SERIES: Healthcare in America #22, Ryland Church, This Is the Bronx

This is part of an ongoing series that gives Bronx writers a chance to share their personal stories on the state of healthcare in America.

by Ryland Church, December 3, 2018

From Riches to Rags
Now that my ladder’s gone,
I must lie down where all my ladders start,
In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.
– W.B.Yeats “The Circus Animals’ Desertion”

Of course I was a prima donna in the high flying world of fashion design. How could I not be? I was plucked out of New York’s premier school of fashion and design to join the select design team of the most exclusive Fifth Avenue department store – a rare and coveted position. At the age of 18 I was one of a team of eight designers producing 300 “Looks” a year. These exciting window and store designs created energy throughout the store, making retail headlines and increasing sales volume. My world centered around the Spring and Fall Couture Collections in Paris, London, and New York of famous designers such as Bill Blass, Halston, Givenchy, Gucci and Ralph Lauren.

Those early years were my proving grounds, with tireless work at all hours, on any day and every holiday, where the simplest task was an urgent and immediate need. To friends and family, my life was truly glamourous and yet, for me, my life was closer to that loneliest of lives led by Holly Golightly, the misunderstood ingénue of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. While my life was on the vanguard of the moment, I felt like an empty shell....

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