Hey, that’s my swimsuit!

A few weeks ago, I finally finished a book that I had been reading on and off for a couple of months. It’s titled Picture This! The Inside Story and Classic Photos of UPI Newspapers, and it’s a compelling read sandwiched in between both classic and less-familiar photos from UPI’s heyday. But the best part, for me, was this: Almost at the end of the book, all the way on page 248, I see this photo of gals in swimsuits playing in the surf. The caption says it was taken during the 1961 Miss America pageant, and hey, that one gal on the right… she’s wearing my De Weese swimsuit! See? (Click on the Corbis photo to see it full-size)

Miss America Pageant, 1961

Viva Las Vegas pool party, 2008

Something I noticed about this modern photo just this evening: I personally had something to do with every outfit. From left to right: Repro pants set from Chop Suey Sisters, traded to the wearer for a dress that I have STILL not worn. Vintage ‘Peter Pan’ by Oleg Cassini swimsuit, found on eBay and sold to the wearer for my cost (Anchor and belt not original to the suit). Me, wearing the De Weese Designs ‘Sea Goddess’ swimsuit that I coveted and finally found, still with tags, on eBay.* Also wearing the shoes that I got in exchange for the shoes that our right-most model is wearing. Both pairs were purchased via mail order, mine a wee bit too small for me, and hers way too big on her. We swapped, but those shoes are too big even on my rabbit feet. My inability to keep them on was only partially due to the poolside drinks, and I nearly broke a toe when I got caught in the straps as they slipped off for the 50th time. I still have them, if anyone is interested. I think they’re marked an 8, but must be at least a 10.

*The original selling price on that swimsuit tag was $29.95. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ online inflation calculator, the price in 2007, when I bought it, would have been $209.69. Thankfully, I didn’t pay that much. 🙂

As another side note, because I’m a research whore: The swimsuit came with two hangtags; one from De Weese and another from the department store that was selling it, Hudson’s. In 1961, the flagship Hudson’s store in Detroit was the tallest department store in the world. By 1969, Hudson’s had merged with The Dayton Company to become Dayton-Hudson. In 2000, D-H rebranded all Dayton’s and Hudson’s stores as Marshall Fields. The brand was in short turn sold to May Department Stores, which then sold to Federated Department Stores in 2006, and all MF stores were renamed Macy’s. So there you have it.

hair flommers

CIMG4945

(Flommers? Yeah. I dunno. I have some verbal affectations. That’s for another post.)

(Also: It would seem that I’ve feeling very parenthetical today.)

I wear hair flowers. I have, on occasion, purchased hair flowers. I have been given hair flowers in exchange for modeling them, and I have been given hair flowers as gifts. When there is nothing in my collection that is exactly what I have in mind for a particular outfit, I make one for myself. The photo above? Those are some of my own creations. At least four of them were made for very specific ensembles. I am not above carrying around a Pantone textile guide to make sure that the flowers I buy are EXACTLY the right shade of blush/sherbet/olive/whatever. I combine flowers for fullness, I stay aware of awkward gaps, I cover the clips so there’s no catching of errant hairs. I once made a whole bunch for a trip to VLV, with individually-applied-with-a-toothpick rhinestones on the petals, but used an inappropriate glue on the clips and they all fell apart when faced with 100-degree heat. Oops! Nick laughed, and bought me a tube of Loctite from the auto parts store. I have tested and settled on a better glue now. I don’t make them to sell them, but on very rare occasions, the Free Gift that I try to include with outgoing etsy orders will be a hair flower that I’ve made. (Very rare. I have to be in just the right mood. And the flower has to fit in the package without increasing postage. It’s only happened twice.)

What is this big, long-winded intro leading up to? This: Nick spent this past weekend hanging out with friends and going to see bands and showing around a couple of visitors from Germany. Before Saturday night’s concert, he turned and asked the visiting gals if they liked hair flowers. They didn’t even know what he was talking about. But, open the door to the venue, walk in… and every gal in there has a flower in her hair. Cute. But here’s really where I’m going with this: Nick said that my flowers were better than anything he saw in there. That I’d “win the hair flower contest.” Awwww, how nice!

BONUS LINKS:
Since I’m not selling my own flowers at this time, here are links to some of the vendors whose flowers I have in my collection.

Uncle Fezter’s Flowers ($5-$15, these are works of art)
DinoFleur Designs ($3-$25, from fun to fanciful)
Urbanity Studio ($22-$50, including custom wedding pieces)

And no, this is NOT a sponsored post. 🙂

Too Pretty To Die

Mal: [under cross-fire] Bendis, look at me! Listen. We’re holding this valley, no matter what.
Bendis: We’re gonna die.
Mal: We’re not gonna die. We can’t die, Bendis. And you know why? Because we are so… very… pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die. Huh? Look at that chiseled jaw, huh? Come on!

I met Johnny in a pool. That is, I was in the pool, but Johnny was too cool to sport swim trunks, and was lurking at the edge in his deep-cuffed jeans and a short-sleeved shirt. He cut a dashing figure, and my friends encouraged me to flirt with him, in spite of my protests that he had a very good-looking girlfriend who had kindly “saved” me from a semi-creepy guy who was actually IN the pool with us.

Johnny came right up to the edge of the pool and introduced himself to me. Shook my hand. I have no idea what I answered to whatever polite question he probably asked, but I remember that he told me he was in school, living in Long Beach, and was starting up his own company that would make reproductions of vintage clothes, starting with the sweaters beloved by his vintage motorcycle club.

We found each other on MySpace and while we never had three-hour talks over coffee (or beer), or pondered together the meaning of life, we did pop in and check on each other from time to time. We would have little email conversations for an evening, and then lose track of each other for a month.

When I next saw Johnny, it was at the Viva Las Vegas weekender a year after we’d first met. I was on my way to see the Chop Tops, and Johnny was heading in the opposite direction. I waved, and he came straight over and gave me a fantastic hug. I couldn’t help but notice that he was wearing a really well-made ’40s-looking motorcycle sweater with his name chain-stitched on, and I guessed it was one of his own creations. He handed Nick his card, and explained that the clothing company was up and running. At the car show the next day, I saw that his company, OddBall Brand, had its own vendor booth. Johnny and a partner were manning the booth, and Johnny came out to give me another of his (apparently signature) deep hugs. I was on the hunt for a particular handbag that I’d spotted earlier, so I said my good-byes and figured I’d see him at the pool the next day. I never did find him. He went to Europe after VLV, so it was a couple/few weeks before I pointed out to him in a message that we hadn’t had our photo taken together. I teased that we’d have to make up for it next year.

Tonight, realizing that it had been a while since we’d last written, I cruised by his MySpace page to see if anything interesting was happening in his life. Specifically, I visited his company’s MySpace page first, to see if any new designs were being released yet. And I saw the blog headline, “Sun May 17 1:11 AM our Pres/Founder John Slisko passed away…” Well, that can’t be right. Is his dad a financial backer? But I thought his name was Peter? I clicked on the link.

And my heart fell out.

Our first President and Co Founder of ODDBALL MC, John Sliskovich, was killed in a motorcycle accident at El Mirage lake bed 2:11 AM Sunday morning.

He had ben at El Mirage since Fri. with some of his MC, the ODDBALLS, and a couple members of the Regents MC for a campout/bike riding weekend.

Just after midnight sunday morning there was a motorcycle accident out on the lake bed and an ambulance went to the scene. John and his friend Buck went to see what happened. John was riding a 1940 BSA. It’s top speed was 55 mph. Buck saw a berm coming out of the darkness and hollered to John. Buck laid his bike over. John seems to have landed face first into the lake bed. No helmet. It doesn’t seem that a helmet would’ve helped.

He wasn’t moving but he was breathing. The ambulance from the first accident, which was close by, couldn’t come to John’s aid as they were trying to save the life of their accident victim (a fight they weren’t able to win). At some point John stopped breathing and his friend Frankie, who has paramedic training, was able to get him breathing again. The ambulance arrived about 20 minutes later and just as it did John stopped breathing again. The paramedics went into CPR but couldn’t bring John back.

I don’t think it would’ve mattered how quickly the ambulance got there, it doesn’t sound like there was anything that could’ve been done for him.

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED IN BUCK’S WORDS, (the only witness)

“Johnny didn’t suffer for a second- he was just havin’ fun, doin’ what he loved & in the blink of an eye he was out.
That berm came into view too late for him to do anything but hit it head on- I was ridin’ right about his back tire & right as he hit the berm I hit the skids, I saw his bike pop up & out of my light & I just layed my bike down & slid up over the berm. Later, lookin’ at the site with the CHP we could see that he unfortunately hit the berm at the highest possible spot & right where he would have landed & maybe begun to get control of the bike there was a big crater that would have caught his front tire & caused the bike to flip on it’s side- he lit there & the bike continued to tumble. It was a perfect set up for the worst possible outcome but I can promise you John never knew what hit him.”  -Buck

I know that Johnny and I weren’t best friends, we weren’t even what I’d call close, but there is still a hole in my heart. Johnny was kind and genuine and a go-getter and yes, one handsome sonofabitch. I always assumed we’d have a chance to get to know each other better, but I’m glad that I got to know him at all.

slisko

Poolside: The day we met, April 13, 2008

johnnypuppies

Blue eyes and puppies: The photo all the girls love

johnny

John “Slisko” Sliskovich, 1984-2009