I don’t know why this young couple did what they did, but they did…
I was a young teen, slipping slowly away from ‘pinch and giggle’ with the girls. I was done with teasing the girls, then running enjoyably from them. Somewhere, somehow, I was beginning to hope that one would catch me. I was now teasing my friends that had girlfriends, quietly jealous at the same time. I was beginning to pass notes to the friend who would pass along to the cute girl who was in my same English class. Without older brothers or sisters from which to emulate, I knew not how to carry forward until summer Saturdays at the grange.
I arrived by bicycle, others were dropped off. He and she pulled up in his coupe, She sitting close to him. She got out on his side and waved to us as she , with keys in hand, unlocked the grange door. He followed with a record player and a box full of records. Everyone helped putting chairs and tables around. He and one the older boys brought in a case of Cokes and orange pop.
She wore a bright summer dress that fluffed up daringly about her knees when she moved. I was past needing a babysitter, but if the need would ever again arise, she would be the one. As she danced and talked with him, I noticed she was wearing his junior class ring as a necklace. What would it be like to have a girl wear my ring around her neck, to publicly acknowledge that she was mine. I would have to get a ring first.
Every Saturday he wore a white t-shirt and Levis, white socks and black oxfords. Although he was thin, he worked on a summer hay crew and you just knew he had the right stuff. He had such charisma and confidence that his smiling eyes just melted away any silliness in the room.
They never tried to impress, but were so impressive doing it. Regardless which of us young people was talking to them, there was eye contact and interest. Dancing, they smiled at everyone and yet kept to themselves. Seated, they would drink their Cokes, hold hands, and talk while watching my young companions jerk and jive in the pretense of dancing. To have them respect us as equals encouraged us to rise to their level of maturity.
Initially I sat with the non-dancers who wished we could. The girls were paired up and dancing every dance. Slowly we were picked off by the girls and Saturday by Saturday were all at our own ‘sock hop’.
I didn’t have older brothers and sisters to learn from, I listened to a $12 AM radio I got for Christmas, I had no records, therefore no need for a record player. My models were the couple at the ‘sock hop’, the way he treated her and her response in kind. I was know longer into ‘pinch and giggle’, I was learning to be cool.
Enough about them, By the second Saturday my girl and I paired up. She would laugh at my dancing, sat laughing as I extolled my virtues, and enjoyed those moments with our friends.
One Saturday , last dance. We noticed each last dance would be a slow love song where our couple danced together quite closely. Well, my girl pulled me up tightly and pressed against me and changed my life forever. I had heard of them, knew women had them, and when they were pressed through my chest, I felt them. Two marvelous reasons to be cool.
Thank God for the Saturday sock hops…