Woodside Amusement Park

Part 4


by Walt Hudson


Petite Princess Yvonne called herself the world's smallest stripper! This beautiful, 24 year old gal was only three feet tall but she was a perfectly proportioned little female. During the winter months she toured burlesque circuits presenting her unique act. Her devoted husband, Hans, (who was also a midget) traveled with her and helped her in the act. He was also a perfectly formed little man (who was two inches shorter than Yvonne).

Princess Yvonne began her act waltzing on stage to a recorded popular song of the day, dressed in a "southern belle" costume. This cute blond-haired little doll carried a parasol, which she twirled around. A silver rope was lowered from the flys and the parasol, which had a loop at the top, was hooked onto the rope and pulled upward. The handle of the small umbrella also had a mouthpiece attached to it and, as the parasol was slowly raised, Yvonne placed the mouthpiece in her mouth and the parasol and her body were raised high over the heads of the audience as she hung by her teeth.

She proceeded to remove her clothing, dropping it piece by piece to Hans who was onstage catching them as they fell.
Her act was a modest and modified strip routine for our family oriented audience, as she stripped down to a flesh-colored bodysuit.

She finished her routine by spinning around while hanging on with her teeth. The pace of the music increased and she spun her diminutive body faster and faster until it was a blur. She stopped and was lowered to the stage where she smiled and made her exit.                                                                  :
Hans stepped forward and gave a brief lecture on midgets and little people in general. In a childlike, high pitched voice he explained, "There are two major groups of little people, the midgets and the dwarfs. Princess and I are midgets. We are perfectly formed people but we are little in stature due to a malfunctioning of our pituitary glands, which determine the growth pattern in humans.

"At birth we were born and appeared normal in every aspect. However, we did not grow in the normal growth pattern and I stopped growing when I was four years old.

"People are always curious about a midget's sex life. It all depends on when the growth pattern stops. Some males reach the puberty stage and others do not. Those who develop the secondary sex characteristics have a normal sex life.

"There are several kinds of dwarfs.  The most common are known as achondroplastic dwarfs. They are far more numerous than midgets. They are born deformed and are identified at birth. They usually have small legs and arms with a normal sized body.

Their heads are larger than average and they tend to have large foreheads.  They mature at the same pattern as average people do. Their sexual development is the same as the average population.   
"Are there any questions? If not, I have these photos of the lovely Princess Yvonne presenting her contortionist act. On the back of each photo you will find a brief biography of this little lady."

Hans did a pitch which varied during the summer. Sometimes he sold miniature Bibles, which were about the size of postage stamps. Other times he pitched photo post cards of Yvonne posed in a contortionist's position. Yvonne also did an acrobatic and contortionist act and during the day she would alternate this act with the strip routine.
Princess sat backstage between shows and did a lot of writing. I asked her if she was writing a book about her life.
"Oh, no. 1 am writing a book of poetry. Not an ordinary book but one about people 1 know from the side show world. I describe each person in poetry. See..."

She handed me a page she had just written. I read the poorly written verse.

Tattooed Lady

The tattooed lady, an amazing sight With ships on both her hips, Roses grow on both her breasts And kisses on her lips.

Snake Charmer

A giant snake wraps around her neck Its coils entwine her arms. The lady holds aloft her pet While it undulates its charms.

There were a couple of other poems and I really didn't know what to make of it, but I said, "Hey, this is interesting! What other characters have you written about?"

"Oh, plenty." Then she turned to Hans and said, "Hans, be a dear boy and run out to the trailer and bring my manuscript."
"Yes, my darling," he replied and he rushed off to get the poems.

"And bring the photos, also."

"Photos? Do you have photos of the people you're writing about?" I asked.

"Yes. But each of the poems is illustrated by a midget performer. You will see."

Hans returned in a few minutes with an envelope of photos and the manuscript of poems about other side show acts. I read the poems and looked at the strange photos. They included different midgets doing the freak acts. There was a girl
snake charmer, a tattooed gal, a little magician (with a huge rabbit), a fire eater, etc.

The photos were all well posed and taken by the professional theatrical photographer of that day - Bruno.
"I didn't know there were midgets who perform all these acts. And so many different ones."

Hans laughed. "There aren't! Those photos are all of Yvonne and me and one other midget couple. We posed for them all. The girls have different wigs to make them look like different people. The entire photo collection only consists of four different people."

I said, "1 really think it's a novel idea for a book. Be sure that I get a copy of it when you have it published."

Yvonne and Hans often invited me into their small house trailer which was parked on the lot in back of our show.

It was small and immaculately clean. In fact, I saw Hans cleaning it almost every day. He also did the cooking and waited on Yvonne like she was a real princess. The bathroom and kitchen areas were custom built and equipped to accommodate the couple's size. The bed was standard size but they had the advantage of having plenty of room left at the foot of the bed for storage.

Stair steps were built leading up to the sink and stove areas. The couple also had a custom built home in the suburbs of High Point, N.C., on a one acre lot. They spent three months out of each year at their home.
                      (To Be Continued) 



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