Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I shot this video of my Grandma about 3 years ago, and i realized that I never really
shared this with may people.  This woman is instrumental to who I am now.  
She sat me down when I was little and taught me how to draw, not stick figures 
and cutesy stuff, she set up still  lives of flowers and showed me how to blend pastels.

She has such a joy about her, she is my first Yoda.

Most of this is in French with transcripts underneath, and I really think
its worth taking a look.  She was 91-92 years old when I filmed this.
This year, she is turning 95, and she still lives alone as an independent woman.

Untitled from Erika Dufour on Vimeo.

what was it like having your first baby. It was exciting, but there was a
flaw because I was alone during my pregnancy. That
was distressing. Its nothing very pleasant (agreeable)
a woman needs support at that moment, she becomes
a little depressed, and that’s what was missing for
me. But in the end it was a success, and out came a
beautiful big girl of 8lbs and something, but I thought
that they had made a mistake because she had black
hair. People were saying that I hadn’t thought of my
husbands looks, as I didn’t. In my mind I envisioned
only blonde or bald babies, so I didn’t expect her hair
to be black. In my mind, she would have looked
like the portrait I had painted in my imagination.
After all that… it was a success!
And after that came Sonny. It was sad with Sonny, I
was alone, I was living at my sister in laws place as
her husband was also in Europe as a Brigadier and
I left by myself (to the hospital) at 4 oclock in the
morning from her place on Ave Mont St Denis. My
sister in law couldn’t come with me because she had
the mumps. So I left in the radiant night. So I told
myself “that’s that!” and I wasn’t in the least bit sad,
not at all. Its funny eh? It went well he was born in
the morning at around ten oclock in the morning. I
was supposed to go to morning mass with my friend
Paulette Saintdon, I told her “I have a surprise for
you!” that was it, it was my little guy. After that I
had a miscarriage and then after there was Charles
no Bobby. Bobby came to the world looking like a
spider. Long arms and long legs all skinny (chuckle
) and yep I was having lung congestion and my
doctor told me you better not go into labor in these
conditions, that same night I gave birth, so I had an
oxygen mask and this and that but it doesn’t matter,
he came into the world healthy.
Charles, a big Charles, at ten pounds and some. I
was enormous but very easy, very good. He was
beautiful, he was what I had imagined a little baldy
with golden fuzz. That’s why I called him my little
goldy after. He was so cute when he was little.
There! The portrait of the family.

3:24 - So I had a miscarriage in between the two,
between the two groups there. So he arrived
prematurely so he didn’t survive, I saw him and I still
think about him. I would have liked to have had 4
boys, I would have liked that.
It was a shock of course eh. Its a disappointment. you
get depressed, you cry, you do everything you need
to do. Yes. That’s how life goes. We say “give it an
other go!”

4:16 – my soul is what I have within. What you see
is just surface. Its whats inside that counts. So what I
think is that there is something after. I have to think
that, it comforts me. And I try to keep my soul as
pure as possible, but we’re all human so its not easy.
That’s it. But when I leave, I am confident. Im not
sad, I think about it every day. Because I tell myself,
the more each day goes by, the closer I get. But its
comfortable. All Im asking for is not to be sick for
a long time. I don’t want to be sick for a long time.
Not for a long time with people all around me saying
you need this you need that, no no no no no no. but
Im not scared, Im not scared at all. Because, you
know, we are born and we die. Yes, absolutely.

5:40 – lovely. I don’t know why, but my god! 84
87 meant nothing for me, but to arrive at 90, it takes
a lot of effort (giggle) I was happy, I was like in
heaven, in paradise, I loved it. And you know…
when we are young, we hide our age. When we get
to get to 90 we cant stop saying “I’m ninety”. And
in return you get “ you don’t look like it!” its certain
they’ll say that, “you aren’t really 90” for sure that
they are going to say that. It’s not the reason that I
say it, because I am proud of being 90, with good

6:35 – oh my god, it would have to be what my
children are. Mona is a joy. Sonny is successful,
Bobby is an idol, Charles is my baby and it seems
that I have to take care of him more than the others.
The others you know… although he is as strong as
the others but he has a little special side that guy, and
Bobby is the most tender of all of the children, Sonny
is a little more… he lives far we see him less often .
Since his father died he’s always been away, even
when his father was sick we cant say that he saw him
sick. he saw him every so often. He’s more detached
from us, from all of us. Yeah, I noticed. Because,
you know…hes more business… because of what?
Maybe because of 40 years of distance.

8:21- life lesson? There are many things that if I
had the chance to start again, I would have done
differently, you too I imagine you’d want to do over
differently, because in the past I wasn’t thinking the
way I do now. When people say “I regret nothing,
everything went well” Pssh I have a ton of regrets,
that I have. But I don’t let it get to me. A ton! I
should have done this, I should have done that. I
should have thought differently we are not able to,
we didn’t have that maturity. Now I have it, but I
cant go back, so I stay the way I am .

9:17 yes, that is so true. Its maybe just me that talks
about attitude, because others talk about other things,
but I talk about attitude. Attitude towards life. Its
because I have maturity that I can talk about this. I
couldn’t have talked about it in my 30s, so its time to,
I let things pass, go with the flow, adjust yourself, its
like that, accept it. But its easy for me, I was never a
rebel. You were always like that? yes. Since I was
little, but without knowing, its natural, its innate it
me, that’s why I say its easy for me. Because me,
my best quality I think is what … I endure, anything.
Its my endurance. The way I see things. Well your
strong. I am comfortable, That’s probably why I
aged well.

10:38 - I don’t know if you asked me but I think
that every year something happens everything is an
experience. Everything is new, theres not a year
that resembles an other and you go through it, you
toss it aside and you go forward, you continue, you
continue. Such is life.

11:13 - Changes in my life, I didn’t notice, I change,
I changed, but I didn’t notice. Again, it boils down
to accepting, it comes back to that. Your like that on
the inside, so.
 Not really, no. id say that there are scary things, but
Ill accept them from the get go. You have nothing
left, you have no friends at my age because they are
all gone, and the ones that are not gone are in homes,
so the ones that are in homes, they follow the homes
activities, where as me, I have no friends, nothing.
It reminds me of when you were young, you’d say
“I have no friends, I have no friends” but when you
got married, there were so many people that came to
your wedding. Its unbelievable, I was astonished.
But now I have no…but it s ok , it’s the way it is I
don’t want to see myself with them. Id like to have
activities, but I don’t want those kinds of activities.
You know the people with walkers n such, I want
nothing to do with that. It may happen but not for
now. Ill accept it when the time comes.

13:07 I don’t want to change anything. Im
comfortable here, I want to stay here as long as
possible, it comes back to that. Im comfortable with
…I wouldn’t call it solitude, because its not that. I
have my knitting and my little do dads, I have my
drawings, If I were still able draw, I would do that.
But I found other activities. You have to… when you
cut down trees in the forest, what do you do? You
plant more trees, they grow, and it continues, that’s
about it.

13:58 - Oh no, I’ve seen too many real artists,
and there one in my family that I give credit to.
whos that? It’s Erika. She dares ask “whos that”,
yep its Erika. I assure that Pierre-Alexandre was
flabbergasted by what you showed him and talked
about your profession, he was completely stupefied,
he was happy, hes honored to be your cousin. its

You taught me how to draw. That’s it! You
must! “yeah I remember!” yes “youd put me on the
patio with colored pencils and all of that” yes yes yes
yes. Its you! It comes from somewhere, theres a
common thread there.

15:00 its still the best way to do things. And
questions that…. If I would have thought about it
longer I would have come up with flowery language,
but that’s not necessary. And I want everyone to
know that I am happy on the inside, all of the time. I
get up in the morning, I’m happy, I don’t go to bed
with tears in my eyes, not at all.
That what you need. Take advantage of your life, my
god, its passing its passing. Whether your 30 or 90,
its passing. You saw how fast it went? I didn’t even
see summer go by, it went by too fast, and now were
landed at Christmas.

Thank you grand-maman. It was my pleasure to talk 
to you.

Your very pretty too!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Yesterday, I went to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup and with globules and wedges of junk shimmed in my mouth and I observed some things that I thought are valuable observations.

My main focus was the dentists assistant.  Blonde, polish woman, with pretty curls and sparkly eyes which is all I could see as she was wearing a mask demonstrated to me exactly what I look for in a great photo assistant.

This woman was on it! Every tool that the dentist needed as he worked away were in her hand, perfectly held so that he could grab it easily, she knew exactly what was coming next and was prepared with the next tool.   It was like watching a dance.   When the dentist asked for something, she responded with grace and steady speed, there was no questioning or resistance.

I thought to myself, WOW, thats what a great photo assistant should feel like.

Thanks to the great assistants Ive had and will have in future, and thanks Perfect Smiles for the lesson and sparkly teeth.