Monday, June 2, 2008

Sonja Henie's Ice Show costume

Sonja Henie, skating with John Walsh, American figure skater. Mr. Walsh died on November 2, 2007, aged 85. Photo: Walsh family from the Boston Globe.
In 1979, a stagehand in Chicago gave me a costume from Sonja Henie's Ice Show. His mother had been a dresser on the show and had kept the costume. He was a Local #2 guy, running spotlight at the International Amphitheatre, on the South Side. I worked for the circus, and was running electrics and calling spots for the show.

I don't know why he decided to give it to me. I was not even a union sister at the time - that came later, in the '80's. But he was an older man who lived alone and his mother had just passed, and I was a nice girl who worked for the circus. I suppose he thought I'd appreciate it.

I did. I truly did. It was incredible. There was a magnificent pink and silver sparkly headdress, and then there was a bra and a kind of sarong-like thing that was worn about the waist. You could tell that the three pieces weren't part of the same costume - the headdress was sequinned, but the bra and sarong were flesh-colored netting sewn with rectangular-shaped silver spangles - is that what they call paillettes? There were also these wonderful sequinned gauntlets - things that fit over your arms like long gloves without fingers - there was an elastic loop that fit over your middle finger.

Even then - I was 24 - the sarong and bra were too small for me. I could have worn the headdress - if I were a hat person, but I'm not. I really had no use for this gift. But I carried it around with me for many, many years - he'd packed it in this odd cubically shaped cardboard box that was awkward to store, so I am telling the truth that I really did make an effort to hold onto it.

At some point in my hectic life, my Sonja Henie Ice Show costume disappeared - it fell away from me, like many other things.

The art deco place settings found on Canal Street that I shipped from New York to Seattle - I packed them carelessly, and they broke in transit.

The Heywood-Wakefield dining room set I bought on Canal Street for $100. It was too bulky to move from apartment to apartment.

The amazing gilt Eastlake-style mirror I found on the street and restored. Did I leave that at my parents' house before moving West?

The fantastic '50's printed circle skirt I found at a vintage shop - it was too wide for my waist - damn, it would fit me perfectly today!!!

The vintage 1952 Hawaiian shirt depicting a pre-Space Needle Seattle - unwisely, I dry-cleaned it too many times, and it crumbled away.

The antique kimono, left at a hotel while on the road.

All gone.

What are the lost, precious things you remember from your lives?


JCK said...

I love your circus stories, g.

The good news is that I can't think of something lost right now. But, my head still hasn't been cleared by enough tea!

My husband was given his grandfather's ring from World War II. He lost it somewhere in Pittsburgh, while he was at Carnegie Mellon. It bothers him to this day...

And I SO remember those wonderful street finds of furniture in NYC. How people would put out antiques and other gems out on the sidewalk.

1blueshi1 said...

Oooh, so many things gone that I treasured. My favorite high school teacher/mentor/saver of my very life gave me several dresses she had saved from the sixties and seventies that were perfect, stylish, and I wore them for years, unfortunately all were tossed/lost during the upheaval between meeting my husband and breaking up with my ex fiance. They wouldn't fit me now, of course, but I have such happy memories of those beautiful dresses, and Judy made me feel so special by giving them to me.

BipolarLawyerCook said...

Wonderful story. You knew I worked for circus (just for a summer and a spring or two) too?

SUEB0B said...

A silver filigree diamond and sapphire pin my mom gave me. The clasp didn't work quite right and I thought it would be ok...It wasn't. Gone.

Jozet at Halushki said...

That costume is amazing!

Ah yes...I had a gorgeous pair of jeans that were worn in so perfectly.

And they had Joey Ramone's signature on them

Then, my mom washed them, and they fell apart. Ah life.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I had a lovely set of those colored aluminum retro (but truly old, not reproductions) tumblers. I loved them. Of course, there were moves in between when they were given to me and now. But I loved them. Where did they go?