Elzire Dionne (born Legros) was the mother of the Dionne quintuplets. She was born in 1909, and of seven children she was the only girl. Her mother died when Elzire was only seven years old, and before age 12, she had assumed full control of the Legros household, doing all the chores her mother used to do. It was not a normal childhood.
She married oliva Dionne in 1925, at the age of 16. Her first child, Ernest, was born when she was only 17. Five more pregnancies followed in rapid succession. By 1934, she was mother to five living children (the sixth had died in early infancy) and pregnant again.
Her life revolved around family and church, and she was not at ease with strangers. She could understand english, but was too shy to speak it. Elzire spoke only french.
Her pregnancy with the quints was not an easy one, but on May 28, 1934, she gave birth to five baby girls, and they were at least two months premature. Elzire was not allowed to touch or handle the quints for quite some time since they were so frail. She found this very hard to accept.
By the end of September, 1934, the quints were moved across the street to the new Dafoe hospital, and Elzire was not happy about it. She despised Dr. Dafoe, the nurses and everyone who were in charge of the quints. She harassed the people in charge as much as she could, and did anything in her power to get the quints on her side as they became older.
When Elzire and her husband regained custody of their five quints in 1942, they continued to exploit them, even though they had always said to be against such things when the girls lived in the nursery. According to the quints, their mother and father made them feel estranged from the rest of the family. Elzire made them do all the hard chores, and they felt like the black sheeps of the family. If they didn’t do as they were told, their mother would slap them and call them names.
When the quints moved away from home and became independent, they wanted as little as possible to do with the rest of the family.
Elzire died in November, 1986 at the age of 77. The three surviving quints attended the funeral.