Going back to the source

Back to the Source – Rene Caisse’s home town Bracebridge – Part 3

"Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up.  What was is not and never again will be; what is is change." - Edwin Way Teale

As the Bracebridge tour winds down, I sense how the passage of time can erode the memory of something once very special.

Our next stop on the tour is a visit to Rene's grave.  She is buried next to her mother and father, and there is sheep sorrel growing all over the place.  Its nice to see that someone has put flowers at her grave.

Then we make a trip to the Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre.  It's in a large building that appears to be a school.  All the doors are locked, and I don't see any sign of a display for Rene - just her name on the side of the building.

And then for the last stop of the tour - Woodchester Villa, also known as the Octagon House, where the Rene Caisse Museum was located.  It's seen better days, and not so long ago, either.  Mali took a picture in 1997, when it had been freshly renovated. Now it looks abandoned and is permanently closed.

Woodchester Villa, Bracebridge Museum, 1997

Woodchester Villa, 2012

When I went to the Woodchester Villa website, here is what they had to say about the Rene Caisse display: "In 1995, the Bracebridge Historical Society opened the Rene M. Caisse Memorial Room. Most of the artifacts are now on permanent display at the Rene M. Caisse Theatre in Bracebridge."

This doesn't bode well...I went to the Rene Caisse Theatre website, and there is absolutely no mention of who Rene Caisse even is.

In summary, pretty much all that's left of Rene's memory in Bracebridge is a statue, a gravestone, a few papers, a name on a street sign and a theatre that's named after her. There's nothing to commemorate her lifelong passion for herbal remedies in any other tangible form.  A physic garden growing the Essiac herbs would have been a more fitting memorial to her life and her work.

I am so grateful to Sheila Snow for saving all the Essiac history in her archive collection.  I realize that what this one person has done for Rene and Essiac amounts to more than her home town has managed.  Rene's words, "Perhaps some other country will have the courage to find and bring help to suffering humanity, though I had hoped it would be my own beloved Canada, or our neighbour, the United States of America."  have deeper than ever meaning for me....stay tuned for The Rene Caisse Room online, at ReneCaisseTea.com ;)



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