Music And Memories
I love music - all kinds: early rock and roll of the 60s, classical music with thrilling symphonic melodies, standard ballads of the 40s and 50s, swing and big bands. Like most teen-agers, I loved listening to the music of the day and loved dancing to it too. I remember the days of proms and dates with a very handsome dancing partner who was especially skilled. He danced semi-professionally outside of school so I was lucky to be his girl-friend. One evening in the gym stands out in my memory. We were jitterbugging quite energetically and soon found ourselves dancing alone in the middle of a large circle of school mates. What fun! This was Sarasota, Florida, a lovely place to spend 4 years of high school. Sarasota was a very different place in the early 40s. Longboat Key, a beautiful long piece of land into the Gulf of Mexico was a favorite spot for a young man and his date, although it was rumored that they often ran out of gas at the far end. No one lived on this beautiful Key but one family - McKinley Kantor, a well known writer, and his wife and daughter, who was my good friend. When we arrived at the end of Longboat, out would come a portable record player and we would dance on the hard sand. My friend, George, was a drum major for the school band, so music was important in his life. There was a popular drive-in in downtown Sarasota known as The Smack. We enjoyed many an afternoon sitting in the outdoor snack bar, sipping cherry Cokes and putting nickels in the juke box playing our favorite songs over and over. In college at the University of Richmond, from ’44 to ’48 we enjoyed dancing and listening to big name bands which often visited our campus. I remember Bob Chester’s band. The 40s were innovative years as happens in wartime, but I do not remember a musician’s strike. The big bands were plentiful and the music of that era seems to be, for many people, a part of their lives and memories. The beautiful melodies of Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and the songs of the 30s, 40s and 50s live on and continue to be performed by current artists such as Michael Buble, and amazingly, Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga. Even Bette Midler at the age of 60 plus has made a record reminiscent of Motown. What goes around comes around. Everything old is new again. We did see and live the best of times and the worst of times.