Posts Tagged ‘abbott and costello’
Sometimes it just hits me again, how thankful I am.
You need to know that I grew up during a time when swing dancing was absolutely unavailable as an option. In the Seventies and Eighties, people were doing a lot of strange things, but swing dancing was definitely not one of them.
I didn’t know about it, but I craved it.
There were so many places where my life almost intersected with swing dancing:
- When I was ten years old, I had a little portable record player. My dad used to let me listen to his collection of 45s. I’d hang out by myself in my room, dancing to old rock-and-roll songs, twirling around in a swooshy skirt I’d made for myself out of an old tablecloth. This was strange behavior. My favorite song? Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife.”
- At age twelve, my favorite movie was “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” I loved the dance scene in particular – a Charleston-ish choreography dealie – and I was sad that people didn’t still dance that way. That Halloween I made myself a pretty cool flapper costume out of a couple of old pillowcases. No one knew what I was supposed to be.
- In Junior High, I hated PE, except for one semester. That was when we had a unit on ballroom dancing. Everyone besides me despised it, or at least pretended to, but I wasn’t that cool. I loved it. My favorite part was when they taught us six-count swing, and my favorite song to dance to was “In the Mood.” I was a total dweeb, and I didn’t even care.
- At around the same time, I was big into Abbott and Costello movies. Remember, children, this was before cable TV. Channel Twelve used to show “Abbott and Costello Theater” every Sunday afternoon. My favorite movie? “Buck Privates.” Especially the big dance number.
- Once during high school my parents, knowing my love of anachronistic music, took me to an outdoor Big Band “concert.” Lots of middle-aged people sitting around on the grass, politely listening to this music that made me want to get up and jump around. They just sat there. It made me really sad.
- In college, I liked going to dances. These consisted of a lot of inebriated people stuffed into a dorm basement, jumping up and down to really loud music by the Sex Pistols, Devo and the B-52s. It was fun, but I couldn’t help feeling that something was missing.
- My freshman year, I spent the summer with some friends in Southern California, and I went to see The Smiths at the Hollywood Palladium. Now in the Forties, the Palladium was a popular swing dancing venue, and it has recently been renovated, but during the Eighties, when I was there, it was “in decline.” A real dump, actually. And I practically got my leg broke in the mosh pit.
I just think it’s miraculous that today I live in a culture where I have the opportunity to go swing dancing as often as I wish. I’m thankful that everything came together this way. I’m thankful for everyone who participates in this with me. I’m thankful for the community of swing dancers who make this possible.
From the bottom of my heart, everyone, thank you.
(P.S. Read Rebecca Brightly’s post here – her “unthinkable” situation describes the world I grew up in. Kids, don’t let this happen to you.)