There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark



Thursday, August 23, 2007

Right foot, NO rosemary the other right foot!

As usual this didn't come out as clearly as I wanted. This is my winner ribbon for:

ALHAMBRA SEVENTH GRADE SOCIAL DANCE CLASS SPONSORED BY ALHAMBRA RECREATION DEPARTMENT! The date is May 7, 1957.

The classes were held at Alhambra Park located in Uptown Alhambra as compared to the area below Main Street. If you lived below Main you were on the wrong side of the tracks so to speak and the area where I lived, Edgewood Square, was smack in the center of the wrong side.

Alhambra Park and the area around it was beautiful. Most of the homes were at least 100 years old and sat on large pieces of land. The park was right in the middle of this area known as Lower Marino. The town just to the north of Alhambra was San Marino and very exclusive.

My folks were blue collar people. My dad was a long haul truck driver and my mother stayed at home playing at marriage and motherhood. We lived comfortably and I had everything I needed. Uptown girls came from parents that were doctors, dentists, business owners and entrepreneurial mothers as well. Many of these women owned clothing boutiques and handbag shops. One owned a car dealership with her brother, another a popular restaurant hang out for the high school kids. The 50's in Alhambra were prosperous. The children of Alhambra in the 50's reaped the benefits. There was a great deal of snobbery and competition and if you were, oh let's say, a skinny, under-developed, insecure girl, with frizzy hair and crooked teeth whose father drove a truck and her mother made her clothes, well, you were not exactly the right kind for that Alhambra. It only got worse once I was in high school, but I'll save that for another post.

I remember going to the dance classes and being one of the most popular wall flowers there. I was the only girl from below Main Street. All of the other girls were Uptown girls. I don't remember any of the boys from the class but I must have danced with one to have been a winner.

I love the names of the instructors; Mignon Callish and Bert Brooks.

20 comments:

gina said...

Mignon - what name! Good for you, Rosemary! And you know, one thing I didn't mention when we talked yesterday about high school and reunions and not being cool - I was told by more than one of my former male classmates that they thought I was cute and neat back in high school; they were just too intimidated to tell me that back then. I guess me being smart, and tall, and confident, scared the sh!t out of them. Me being from the wrong side of the tracks didn't help, thanks to peer pressure. But they had no problem being friends with me. I'll bet a lot of boys felt the same way about you - thought you were cute and didn't care which side of the tracks you were from - but couldn't tell you out of fear, peer pressure, whatever.

utenzi said...

Yikes. That doesn't sound like a comfortable childhood--at least as you related to the other kids, Rosemary. My parents paint a rosier picture of the Eisenhower years--but there wasn't any "track" in the town where they grew up. Everyone was poor.

Auld Hat said...

Most popular wall flower! lol
Oh...wish I'd thought about that at the time. Mostly, I just joked that I was assisting in holding the wall up. Lest it fall and crush the pretty, dancing flowers.

Jennie said...

Why do I love the word "Alhambra?" The first time I saw it was in relation to American Four Square homes (which I have). Evidently there was a alhambra model and it was quite cool, judging from the pictures on the net I found. I think it's great that you won a dance contest! I was totally afraid to until I had an awakening: No One is Watching You Jennie. :) I also never knew it, but I was from the lesser section of town too. I always thought I was just outside it, but later someone set me straight, that actually my street was part of "that section". lol Oh well, it's all a bunch of bunk. (But I did move to the other side of town as an adult! hm, maybe I sold out.)

jan said...

I'll bet Ginger Rogers doesn't have a ribbon like that.

madretz said...

It sounds like you had challenges, but I can imagine that growing up in Los Angeles in the 50's was pretty neato, too. With that "old" hollywood charm. I worked on Sunset Blvd in the early 90's at one of the studios. I used to daydream about what it would be like to people watch in the 40's and 50's, walking along the Blvd dressed to the nines - which at the time was normal! Men in their derby's, women in their furs...how totally awesome. It'd be interesting to hear about your perspective about growing up in LA vs. what you thought it would have been like growing up in Idaho back then.

kenju said...

Rosemary, I wasn't popular in high school either, but when I went back for the 20th reunion, everyone greeted me as though I had been.

Mom said...

I grew up in Whittier, CA. We were almost neighbors. We had relatives who lived in Alhambra. I went to nursing school in Pasadena. Small world.
Madretz, growing up in suburbia in the 50' was very far from L.A. and Hollywood.

Lorraine said...

Groovy ribbon, Rosie. And just for grins, I've read that Margaret George book over there on the sidebar. I also love her "The Autobiography of Henry VIII" and the one she wrote about Cleopatra.

Sandy said...

Brings back memories of school dances. I was my full height at 12 (5'9") and all the very, very short boys wanted to dance with me. I never knew about right/wrong side - don't know why.

Michele said...

Oh, I adore reading your memory posts. You truly do share some wonderfully glorious memories.

Now, tell me, when is the las time you used the dancing skills that won you ribbons? I hope it is at least once a week in the living room of your home, with your sweetheart.

Sling said...

Good job on the waltz ribbon rosie!
I grew up not far from Alhambra,in Torrance.We didn't have any tracks.

more cowbell said...

Great story! the only ribbon I actually remember winning was for the 3-legged race in 6th grade. Me and Mary Stanley. She's a doctor now.

Damn. She probably used it on her resume...

Stephanie said...

Love the ribbon!!!

Cazzie!!! said...

Such classy names indeed. Love the ribbon

Middle Child said...

"Uptown...downtown girls" we must have different names...
I know in Sydney to be called a "Westie" by a North Shor kid is an insult... but they all drink fluoride and Chl;orine intheir water so apart from the cost of their undies they are dumb as whatever!!!"

Nunnie's Attic said...

I love your blog and I love your wit. My daddy is still with us (Praise the Lord) and I don't know how I would survive without him in my life. You're only 2 years younger than my mom, I think that's why I was drawn to you. And btw, congratulations on that prestigious award!!

Joan said...

Each and every time I have my car serviced, I travel to Alhambra which is where we bought my car. And the dealership is on the south side of Main St. Does this mean I'm going to a wrong-side-of-the-tracks business? :~)

Michele said...

Wow, I wish I had taken dancing classes when I was young When I watch it on TV, the waltz dancing is beautiful and they glide across the floor so effortlessly in their flowing gowns... amazing... it looks so difficult.....
awesome ribbon!

Anonymous said...

I found some sample dance lessons from by Mignnon Callish for smooth dancing and swing dancing you might be interested. I am a west coast swing dancer and someone just gave it to me thinking I may like to look at it. It is typed up with some hand written dates on it of 1945, Los angeles california, a name reata Klores and from what I can read (copy 2 finshica. If you would be interested in this let me know. (jpietrowiak@yahoo.com)