ON THE TOWN:

It’s not often that one thinks of a hangover as an enjoyable experience, but that was certainly the case this past week as local seniors made their way to an event that has become a weekly tradition in Burbank.

Every Thursday, the Joslyn Adult Center serves as the venue for the Swinging Seniors who kick up their heels to either The Silvertones trio or the 17-piece Clyde Reasinger Band.

This past week the organization presented its annual “Hangover Dance,” a January tradition that officially marks the end of the holiday season.

An evening of swinging and swaying to the music of the big band era, it is a time for old friends to catch up and new friendships to blossom. It has even sparked new romance, and with that, new life.

This past Thursday, as the lights dimmed and Reasinger’s musicians struck up a rousing rendition of “Cabaret,” the outside world seemed to completely vanish. Beyond the center’s walls, television and film writers may have been warring with producers and presidential candidates may have been embroiled in a knockdown slugfest over future residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but those cares would dare not intrude here.

The room was filled with people who harbor unique experiences and stories. Many were born at the tail end of the Great Depression and have since seen their country embroiled in five wars. They married and raised children who have now married and had children of their own. They know exactly where they were and what they were doing when a Japanese emperor’s surrender ended a war that will indelibly be associated with their generation and when a young president was killed in Dallas.

They began and ended careers. And, in retirement, many have experienced the joys of lives well lived, along with the tragedies of losing a spouse or dealing with health issues. And yet, while the evening’s music may have served as a reminder of the past, this was not a time for reflecting, but rather, a time to enjoy the present, and most importantly, to dance.

Among those who enjoyed the evening were Barbara Ellwood, Bette Wildish, Sam Petrilli, Dorothy Schmitz, Ann Szilagyi, Norman Bilow, Bill Wieckmann, Mary Rupp, Sara Rosenberg, Ray Allaire, Gene Taylor, Richard Maus, Joan Bradstock, Ruth Wenzel, Tom Nelson, Dick and Lainie Miller and Tony and Vicky Ballesteros.

As Thursday’s “Hangover Dance” came to an end, the Swinging Seniors said their goodbyes. As they made their way to their cars, some stopped to pet a dog being walked by his owner through Izay Park. Others paused for a few minutes to watch the final moments of a softball game. It was a little moment in time that was impossible to watch without coming away with a feeling of heartwarming sweetness that in our stressed out, techno-crazed world, the simple beauty of such evenings still exist. It was by all means a lovely little hangover.


 DAVID LAURELL can be contacted at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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