My romance with square dancing began when my great aunts and uncles would stop by my grandparents' house on the way to go to their dances. My Grandmother always encouraged them to come by so that she could see their pretty outfits. I lived next door and whenever I'd see the relatives pull up and pile out in their dancing duds, I ran over as fast as I could.
To me, they were pure magic - the ladies in their big swishing skirts and cute Mary Jane dance shoes (sometimes in gold metallic...be still my heart) and their husbands perfectly matched by color and pattern complete with handsome bolo and bow ties. I'd always giggle at how when in these dresses, only two women could sit on my grandparents' long couch which usually could seat five people. Petticoats took up some real estate!
I'd be remiss if I didn't insert one of my favorite quotes ever here. It's from the movie, Calamity Jane:
This town ain't big enough! Not for me and that frilled-up, flirtin', man-rustlin' petticoat, it ain't!
And I'd watch under the porch light as they got into the car to leave. Each husband would help his wife into the car and then quickly shove her wide dress and crinolines inside before hastily shutting the door before they could spring out again. You could tell that it took some practice to get both the wives and the dresses into the same car. And these were the days when cars were big! I also remember that both of my Aunts wore just the softest hint of perfume so with every swish, the air was filled with flowers.
Several times, I went with my Grandparents to watch them square dance. The dances were held at an outdoor open-air pavilion next to the lake. It was set amongst big pine trees and I can remember how dark and still the woods were with the tops of towering pine branches just barely silhouetted against moonlight and the water lightly lapping the shore. In the middle, this large wooden pavilion that appeared as if a carousel when the dancers spun round and round in swirls of color in response to the steps melodically encouraged by the caller.
"Promenade! Now circle left! Now weave the ring!"
I'd give anything to go back there again. I've toyed with the idea of taking up square dancing for a long time now. I even once talked The Mister into trying it with me but we never have. I think it's time to see if he's still up for it. I've found several classes being offered in our area. One in a senior citizen's center. Hello, I bet you know which one I'm going to choose!
I've collected some square dance items through the years and here are some of my favorites:
I have two different square dance lesson records with Ed Gilmore. Inside, there are books that show the different steps as well as many full-color shots of Ed and the dancers.
Okay, forget the dancers. I'll admit to having quite the Ed Gilmore crush. It's lucky for Mister Kitsch that I only get crushes on unattainable men from the past.
One of my other favorite pieces is this Phun Phelt (so fun that we don't even need to use the letter " f ") applique:
I've had this for many years and it was given to me by the owner of a junk shop. When I found it, I let out the biggest squeal and I guess that the owner thought that I should have it. He was this sweet little elderly man and as we got to talking, for some reason he told me that he sometimes went fishing with Jerry Reed. Wowee!
I'm trying to figure out what to compare those few minutes to so that you kids these days might be able to understand. Let's see... It's as if you went into a junk shop and there amongst the undesirable items, found a brand new I-Pad and the owner just gave it to you. And then he told you that he sometimes plays X-Box with Justin Bieber.
You dig? I was stoked! I have yet to be able to commit to ironing this applique onto anything. I just can't find anything cool enough to deserve it. So, it stays in a frame just waiting...
Maybe when I get my first trophy for winning a square dancing competition, I'll put them both in a shadowbox together. See that? That's using the power of positive thinking.
I was so excited to find this mini documentary on square dancing today and to hear that it won the American Documentary/POV award:
My heart just leaps when the man says, "You get to swing the one you brung twice!" Being a married lady, I also notice a little cringe from his wife when he says it as if she has heard that same joke a hundred times. Super cute, those two.
Though I expected such, I hated to hear that it's still mostly the senior set that enjoys square dancing. Maybe like many things considered "vintage", it will see a come-back. Maybe square dancing will be the next mustache on a stick or zombie apocalypse. I bet that you kids get what I'm saying but if not, I'll be happy to tie Justin Bieber into that one too!
But enough of Justin Bieber. It's sad to think of him being eaten by flesh-hungry zombies while trying to fight them off with that mustache on a stick. Let's talk about something happier. Like square dancing! What about you buckaroos? Anyone know how to square dance? Do tell!
I'm going to leave you with this curious little video from Lucky Strike. See! Square dancing used to be so cool that ad men tried to sell cigarettes with it!
Until next time (Bow to your partner! Bow to your corner!)
x's and o's,