Sunshine and Clouds - 10 Memorable Years

The decade of the [19]40’s was one of contrasts – laughter and sorrow – good and evil. It was a time, for me, of good movies, good music, fun in high school and college, but always present were the clouds of war and vivid in my memory is the Sunday when President Roosevelt announced that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. I was chattering on the phone to a school friend with the radio in the background. Suddenly the announcement came on and everything we had said seemed very trivial.

I remember typical high school scenes growing up in Sarasota, Florida. There were the school dances and jitterbugging with my boyfriend, a very good dancer. Everyone formed a circle and watched. How exciting! There were visits to the ”drive-in” downtown – “the Smack” – where we drank Cherry Cokes and listened to the memorable songs of the forties pouring out of the jukebox if you fed it nickels. I remember poems my mother wrote and tucked in my lunch box.

Ringling Brothers Circus figured largely in my life, as my close friend’s mother was a snake charmer and her father manager of the sideshow. The “little people” in the circus were our friends and they would pick us up after school with a driver and take us out to the circus grounds, stopping in town to have a word with the “giant” as he leaned over the car to talk. At the circus grounds we watched a rehearsal. The High School had a circus of its own – The Sarasota Sailors’ Circus – many of the members, children of circus people. It endures to this day.

Westhampton College at the University of Richmond [Virginia] was a good experience – learning and learning to live with all the girls from the South – mainly Virginia. The young men were few and far between as so many had gone off to war. A group of Naval V-12's were posted in a boys’ dorm at Richmond College and for a time our prom looked promising until they all came down with the measles and many of us resorted to asking our fathers to the dance. One memorable dance sponsored by PiKA Franternity was entertained by a big band – I believe it was Bob Chester.

It’s a strange anachronism but war years bring about a surge in advancement and creativity and so it was in the 40’s – a time we all remember with mixed emotions.

Patricia Broman
Southbury, CT © 2014

p.s. Oh yes – And I remember RKO Pathé Newsreels and a News Reel Theatre in Grand Central Station

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