The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas on April 24, 1986 · Page 12
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The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas · Page 12

Baytown, Texas
Issue Date:
Thursday, April 24, 1986
Page 12
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12-A THE BAYTOWN SUN Thunday, April 24, 1M6 Skiing grandmothers like to stand out VAIL, Colo. (AP) - Jean Claude Killy and Franz Klammer got their usual attention this winter at the American Ski Classic here, but the real spectator sport was catching a glimpse of the "Skiing Grandmothers." No wonder. The 10 Houston belles, who range in age from 56 to "somewhere around fin," dress in red from neck to toe, wear blue cowboy hats and buttons that say "10 Cents A Dance." Their eye-catching outfits are not donned without effort. One admits she puts on the red parka and ski pants "by lying down to zip up." They love all the attention and their efforts to stand out have paid off. Skiers have gone off course staring at what appears to be a giant red snake coming down the mountain. Kids on chairlifts yell "Go for it" as the snake slithers by Most people just stare first at the line of skiing grandmothers and ask questions later. Each woman in red carries a business card printed with a skier, the words "Skiing Grandmothers" and her name. Their only "business," it turns out, is skiing and having fun. Though most aren't all that experienced at the former, it's hard to miss their expertise at the latter. Georgia Retzloff and Rusty Rotholz admit they'd rather shop and Nita Neyland says her snowplow is so wide she nearly touches the ground. But a few handle expert trails with ease. Their trademark cowboy hats extend high above the crowd and make the grandmothers look a lot taller than they are. The hats are adorned with U.S. Ski Team pins, pins from ski areas they've visited, 24-karat-gold-dipped beer can pop tops, and buttons that say "why be normal?" Why, indeed. On the bus to the slopes, one man told his companion: "They look like Redskins fans to me." Actually, Lanelle Townley explains, "I got a deal on the hats when the Oilers had a bad year." The grandmothers stole the cowboy hat idea from skier Billy Kidd. Jean-Claude Killy once asked if he and some friends could borrow the hats for a picture. The grandmothers happily obliged. Olympic skier Bernhard Russi asked if he could have Neyland's hat. "I told him I'd trade my hat for his clothes. I was just kidding, but he began a slow strip tease until Killy stopped him. Just in time," says Neyland. "I mailed him a hat." Townley, who introduced Beme Watts to her husband, has two more pieces of unfinished business. She's got two marriageable grandmothers among the 10 members. She wants to- find them husbands on the slopes, not an original idea among skiers of all ages. The rest have left their husbands at home to fish, play golf — and enjoy the peace and quiet, Townley says. She started the group because her husband, a fisherman, had a place on the lake and she wanted to ski. "We have nice husbands that don't mind," Neyland says. But Retzloff calls her husband, Al, to double check. "Are we still married? Good. Goodbye." End of phone call. Despite their antics while they're away, Townley. says, homecomings are always subdued. "We come off the plane very dignified," she says. At a ski resort, they all stay in one condo, sharing meals and "war stories." When a reporter visits, they vie for the spotlight, telling tales about their adventures in the discos, or about the trucker who saw nothing unusual about letting 10 hitchhiking grandmothers in cowboy boots and hats pile into his pickup. Their bathing suits were modestly covered by beach towels. (They were on their way to a Jacuzzi.) They don't spend much time in the condo. After a day of skiing, it's back to their rooms to repair hairdos and freshen makeup before getting gussied up in jeans, boots, sweaters and mink jackets and hitting .the disco scene. Forget the afternoon nap. One night the grandmothers taught some coaches of the Italian ski team the Texas Two- Step. Neyland has danced with and gotten a not-so-grandmotherly kiss from skier Hans Hinterscer. Now when th«y meet he hugs them all, saving a special, shouted greeting — "Hey, there's my grandmother!" — for. Neyland. But, Rotholz hastens to add, "there's no hanky panky." When not skiing, most of the women play golf. Two do aerobics and one has her pilot's license, ; Someone once asked Retzloff when she and her friends were going to start behaving like grandmothers. Her retort could have come from any of the, women, who among them have; 41 grandchildren: "When we get old enough." San Antonio's royalty sumptuously gowned SAN ANTON 10 <AP) Heavy, jeweled gowns with elaborate designs and costing thousands oi dollars steal the show each year when San Antonio society crowns the royalty for the annual Fiesta celebration. The full-length dresses with 30- lio-foot trains — reminiscent of the raiments of European royalty — are worn by 20 young women at the annual coronation ceremony. A queen, princess and 24 duchesses make up the royal party honored by the Order of the Alamo, a group of about BOO men representing San Antonio's oldest families. Coronation is always a highlight o[ Fiesta, San Antonio's own Mardi Gras-type celebration of Texas' independence from Mexico 150 years ago. This year's coronation is set for April 22. The crowning of the queen and princess, whose identities are kept secret until the event, is open to the public at the Municipal Auditorium. Coronation draws not only San Antonio residents but Fiesta- goers I'rorn throughout the country. "For one brief moment, it's Camelot." said Blair Corning, a social commentator for The San Antonio Kxpress-News. Ms. Corning was the "Duchess of Make-Believe" in 1959. She wore a .S:i,()00 velvet and jeweled dress with a sprawling train adorned with masquerade masks. "Coronation in those days was really pure kvutasy." she said. "As times change and the world gels more sophisticated, the emphasis changes. Now, it's more elaborate -- who's going to have (he most sequins." she said. The first coronation was held in 19U5J and except lor brief respites during the two world wars, has been held annually. The earliest participants wore "their prettiest organdies and voiles" and sometimes picture hats, according to an exhibit of coronation gowns at the Wilte Museum. San Antonio's museum of natural history. Since then, the dresses have followed the styles of the day and gradually have become more elaborate. Today, most of the dresses weigh at least 20 pounds and many are much heavier. Made of rich silks, velvets, rhinestones and lace, the gowns are laden with appliques and embroidery. The gowns are so bulky and unwieldy that the queen and princess have to be transported in a full-size moving van from the auditorium to the coronation ball. The duchesses are able to roll up their shorter trains and walk to the ball. When the royalty appears in the annual Battle of Flowers Parade, the trains are fastened to the floats. Forklifts are used to position the duchesses, queen and princess on the floats. Those involved in planning the coronation will not say how much the dresses cost, but some observers say they run in the thousands of dollars. Each has a unique design based on a coronation theme. This year's Court of Embellished Dreams focuses on needlework and its history. The designs are based on folk needlework and the handwork patroned in the past by royalty or the church. The 26 designs are the work of the official court artist, Wilanna Bristow, who has more than 20 years teaching experience in embroidery, applique and other aspects of textile art. Her designs, the result of three years of work, are considered so significant to textile history that they have been accepted by the library of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When Mrs. Bristow finished the designs last summer, each was assigned to one of the 26 women who will be in the upcoming coronation. The women, either of college- age or slightly older, then took the designs to one of the seven officially sanctioned dressmakers in San Antonio. Once in the hands of the dressmakers, the designs are transferred onto patterns. Materials and stones are selected and the real work begins. Dresses for the duchesses take School menus FRIDAY BAYTOWN BREAKFAST - Fruit juice, blueberry muffin, oatmeal and milk. LUNCH — FLsh with ketchup or tallerina, potatoes, cabbage, beans, salad, bread, milk and ice cream. BARBERS HILL BREAKFAST — Cook's choice. LUNCH — Fried steak or cook's choice, creamed potatoes, green beans, fruit salad, roll, milk and chocolate chip cookie. ST. JOSEPH LUNCH — Hot dogs with chili and cheese, french fries and milk. CROSBY BREAKFAST — Pancakes. LUNCH — Fish burger or meat, tartar sauce, green salad with, dressing, peanut butter squares and milk. BELKNAP EXTERIORS INC. between 350 and 600 hours to create, said seamstress Ardyce Erickson, who has several assistants. The much more elaborate gowns for the queen and princess take much longer, she said. The voluminous trains are fashioned by hand and the dresses themselves are put together by machines, Mrs. Erickson said. "We put on the applique just like an old quilting bee," she said, adding that the work is done on giant train tables. "It's a lot of work but I iove it," she said. "It's a lot of fun to get this sketch and bring it to life." Nephrology Consultants, P.A. announces the opening of offices at BAYTOWN DIALYSIS CENTER . 4500 North Main Baytown, Texas 77521 For the diagnosis and treatment of kidney related diseases... Diabetes-Hypertension-Renal Stones -Dialysis-Transplantation. C.G. Barcenas, M.D. W.B. Etheridge, M.O. F A.C.P. 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