Dancing on the Roof

Sara and Russell on the Heidelberg Roof, late 1940s

“This was the big band era, and we listened to the radio a lot. The Hit Parade on Saturday night would feature the top ten tunes of the week. We listened to Tommy Dorsey, Kay Kyser, Glenn Miller, Bennie Goodman, Sammy Kaye and a lot of others. Their programs would be broadcast from the ballrooms of big hotels. Many of the hotels had ballrooms on their roofs with an orchestra playing every night. We got to go on the Heidelberg Roof in Jackson, the Peabody and Claridge in Memphis and after we married to several in Chicago and New Orleans.”

Have you ever seen a happier couple than those two on the Heidelberg Roof? I’m not sure if that was taken before or after they married, but Russell has to be thinking that downtown Jackson is a long, long way from Anzio, and Sara’s life seems to be turning into all that she ever dreamed. Cathy and I are not even a blip on the radar in this photo, and that’s as it should be. I’ve always believed that my mother and father were happy before parenthood, during parenthood and “after” parenthood (i.e., they finally got their house back and told us to solve our own problems, thank you). I’d like to insert myself into that ballroom, anonymously of course, and buy them a round of drinks, delivered with a little note: “It’s just going to get better and better, because you found each other. And thanks for all you’re going to mean to so many people.”

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About sec040121

Hello....I'm in possession of a priceless collection of memoirs and memorabilia left by my mother, Sara Evans Criss. She was a native and lifelong (88 years!) devotee of our small town, who covered this peculiar and volatile corner of the world for 30 years as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Greenwood bureau chief, a job that started out with debutantes and high school football and wound up spang in the midst of one of the twentieth century's most enduring social upheavals. This blog is dedicated to her memory and the legacy she left behind, both for her family and her community.
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