Vets Club throwing USO-style dance

Teddy Giles teaching Ken Lamothe a few steps.

FRANKLINIn 1944, the year Allied forces liberated Paris after four years of Nazi occupation in the final phase of World War II, thousands of Americans were serving overseas, and thousands more were waiting to ship out.

In communities across the United States, times were tough. Milk, gasoline and nylons were strictly rationed. Saturday night, though, was the high point of the week for many folks in Maine and across the nation. They dressed up and did the Lindy Hop, jitterbug, Bal-swing and other steps to Al Corey’s Big Band and other dance bands hosted by USO clubs (United Service Organizations).

Still swinging after nearly 75 years, the Al Corey Band will recreate that ’40s-era vibe from 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Franklin Veterans Club’s Stars and Stripes Swing Dance. Folks are encouraged to break out their zoot suits, garbardine dresses or other vintage garb.

Desserts and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

“With everything going on, we really want to bring people together and let them have a good time, bring that sense of community back,” said Club President Steve Mosley.

Bar Harbor dance instructor Sheri Kean will be available to teach swing steps.

“So it doesn’t matter if you know how to dance or not,” stressed club member Kenda Bellatty.

Kenda’s mother-in-law, Teddy Giles, won’t need any instruction. She loves to jitterbug and danced up a storm in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

“When I was growing up all there was to do was go to the movies or go dancing. So we’d go 2-3 times a week,” Giles recalled. “Every Wednesday they would clear out the hangar at the airport in Trenton and there would be 200 people in there. And on Fridays, we would either go to Gleaner’s Hall in Manset or someone would load up a boat and take us to Cranberry Isles. We’d have to walk to the Grange hall and I danced my butt off.”

Members of the Franklin Veterans Club dressed up in their 1940s theme. From left, Kenda Bellatty, Wendy Lamothe, Teddy Giles, and Ken Lamothe.

The dance also will feature a silent auction including jewelry, dance lessons and a reiki massage, among other prizes. The proceeds will support the club, which has about 250 members.

“A lot of our members are older and aren’t able to get out as much,” Mosley said. “We’re hoping this is something they can come out and enjoy.”

Admission costs $20 per person or $35 per couple and can be purchased at the door or online at

For more info, call 565-2977.





Maxwell Hauptman

Maxwell Hauptman

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Maxwell Hauptman has been reporting for The Ellsworth American since 2018. He covers eastern Hancock and western Washington counties and welcomes story tips and ideas. He can be reached at [email protected]

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