Their doctor, who took babies at home, was sure that they would live no longer than an hour. The five of them weighed 6.07 kg, and each easily fit in the palm of your hand.
Elzire, the mother of the girls, went into shock after giving birth and woke up two hours later. She cried and screamed, because there were already five children in the family, she could not even think that this was possible. It was 1934, childbirth in a small village took place at home, all the girls were placed in a warm basket, placed by the stove, and the doctor periodically massaged them with warmed olive oil. The mother did not have milk, so the sisters were fed a mixture of cow’s milk with water and corn syrup and a few drops of rum.
The babies survived, named Anette, Cecile, Emily, Marie and Yvonne, and the news of the miraculous birth would soon spread across Canada.
Food, gifts, money and letters of advice began to be sent to the Dion family from everywhere, but there was not enough help, the family could hardly make ends meet, because together with the girls the Dion spouses had ten children.
When the quintuplets were six months old, representatives of the world exhibition in Chicago «Centenary of Progress» turned to their father. It was proposed to make the children “exhibition samples”, and Father Oliva Dion agreed, the girls were placed in incubators and shown for money to everyone who was interested in looking at them.
And then the authorities took the children away from their parents altogether, deciding that the conditions were not suitable for them to live. The necessary legislation was quickly passed, and the children were placed under the care of Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, who took delivery, as well as several members of the government. Girls became wards of the Crown until the age of eighteen. By the way, the father was not opposed at all and was also a member of the board of trustees, but in fact his vote was never taken into account.
Opposite the house where the Dion sisters were born, a special pavilion was built with ten screen windows and a gallery from where people could watch the life of the girls. Nearby was a complex for staff, a kindergarten, a hospital block and a walking area with a playground.
Everything was fenced with barbed wire, and the area was constantly guarded by three policemen. Every day, girls were examined, studied and researched, and they were also paraded to everyone. True, the girls could not see the tourists, those who wished to watch them through a one-sided mirror screen.
The schedule of the sisters was clearly calibrated: every morning they washed and dressed together, then swallowed fish oil, washed it down with orange juice, had breakfast and went to the doctor. Before dinner, which was at six o’clock in the evening, they took a bath and put on pajamas.
«Behind the glass» girls lived for nine years. During this time, more than 3 million people were able to see them.
The proceeds from the viewings went to the state treasury, and my father opened a souvenir shop for tourists near the pavilion and made good money. In addition to dolls, calendars and photographs of the sisters, they even sold stones that heal from infertility. With this money, the family was able to build a huge house, buy a luxury car, but the girls did not even suspect that all the funds were collected due to the fact that they were constantly watched by crowds of people.
And this was only a small share of the income, the industry was not limited to the father’s shop, photos of girls were used to advertise baby food, toothpaste, clothes and chocolate bars. The twins also starred in three Hollywood films that were based on their story. The head of the family was, of course, angry that most of the business income was passing him by, and in 1943 he was able to sue the girls from the state.