dancing days

I’m fifty four years old.    My earliest memories of dancing are from very long ago when I was a small boy in my first few years in grammar school.   It was an era during which music and dance figured prominently in people’s social lives.     Back then, as now, there were certain songs that always seemed to have been played at weddings, birthdays and all sort of other functions.     Songs such as  “The Stripper” by David Rose and his orchestra,  Al Hirt’s  “Java” and “Sugar Lips”,   “Alley Cat” by Bent Fabric and his Piano,  and Henry Mancini’s  “Baby Elephant Walk”  from the movie “Hatari”, all instrumentals, were considered indispensable requisites for a good time.    On my father’s side of the family, our ethnic background is Italian and whenever they got together for a party, the relatives would always truly enjoy hamming it up with old fashioned traditional ethnic music to go along with all the traditional ethnic food and drinks.   During those days   I lived in a neighborhood in Queens, New York,  where two thirds of the neighbors were from either Italy or someplace in the Hispanic world.    That provided me with a chance to find out about a wide variety of different kinds of traditional  ethnic music and dancing, food and drinks.    Parties were held in people’s houses as well as in schools, churches and Knights of Columbus councils.     Although I’ve never been even the least bit good at dancing,  I used always to get quite a kick out of watching it all.    Frequently during that era people danced in a conga line.   It’s too bad that no one ever seems to do anything like that anymore.   People of all age ranges got together and danced on the same line.  I have quite a lot of relatives and during that time in my life I lived in an especially active neighborhood where people were constantly gathering together for parties and social gatherings in general.    I’ve always been exceptionally fond of the music and pop culture of the 1960’s and I’ve always assumed that these early gatherings, with all their emphasis on dancing and its association with having such a very good time, are such a significant part of the reason for it.    


8 thoughts on “dancing days

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