Thursday, April 11, 2013


It was not all baseball for the Third Marine Division after the recapture of Guam in July-August of 1944.

The next year, when the Third Marines returned to Guam after securing Iwo Jima, Agueda Johnston, head of the public schools, would round up some of the older girls after classes with calls of "Marvin House, girls!  Marvin House!"

Marvin House was a dance hall in Yoña, where the Third Marines were.

The girls would get into military trucks around 2pm and head up there with Mrs. Johnston and a few others as chaperones.  Even some of the fathers of the girls would go up there to keep an eye on things.  The Chamorro girls served as dance partners for the Marines till about 8pm when the supervisors would call it a night.

One of the women who joined the dancing told me, "One of the frustrating things was we switched partners constantly.  There were too many Marines, and too few girls.  So the Marines were constantly tapping each other's shoulders wanting to cut in on the dance with the girl."

She also said, "We didn't like the officers' parties.  Our dads did, because they could rub elbows with the brass.  But we girls didn't, because the officers were older and already married.  We liked the dances of the ordinary soldiers.  They were closer to our age and more fun to be with."

Music was provided by a band made up of Marines.

One of the women who was almost always at these dances was my mother.  She was a dance-aholic.  Even when my mother was in her 60s, she would put on Tommy Dorsey or Glenn Miller and show me what the dances of the 40s were like, dancing with a make-believe partner in our living room.  That's all I heard from mom about life after the war.  Jitterbug, jitterbug, jitterbug.

Well, my mom met my dad at a dance, but during the Korean War.  But right after World War II, my mother was one of the crowd favorites at these dances.  Many women he knew her said that my mother was a very social and popular dancer.  One of her chaperones was her relative John Cruz, better known as "Johnnin Gaga."  He was very tall.  Good; his job was to keep an eye on my mom.

1 comment:

  1. So that's why the the aunties love the jitter bug! ��