I CAN DANCE
I attended classes from 9 AM to 1 PM daily at Droughons Business School. I had been
living with Uncle Frank for a few weeks and was homesick. It was during this time I realized how much I loved
and missed my family , especially my Dad. I would say, for a father and son, we were pretty close. He like to work and so did I.
Realizing this would be a permanent separation, I knew I needed to find friends, but I had little time to do so.
Rob Parson got me a job in a machine shop sweeping floors from 2 to 5 on weekdays. The machine shop was located on Dawson Road, about 6 miles northeast of downtown, which was about 15 miles from Oakhurst, a long way to walk. My daily routine started at 6 in the morning and ended round 7 PM.
My uncle, Rob would drop me off at Draughons and I would do homework until classes started. After class I rode the city bus to Dawson Road to get to work at 2 PM. Since my quitting time did not coincide with Robs’, I would walk or thumb a ride to Oakhurst. Sometimes I walked a lot and got home late. The grueling schedule left little time for social activities.
Desiring friendship I started looking for things to do with kids my age. The local cafe attracted teenagers who hung outside drinking cokes, joking around and sitting on car hoods or tailgates.
I was fortunate to hitch a ride almost all the way to Oakhurst on one Friday afternoon. I showered, put on my best clothes and headed to the Oakhurst hangout. As I approached the cafe, one of the boys came to met me.
Earl McCarthy introduced himself and we became instant friends. He introduced me to the 5 or 6 boys standing about.. It was a friendly group and I felt accepted.
As Earl talked about things to do on a Friday evening, he mentioned a dance party hosted and chaperoned by parents of teenagers in Oakhurst.Although I was 17, I had never danced. But it looked easy to catch on and I felt in the mood. Approaching a girl standing off by herself, I asked her to dance. It was a fast one. If the onlookers didn’t think the shy girl could dance, they soon changed their mind.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and watched her. Me, I just tried to keep up, using the side step with one foot and toe tap with the other as I had seen when Elvis was on TV. Of course my hips were not quite as loose as his. When we finished, the watchers stood and applauded with appreciation. Intuitively, I knew the applause was directed at the shy girl.
After the first dance, no one seemed interested in dancing with me. I couldn’t figure it out. But soon one of the chaperons, Mrs Ellen Lasson, came over and asked me to dance. She asked me to call her Ellen and we danced 3 or 4 times. A few minutes later I looked around and discovered she was gone.
Standing on the side for 15 to 20 minutes, I decided to leave. But as Mrs. Lasson came through the door with a beautiful girl with blonde hair, I decided to stay a little longer.
My life was about to change as my heart skipped a beat. I didn’t know that we would be married before the year was over.