Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Godmother - Sentimental Sunday No. 21

L to R - Sylvia, Ginger, Orie, Cindy, Johnny
August 1968

Yesterday would have been my Godmothers birthday. Evaleen Kelly, known as Ginger, was a ballet dancer for Theodore Kosloff. She performed at Los Angeles’ Carthay Circle in the 1920’s. She married my Godfather, Orie Carfagno, in the early 1940’s. Ginger was my mother’s best friend from 1944 until they both died in 1986. We referred to them as Lucy and Ethel… although I’m not quite sure which was which. I suspect they traded off – depended upon the situation.

I started ballet classes when I was 10 years old. Ginger spent hours teaching me and helping me practice my positions and my point work. She shared stories of the days when she was a dancer. I think those were exciting times and she basked in those memories. Not too long before her mother, Ida, passed away - she gave me a pair of Ginger's old point shoes. I still have them, wrapped carefully in tissue paper in one of my drawers. They are one of my most treasured possessions.

Every year my parents and I went to Las Vegas in the late summer, to celebrate their anniversary. My godparents were always there as well – along with members of their family. Las Vegas holds so many happy memories for me – and my godparents are a part of those memories… seeing Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton. Meeting and spending an evening with Mac Davis. Going to all of the “big” shows – Folies Bergere at the Tropicana, Jubilee at the MGM Grand, Lido de Paris at the Stardust. Those were fun and exciting times.

Ginger and my Mom began every day the same… talking on the phone with each other, drinking coffee – or tea in Gingers case, Lipton tea with two tea bags - and then their day began. Best friends forever. I was so lucky to have two such wonderfully strong and funny ladies in my life. Those two guided me and helped me mold my life. They were influential in making me the woman that I am today.

I picture them up in heaven together… drinking their coffee and tea, smoking their cigarettes, and gossiping about what the other angels are wearing. They’re laughing and carrying on and I’m sure they are the life of the party. Sometimes when I close my eyes and listen really carefully I can still see them, sitting side by side sharing secrets – and I can hear their laughter. There was always lots of laughter.


Columbo said...

Very touching, and I was very lucky to have met them both.

Patty said...

What happy memories you have of your childhood. Thanks for sharing them with all of us.

laura said...

I love your sentimental Sundays!!

Megan said...

Lovely story! Thanks for sharing. :)

Jason, as himself said...

Very nice tribute to some wonderful people. Now...where can I get myself one of those 1968 men's swimsuits?

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