I remember it clearly--a November day in North Dakota. Almost every family in town has been hit by the raging influenza epidemic. I'm 4 years old and I have the flu. A neighbor boy died of it--the influenza pandemic that year killed about 20 million people worldwide. And my brother, Goodman, who is 8, has pneumonia. Our mother brings steaming pots to help him breathe. Then in rushes brother Herman, my hero, age 10, who has been selling Extras. Atop the local newspaper is the headline "ARMISTICE!" in black letters two inches high.
"It's true," shouts my father, "the war is over!"
A few hours later our family doctor drops in. He checks Goodman carefully. "You did a great job," he tells my mother. "This boy is going to live." My mother begins crying. I can't understand those tears on her cheeks. The terrible world war is over, her kids are going to live, so what's to cry?
Ah, yes, Nov. 11, 1918--what a happy day!
GEORGE W. FEINSTEIN
"There's a press party at the Peppermint Lounge for some new singer," said my friend. "Want to meet me there at 6?"
"Sure," I said.
The place was dark, smoky and very crowded. Soon, a drum roll, and I had my introduction to the "newest sensation in the pop music industry--Chubby Checker!"
The music started, the room vibrated as we all learned to twist. We danced in the tiny space near our table but soon ran out of room and moved to the tops of chairs and tables.
By the time the party was over the room smelled like the handball court at the Y.
I can't remember a night when I've had more fun.