The legend of the weird costume people.
Late on Sunday afternoon, while walking back from Coles, I ran into our neighbour, Joe, who lives directly across the road from us. His house, built in 1876, used to be a general grocery store for the district. A large fig tree towers over his home and garden and a large parking lot that used to house a bustling fresh food market from 1880 to 1900.
We were chatting about the history of our street when Joe declared that he had lived on the street much longer than we had. I noted that we actually moved in two years before him. Joe was emphatic. “No there was a costume shop in your house until around 2009.” I repeated, “A costume shop?” Joe replied “Yes, everyone in the street thought the Costume people were really weird. They kept to themselves. No one ever saw them. And then one day, out of the blue, they went crazy and just threw all their costumes out onto the street. There were literally hundreds of Christmas and Easter costumes. So we neighbours and the local homeless guy all grabbed as much as we could. My entire family got Christmas costumes that year.”
My mouth hit the footpath. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Flashback to October 2008. I had over 200 costumes in storage that we had used while servicing Shopping Centres across Queensland with various characters for Xmas and Easter. Post GFC, the market shifted and the demand diminished dramatically and we decided that it was no longer financially viable to maintain the costume stock. One of our team members at the time had a sister who worked with the Royal Children’s Hospital. We offered to donate all the costumes to entertain the children at the hospital. They were delighted and I was thrilled for them to go to a good home. The coordinator asked us to place the bags of costumes on the top driveway so she could organise a truck to collect them after hours. Our property was unfenced at the time so we packed 200 costumes into 70 bags and placed them safely in the driveway ready for collection that evening.
When we arrived for work the next day, all of the bags were gone so we assumed the hospital manager had collected the costumes as arranged. Unbeknownst to us, the coordinator could not collect the costumes as arranged that night. When she called the following morning to apologise and arrange to collect that following night, we were totally confused. What happened to the bags of costumes?
It was a mystery ……………………until Sunday.
When I told Joe the real story, we were both on the ground in stitches. In the mythology of our street, the neighbours all believed that a Costume Shop, run by odd crazy people, ran a business from our address for four years until one day they simply threw out all their costumes, closed their business, moved out and were never seen or heard of again.
It just goes to show how easy is it for assumptions to become history and lore. 😊
Nichola Burton is the CEO for The Pushworth Group, the Creative Director for The Manick Label, the Systems Designer for Aquarius™ The Integrated Solution For The Music Industry, Music Business Coach for Music Means Business.
Excerpt from my upcoming book “The Unsung”, a call to action in the recovery task ahead, a story of my own life in the music industry and how the events of the COVID 19 lockdowns have altered the frequency of music for good.
Nichola Burton Copyright 2022