Laughing Before the Dance

Doris and Toddy, Alpha dance 1952.

I do not remember seeing my parents dressed up for this dance or any dance. The most dressed up would be for church or holidays and there were no evening gowns worn for those. I was six years old. I do not remember ever seeing my parents dressed up and going out.  After we moved off of Atkinson to Chicago Blvd, I remember that my mother had several fancy gowns hanging in her closet, but never saw her wear one.

That radio was passed to me when I was in college and I had it for a number of years before I moved to very small quarters and most of my stuff disappeared. There was a phonograph in the lower part. You could also get short wave through the radio and I remember listening to Radio Habana Cuba during high school while I was studying Spanish.

Now, if they were down there practicing their steps to the radio or their collection of 78s, that would be a life I wasn’t aware of. I was in college before I found those 78s and heard The Ink Spots, Bessie Smith and so many other classics. My mother never played them as I was growing up.

A photo from the Sphinx magazine of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. October 1952

I found this article in the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity magazine, The Sphinx, about a ball in the spring of 1952 in Detroit. This might be the one my parents were going to.

For more click about where we were living –  A is for Atkinson.
I posted a companion photograph to this one in 2015. You can see it here -> Alpha Dance 1952
The Sheraton Cadillac in photographs through the years.

Click for more Sepia Saturday posts.

9 thoughts on “Laughing Before the Dance

  1. Those gowns were so beautiful. What I wouldn’t do to get that one your Mom had on. It always strikes me now that I think about it, I didn’t see my Parents all “gussied” up to much. I do remember them entertaining during the holidays but not going out too much in gowns on any occasion. I did save one of my Mom’s but I lean more to it was the style of dress back then; long dresses. Nothing fancy like this.

  2. I’ve never worn any fancy gowns like this. I never went to any fancy occasions to wear one to either.
    Good to see you here True!

  3. My Mom & Dad took ballroom dance lessons in a group that held four ‘balls’ a year, so I do remember seeing my Mom & Dad all dressed up in fancy duds. In fact I borrowed one of my Mom’s gowns to wear to one of my high school proms. The gown your Mom is wearing in the photo is gorgeous – looks like it’s done in satin. I wonder what color it was? And I love your Dad’s big smile. He looked like one happy fella in that photograph. And your Mom is beautiful.

  4. That is indeed a perfect photo of happiness. However had the camera snapped the shutter at just the right moment, as your mom looks beautiful. Looking back I realize now that my folks probably got dressed up more often than regular people. Since my dad was an army officer he had a fancy dress uniform for special occasions, and my mother enjoyed finding the right outfit to match because at military functions it was men who wore flashy dress.

    In my occupation as a musician I regularly appear in a tuxedo, or dinner jacket, or even white tie and tail coat. But for me they are just work clothes and the minute I get home I’m back to casual jeans and shirts. Recently some orchestras have tried to get away from the old formal dress style which is considered too elitist and have asked musicians to wear vague semi-casual all-black garments. I prefer that fashion because its less constrictive and usually doesn’t require dry cleaning!

  5. How wonderfully glamorous they all look, and your parents look so happy in the first photo. My parents occasionally went square dancing when I was very young but never anywhere flash like a ball but then dad was pretty anti-social.

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