Oh yes…I remember them. During the 50s, block parties were events initiated by block clubs in city neighborhoods. The streets are actually blocked off for safety, privacy, and big fun. The parties were well planned, with Mrs. Anderson in charge of the food committee, Mrs. Flowers decorating, all moms orchestrating the games, My mom and aunt singing their duet, and the piece de resistance? The dance contest!!! What?
No real dee jays at our parties, somebody had a system that was loud enough to play the records we loved. Then, it started. First, the older kids competed; then maybe the 7-10-year-olds; but after that, the “little kids” had their chance to dance.
Little ones have no shame. That music hits, and they start moving; arms falling, finding their feet to the latest dance. And these kids could dance! I thought I was good, but there were some better than me! Mama and daddy, but mostly mama screaming, “Do it, baby!” I know it was so hard to choose a winner, but then the group parts, and two kids are left for the showdown. The crowd goes crazy. Then one kid does a split or something more ominous and impressive, and it’s all over. The winner is crowned.
I don’t remember adults dancing, but everybody loved the music, hot dogs, kool-aid, and camaraderie of neighbors enjoying where we lived. Block parties were an annual event.
Today, festivals and art walks remind me of block parties. Mr. K. and our family visited Memphis, and we experienced the art walk on Beale Street. It was so cool to browse the artwork and meet the artisans. Mr. K. had on his “Harvard Dad” T-shirt, and he met a woman whose son also attended Harvard. She turned out to be his cousin!! (“6 degrees of separation”). While block parties are for street neighbors, festivals and art walks are open to anyone wishing to attend.
We walked during the daytime; so the energy was family-oriented. I’m sure we missed the dancing when places like BB King’s place open and music spills out to the streets.
Party Over Here!!!
Project Say Something in Florence, AL, is hosting a Block Party on June 18th, 7:00PM to celebrate Juneteenth the day commemorating freedom from slavery. The party is being held where we all live and visit at least once a year, in front of the Lauderdale County Courthouse on Court Street. We are all neighbors, and we need a reprieve from the trials of these days.
While a monument reminding us of a sordid past still stands to haunt us, PSS reclaims the street with drumming, music, entertainment, food, dancing, vendors, and, of course, a dance contest for the kids. Yes, we are neighbors, and this is what we do annually.
I hope you will come on out and celebrate with us. No, I will not be doing the splits, but I know you will feel what I feel every year, the joy of neighbors gathering.
Parties can be great! They remind us that we can come together in joy. We take every opportunity we can to celebrate being here on our soul’s journey, and it’s nice to do so with a collective gathering. We get our sometimes, tired, achy bones up to see the sunshine of the moment, and I don’t know about you, but I “understand the assignment.”
“Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your works.” Ecclesiastes 9:7
Happiness is not perfected until it is shared. – African Proverb
Make peace with the universe. Take joy in it. It will turn to gold. Resurrection will be now. Every moment, a new beauty. – Rumi
“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine
© 2022 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.
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Author of Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.
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