Broken Heart & Broken Toe

I worked as a Costume Designer in the film industry for 25 years. First as a stylist for commercials & rock videos, then eventually  designing costumes for  movies  and  TV  series.

Ten years ago my mom passed, and I took another look at my life. The decision was that I should try writing.  Skipping ahead, it seems that (usually humorous) anecdotes from my design life stand out. With encouragement from blog pals, I have been writing some out.

Broken Heart & Broken Toe

Just over a decade ago, I designed the costumes for a movie titled “Our Fathers”. It’s based on the book by David France “The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal”.

     In this true story, Cardinal Law was the Church’s piece of hierarchy that covered up the sexual abuses of children by certain priests. It was very heartbreaking to work on this show: recreating pedophile scenes, depicting the turned upside down lives of victims & the denials by the church. Even the scenes of Cardinal Law testifying on the stand were not satisfying moments. Reality is: he eventually went to live in Rome, as a Cardinal, sanctioned by the Pope.

      Actual adult victims, survivors came to set while we were shooting. It was all quite eerily unnerving.

     Prior to starting prep on the movie, I read the book. It is the biggest hard cover book I’ve ever read. Humongous, I could barely hold it on my lap. The part of the book we made into the movie was a fraction of the book. The rest of it delved deeply into the Church’s very old history of sexual sins. It was bleak, even at the most optimistic points.

      One day, the book leapt from my lap, and attacked my right foot. It landed on the toe next to my big toe.  The toe broke. It’s possible that I accidentally dropped  the book.

     I hobbled through the ensuing 4 month prep & shoot with the broken toe taped to the toes on each side of it. There was constant pain, swelling & 14 or more hours to a working day. I had to buy sneakers in 2 different sizes, the larger size for my right foot. The doctor was adamant. I needed to put my foot up for a few weeks! I did exactly that after we were wrapped, & it eventually healed.

      In retrospect, I realize that nothing was going to stop me from helping to bring this story into movie format, and into the light of the many who didn’t know about it. I believed I was doing something important & good.

      In retrospect, I also think …. the book did attack my toe, after all.

The pic from the top of the post was the header for my writing blog, which is where I had originally written up this anecdote. This was much prior to my thinking of writing out more.

Anecdote & Photos © Resa McConaghy