Born on the dawn of the war to end all wars, Victoria will forever remain an enigmatic mystery. I have always been intrigued by her. The tumultuous realities of her life have been mentioned by my grandfather and various members of her family, while her hushed whispers only shed light on to fragments of the puzzle
As its been told… She was a rural heir, born into a wealthy family in the tiny commune of Maniche, a quaint town filled with lush greens and familial people situated along the southern arm of Haiti. She lived a cultured life, filled with the finest of things, although she was ironically never granted the gift of a scholastic education.
And from what I have heard… not once has her curiosity led her to seek one.
Mme Julien, her mother, was a powerful lawyer living out dreams, which were far ahead of her time. Taking on impossible cases, she continually ensured that justice be served. Remembered as a fearless woman, she never let anyone stand in her way. But sadly, as tragedy usually does, it came in as a thief in the night, robbing her early of the bravery and innocence she had until then worn so proudly.
Victoria’s mother had three brilliant children, two handsome gents and her youngest toddler Victoria. Envied by many, their opportune lives left thousands in bitter contempt. Her eldest son, aspiring to follow in his mother footstep, had recently begun his second year of law school, and her second son was on precipice of beginning his secondary education, when tragedy crept into their lives.
In the next two weeks of their lives, the unutterable took place, changing the very landscape of their lives. While it isn’t certain that her two young boys were murdered due to envious intent, many recount the story as so. The powerful Mme Juilen was left crippled by fear.
Her surviving daughter’s future was changed forever. Mme Julien refused the very prospect of her daughter entering primary school. If her education would induce continued envy, which could possibly lead to her death, then education wasn’t an option.
Over 70 years later, Victoria, my grandmother, has yet to show interest in pursuing a formalized education. I would not describe my grandmother as uneducated, as her life has taught her lessons others will never know. Her sheer genius is recognized by all who have had the opportunity to work alongside her. While her tragedies hang for the world to see, she mentions them cautiously; Still terrorized by the weight they bear, her spirit traumatized and potential impeded.
Her mystery remains...
But in spite of these events, she brought ten beautiful children into this world, carefully molding them into warriors prepared for the world. While her tragedies have brought much distress, and completely changed the outlook of her life, she chose to inculcate not a spirit of fear amongst her family but one of courage and victory. I have been blessed with the good fortune of carrying her name the “victorious one.”