That’s where my sister died
at four years of age
Measles took her
and filled me with rage
My father must have been chasing his dreams as I later did because we moved around a lot. One of our bigger adventures was boarding a ship in New York (pictured above) bound for Australia where my Father and my Uncle Jack were going to build a bowling alley.I don’t remember much about Australia but I do remember that my sister Sandra was born there, and how weird it was to go to the beach on Christmas day. (pictured there with my Dad above) Not to mention that we seemed to be the only house in the neiborhood who had a Christmas tree.
It turns out that while driving around one day, my Dad came across a whole forest of evergreens which he couldn’t help chopping one down and bringing it home. However, the next day, the newspaper reported that the police were looking for the vandals who had cut down a rare tree that was growing at the experimental tree farm. I guess we were lucky that our neighbors didn’t turn us in.
Shortly after my sister Sandra was born, and my Dad’s bowling alley dream didn’t work out, we left Australia for Vancouver where I’m told we had to leave because I’d come down with a severe case of bronchitis. Our next adventure took us to a small town on the prairies called Swan River where my Dad initially worked as a mechanic until he found what he should have been doing all along.
My Dad was an introvert at home but an extrovert in public, finally took a sales job with the Singer Sewing Machine Company and began doing what he was destined to do.At this point things were finally going well for us until disaster struck. At four years of age, suddenly my sister Sandra died of measles. (pictured with me below.)
The weird thing about this traumatic time is that even though I have lots of memories from before her passing, I have none for years after. I must have been told about the fact that my Dad’s boss refused to let my parents use the company car to rush my sister to a larger hospital in Dauphin. My Dad, of course, took the car anyway but it was too late and that was when the rage that I have inside me still today began. Even after all this time, if that fat f**k stepped off a curb in front of me now, I know exactly what I would do.
My Mother of course never got over my sister’s death, and when I talked to her on the phone a few minutes before she passed, I was the sad one. She actually seemed happy because she truly believed that she was finally going to see her daughter again. My father on the other hand who just adored my sister, never mentioned her name again. I think it must have been too painful and was just the continuation of a life that was filled with trauma. When he as an infant his parents both passed away so he was put in an Orphanage. Finally, his oldest sister took him in only to put him out on the street at age fourteen when the trust his parents left him ran out.
I think that the added tragedy of my sister’s death took my Father over the edge. He was sick a lot after that and took a lot of so-called nerve pills because some days he was unable to drag himself out of bed. I’m sure today he’d be diagnosed as having Major Depression and all I can hope is that my Mom and Dad along with Sandra are all together and smiling as they watch me struggle to write this.