***Mimi Garneau Hazel Kirk Thomas - Mimi was born January 27th 1894 in Philipsburg, PA

. Mimi was the best lady sword swallower during her early years with Enfingers-Whale Shows. A real preserved whale exhibit on a specially built rail car would be shown for one day only at the local railroad station. In addition to the whale, sideshow attractions were presented. Mimi was also featured in leading circus shows.

When she reached an age where she didn't wish to swallow swords, she still desired to continue in showbusiness.

An act she could easily handle would be a flea circus. A Tampa jewelry manufacturer fabricated the carts for fleas to pull and the other props. A neighbor's dog was happy to be relieved of some of the fleas that had residence in his tail.

Mimi booked her new act with Sam Alexander's Show at Belmont Park, Montreal. When the show opened in the early spring the flea circus was a great success. However, the cool Canadian Spring was unhealthy for the Florida fleas and they all expired.
 
Without actors, the flea circus couldn't go on. Mimi offered the neighborhood boys fifty cents for each dog they would bring to the show. It seemed as though every mongrel in town appeared. A cold Canadian Winter had disposed of the dogs guests. Remembering the Tampa canine who provided the original cast, Mimi phoned her friends requesting they ship the shaggy bug infested dog to Montreal.
 
Mimi paid for a travel box and air fare to Montreal ~ one item was overlooked. Canadian Customs had their veterinarian dip the dog to free it of the vermin.
 
Enough is enough. The flea circus didn't reopen. Mimi retired to her beautiful Florida home. On my last visit with her she laughed at the experience, and said she was donating the flea props to a circus museum.
 

Ward Hall

 


***MIMI GARNEAU'S SON - PASSED AWAY NOVEMBER 15, 2009 AT 91 YRS. OF AGE IT’S BEEN SO VERY HARD... ONE THING I PROMISED HIM WAS TO CORRECT SOME OF THE INFO ON WARD’S COLUMN….MY MOM AND DAD VISITED WITH WARD …AND THEY HAD A GREAT TIME  A FEW YEARS BACK AND THAT WAS THANKS TO YOU… MY GRANDMOTHERS REAL NAME WAS HAZEL KIRK THOMAS AT BIRTH …NOT HAZEL JUDE THOMAS AND SHE WAS BORN IN PHILIPSBURG PA…Chris Brickel

 

     Hazel Jude Thomas - Mimi was born January 27th 1894 in Bloomberg, PA

 

    The info. above was corrected by Mimi's family on Jan. 31, 2010 to the information below

 

Hazel Kirk Thomas - Mimi was born January 27th 1894 in Philipsburg, PA

 


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