The building was an old brick structure that at one time had been a firehouse, but it had been renovated and in its second life was a civic center  where children could go after school and do crafts.

And on Wednesday and Friday nights, there were dances for teenagers. Wednesday night dances were for grade school kids and Friday nights were for high school kids.  (also on Friday nights, there were free old time movies upstairs on the second floor).

The floor downstairs was linoleum and the music came from a juke box, but we had swirling lights and it was a place where we could learn to dance. Girls often danced with other girls while boys bashfully stood against the walls, afraid to make the first move–except for the popular girls, who were always surrounded by admirers.

I was not especially popular and I have a haunting memory of wearing a dress that my mother made for me and insisted that I wear.  It was an awkward fit and had buttons down the front and if I wasn’t careful, the buttons could come undone.

But that night, a boy named Bobby asked me to dance and I could barely navigate the tight fit of the dress; we both fell over on the floor and everyone laughed.  Bobby was good natured about it and walked me home.  I was instantly in love.


Sandra Lee Smith

June 18, 2009; true story; might have been around 6th grade.

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