My Mom Eli aka Micky...a Tribute
A celebration from the Heart
This is a dedication to my mother Eli (aka Trapeze Micky) who I only had for short time in my life (she passed 1975), but I had her many years longer then I had my dad. Memories of my mom are vivid, she was beautiful, vivacious, worldly, gutsy and interesting.
My intention here is to celebrate with the memory, her Birthday and Mother's Day. I am so proud of her and have been Blessed to have had a mother such as her in my life... I thank God for this.
Mother's Day 1999 I made my first website, it was a Mother's Day tribute to her, but the site host was shut down after many years...so I made this page. I also have another page with the story My Life Story In A Suitcase where I mentioned about her interesting life.
Note ~ Scraper Protection: If you see this webpage anywhere else on the Internet besides here...PLEASE contact me...Thank You ~ Delia Pacheco
Running away to join the Circus
When mom was a young girl around the late 1920s early 30's, she always dreamed of show business or fame of sorts. She was only a teenager when she ran away to join the circus in Dresden Germany.
The circus she started out with was the famed Sarrasani Circus in Dresden. While there she met a visiting circus manager and Aerialist named Antoinette Concello from the "Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus."
Practicing to be a great aerialist - in Sarasota Florida
Antoinette Concello, my sis & me at Cow Palace San Francisco circa: 1951
Aerialist to be ~
Antoinette Concello thought mom would be a great aerialist and suggested she would do well in the RBBB circus, so she brought her back to Sarasota Florida and trained her for a trapeze act...Antoinette herself was from the famed Consello aerial act.
My mom said that they trained dozens of people for the Trapeze from all over the world at the winter quarters in Sarasota.
Traveling all over the United States, they performed in many capitol cities. She told me the story about the time they were performing at the Madison Square Garden, New York, she remembered everyone was excited, many were running outside of the building to watch the giant dirigible LZ-129 Hindenburg from Germany. It was flying overhead, coming in for a landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. As history tells us, this turned out to be a terrible disaster because the dirigible was filled with Hydrogen which was very combustible. As it turned out, it burst into flames as they were landing... Mom saw the blimp only moments before it caught on fire, taking lives on board and on the ground.
The Bloomington-Normal Circus Legacy: The Golden Age of Aerialists
How I received this book ... The Bloomington-Normal Circus Legacy
I was contacted by Janea Stork and invited as a guest to the Circus Museum in Bloomington. There I met Janae, as well Maureen Brunsdale and Mark Schmitt, the authors... they gave me this book. We had a very lovely and interesting time. If you ever want to see an excellent collection of Circus memorabilia, including books and posters, you must visit the Museum.
The movie - "die drei Codonas"
They called her "the double Lilian Leitzel" - because of her death defying aerial acts without a net.
Promotional ~ Dance in the Air ~
These promotional photos show scenes from the movie....translates to: Micky >>Dance in the Air<< a double as Lilian Leitzel in the Codona Film.
Mom was named Micky by her Trapeze friend Antoinette Concello who had a sister named Mickey (with an "e") she also was an aerialist...somehow I believe the names are somehow associated.
For some reason mom decided to go back to Germany. I'm not clear why she left the US as the timing was bad, it was shortly before the Americans got involved in the Germany war.
She returned there and perfected her aerial Trapeze act, performing at many theaters. While in Berlin a movie producer saw her act and included her in a 1940 German movie called "die drei Codonas" (the three Codonas) Mom did all the aerial stunts as the double for Lillian Leitzel. After that movie, she was coined the "The double Lillian Leitzel" and all the posters of her reflected that in writing.
Magazine promo photo in ‘Die Bühne’
Now fast forward...my sister and I had come to America 1950 and lived in San Francisco. Every Friday night mom took us to the movies, this is how we learned English. This particular evening we went to a theater in the Mission district which was on the other side of town. When we arrived at the theater we saw the lobby card and knew it was a black and white German movie about an aerialist.
Mom did not mention to us that she was in it, until we noticed a few scenes that we had photographs of and magazine stories on. I said, mom is that you? she shushed us and said, yes...wow we were excited to have been able to see this movie.
The movie was called "die drei Codonas" (pronounced...dee dry Codonas... meaning...the three Codonas). Sadly, I never saw the movie again until years later when I got a computer in 1999. For many years I looked for the movie but never found it...UNTIL I searched the internet...guess what! I found it in Indianapolis, Indiana, at an online German movie store "German Language Video Center” it happened to be the very last one, and now it's "Discontinued" and "Out of print"...
Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus by Dean N. Jensen.
Another contact and comment from a Codona relative...
I love it when someone contacts me, leaving a comment letting me know they are related to a person in my story...this time it's a relative of the Codona's...how cool is that!!!!
I'm so happy Kenny stopped by for a comment on 6/9/12 and then came back to see if I replied...Thank You Kenny Codona, that was nice of you!
Mom seen in this clip - at 1min. 55sec
A find on eBay
A photo of my mom as a young girl in the RBBB Circus.
One day editing this page, I noticed the eBay module had circus photos from the Wallenda Estate. That evening on my iPad looking through eBay, I noticed my search items advertised on the side of the page. They had added new ones in each of the categories that I was searching.
I then decided to check out these Wallenda Estate items, but decided to shorted the search term words. Within seconds a photo popped up of my mom, I recognized her Immediately.
The person selling couldn't make out what was written on the photo, but I knew immediately it was her handwriting, with her stage name, signed with her real name. This was from the Estate of Millie Wallenda. There was another small photo of mom, but it was in a pile of other photos of other people, not wanting those other ones...I didn't bid on them.
Aerialists of RBBB on ebay
June 2015 on an auction site
Found on an Internet Auction Site
I happen to run across an online auction in July with many Circus photos. And there she was, mom pictured with all the arialists for RBBB in the 1930's. Spotting her immediately for her very recognizable look and so different then the others. This photo had been cropped by me from a larger view that included many ladies....this way she was easier to see.
I would have bid on this photo, but they were asking almost $2000 for it. So I did the next best thing, I saved it to my Pinterest board and have it to view.
Margret and Paddy were the horses mom rode
These photos show the horses that mom rode, a retired Trotter off the track named Margret (L) this horse died in the 1944 Connecticut tent fire...(R) when she started riding in 1933 it was on this small Pinto named Paddy.
Judy Southern riding Paddy 1940
On ebay I saw this photo and recognized Paddy the horse that mom use to ride. It posted the year 1940 and that was after mom returned to Germany. I suppose Judy then was assigned to this horse. Amazing that I recognized Paddy's markings and compared photos to be sure...see above the photo mom riding.
Hoot Gibson and friends
Middle photo found in an encyclopedia 1975
Modoc the famed Elephant
Riding an Elephant was also an exciting duty, especially the famed Modoc. Mom told me the story about a time when she was nervous and Modoc felt it, so when he picked her up with his trunk he held her too tight, breaking three ribs in the fear he was going to drop her.
Now this brings me to another interesting story...it's about a picture of mom in an old Encyclopedia. I was in grammar school and just finished a test, after turning in my paper I was allowed to look at books. While in the C section of the encyclopedia I came across the subject Circus, and there in front of me a photo of my mom sitting on the Elephant Modoc. I knew it was her because we had pictures with the same costume of Butterfly wings and sitting on Modoc, just a different pose. I could hardly wait to go home and tell mom, she being surprised.
Of course again, I looked for the encyclopedia book "C" to have for my own. In those days buying an encyclopedia was very expensive..it was like buying a computer, they were our "knowledge base." Over the years I had not forgotten about the book but just kind of gave up looking, except if I went into a second hand store.
Then Mom passed in 1975. About two weeks after her death, my youngest daughter and I were driving past the Salvation Army store. A voice inside me told me to go back to the store. I did, but not really knowing why...walking through the entrance of the store I immediately saw in my head a book. Immediately heading to the book section searching for the red and blue encyclopedia, but found only dark blue ones. I picked up the dark blue C book, it fell open to the page of mom, my daughter excitedly said, Omi!
With joyful tears I purchased the whole set, since that's the only way they sold it. Now I had my encyclopedia book "C" with moms photo in it...surely mom guided me to this destination.
In the three photos shown below, the middle one is from the encyclopedia.
Coincidence or fate?
Another story to go with this...in 1995 we lived in another state. My daughter, the same one that was with me when I found the encyclopedia book, was coming over for Mother's Day.
Prior to that day, my friend who was involved in a Sanctuary for elephants asked me to watch a TV program showing the cruelty towards Elephants and how to rescue them. Reluctantly I watched (I can not bare to watch animal cruelty) While sitting on the floor watching this program, I was crying.
Just then, a head popped around the door, it was my daughter! Seeing what I was watching, she said, I guess this is not the right time to give you this gift...handing me a bag, that contained an Antique frame with a picture of mom and Modoc (the same encyclopedia image we found in 1975)
She had it professionally matted and framed. What a joy in my heart to receive this gift, especially how all this transpired...from the first time finding the book, and again my daughter finding it on her own 20 years later.
Every year since 1975 for moms Birthday April 30th and Mother's Day, I place a small bouquet of flowers from my yard next her picture.
My daughter’s find
Tribute and Birthday Wish
I LOVE my mom dearly and miss her, there isn't a day that goes by she is not in my thoughts...I missed out on so much not having her in my life...so remember, you only have one mother in your life!
My father's photo's
My dad was a Baron, and one of his hobbies was photography, he owned studios in Berlin and Dresden. My mother had some promos done and that's how they met, most of the images in postcards and ads are from my dad's work. The image here was her identifiable image used on many posters in Europe.
They started dating, marrying her a year later, and of course we were born, all this during the war...What were they thinking!
Mom told me she had to perform the trapeze act for Hitler, that had to have been scary, also the fact she did not use a net making her act was death defying...she said she even performed while pregnant with my twin sister and me. Maybe this is why I have a fear of heights!
Budapest Poster version of the photograph
Her Business card
I was surprised when I received an email from Germany informing me they saw this story and that he had photos of my mom's family, including this business card that belonged to my mom (notice above image Mickey is misspelled). The person turned out to be a relative to my mom's side of the family, a second cousin.
Now I have a floodgate of information sent to me on my mom's maiden name Fredersdorff, including never seen photos. To top it, I now have a distant cousin in Berlin.
A parallel story of the Other "Micky" - Mickey KING.....Aerialist Supreme
I ran across these internet articles (links below) a while back but only saw one section...when I read the rest of the story I was astonished at the parallel of events of my mom Micky and this Mickey, who actually was the sister to Antoinette the woman who discovered my mom in Germany. In one of the articles it said, that Mickey King was to do the stunts for the part of Lilian Leitzel in the movie about the Codona's, they also mentioning the movie was never made. Well that's not true, as my mom did the stunts in the movie about the famed aerialist Lillian Leitzel and the Codona's.
I felt sad when I read that Mickey King was still alive till 2004, how nice it would have been to have met her and talked about her sister, my mom and the circus.
Sharing My Family
What I miss about my mom ~
My mom adored our girls, calling them Pumpkins...these photos are some of my favorites...especially the one were she is walking hand in hand with our first born. Mom came over that day and asked if she could take her to Europe, and we would not allow it...a big regret, but I doubt our daughter would have remembered that time, she was too young.
The girls called her Omi (German for grandma) of course at my mothers insistence, since she felt she was too young to be called a grandmother, so calling her Omi people would not know. I thought that was funny since she was in her 50's already.
Me, Mom and my twin Sis
Here we were celebrating our 29th Birthday. During this time I also told my mom that I was three months pregnant with our second child...she says, "How is that possible!" You had to have known her outspoken ways, she said what she felt. This question was because the Vietnam War was still going on, and my husband just got back from serving there....she felt we should not have a child because of the war...maybe a flashback for her, none the less the statement she made certainly made me laugh.
She was leaving for Switzerland to live there for awhile. I was sad because she was not going to be here when I had my second child. Personally I think this is why she made that statement about my pregnancy.
I had a hard time thinking about not seeing her or talking with her...phone calls were very costly to Europe at that time, besides that I had separation anxiety and cried a lot when she was gone... which was a residual from the wartime in Germany.
My Pride and Joy - and proudest accomplishment...
I'm so proud of our daughters, they are beautiful human beings with kind hearts and accomplished young ladies...they are a gift from God and I am so grateful for them, and of course for my loving husband.
I hope mom sees all of our accomplishments...how we wished that we could have shared this with her.
Have you ever been to the Circus? If so.......Take the poll below and share your response ~
What was your favorite thing to watch...
Created on 04/28/2010
What you are is God's gift to you, what you do with yourself is your gift to God: Danish Proverb
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© 2010 Delia