Someone just told me they were going to bring back bands to entertain the older citizens that might like to go into the park in the evening and just sit there and listen to that good 50's, 60's and 70's music we all loved.
So that brings me back to my Euclid Beach memories when I use to go there on Saturday and Sunday nights to dance in that wonderful dance hall and that wonderful floor that they were famous for. They had the strobe lights flashing on and off as you danced with your partner.
Whomever she was you thought you owned the world. Never mind, I only made $15 a week in 1935 and I had no vehicle to get there since I lived half way between St. Clair and Superior ave. I had to take two street cars to get to Euclid Beach way out Euclid and St. Clair near the water reservoir.
Those were the days that park was a haven for families. They would flock out there on weekends to picnic and enjoy the rides and play the games. Families would be carrying big baskets of food dragging a big watermelon so big and heavy it would be transferred from one man to another because of the long walk to the picnic table.
Just as an observation you would see families together of ever ethnicity. I don't remember any fights. There would only be mother and father with 3-4 -8 kids following allow. The pavilion was perfect with plenty of room covered in different families sharing space with few arguments. Its seemed like a magic time yet we were in the heart of the Depression. I doubt if anyone was better off as I was.
We all were in the same boat. Did we seem happier? I wish I can put my hands on it. It seems to me as I think back on that time that we were a happier people. Many more immigrant first generation "with makes a big difference in attitude". Measuring up all we have today materially and so much technology I think it was a better time to go back.
Remembering the dance hall at Euclid Beach who would bring in the top big bands in that era. Big bands where we danced to Guy Lonbardo, Tommy Dorsey, Bob Crosby, and many lesser names that were well known. There were many places you can dance at Euclid east 105th street which was a dance haven. There always was a hard core group that followed certain bands wherever they played.
You never would fail to meet the good dancers at Dance Land, The Circle Ballroom, The Triannon, and The Belvedere nightclub among other places long forgotten. Chippewa lake was also well known for their facility and the Big Bands that they drew.
So let me tell you how it felt to find yourself on the arms of a girl you just met. You saw her dancing with her partner and knew at once that she would make a perfect fit.
These dancers were not like "Dancing with the Stars". Far from it. This was the original ballroom dancing. We would dance the Waltz, a good Fox Trot and Jitterbug. Mambo and Cha Cha had not made their in roads just yet. Our style was much more modern. However, It suited the times and I would have been considered a good dancer for that time.
I would put my arm around the back of my partners shoulders not familiar enough to feel her waist and just float away just dreaming those dreams that every young man dreams of when he has a lovely woman in his arms. The Strobe lights flashed back and forth. Its like a magical world. You fell like you have the whole world before you. Everything is lovely and life is beautiful.
As a couple with a few of our friends in later years we tried to reproduce that period with Sunday dances and "Big Bands" at the Aragon ballroom on 45th street and Lorain ave. It just did not work. The bands were good, the ballroom was beautiful and the couples matched well all good dancers. But as Tom Wolfe wrote in his book on Home "You can never go back Home".
Euclid Beach, the Thriller, the Merry- Go -Round, the Carousel, the Popcorn and the Wax Museum. Those were the days. How lucky we were to have lived in that simple age when it took more than wealth to bring happiness.
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Cleveland Seniors columns