My Grandpa the Acrobat

In his younger days, my Grandpa Stillman was a professional acrobat. That's him, on the bottom in the white trunks. Performing in night clubs and on the beach for spectators circa 1935, that's how he made his living (and I'm sure whooed my grandma). When I was younger I was in gymnastics for quite a few years. And I remember visiting my then-elderly grandpa in his trailer home, and him spotting me on my back handsprings in his yard, giving me tips. "You gotta whip your legs around" he would say as he made a quick circular whipping motion with his arms. He's since passed (and I am no longer a gymnast), but I will always cherish those memories.

When I came across these pictures taken by Hans Wild for LIFE Magazine at a school for acrobats, Gymnase Saulnier, in Paris in 1947, I was transported right back to my days of instruction at my grandpa's hip. Their rudimentary setting. Their "athletic" clothes. Everything is just so wonderful. I mean, just look at the instructor's beret.

 Are those not SO great?! Man. Charm galore. And now, a few more of my grandpa for good measure.


Deb Cox said...

These are the sweet memories that stay within our hearts forever. Thanks for sharing. Dad was an amazing athlete, as are you.

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