I'm not necessarily referring to the movie featuring Tommy Kirk in little swim trunks – I'm referring in all actuality to how I'll be celebrating New Year's Eve. We'll be 26 miles across the sea, in the city of Avalon, partying in the ballroom of the art deco casino.
We went last year, and simply wanted some more of that black and silver decor, the Expansive collection of noisemakers at each table, the big band music, and the gigantic net of balloons hung over the ballroom like the Damocles' Sword of New Year's Eve. That and the buffet, complimentary bottle of wine (engraved with an image of the casino) and the photograph taken of each couple attending.
Also, when you're drunk and giddy from a party, it's nice to be able to walk home without feeling that you should have a tommy gun slung over your shoulder. Catalina is safe and small like that, while big cities can be most tediously dangerous.
'Catalina Caper' can also refer to something else. I'll just come right out and say it: in the late '40's, with the war over and all, my father was able to take the boat to Catalina with his friends, dance to the big bands, and act most profoundly goofy:
Can you pick him out, by the way? In another photo, the blonde fellow – George – was wearing swim trunks and a necktie. I'm enjoying the rolled down socks in this one.
And I may ask myself: who are these ladies?
These pictures were taken in front of the Hermosa Hotel & Cottages (motto: "sleep cheap"), which is still up and running.
The photo of dad on the beach is strangely evocative – sometimes all you need is the sand and a pail. Perhaps he was feeling meditative. Or maybe the bars weren't open yet.
This year boyfriend and I will be going with his brother and wife, their son and his wife and I have convinced my parents to come along, too. It will have been nearly 60 years since dad went dancing in that ballroom.
I just hope the outside of his door won't look the same as it did in 1948: