drown it slowly as Chris was made to watch and most shocking of all Mom was laughing as she was drowning the mice, making a game of it, saying things like “Oh, that one doesn’t want to die, does it?” Of all the incidents of abuse that happened to Chris by my mom,
this tragic event stands out as his most painful experience. I still get upset thinking about it.
I was not there to witness this thank goodness. I cannot imagine what Chris must have gone throught that day, that most horrific experience. Chris thinks mom motivation to do this to his pet mice was because mom had discovered mice feces in Chris’s bedroom – proof to my mom
that Chris was bringing his pet mice up to his bedroom in order to play with them.

Chris played the tuba in the Champlain band when he went to Grade 9. He would bring the
tuba home and put his school books inside tuba as he was walking home with it. One day
his music teacher saw the books in the tuba and told Chris to take his books out of the
big instrument.

I wrote a play in Grade 9 and cannot remember what it was about. My cousin visited us with her baby Brian. She was a single mother and a student nurse. She got a job at the
Cobourg General and worked there for 40 years and retired last year.

Chris and I would play the 5th Dimension and Diana Ross Records. I had Bobby Sherman
posters plasters on my wall. My dad bought me and Chris two old office desk to do our
homework on. Chris liked to build

I had the bedroom upstairs facing the streets. Chris had the bedroom facing east of the house.
My parents had the big bedroom with a walk in closet with folding doors. We had a finished basement with a shuffle board game set in the tile floors. We had a big room where we had a black and white TV and a stereo with a needle to play the big round lps. My dad had a work out room where he lifted weights and did exercises and my mom had a room where the washer and dryer was.

Upstairs we had a big kitchen big enough to place a small table and two chairs. We had a big dinning room with a French provincial dinning room set. We had a big living room with
a fancy livingroom set. We had nice white curtains. My mom loved to decorate and she was good a picking up nice furniture. Mom was a perfectionist like Dad. Mom cleaned from morning to night.

One day mom got mad at dad. This time though mom was really fuming. I got home from school one day and there were pot and pans all over the dining room table and on a plate was a
picture of a meal where dad usually sat. Mom wanted Dad to buy her something and he would and she told all of us at supper “I am on strike, you are going to have to cook your own meals and do your own shopping and laundry”. Dad was visibly upset but said very little. The next day Mom was real happy as she had gone shopping and bought what she had wanted. Mom
sure knew how to get her way with dad. She would pull a good tantrum too to get her way.
Mom would speak to dad in baby language in public and it was very embarrassing as people would look and mom and roll their eyes. She would say to dad “popsey oppsey” and act and talk in a little girl’s voice, pretty freaky to hear if you heard it for the first time.

Mom could turn violent in one minute and then stop and then pick up the phone and speak to someone calling as if nothing was happening and be cheerful and happy on the phone and then would hang up the phone and then grab me or Chris and continue where she left off in her punishment of us, usually by punching and slapping us and screaming obscenities at us.
She could which personalities on and off like a light switch. To the average person that would be very hard to understand and comphrend but to live with somone like that is very frightening
because you never knew when my mom would go into one tirade and then be over with it and then calm down for awhile and then start all over again. I call it living in a war zone and with
mom it was. My enemy at home was my mom. I feared for my life everyday when I lived at home. She could be the sweetest and nice woman one minute and then grab you by the neck and you are grapsing for your last bit of breath to save your life. I have severe emotional
problems from all the abuse i.e. if someone comes up to me from behind and bolts up behind me it scares me, someone jokes and put their hands around me neck or throat I can freak out,
and if someone speaks to themself all the time it freaks me out. My mom would be in the kitchen murmuring to herself all day long in a small whisper. I could not make out what she was saying but if I came into a room she stopped and was not aware I heard her.

Mom could burst out laughing for no apparent reason and then start crying for no apparent
reason all at the same time. Mom would cry sometimes and I would hear her. She could curse my dad up and down and call him every name in the book as she talked to herself but at times
her eyes would light up when he came home. I think my mother may have been molested by my uncle Lyman who molested me, I never found out if he did molest her. I don’t speak nor do I see my parents now for over 13 years.

When you visited dad and mom in their Vanier house, my parents would only talk of the of the
events happening that week or month. The family past was never mentioned by them. Mom’s abuse towards and dad turning a blind eye most of the time was never mentioned. Mom and dad never made amends, never apologized or tried to compensate my brother and I in anyway.
My mom would still emotionally abuse me when I would visit and dad too. One time dad bought me a voodoo doll from California where you stuck needles in it. I was so upset with the doll that after awhile I threw it out. Dad would tease me about my weight. One time mom told me to stand on a chair as she was shortening my pants and dad walked into the room and said “Suzanne, you look like a big Christmas tree”. That remark hurt my feelings as I was trying to
lose weight and I was struggling my diet at the time. Dad hugged me or kissed me when I visited him. I always had to go up to him to kiss him on the cheek and he never put his arms around me. That hurt too. I was never loved by my mom or dad. I always felt like I was no good, a piece of dirt and I had low self esteem too. I was never taught to be assertive.
People could walk all over me and they did and did what they wanted to me without me saying boo to them or to tell them to stop. I developed a self hatred so bad I wanted to kill myself so often and would plan ways of doing it. I tried twice but I survived. One by hanging myself and I did and a nurse cut down the rope in time and another time I took 140 pscychiatric pills and went into a coma for a few days and I survived that too. These days I am happy with my life.
I struggle financially like most people who are poor but I like who I am and what I stand for.
I have self respect now and I can can be assertive and take charge and control of my own life and I do. I am not shy anymore and I can stand up to politicians, the medical community and bureaucrats and I won’t blink, I look them straight in the eye. I have integrity and I tell the truth. I am a credible person on my journey to help ban electroshock from this world the atrocity that it is. Everyday I get up and my computer faces me and I start another day
of fighting the good fight. Claire Culhane a prison activist once told me on the phone. “There is no better fight in town than what we are doing”
My mother’s behavior was becoming more erratic, out of control and very violent especially towards my brother and I. Chris and I jumped when she told us to do anything in the house.
You did not argue with mom because she could be violent with us.

I remember when both my brother and I were strangled and beaten. It all started when mom
walked into my room and started screaming about glue on my bedspread. Chris ran into my
bedroom and he found my mom squatting over me and she was strangling me around my neck.
I had used Lepage’s glue to make a collage and some glue onto my good quilt. Chris pulled my mom off me and then he ran downstairs to the phone by the side door (we only had one phone which was 722-4170. Chris dialed the operator and asked for the Police. Just as Chris got
the Police on the line, my mom pulled Chris from the phone and hung it up. Mom then, once
again started her her strangling thing that she did. I remember Chris fighting back, hitting mom in the face and body until she let go. Chris then ran out the side door of the house
yelling that he was going to the nearest Police station. Mom wasn’t so easily outsmarted, however. Mom coolly told Chris that if he ever did that, she would kill him and me. Chris fell for her threat and re-entered the house. What followed was a terrible beating so much so
that my sister went to her school counsellor at Champlain High School on Lanark Road in Ottawa for help. I remember my brother Chris and I sitting with the counsellor after school.
The counsellor was an older woman in her late forties or fifties. We both remember that
this counsellor either through a letter or a phone call requested that my mom contact her.
I remember my mom being extremely worried and upset with me for this. As far as I know,
my mom probably ignored the counsellor or if mom did contact her probably used her
lying and distortions to cover up her abusive behaviour towards us.

My brother had left his bicycle against the side of the outside stairs which mom had painted
the day before. Chris left his bicycle there overnight. The next morning at breakfast, mom
became furious and grabbed a hammer out of a kitchen drawer, rushed into the dining room
and was about to strike Chris on top of his head. Luckily dad actually intervened for a change.
A terrible row ensued between my parents and the Ottawa Police were called. After the Police arrived at 87 Clearview at our house and spoke to my parents, an officer spoke to my
brother privately. Chris remembers which parent he preferred and Chris told the officer
he preferred dad. Chris told the Police officer he didn’t like my mother because she was
always angry and beating him and me. That day, my parents split up for several months.
Chris was so upset with what had happened, that eventually he was sent to the school
counsellor to see what was wrong.

I was always afraid of my mom. One day Chris motioned for me to come into his bedroom.
He took me to his closet where he showed me a thick piece of 2 by 4 with nails on it.
Chris asked me “do you know what this is for?” and I replied “yes, it going to used on
mom if she beats us again”. My brother nodded yes.

I was so nervous all of the time and I was under so much stress with all this out of control
behaviour by my mom that I began to stutter severly and had a difficult to make
phone calls. I don’t stutter anymore as I live with less stress now.

We couldn’t keep pets in our house too long because would abuse them horribly. Our black poddle Pierre was beaten lots by mom. Mom’s friend Carmen Couturier gave mom a mongrel called Maggie. Maggie got spayed and mom wanted to teach the dog not to urinate on the floors.
She took the dog down to the laundry tub and forced water down its throat and gave it a bath and then walked the down in the freezing winter weather. The dog came in with iccles on it.
Dad spoke to Carmen and told her the story and Carmen took back the dog. Mom could be
very vicious and mean at times. She in estimation was a very disturbed individual who should not have had any kids.

My brother and I tried to go to civil court to get compensation from our parents for all the trauma we went through about 10 years ago, but lawyer fees were too costly. Going to the Police is our only option now, but my brother and I have not chosen to do that.

I felt like a stranger in my home with my parents, almost like a boarder. There was no
warmth from my parents and they treated my brother and I badly. I lived in terror all of my childhood and I could not relax or let down my guard just in case mom came after me again.
It was like being in a war zone for l7 years and the enemy is the person who is supposed to care, love, and nuture you. My brother and I suffer from post trauma stress. I am a very
anxious person most of the time, hyper you could say and I find it hard to relax and unwind.
Even after all these years, I am still affected badly.
—————————————————————————————————–

There were people who heard we were being abused but no one helped us. My aunt Cannie did nothing to help us, the Champlain High school counsellor did nothing and the one Ottawa Police officer who spoke to my brother did not help us. We were afraid to go to anyone else.
—————————————————————————————————-
ADVICE TO SOMEONE READING THIS TODAY AND IS BEING ABUSED, GET SOME HELP NOW!

But this is my advice to anyone who is reading this and is getting abused, tell everyone you know and meet and tell them what happened and someone
will help you out.

Don’t be afraid to tell your counsellors, teachers, police, relatives, friends and their families, priest, rabbi, reverend, kids helpline, go to any community center and tell someone, tell your family doctor, walk into an emergency department of a hospital and tell them what is going on, walk into a police station and tell them you need help, dial O and ask for the police on any phone, dial 911 if you have to.

Do anything to keep yourself safe. Tell a school nurse or counsellor or a teacher. Tell them all of what is going on, what type of abuse you are experiencing, who is doing the abuse and how many people and where the abuse takes place.
Get names and phone numbers, street addresses of your abusers and bring them with you. Where the abuser works or where their house is. What is their cell phone number, home number, work number, where do they work, get the addresses, names of their friends, family etc. Somebody will help you.

Call your local police station and ask to speak to a police officer, if that person does not help you, call again and tell the operator that the person they referred you to did not help you and ask for someone else to help you.

You may be afraid to say anything to anyone thinking they may not believe you but someone will, just keep telling your story to as many people as you can, there is hope out there, No one has the right to abuse you under no circumstance no matter what you did or may have said
to someone. It is against the law to abuse someone.
————————————————————————————————
I liked Champlain high. School was my sanctuary away from home where I felt safe until I had to go home. Schools were pretty safe in the late 60s and early 70s. I never saw a student talk back to a teacher. I saw never saw any drugs around me, I am sure some students took them but I never saw any around high school. I was a “square” and so was my brother. We did not smoke cigarettes, and we did not do drugs, and did not drink alcohol. I was a wall flower you would call. I didn’t have a boyfriend at Champlain high because I was too shy. I had a good figure but did not wear the latest clothes, I never did and never have. I had my eye on a few boys but they did not know I liked them. I was never part of the “it crowd” I was not popular at all. I met a young native woman named Doris who introduced me to her religion called “Baha’i” At l6 years old I became part of the Baha’i faith which I still am. Doris took me to
some Baha’i firesides. Andy Andrews and Steven Thirwall knew me since I was young.

Leigh McGuire and her boyfriend and I and my brother Chris started a little quartet called the “West End Tweeters” and we went to the Royal Ottawa Hospital a psychiatric hospital on Carling avenue to sing to the patients in the auditorium. I remember when it was my time to sing and I had a frog in my throat so to speak and I walked off the stage very embarrassed.
Little did I realize in the next few years I would be a patient at that hospital for many years in and out of that hospital.

I was part of the Library club while I attended Champlain High School from 1968 – 71. One day when I was in the library putting some books back on the shelves I heard Mrs. Healy my typing teacher being paged on the intercom. I took no notice of it of this. The next day in the local newspapers there was a story about a young man and his girlfriend who has visited the peace tower in the Parliament buildings in downtown Ottawa. The young man had jumped to his death from the peace tower from the visitors section. His girlfriend was with him and witnessed this. The young man was Mrs. Healy’ son. Apparently he had been using street drugs. It was a real tragedy. Mrs. Healy was off work for one month after he son’s death. I felt so sorry for Mrs. Healy.

My brother Chris played in the school orchestra. He played the tuba and he was good at it.  I remember Chris and I would walk home from shool together sometimes and Chris was carrying

his tuba and put his homework and other stuff into his tuba.  One day his music teacher saw Chris and told him to take the stuff out of the tuba and not to do that again.  Chris complied.

 

 

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