★ THE YEAR of THE GIRAFFE ★
Waverly’s Costume Rank: ★★★★★
Dad’s Costume Rank: ★★★★★
While Waverly may not have been initially keen on the dragon hat of 2004, it did set a precedence for animal-themed costumes. I was sorry to see the female role model theme come to an abrupt end but none of my cohorts thought a Ray Eames costume would fly. How could anyone not recognize the dirndl? I would have been more than pleased to pose as Charles to reinforce her act.
This was the first year Waverly took a keen interest in her costume—from concept to art direction. She thoroughly took ownership of the costume. The concept was simple: drop a cardboard cone over Waverly with holes for arms and face and then add an expertly-made papier-mâché head created by her grandmother. Dividing construction tasks over two studios proved wise as we were a tad late getting this costume ready.
One of my many fond Halloween memories is of Waverly walking home with her mom on the afternoon of Halloween from Grandma’s house after completing the paint job. It was hilarious to see her toddle down the street in the daylight as a giraffe—the first time I saw the completed costume.
the big night
2005 was one of those perfect Halloween outings—the weather was great, Waverly was in a great mood and we had our hand truck routine down cold. Highlights included running into a toddler wearing a cloth giraffe costume (it was great fun to see them both stare each other down) and at the end of our run we stopped at a house with a transom door window. When the door opened, the inhabitants were in fits of laughter. Seeing a giraffe head peer in through the transom was quite humorous.
The one odd encounter of the evening and perhaps of all our Halloween evenings over the years occurred with Natasha at the helm. After making a great first run and feeling ebullient from all of the enconiums, Waverly and I ducked home. Hearing about our great reception that night, Natasha (usually stuck manning the door) wanted to hear some comments first hand. After Waverly got her second wind, she took her out to cover a few houses we had missed. Passing by a gaggle of parents, one woman, speaking to her companion, but with cutting volume said, “Oh, she’s one of those moms!” Natasha was pleased to retort, “oh no, she’s got one of those dads!”
I often puzzle about this stranger’s comment. Is there some level of conformity that we are supposed to meet in order to make everyone feel adequate? Is it that hard to see that we work with great enjoyment and play with equal zeal and want to share that with our neighbors on Halloween? As Charles Eames said, “Take your pleasure seriously.” I know we do.
Waverly loves her giraffe costume and for years afterwards she has often brought it out to show guests and friends.
One adult wanted to borrow the costume the following year. When I asked how they expected to fit into a child’s costume, they said, “just cut it here” motioning just below the head as we recoiled in horror. They obviously did not understand our emotional attachment to Waverly’s costumes.
In 2012, Princess Golden Sunshine finally succumed to the rigorous love and affection Waverly plied her with. The lower part of the giraffe neck was a mangled mess so we performed a bit of costume taxidermy and now she has a permanent home on Waverly’s bedroom wall. I cannot tell you how hard it is to throw away the remains.
update, the second
While I do make it a goal to “view” every photo by and about Charles and Ray Eames that I can get my hands on, not until March of 2012 did I lay eyes on the image below and I may be willing to swear on a stack of Eames books to that fact. It pleases me greatly that we are keeping company with the Eames! I am somehow reminded of Frederic Goudy’s guote, “All the old fellows stole our best ideas.”