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Holiday Existential Eggshells

In 1977 I was dancing in a Vegas revue at Chez Maxim in Geneva, Switzerland. We worked two shows on Christmas Eve and two shows on Christmas Day. Three of us were living in an apartment and managed to put up a small tree. We had NO money so I decided we could make our own decorations using egg shells and whatever we found around the dressing room: feathers, sequins, etc. As we shared a dressing room with the strippers, there was plenty.

When I returned to the States, in 1979, I kept up that tradition (the egg decorating, not the strippers) and have a collection of egg shell ornaments dating back to that year.

But I hadn't unpacked or hung them in many years. At Heathen Hill I got out of the habit of putting up a tree. No eggs have gotten made for the last nine years. This year I hauled the whole collection up to the Catskills and will post a picture of them on the Heathen Hill Facebook page. They are so fragile and yet most have lasted all these years. (I pack them very carefully in egg cartons. Some are so elaborate they need their own boxes.) They are signed and dated. Many of them were made by people who are dead now. It was so wonderful to handle each one, remember old friends sitting around the "Egg Table" demanding more wine, more glue, grumbling about how they really didn't go for this crafty-crap and then producing works of art. I am feeling nostalgic. Tomorrow, some friends and family will arrive at Heathen Hill for a post-New Year's party. There haven't been any ornaments made in too long. So I have the table out, tons of ribbons, fabric, feathers, glitter, glue, and scissors at the ready. Some of the guests will take on the task willingly, while others will complain bitterly or refuse. But next year, when I unpack the eggs from 2015-16, I will remember it all. The holiday season is almost over and I am more than OK with that. It was a little long and a little lonely. We will all get back on the mats in our own way; some of us willingly, some complaining, some resisting. It doesn't matter. At the end it is all a work of art. "Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd."—Rumi

Susan "Lip" Orem


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