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Nostalgic night turns modern

By Staff | Nov 14, 2013

Dear Editor,

I had a most interesting time travel experience at the Community House last Friday, Nov. 8.

The Community House advertised a World War II swing dance party. As a World War II veteran, I was appreciative and delighted. In these days of rock, disco and line dancing, what a wonderful opportunity to travel back in time and dance again to the music of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, the Dorsey brothers, and the cadence of Frank Sinatra ballads.

So a friend and I bought tickets, put together our best WWII outfits – including a pair of brown-and-white saddle shoes I found at Goodwill – and turned down other events that evening for a magic night of 1940s dancing.

The Community House even advertised Bob Hope and Marilyn Monroe impersonators. Marilyn Who in World War II? Obviously a glitch in the Community House’s time machine. The WWII pinup girl was Betty Grable.

I found a photo taken of me and Bob Hope when Hope’s show troupe visited my base in Germany in 1945, to share with the faux Bob Hope.

A large crowd was already at the Community House when we arrived shortly after the advertised partystarting time of 7 p.m. We found places at a table and sampled the buffet as we waited for the dancing to begin.

On a big screen was the first taste of nostalgia: the iconic photo of the sailor kissing the girl in Times Square to celebrate the end of the war. The Community House’s time machine must have loved that picture – it was the only photo of WWII we saw while we were there.

A DJ played some WWII era songs in the background and finally announced that the dance floor was open. Oh, joy! The floor was crowded as we danced the first number, a Nat King Cole ballad, and continued to dance to the two subsequent quasi-jitterbug numbers. More! More!

But then something happened to that poor time machine and WWII music completely disappeared under an avalanche of rock, disco and line dancing. World War II time travel was kaput! After waiting for more than half-an-hour for it to be fixed, I asked the DJ if he were going to resume the advertised swing dance music.

It was not to be. Our time travel was over, and it had hardly begun.

We left. Instead of spending the evening dancing to the swing and sway of Sammy Kaye, we would have had to jump and knock to disco and rock. That’s not what was advertised.

Let’s hope that the Community House’s time machine gets fixed before the next nostalgic event.

Robert Hilliard