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Posts Tagged ‘Flamingo’

"I love flamingos too"

“I love flamingos too”

It’s been quite a while since I posted a photo of my little Finny.  My daughter, Chiara, sent this to me today and of course it not only made me smile, it made me miss that little cutie even more.  Anyway, what is the significance of Finley and flamingos? Well if you recall a blog post way back when…in the category of Peter Coddles* then you know that I LOVE Flamingos. In fact I have a collection of flamingos and here is the link to the blog post I did featuring some of my collection:

 https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/queen-of-kitsch-a-brief-history-of-the-plastic-pink-flamingo/

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English: A gold charm bracelet worn on the arm...

English: A gold charm bracelet worn on the arm. Visible charms are a heart-shaped locket, seahorse, crystal, telephone, bear, spaceship, and grand piano.

Well I just celebrated the BIG ONE and I mean BIG!  I may have even slipped past being a woman of a certain age…well let’s not go that far!

My husband gave me several pieces of jewelry and while putting them away, I came across a red velvet bag.  Of course I knew what was in the bag and was glad to put my hands on it again.  In it lie bits and pieces of my life – Charming chapters as it were – Let the memory live again.

I untied the red satin ribbon and reached in to pull out a very heavy, very clangy charm bracelet.  I don’t know how popular charm bracelets are these days…I think not.  But, in the 1960’s, well just about all my girlfriends had one.  My first charm bracelet was a narrow chain link and had several charms, many of them given to me by my friends as a birthday or Christmas present. 

I don’t think I wore my charm bracelet in college, however, some years later and married, I realized I had acquired some more charms and discovered meaningful trinkets in my possession that would make appropriate charms.  This was going to require a heavy duty charm bracelet!  I purchased a sterling silver triple link bracelet and set about adding pieces and parts of my life.

Maybe my determination to create my life’s story in trinkets was a foreshadowing of my life to come:  That is one of collecting way too many things and displaying them for all  to see and the writing of a blog which is yet another way of exposing yourself to the world.

These are the charmed chapters of my life: (not in chronological  order or of  importance).

Crossed Tennis Racquets     Tennis was a large part of my life when I was married to my first husband.  Much of our social life at the country club included mixed doubles as well as tournament play.

Cape Cod: I went to Cape Cod with my then fiancé (first husband).  I remember feeling liberated and wild until the fire horn went off in the middle of the night. It was on the wall of the motel (hence the cheap price I guess) and I thought we were in the middle of an air raid! Oh the shame – caught in an illicit act!

Pelican: My son Joel attended Loomis Chaffee , a private high school in Connecticut.  The school’s mascot was a Pelican.

Democratic Donkey:  I was in my very early twenties when I got interested in local politics.  I worked for the Democratic Town Committee in our small predominantly Republican town.  I actually ran for office, alas defeated.  Still, invited to and attended Ella Grasso‘s Inauguration Ball.

Cowboy Boot:  There was a period in my life as a newly single woman when I would frequent a Western bar, and dance the night away. I was a pretty good Texas Two-Stepper!

State of ConnecticutNot my birthplace but where I grew up and lived until I was 51.  Life in Connecticut was great and I’m glad my children were brought up there.  However, once divorced and single, my little town was no longer for me.

Baby Cup:  (engraved Baby Bob) Those wild years between marriages – Baby Bob was someone I dated for about a year.  He was QUITE a bit younger than me and I and my friends affectionately  referred to him as Baby Bob.

JCL medal:  I belonged to the Junior Classical League in high school.  I swear I can’t remember what the club did or was all about.

Cross with a Diamond ChipAs part of his strategy to surprise me with an engagement ring, my first husband gave me a sterling silver cross with a teeny tiny diamond chip in the middle for my 19th birthday!

Five Card Flush: I’ve always loved to play cards, I grew up in a card-playing family.  In High School, it was Hearts and Set Back, in College it was Set Back and Poker.  In Avon, it was Bridge and Gin Rummy.

Devil in Cocktail Shaker: This is one of my favorite charms.  I think I got it when I was out of college and working.  Just thought it was cute at the time.

Riverboat & State of Louisiana:  I’ve been to New Orleans several times and  Orleans and enjoyed my stay in The Big Easy every time. Loving me some po’boys, oysters and Hurricanes.

Martini Glass:  This one even has an olive on a toothpick in it.  And it’s presence is probably self-explanatory!

Graduation Cap:  This one is a survivor of the first charm bracelet as is the JCL medal.  1965 Graduation from Woodrow Wilson High School.

1940’s Earring:  This one bears explanation.  I always remember that my mother had a pendant necklace which was a silhouette drawing of a tropical beach with a crescent moon. It was drawn on a butterfly’s wing. I found an earring with a tiny circle drop pendant with the same scene and adapted it to hang on the charm bracelet.  This one represents my mother who died when I was 9 years old.

No Parking  Sign: This is a remnant of the first bracelet and is about to be removed because the base of the sign is gone.  No Parking was a definite High School charm which needs no further explanation.

Class Ring:  The ring is a tiny replica of my High School class ring.

Varsity Banner:  I actually had earrings which were small banners inscribed Woodrow Wilson and painted maroon and gray, our school colors.  This didn’t get added until much later when I was scouting around for representative pieces.

Cigarette Lighter:  Soon to be eliminated to make room for another and certainly no longer relevant, this tiny lighter actually worked.  You had to add lighter fluid and a flint and it would light.  But it has to go…

1964 World’s Fair Medal: The 1964 World’s Fair was held in New York City and I believe my father went and brought this charm back for me.

The Empire State Building:  When I moved to New York City in 1998, I bought this charm.  Moving here was the beginning of what I call the second half of my life!  Loving life in The Big Apple.

Wishbone:  I’m not sure if this charm is a leftover from the first bracelet when someone gave it to me for Good Luck or one that I bought because my Dad and myself always broke the wishbone from the Thanksgiving Day turkey.

Flamingo:  NOT for the state of Florida!  I have a fairly good-sized Flamingo collection so of course I had to put one on the charm bracelet.

Happy Birthday Hanging Sign:  Clearly this needs no explanation but to say it is a survivor from my High School charm bracelet.

Anchor:  As a remembrance of my Dad, a Navy man to the end, I bought an anchor charm to keep his memory on my wrist.

U.S. Capitol:  My first honeymoon was in Washington D.C. and I bought this charm to commemorate the occasion – that was a lifetime ago.

Three Keys:  My first husband was a great salesman and he won awards.  I have 3 small keys engraved with his initials and dates for his successes.  I think it was known as the Key Club.

Locomotive Engine CarI managed a restaurant for a short period in the mid 90″s.  It was known as The Depot and part of the restaurant was in an actual train car. 

I still have to acquire a couple more;  I want to memorialize my second honeymoon in Buenos Aires, my trips to South Africa and my cottage on the Jersey Shore.  And who knows…surely there are other chapters to be charmed.

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Plastic flamingos in a yard.

Lawn Flamingos

Quite some time ago, I did a blog post about my flamingo collection and recently my friend, Gail, sent me this article that appeared in the Mental Floss blog about the history of the pink plastic flamingo.  Well several years ago when Peter was selling antiques in Chelsea, one day he saw this couple walking towards his booth.  He noticed them right of because they were wearing almost identical clothes in terms fabric.  Turns out that she made all of their clothes, including overcoats!!  He had a little chat with them and told them about how his wife has one of their flamingos in the guest bath tub.  Yes, it is stuck in the handle of the shower doors. LOL.

Well here is the article as well as a link to my two flamingo posts.

https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/flamingos-flock-to-the-city/

https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/florida-kitsch-is-cool/

Queen of Kitsch: A Brief History of the Plastic Pink Flamingo

by Haley Sweetland Edwards – June 28, 2011 – 1:55 PM

With the season of backyard barbecues upon us, we thought you could use a history lesson on everyone’s favorite lawn ornament. From the plastic bird’s birth to its modern perch atop the pyramid of campy Americana, here’s the quick-and-dirty on the hot pink queen of kitsch.

The Birth of a National Icon

© Seth Resnick/Science Faction/Corbis

Perhaps not shockingly, the pink flamingo lawn ornament was invented in the same decade that polyester pants, pink washing machines, vinyl wallpaper and Naugahyde lounge chairs were cool. Flamingo fans worldwide owe their thanks to a man named Don Featherstone (pictured), a one-time employee of a plastics company called Union Products, who designed the first pink flamingo lawn ornament in 1957.

When they first hit stores, the blushing birds cost $2.76 a pair and were an immediate hit in working-class subdivisions from the Redwood Forest to the Gulfstream waters. This bird was made for you and me.

A (Brief) Fall from Grace

The 1960s were a decade of backlash against conformity, false experience, and all things Parental—including, evidently, Mom and Dad’s lawn décor. Hippies rallied against the plastics industry, cultural critics chastised all things “un-natural,” and home and garden magazines pleaded with people to abandon the gnomes, lawn jockeys and flamingos of yesteryear in favor of classier, more natural yard décor. By 1970, even Sears had stopped selling the pink flamingo, replacing the gaping hole in their garden department with natural-looking fountains and rocks, according to the historian Jennifer Price. Her book, Flight Maps (Basic Books, 1999), has a chapter on the plastic flamingo. It’s a must-read for flamingo aficionados.

And She’s Back!

Happily for flamingo fans, the ‘70s were a carnival of schlock, and by the early part of the decade, the pink flamingo had become so un-cool, it was cool again—this time as a self-conscious symbol of rebellion, outrageousness and all things Bad Taste. By the time John Waters’ movie, Pink Flamingos, hit theaters in 1972, the bird had fully transitioned to the realm of ironic kitsch. Gay bars used them as mascots, transvestites sported them on earrings and platform pumps, and in 1979, students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison planted 1,008 of the two-legged creatures in the grass in front of the dean’s office, earning them—and the bird—a place in Wisconsin’s State Historical Society.

Pink is the New Art

By the 1980s, the pink flamingo had made the ultimate giant leap for mankind: it had, like Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans, become art. In 1987, the governor of Massachusetts proclaimed the plastic bird “an essential contribution to American folk art,” Price wrote, and new clubs like the Flamingo Fanciers of America and the International Society for the Preservation of Pink Lawn Flamingos sprang into existence in time to celebrate the bird’s thirtieth birthday. In 1998, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles began to sell plastic pink flamingos in its bookstore for $19 a set.

Long Live the Queen of Camp

In 2009, in honor of the students’ 1979 prank, the Madison, Wisconsin, city council named the plastic pink flamingo the official bird of the city. And the esteemed lawn ornament lives on in Americana infamy, lending its name to bars, restaurants, casinos and hotels from sea to shining sea. The birds currently go for about $16 a set online.

via mental_floss Blog » Queen of Kitsch: A Brief History of the Plastic Pink Flamingo.

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