Pink flamingos… aren’t they the best?


FlamingosI was one of many University of Wisconsin students in 1979, who were treated to the sight of 1,008 plastic pink flamingos placed on Bascom Hill by student-government pranksters from the Pail and Shovel Party. I spent all day smiling and thinking about how grand it was.

In 1983, in our new home on Franklin Avenue, we didn’t have much money for plants or garden décor. I took garden splittings from Mom and Grandma, and nurtured them. I was particularly proud of the lily of the valley bed in front of the house. I mentioned at a friend’s party that I didn’t care if it was kitschy, I loved plastic pink flamingos. Two weeks later DB and I woke to dozens and dozens of plastic L’eggs containers all over our front lawn, two flamingos in the lily of the valley bed with a note on our front step that read “breeding pair.”

This week I learned the man who invented the flamingoes died. Donald Featherstone, a trained sculptor with a background in classical art, created the pink flamingo in 1957 based on a photo he saw in National Geographic. Featherstone is quoted telling the Leominster Champion, “I loved what I did, it’s all happy things. You have to figure, my creations were not things people needed in life. Things I did made people happy, and that’s what life is all about.”

What a great life philosophy. And yes, pink flamingos do make me happy.

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About Kary Beck

Mother and wife, gardener, wine enthusiast, avid online bargain hunter, and owner of two black-and-tan cocker spaniels.
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