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Dance Lessons at Nicolas
Dance class at Nicolas  Junior high cafeteria, where the scent of spaghetti never left the room.   1961-1963 for me.

 

 

  1. “Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! “ (The constant refrain of the dance instructor, Mr. Russ [Something]. 
  2. Whether you were PAINFULLY bashful or EXUBERANTLY outgoing it didn’t matter, we all had to go, 
  3. Sunday evenings, about 6 PM, wasn't it? 
  4. Beverly Brauner .. Diane Kalklosch .. Penny Kidwell  Stanna Beasley .. Donna Baker .. Carole Brozowski .. Avril Ford .. Linda Chilcoat .. Linda Muller .. Vicki and Amanda Walery .. Barb Smith .. Cathy Cogan .. Nancy Rowe .. Sharon Tomlinson .. Martha Goldstein . Nancy Gannon .. Pam Weaver .. Joan Coffeen .. Connie Fleming .. Leslie Hendricks .. Leanne Linson .. all the girls like Gayle Keefer and Linda Haight and Michelle Stimpson who went to FUHS and girls like Dawn Meyer, Linda Smith, Joyce Olenik and Linda Stough who went to BPHS .. 
  5. As you all know now, if only by later having sons, that age is CRUCIAL in the physical maturation process of young miles — boys —  so 100% of us boys had about 750 long moments of physical EXCITEMENT a day, and it was EXCRUCIATING! When you saw us break into a COLD SWEAT, our eyes turned BRIGHT, we had a SILLY smile, saliva collected at the corners or our mouths, speech was DIFFICULT and often MADE NO SENSE .. our physical movements would become HALTING and UNCERTAIN ,. and we had a GLAZED LOOK, we were DISTRACTED and found it HARD TO PAY ATTENTION TO ANYTHING ELSE besides girls  — that was because we were undergoing a momentarily period of ABSOLUTE, COMPLETE, CONCENTRATED, HIGHLY FOCUSED, INTENSE in P-H-Y-S-I-C-A-L  D-E-S-I-R-E .. OK? 
  6. Can we all say PUBERTY on 3? 1 ..2 .. 3!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. Yes, girls had their own way of expressing it. (DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH?????!!!!)
  8. How shall we put it? Breasts. BOOBS! Ten thousand other names for them. The Top Ten Things Nicolas Boys Thought About Then Were: (1) Boobs; (2) Boobs; (3) Boobs; (4) Boobs; (5) Boobs; (6) Boobs; (7) Boobs; (8) Boobs; (9) Boobs, and (10) Boobs, and also (11) to (250) BOOBS, until finally there was (251) hot rods; (252) surfing; (253)  girls at McDonald’s; (254) girls in bathing suits; — sorry but .. (255) girls in bathing suits and their  boobs .. (256) the younger teachers and their boobs; (257) pretty women on TV and their boobs, and — you get the picture. Any girl who didn;t have a full adult 36-B or larger cup size and breasts was cruelly called “FLAT!” Remember? 
  9. At the back of our young male minds (if thats; the girth word to use) were: Annette Funicello, Connie Stevens, Edie Adams, Annette Funicello, Paula Prentiss; Dorothy Provine, Annette Funicello; Jill St. John;  Mamie Van Doren; the French girl who played “Suzanne” the receptionist on “77 Sunset Strip”; Anette Funicello; Ann-Margret; and more. 
  10. Nervous tension as we walked to Nicolas or rode with parents or older siblings or rode out bikes before dance class. 
  11. The quiet West Fullerton streets of those days, with the lingering aroma of Sunday dinner and cigarette smoke from all the adults who smoked (about 95% then) .. the smells of “a car being worked on” .. and the sharp clean scent of freshly mown lawn 
  12. Guys and girls who smoked cigarettes at a safe distance from the cafeteria 
  13. Dentyne,  Bubble Gum, Beeman’s Licorice Gum, Wrigley’s Spearmint or Doublemint, and CERTS (“A candy mint! NO!  A BREATH MINT, DAMN IT!”)
  14. Beehive hairdo’s, hair spray, what they used to call “rat tail combs” and more,
  15. Old Spice and other colognes for the boys. 
  16. Gary Heydon, FUHS ’67 was always the best dressed boy.    
  17. David Stough BPHS ’67 was no slouch either .. 
  18. Stacy Smith, presumably FUHS ’66 before I forget: we boys were FLIPPO about Stacy.
  19. Petticoats. Slips. 
  20. Golf sweaters for boys, (Survived well into high school and beyond,)  
  21. Pony tails, barrettes, falls. Marsha McClanahan, ’67 had the longest hair. She met her match in Joanne Mongeon, ‘67 at Sunny Hills. (I guess there were others, older girls with really long hair, but .. )  
  22. Frank Shafer, SHHS ’67. Whatever happened to Frank? His family lived on West Elm, then in Sunny Hills, and then he must have transferred. 
  23. Darci Strait. Was Darci still around? I think so, eyes.  We all thought she was cute. Was it “Streit”?
  24. The fresh, clean scent of young Caucasian kids perspiring as they danced. (SEE #5)
  25. Kids who danced CLOSE. We all envied them, because we knew many of them would soon be .. 
  26. Making out!
  27. Among many of the boys, especially the hoods, there was a great deal of talk about: HICKEYS! (When a boy or a girl would kiss and suck the skin of a kissing partner, and leave a small vascular bruise, blue and black in color, usually lasting up to 3 days.)
  28. As “Advice To The Lovelorn” Columnist Abigail Van Buren once wrote, “Men don’t even tell themselves the truth about their sex lives.” 
  29. That brings us to the daily extravagant claims of certain boys “I gave her a hickey!”, “She gave me a hickey!”, “We made out!”, “I got to second base!” and more.
  30. Culminating in what 99.999999% of the time was a LIE: “We went all the way! She put out!” 
  31. Can’t you just still see the faces of the guys who talked that way ALL THE TIME, 24/7?!
  32. A small sampling of the songs we danced to would include: “Town Without Pity”, “Bristol Stomp”, “Only The Lonely”, 
  33. Let’s put our cards on the table once and for all. We ALL wanted to dance with Cheryl Lindsey, ’67.
  34. Did we have refreshments? I suppose we did. i don’t remember. 
  35. What we really needed were 10-inch fire hoses to spray us down with ICE COLD WATER! 
  36. Many of the girls wore pretty dresses. Some were from Irene’s House of Fashion .. or the Broadway .. or J.C. Penney .. or Sears, and so on. Many girls wore dresses their moms made, or dresses they made themselves, They all looked cute. 
  37. Boys had Gentleman’s Haircuts (parted at the side, usually the left side) .. Butches (no fringe above the forehead) .. Crewcuts (a little fringe you could comb or even use Butchwax of Tiger Wax to make it stand up) .. Flat-Tops .. Flat-Tops with Fenders .. Jelly-Rolls (rare by 1962) ..or guys whose hair was “trained”.. often wavy or curly. 
  38. Guys who wore tap on their shoes. (“CLAP! C-CLAP! CLAP! C-CLAP! CLAP! C-CLAP! CLAP! C-CLAP!” Again, we must be candid: Usually these were hoods.
  39. Universal Costume of Surfers: Khaki pants .. white T-shirt .. Pendleton woolen shirt, long sleeve .. low-cut tennis shoes, usually white, and sometimes Jack Purcell.
  40. Boys who bleached their hair blond to look like surfers. (It would look ridiculous later when it was growing out: two-toned.)
  41. Girls who gave themselves Toni Home Permanents, but it turned out a fuchsia or purple? They didn’t follow directions. 
  42. The better dancers who picked things up immediately: Gary Heydon, FUHS ’67; Dave Stough, BPHS ’67; John Tobias, ’66; Connie Fleming, ’67 .. Who else?
  43. As I’d said so many times on these pages, Buddy Purel, ’66 would always always always always lead the conga line, which we called the Stomp Line. Around and around the a cafeteria it would go, up to 200 kids dancing, serpentine, holding the waist of the person in front of you — often a bitchin' girl (SEE #5) —  weaving, curling, twisting, and often Buddy would bend over low from the waist  as he Soul-Stomp-ed. 
  44. The Twist. The Twist was historic. It was the very first dance where the two partners would NOT hold hands. I saw it as tragic immediately, and a harbinger of things to come. I WANTED TO HOLD GIRLS’S HANDS! I STILL DO! But The Twist changed all that, From then on you would only touch your partner on a Slow Dance (e.g. “You Belong To Me”), unless you did variety of The Western Swing, which fewer and fewer kids did, 
  45. The Western Swing It was great! You TWIRL-ed the girl around by the hand (You got to TOUCH AN ACTUAL GIRL’S SKIN!!!!!) 
  46. I was relieved every evening when Dance Practice was over. It was stressful for me. It was painful being around ALL THOSE CUTE GIRLS, HUNDREDS OF THEM, and not being able to HUG ‘EM AND KISS ‘EM yet. 
  47. But it was kind of fun. Wasn’t it? A guy might get a chance to dance with an EARTH ANGEL like Cheryl or Donna or Stanna or Diane or the others. 
  48. Did you go to McDonald’s afterwards for a 25-cent burger? (I KNOW that you'd did!) (Did she “put out”? Did you “GIVE IT UP?” Ha ha ha ha ha!) I always walked home with Tom McCutchen, John Hughes, Randy McDonald, Jim Shattuck, Jim Sawyer or Dave Perrone. 
  49. Would you do it all again if you had the chance? (Heck YES!) 
  50. “Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! Forward, side-to-geth-er BACK! .. “