January 7, 2014
6 comments New Year's, Party Planning, Retirement Community Ideas, Senior Living, Uncategorized 1920s, 20s, 20s party, Arizona, baby boomers, Gatsby, Gatsby party, Gatsby themed party, Jazz Age, jazz party, nostalgia, party ideas, party theme ideas, party themes, Prohibition, retirement community party ideas, Roaring 20s, senior living, senior living community, the greatest generation
The first time I heard anything about mobsters in our family, I was a little skeptical. I sat in an air-conditioned rambler in Arizona, listening to my great-uncle reminisce his childhood. I soon came to find that a story was unfolding right before me as he spoke.
As a little boy, probably around age 5, he helped his dad aid Al Capone in moving illegal liquor in the Chicago area during Prohibition. I imagined a series of old film clips sewn together about men siphoning liquor into barrels and glass jars.
“There was this one time,” he began, “that my papa knew the cops had shown up one day to raid our apartment building, so I climbed out the window and down the side of the building using the fire escape. Papa took the other window, and we snuck out through the alleyway and we had to regroup. That job didn’t work out so well…”
But the more he talked, the more I realized that this was not just a decade cut out of the history books, some time removed — it was the time when our elders were born, first learning to walk, play games, grow up fast.
“Papa took me one time to Florida to complete some business with Capone at one of his mansions. He didn’t want to do it — I could see the look on his face. He told me to wait in the car and stay in it no matter what I heard. An hour later, he came out of the mansion. His face was white and he said, ‘I’m done doing business with him. Thank God you didn’t go in there.'”
Despite the danger, the time was alive.
And, if you direct or work in senior living, you see this special group of people everyday. Among them, there is the generation born in this mentioned Jazz Age — filled with nightlife, excitement, and everyday stories that our elders carry with us. Even if residents were not born in the 20s, there is something charming that draws people of every era to its vibrant energy and glitz.
So, as I would imagine my great uncle walking into the room, ideas start churning as I would imagine how he would want the space to look, how it would feel. The picture above represents a complete thought of what an atmosphere like this may look like — think of it as a full paragraph with an ellipsis at the end. Imagine creating a choice event space that fills so many memories and cultural history for this special group of people. It may trigger memories of early childhood like my great uncle’s, or a wave of nostalgia, or it will simply give them joy.
Here are some more specific ideas for your event:
- Leave balloons on the ground and bunch them together in bouquets, with colors like silver, gold, and black (add link) as they walk into the room.
- Transform regular card tables into fun stop spots with metallic table skirts.
- As they sit to eat or wait for a silent movie to begin, beautiful glistening white centerpieces can dot each table.
- Something as simple as silver gossamer and a flashy backdrop can set the party mood.
- Provide feather boas, headbands, and costume jewelry for the ladies — it can create a look all its own — even if the lady doesn’t have much else for dressing up.
- Mark up the way to the party with street signs to further bring the atmosphere of Chicago or New York right to your party space.
- Recreate F. Scott Fitzgerald’s world of Jay Gatsby and West Egg with the whole theme above dedicated to the 20s with golden gossamer and a big band silhouette!
Any way you provide this experience, the memories of friends and family will stay with them for generations to come.