Heavy rain never causes me a problem, as an offshore, commercial yachtmaster I have experienced the worst that nature can throw at anyone. I do however prefer not to have bad weather when I am on a benign duty such as visiting a group of people working in the leisure park that I manage. I was on my way to a regular meet with the owner of a circus that with no animals and five shows a day places extreme physical requirements on all the performers from Clowns to Acrobats. I left my office in fairly slight drizzle but as I progressed along the half a mile walk it became harder turning into Hail-stones. As I entered the circus compound from the rear entrance. The circus show was in full swing and the house was always good when it rained, it was standing room only (my secretary had informed me as I left for the meeting) the compound was waterlogged and the lights from the Stage doors were flooding out from under the canvas flap highlighting the undulations in the ground, which, with the flooding made it look as if the circus was afloat. Stepping carefull on, as it was now dark, I passed the circus owners trailer ( a large live in version with a veranda and entrance hall, sporting a couple of reproduction oil lamps on the porch) and along the neatly parked performers trailors towards the entrance where I was due to meet the owner. As I passed one of the trailors a shaft or light suddenly lit up the ground in front of me killing any night vision that I had aquired during my walk, I heard a door close and smelt a delicate, fragrant perfume. Its funny how these things stay in your mind, I will remember that perfume for ever, if I ever smell it again. I felt someone brush past me and I immediately apologised for having, perhaps startled them by my presence, but I didnt get a reply.
As my night vision slowly returned I saw a small person about five feet tall dressed in scholl clogs, covered in mud, and wearing an oversized, east German border guard type parka, that almost reached the ground, the hood covered and chance of my recognising the person as they entered the stage doors. I carried on to the meeting place in the celebrity seating area at the middle front of the circus ring, making sure that I didnt disrupt the show or interfere with the enjoyment of others and was just in time for a trapeze act. The circus owner greeted me shaking my hand and we settled down to watch the act. The lights dimmed and the music began quietly. the ringmaster resplendant in his red frock coat and black top hat started to announce the next act. I missed the name but noted that the curtains to the rear of the ring were about to open a large fanfare pierced the ring as a most beautiful young lady entered the spotlight, wearing little more than a small bikini, feathers on her head and a diaphinous cloak which billowed out in the still night as she walked confidntly into the middle of the ring. "the costume is mine but the walk is her own" wispered the owner of the circus, who by now had finished clapping her in. "Wow"! I wispered back to him " isnt she beautiful and that walk?" well I was astounded. She took off her cloak and handed it to the ringmaster. she struck a pose with her right arm and hand vertically in the air, her decending trapeze lightly touched her hand and she was suddenly being hauled aloft way up into the circus roof. She went through her routine which consisted of hanging from the bar by her heels, a one handed handstand on the bar and all the pieces that other trapeze performers do, but she executed them better.
As she came down to the ground and about to take her bow ( the audience were as captivated by her perfomance as I was and were aplauding loudly) I left the tent with the owner he turned to me and said "what did you think of the trapeze ? I am hoping to employ her for the remainder of this season and next season, that was why I wanted to meet you tonight to get your views". "Go for it!" I replied "she will be popular amongst the dads as well as the rest of the family", " God! I have never seen anything as beautiful in my life I replied, We walked on and back to his trailor for a cup of coffee. I again, spotted this bundle of wet parka and clogs leaving the stage entrance and heading with its head down against the rain towards the same trailor that it had left on my arrival. The door to the trailor opened and they entered closing the door gently before we passed.
I didnt comment and whilst sitting in the owners trailor we chatted about famous acts like Coco the clown, The great Walender the Bauer family pole act and many more. The discussion got around to tonights trapeze act and he explained that the Trapeze act tonight was from the Russion state circus, having been trained by some of the best trapeze people in the world, she was ballet trained too, he said, as are most circus acts from that background, I replied, that accounts for the posture and almost erotic walk, I had seen it many times before in ballet pieces as the prima ballerina enters stage. He smiled I have let her use the empty trailor, he said, its a bit large for one person? I replied, with three bedrooms, isnt it? More to make converstion than to actually influence any change. Oh no, he said, she has her husband and two children to look after, which actually makes it a little small for her needs.
Suddenly this beautiful creature was married with two children, she didnt look any more that eighteen years old. What does her husband do is he a performer? I asked, he was, he replied and they used to do a double act, but he fell and has been totally paralysed for two years now. I went cold at the thought of it. My mind raced, this young lady was the single breadwinner of the family, not only did she have to raise two children, find work, practice, maintain her props, drive their lorry and trailor when on tour, she also had to look after her Paraplegic husband. I felt myself going quiet at the thought of the enormity of task that this poor woman had been subjected too by life. Did you say the small trailor just down the line, I asked the owner, Yes he replied, you saw her tonight entering it as we walked back here. Not the person in the parka I asked, thats her he replied. My mind raced again at the thought of the scruffy bundle of muddy clogs and parka, metamorphasizing into the beautiful coinfident person that cativated the audience so well tonight. I never saw her again she left the next day having been given a years contract to tour Italy and switzerland with their nationally renowned circus. I questioned the circus owner in passing some years later about her and he told me that she was now working in a german ship yard as a welder, Her husband having died a year ago.
Taken From Memoirs or Ardie