Seven Decades of Dancing: A Homage to a Milestone Anniversary

In the summer of 1952, the North American economy was booming during what many would call a golden age. The Korean War must’ve seemed far away from the streets of Toronto’s Little Italy and though the Cold War was in its early days, one imagines that Jukeboxes and Sock Hops kept the teenagers dancing, carefree in the relative calm after the end of the Second World War. 

Mary and Gordon Frattini embarked upon their life together as husband and wife 70 years ago.This was also the summer that Mary and Gordon Frattini embarked upon their life together as husband and wife. Like so many young couples of the era, they met at a dance arranged for the children of Italian immigrants that settled in the heart of a growing Toronto. By the time they were in their early 20s, their path had become entwined and they were married on August 16. This year, family, friends and the community at The Village of Erin Meadows where Mary and Gordon live are happy to help celebrate a milestone 70th anniversary.

A week before the anniversary, Sue Hawdon and Jean Belluz reflect on the life their parents built together over seven decades. Jean has been visiting from her home in North Carolina and Sue remains in the Toronto area with her family.

Their parents were hard-working people. Gord was blessed with the knack for conversation that served him well in all aspects of sales and marketing, while Mary served the pupils of city schools as a steady and reliable supply teacher. When they weren’t working, they loved to be with other people and music would always be part of their life.

They met dancing and they would dance together forever after.

“They are very social,” Jean says. “As they got older and retired, they started doing more dancing – they called it ballroom dancing, but it was just like social dancing and a social club.”

And they loved to travel, eventually landing on extended stays in Spain for months at a time to pass nearly two decades of Canadian winters by. When overseas travel became more challenging, the climate in Arizona seemed to be the perfect compromise.

“It was always a love of theirs,” says Sue, reflecting on the trips they would take as children and then the stories of travel that came after the girls had grown and moved on. “They were in different places all the time, it seemed,” Jean adds.

And through all of life, both daughters agree that a love for simple pleasures and family connections around dining-room tables laden with comfort food is a gift their parents passed along to them and their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

“Family for them is really important,” Jean says, while Sue mentions that it’s almost impossible to just stop in for quick a visit, as her mother always insists on feeding her guests. It’s a cultural perspective, to give and make sure a loved one is taken care of, and it’s a beautiful one.

In their 90s now, Mary and Gord have slowed down somewhat, but the memories Mary and Gord planted seeds for over 70 years among those who love them will be one of their greatest legacies. It’s certainly a love and life worth celebrating, and an example well worth emulating.