wenty-five years ago we had a very popular custom called Serenatas.A young boy who was dating a young lady would take a Serenata to her on her birthday or other special occasion. A timid boy desirous of expressing his sentiments towards a young lady would also take her a- Serenata. What is a Serenata? It simply means going to a girl's house at 2 or 3 in the morning and singing a song while she is in bed. It usually meant a group of boys and a lead singer and one or two guitars.

There were different purposes behind a Serenta. The timid boy could offer a song that expresses his admiration for her. Next day he could check out her reactions toward him. A smile meant she approved of the Serenata and of him. If she turned her face in another direct-ton, it meant one had to continue trying to break the ice. On the other hand, she could come straight to the guy and give her a piece of her mind and send him to hell. That definitely indicated he should look for someone else to take a Serenata.

A boy that had fought and broken up with his girl could take a Serenata. He could offer one of two types of songs. There were songs that asked for forgiveness and reconciliation and there were those that said, "I don't give a dime about you anymore?'

A Serenata also served to break the ice with the girl's parents. Here again, next day or so they could show their approval or disapproval for you Some Sereriaras' resulted 'in a fistfight between a boy and the girl's father. Or mother opening the window and emptying the contents of a "pee bucket" on the crowd of inspired singers and musicians.

There are a few.Serenatas I particularly liked some of which I participated in and others I heard of. I liked those where the boy told the girl in song, "Leave that other boy and come to me." I remember one gentleman singing very often to his own wife, which served as reconciliation when he went on a drinking spree. I enjoyed one boy singing to the mother-in-law and asking her "Why don't you like, me?" I also enjoyed singing to the same girl for two different boys in the same crowd and the same Screnata. I really enjoyed singing for all my friends like Manuel Heredia, Felipe Ancona, Roberto Bradley, the late Adolfo Ayuso, Norman Eiley, Dimas Guerrero, and Fidel Ancona. We sang with gusto to many a girl and we thoroughly enjoyed our youth and the girls. Many of my friends got married to the same girls we serenaded. We serenaded visiting tourists and friends, too, inviting them to enjoy our hospitality and to "Return to Paradise."

When I got married I had to sell my guitar, so I would quit that practice which was really meant for teenage boys. I knew I had to quit someday, but I expected it to be continued by others. We no longer hear of Serenatas today. Someone, remarked to me the other day that boys are no longer romantic. Another remarked that they are, not talented either with singing or with the guitar. And still someone else suggested that it is impractical to take a serenade to the girl's home when she is still out in the streets.

Want to hear my favorite Serenata. We sang to this girl for this special friend and someone in the crowd slid by and stole the mother's chicken. Next day it was fear of the police, shame to walk by the house, and even a demarrd -for an apology. Serenatas wcrc good old days. instead of looking for drugs at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., why not sing aloud to the girl of your dreams? Use a small record player or tape recorder to play the love song to your loved one. Try it, it works and it is fun.

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