Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CIII. My Years at 12A Rue Khantaret Ghamra – Entertainment (29 of 30)

Party time

Young people in the ’40s and ’50s had to contend with stone age technology and Victorian values. So how did they party?

In the ’40s

I had an aunt, Victoria, who had five children, all of them older than me. On two occasions, I happened to be there when she had permitted her children to invite friends for a party. I am therefore in a position to describe to you how young people partied in those faraway days. (Other parties would not have differed by much; same constraints regarding technology and accepted behavioral limits).

One room has been emptied of its furniture to provide space for dancing, this therefore was the party room. Before I go any further, let me alleviate any concerns you may have. This was a well supervised party, the door to the party room was always open, and Victoria kept an eagle eye on the young set. In addition, she always arranged to have one or more adults with her.

Victoria had prepared a lot of food for the party; other parents had also contributed. Beer and wine were also available, but were not that important. (Drinking in general was not critical to partying, in Egypt, in those days).

As a young lad of 10, once in a while, I spied on the party. In a corner of the room was a record player which provided the music. The dancers in a slow dance kept close to each other. Occasionally, a young man’s hand “accidentally” strayed where it shouldn’t. He would be brought back to order by the young lady, or by Victoria. In such cases, my aunt would go by and clear her throat. Mind you, if required, she could speak her mind loud and clear. But that wasn’t the only frustration.

Once in a while you would hear a “death rattle” coming from the record player. You see, they were not electric at the time! There was a handle on the side to wind up a spring! When the spring has unwinded, the turntable came to a stop, but not before dying loudly! Mind you, most of the time, the dancers could dance for at least 3 minutes, the time it took for the huge vinyl record to play its piece of music. After that, a new record had to be placed.

(Keep in mind that this “modern” record player was a major technological advance over the Victrola of old with its huge conical speaker).

There was also a third annoyance, me! My spying got on their nerves and they gave me dirty looks. But I didn’t care and, indeed, went a step further.

At a certain point, I noticed that both my cousin and her escort had vanished. After looking for them high and low, I heard voices coming from the stairwell, I opened the door but could not see them. Eventually, I realized that they were by the main door of the building. Once I located them, I watched them with great fascination. The young man had both of his hands on my cousin’s shoulders, and he was telling her silly things (sweet nothings); surprisingly (to me) she looked very interested. He then decided to serenade her. He told her of a new song, “Besame Mucho” (Kiss Me A Lot). This song is today as old as the hills, but even then it was not new, this was 1946, and this song had come out in 1940. So far I had kept quiet, and they were unaware of my presence, but when he started singing, it proved to be too much for me. I asked them what they were doing? After recovering from their startle, the young man told me, “decampe.” (scram). I did, but not before telling them, “je ne vait rien dire a personne.” (I won’t tell anybody.)

And I was as good as my word and indeed kept their “secret” –  until today that is!

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