Day 1 of 5 Day/5 Photo Challenge

My dear friend, Samantha Mozart, author of The Scheherazade Chronicles blog ( ) challenged me to participate in the 5 Day/ 5 Photo Blog Challenge.  You will find her pictures striking and her stories fun and informative so I invite you to take a look.  So in the meantime, I’m racking my brain to see what I can pull out of my memory bank.  Ah-Ha! An idea looms!

Gwynn's headdress ball 026

The drum roll begins with the first strains of “Circus,” the music theme. The trombones, clarinets, and saxophones sing their merry strains; the audience expectantly waits, while I look around for a way to escape, as a mouse caught in a trap. I’m wondering how I managed to get myself in this position of modeling a floral float at the Teleflora Headdress Ball at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle in front of this huge crowd and TV cameras.

Oh yes, I remember now, I had always wanted to model, but I was too shy.  So, my life changed when my friend, Carol, said to her parents, who owned a small Telefloral shop, “Gwynn’s tall, she could wear a sizeable headdress.”  What I do for friendship.  Now visualize the Rose Bowl Parade and all those gorgeous floats covered with flowers.  I am about to wear one of those as a headdress on my head.

 Gwynn's headdress ball 023

The theme of my hat is “Under the Big Top” and I’m about to put a six foot wide, three-ring circus, as a hat on my head. I have a bareback horse rider in one ring, a trapeze artist in the second ring, with a lion tamer in the center ring directly over my head. The clown above the caged lion is holding a dozen helium balloons floating six feet over my head.  I forgot to mention, the “lion” happens to be a 9 week old kitten, sitting in the cage frantically meowing, “Let me out of here!”

By now my knees are shaking, my hands are sweating, but I’m more worried about the pool under my arms overflowing and running down my sides. I’m petrified.  Yet, my brain frantically churns as I work on convincing myself that I CAN DO THIS!

Since I’m supposed to be wearing a circus hat, we decided that I would pretend to be a tightrope walker out on the stage. Someone handed me a ten foot pole, as my supposed balance beam, just before my turn to head down the runway facing the crowd of people in the packed ballroom. Now picture a “Y” shaped ramp and runway. We are to enter from one side of the stage, walk down the ramp, and return on the other side of the stage.  What no one thought about was the fact that the orchestra was seated in the open space of that “Y” with their music stands and instruments inches from where I’m walking.

Gwynn's headdress ball 022

Now, not only do I have to balance the floral float on my head, but I also have to worry about not wiping out the musicians, their music, music stands, and instruments in one fatal stroke. Both the musicians and I realized the problem simultaneously when I rounded the corner from back stage onto the runway, as their eyes bugged out in fear for their lives. I managed to lift my pole, only seconds and inches from the first musician’s head. But changing body positions changed the balance of my headdress and my balance, so then I worried I might fall into someone’s dinner plate below the stage.  Fortunately, despite my waver toward the edge of the ramp, to the relief of the viewers below I managed to stay on the stage.

As the kitten screamed and fidgeted in the cage on my head, I prayed that he wouldn’t let loose with a piddle or a poop.  Then how would I react?  Would I pretend it didn’t happen, to go on with the show, or let out a scream while I was being filmed by Channel 11 TV and the nation for the 10:00 news?  My forehead felt as if it would be permanently indented from the weight of the headdress.  I tried to smile, but what showed up on the cameras was a grimace as I pretended to bounce down the tight-rope and the stage.  The whistles rang-out, the flashes from the cameras popped as if it were the 4th of July.

I successfully walked the length of the ramp, leaving everyone intact. The “lion” was delighted to be released from his cage, my forehead was black and blue for a week, but I achieved my aspiration of becoming a famous model on TV for a whole minute!

Then being a glutton for punishment and being a good or crazy friend, the following year I became Neptune’s Bride for the TeleFloral Headdress Ball.  This time I wore a six foot Oyster shell on my head.  The good news is that this time there were no live bodies or fish residing on my headdress.  The best part is that the headdress was formed so that it did not indent my forehead.  I also was not carrying a fishing pole so the musicians did not have to worry about my snagging them, their music, instruments, or their stands.

Gwynn's headdress ball 025


See some of the other headdresses below.

Gwynn's headdress ball 032 Gwynn's headdress ball 029 Gwynn's headdress ball 028




About Gwynn Rogers

After 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the fields of real estate, high tech, and corporate travel, Gwynn has moved on to the career of “Grandma.” When not teaching her granddaughters an extensive vocabulary of “alley-oop-boop, ups-a-daisy, cowabunga or bummer”, Gwynn can be found hunting for mentors for the Kitsap Youth Mentoring Consortium, or chasing her fantasies on her treadmill. Gwynn currently freelances for magazines.
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16 Responses to Day 1 of 5 Day/5 Photo Challenge

  1. That’s quite a get-up! “Lion” and all!

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      I wish we had take a close up of me grimacing into the TV camera and the “lion” screaming. You would have had a great laugh then. Oh yes, I do have a VHS tape of the event. I just don’t own a VHS any more! My circus hat was the first year this small florist participated in the headdress ball. They didn’t realize it had to be made of flowers and not just florist tape and floral accoutrements.

  2. Susan Scott says:

    O Gwynn this is priceless thank you! And a wonderful start to the 5 day 5 photo challenge! I am laughing imagining your concern, nay fear, at the lion piddling on you! See what happens when you conquer your fear? you get to do it the next time – and the next time! Glad the dent was gone even if it took a week! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      See the mischief I can get myself into. I don’t know HOW I do it!!? 😉 Thanks for laughing with me! Now, if only I could convert my VHS to DVD so you could see the priceless expression on my face as the camera zoomed in on me and the “lion!”

  3. Goodness, Gwynn. Good you’re tall. Ditto Susan: What a wonderful start to the 5-Day. Just delightful.

    This story recalls Annie Lennox’s performance videoed for her “Nostalgia” album — at one point she struts onto stage wearing a huge peacock feather headdress — stunning. She holds it in place with one hand.

    I don’t know how you did it. I have trouble getting beyond hats — and even some of them….

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Hey, do you think my hat would qualify for one of Queen Elizabeth’s or Princess Kate’s hats?? 😉 Come to think of it… those WERE the last hats that I wore. If I still went to church, they probably wouldn’t appreciate these hats there either… Oh Well! 😉

      No, I haven’t officially challenged Dianne yet, but maybe I should do it now as she IS INCREDIBLE! Now, let’s see what in the world I can come up with now.

      • I suppose it’s a blessing, after all, that I’m not royalty. I rarely wear hats. Not that I dislike them; my mother has a closet full of them; I just never think of wearing one.

        • Gwynn Rogers says:

          Many, many years ago I wore hats to church, but that was THEN. I wore a hat at the beach when I was lying in the sun to keep from getting burnt, but that was the end of my hat wearing. Now, you get me as I am!! 😉

  4. Tina Peterson says:

    Gwynn, What great photos! You brought the experience to life and brought back memories of days gone by. Thanks!

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Thanks Tina! I can’t believe how long ago this was, but I did have fun. It is amazing the crazy things we do as kids! Heck, I even lived to tell the story. I do wish I could convert the VHS of this into a DVD, as my grimace when the TV camera’s focused on me was pretty bad. Also, you would see the live “lion” on my head too!

  5. pat garcia says:

    Very interesting pictures and the story.

  6. Wow, Gwynn, I am impressed. It takes a certain courage and posture to pull this off, and you sure did. Great start to the photo challenge indeed. Thank you for sharing. Will be going through the rest as well. I was tagged by Susan for the challenge , not gotta see about finding the right pictures. 🙂

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      If you had a clue about how crazy I can be, I’m sure this totally confirmed it for you! It was a fun, frightening, and crazy time! I SO wish you could see the grimace on my face as I tried to smile for the camera… the Circus headdress hurt!! The kitten and I shared the same frightened look for different reasons! 😉

  7. Who knew wearing a hat could turn into such an adventure.

  8. Gwynn Rogers says:

    These hats are kinda like putting one of your cruise ships on your head!! 😉 It was crazy fun thought!

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