Five generations began with a blind date on Friday in early 1945. My two buddies at Maplewood High invited me to a Friday supper at the Candle Light Supper Club at Clayton and Hanley. I said, “I work Fridays on my dispatcher job at Missouri Pacific and am not dating because of school and my 40-hour evening job.” My buddies said “BLIND DATE, pretty lady, top student at Rosati Kane Catholic High”. I was a bit shy but couldn’t resist. I called my fellow dispatcher and traded shifts. I guess “pretty girl” caught my attention. We boys wore our “good clothes” to Maplewood High Friday and drove in to my buddy Jack’s girl friend’s apartment near their high school and picked up the three ladies about 6:00 p.m. The boys sat in the front seat and the girls sat in the rear seat. (We were all sixteen.)
Jack introduced me to the ladies and my date, Rosemary. She was surely pretty. She touched my hand and asked, “Do you like to dance?” I replied, “I love dancing. I’m a graduate of Tune Town (teenagers only and soft drinks—on Olive east of Grand)” Jack was a buddy of our waiter and talked him into bringing over a champagne bucket and towel and putting in it our ginger ale bottles to cool.
First dance, Rosemary, only four feet nine, took my hand and whispered “fox trot” in my ear. After our second dance, we went back to our table and ordered dinner. We six teenagers were the only young folks in the room. To old married folks, all had a chuckle ove3r our “champagne bucket” of chilling ginger ale.
Back to the dance floor. I gave the orchestra leader a 50 cent piece and told him we were both born in 1927. He said, “We will play the 1927 melody that is still a #1 Hit Parade number.” He announced to the room that he had a table of 1927 young folks and would play “Star Dust” for us all. Rosemary was but a few inches shorter than I and nestled against my chest. She said, “I love your cologne” and kissed my cheek. She asked, “Mickey told us you are a published author? I chuckled and said, “I had a short story published in “Boy’s Life”, the Boy Scout magazine and they sent $27 to my English class for the story.” Rosemary said, “No, Jack has a copy of your little poem from the Atlantic Monthly about “Fear of Puberty”. Did you fear becoming a teenager?” I said “Only when I was twelve.”
We moved out on the dance floor and tried the jitterbug numbers so the folks wouldn’t think we were square. We sat with our friends awhile and the orchestra started “Star Dust”. Rosemary took my hand and we danced cheek to cheek forever. I whispered to her, “Can we do this for the rest of our lives?” We stopped in the middle of the dance floor and she kissed me on the lips. The folks around us applauded.
We went back to our table and Mickie said, “First date—what’s going on?” Rosemary smiled and said, “I think we are two 16-year-olds who just got engaged.” Everyone said, “What about your folks?” I said, “They are already married to one another. We may not tell them for a few weeks.” Jack went over to the cigarette counter and came back with a little gold Cuban cigar ring. Jack said, “Do it right now—on bended knee.” I did so and Rosemary pulled me over and kissed my eyes. The room applauded and laughed. Our orchestra played Star Dust and we all danced our way to the car.
Bill AKA William or Billy Jones needs no introduction to readers of this site. He is, after all, Maplewood’s Premier Memoirist. At 92 years young he is showing no signs of slowing. Below are links to some of the best of his memories that we have been fortunate enough to share. Thanks again Bill for giving us another look at an earlier way of living in our favorite community. DH
- Reller Chevrolet (Bill posted a very interesting comment on this one)
- Harper’s Pharmacy
- Incident at Deer Creek
- Tales from Harper’s Pharmacy
- Where the Clean Air Is – Maplewood
- Dinky Streetcar
- Billy Jones Unadorned (Better not let the kids see this one)
- Christmas at Harper’s Pharmacy
- Angel’s Car
- A Message from Bill Jones
- Gender Confusion at Maplewood High
- No Colluding with the Rushin
- A Bill Jones Tripleheader
- Snipe Hunt
That’s 14 posts! 15 counting this one. Did I forget anything, Bill? Maybe I should have entitled this one, “The Complete Bill Jones Reader”? Happy 92nd, Bill. We wish you many, many more.