It was on September 13th, when she was just 13 years old, that Orelle was struck by a car as she crossed 13th Street. Unlucky number 13.
Orelle spent the remainder of her short life in pain, finally finding peace when she took her last breath exactly 13 months later on October 13th, 1932.
It was my Grandmother who kept the memory of her sister alive all these years. She once confessed to me that she wasn’t afraid of her own death because she knew that she would see Orelle again. See her without the pain that the unlucky number 13 had wrought.
Several years ago I asked my Grandmother - what was Orelle like? She smiled, “A bit like you. She was a dreamer, very artistic and she was always writing poetry and plays.”
A bit like me. No one in the history of my family had ever been described as being a bit like me. I wrote poems and plays and dreamed my way through life. I had always wanted to be a writer but never dared pursue it. It was when my Grandmother told me of Orelle’s wish to write that I finally owned my own.
I will never have the opportunity to hear the sound of Orelle's voice. But I feel the power of it course through my veins each time I put pen to paper.
Today, as I write this, it is June 13th, and would have been Orelle’s 96th birthday. My gift to her is to share her story with you. Thank you Orelle, for inspiring me to live the life you could not. The life of an artist.