August 1986, my parents were moving us into a new neighborhood across town. During the move time, my older sister and I were sent to stay with our aunt Colleen & uncle John in Toronto. Colleen & John had beautiful house downtown. I remember that their house had wood stairs & banister and I remember the artwork on the walls; I love the hardwood floors and the closets that adjoined the rooms upstairs in a magical way for a six year old girl. They had a very old cat named Morris, like the TV cat, I didn't know what they were talking about. Colleen had planned all the classic Toronto sightseeing any child would adore. The first outing I remember was taking the subway and going to Centre Island.
We were suppose to go to the zoo, a ball game, and a bunch more amazing daytrips but I got the chicken pox. My sister was absolutely furious with me and would remind me for several years how I ruined her vacation. My aunt was so caring and wonderful during my days with her and having the chicken pox. She got all the things I needed like calamine lotion and rented every Muppets movie available.
After the chicken pox, we travelled back to North Bay but to our new home. I remember the steps, the walkway, the garage, the cedar trees, the house number (10), the window beside the big brown door. After my mom left the following spring, I remember I had a tutor that would help me with homework. When my tutor stopped coming to house after school and my sister became my babysitter is when the torment began. She was in charge of me for an hour and fifteen minutes everyday from the time I'd arrive off the bus to home until my LM parental unit(s) returned from work.
The first time my sister locked me out of the house she was very angry that I caused the fight between our parents the night before. This fight was about when pick up time was. I told the true time and my sister lied to my dad. He sided with her. He showed up half an hour earlier than the court approved scheduled time, he fought my mom verbally, she tried to block him physically by barricading the stairway with a homemade baby gate, dropped it on herself and broke her foot in the process. He took us and did not take her to the hospital.
Being locked out happened often. It wasn't always on sunny days. She started locking me out in the fall time. The rain is so bitter cold in November before it's too cold for snow. Sometimes I was lucky that the garage door would be unlocked, I could hid in there away from the elements until she'd let me back in the house mere moments before parent(s) would return home. Other days, I wasn't as lucky, I would tuck myself between the cedar and the stairs leading up to the front door to get some shelter.
In spring 1988, Colleen gifted my sister and I matching dog & cat stuffed animals. I got the beautiful, grey kitty cat with the blue bow tie with goldfish print. I adored this toy so much. One weekend at my OM's apartment, I was playing on my bike and I had my kitty in the basket on my handle bars. I made a new friend named Anna. She played with me for a while that day then we needed drinks, I rode my bike back to my balcony and went up to grab two drinks. When I returned, Anna was gone and she took the kitty stuffed animal. I was too ashamed to tell my parent that a girl pretended to be nice and stole my toy from me. It's sadder and worse because it was the only toy I got from Colleen. It was so special. And I didn't get to keep it for myself.