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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, March 27, 1938, Image 72

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1938-03-27/ed-1/seq-72/

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The love story of a dress model
who was good
at both kinds of figures
She stood lovely
in a floating
mist of a dress
Illutfrattd by
Jults Gotliib
TALL TWELVE
by Tiah Devitt
// hat’s Fiddlebaum,” Dawn
said, tearing the ad from
the Sunday paper. “Re
member, Lily-May, he
offered me a job last season when I
was working for Dolly Dresses?”
The older woman rolled over m
bed and sighed gloomily. “You ought
to be on Broadway,” she said. “You
were bom in show business and
raised in the till of a trunk. And
you’re a type — the nice girl type —
new practically extinct! I’ll never
forget how you stopped the show
when you were six months old! I’ll never for
get that number! The Dancing O’Days doing
Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Your mother was Eliza
and she came tap dancing across the ice with
you in her arms. Your father was the blood
hound. When the audience got wise you were
a real live baby, they went nuts! Was I sore!
It put my act on ice.”
Lily-May had been a headliner in vaude
ville’s palmy days. Billed as “The Southern
Thrush,” she had come skipping through a
prop rose garden in hoop skirts and panta
lettes, paused before the old Southern Man
sion (backdrop) and warbled tender ballads.
Lily-May had been on the same bill with
the Dancing O’Days the night of the tragedy.
After their last turn the O’Days left the baby
in care of a chambermaid and went for a ride.
The car crashed over the steep embankment.
The O'Days were instantly killed. The O’Days
didn’t seem to have any relatives, at least
none who claimed the little girl, so Lily-May
had kept her.
When Lily-May was “in the money” they
lived in style — an elegant apartment on
West End Avenue, a French governess for
Dawn and Lily-May’s pink satin bedspread
embroidered in rhinestones. At present, they
had a hali bedroom in a cheap theatrical hotel.
“When I land on radio,” Lily-May said,
“I’ll get you a part even if I have to buy
a slice of a show. My voice is just as good as
it ever was! I can come back! Why, I’ve got
an audition on Tuesday — ”
Dawn looked up quickly. “But you won’t
miss your work will you?”
Lily-May sighed. If anyone asked what she
was doing she explained that she was tem
porarily associated with a transportation com
pany. Because of economic stress, she had
become a professional shill, a “filler” for sight
seeing busses.
“I’m just dying to go to Chinatown,” she
would say loudly to the busman. “I hear it’s
so exciting. When do you leave?”
“Just as soon as we are full. Won’t be long
now, lady.” So Lily-May would get on and
sit in the bus hoping her enthusiasm would
lure in paying passengers. When enough such
passengers appeared, Lily-May would shrill
that she had forgotten something and get off
and sit in the next bus.
At half past eight the next morning. Dawn
w-as waiting outside the Marigold dress com
pany. At a quarter of nine, Rachel, Fiddle
baurn’s daughter, who helped and hindered
the business, arrived. Rachel had many of the
physical characteristics of a lady hippo
potamus. She waddled over to Dawn.
“You’re the tall twelve we paid for the ad
in the paper for, huh?” she said.
“Yes,” Dawn said firmly. “I’ve been with
Hollyhock and Dolly. I can sell dresses. I
want thirty dollars a week.”
' “Thirty dollars a week! For thirty dollars
a week Papa could get Joan Crawford! Come
in and see what a fine place we got and maybe
you’ll work for nothing.”
She unlocked the door to the showroom.
To Dawn it looked just like all the other
wholesale house showrooms. There was the
stage on one side of the room and booths for
the buyers on the other. At the end of the
room was Fiddlebaum’s private office, a large
urn of preposterous artificial flowers on either
side of the door.
“Back there is the dressing room.” Rachel
motioned. “Andre will try the dresses on you
— she runs the models.”
Dawn went back to the dressing room; and
put on her smock. She was looking over the
line, when Andre came in. “I’m the new
model, I hope,” Dawn said. She smiled.
Andre was about thirty, tall, with superb
grace and great chic. “I hope so, too,” she
said. “Slip this dress on.”
Dawn got into the dress quickly.
“(lood!" Andre smiled. “You have
style. You won’t find the line hard
to sell.”
“Then you think I’ll do?”
Andre patted her shoulder. “You
need the job, don’t you?” she said *
softly. “Don’t worry, you’re set.
It’ll be a joy to have you — those
other two!” She laughed.
The other two arrived.
liulda was a large Nordic blonde
with a long bob. She sat in the
dressing room in brooding silence.
But in the showroom, she moved
with a somnolent majesty that lent
dignity to every number she showed.
Dorothy was a redheaded chorus
girl, modeling between shows. “Say,”
she said, looking Dawn over, “know what?
You’re the type of gal every man thinks he’d
like to marry! Now me, I always give men the
wrong impression. They think I’m just a bun- •
die of sex.” She pasted on a row of eyelashes.
“If I was you — ”
Her advice was explosively interrupted.
Mr. Fiddlebaum galloped into the dressing
room, his hat jammed over his ears, his face
purple. Wildly he waved a copy of “Women’s
Wear.” “I’ve been robbed!” he shouted.
“No, you ain’t been robbed yet, Papa,”
Rachel said, seizing him by the coattails,
“the buyers ain’t come.”
“But Mr. Cripps, he’s going to stop off to
Moe Levy’s first. It says so. I’m ruined.”
“Cripps will be here at ten-thirty,” Rachel
said. “You ain’t ruined yet, Papa. We got a
new model. She’s the nice girl type, we got '■
everything else.”
“I can’t afford no more models,” Fiddle
baum said.
“Cripps will like Miss O’Day,” Andre said.
“Sure,” Rachel said. “After he sees the line •
you can fire her! But you keep her for now. You
already paid for the ad in the paper anyway.”
For the Inst time Fiddlebaum looked at
Dawn. “All right, I give you eighteen dollars a
week,” he said.

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