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Swing Your Partner: 1942

Swing Your Partner: 1942

February 1942. "Farm Security Administration Mercer G. Evans camp in Weslaco, Texas. Drake family playing for a Saturday night dance." Medium format negative by the under-appreciated Arthur Rothstein. View full size.


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Flash Bulb

Instead of lighting a smoke, I think the kid on the left is examining a flash bulb, probably a used one. What a great picture.

[I think you're right. -tterrace]

This building

looks like it was also used as the local theater. Probably used folding chairs which are now stacked in a corner somewhere.

Maybe I'll look older if I smoke

The young boy on the left appears to be getting ready to light up a cigarette. He may not impress the girls, but if his mother is there, he may get some unwanted attention.

Girls dancing with girls

Not surprising given the date. Enlistments were huge in early 1942.

The saddest dance ever

Most of these people look like they were forced to show up for picture day.

First lessons?

I'm no great dancer, but it's worth noting that nobody but the middle couple is positioned right; the man's right hand needs to gently pull at the lady's waist, and the woman's left hand needs to gently push him away on the shoulder. So I'd guess these folks are a bit new to dancing.

Hope they had fun anyways, and as a former nerdy, snot-nosed 12 year old (36 years ago), I hope some of those boys were in fact dragged out of their chairs in the same way I was back when.

Girls dancing with Girls

... and young boys too nervous, or shy.

[Or maybe the story this photo tells is of girls who'd rather wait for their turn with the man in the middle and waltz with each other, than dance with a bunch of grubby 12-year-olds. - Dave]

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