The Dionne Quintuplets - first their story was a miracle, it turned into a melodrama and in later years, it was a tragedy and really, still is so sad. I went to North Bay this week to visit a friend,it was in my mind to go over to the tourist information building to pick up some Dionne postcards, so we went - I got the postcards but an added bonus was seeing some exhibits they had in the building, then we were asked if we wanted a tour of the home in which they were born - yes, we did - and admission was only $3.75, it was so interesting! I had been through the house maybe 25 years ago - I never forgot the Dionne's but I had long forgotten about the contents.
The five identical girls - Annette, Emilie, Yvonne, Cecile and Marie were born May 28, 1934 - the miracle aroused worldwide attention to the tiny village of Corbeil, Ontario - they became the sensation of the 30's - the miracle of their birth, their cuteness, the poverty of their French Canadian parents and the controversy over their guardianship - their story was a blockbuster and still is a very intriguing one to read about!
The Ontario government removed them from their parents and placed them in a specially built hospital, their main caregiver was Dr. Allan Dafoe who had been called to give assistance after the first two girls were born. Their father, Olivia Dionne fought to regain the girls, they were returned to their family when they were nine but by then the damage was done.
This was Quintland - their home for nine years of their life - they were on exhibit twice daily - I've read that approximately 3,000,000 people came to view these girls between 1936-1943 - famous people like Amelia Earhart, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, our tour guide told us that there is rumor that even Marilyn Monroe visited. These girls represented a five hundred million dollar asset to the Province of Ontario during this time - it wasn't until 1998 that the Ontario government agreed to pay the surviving Quints a sum of 4 million dollars to compensate for the time spent on display at Quintland. They may have had a life of privilage but they never had a loving relationship with their family, by the time they were returned to their parents and other brothers and sisters, their lives had been so different - they never really felt at home with their family. At this time, only two of the quints remain.
I went right to the library the next day and checked out their one book on the Dionne's - it's next up on my reading list.
It was a great day to SMASH too - I bought a set of souvenir paper dolls - but they are so nice, but I couldn't cut them up. My Mom often mentioned her Dionne paper dolls - sure wish she had kept those....