This is a very old photo of my mother in one of her costumes. She was a dancer and a showgirl.
Mom also performed in movies and was under contract with MGM where she appeared in numerous musicals.
My mother was 16 and just ending an unfortunate marriage when she left Oklahoma City with a dance troupe. She traveled cross country and into Canada during WWII to entertain the troops.
Along the way, she had a chance to dance on Broadway opening night for the musical "Oklahoma". Once she arrived on the West Coast, she danced in several popular nightclubs.
Mom's roommate in Los Angeles was Yvonne De Carlo who appeared in many films and later became fairly famous as "Lily Munster" in the hit television show, "The Munsters".
My mother moved to San Francisco when she was 20 years old and worked at a popular San Francisco nightclub called Bimbo's 365. During this time, she met a good looking young police officer and she married him.
A year and a half later, I was born, followed two years later by another sister, and three years after that a third sister. I guess my parents thought it would make sense to give it one more try (for the elusive boy child) and that's how I got my youngest and 4th sister.
To say that my parents had a "volatile" marriage really doesn't cover it at all. As far back as I can remember, there were moments of horror followed by moments of hilarity. My parents were magnificently beautiful people and magnificently flawed as well.
Mom taught me to "faint dead away" by the time I was 9. After a terrible screaming match with my father, Mom would grab her daughters and we would leave him forever. The only problem was, we were on foot with no money and nowhere to go.
That's when I would be called upon to "faint dead away" on the sidewalk. I got to be really good at it too, even ignoring the ridicule of my sisters saying I looked like the witch in the Wizard of Oz who melted. Mom would hurry off to call my dad to come and pick us up while I continued to lie on the sidewalk with my eyelids fluttering.
Of course, my dad would hurry to come and pick us up and then my parents could have a reconciliation. I know it sounds awful, but it was actually kind of funny.
My ability to faint on short notice has served me well as an adult too. When the shit is about to hit the fan, I can still drop to the floor "fainted dead away". Thanks Mom!