In Charlotte we had the Hugh McManaway statue. It’s a life-sized golden statue that sits on a busy thoroughfare in a residential part of the city, and almost every weekend, you’d see the statue of Hugh (a sweet, gentle, mentally disabled Charlotte resident who directed traffic on the same street his statue is now in the 1960s and 70s – he’s now immortalized on Providence Road, forever directing traffic for motorists) all dressed up.
The city tradition was to hang signs, balloons, ribbons, and the like on the statue of Hugh to commemorate weddings, birthdays, graduations, and other big celebrations. While the adornments only stayed up for a day or so, I loved driving by on Saturdays to see who was getting married, celebrating a birthday, etc.
When we moved to Perth, I was thrilled to find that our new city had something similar – meet Eliza:
Eliza sits just off the shore in the Swan River, and like Hugh, she greets passersby on a busy road. And also like Hugh, locals love to dress her up, commemorating big and fun events – some say she’s Perth’s “best dressed“! Eliza is a representation and celebration of the historic Crawley bath houses that once lined the Swan River and Matlida Bay in the early 1900s. If you’re so inclined, you can read more about the history of the Crawley baths and the inspiration for Eliza, try this site.
So why did I bring up Hugh, Eliza, and their shared affinity for dress up and celebrating? Well, my husband is about to celebrate his birthday (out of respect for the elderly, I won’t divulge his age) 😉 and fingers crossed, I can add a loving birthday message on Eliza before the big day on Saturday! From what I can tell, there is some kind of stone work or pathway over to the sculpture, so now I just have to fashioned a festive (and durable) sign (and work up the courage to walk out there!) But even if I don’t make it out to Eliza and she doesn’t wish Barr and happy birthday, perhaps this post and well wishes from friends and readers will suffice, reach him, and fill him with birthday love 🙂 I’m a big fan of an entire week (oftentimes an entire month) of birthday celebrating. Until next time…