Laurie used to play at the Grand every Saturday night. In the afternoon he would play the piano at Booby's, an upmarket sort of Debenhams in Cliftonville. My mother and I would go and have tea in the restaurant, which served a three tier tray of cakes, my favourites were Kunzle cakes. They were a case, either round square or oblong, filled with sponge and a creamy topping and a sugared fruit top - very fattening! During tea in the afternoon, mannequins would parade through the restaurant showing off the latest clothes. Because Laurie knew us from the Grand Ballroom, as I walked in he would play 'Sweet Sue' and as I left he would play 'I'll See You Again'. I never knew how he lost his leg, probably during the war, but he was a lovely chap and a great pianist.
I met my husband during the Barn Dance, which was always held in the middle of the evening and my mother passed him on to me. During the interval the better dancers would get up and show us how a waltz or quickstep should really be done. There was one chap who seemed elderly to us but was probably only in his sixties, who always had a beautiful girl as a partner and danced superbly - a joy to watch. The boys would stand around at the back of the hall with a drink and try to pluck up enough alcoholic courange to invite a girl to dance, which was more complicated than in these days.
A memory shared byon Mar 27th, 2009.
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