Virginia Fabrizius threw herself out of an airplane for the first time when she was 19 years old.
She was living in the Twin Cities, and some friends from vo-tech suggested they go sky-diving across the border, in Baldwin, Wisconsin.
“It was old military gear, really heavy equipment,” she said last week, adding, “We made five jumps.”
Since then, Fabrizius has made over 800 jumps, the highest time from over 18,000 feet.
“That’s nothing. My husband, Martin, has made over 1,300 jumps,” she said.
What is it about skydiving that attracts them?
“It’s a lifestyle,” she said. “You get so you go out every chance you get. It costs so much you start to say, ‘If we skip going out for dinner, we can skydive three times!’”
In 1990, Fabrizius got her first Christmas ornament with a skydiving theme. Today she owns 56 skydiving ornaments, and is always on the search for more.
“They’re kind of hard to find,” she admitted. “We’ve found a lot on military bases.”
With some of Fabrizius’ ornaments it’s a bit of a stretch to call them ‘skydiving’ ornaments. She had to make a decision, and decided characters floating down to Earth with umbrellas or giant leaves would count.
Fabrizius made her last jump in 1998, when she and Martin were living in Australia.
“He was working for the University of Queensland, and it was really expensive to skydive there.”
After moving to Redwood Falls, buying a house they wanted to fix up, and becoming parents, skydiving went by the way side.
But Fabrizius can still indulge herself in another way.
“Every Christmas I tell my kids, ‘You know what to do!’ and they say, ‘Yeah, look for skydiving ornaments.’”