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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Recalling a teenage rite of passage

Let’s dance.

“Today’s question, ‘Do you remember the name of the first person with whom you slow danced?’ made me laugh, a memory I’d totally forgotten until that prompt,” wrote Laura Nonnenmacher.

“I was an 8th grader, living in a small Ohio town, attending my first school dance in 1971. I was painfully shy and terrified I wouldn’t get asked to dance. It was almost the end of the night when the DJ announced a slow dance. I was thrilled when a quiet, tall and lanky boy named Morgan Givens asked me to dance.

“Morgan was well over a foot taller than I was, which made the ‘clutch’ an awkward dance to begin with (I was essentially staring at his belt buckle the whole time). The really unfortunate part: The song was ‘Hey Jude.’ At first it was fine, but the song speeds up and gets more intense (you are singing it to yourself now, I suspect) and it isn’t really appropriate for either slow or fast dancing.

“We were too bashful to talk and it was the longest seven minutes of my life. I was never brave enough to ask Morgan how the experience was for him.”

Kandi Burnham’s first slow-dance partner was a boy named Tony Kiss.

This was at their junior high in Arcadia, Calif., in 1972. Kandi, who now lives in Rathdrum, was in the 8th grade. “No romance afterward, but it was very sweet and memorable.”

Jeri McCormick’s first slow dance was with a boy named Roland Torngren. “I vividly remember it.”

They were 7th graders at Sacajawea Middle School. “We were both sort of outcasts.”

The song was “Crimson in Clover.”

Bonnie Hedquist also remembers. “I was a freshman at Rogers High School. My first dance. We have been slow dancing ever since. We will be married 60 years in 2019. The love of my life.”

Lanette Scott wrote, “Yes I remember the name of the first person I ever slow danced with, Lawrence Peterson. We were in the 7th grade. We both had to laugh when we reminisced about that dance when we saw each other at our 40th class reunion a couple years ago in Denton, Mont.”

Dan Fears was in the 7th grade (Pleasantville, Iowa, 1972) and his first slow-dance partner was a girl named Theresa. “She eventually married my best friend and I went on to marry a different Theresa.”

Today’s Slice question: Are women who grew up without brothers handicapped in their ability to determine what is or isn’t truly gross?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Remember when virtually all civilian helicopter pilots were Vietnam veterans?

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