I turn 66 next month. My how “Time goes by in a blink” stated by Anthony Hopkins in the movie, Meet Joe Black.
I had a business called “Coral Rose Vintage” located on So. Virginia St in a 1920’s Arts and Crafts house. Each room had a name, the most popular was the “Bargain L” room located way in the back, this was where all the great sales were and my repeat customers hit that one first. It was called this due to its shape that connected the front house to a back house that in its time was the servants quarters. Another popular room was the “Rose Room” to the left of the front door, named for the aroma of freshly cut Roses and a resident female ghost who stayed mostly in that room. My husband and I converted the kitchen into a large dressing room/vanity. We took out all the appliances and sink and put them downstairs where my daughter, Kresnae Marie and her “little girl” Tuaca, a beautiful mixed calico who kept the mouse population down lived. Down the hall from the rose room was “The Little Black Dress” area. Here you could find all sorts of cocktail dresses from as far back as 1930 with matching hats, shoes and bags, all authentic, cleaned and ready to wear. The middle room was check out with 1 glass display cabinet with all the jewelry, beaded bags and very rare items that were kept locked up. The front room had a non working fireplace that I always decorated with each upcoming holiday. Then there was Marnie, my stunning mannequin who greeted each customer. I found her in the basement at an old building on Sierra St that was converted to an Antique Mall. She was all pieced out and was in need of emergency care. My neighbor at that time, James, was an upcoming cartoon artist, who offered his service to completely re-do her. He even made a finger that she was missing out of clay. He started by spray painting her all over, gave her pink nipples, red lips, rosy cheeks, did her fingernails and toenails. Her original maker is Wolf/Vine from 1940’s, their name and date are on her behind, she even has green glass eyes. I spent a small fortune on different style wigs for her. Marnie now lives in my living room and looks out the front window and to this day I change her clothing and wig each week.
I’ve had a few celebrities as customers, the most famous was Sean Penn, he fancied straight razors but never purchased. He came by when he was directing a movie starring Jack Nicholson called “The Pledge”. My big break came when a woman, dressed like a bag lady, walked through the doors to my shop and browsed around for almost an hour. She was carrying this huge tote and by the way she was acting I felt she was going to rip me off. However, don’t ever judge a book by its cover. She was, in fact, Debra Harry (Blondie). After we talked for several minutes I told her what I thought of her when she first walked in, she said she would think twice about what she wears for future shopping trips. She purchased a few items to which I gave her a great discount and in return she handed me 2 comp tickets to her concert at the Silver Legacy Emporium that night, 4th row center. I was ecstatic to say the least. My hubby and I went dressed to the nines. He was wearing a 40’s double breasted brown gangster suit with suspenders, black shoes with white spats and a brown snap brim fedora. I was wearing a gorgeous taffeta full swing black strapless tea length gown. I draped myself with rhinestone necklaces, earrings a huge brooch at my cleavage, black alligator open toe 4” heels with rhinestone shoe clips and finishing it off with a black mink stole. We looked and felt FABULOUS!! When we arrived everyone started staring at us and asked if we were in town for a film. No, “we live right here in Reno” they then asked, “Where did you find your clothing?” I was more than proud and happy to tell them that we owned a Vintage Clothing Boutique“, I handed out a few of my cards and then we enjoyed the concert, Thank You, Ms Harry. On Monday after the concert, my phone was ringing off the hook plus a photographer, Erinn Morgan, from Reno Magazine came in and asked to do a photo shoot of my clothing and hats for their upcoming Easter issue, of course, I said “yes“. The next week a student from the University of Nevada Reno, Journalism Class, was doing an article on new businesses in the area and called me. She happened to be at the Concert and my husband David gave her one of our cards, coincidence to say the least. Her article was published in their school paper and the Reno News and Review picked it up as well. After the magazine, school article and newspaper hit the stands a woman named Kristy Hawk came in and asked me to do a strolling fashion show for her production, The Nevada Woman’s Expo, at the Reno Convention Center which I did 3 more times after that. Business was booming with all the publicity I was receiving. Several businesses, HighSocietTea, MGM, Silver Legacy, Reno High School, Reno Women’s Builders Association to name a few.
The biggest Fashion Show that I did was at the El Dorado Dec 2005 for George Gillemot, it was his 80th birthday party and he requested a 1940’s theme right down to a store front street area with original merchandise. When the economy took a severe nose dive in 2008 and my customers quit coming in, it forced me to close my doors May 31, 2008. My heart broke, Coral Rose was to be our business until we couldn’t do it any longer.
It’s been almost eleven years since then and have found that I have many talents. Being retired isn’t that bad. I will be posting pictures of beautiful and handsome models from the fashion shows and what all I have being doing with my time.
I hope you enjoy my blog. Vicky