Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ya Know Leadbelly, Bill Bloonsey

How about a trip down Boogie Woogie's Memory Lane. (That's Half Past Old and parallel to Outta Shape) Don't worry. I'm not going to be dancing. Found a couple of kids on You Tube, shown at the bottom of the post.
It was around 1943. The war was going on, hot and heavy. My Father was in the Navy, stationed out of Norfolk, Va. It seemed as if every ship in the Navy was stationed at Norfolk and the town was jam packed with wives and kids. Housing was an impossible situation.

Mrs. Powell, a wizened little woman who wore her long cotton stockings rolled at her ankles, supported herself by giving music lessons and renting out rooms of her old Victorian mansion. We thought we had hit on a stroke of luck because she not only rented us 2 big rooms but let us use her kitchen. I was in the 7th grade and she said I needed proper nourishment. That meant grits every morning. Oh well. But there were some great perks. Eventually we became like one family and she and my mother went into business together stretching lace curtains. That's right, lace curtains were the vogue and most housewives were afraid to wash them. So my Mother and Mrs. Powell took in curtains, you might say. It was good for my Mother because my Father was on his ship fighting the war much of the time.

Mrs. Powell's piano students hung around the big old dining room with the grand piano even when they didn't have lessons. Her favorite student was David, a skinny eighteen year old with a crooked spine, unpopular with the girls, but in demand for his piano talent. David became a part of the Madison Street family of sailors and wives. OMG we danced Boogie Woogie on that old wood floor with poodle skirts flying and saddle shoes hitting the floor. I could hardly wait until school was over so I could rush home where there was always music and dancing going on.

It wasn't all happy happy because we were smack dab in the middle of a war, but that's a downer right now and I'd rather you take a peek at the Boogie Woogie dancers. It was so much fun..... still is, only I puff now when I dance it.

Anybody else old enough to remember Boogie Woogie?


  1. Visiting from the Blog Hops! I love your site. I can't wait to get to know you better. Stop by when you get the chance. I have a Meet Me Monday blog hop and I would love if you could join in.

  2. He was a famous trumpet man from old Chicago way
    He had a boogie style that no one else could play
    He was the top man at his craft
    But then his number came up and he was gone with the draft
    He's in the army now, a-blowin' reveille
    He's the boogie-woogie bugle boy of Company B . . .

    What a great song -- this is the "boogie-woogie" I know. Another one of my dance production numbers. I was raised around music, always being quizzed about who had written a specific song, or who the singer was . . . I am so thankful for my father's love of music. When I look back I just laugh. At age 10 my favorite music ... Chuck Mangione. What an odd "duck" I was, and happily still am. What great memories you have. Your stories transport me to another place and time.

  3. What a great post. Sadly, our Broadband connection is too slow for me to watch the You Tube clip.

    I don't remember Boogie Woogie but I am interested in all forms of dance. It must have been great to live in a house where always there was music and dancing.

  4. My two uncles could play all that music. I have a Spike Jones CD - he used to listen. One of them used to bring this record to the house, "Big Fat Mama" - and my grandmother would break it every time! LOL - I love those stories - and I loved yours!

  5. I grew up in a house with music and dancing in the kitchen. Wonderful memories. I still like to dance around my living room from time to time, and I puff now, too. Need to work on that. Thanks for bringing in some music to lighten our way. :)

  6. Wow, I had totally forgotten about those stockings rolled at the ankles. What a flash back.
    Loved a boogie woogie piano player. They really knew how to jump start a party.
    Enjoyed the memory trip a lot.

  7. I lived in Norfolk once upon a time. Actually we lived in Virginia Beach, but it's in the neighborhood. No boogie-woogie going on though. I think it would've been fun.

  8. stopping by from Friday Follow over forty, love your blog..I am your newest follower hope you stop by today..

  9. Grits. I never know what grits are but I can only hope they're tasty! :-)

    Lace curtains? Lovely!

    And although I wasn't born when the boogie woogie was a craze first I am most impressed by these young uns boogie woogie-ing away like it's 1943! Fantastic!

    Take care

  10. Those two were amazing and I am huffing and puffing just from watching them. I am on my 3rd week of no smoking..I'll have to keep watching that clip for inspiration!
    Have a great weekend..

  11. I spent 6 weeks Norfolk four years ago. It was a fun place but there was some shootings and being British it made me edgy, although I drank through it. I love the Boogie Woogie - I would love to Boogie Woogie but I think that I might puff too but it would be a fun way to shift some pounds!!

  12. Inspiring You to Save,
    Thanks for stopping by and the comment, I'll be by your blog shortly.

    Thanks for writing down the word to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Love that sone. Imagine someone as young as you liking BW. Thanks to your Father, you said. I'll bet your parents liked to dance.

    Thanks for stopping. Dance was so important during the war years. Lots of sadness but people danced to lively music to ..... what..... try to forget, I guess.

    What a great story of your Grandmother breaking the record of a "Big Fat Mama." Really made me chuckle. That was such a great musical time.

    Kitchen dancing is always fun because sometimes it's the only place where there is no carpet. I thought you like music because of your playlist that I was listening to. Have a great Sunday.

    I also remember another old lady neighbor who raised bees and some people believe being stung by bees brings good health. She also wore the rolled stockings and she would gather a handful of bees and put them down her rolled stocking so they would sting her. Must have worked because she lived to be 100 years plus.

  13. I love the beat of the boogie-woogie. Like salsa, the beat is quicker than I can handle but I dance to both anyway. I like to spin and turn. The husband and I have a lot of fun doing that even though we have no idea what we're doing. thanks, Manzi for the music and for sharing your wonderful story. I'd run home, too.

  14. Carol,
    Virginia Beach is where Edgar Casey lived. He was still alive when I lived in Norfolk but i was too young to be aware of such a profit. Again a day late...... or just too much into B. Woogie. Thanks.... Have a great Week.

    Hi Pam,
    Nice to meet you. I'll be by your blog shortly.

    Old Kitty,
    Grits.... just a corn mush that is eaten in a form of cereal. Corn is actually grown up North or the MidWest but never eaten like that. Only popular in the Southern US. Happy Sunday to you and Charlie.

    Congratulations, Doreen,
    Three weeks off cigarettes..... I applaud you. You must be very happy to be achieving this. Takes will power. Continued good luck.

    Six week in Norfolk..... you must have been sailing. Lots of water there. No, we don't like random shooting here. Only controlled hunting like we do out West. Keep Boogying.

    Aaahhh I'd bet money on you and hubby being great dancers. And it takes balance and agility to spin and turn. Why is it that the women always have to do do more spins than the men?????
    Enjoy your Sunday.... Manzi

  15. I love this! The imagery you create with your words is fabulous. Sometimes I wish I could transport to such times. Truly.

    On another note: There is a spot in Golden Gate Park (In San Francisco) where a group meets every weekend. They put on the boogie woogie music and dance and dance. The girls are dressed in the era as are the guys. It's truly a magnificent thing to watch.

    Personally, I love this music!

    Cheers sweet woman!

  16. Check this out. Plus you'll get to see my gorgeous city!


  17. PS...copy and paste link. Didn't translate to a hot link. Sorry.

  18. Big,
    i couldn't make the URL work. What's the name on YT?

  19. I Charleston New York

  20. Big: That was neat. Not only was it fun to watch but everyone looked like they were having fun dancing. That's what I love about dancing, everyone always looks like they're having such a good time.It's hard to stay sad or mad when you've just put music inside of you. Thanks for showing it.

    If I lived in San Francisco, that's where I'd be every Saturday and Sunday. Have you been there? What kind of crowds do they get?