Three Things 25 & Character Recap

1920s Vaudeville Cats Postcard

1920s Vaudeville Cats Postcard

Welcome back to our whimsical version of the Jazz Age.  You’re just the cat’s pajamas for coming back to this flapper tale.

I hope the characters in this 1920’s serial have wiggled into your mind so comfortably that you have your own ideas of how they would look or sound.  However, I thought it might be fun to show you how I imagine them. So in no particular order, please meet the cast of The Three Things Serial.

Paisley Idelle Peabody

Better known to you as Pip

Young Lucille Ball

Young Lucille Ball

The moment I saw a picture of a teen-aged Lucille Ball she became my Pip. In my imagination the voice of a grown-up Lucy narrates The Three Things Serial, looking back on the adventures of her youth.

Pip might be a tad conservative, naive, or innocent as flappers go, but that allows her to take people as they are, without judgement.  Time and “things” will tell if that open hearted naïveté gets her into a pickle — or maybe a barrel of them!

The heart of a true flapper beats in Pip, and she is determined to be what she thinks of as a modern woman.

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Pops

Pip’s Unseen Dad

Thus far I’ve done three incarnations of this “interactive” serial.  Pip’s father has been mentioned many times, and he’s made a phone call or two. However, he has never actually made an appearance. It started to remind me of the 1970’s television series, Charlie’s Angels, with John Forsythe phoning in as the never-seen Charlie.

John Forsythe 1958

John Forsythe 1958

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Mona the Movie Star

 Pip enjoyed giving everyone nicknames, usually based on their occupations or their aspirations.  Her friend and neighbor, Mona, had big dreams of being an actress, but little chance of seeing them come to fruition. Mona is something of a flirt, but you won’t see her “lead anyone on.” It’s just that people (particularly men) jump to do things for her.

 In my imagination, the original “It Girl” — Clara Bow plays Mona.

Clara Bow

Clara Bow

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Andy the Astronaute-man

Andy Avis

The “things” for Episode-2 required me to write about a ballerina, a fireman, a movie star, and an astronaut. Have I mentioned that I’m a research geek? I had to make sure the word “astronaut” was actually used in the 1920’s. I got conflicting information, but the greater consensus said “no.” However, I learned the term Astronaute was used in France at the time. So Andy Avis is also of French descent.

Willie Garson

Willie Garson

Andy is a science fiction writer, hence Pip’s nickname for him Andy the Astronaute-man.  Despite the heroic stories he writes, Andy is not the bravest bean in the bunch. Discretion is pos-i-lute-ly the better part of valor with him. To his credit, sometimes Andy overcomes his big fears and takes action. Doesn’t it take a lot more courage to do something when you’re afraid than if you are just naturally brave?

Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton

Right away I saw a younger Willie Garson as my Andy.  (You might know him from “White Collar” or Sex and the City.) I could see the friendship between him and Mona. Although unlike Stanford, Andy hopes the friendship will become a romance. On the other hand, Andy could easily look like Buster Keaton with those sad eyes.

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Ca’ d’Zan

The Ringling Mansion

Although it is not truly a character the Ca’d’Zan mansion is an important part of this story. Learning about this amazing place was so much fun that I had to include it here. I hope you’ll do some research of your own about the home of John and Mabel Ringling.

Ca'd'Zan Mansion

Ca’d’Zan Mansion

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John and Mabel Ringling

The Ringlings don’t play huge roles in the story, but they were important nonetheless.  Pip and company are invited onboard a yacht that they don’t at first realize belongs to John Ringling. Countess Bepa is old friends with Mabel Ringling.  The entire gang ends up at fabulous Ca’d’Zan where the mystery concludes.

Mabel and John Ringling

Mabel and John Ringling

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The Fabros

Frankie Fabro and His Cousins

Frankie the Fireman and his cousins Flavio, Fedel, and Frediano. First we meet Frankie. He’s taller and a little bigger than his cousins, but all four of the young men look a lot alike. Elder brother Flavio looks out for twins, Fred and Fedel. Pip has a crush on Frankie. Flavio, like most men seems to think Mona is the berries.

Oddly enough I never had an image in my mind of Frankie the Fireman. So he is included here with his look alike cousins.

1920s 4 Look-alike Guys

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Countess Bepa Babikov

The mysterious white-haired woman… turns out to be not only the grand mother of Boris the Ballerina, but a real life countess. It was after Bepa Babikov came along that I saw a photo of Countess Von Hartenau that was simply the vision of Bepa’s elegance, as well as her fierce determination.  She instantly replaced any other image I had of Bepa.

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

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Boris Babikov

Boris the Ballerina

Retired from the Ballets Russes after a career-ending injury, Boris gives the occasional dance lesson to earn a living. Mona is infatuated with Boris, but also conflicted. She has some ways of thinking to outgrow.  Boris is the strong silent type. His friends have to work at it to get to know him. When I saw a photo of Fred Astaire, in a rather sulky pose, it made me think of Boris Babikov.

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little break from the serial.  Next weekend I’ll be back with…. What’s that? Stop screaming so I can tell what you’re saying. No episode this week? Oh… Well if that’s what you really want.

Let’s get a wiggle on and round out this character recap with Episode-25.

25.  Kitten, Fake, Comfort

My eyes strayed to the Art Deco pottery jug into which Ringling had casually dropped the bent key. 1920s  Ben Key Had he been a little too offhanded when he did that?  What if his nonchalance was fake?  I shifted my gaze to the circus millionaire and found him looking at me.  I knew it might be foolish of me, but I couldn’t stop myself from blurting out my thoughts.

“That’s no ordinary key,” I said.  “It might be to Ca’d’Zan, but it’s no door key.”

Everyone became silent, except for Pear the hedgehog, scrabbling inside his lunch pail carrier.  I turned to Countess Babikov.  By the expression on her face, I knew the direction of my words didn’t give her any comfort.  It was obviously meant to be a distraction when she turned to Mona and indicated the tin lunch pail.

“Dear!  What have you in that box?  I hear a tiny creature moving around.  Is it a kitten?” she asked Mona.

It was a feeble attempt at diverting me and the white-haired woman must have realized that, because she blushed and glanced over at me.  However, I was not diverted.  My mind went to that very eventful night when the hedgehog in handscountess was abducted, and later the group of us returned home to find Boris’ place being burglarized.  I remembered the broken vase and speculating that a key might have been hidden inside.  At the time I wondered if Boris had a key to match the bent one that was dropped from the getaway car.  Once again I considered the same idea — and I voiced the thought.

Ringling and the countess looked at each other in a silent exchange.  She drew an unsteady breath and looked up at him from her spot on the beautifully upholstered sofa.  “John, I am more worried than ever for my grandson’s safety.  If these young people can tell us where to find him…  Can you bring him here?  Please?”

I couldn’t imagine anyone refusing the tortured look in the woman’s eyes.  The circus magnate was not immune to her gaze.  Frankie shifted his feet in a nervous way.  Mona sat in silence.  She licked her lips and looked from the fireman to me.  After all, these people were strangers to us.  Boris kept us at arm’s length, but he was our neighbor and a friend, if not a really close one.  We had already concluded that he was in some kind of trouble.  But did these people have his best interest at heart?  And why did my friends seem to want me to make that decision, I wondered in dismay.

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Tune in again next weekend. Same flapper time, same flapper channel. You’re pos-i-lute-ly the cat’s pajamas!

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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Government Shutdown & Three Things Episode 20

English: Rainbow

“In the middle of a difficulty, lies opportunity…” Albert Einstein

Personal friends and those who know me from LinkedIn have expressed kind concern over whether or not the “government shutdown” will effect my employment and the roof over my head.  That job is my only source of income.  So far it has not impacted my livelihood.

I count myself fortunate that regardless of how it impacts my job, I will not have to go to my workplace and do my job without being paid.  That has happened to many, including groups who put their very lives on the line, like the Capitol Police.

I promise you that if the shutdown does affect me, I will do everything I possibly can to find opportunity in my situation.

Now to the point… episode 20 of the serial.  Our little 1920’s story is set in Florida. Today’s things come from another peninsula state — Michigan.  You can do catch-up reading where the entire story lives at The Three Things Serial page.

20.  Medical Bill, Confirmation, Military

The man had an authoritative manner and was dressed in very expensive looking clothes.  He had what they called presence.  The white-haired woman murmured something that was lost in a sob.  “Don’t worry about that either,” the man told her in a kind voice.  “Besides, there won’t be any medical bill.  There’s more than one doctor here today.”

A teenager with an alarmed expression on his face came running toward them.  Clearly he’d heard all the ruckus.  At first I thought he wore a military uniform, but then I realized he was some kind of servant, dressed in livery.

In a calm voice the man instructed, “Go fetch a doctor.”

“Yes, Mr. Ringling,” the young man said, and ran away.

Frankie and I exchanged astonished looks.  Even though we had just seen a picture of this very yacht moored at the Ca’d’Zan mansion, I was amazed to think I was standing a few feet away from a celebrity like John Ringling!

The white-haired woman lifted her head and stood a little straighter.  I could see her profile.  The first thing I noticed was a bit of blood and a bruise at her temple.  I was sure that bump to the head didn’t come by accident.  Then my eyes just about popped out of my head.  Her profile — it was the spitting image of Boris!

No wonder the “ballerina” had acted so funny back at the Nickelodeon Theatre, when he saw this woman and the group of Russian dignitaries.  Even then I wondered if Boris was connected to that group, though he refused to discuss it.  Right then and there I was sure I had confirmation.  The white-haired woman had to be a relative; probably a close one.  I wondered if she might be his grandmother.

However, this old woman looked like she was well off.  Boris wouldn’t be living in the building with the rest of us if he was from money.  The building owner had a soft spot for people trying to better themselves.  Even though the building was supposed to be for office space, he let us live there if we at least went through the motions of having our own businesses.  It wasn’t the nicest place to live, but he let us rent the suites for a song.

Despite her wealthy appearance, the woman appeared to have said something to indicate she didn’t have the money to pay a doctor.  Maybe, I speculated, she had been wealthy but had fallen on hard times.  There was plenty of that going around with the land bust.  Or maybe Boris had a falling out with his family and they’d cut him off.

My speculation was cut short when the yacht’s owner, John Ringling, turned and looked at Frankie and me questioningly.

Three Things Serial: 14 – Finger Waves, Shoe Horn, Cummerbund

Today’s “things” are from an innovative thinker in Albuquerque.  I think they help bring life to the story and our characters — a glimpse of their day-to-day life.

Remember, if you need to catch up, the full story lives at the Three Things Serial page.

Finger Waves, Shoe Horn, Cummerbund

The old fire engine roared up to the party at Santa Rosa Sound, streamers flying and bells ringing.  Frankie was driving.  Mona kicked off her shoes do she could stand on the highest point, arms raised and holding a flag in each hand, Flavio held her steady to make sure she didn’t fall off.  I just enjoyed the ride, our grand entrance, and the utter wonder of extravagance that was spread before my eyes.

1920s Bebe DanielsThe partygoers were dressed in all manner of attire, from elegant daywear to party duds I wouldn’t have expected to see ‘til after five, but everyone wore the latest fashions.  Women in nice dresses stood talking to others in beaded flapper gear with expensive jewels in their sleek bobbed hair.  Some men wore bowties and straw hats while others wore tuxedoes complete with cummerbunds.

I decided to take off my hat.  It wasn’t really fancy enough for this party or for my dress.  I cautiously touched my finger waves to make sure my hairdo was okay.  “Don’t worry,” Frankie assured me.  “You’re the cat’s meow.”

So was he.  I smiled at the fireman as he looked for a spot where he wouldn’t get blocked in, and parked the old fire truck.  I looked at all the nice cars.  There were a couple of chauffeurs idly polishing limousines.  I did a double take.  My eyes were pulled back to an ordinary car.  It was familiar, though I was sure it didn’t belong to anyone I knew.

Mona had definitely gotten the attention of the crowd, though it only lasted for a moment.  Wow.  That group was hard to impress.  I thought she’d be the first one down from the truck, but when I looked around, Mona was struggling with her shoe.  In a jiffy Flavio had a shoe horn and carefully helped her, like Prince Charming with Cinderella.  He kept his hand on her foot for rather longer than necessary.  Mona gave me a sideways look and then batted her eyes at her new beau.  I rolled my eyes at her and let Frankie help me down from the truck.

Something was nagging at me.  I turned back to that car, tilting my head as I looked at it.  “What’s up Pip?” Frankie asked.

For an answer I motioned for him to come with me as I headed toward the source of the nagging.  That car.  Frankie wanted to know why I was so interested in an ordinary car, nice though it was, when there were many more luxe vehicles.  I walked all the way around the car.  Twice.  Then I stooped and ran my hand across a fender.

“There!” I exclaimed quietly.

Mona and Flavio had just reached us.  Everyone came closer to see what I was doing.  “It’s a bullet hole.  Right there.  It’s almost hidden,” I said.

“That’s the car from the Nickelodeon, isn’t it,” Frankie said and took a quick look over his shoulder.  “The one that old woman got dragged into.”Hedgehog apple

Mona gasped.  “Are you sure Pip?  It was pretty dark,” She said.

I nodded in answer.  Pear scrabbled in his lunch pail eating his snack.