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Trapeze Artist Eli aka Micky...a Tribute

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Mom’s butterfly wing costume for the elephant act in RBBB

Mom’s butterfly wing costume for the elephant act in RBBB

*circa 1963 sitting on the Rolls Royce

*circa 1963 sitting on the Rolls Royce

A celebration from the Heart

This is a dedication to my mother Eli (aka Trapeze Micky) who I only had for short time in my life (she passed 1975), but I had her many years longer then I had my dad. Memories of my mom are vivid, she was beautiful, vivacious, worldly, gutsy and interesting.

My intention here is to celebrate with the memory, her Birthday and Mother's Day. I am so proud of her and have been Blessed to have had a mother such as her in my life... I thank God for this.

Mother's Day 1999 I made my first website, it was a Mother's Day tribute to her, but the site host was shut down after many I made this page. I also have another page with the story My Life Story In A Suitcase where I mentioned about her interesting life.

Note ~ Scraper Protection: If you see this webpage anywhere else on the Internet besides here...PLEASE contact me...Thank You ~ Delia Pacheco

My heart aches that I have to live without you, we have missed so much together.  I think of you every day and always will Love You...Happy Mother's Day in Heaven!

My heart aches that I have to live without you, we have missed so much together. I think of you every day and always will Love You...Happy Mother's Day in Heaven!

Running away to join the Circus

When mom was a young girl around the late 1920s early 30's, she always dreamed of show business or fame of sorts. She was only a teenager when she ran away to join the circus in Dresden Germany.

The circus she started out with was the famed Sarrasani Circus in Dresden. While there she met a visiting circus manager and Aerialist named Antoinette Concello from the "Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus."

Sarrasani circus, a young girl dreaming of show-business

Sarrasani circus, a young girl dreaming of show-business

Practicing to be a great aerialist - in Sarasota Florida

Learning to swing on the Trapeze

Learning to swing on the Trapeze

Flying Concellos

Magazine ad & story, sent to me in an email after reading this story.

Magazine ad & story, sent to me in an email after reading this story.

Antoinette Concello, my sis & me at Cow Palace San Francisco circa: 1951

Antoinette Concello, my sis & me at Cow Palace San Francisco circa: 1951

Antoinette Concello, my sis & me at Cow Palace San Francisco circa: 1951

Aerialist to be ~

Antoinette Concello thought mom would be a great aerialist and suggested she would do well in the RBBB circus, so she brought her back to Sarasota Florida and trained her for a trapeze act...Antoinette herself was from the famed Consello aerial act.

My mom said that they trained dozens of people for the Trapeze from all over the world at the winter quarters in Sarasota.

Traveling all over the United States, they performed in many capitol cities. She told me the story about the time they were performing at the Madison Square Garden, New York, she remembered everyone was excited, many were running outside of the building to watch the giant dirigible LZ-129 Hindenburg from Germany. It was flying overhead, coming in for a landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. As history tells us, this turned out to be a terrible disaster because the dirigible was filled with Hydrogen which was very combustible. As it turned out, it burst into flames as they were landing... Mom saw the blimp only moments before it caught on fire, taking lives on board and on the ground.

The Bloomington-Normal Circus Legacy: The Golden Age of Aerialists

How I received this book ... The Bloomington-Normal Circus Legacy

I was contacted by Janea Stork and invited as a guest to the Circus Museum in Bloomington. There I met Janae, as well Maureen Brunsdale and Mark Schmitt, the authors... they gave me this book. We had a very lovely and interesting time. If you ever want to see an excellent collection of Circus memorabilia, including books and posters, you must visit the Museum.


The movie - "die drei Codonas"

Movie ad in magazine

Movie ad in magazine

Scroll to Continue

They called her "the double Lilian Leitzel" - because of her death defying aerial acts without a net.

 micky dance in the photo for a movie

micky dance in the photo for a movie

Promotional ~ Dance in the Air ~

These promotional photos show scenes from the movie....translates to: Micky >>Dance in the Air<< a double as Lilian Leitzel in the Codona Film.

Mom was named Micky by her Trapeze friend Antoinette Concello who had a sister named Mickey (with an "e") she also was an aerialist...somehow I believe the names are somehow associated.

For some reason mom decided to go back to Germany. I'm not clear why she left the US as the timing was bad, it was shortly before the Americans got involved in the Germany war.

She returned there and perfected her aerial Trapeze act, performing at many theaters. While in Berlin a movie producer saw her act and included her in a 1940 German movie called "die drei Codonas" (the three Codonas) Mom did all the aerial stunts as the double for Lillian Leitzel. After that movie, she was coined the "The double Lillian Leitzel" and all the posters of her reflected that in writing.

Magazine promo photo in ‘Die Bühne’

die drei Codonas mom in the Air

die drei Codonas mom in the Air

The movie!

Now fast sister and I had come to America 1950 and lived in San Francisco. Every Friday night mom took us to the movies, this is how we learned English. This particular evening we went to a theater in the Mission district which was on the other side of town. When we arrived at the theater we saw the lobby card and knew it was a black and white German movie about an aerialist.

Mom did not mention to us that she was in it, until we noticed a few scenes that we had photographs of and magazine stories on. I said, mom is that you? she shushed us and said, we were excited to have been able to see this movie.

The movie was called "die drei Codonas" (pronounced...dee dry Codonas... meaning...the three Codonas). Sadly, I never saw the movie again until years later when I got a computer in 1999. For many years I looked for the movie but never found it...UNTIL I searched the internet...guess what! I found it in Indianapolis, Indiana, at an online German movie store "German Language Video Center” it happened to be the very last one, and now it's "Discontinued" and "Out of print"...

Mom performing in Berlin 1941

Mom performing in Berlin 1941

Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus by Dean N. Jensen.

Another contact and comment from a Codona relative...

I love it when someone contacts me, leaving a comment letting me know they are related to a person in my story...this time it's a relative of the Codona' cool is that!!!!

I'm so happy Kenny stopped by for a comment on 6/9/12 and then came back to see if I replied...Thank You Kenny Codona, that was nice of you!

Mom seen in this clip - at 1min. 55sec

A find on eBay



Jan. 2014

A photo of my mom as a young girl in the RBBB Circus.

One day editing this page, I noticed the eBay module had circus photos from the Wallenda Estate. That evening on my iPad looking through eBay, I noticed my search items advertised on the side of the page. They had added new ones in each of the categories that I was searching.

I then decided to check out these Wallenda Estate items, but decided to shorted the search term words. Within seconds a photo popped up of my mom, I recognized her Immediately.

The person selling couldn't make out what was written on the photo, but I knew immediately it was her handwriting, with her stage name, signed with her real name. This was from the Estate of Millie Wallenda. There was another small photo of mom, but it was in a pile of other photos of other people, not wanting those other ones...I didn't bid on them.

Aerialists of RBBB on ebay

Mom under X

Mom under X

June 2015 on an auction site

Mom with RBBB seen on top row right end

Mom with RBBB seen on top row right end

Found on an Internet Auction Site

I happen to run across an online auction in July with many Circus photos. And there she was, mom pictured with all the arialists for RBBB in the 1930's. Spotting her immediately for her very recognizable look and so different then the others. This photo had been cropped by me from a larger view that included many ladies....this way she was easier to see.

I would have bid on this photo, but they were asking almost $2000 for it. So I did the next best thing, I saved it to my Pinterest board and have it to view.

Sarasota Florida

Summer practice in Sarasota Florida...second from the right

Summer practice in Sarasota Florida...second from the right

Margret and Paddy were the horses mom rode

These photos show the horses that mom rode, a retired Trotter off the track named Margret (L) this horse died in the 1944 Connecticut tent fire...(R) when she started riding in 1933 it was on this small Pinto named Paddy.

her horses Margret and Paddy

her horses Margret and Paddy

Judy Southern riding Paddy 1940

On ebay I saw this photo and recognized Paddy the horse that mom use to ride. It posted the year 1940 and that was after mom returned to Germany. I suppose Judy then was assigned to this horse. Amazing that I recognized Paddy's markings and compared photos to be sure...see above the photo mom riding.

Judy Southern 1940 assigned to the horse Paddy

Judy Southern 1940 assigned to the horse Paddy

Hoot Gibson and friends

Performers, Hoot Gibson and Mom with her horse Paddy  marked  X

Performers, Hoot Gibson and Mom with her horse Paddy marked X

Middle photo found in an encyclopedia 1975

Middle photo from the encyclopedia  Her butterfly wing costume for the elephant act

Middle photo from the encyclopedia Her butterfly wing costume for the elephant act

Modoc the famed Elephant

Riding an Elephant was also an exciting duty, especially the famed Modoc. Mom told me the story about a time when she was nervous and Modoc felt it, so when he picked her up with his trunk he held her too tight, breaking three ribs in the fear he was going to drop her.

Now this brings me to another interesting's about a picture of mom in an old Encyclopedia. I was in grammar school and just finished a test, after turning in my paper I was allowed to look at books. While in the C section of the encyclopedia I came across the subject Circus, and there in front of me a photo of my mom sitting on the Elephant Modoc. I knew it was her because we had pictures with the same costume of Butterfly wings and sitting on Modoc, just a different pose. I could hardly wait to go home and tell mom, she being surprised.

Of course again, I looked for the encyclopedia book "C" to have for my own. In those days buying an encyclopedia was very was like buying a computer, they were our "knowledge base." Over the years I had not forgotten about the book but just kind of gave up looking, except if I went into a second hand store.

Then Mom passed in 1975. About two weeks after her death, my youngest daughter and I were driving past the Salvation Army store. A voice inside me told me to go back to the store. I did, but not really knowing why...walking through the entrance of the store I immediately saw in my head a book. Immediately heading to the book section searching for the red and blue encyclopedia, but found only dark blue ones. I picked up the dark blue C book, it fell open to the page of mom, my daughter excitedly said, Omi!

With joyful tears I purchased the whole set, since that's the only way they sold it. Now I had my encyclopedia book "C" with moms photo in it...surely mom guided me to this destination.

In the three photos shown below, the middle one is from the encyclopedia.

Coincidence or fate?

Another story to go with 1995 we lived in another state. My daughter, the same one that was with me when I found the encyclopedia book, was coming over for Mother's Day.

Prior to that day, my friend who was involved in a Sanctuary for elephants asked me to watch a TV program showing the cruelty towards Elephants and how to rescue them. Reluctantly I watched (I can not bare to watch animal cruelty) While sitting on the floor watching this program, I was crying.

Just then, a head popped around the door, it was my daughter! Seeing what I was watching, she said, I guess this is not the right time to give you this gift...handing me a bag, that contained an Antique frame with a picture of mom and Modoc (the same encyclopedia image we found in 1975)

She had it professionally matted and framed. What a joy in my heart to receive this gift, especially how all this transpired...from the first time finding the book, and again my daughter finding it on her own 20 years later.

Every year since 1975 for moms Birthday April 30th and Mother's Day, I place a small bouquet of flowers from my yard next her picture.

My daughter’s find

Spring garden flowers on her Birthday

Spring garden flowers on her Birthday

Tribute and Birthday Wish

I LOVE my mom dearly and miss her, there isn't a day that goes by she is not in my thoughts...I missed out on so much not having her in my remember, you only have one mother in your life!

Promotional Photos - that my dad photographed

Promotional Photos - that my dad photographed

My father's photo's

My dad was a Baron, and one of his hobbies was photography, he owned studios in Berlin and Dresden. My mother had some promos done and that's how they met, most of the images in postcards and ads are from my dad's work. The image here was her identifiable image used on many posters in Europe.

They started dating, marrying her a year later, and of course we were born, all this during the war...What were they thinking!

Mom told me she had to perform the trapeze act for Hitler, that had to have been scary, also the fact she did not use a net making her act was death defying...she said she even performed while pregnant with my twin sister and me. Maybe this is why I have a fear of heights!

Budapest Poster version of the photograph

Poster from Hungary

Poster from Hungary

Promotional Posters

Street Wall Advertisements ~

Street Wall Advertisements ~

Mom's RBBB business card

Mom's RBBB business card

Her Business card

I was surprised when I received an email from Germany informing me they saw this story and that he had photos of my mom's family, including this business card that belonged to my mom (notice above image Mickey is misspelled). The person turned out to be a relative to my mom's side of the family, a second cousin.

Now I have a floodgate of information sent to me on my mom's maiden name Fredersdorff, including never seen photos. To top it, I now have a distant cousin in Berlin.

Theater Pictures

Theater photos from her collection

Theater photos from her collection

A parallel story of the Other "Micky" - Mickey KING.....Aerialist Supreme

I ran across these internet articles (links below) a while back but only saw one section...when I read the rest of the story I was astonished at the parallel of events of my mom Micky and this Mickey, who actually was the sister to Antoinette the woman who discovered my mom in Germany. In one of the articles it said, that Mickey King was to do the stunts for the part of Lilian Leitzel in the movie about the Codona's, they also mentioning the movie was never made. Well that's not true, as my mom did the stunts in the movie about the famed aerialist Lillian Leitzel and the Codona's.

I felt sad when I read that Mickey King was still alive till 2004, how nice it would have been to have met her and talked about her sister, my mom and the circus.

Sharing My Family

Mom and her Angels

Mom and her Angels

What I miss about my mom ~

My mom adored our girls, calling them Pumpkins...these photos are some of my favorites...especially the one were she is walking hand in hand with our first born. Mom came over that day and asked if she could take her to Europe, and we would not allow it...a big regret, but I doubt our daughter would have remembered that time, she was too young.

The girls called her Omi (German for grandma) of course at my mothers insistence, since she felt she was too young to be called a grandmother, so calling her Omi people would not know. I thought that was funny since she was in her 50's already.

tiny mom

tiny mom

Me, Mom and my twin Sis

Here we were celebrating our 29th Birthday. During this time I also told my mom that I was three months pregnant with our second child...she says, "How is that possible!" You had to have known her outspoken ways, she said what she felt. This question was because the Vietnam War was still going on, and my husband just got back from serving there....she felt we should not have a child because of the war...maybe a flashback for her, none the less the statement she made certainly made me laugh.

She was leaving for Switzerland to live there for awhile. I was sad because she was not going to be here when I had my second child. Personally I think this is why she made that statement about my pregnancy.

I had a hard time thinking about not seeing her or talking with calls were very costly to Europe at that time, besides that I had separation anxiety and cried a lot when she was gone... which was a residual from the wartime in Germany.

My Pride and Joy - and proudest accomplishment...

my Family - my Love

my Family - my Love

I'm so proud of our daughters, they are beautiful human beings with kind hearts and accomplished young ladies...they are a gift from God and I am so grateful for them, and of course for my loving husband.

I hope mom sees all of our we wished that we could have shared this with her.

Have you ever been to the Circus? If so.......Take the poll below and share your response ~


Created on 04/28/2010

What you are is God's gift to you, what you do with yourself is your gift to God: Danish Proverb

All rights reserved, including the stories, writings and photographs by Delia Pacheco

© 2010 Delia

Thanks for stopping by -

Delia (author) on March 03, 2016:

Thank You Peggy for stopping by, as well as your kind comment! I miss my mom, and the older I get the more I realized what I've missed.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 28, 2016:

What wonderful memories you have of your mom. She was a beautiful and obviously talented woman who had some tremendous experiences in life. I am sorry that you lost her at that early age. My dad died at age 55 but I had my dear mother for many years longer. I still miss her and think of her daily even though she entered the next life in 2010. Thank you for sharing this story. Will be happy to share it with others.

Delia (author) on July 02, 2015:

Thank You Virginia, that was awfully nice of you!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on June 28, 2015:

You've probably already seen this book on Amazon: Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus by Dean N. Jensen. When I saw the listing for it, it made me think of your page about your Mom.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on April 30, 2014:

It was a treat to read this all over again. Such a delightful tribute to your mother!

jmchaconne on March 26, 2014:

This is a beautiful lens, thank you.

Melissa Miotke from Arizona on March 04, 2014:

This is so sweet. She seems like an incredible woman. I also lost my Mom young so my heart goes out to you.

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on February 22, 2014:

This has been such a joy to read this morning. It is a beautiful tribute and your mom sounds like a really amazing woman.

Marianne Gardner from Pacific NW, USA on February 20, 2014:

Such a wonderful tribute. I enjoyed reading about your mom, and her fame. Loved hearing your family history through it and family photos. How I wish cell phones and emails were commonplace back when my mom was alive. I can imagine how you missed your mom with her living so far away.

Danny Gibson from Northampton on February 16, 2014:

I'll be honest, I came here purely because you kindly left a comment on one of my lenses. Looking at the title of this I thought to myself what am I doing here... some woman's tribute lens to her mum, not my kindda read, I'm off. But I stuck with it, and really glad that I did! A daredevil trapeze artist in Germany - I never expected THAT as I began to read.

Remarkable woman. Remarkable lens.

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on January 27, 2014:

What an amazing and heartfelt tribute to an amazing woman. A thank you for sharing your story with us.

Delia (author) on October 21, 2013:

@MelanieKaren: Thank You so much for your kind words! I'm glad you liked this story and lens...

Melanie Wilcox from Pennsylvania, USA on October 21, 2013:

This tribute to your mother and your family with all the stories is amazing. You're all living very full lives. I can't express how much I like your stories! I read every single word and just sat here pondering all of them. Thank you for sharing!

E L Seaton from Virginia on May 20, 2013:

Thanks for opening the windows and blinds into your family and letting us see inside such a marvelous and talented family. Blessed by COUNTRYLUTHIER.

anonymous on May 16, 2013:

This is love! What a creative and lovely tribute to your Mom, and yes, I appreciate having my Mom still and miss my Dad who moved on to heaven 28 years ago now. Of course I like the circus....this is very special and I think I'm about to give Mom a call. Oh, can I sneak in that I just became a grandma again today....well I just did!

anonymous on February 28, 2013:

Half an hour? Yesterday I was looking for a nice shot of the Kaiser Wilhelms-Gedaechtniskirche for my students &amp; stumbled upon your extraordinary posts. I stayed long after work &amp; today (on a day off) I went to school, admittedly to do other work too, yet here I sit, mesmerised, having followed yet another link, this time to your mother. Just amazing - she must have been so proud of you and your girls. What extraordinary lives! Many thanks &amp; God bless - h !^_^!

Gardener Don on February 10, 2013:

This lens is one of the reasons I spend so much time on Squidoo! You see I start surfing around for 5 minutes of so then stumble of a gem like this one, next minute I've read every word and half an hour has gone by. Well done &amp; a very enjoyable read.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 08, 2013:

I really enjoyed your lens and how this has connected you to some relatives and more info on your Mom.

cmadden on February 05, 2013:

I love this story; how great that Kenny Codona left a comment for you! Dad was in Germany in WWII, and, as these things happen, we have a half-sister somewhere over there. One of my brothers tried to locate her, but wasn't successful.

rattie lm on February 05, 2013:

And why not be different? I just loved this lens and it reminded me of my mum who would have been around your mum's age. I was born on her birthday so that is special. I wish I had as many resources as you do, because her life story is pretty interesting too.

Well-deserved purple star and beautiful family! :)

Lorna from USA on February 04, 2013:

What a beautiful tribute in memory of your wonderful and talented mother. Thanks for sharing your story. God bless!

Takkhis on January 31, 2013: took time to read all these memories that you shared in this lens. I was thinking while reading, your mom was a great person and she is!!! ....Blessed!

MiaMusement on January 25, 2013:

You have such wonderful stories to share, and I'm so glad you use Squidoo for that sharing! The synchronicity of finding the "C" encyclopedia volume gave me chicken skin, so I can only imagine how you felt.

anne mohanraj on January 17, 2013:

A wonderful lens!

Mamabyrd from West Texas on November 04, 2012:

I love your family photos! I also have twin daughters.

Deborah Swain from Rome, Italy on October 10, 2012:

what an amazing tribute...a beautiful lens!

norma-holt on September 29, 2012:

Wow, you certainly have an interesting family history and a beautiful mother. You are not so bad yourself and it was a pleasure to read this lens and get to know you a bit better. Blessed.

kburns421 lm on July 25, 2012:

Fascinating stuff! The pictures are beautiful, and the story is great. A wonderful lens.

anonymous on June 20, 2012:

What a remarkable daughter you are to share your mother's inspiring story. To think your mom saw the Hindenburg right before it exploded and had to perform for Hitler. What an amazing life she had. I too lost my mother when my children were very small (1988) and every time they do something amazing I wish she was here to share it. Lovely lens, thank you for sharing.

OliviaDaughter LM on June 10, 2012:

Amazing. If I was an angel I would bless this lens. You have captured your mother's memory in such a good way. Your mother was an amazing woman so much courage.

Delia (author) on June 09, 2012:

@anonymous: Oh wow, Thank You so much for coming back and replying...the world is so small with the internet, isn't it...Thank You for your comments and contact!

anonymous on June 09, 2012:

@delia-delia: Hi,

I am indeed. My father left the fairground some time ago now however one of my brothers + cousins still maintain the family tradition over here in Scotland. It's a tougher trade / business to be in these days unfortunately. It's lovely to meet yourself / others connected to the family however and the facinating stories that come with you :)

Delia (author) on June 09, 2012:

@anonymous: Oh my!! Kenny are you related to The Codona's? let me know...yes indeed I am very proud of my mother, she was an amazing person and everyone that met her just loved her.

anonymous on June 09, 2012:

Amazing!, what a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing this glimpse into your mother's life / achievements. You must be so very proud.

JoshK47 on May 11, 2012:

What a beautiful lens, thank you so much for sharing this with us here on Squidoo. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

Sniff It Out on May 04, 2012:

What an interesting story and tribute to your Mom, I loved reading every word of it! Blessed!

Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on March 29, 2012:

Now I am an angel, I had to return to give a blessing to this heartfelt lens. The love for your mother and family really shine here.

Delia (author) on March 29, 2012:

@anonymous: Oh my gosh! and you're going to leave me hanging with out a name and contact? PLEASE contact me through my "lensmaster page" Indeed a small world...don't forget to contact me, I'll be disappointed if you don't.

anonymous on March 28, 2012:

Hi my name is Barbara and I stumbled on to this lens because I was looking for a poster of the Sarrasani circus. I was looking for it because my mother was also performed in that circus. She also died in 1975. She was from Budapest. I have old clippings of her being shot out of a cannon and sitting on elephants. She also danced on horses backs and was an acrobat. Small world isn't it !

Bobbala on March 02, 2012:

A beautiful lens. Thank you for sharing.

Michele Marie Burke on March 01, 2012:

What a beautiful tribute to a most interesting lady! You did a wonderful job. Thanks for sharing her with us all.

goo2eyes lm on December 13, 2011:

your life is really full of history and surprises. i am glad that you are writing and publishing your family stories for future posterity.

Indigo Janson from UK on October 29, 2011:

How have I missed this beautiful and fascinating tribute? A captivating read, and wow she actually did run away to join the circus! I'm sure your whole family must have very dear memories of your mother. Angel blessed.

jlshernandez on July 29, 2011:

I enjoyed reading this lens from beginning till end. It just drew me in and I could not stop. Your mother is beautiful and so loving. That may explain the warmth you exude in all the lenses write. I am blessing this lens although when I clicked the button it did not appear to push down. Tell me if you have received the blessing.

scss on May 28, 2011:

What a truly amazing family you come from, and that you are also caretaking - I really enjoyed this visit -thank you!

Helene Malmsio

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on May 10, 2011:

What a beautiful tribute to the life your mother lived. Beautifully written.

jseven lm on May 05, 2011:

This is a beautiful lens and pictures! Your mother was very beautiful and loved you much. I'm glad to have seen you on my lens and come to read this. I miss my mother a lot, too. God bless!

anonymous on April 29, 2011:

A beautiful lens in honour of your beautiful Mother, she was truly a glamorous lady, I so enjoyed reading about her, she had a great life in show business, how