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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Filling Up My Dance Card

I mentioned finding a couple of dance cards in Grandma’s keepsakes and David gave me a puzzled look.

“You’ve never heard the expression ‘My dance card is full’ or ‘I think I have room on my dance card' or any of the other dance card expressions?”

“Yeah, but I thought dance card was just an expression not a thing.”

I showed him this one and he was…well, he was less than impressed. I guess I get that. I have to agree with him that in today’s world, for a woman to carry around a card at a dance and schedule dance partners seems like it would get in the way of fun at a school dance. But in 1944 dancing was just dancing. It was ballroom type that had definite steps that some did better than others. Maybe it was a way for a popular girl to mean it when she said she’d dance with a guy before the dance is over?” No “dirty dancing” either!” The other dance card I found, which is put away upstairs and I’ll share photos at another time; had the types of dances listed so a girl could write in the boys who fit the style best. It had waltzes and the Charleston but NO TANGO!

This was the Junior/Senior prom for CHS. I’m not sure what high school that was, but Papa graduated from California High School in California, PA, so it makes sense that Grandma would know some people there. The Lee Barrett Orchestra performed. Can you imagine and orchestra at a high school dance? Don’t think for a minute that my romantic brain isn’t picturing and Astaire and Rogers prom!

 Senior  class officers and Prom sponsors were listed on the last page of the book, but other than the orchestra and date, no other credits are in the dance card.  More clues may surface as I go through some of the other things I have.

This prom was the year after Grandma graduated and a month before she and Papa married. The only name on her dance card, for just 2 dances, is Allen Russell, not family or anyone I ever met. I wonder if it’s a friend who was going into the service after graduation? I am quite sure it’s Grandma’s dance card because I recognize her handwriting. The answer to that question, I’ll never know!

So, anyone else who didn’t realize where the references to dance cards came from, they really were part of our American culture!

See and share more wonderful bits of history at The Coloradolady's Vintage Thingie Thursday!


Sarann said...

How fun! I work for an Indian tribe from the Southern Paiute Nation and they held a traditional dance a few years ago called The Bear Dance, which was traditionally for social pairing. I was surprised to learn at the Bear Dance that it is ladies choice. I mentioned to my coworker who is a tribal member that I thought that would be socially difficult and he said that they have a Bear Dance manager/boss and if the man turns down the ladies request to dance then the boss makes the man pay a fine to the lady.

Edna B said...

Yes, Nani, dance cards were definitely a way of life many years ago. By the time I got to Grade 7, they were pretty much gone out of fashion. As for prom officers, etc. our proms were held at our high school, and were the work of many committees. They were fabulous.

As for the Ladie's choice dances, we had those too when I was in school. Alas, I got stood up once in the seventh grade. It just about broke my heart. lol.

You have a wonderful night, hugs, Edna B.

LV said...

You really went back with your feature today. I know what you are talking about. Even though I had very few occasions to attend dances.

Sally Annie Magundy said...

I found my moms and grandmas dance cards too, so much fun and such a treasure. Enjoy!

Happy VTT!