At the Garden

I was reading an article about jazz in the Time-Life special edition on the Roaring Twenties [1] that I recently purchased when I read about a band in Chicago that was tantamount to the rise of that particular music genre.

Of course, that got me thinking about my W-I-P, as all things related to that era do, and my character Charlie Brockway.

You’ve seen Charlie in some previous posts [2], but he is still a relatively unknown character for me. I know he’s originally from Chicago; that’s there’s some big secret in his life; and that he’s a musician. But this Time-Life article got Charlie talking about his past a bit.

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The mythical town of…

One thing I’ve learned while writing is that I have a terrible visual imagination. I can describe how something feels. Or smells. And I’m pretty good with emotion. But ask me to describe how something looks and if it’s not right there in front of me, I go totally blank.

Maybe I’m afraid I’ll get it wrong? Without looking at it first?

Take my mythical town of Henderson…

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I wish’t I was in Peoria

You haven’t seen much of me lately. I apologize for that. But… well, things got a bit crazy here, what with storms and rising water and holidays and new homes.

Still, Rose and Harold are with me every step of the way. In fact, I’ve been listening to 1920s and 1930s music to get a bit closer to them… and to my grandparents who were young newlyweds during this time.

Suffice it to say that I was surprised to hear this 1925 hit about my own hometown, Peoria.

It makes me happy to think of Rose listening (and dancing, even though Harold is pretty awkward and steps on her toes a lot) to this tune. And like the singer, I often wish “I was in Peoria.” Not because of the “goils” but for the people I love who are still there.

Chorus:  Oh, how I wish’t I was in Peoria, Peoria tonight.
Oh how I miss the “goils” in Peoria, Peoria, tonight.
Oh you can pick a morning gloria right off the sidewalks of Peoria.
Oh, how I wish’t I was in Peoria, Peoria tonight.

All the lyrics here (plus a bonus rendition–scroll to the bottom of the lyrics–of the song by Bill Edwards)

Aside

Cheers!

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. And chances are your plans involve an adult beverage. Or two.

If that’s the case, how about taking a moment or two to thank the resourceful bootleggers of the 1920s for the cocktail that you’re mixing. After all, it’s because of them, and the fact that their alcohol was often sub-par and bitter, that cocktails became trendy in the first place.

I’ll wait while you get your Gin Rickey ready…

Gin Rickey1920s Gin Rickey

Squeeze the juice of one-half lime into a highball glass, then drop the lime shell in the glass. Add two ounces gin, then fill with ice. Top with the sparkling mineral water and stir.

*if you want to make your rickey a bit more patriotic, add a few blueberries and swap out the decorative mint for a flag

 

Okay. Everybody ready? Rickey’s up… and Cheers! Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

 

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Boogie Shoes

Yikes! That’s not from the 1930s!!!

And yet, that first line expresses Harold’s sentiments perfectly.

In the late twenties and early thirties, there seemed to be two main pastimes: dancing and going to the pictures (and even the picture shows featured dancing). Practically every little town hosted a Friday or Saturday night dance… in the armory, in a barn, at a local church, wherever space allowed.

Imagine how that would be for a fella with two left feet! Especially since Rose loves to dance. Poor Harold. Even the “simple” dances of the era–foxtrot, waltz, castle walk–were challenging. But that didn’t stop him. If dancing was what Rose wanted, well… Continue reading