It’s very difficult to describe just how nice Jonathan’s mother, Raymonde Guilmette, is without
sounding disingenuous. I tried several different ways, and they all ended up
just sounding like a greeting card. But, come to think of it, that’s actually
a great way to describe her: kind of like a greeting card. She’s all welcoming and sugary and wonderful and sweet and just makes you feel warm and happy.
She’s like chocolate personified.
Raymonde is, quite literally, the nicest person I have ever met. And
not just by a little bit, either. I mean she is SO nice, that I can honestly
say that in all the years I’ve been walking this planet, I’ve never met anyone even remotely as nice as
her. She leaves everybody else in the dust!
Perhaps I should just sum it up by quoting Jonathan. “My mother
is a saint.”
That about covers it!
On the afternoon of April 17, 2005 she was kind enough to spend over an
hour and a half letting me ask her questions about Jonathan. The first thing I noticed about her was that she has the same laugh as Jonathan
... or I should say rather, that he has her laugh? They both possess that same, soft “Heh, heh, heh” of a
laugh, say "Yep!" identically and drop their "H"'s in all the same places when they speak. He is his mother's son!
She was delighted and as eager as any mother to tell fun, cute stories about her
child, thrilled to share the pride she has in her son. Her French accent and
warm voice added to the already wonderful atmosphere she created for the interview and she made me feel right at home.
everything from 1st steps, 1st words and birth weight to broken bones, his 1st Québec Games
and Olympic medals. It was one great interview and she threw in French words
from time-to-time when she didn't know the English ones, further endearing her to me.
She was so generous with her information that I’ve
had to break the interview into 2 parts. In Part One, we’ll cover
his childhood, and in Part Two, you can soon read all the interesting things that she said about his skating in the Junior
and Senior years.
without further ado, here's the first part of the interview, "Baby Steps".
How are you?
OOOooo, great, it’s a beautiful day here, nice and very warm and wow! Springtime
is here! It’s like a summer day today, it’s very, very hot, and we
can go with short sleeves outside, it’s just wonderful! It’s good
for Montréal in April, it’s very rare! (She giggles). And how’s the
weather at your place?
Mmmm, partly sunny, the clouds are coming in, and it’s gonna rain again later.
It’s been a sort of dark weekend.
Ah. So you are coming in September for the Olympic Trials?
I sure am!
Well, prepare yourself for a very stressful weekend! You know, it’s
worse than the Olympics because they’re all friends and they have to "fight" each other, and the top 10 guys here in
Canada can win and then go to the Olympics, so … oof! It’s gonna be tough, and it’s gonna be stressful.
JG.com: (I say jokingly) Well, I'll try to prepare myself mentally for it.
JG.com: So first, I’d like to start out asking you some questions about Jonathan about when he was a baby
and a little boy.
JG.com: How old was Jonathan when he learned to walk?
Raymonde: About 11½ months, near his first birthday. But he crawled
at 7 months – he crawled everywhere! We were getting ready to move to our
house that we’d just bought, and he was climbing on the boxes. He was climbing
and crawling and getting over them. It was something! (She
laughs, remembering her ambling baby.)
|Photo Submitted by Raymonde Guilmette
|Jonathan Guilmette, a little athlete before he could even walk, happily climbing a chair at 7 months
JG.com: Sounds like it. And what was his first word?
Raymonde: Oh boy, was it “Daddy” or was it “Mommy”?
I remember my daughter it was “Papa”, she was 7 months and (she pauses to think)
… What was Jonathan’s? I guess it was “Papa” you know,
because the mommy says, “Papa is coming home” and I would say that often.
I would have to look in his baby book. Let me get the book, ok? I have everything written there. One moment. (She puts the phone down to go get the book.
She returns and starts asking herself questions about it) Our Baby. Now where did I write that? Ask me another
question while I look for it, ok?
JG.com: Sure! Did he have a favorite toy that he liked to play with
when he was little or take with him?
Raymonde: A favorite toy … I think it was … let me think about that …. Well, when he was about 2 or 3, it was little cars that he played with.
And he played a lot with Lego, building and construction with Lego blocks. And
he had a little [stuffed animal] puppy, it was all soft, and he played with it a lot.
And when [Jo] moved away from home, he had it downstairs [in the basement] and I said, “What do I do with that
dog?”, [and he said], “Oh, Mommy, keep it. I’m not gonna bring
that to my apartment, but keep it.”
JG.com: Awwwww …
Raymonde: (she laughs) Yeah, so I still have that.
I washed it and I put it outside on the clothesline, and my tenant upstairs said, “What are you doing with
that?”, and I said, “My son wants me to keep that.” So I guess
this was his favorite puppy when he was young.
JG.com: Speaking of puppies, did he have any pets when he was little?
Raymonde: Mmmm, no, because my daughter was allergic to dogs and cats so we never got them, but he used to love dogs
when he was young. My mother had a dog, and he played with it when we went to
JG.com: Did he have a security blanket or favorite blanket that he took with him everywhere?
Raymonde: No, it was his Mommy! He came to me for his consolation. When he arrived he was 9 pounds, 4 ounces. A
big baby! But he didn't have toys that he wanted when he was upset or a blanket or anything. And how do you call the little rubber thing in the baby’s mouth?
JG.com: A pacifier?
Raymonde: Yeah, he never wanted a pacifier; it was just Mommy, Mommy! And
when he started to walk, he would fall and hurt himself sometimes. Then he was
crying, so he didn’t have any blanket and he didn’t want a pacifier and he wanted to have his consolation, so
he came to me. It was really cute.
JG.com: What was Jonathan like as a baby and a little boy? What was
his personality like?
Raymonde: Oh, he was very quiet, he never cried for anything except when he wanted to eat; he was a very good, good,
good baby! I would have had 10 kids like that!
(She laughs at her own remark.) Yeah, he was
very calm also, and I don’t know why, but it was very different, my daughter.
She was sick when she was a little baby from 4-6 months she was at the hospital; she had so many allergies. At night she used to cry because it itched. But for Jonathan
it was easy; at night when he was crying, I just brought him in our bed with us and fed him, and it was very, very easy. Maybe because it was the 2nd baby, also it was easier? And you put all that together, and he really was a good baby!
JG.com: Did he play with his sister, Nathalie a lot as a baby
and young boy?
Raymonde: My daughter of course, she was 3 years and a half
when he was born, so she played with him, and she always spoiled him, and gave him everything he wanted, so it was very, very
easy, you know? She always wanted to help with him. And I didn’t
work; I was at home for 10 years with the 2 kids, so that makes it easier also, eh?
Because you’re not stressed, and you don’t push them to get dressed in the morning and go to daycare.
JG.com: Well that’s nice. And how was his room decorated as
Raymonde: I have a photo here in my book. It was yellow and blue. It was very simple. At that time, I had
a little chest for him of 4 or 5 drawers, a bassinette, and yeah, the walls, everything was yellow. And a little bit of blue, because at that time we didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl, so we didn’t
choose this color or that color. We didn’t have “ecografie”
(sonogram). That started at the age of Jonathan that we could have ecografie,
but I didn’t have any ecografie for my first child, and my doctor said, “Well, you don’t need it for this
one, everything is going well”.
|Photo Submitted by Raymonde Guilmette
|3-year old big sister Nathalie holds newborn Jonathan in his nursery.
|Photo Submitted by Raymonde Guilmette
|Seven year old Jonathan Guilmette in his school picture
Baby Steps, page 2