Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

pippi, perfume and bruno engler

A ski jumper sails through the air in a 1973 black and white, Bruno Engler photograph I bought for great guy while I was in Canada. He is soaring over the Banff townsite, with the cloud-covered Rockies watching closely. It is a whimsical photo, almost magical, because the ski jump is out of site….so all you see is the skier flying through the sky in cool, ‘70’s paraphernalia.

I show the photo to step-mother and her close friend, who I immediately upon meeting want to call ‘Pippi’. The two women were giggly and warm and very happy to be together on this particular afternoon. They began to tell me stories of Mr. Bruno Engler. Apparently, back in the day, step-mother and Pippi knew Mr. Bruno a little bit, through the heli-ski operation where they worked after coming to Canada, as young German girls.

One story was of stepmother, at a party at the Banff Springs Hotel, belly dancing for the crowd, whereupon Mr. Bruno tried to get her to dance with him. Her belly must have made a striking impression with the crowd…or would it be the hips? I’m not exactly that familiar with the belly dancing art form.

Upon showing the photo to my father, who also took a great interest in it albeit for different reasons, he mentioned that he used to ski jump a little when he was a teenager living high up in the German Alps. Seriously?! Have any of your fathers ever said, ‘Ya, I used to ski jump a little bit, but the farthest we got was 30 meters’? I guess that’s the equivalent of Canadian farm boys growing up playing pond hockey out on the back 40.

So, back to Pippi. I met her, we sipped Pineaut de Charantes (all I can say is ‘yummy’), and the first thing I bought in duty-free when flying back ‘home’ was Dior Addicted – Pippi’s perfume. Now, I spend my European days smelling like, and trying to channel, this ultra-cool, a little bit crazy, really fun-loving woman. It is inspiring to come into contact with people who you want to be a bit more like…whether it’s through an old photograph or through a front door. We are better people for meeting them.
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