Kelly and Nelly were acrobatic twins. Their mother knew that early on, of course, since they were doing tricks long before they were born. The girls were unusual right from the start, dressing in costume, always running across roof tops and swinging from branches, doing flips and landing with their arms straight over their heads, which we now know is the Olympic ending after a turn on the rings, or uneven bars.
School was difficult for Kelly and Nelly, due to their inability to sit still for any length of time. They were quite talented and saw everything as something to climb over, jump on, swing from, or use as prop to get from somewhere to somewhere else.
Naturally, their parents were worried. Young ladies didn’t usually fly through the air and leap from bookcases but there was no stopping them. The word circus came up quiet often during dinner but alas, there were no circus schools, or circuses in the town of Lakelyle. Besides, people in their neighborhood didn’t seem to raise circus children. Certainly boys their own age wouldn’t be interested in marrying a girl who rarely had her feet on the ground. No one knew what to do.
And then it happened. A simple ad in the paper.
Acrobatic girls to model for an artist.
Please call Avenue 3-8755
Ask for Mr. Burton
Must apply before June 11th.
Salary to be discussed
Kelly and Nelly’s father, after a long discussion with the entire family, called the number and made an appointment for the next day.
Mr. Burton’s waiting room was filled with girls wearing costumes.
“Who knew there were this many child acrobats,” said Kelly and Nelly’s mother.
“Indeed,” muttered their father, watching Kelly do three flips down the crowded aisle, barely missing another girl who was walking on her hands.
Suddenly, a woman came out of one of the offices and called Kelly and Nelly into the room. They were interviewed and asked to pose in unusual positions. Mr. Burton seemed quite satisfied and explained what he had in mind.
“I think girls have boundless physical energy but are rarely allowed to express themselves. The expectations that society imposes upon them cause great harm, not only to them, but to society itself. Forced to be ladylike females are expected to be quiet and sit still, which is a completely unnatural state for a human body and a clever mind. I am opening a summer camp for girls who wish to explore their strength and wild side. I would like to hire Kelly and Nelly as counselors and teachers. I will be painting their movements and even photographing the campers so that a book can be printed, showing the world that females are not inherently silent and unmoving. I will be working with psychologist Marion Smith to show the true and active side of females. Our wish is to encourage all girls to run, jump, play, climb and use their bodies as their spirits desire.
Papers were signed and salaries agreed upon. The camp, RUN TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT, opened that August and was a smashing success. Aside from being a camp, demonstrations were held and lectures were given. It was a breakthrough for girls of every age. Girls who were tired of watching their brothers have fun while they sat inside sewing.
Things in Lakelyle were never the same. Kelly, Nelly and the other counselors, loved their work and as the camp grew, so did the health of girls everywhere because no one should be sidelined. No one should be cheerleaders when they could be on the playing field and no one should have to sew anything, if they want to be outside climbing trees.
P.S. This photo was in my “draft” area, that’s why I could access it…still can’t get to the photographs.