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South Texas Living

Reminiscing: Remembering past New Year’s

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Rudy Elizondo
February 1, 2012 | 1,882 views | Post a comment

I have a fond remembrance of the Happy New Year’s Eve celebrations my wife and I experienced in our younger years.

There were numerous nightclubs available with large orchestras for our enjoyment. Throughout the year, and especially on New Year’s Eve, we attended such places as the Roaring Twenties, Shadowland, El Papagallo, One-Two-Three Club, Cuban Night Club, Seven Oaks Night Club, La Terraza Night Club, La Cita Night Club, Carousel Night Club, Las Vegas Night Club, The Green Gate, and The Red Carpet, to name a few. They had great orchestras, such as Paul Elizondo, Ramiro Cervera, “Los Tucan,” “Valde Gonzales Orchestra,” “Felix Solis Orchestra,” and the “Riverside Orchestra.” Some celebrations were in our home or the home of a family member.

The first date I had with my wife was on New Year’s Eve, and I took her to a dance at the Kit Kat Club. When I proposed to my wife, it was on New Year’s Eve at the same location.

A popular dance was the “Paul Jones.” The men would hold hands and form a ring. The ladies would do likewise and form an outer ring. The two rings would move in opposite directions when the music started. The ringleader would blow a whistle and the male and female closest to each other would grab their partner and dance a few steps, until the whistle would be blown again. It was very entertaining.

My uncle Tito Muñiz (Julia Castro’s brother) and his wife, Emma, belonged to a group called the Anniversary Club. Each member celebrated their wedding anniversary with a back-yard barbecue. My uncle always invited us to his celebrations. On New Year’s Eve, the group hired an orchestra and rented a church hall, usually Agudas Achim, and contracted with someone to prepare and serve a meal. The event was always well-attended. In a recent visit to a nursing home, the director of nursing asked me what my plans were for New Year’s Eve. I told her that under the current circumstances, I would not be able to “trip the light fantastic.” Then she asked me what that meant, that she had never heard that phrase. I told her that used to be a phrase that meant to whoop it up, to go dancing. An elderly lady standing within earshot acknowledged it was a familiar phrase no longer used. The director of nursing told me a few days later that she had posted the phrase on her Facebook page and that she had received comments form some elderly persons acknowledging their familiarity with that phrase.

Those were the days.

Rudy Elizondo is Julia Castro’s nephew and formerly of Floresville.

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