Stirring Up A Memory

The other day my cousin phoned and in conversation asked if I remember having a trench coat… and I did… it was beige and hers was rose. She always did like to be different… where I always followed the pack, but that conversation brought back so many memories.

Picture this 1943:

The most important clothes in my closet were plaid skirts, sweaters, blue jeans, a red and black wool jacket, the necessary bobby sox, and the above mentioned trench coat, with friends’ names, and “FRANKIE” written all over it.

Frank Sinatra was the rage, and I joined the rest of the country as a screaming fan. “Anchors Aweigh” was his latest movie and would be opening soon at the Broadway paramount. Frankie, along with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and The Pied Pipers would all be appearing on stage.

Two of my friends and I planned our strategy as to how we could get to go, we decided to spend the night at Dorothy’s , leave the house very early, be on line by 6:30AM, and make a day of it. Our plans were made, but we still hadn’t asked our parents… To my surprise my Dad said NO, he thought I was too young to go to the City. I kept after my Mother and she finally said Yes… and we would tell him after the fact. I hadn’t really disobeyed him before, unless you count putting on Tangee Lipstick when he wasn’t looking, another of his No No’s.

The day finally came, we spent the night at Dorothy’s and left at 5:30 in our trusty trench coats, a bag of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and my new sailor hat bought with my hard earned baby-sitting money. We were ready for a really big day. First took the bus to the subway (5¢ each) and finally reached the Paramount at 6:30. Waited on a really long line with fans of all ages until the theater opened at 9AM. In those days you could pay one admission and stay. We saw “Anchors Aweigh” 3 times which meant we saw the stage show 3 times. When Frankie sang, fans were screaming, sailor hats were flying, mine too, never to be seen again.

We went home exhausted, thrilled beyond measure… My Dad just laughed… he knew it all the time. We were three almost thirteen year olds embarking on our first big adventure, and a day never to be forgotten.

To be honest… I really liked Bing Crosby better… BUT like I said… I followed the pack.

Marilyn DeMar Benson
Purdys, NY © 2014

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