A couple years before Pearl Harbor, my 23-year-old brother, Stan, and I drove Grandma Kate and Aunt Rose from Nebraska to New York City to see the 1939 Worlds Fair.
It was the first time we had seen the Big Apple.
I was reminded of that trip when Helen and I attended the World War II USO Dinner-Dance fundraiser for the senior center last Wednesday night. Mullis was decorated like the Hollywood Canteen and Tom Starr and the One More Time Band were absolutely wailing. They played all those tunes which my big brother and I enjoyed in the evening when we went out on the town to check out the night life on Manhattan, 73 years ago.
Each night after our elderly companions had gone to bed, we would prowl. We were staying in the Edison Hotel in Times Square.
The first night, Sept. 1, was the day that Germany’s troops invaded Poland with their blitzkrieg tank offensive, decimating the vaunted Polish cavalry as they charged to their death on horseback. Hitler had signed a non-aggression pact with Stalin so that Russia could takeover Eastern Poland. Poland was conquered in about five weeks.
Two parades marched down toward Times Square, one on East and one on West Broadway… the Trotskyites opposing the Nazis, the other the Stalinites backing Russia. When they met in Times Square we could watch from our window as they started to beat each other with theirplacards.
The mounted New York police were laughing and cheering them on. Ambulances and paddy wagons took most of the demonstrators off in an hour or so.
When the scene quieted down, Stan and I went down to have a hamburger at Jack Dempsey restaurant. We walked all the way down to the Village Vanguard, where we heard Calypso music for the first time… Belafonte.
Maybe it was the fact that Helen and I were sitting right next to the bandstand at Mullis, but the best thing that got to me was how Tom’s local band could have such a tremendous big band sound. When they wound up the evening with Cab Calloway’s music, I could have sworn I was in the Cotton Club listening to the crowd echoing to Cab’s leads, sung by Jimmy (hidee) Moe.
The same was true with most every other arrangement they played. The band was big in talent. The place was sold out. The band donated their time, as did Jill Urbach our torch singer extraordinaire… what a blast.
Kudos to Senior Services Coordinator Curt VanHyning, who has announced his pending retirement (a tough act to follow).
Senior Organizing Committee credit goes to: Shirley Miner, Doris Estabrooks, Debbie Staehlin, Butch Dukich, Bonnie Sliger and Curt. Also to donors: Stan Reitan, Valmark; Kris Brown, Printonyx; Bill and Rita Ament.
Volunteers: S-Club servers Kathryn Close, Melanie Cope, Rachel Gabriel, Sopie Marinkovich, Kori Rasmussen of Friday Harbor High School; Red and Nancy Earp; Bob Buzzell, Sue Ramsey, Elene Mays, Jack Gibson, Pat Ball, Beth Phillips, Laura Westmiller and Beth Spaulding.
All that, with a fine dinner salad, spaghetti, meat ball, cheese bread and apple pie for $25-a-head and great raffle prizes. It doesn’t get any better than this and for a cause, good enough to even get me on the dance floor.
Go with the F.L.O.W. (Ferry Lovers Of Washinglton)