Monday, October 8, 2012

Waltzing 'Round and 'Round We Go

They went to dances, she said. Local bands at a dance hall run by two brothers. They were only in 8th grade, she and her twin, but considered nearly grown-up. After graduation, they'd be getting jobs and earning their own way, but for now, they danced. Sat at the bar and ordered mixed drinks. There was no such thing as being asked for an i.d. But they didn't drive. Their uncle chauffeured them. Another uncle and aunt went to the dances, too. This uncle was a marvelous dancer, she said. And there was an immensely fat man. Maybe 300 pounds. Oh, but how this fat man waltzed. If you could get a waltz with him, the evening was complete. One night there was such a snow storm that the dance hall brothers had to take them in until their father could make his way to retrieve them the next morning. Her mother aged ten years that night, she said.

There was a boyfriend named Bill. He wanted to marry her, she said. A marine, he was, and he asked her to to move to San Diego. No. She couldn't imagine it. Too far.  He was snatched up by a classmate. Came back from the war, wounded. A long recovery. Her sister kept her apprised. Years later after my mother was married, Bill happened into my father's business at a moment when my mother happened to be there. You, she said. You, he said.

Two decades later, my father dead. My mother remarried. And the dancing uncle and aunt give dance lessons to my mother and her new husband. Who didn't know his left foot from his right, she said.

Four decades later, my mother living in California with me. The second husband, the dancing aunt and uncle--all dead. Her sister in a nursing home on the east coast. The live music in a country dance hall, long silent.
And Bill. Unaccounted for, but still dancing in her memories.

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