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She Danced With Rudy 10 Times

Dance Cards from 1927-1928

She danced with Rudy at the Junior Senior Prom on Saturday, May 21, 1927, in the Lake Front Pavilion.

They quoted Milton on the dance card, “Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee, Jest, and youthful jollity.”

Rudy signed it ten times, although toward the end of the event he began using ditto marks. Maybe she wrote his name, it’s not clear. The enthusiasm of seeing Rudy’s name written waned by music from the Play Boy Orchestra near Lake Michigan. Ditto marks came to mean something else for the cohort of their children.

The couple married and lived a long life. The reason I know and have these souvenirs is they were abandoned in a box I bought for a buck at their estate auction.

I can’t keep them forever either.

Outside after waking, the sky was clear, the stars bright. A lone aircraft made its way to the Cedar Rapids airport, crossing the starry night southwest of me. It violated a serenity of wonder… about the stars, about the dancing couple before the financial crash that ended the era.

I’m left with signatures on a dance card, but not the dance. It would take a partner to reenact the dance. My partner is sleeping and I’m alone under this starry night still full of wonder.

4 replies on “She Danced With Rudy 10 Times”

Thanks for reading Becky. Usually someone from the family bids on personal mementos like these at an estate auction. That I acquired them was unintentional. The event was during the time we lived in Northwest Indiana. Estate auctions were also a history of consumer culture since the depression as people of this generation passed. As I tried to say in the post, such artifacts can’t recreate the dance, which in this case led to marriage and a long life with children in the area where the couple grew up. I wonder about those dances and what kind of people Rudy and his dance partner became.

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I’ve read this post in reverse order to the poem you posted later. This post is well written too. This, to my mind, what you’ve done here is what art does: brings us into a small but important part of other people’s stories, other people’s lives. History, sociology and the like are muffled instruments for the most part, things like this are the real notes.

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