The Chinese Are Coming, The Chinese Are Coming

Back in 1966 Alan Arkin starred in a film titled The Russians are Coming, the Russians Are Coming. It was a farcical comedy about a Russian submarine that gets stranded in an eastern coastal town, and the people panic. Today, when I opened this video from a friend I immediately thought of that film. This cute video, however is not scary, but whimsical. I never knew the Chinese had the moves this grandfather has as he hot foots it around with his twin grand daughters. They dance to music from Saturday Night Fever  and will lighten your day.

 

 

The video below is a trailer from the Russians are coming. The film was highly lauded and worthy of a Nobel Peace prize

Social Networking circa 1952

SOCK HOPS

Many wonderful new worlds opened up to me in high school.  It seemed like every time we listened to the announcements during home room class a new activity was born. This time it was the “sock hop.”

My social life was never lacking because of all my friends around the block.  In grammar school we stuck to each other like glue.  We hung together, we danced, we played games, we laughed and told each other our deepest feelings.  When high school entered our lives, it all changed.  We were still friends but our common interests were gone.  All of us were developing new ones.  We had new activities to attend. Now, we met our high school friends at these activities rather than take our grammar school buddies with us.  The school frowned on bringing boys from a different school to a Mendel social function. It was okay to sell them a ticket to a ball game but not to a dance. In a way, attending high school was like belonging to an exclusive club which was members only.

Up until that time, I had never heard the term ‘sock hop” before, but my new buddies, who were already in the know, told me I had to go because it was a great place to meet girls.  I could have taken a date to a sock hop, many boys did.  I was too afraid of girls to do that.  Even though I danced a lot with the girls of Avalon, this was different.  These girls were strangers and I’d have to talk to them.  It wasn’t easy for me to come up to a stranger and begin a conversation.  My mom was great at it. She made friends with people in an instant.  Dad was quiet. He had to force himself to meet new people all the time on his insurance job.

The sock hop was always on a Friday night. They began in mid-fall during football season, and continued through the basketball season. Many times they were right after the pep rally, and bon fire. They were simple dance socials organized for the purpose of getting the boys to meet girls and vice versa.  We always had a live band of high school kids who played the latest music.  At least one band member was a student at Mendel. We had to take our shoes off to dance on the sacred basketball floor; that’s why it was a ‘sock hop’.

There were a number of Catholic schools In the Roseland area. Saint Louis Academy was one of them.  Saint Louis was an all girl’s school located on State near 115 Street, and about a mile from Mendel.  The priest in charge advertised our event at all the neighborhood girl’s schools.  The word always got out, and there was always a good crowd at these dances.

Homecoming Dance, Not a Sock Hop, 1956

 

In my first year, I attended as many hops as I could.  Each time, I met a buddy and we stood on the sidelines drinking a coke, eyeballing the girls dancing by themselves.  We poked each other when a particular girl peaked our interest, and dared each other to ask her to dance.  I always thought the girls were too good for me, or too pretty. I never believed a pretty one would ever accept my offer to dance. The girls all seemed so old and mature. Most times it took me all evening to build up enough nerve to ask a special girl to dance. Then, when I finally made my move, another guy asked her just before me.

It was easier to talk to someone if you were dancing a slow dance than if you did a jitterbug.  That limited the number of chances I had to meet someone.  Since most guys could dance slow, but not fast, the competition was fierce.  (It just occurred to me as I am writing this that I was a good dancer, and loved to jitterbug. I should have taken advantage of that skill to meet the girls.  Duh!!  Not too dense, it’s only taken me fifty-eight years to figure that one out!)

The dance ended at 10 p.m., then everyone went their own way.  Many parents waited outside in cars to pick up their daughters.  A few older boys drove home from school, but most of us took the streetcar home.

In that first year that I attended the sock hops, I never developed enough nerve to ask a girl for a date after the hop.  I finally got enough nerve to begin asking girls to dance, but never had the nerve to go past “see you at the next sock hop” when it came to furthering a relationship.

Every time I attended a sock hop I took a step away from Avalon and a step further from my friends on the block. My freshman year at Mendel was my ‘breaking away’ experience.  We were all growing up and expanding our horizons, but desperately holding on to each other at the same time.

Dancing the Night Away

Having a Beer and a Ball

Having a Beer and a Ball

In nineteen forty, a small group of men chatted over a beer. The subject was how to make a difference with their lives. One had heard of Lions Clubs, and suggested that they form a club in their town of Frankfort, Illinois. By the spring of nineteen forty-one they chartered the Frankfort Lions Club, and adopted the Lions motto “We Serve.” Over the years, the club grew to have more than a hundred members. Their primary mission was directed toward helping people with blindness and vision problems. It remains the focus of the club to this day.

The club required funds to serve the growing needs of the community. Again, they discussed the matter over a few beers, and the idea came to them to hold a raffle. Members brain-stormed a formula for raising money that has served them well for the last twenty six years. It was simple, Lions sell tickets for twenty dollars apiece, but limit sales to two thousand. The idea grew. Why not rent the entertainment tent for a dance on the Thursday before the Frankfort Fall Festival begins? They would serve beer, food, and hire a band. A single sweeps-ticket will allow a couple to enter. On that night, Lions, friends, and neighbors fill the tent. They dance, listen to the lively music, or just socialize. The grand finale is the draw of the winning tickets.

Initially, first prize was a new car, but inflation took over, and cars became too expensive. First prize is now ten thousand dollars in cash, with thirty-one hundred and fifty dollars of additional prizes. Lions continue to limit the ticket sales to two thousand. It makes the odds of winning good. The sales effort is more challenging because the club membership is down to forty. The decrease in members is typical of service clubs around the United States. In spite of fewer members, and the reduced value of the dollar cutting the charities budget, the Frankfort Lions Club continues to “Serve.” Please help support by participating in the “27th Annual Charities Sweepstakes Dance,” Thursday, August 28, 2008.

For more information on where to buy tickets visit our website at http://www.frankfortlionsclub.com

Winning Ticket

It still amazes me how much my post “I Am A RACIST,” is being viewed. More, and more I am convinced that the world thrives on the dark side. Darth Vader lives on. Good will overcome evil in the end. There is no doubt in my mind that mankind is basically good. It seems however, that those men who thrive on BLOGS lean toward the dark.

My days have been filled with activity designed to make a difference. God has given me a rich life, and I intend to use it for good purposes. My current project is a fund raiser for the Frankfort Lions Club. I am in charge of advertising. I am also on a campaign to sell a record number of raffle tickets. A Sweepstakes ticket costs twenty dollars for a chance to win ten thousand dollars first prize, and another three thousand one hundred and fifty dollars in additional prizes. A ticket also gives a buyer entrance for two into our Sweepstakes Dance. The music for the night is Brother John Band.  We drink alot of beer and have a great time. Mark your calendars, August 28, 2008 at the Entertainment tent in Frankfort, Illinois.

If you have a spare twenty bucks to take a chance with great odds. Contact me through the comments section. I will be very happy to sell you the winning ticket.

The Need is Great

My chest is bursting with pride. I just completed and posted a new website for my Lions Club. I had one linked to my Lions page, but it led to a funky page that was hard to find, hard to use, and limited in what I could do on it. This new one starts with our own domain name, frankfortlionsclub.com.
My goal was to have the website up and running as part of the Frankfort Lions Club 27th Annual Charities Sweepstakes. Tickets went on sale this week. The Sweepstakes Dance is the unofficial kick-off for the Frankfort Fall Festival. First prize is $10,000 in cash. We charge twenty dollars per ticket. It is a chance in the raffle, and entry for two adults into the beer tent for the dance.  We limit ticket sales to 2000. Since I joined this club we’ve never sold all the tickets. That means the odds to win are really good . In addition to the $10,000 first prize there are six additional prizes ranging in value from $1000 to $200.
The Sweepstakes Dance is a lively affair with the famous “Brother John Band” providing the music. Sandwiches, pizza, and drinks are available for sale. It turns into a neat social gathering. The crowd starts out with the seniors and evolves into the “Thirty Something” group closing it down.
The dance is on Thursday evening August 28, 2008. Action begins at 6:30 p.m. The music plays from 7:30 p.m. till 11:30 p.m.
The charities supported by the affair are: Scholarships to deserving Lincolnway East H.S. grads, food baskets to needy families at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, the “Sights and Sounds” fund of the Lions of Illinois Foundation, free eye exams and eyeglasses for poor children, and a host of additional community needs. The list is endless, the need is great, the resources in short supply.
Help me out by going to our new website, and calling a Frankfort Lion from the list for a ticket now.
http://www.frankfortlionsclub.com 

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