Music Monday: The Song I First Slow-Danced To

It’s another trip down memory lane.

This time it’s way back to 1971, the year I graduated from eighth grade.

The parents of one of the guys in our class (8 boys, 9 girls) were kind enough to throw a graduation party, and pretty much leave us to ourselves.

At some point during the night, after playing games like spin the bottle and postman, it was time to start playing some music.

As I vaguely recalled while playing postman, one of the girls told me that Ro, one of the girls in our class, would dance with me if I asked her. This was great news, since I considered Ro my girlfriend, probably unbeknownst to her.

Finally, a slow song came on, Color My World, by the great band Chicago, and I got up the courage to ask Ro to dance. Fortunately, she said yes. It seemed like the perfect song to slow-dance to, since there isn’t much going in the song. I was able to just move back and forth for three minutes, and then it was over. But it’s stuck with me for almost 50 years.

A couple of weeks later we graduated, and I never saw Ro again until a chance meeting seven years later while I was at a swim meet at Indiana University of PA, where she was a student. I still don’t remember how we were able to connect with each other, especially before cell phones and email. But we got to chat for five minutes or so, and that was the last time I saw her.

(Side note – given my nerdy persona, my teammates were taken aback to see me talking to such an attractive young woman.)

As I was writing this, the lyrics to one of favorite Bob Seger songs, Night Moves, came to mind for some reason:

I woke last night to the sound of thunder
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain’t it funny how the night moves
When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in

Now I certainly wasn’t as adventurous as Bob seemed to be, but it is funny how a song can transport you back to a different place and time.

And thank you Ro, for saying yes…

4 thoughts on “Music Monday: The Song I First Slow-Danced To

  1. I too remember slow dancing to that song by Chicago and also dreading when the DJ would say, “and now we’re going to slow it down a bit…” if there was no one I wanted to slow dance with (or vice versa) so that was the signal to go to the ladies’ room!

    But Re: “I still don’t remember how we were able to connect with each other, especially before cell phones and email.” I know, right?

    I too have trouble remembering HOW we managed to visit friends in other states back in the early 80s. I had a little address book with people’s phone numbers and addresses and an atlas to look up people’s street addresses.

    And remember phone books?!
    So Ro was probably listed in your little address book &/or a student directory back when colleges had a copy attached to the payphone by a string. (But even =THEN you had to have quarters handy. I used to have nightmares that I was at a payphone and in a hurry to dial someone but my fingers wouldn’t work right and I kept pressing the wrong keys.
    But even if you had the right number you had to get lucky in that
    1) the line wasn’t busy (although MAYbe she had call waiting–invented in the late 70s, but it was not widespread as it cost more (and answering machines too weren’t affordable/wide spread until the mid 80s) and

    2) If she didn’t happen to be home to answer you’d have to hope one of her hall mates/roommates would take a message for her and REMEMBER to give it to her in time.

    3) Since you called from a payphone she couldn’t call you back! (Well she could, but who knows who would answer the ring of a payphone)… So you’d be left in suspense as to whether she would show up to see you during the swim meet, meaning you’d keep craning your neck the whole time –“wishing and hoping.”

    “Those were the days,” tho. So many near misses. But we could also console ourselves, “maybe she/he just didn’t get my message”; unlike nowadays when we text and we KNOW who’s on the other end and if we don’t get a return message right away, we know the answer. (Unless , we think hopefully, “maybe she/he’s in airplane mode.” –But even then you expect an answer in a few hours (or you know “He’s just not that into you.”)

    I know this has nothing to do with slowdancing, but thanks for helping me to remember HOW my best friend and I caravan-ed in our respective cars to Houston after graduation. She in her brand new blue Champ and me in my old yellow Dodge Dart (with brand new tires my mom bought the morning we set out when they went flatter and flatter as we loaded it down with all my stuff).

    Just the other day we were trying to remember HOW we managed to find friends to stay with along the way. (Did we write them LETTERS? we asked). We know we spent the night with friends in Charlotte, Atlanta, Mobile, and New Orleans –all arranged without the benefit of cell phones. Did we call them on the phone to let them know we’d been delayed? Doubtful as long distance calls were EXPENSIVE.
    I do remember we were too tired to make it to Atlanta as planned that first night and when we pulled over for gas it was already getting dark, we didn’t want to drive for 5 more hours in the dark…
    “Maybe we can stay with Beth? She’s in Charlotte and that’s a lot closer” I asked. So we looked her up IN THE PHONE BOOK and called her (a local call) and luckily she was there and let us sleep on her couch and cushions on the floor. But then we probably imposed on her some more by making a long distance call to our friends in Atlanta, and Mobile and New Orleans to let them know we’d be a day late.

    Was this an imposition on our friends to have overnight guests? How hard was it to find their actual houses? Did Mary write down the directions from the phone and I just followed her?

    In many ways all that uncertainty turned us into resourceful adventurers–whether we wanted to be or not.

    But on the plus side, I bet you could google Ro and send her a link to your post!


    1. Ah yes, those awkward teenage dances. Part of the reason I skipped my junior and senior proms.

      It is amazing to think about how we ever got by without the internet and cell phones. It seems like you’ve got a good blog post waiting to be written!

      I did think about trying to send the post to Ro somehow, but I thought it seemed a little creepy…


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