Teddy Bear’s Picnic

When my sister, Diana, and I were young, we performed a routine on rollerskates called “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” at a downtown roller rink in Salt Lake City. I remember my sister and I, walking to the rink from our house with the shoe laces of our white leather boots strapped around our shoulders, and our toe stops digging into a rib or two. At that time, though, our hearts were filled with love and gratitude for what we had. As I see it, there was more joy and less stress, more curiosity and less worry, and more enthusiasm in the partaking of life and performing our routine than there had ever been in our family before. I remember that my mom had come to the United States from Brazil and she married and then divorced my father, during the time that polio crippled me in the legs. I was two years old. She had left her family of 10 siblings, a mother who was a Brazilian slave and was blind, and a father who was the only tailor of the village she lived in, to be with my father. During my illness, she cared for me with love and patience. She brought me from the Sacred Heart Hospital in Salt Lake City and enrolled me in tap dance, ballet, and roller skating to strengthen my legs. In our ‘Teddy Bear’s’ performance, Diana’s and my roller wheels glided us  around the rink’s wooden floor with our ears flapping simultaneously over our heads to the beat of the music. We were so proud to skate in our ‘Teddy Bear’ costumes sewn by our mom. With her father’s guidance, she learned to be a great seamstress. Everything was right with the world. I have so many fond memories of this period of my life. My legs grew strong from my polio and communication with my mom was empowering. Photo is of my sister, Diana, left, and I, right, in our ‘Teddy Bear’ costumes at Eardley Place, in Salt Lake City, where we lived.  

Teddy Bear's Picnic

Teddy Bear’s Picnic


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