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July 21, 2010

The Big 21

The day of the big long awaited twenty first birthday had finally arrived.

This was a strange situation. She had been married three years. She had one child who was two years old. Her husband was in Vietnam. She was living with roommates of a dubious background. She spent every minute with her daughter in an apartment at the beach. Other than the time she was with her daughter, she did not have any hobbies or friends or job.

She hadn't seen or spoken with her mother for almost two years. The upcoming birthday was bringing about some sentiment and loneliness. She called her mother.

Her mother invited her to go to see The Lawrence Welk show at the Hollywood Palladium. Was this what her life had come to, no friends, no home, and spending her special twenty first birthday with old fogies at a an old folks dance?

She decided she might as well go since she had never been there and at least there would be music. One of her roommates babysat her daughter and another roommate went with her.

True, there were senior citizens in abundance at the Palladium, but there was laughter and fun and everyone was friendly and full of vim and vinegar. She danced almost every dance even if it was the Fox Trot or a waltz. And as people learned it was her twenty first birthday, she was the star of the dancing seniors. Everyone toasted her birthday and she sipped champagne and was thankful for so much in her life. Spending her special birthday with mostly strangers turned out to be another new experience and the entire room of well wishers has been a happy memory to cherish and a good lesson about preconceived notions.

Graphic found on Google.

43 comments:

Ms. Anthropy said...

Turning 21, Lawrence Welk, spending the evening with old fogies AND having a good time... priceless!

Rock Chef said...

It is a shame that the young often under estimate the older generations.

That is quite a situation to find yourself in at 21!

"Full of vim and vinegar" - it is a long time since I have heard that phrase! Wow - I know that someone used to say that a lot, but I can't remember who! Will try to remember...

BLOGitse said...

When I was young(er) I thought all the people over 30 were 'old'...
I don't think so no more. I wonder why... :)

LL Cool Joe said...

We should never have preconceived notions about people based on age, gender, colour or religious beliefs.

Too often I've found they turn out to be wrong!

Brian Miller said...

an interesting way to celebrate 21...but glad that her notions were wrong and good memories were made...perhaps there is something there to be learned...smiles.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

OH!!!!

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

..... I forgot what I did on my 21st bday. Most of my bdays were never much memorable :l

Opaque said...

I don't mind strangers, and I am humbled by well wishers. Presumptions about anything and anyone is not healthy.

Betty said...

I can´t even remember what I did on my 21st birthday. I was married three years then too, but no child. Great post with a good point!

Jeanie said...

That wisdom gained on a 21st birthday was more than a good memory, I think. It become a wonderful lesson for life. It was a pretty smart 21 year old that learned it.

DJan said...

Now that I am an old fogy myself, I think back to my 21st birthday, lost in the fog of memory, and think maybe I went out to a bar with some girlfriends to have a drink, but I'm not sure. I think this would have been MUCH more fun!

Sassy Pants Freckle Face said...

OMG what I would give to see Lawernce Welk,...when I was young I would always watch it with my Papa whebever I could get the chance,.. ,..seriously that rocks!!! Sooooooo Jealous, ...LUCKY!!!!!

Stickup Artist said...

I wish I had learned that lesson at 21. I would have spent a lot less time saying, "I'm bored" and would have found there is something unique and wonderful to take from every situation and encounter.

Maggie said...

It is wonderful to have such joyous memories and to have learned a lesson makes it even better! :)

Suldog said...

Funny - As a kid, I detested Lawrence Welk. My folks would have the show on the TV, on a Saturday night, perhaps while we ate our dinner, and I could conceive of little else so boring. MY WIFE, during her own childhood, had somewhat similar experiences and feelings.

Flash forward 40 years. MY WIFE and I enjoy watching the re-runs of the show, on PBS, while we eat dinner on a Saturday night. Sometimes the performances are interesting musically, but more often it is a way of recapturing a time and place; one we used to find boring, but for which we both now yearn.

Cinner said...

I think that would have been fun. I have no idea what I did on my 21st birthday, probably at some party somewhere. My 40th was the most memorable for me. Hopefully many of them ahead. take care, always love reading your stories. take care.

lisleman said...

stickup artist in the above comment said what I had on mind, very well.

Why do we get ourselves trapped into trying to do or be based on the popular fad of the day.

thanks for sharing this.

Syd said...

My father and mother used to watch Lawrence Welk. I have to say that the best part was the Lennon sisters.

otin said...

You keep doing this to me! Is this a true story about you? You need to tell me! lol

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

Love that you found that age does not mean old...

Mama Zen said...

I bet that was a hoot!

Robert the Skeptic said...

Joy can pop up in the most unexpected places. I can think of several times when I dragged my feet to some event only to find myself having a good time. Its a "what the hell" moment.

blueviolet said...

I'm not sure how many people can brag about bringing in their 21st dancing to Lawrence Welk. That is a memory to behold!

jillsy said...

I have found that some of the most fun people I've met have been many years older than me. Age is just a number. It's how you act that matters!

What a great memory to have!

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a wonderful memory and a perfectly told story. I nearly felt like putting on my dancing shoes-- We always watched Lawrence Welk growing up :-)

Cheers,
jj

Bernie said...

I love this post, brought memories when I had my 21.......So glad a memory was made and it was such a good one.......:-) Hugs

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I loved this. It was like a fairy tale. So much better than going to a bar and spending the rest of the night and next day puking.

Shrinky said...

It was all a question of frame of mind, wasn't it? Most 21yr olds WOULD have refused to enjoy the ocassion, simply BECAUSE - y'know? I guess having been taught from a very young age, life isn't always fair, you purposely made the best of what you could, and allowed yourself to enjoy what was best from the evening.

This is a lovely post, written by a special woman!

Dave King said...

I found that absorbing, though I don't quite know why - which is no criticism whatsoever. Must have been the writing. Well done.

Debbie said...

What an adventure! I also loved the idea of the vim and vinegar.

Enchanted Oak said...

What a teaching moment for that 21 yr old! It was a memory maker. A good gift....

Sabi Sunshine said...

i dont remeber being 21 and how it felt.... But we need to Remeber when you are young you will get old.. so I will suggest that every young generation should respect their elders.

nice post!

Love
Sunshine

Big Dave T said...

I've always been a big fan of Larry Welk. One of the very first albums I bought in my youth was--not rock, pop or heavy metal--but a Lawrence Welk album. Now that I think of it, one of my favorite tracks from there was called "Yesterday, When I Was Young." Kinda ironic now.

So that was a great 21st birthday in my estimation.

KleinsteMotte said...

I love that you called your Mom after 2 years and even went out with her. The bonus was that you were so kindly treated. Special for you but also your Mom I bet. I used to babysit every Saturday night and always watched L.W. That was in the early 60's

Julie said...

Hello, Technobabe. It's so nice to see you again. This is absolutely beautiful and a good lesson. I used to work at a nursing home, and they would have dances for the residents. Youth groups would bring teens to the dance, and it was as much fun for them as it was for the older folks. Your words are so true and beautiful.

The Urban Cowboy said...

Experiencing life in the present without preconceptions is to truly live.

secret agent woman said...

What an interesting memory. My 21st was pretty unremarkable, and later birthdays have meant much more to me.

deb said...

I love these stories of yours.

The Lawrence Welk show rocked!

I imagine an experience like that was tucked away as a reminder that there is always hope. Always something out there we don't expect.

Hilary said...

Beautiful. What a lovely memory. Lawrence Welk used to evoke a wince in me way back in those days.. not so much anymore.

Bossy Betty said...

Great post. I have always been a closet Lawrence Welk viewer myself....

Stacey Dawn said...

I have memories of Lawrence Welk as well..... thanks for sharing yours!

CherylK said...

First of all, congratulations on POTW! I remember Lawrence Welk and am so pleased that you revived that memory. Thank you.

Marla said...

Oh my goodness, I love this. What a fantastic memory!