Life in the "zoo": the tragic fate of the five-year-olds DionBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/life-in-the-zoo-the-tragic-fate-of-the-five-year-olds-dion
Five sisters, born into the family of a poor farmer on May 28, 1934, became a real gold mine, earning a lot of money for the government of Canada. Their story has been public knowledge from the very beginning and a constant topic for the media. But neither money nor fame brought them happiness.
The Dion quintuplets have remained in history as the most famous and at the same time the most unhappy identical twins.
On May 28, 1934, five famous Canadian twin girls were born in a small village in the north of Ontario. Premature seven-month-old girls with tiny arms and legs weighed only 600 grams. The doctor who delivered the baby was sure that the babies would not live an hour, so they were baptized in a hurry. But the sisters became the first quintuplets who managed to survive. The amazing news about the birth of the Dion sisters spread throughout Canada in a few days. Pictured: Mother Elzair Dion and her five daughters: Annette, Marie, Emily, Yvonne and Cecile Dion, May 28, 1934.
The children were born in the family of a poor farmer named Oliva Dion, who, with his wife and three older children, lived on a farm in a house without electricity and running water. During pregnancy, the farmer's wife suspected that she was pregnant with twins, but the birth of five babies at once was a huge surprise. The birth took place at home. They were taken by Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, who was sure that none of the babies could survive. Shortly after giving birth, the mother of the five-year-olds, Elzair, experienced a severe shock, and Dafoe thought that she would also die, but after two hours the woman recovered.
Immediately after the premature babies were born, they were wrapped in warmed blankets and put to warm up in a basket by the stove. The mother had no milk, so every two hours they were given a mixture of water, corn syrup, cow's milk and a couple of drops of rum. Pictured: Ontario Premier Mitchell Hepburn with Dion babies, 1934.
When the sisters turned 6 months old, their father decided to show his daughters at the World's Fair in Chicago. This was learned by the Canadian authorities, who decided to organize an unusual display. A special pavilion with ten huge windows and a gallery was built for the girls so that the babies could be seen better. Pictured: Sisters Annette, Cecile, Emily, Marie and Yvonne in 1936.
The Dion sisters were in the exhibition pavilion from 1935 to 1943, and during this time they were seen by more than 3 million people. Thanks to the sisters, the Chicago Exhibition became the main city attraction, which caused an unprecedented influx of tourists.
Every day, several thousand people came to look at the five-year-olds. The girls, under the supervision of nurses, were playing on a kind of playground, around which a viewing platform for onlookers was built behind a grid. The children were like animals in an aviary, which became evidence of one of the most cynical ways of using children for profit. It was also possible to buy souvenirs in a special shop. Admission was free for visitors, but the Canadian government made a lot of money selling a wide variety of products with the image of the sisters. Girls have become a real brand. For example, special sets of five dolls were produced in honor of them.
The most famous twins have become something of a cult. Several films have been made about them in Hollywood. Manufacturers of baby food, clothing, powders and other products for children have successfully used their photos as advertising.
The girls lived in isolation from the world. They had expensive toys, fashionable clothes, the best pediatrician care. Nevertheless, they were deprived of contact with their parents and communication with their brothers and sisters, as well as with peers. In the photo: the Dion sisters are given gifts at the Defoe farm.
When the quintuplets turned nine, the Canadian authorities built a large house in Callander in order to settle the whole Dion family there. However, this was not a very successful idea, since the sisters were not adapted to such a life. After so many years of separation, it turned out to be impossible to build a normal family relationship. Other children from the Dion family were never able to accept their long-absent twin sisters.
The father was annoyed that he was deprived of the division of income, and the children, accustomed to living in an aviary, could not get used to the new way of life. The twins lived in this house until the age of 16, after which they were sent to boarding school. Pictured: the Dion sisters in May 1943, a few days before their 9th birthday.
The girls starred a lot in various commercials, mainly cosmetics and food. Each of their birthdays was celebrated with the participation of the media. Pictured: The 16-year-old Dion sisters after visiting a barbershop, October 19, 1950.
Timid, withdrawn girls were not capable of normal communication. An unusual childhood, spent in fact in a human zoo, forever left a mark on the psyche of girls. Pictured: 16-year-old sisters at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, October 19, 1950.
The girls were little adapted to normal life. Hardly communicating with people, the sisters could feel free and at ease only in each other's company. After their eighteenth birthday, the girls broke off all contacts with their family, who also tried to take advantage of their popularity and make money on them. Pictured: The Dion sisters in New York, October 21, 1950.
The fate of the sisters was very sad. At the age of 20, Emily died, who went to a monastery early, where she had epileptic seizures, which caused premature death. It was a real blow to her sisters. Pictured: Twin sisters with their father at Rockefeller Center in New York, October 20, 1950.
Marie died at the age of 30, after an unsuccessful marriage. Cecile and Annette also could not find happiness in family life. All their lives they felt an irresistible attraction to each other, talked for hours on the phone and felt great joy during mutual visits. Cecile also had twins, but soon one of the twins died. Three years later, she was widowed. Yvonne became a monk, but did not get along in the monastery. She spent the rest of her life in seclusion. Pictured: The Dion sisters at a press conference in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Already adult sisters Dion sued and received compensation from the state in the amount of $ 4 million. "It's too late and too little for our ruined lives," the famous sisters commented on this. Two of the quintuplets live to this day. In the photo: three sisters: Yvonne, Annette and Cecile with the autobiography "Secrets of the family", October 2, 1995.