The boys stood aghast watching him shimmy up the pole

It was a warm summer day. Josh Cavaretta and I met in Northwest Reno, Nevada for an interview and photographic session as a model for my series, P2P, Prisoners to Paper dolls. Josh was a 29-year-old stick of a man with a large blue tattoo of his girlfriend’s name, Katrina, resting on his supraorbital ridge.  

We walked together over to a nearby elementary school and sat on a bench in a covered patio area right outside the school to talk.  Two twelve year old boys facing us threw basketballs at a hoop about ten feet away.

Josh, shy, but anxious to help, spoke of his past crimes.  He first wanted me to know he was lucky to have his beautiful girlfriend, Katrina, who had gone to school in France and how they had been together since they were sixteen.  He then explained his criminal history of relatively minor offenses, saying many things, but it all culminated in his being charged with theft -- taking a purse out of an unlocked car, for which the court sentenced him to 12-30 months.  High Desert State Prison, a high security facility, in Indian Springs, Nevada released him in 2015.

A basketball flew over our heads and landed on the flat, corrugated metal roof above us.  The two boys groaned, resigned to the ball’s obvious fate of obscurity on the roof.  Josh said nothing, stood up, and shimmied up one of the 8-foot poles supporting the structure.  He walked out on the roof, grabbed the basketball, and threw it to the young boys who stood there with their mouths open. They smiled and looked at each other bemused and relieved.  When Josh came back down I asked him, “What is your sport?”  He replied, “Skateboarding.”  He paused.  “However, I come from a family of trapeze artists. My mother and aunt were part of the first all-women’s flying trapeze act called the Flying Cavarettas.  My aunt was the first person known to do a triple somersault on the ground.” 

When I got home I found the Flying Cavarettas:  What a pleasure it was to meet him.  I am now painting his paper doll portrait.  For updates on the painting see




Photograph courtesy of Youtube