Early childhood years on a strawberry/dairy farm in McKerrow, Ontario, the eldest of six children, life was both simple and challenging. Without the amenities of electricity and running water, books (especially Dr Seuss and Robert Service) were treasured. The years passed quickly and soon Connie Suite had a diploma in nursing and a yearning for adventure. At first she went to Ottawa, then Hawaii and worked with Hansen’s disease, returning to Canada in 1967 for the Expo in Montreal.
She loved my father’s stories of the Arctic tundra and so when she told him that she would like to go there too, he responded, “Girl, you will learn to live with yourself!” And so it was — for the last 20 years of Connie’s professional nursing career she was an “outpost nurse” and too often the only medical resource in a variety of Northern communities from Nunavut, Northern Quebec and Ontario and as far west as the Beaufort Delta. Retired now, on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, with her knitting needles, books and memories, she longs to share.
Connie’s poetry has previously been published in Manitoulin Morsels and Our Lakes Shall Set us Free.