Make-believe Ballroom


People still enjoyed life. Families, and maybe some neighbors who didn’t have radios, would assemble in front rooms in the evenings and laugh at “Amos ’n’ Andy,” or some other program. Playing five hundred didn’t cost anything, and ten-cent jigsaw puzzles were very popular. Some of my Catholic friends got a lot out of making novenas. Indeed, there was a sort of subdued cheerfulness among the people maybe because deep down all of us believed that the future would be brighter, and anticipation is more enjoyable than realization.

More than any people I have known, I admired these threadbare Americans who worked so hard to keep up a respectable front while having to think twice about getting a fifteen-cent haircut.

So I think I’ll take my brother up on his suggestion after all.