Posted on January 29, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair1.29.2015 Journal Prompt Photo by Weegee January 29, 2015: How it felt. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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We dressed up nice for the occasion. Like it was a wedding or a family event. We wore our strings of beads looking like pearls and our cut glass rings and I borrowed a hat from Ellie and I promised her that I wouldn’t muss it up. We got there early, but already there was people gathered and everyone of ‘em looking like they was expecting glory.
The police had put up ropes to keep back the crowds. It was as much for our safety, they said. There was this one policeman and he kept smiling at June and he winked at her, too, and he asked for her name. June laughed and like that she was as pretty as pretty ever is. When she told him her name he started singing ‘bout June bustin’ out all over, which is from one of ‘em new Broadway musicals and which I thought was a bit rude if you was to hear all the words.
We was gathered for to see Billie. She was performing at Carnegie Hall and she was the biggest name in our world. We read all about her in the newspapers. She was black and wild and wonderful and we sometimes thought we could be just like her. The tickets for the show was beyond our pockets even if they hadn’t sold out fast as hot cakes, but we could maybe see her and wave to her, and after we’d go home and listen to her records all the long night, and dance crazy dancing in our best clothes.
The policeman was no more as a boy, all teeth and ruddy cheeks and his eyes blue and blinking and his hands looking like they didn’t belong to him or like he didn’t know what he should do with ‘em. He said he was called Officer Patters, but his name was really Marty. He said he was from some place out of the city, somewhere called Cooperstown. He told us it was a small place, so small all the birds in the trees had names. He was just being cute.
June laughed at what he was saying and I laughed, too. It was sort of infectious. People all about us was laughing and soon enough there was so many people they couldn’t be numbered. Four or five deep along the whole of the street and as far as the eye could see. Some was singing songs we recognized, songs that was Billie songs, and we all joined in, our feet shifting to the music and our hips swaying, our heads held high and our hands clapping like we was in church. Why, even the good officer, Marty Patters, on the other side of the rope, even he was moving a little to the tune.
Then Billie was there and she was in an open topped convertible and she was dressed like a queen with flowers in her hair and they was sure to be white gardenias. And she had a smile as big as the whole world and she was waving to everyone, and what with all the camera bulbs popping it was like the stars had fallen out of the sky and all for the celebrating of Billie.
We only saw her for a moment, but it was worth it. The next day there was her picture in the newspaper and it was saying she was a sensation. I read the story out loud and in the background we was playing her recording of ‘Lover Man’ and I could see that June wasn’t really listening to me – I reckon she was dancing in her head to Billie singing, and dancing with a ruddy faced white boy from Cooperstown and imagining him ‘huggin and kissin’ her like in the song.