Swan, Sheriff, Unisphere / Cigne, Alguacil, Unisferio

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I’M ENJOYING MY NEW WAY of thinking (yesterday’s post). I haven’t been very productive or motivated and I haven’t been hard on myself (well not much). I’m giving it my “some” (as opposed to my all).

A few of you didn’t remember seeing our swan sculptures (glimpsed Thursday), so I thought I’d share a shot of each. We bought them a few years ago at a nearby flower and gift shop owned by two gay men. We thought the swans were cool, had no need for them, no good place to display them, and they weren’t cheap. So, of course, we bought them to support the guys we were so happy to have in the neighborhood. The shop closed last year and reopened, smaller and with less gifts and more flowers, in a better location a few minutes further away. We have swans.

I went to the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair with my parents and then alone with Dale by subway. We were two suburban kids who had lived in Brooklyn a few short months. Dale was 13. I was 10. It was perhaps an hour trip and we had to change trains. She knew exactly what she was doing and I was so impressed. I bought a tin tray as a souvenir. It’s seen better days, but I still cherish it. I quickly discovered it was bendable. So I regularly bent it. I spray-painted it silver during my high shool hippie days to go with my new totally black, white, and silver bedroom.

Did you know the actual Pieta by Michelangelo was shipped to New York in 1964 and displayed at the Vatican Pavilion? I remember being in awe when I saw it, but I had no clue what a big deal that was at the time.

Next to the tray, on a cabinet in the bedroom, is a plaster sheriff San Geraldo’s mother bought for him at Wall Drug in the middle of South Dakota when he was 3 years old. The price — $2.49 — is still written in grease pencil on the bottom. You can’t get more American kitsch than that.

Dudo, at top, is not interested in any of this. I’m about to have a siesta.


ESTOY DISFRUTANDO DE MI NUEVA forma de pensar (publicación de ayer). No he sido muy productivo ni motivado y no he sido duro conmigo mismo (bueno, no mucho). Le estoy dando mi “algo” (a diferencia de mi todo).

Algunos de vosotros no recordabáis haber visto nuestras esculturas de cisnes (vislumbradas el jueves), así que pensé en compartir una foto de cada uno. Los compramos hace unos años en una tienda de regalos y flores cercana propiedad de dos hombres gay. Pensamos que los cisnes eran geniales, no los necesitábamos, no había un buen lugar para exhibirlos, y no eran baratos. Entonces, por supuesto, los compramos. Para apoyar a los tipos que estábamos tan felices de tener en el vecindario. La tienda cerró el año pasado y volvió a abrir, más pequeña y con menos regalos y más flores, en una mejor ubicación a unos minutos más lejos. Y tenemos cisnes.

Fui a la Feria Mundial de Nueva York de 1964-65 con mi familia y luego a solas con Dale en metro. Éramos dos niños suburbanos que habíamos vivido en Brooklyn unos pocos meses. Dale tenía 13 años. Yo tenía 10. Fue quizás un viaje de una hora y tuvimos que cambiar de tren. Ella sabía exactamente lo que estaba haciendo y me impresionó mucho. Compré una bandeja de hojalata como recuerdo. Ha visto días mejores, pero aún lo aprecio. Rápidamente descubrí que era flexible. Así que lo doblaba con regularidad. Lo pinté con aerosol plateado durante mis días de hippie en la escuela secundaria para combinar con mi nuevo dormitorio totalmente negro, blanco y plateado.

¿Sabías que la Piedad real de Miguel Ángel fue enviada a Nueva York en 1964 y exhibida en el Pabellón del Vaticano? Recuerdo estar asombrado cuando lo vi, pero no tenía ni idea de lo importante que era eso en ese momento.

Junto a la bandeja, en un gabinete en el dormitorio, hay un sheriff de yeso que la madre de San Geraldo le compró en Wall Drug en el centro de Dakota del Sur cuando tenía 3 años. El precio – $ 2,49 – todavía está escrito con lápiz graso en la parte inferior. No se puede conseguir más kitsch (¿cursilería?) estadounidense que eso.

Dudo, en la cima, no está interesado en nada de esto. Estoy a punto de tomar una siesta.

Apparently, I’ve got a screw loose. I don’t know why I’m holding onto it.
Aparentemente, tengo un tornillo suelto. No sé por qué me aferro a él.
He stands tall at 15 inches (38 cm).
Él mide 38 cm (15 pulgadas).
From the bedroom Thursday evening.
Desde el dormitorio el jueves por la tarde.
Hanging over the ledge today.
Colgando sobre la cornisa hoy.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

34 thoughts on “Swan, Sheriff, Unisphere / Cigne, Alguacil, Unisferio”

  1. Interesting fact (from Mental Floss article) – As you likely know, the Pieta was attacked and damaged in 1972. After it was repaired, they erected a bulletproof shield in front of it for protection. But as the MF article notes: “In 1964, the Vatican loaned the Pietà to the United States, where it was displayed as part of the 1964 New York World’s Fair. To ensure the safety of this statue, organizers erected a barrier of seven massive sheets of plexiglass that collectively weighed more than 4900 pounds. Then, to make sure crowds would safely pass by the sculpture, conveyor belt-style mobile walkways were installed.”

    I also saw the Pieta–only a couple of years before you (1962–I was 12) in St Peter’s in Rome. And again, in later years as an adult. And from the sublime to the ridiculous, I have also been to Wall Drug in SD (did not buy anything but a pop–aka a soda)…after passing all the interminable signs along the highway from MN on my way to the Black Hills and the Badlands–my favorite part of that trip. That was back in 1972 when I lived in Minneapolis.

    1. Mary:
      I hadn’t thought about seeing the Pieta at the World’s Fair until writing this. I remember the conveyor belt and, vaguely, glass. I never did get to see it again before it was damaged. Didn’t get to Italy my first time until the next year. I had my first buffalo burger at Wall Drug. It was NOT the place to have one’s first buffalo burger. We bought a stuffed rattlesnake there during one of our visits, because it had been an exhausting extended-family vacation and we decided we deserved it!

  2. Interesting and eclectic post, but do you know what caught my attention? WALL DRUG, SOUTH DAKOTA! When I was a kid in Manitoba, every second goddamn vehicle had a bumper sticker touting Wall Drug, South Dakota. Those were the days when, if a tourist stopped at certain locations, they’d stick a bumper sticker on your car automatically. The other one that showed up everywhere was for some Reptile Farm, also in the States. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, LOL!

    1. Debra:
      I remember the early bumper stickers. It used to infuriate my father. Places would wire cardboard ones onto the metal bumpers. We loved them; he immediately removed them before they scratched or left rust spots. We went to a Seminole reptile farm in Florida in 1968. The only time my parents ever agreed to one of those places.

  3. I saw the pieta in st. peter’s in 1970.
    and you went to the world’s fair; I have never been to one.
    dudo is putting his all into his nap.
    my “parents” went to wall drug back in the 80s; said it was a tourist trap.

    1. anne marie:
      Wall Drug is absolutely a tourist trap. But a really fun one. It started out as a great place to stop in the middle of nowhere. They had 5-cent coffees, and free ice water and water for car radiators. I think the coffee is still 5 cents (ice water is still free). Of course they only use about 20 percent the normal amount of coffee beans per pot, so you’re really only getting 5-cents-worth! Traditional South Dakota coffee has just a tinge of color.

  4. Those beautiful swans have different shell bodies – I wouldn’t have been able to resist them, either. Dudo looks like he is tucked to execute a perfect swan dive. Although your souvenirs have gotten a little more pricey as you have gotten older, they are all keepers.

    1. Wilma:
      I like the swans but they sit on two bedroom dresses because I can find no place they work. I woke up at 7:30 this morning in a position not dissimilar to Dudo’s tuck. I wish it had worked for me the way it worked for Dudo. It took a while to unfold myself.

  5. Our family went to the NY World’s Fair then, too! Maybe we were there at the same time 🙂 I loved the huge dinosaur that moved. It was a reallllly hot day, and we sat on the edge of one of the fountains and dipped our feet in the water pool. I was 6, I think.

    Uggh… what women have to do for fashion! Can you imagine walking around ALL day at the World’s Fair, with little pointy freakin’ shoes with skinny heels!?!?

    I love your swans!

    1. Judy C:
      That was YOU at the dinosaur? What a small world. It IS fascinating how formally adults still dressed at that time. I didn’t know how short my mother was until she stopped wearing 3-inch heels, at least, with everything in the 1970s. My father didn’t wear jackets and ties, but many of my uncles still did. Yeah, the swans are nice… sitting on the dresser.

  6. Those swans are beauties! I like the combination of shell and metal. Very nice.
    The silver tray is full of fond memories and is not on bad shape at all…..considering.
    And now to the piece de resistance…..what a gem of a figurine! It looks brand new.

    Happy to hear you are being kinder to yourself……..I may try that too!

    1. Jim:
      The gold parts of the swans are actually plaster or something like it. They ARE unusual. SG took so much better care of his childhood mementos. I adjusted mine, colored them, painted them. I enjoyed them over the years but very few survived my youth!

    1. Michelle D:
      Oh to be able to stretch (and have it work) like a cat! I’d also love to sprawl on my back, arms and legs splayed, like Moose. HE doesn’t get reflux!

  7. Your swans are beautiful. I didn’t know that about the Pieta. It’s great that you got to go to the World’s Fair.


    1. janiejunebug:
      That was the only World’s Fiar I ever attended. I loved it and was overwhelmed, although it apparently got lots of negative press. I’m glad I was at an age to appreciate it. I hadn’t thought about the Pieta until I wrote this post. Then vividly remembered being transported by it (moving walkway). I was amazed.

  8. Just pay 15 cents, hop aboard! Those were the days. It took me a few seconds to realize the swans’ bodies are made with sea shells. Really big ones!

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      We were immediately drawn to those swans although they somehow never suited display in our living room among the other things. Yes, 15 cents! Whar is it, $2.75 now? And income levels sure haven’t risen at the same rate. I loved how they advertised the new picture windows in the trains to the World’s Fair.

    1. Steve:
      I realized the photo gave no indication of the size of the sheriff, which is why I gave the measurements. I can’t believe is has survived so many years in such good condition.

  9. Love the swans, and I noticed your loose screw. Jay’s family went to the 64-65 Worlds Fair, I have an egg timer from his mother’s house, I also have two pressed wood coasters from the 1939 Worlds Fair, also in New York. I went to the Worlds Fair in New Orleans in the 80’s. I was driving a nearly new Renault LeCar.

    1. David:
      It’s so funny what we remember about those events (i.e., the new Renault LeCar). I wish I had souvenirs from my parents’ visit to the 1939 World’s Fair. We DID have the parachute jump a few blocks away in Coney Island. It’s still there but no one has jumped for years. It closed just before we moved there.

  10. We also went to the 64-65 World’s Fair. We stayed with some relatives way out on Long Island (in their poor man’s summer home–a old clapboard structure on a cove) and drove to the Fair or into the city a couple of times. We saw the Pieta, ate a Belgium waffle for the first time, saw It’s a Small World, and so much more. We also saw Oliver on Broadway. We sat in the top row of the balcony, but still, it was the beginning of my love affair with Broadway, musicals, NYC, etc. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    1. Bethb,
      What a great trip down Memory Lane that was. Do you remember the town on Long Island? That’s where we lived when we went as a family. It’s magical imagining us being on Its A Small World at the same time. I loved that ride … both times. Went on it for the memories at Disney Land in the 80s and 90s, too, when I was too old and too cool for it. We had Belgian waffles at the fair, too!

      1. It was a place called Mattituck, in Suffolk County. It was pretty tiny back in the 60s. I remember digging for soft shell clams on the beach at the cove with my cousins. It was kind of gross because the necks of the clams would poke up through the wet sand and touch our bare feet. My aunt steamed them that night; the adults ate them, and my cousins did, but my sisters and I were too chicken. I think it was my parents first time eating clams that way (they were used to canned clam chowder). Anyway, the adults went out to see Moll Flanders at some cinema, and when my dad got back to the cottage, he threw up all those clams on the front porch!!

      2. bethb:
        I do remembr Mattituck, but only because we drove THROUGH it to get to other places further east… and I liked the name. I would have been with you (and therefore not with your father) when it came to those clams. Shellfish sick is awful!

  11. I remember the NY World’s Fair, even still have a couple of B&W photos and my plastic badge from the Ford pavilion, with the name of my home state… all preserved from deepest antiquity.

    1. wickedhamster:
      Yes, deepest antiquity. We now live in the world of the future. Does it look anything like that? (Other than the phones that would someday have video!) Do you remember the General Cigar Pavillion? I wish I still had my “Meet me at the the [sic] smoke ring” pin, which was SUPPOSEDLY intentionally incorrectly done to attract attention. My cynical adult self wonders if that was just the story they told after they screwed up and produced 100,000 pins.

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