Thursday, February 16, 2006

Did you Know....

That December 18, 1985 was Mary Lou Retton Day in the town of Lowell? You didn't? Well then let me share the story.

Have I mentioned that Mama Chep is the competitive type?

If you need proof; visit some of these previous posts: Boxtop Challenge, Formation of a Princess, Homemade Halloween and The Cardboard and Duct Tape King.

Mr. Chep and I were discussing getting rid of the VCR in the bedroom. He mentioned he hasn't watched a VCR tape in over a year. I agreed with that - but I did mention that I had some things on VHS that I needed to covert to DVD before we removed it all together. He asked "Like what?"

I turned about 3 shades of red and said "The Mary Lou Retton Tape". Of course after this response Mr. Chep needs to see this tape. I produce it. His first question was "Do you think this thing still works? It's like 21 years old"

YIKES. Hadn't thought of that. So we put it in.

OK - here's the background information.

As you may or may not know (some may be too young to remember) the 1984 Olympics was held in Los Angeles, CA. A young woman, by the name of Mary Lou Retton (age 15) scored TWO perfect 10's in the floor exercise and the vault.

After the Olympics - EVERY GIRL in America (or at least in my town) wanted to be a gymnast.

In 1985 the company that produced "Get in Shape Girl" products held a contest. You earned points for every product of theirs that you bought OR you could send in postcard to earn points. Mama Chep heard about this and started a frenzie. She got our entire school to participate. All Mama Chep wanted was 2nd prize. Gymnasitic equipment for her PE classes. Well....the school went a little TOO far. We won the grand prize.

December 18th, 1985 Mary Lou Retton came to visit St. Edwards Catholic School in Lowell, Indiana.

She got the royal treatment - the tape captured EVERYTHING. From her arrival at the town fire station, the 3 mile ride in my grandfather's 1927 Packard CONVERTIBLE (did I mention it was December 18th in Northwest Indiana?), the ornament contest where she hung them on our tree in the gymnasium, to the individual classroom visits. If only I had the energy to capture some of those images from that tape. I do however have one from my classroom visit. Classic 110 cameras didn't take the best pictures - but this is the best one I could find. I'm the tall redhead in the back (yeah I was the same height then as I am now!)
So now you know. Mary Lou Retton visited our little town all because Mama Chep's got spunk!


Mama Chep said...

Chep failed to tell you a few things about this memorable visit.

1. The 1929 Packard was a 7 passenger touring car which means there are no windows....only canvas side curtains (which we did not put up so that Mary Lou could be viewed by the kids at the other elementary schools and those that lined the streets of Lowell to see her.

2. The official temperature at O'Hare on that date was -24 degrees!!!! Not exactly a day to be in a parade in a car with no windows....we about froze to death...Mary Lou probably never won another Olympic medal because she spent years getting over the frozen hands that she suffered in Lowell....

Rain said...

Cool story Chep. I would copy that to DVD for sure.

fineartist said...

Awesome, absolutely, and I love momma chep's comments.

Raise your hand if you think chep's mom rocks. Mines up.

zilla said...

Your mama does rock!

So does Mary Lou. You know how every time you hear the name "Kathy Rigby" you immediately think, "Stayfree Maxi Pads?" Mary Lou was smarter than that.

Mary Lou and Mama Chep ROCK!

Writer Mom said...

...and Chep, you Rock! I can't believe I never heard this story. Maybe you guys could get Mary Lou to come to Jack & Pickles's gymnastics class? It may as well be Gorbachev for all they know of the eighties.

Zilla reminded me that I'm running low on Kathy Rigbys.