The Year We Were So Happy

    The Year
We Were
So Happy

    Brazilians have been hit by a serious nostalgia affliction since the recent release of Feliz
    1958—O Ano Que Não Devia Terminar (Happy 1958—The Year That Shouldn’t End)
    by Joaquim Ferreira dos Santos, Editora Record, 192 pp $22.
    The book written by journalist Joaquim Ferreira dos Santos, who was only eight in 1958,
    show why that was one heck of a year. These were, according to the book, more innocent
    times in which the bambolê (hoola-hoop) was king, people listened to bossa nova on
    the transistor radio and were interested in the Certinhas do Lalau (full-figured
    guitar-shaped pin-up girls chosen by irreverent Rio’s journalist Sérgio Porto, better
    known as Stanislaw Ponte Preta). The queen of gossip was Candinha and the funniest guys on
    TV were called Zé Fidelis, a somewhat foul mouthed joker and Zé Bonitinho, an
    incorrigible don Juan interpreted by actor Jorge Loredo When called gorgeous he would say:
    "Gorgeous it is to see me washing my armpit while I sing "Tico-Tico no
    Fubá." 1958 also saw Maria Ester Bueno winning Wimbledon and Cacareco, a zoo
    rhinoceros from São Paulo, getting a seat at the City Council with 100,000 votes.
    It was also in 1958 that Brazil won soccer’s World Cup for the first time. That year,
    Miss Brazil—then a cared for institution—was Adalgisa Colombo. With popular
    civilian President Juscelino Kubitschek, Brazil was the country of tolerance with a
    growing feeling that every dream could be fulfilled.
    That was the year architect Oscar Niemeyer was busy inventing Brasília, the town
    created in the backlands that in two years would become Brazil’s futuristic capital. That
    was also the year that the first almost-national car was introduced: it was the DKW-Vemag,
    whose rate of nationalization was 78 percent. Even crimes seemed more cinematographic:
    1958 saw one of the most infamous crimes of Brazilian history, the murder of Aída Curi.
    The 23-year-old virgin was thrown from a building’s terrace at fancy Avenida Atlântica by
    Cássio Murilo Ferreira da Silva, 17, and Ronaldo de Souza Castro, 19, who were trying to
    rape her.
    It was in 1958 too that avant-garde artist Flávio de Carvalho, who advocated skirts
    for men in the tropics, shocked the nation by going out through the streets of downtown
    São Paulo wearing a skirt. That same year vaudeville star Nélia Paula was the
    protagonist of her own scandal becoming the first Brazilian woman to wear a bikini,
    choosing Copacabana beach as her stage.
    The hits of the year: "Apito no Samba" (Marlene), "Cabecinha no
    Ombro" (Trio Nagô), "Cachito" (Nat King Cole), "Castigo"
    (Dolores Duran), "Chega de Saudade" (João Gilberto), "Eu Não Existo Sem
    Você" (Silvinha Telles), "Jailhouse Rock" (Elvis Presley), "Meu Mundo
    Caiu" (Maysa), "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu" (Domenico Modugno), "Serenata
    do Adeus"(Elizete Cardoso), "Vitrine e Escultura" (Nelson Gonçalves), and
    "You Are My Destiny" (Paul Anka).
    That’s also the year Jorge Amado released his international bestseller Gabriela
    Cravo e Canela (Gabriela Clove and Cinnamon). Other important books published
    at that time were: O Ventre (The Stomach) by Carlos Heitor Cony, O Homem ao Lado
    (The Man Beside) by Sérgio Porto, Maria Beata do Egito (Blessed Mary of Egypt)
    by Rachel de Queiroz, A Cidade Vazia (The Empty City) by Fernando Sabino, and Histórias
    de Desencontros (Mismatches Stories) by Lygia Fagundes Telles.

    ’58 Slang
    By

    Then it was
    cool to say:

    Arigó—stupid

    Bagulho, canhão, facão, estrupício—offensive names to call a woman

    Barnabé—public worker

    Borogodó—charm

    Botar pra jambrar—to be a troublemaker

    Broto, certinha, estouro, gostosura, pedaço, pancadão, uva—all
    compliments to a woman

    Charlar—to show off

    Da fuzarca—party animal

    Dar o beiço—(lit. to give the lip) to stiff someone

    É da pontinha—it’s great

    É de chuá—it’s great

    É fogo na jaca—It’s a bummer

    Eu quero é rosetar—I want to chase skirts

    Ficar a bangu—empty handed

    Ficar a neném—empty handed

    Foi pro beleléu—it finished, it died

    Fuinha—tightwad

    Garota do barulho—super girl

    Jiló—(lit. a very bitter vegetable) gay

    Mandrake—gay

    Matusquela—crazy

    Me dá o meu boné—(lit. give me my hat) I am gone

    Mocorongo—worthless person

    No maior vai-da-valsa—by hook or by crook

    Parangolé—bash

    Que mocotó! —what a thigh!

    Roxinha—prety black girl

    Xaveco—problem

    Ximbica—clunker

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