Entries in terror (1)


Holiday in Red (#5)

Joseph Stone supplied this red rendition of Billie Holiday.

She tells an unforgetable story about a red dress in her autobiography, "Lady Sings the Blues":

When you did something against the rules [in the Catholic institution], at least they didn't beat you . . .

When you were being punished you got a raggedy red dress to wear. When you wore this dress none of the other girls were supposed to go near you or speak to you.

I'll never forget the first girl I saw wear the dress. She was a real wild one and she was alone in the backyard, standing on a swing. She kept swinging higher and higher, shouting and hollering, swinging higher and higher. She worked so hard she was puffing and huffing. And the kids stood around watching her, all eyes.

The Mother Superior tried to keep the kids moving and break up the crowd of gawking girls. The girl in the raggedy red dress kept on swinging and screaming. I guess she figured as long as she stayed up there on the swing no one could touch her. The Mother Superior just looked at ther, then she turned to a group of us and said: "Just remember, God will punish her."

In a few seconds there was a terrible jerk. As she swing to the highest point she could make on the swing, the chair broke and the girl flew through the air. Then there was a terrible thud and then nothing. When they found her, her neck was broken.

The first time I wore the red dress was at Easter.