My first dance wasn’t the party type with dancing involved. This was the first time I ever danced with someone of the male persuasion. I remember it all so clearly. This memory was brought on by watching “Glee” tonight. The music was like a walk through parts of my life. The show is so high school, pretty campy, but the music is well done. I can see why it is so popular. But during my reverie of times past, I remembered that first dance.
I was probably a sophomore or junior in high school. As a part of our curriculum, we had to dance in the gymnasium rather than have gym. At that age, I was in full bloom gawky and nowhere near attractive. I had so much hair that I couldn’t figure out how to tame it and coming from a very strict religious background certainly was far from the mainstream teens of those days. Dancing wasn’t allowed in my life, but I was too shy to admit it. As boys and girls chose each other to dance with, the teacher chose me. It was a pity choice, but I didn’t care. He wasn’t bad looking and I assumed he knew how to dance. So, my first dance was sure to be a winning one and I looked forward to it. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss since I had no idea of all the stuff that could ruin the “moment”.
I don’t remember the teacher’s name, but I can tell you in almost exact detail what he looked like. He had a former football player type build and sandy brown, wavy hair. He must have been about since six feet tall. And, no, I didn’t have a crush on him. My heart at that time was untouched by such emotions. As I said he was fairly good looking, but to me, he seemed so old. Gosh, he must have been at least 35.
The 45 rpm record on the record player started spinning and soon you could hear the opening notes of Bert Kaempfert’s “Wonderland by Night” begin. I loved that song so it all seemed perfect. I remember him taking my hand and moving in a little closer. Then, he closed his eyes and we began to dance. I really couldn’t figure out why he closed his eyes, but now, I think he must have been dreaming of some babe from his present or past. The entire song lasted three minutes and 22 seconds and I enjoyed every moment. I don’t remember how I danced since I was busy absorbing the music, but I don’t remember any faux pas so it must have gone okay.
The rest of the class has been lost in my memory banks, but that one moment I can relive with crystal clarity. At times, “Wonderland by Night” will play on the radio and, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, immediately I’m dancing in that gym and am 15 or 16 again. It’s odd these little tidbits of our life that remain with us so long, but I am grateful for that moment and for that first dance. Thanks, teach, for the memory.