by Alix Kates Shulman

Gentiles & Jews at the Hop

A reunion retrospective

The “affair,” as the reunion was called, was held not in the Cleveland Heights High School Cafeteria, as I’d expected, but at a large, comfortable country club with a well-regarded kitchen and an ample dining room divided by the dance floor into two large, separate, high-ceilinged wings. The elegance of the setting sharply contrasted with the dour Foster’s Hall or Masonic Temple where we’d held our weekend dances thirty-five years before, stomping in saddle shoes or loafers. The DJ, who had expanded his high school record collection into the tools of his adult livelihood (Swing for Hire), sat on a platform at the edge of the dance floor, faithfully playing dance hits of our high school days—Bennie Goodman, Artie Shaw, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, Billy Eckstein, Stan Kenton, the Ink Spots, the Dorsey Brothers, Sarah Vaughan— for 350 curious or nostalgic lindy-lovers and jitterbuggers. Three hundred and fifty out of a class of almost six hundred—not a bad turnout considering that 26 had already died, 108 were “missing,” and 183 had moved out of state, according to the program.

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