How I Won The Dance Contest
HOW I WON THE DANCE CONTEST
PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING
In 1965, the local radio station threw a block party.
The AM station, WBIS, was insignificant and unpopular. Their claim to fame was that the actor Bob Crane had started his career there.
The Hartford stations WPOP and WDRC were the stations everyone listened to.
But my best friend Doris and I had discovered something cool about the local station. They gave away little prizes all the time. We’d listen on Saturday afternoon. It was “name that tune” or “be the fourth caller” and you’d win a key chain or a pen that wrote in two colors. We loved those trivial prizes. We’d walk downtown to the radio’s shabby studio over the five-and-ten and collect our frequent winnings.
So we were excited about the block dance.
We spent hours fringing our cutoff jeans to the exact three-quarters-of-an-inch that was the optimal fringiness.
The party was held on a Friday night in June. The venue was the parking lot at Mafale’s Plaza, which was not so much a plaza as an appliance store with a laundromat.
But it was a warm beautiful night, and the turnout was pretty good.
Doris and I had rehearsed a few dances. At fourteen, I would have rather been dancing with a boy, but I figured that if I got out there on the dancefloor/asphalt, the boys would see what a good dancer I was. It didn’t quite work out that way. (But it did turn out to be a pretty good strategy during my nightclubbing thirties.)
So Doris and I danced together all evening.
And just like we expected, the DeeJay gave out prizes. He’d call out, “Hey, Blond Ponytail Girl with the pink blouse and the tall boy – come on up to the turntable. You’re the winner of this dance!”
There were tee shirts and Pepsis and records.
Doris and I danced every dance. Except the slow dances – and it killed us to sit those out, but we had some tiny bit of pride.
Round after round, the DeeJay would call out. “Curly-Hair Girl in Blue” and “Purple-Dress Lady” and “Bald Guy in the Hawaiian Shirt” – and couples would go get their prize.
The last dance of the night was the big hit of the year – The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”. Almost everyone had already gone home.
The DeeJay called out, “Hey, Skinny Little Girl and your friend – Come get your prize!”
That was US!
And the Deejay gave Doris a tee shirt and he gave me the 45 single:
Perspective is Everything.
By that last dance, everyone still dancing in that parking lot had already won a prize. We were the last dancers left who hadn’t won anything. The DeeJay took pity on us.
But that’s not the way we saw it.
To Doris and I, the last dance of the evening was the BIGGEST EVENT.
We won the FINAL ROUND.
The DeeJay saved us till the end so we could be the GRAND PRIZE WINNERS.
Yes, Perspective is Everything.
(Originally published in 2012)