Cathy and Janet sit close together, both smiling with anticipation, giggling a little, waiting for me to start asking questions. They are eager to tell the story of their friendship.
Janet, as she will proudly tell you, is the founder of our community. She arrived at Corinthian House on April 5, 1983, from her family home. Cathy just celebrated her 11th anniversary at L’Arche Cape Breton. Both are petite women with bright smiles, strong opinions, Down Syndrome, and unique senses of humour. They love a good cup of tea, an enthusiastic hug, eating out, and traditional Cape Breton music.
As we begin our interview, I start simply. "Well, here we are."
"Yup," says Janet, "two old hens!" She and Cathy immediately dissolve into laughter.
"Can we talk about your friendship?" I ask when they have calmed down.
"Of course," Janet replies. "We’re good friends, me and Cathy Brady."
"What do you do together?"
"Do? We’re friends, good friends."
"But what do you guys do when you are together?"
"Do together? We’re friends!"
I persist with my line of questioning. "But when you visit each other. Do you listen to music? Look at magazines? Joke around?"
Janet acknowledges that they do, in fact, enjoy these activities. But she goes back to her mantra, "We’re friends." All the while, Cathy is looking at Janet with what is clearly a look of love.
I start to feel a little frustrated, until I realize that Janet is not ignoring my question. I think she is trying to tell me that what she and Cathy do together is not really that important. What is important is the bond they share, the friendship. So I move on.
"What about teasing? Do you tease each other?"
Now Cathy chimes in, "Well, a little bit," she admits. Janet shares her annual Thanksgiving joke, where she looks through the window in the oven at the turkey roasting within and exclaims in mock horror, "Oh no! That’s my friend Cathy in there!"
"Hey, Janet, watch it!" scolds Cathy, and they dissolve into giggles again. Janet bursts into song, "Janet Moo-oo-oore, she’s a Presbyterian…" and a whole new round of giggles begins.
I can see that this interview is taking on a life of its own! I try to regain control. "How does Janet make you feel, Cathy?" I ask.
"Really happy," Cathy replies.
"Thank you, sweetie...chicken legs!"
"Hey, not me!"
The teasing picks up speed and enthusiasm. Cries of "chicken legs", "French fry", "Girl Guide", you name it. They are poking each other, laughing, threatening to call the cops. Time to clue things up.
"Is there anything else you guys would like to say before we finish?"
Cathy looks at Janet and is quiet for a second. "Janet Moore? I love you."
"I love you too, sweetheart."
They hug. I think that says it all.