Life as Lou

They Didn’t Know It Was That Kind Of Show. . .

  • April 12, 2010 8:49 am

Clarance standing (BerthaOlga's Brother), Bertha, Olga and cute guy w hat)

When I was in high school I used to do just a little bit of dancing. I have never been terribly coordinated, but the one thing I was very good at was the jitterbug. My friend (who later became my boyfriend) Jake and I had the most fantastic times dancing. He would swing me around, throw me in the air, flip me over his head, and make us look fantastic. He was the coordinated one, I merely trusted him not to drop me, and followed his lead.

At school dances, a good swing song would come on and we would start to dance. The crowds would part, and form a circle around us, just like in a movie. It was the closest to my life being a musical that I will probably ever experience, and it was just as awesome as all of my fantasies of living in a musical have ever been.

Jake and I moved on from high school dances to dance together at the opening of a department store and once, we danced in a modeling show, him in a zoot suit, me in a blond wig and the 7 year itch dress trying to pull off Marylin Monroe (I look terrible as blond, just terrible). We weren’t perfect, but we had a lot of fun, and made a lot of memories.

One of those memories happens to be my most embarrassing moment ever.

Our church youth group hosted a talent show. It was a rollicking success, with improv, music, dance, art, and all sorts of amazingly talented kids. Nearly every parent and child attended, so it was a full house, comprising almost my entire church and several additional friends. Jake and I were set to dance.

I was wearing the most perfect vintage dress. It was black with a full pleated skirt, pleated sleeve that crisscrossed over themselves, a gathered bodice and a smocked waist that showed off my formerly gorgeous, pre- children figure. The dress had belonged to my great grandmother, so in addition to looking perfect, it was a fitting tribute to my great grandmother Olga, who had loved to dance. She is shown wearing the dress in the photo above.

We took the stage, and began a routine we had worked up for this event. It was set to Pennsylvania 6500, and it was gliding along smoothly. A few steps in, we had the audience on board, and we went to do one of our favorite throws. In this particular move, the man crosses his arms, grabs the woman’s hands and slides her through his legs where his arms untwist, she is thrown up into the air, and lands deftly on her feet, in his arms and in perfect sync with the next step. It is a rush, but actually quite simple. It looks much more impressive than it is, so it is a real crowd pleaser.

Well, when Jake grabbed me for this move, his hands also grabbed my skirt. Before it even happened, I knew exactly what was coming. As he pulled me through his legs, my dress stayed firmly in his grip, and the rest of me shot through with no skirt! My curves saved me from being totally undressed, as the smocked bodice resisted pulling over my ample bosom. He was mortified. I was beet red! Almost every single person who I knew saw this happen. The audience was in stitches. We pulled it together and went on with the show, but I am sure my face was on fire through the very last notes.

The best part was that it had all been video captured, so I got to relive it over and over.

It is a good thing I have a sense of humor.



  1. Zarah says:

    You’re a trouper for going on. I am sure no one was anything but impressed!

  2. gma says:

    Who taped it? I want to see it.

  3. Di says:

    Oh My. I’d say only to you…but if I dared to try something like that it would probably happend to me too! Way to keep dancing!

  4. Gail Williams/Grandmama says:

    Did you have a slip on?

  5. Sanisi says:

    That’s on video? And you didn’t destroy all the tapes? (Was I even there?)

  6. < ![CDATA[I wish I was there...

    And yes, I'm happy you have a sense of humor, too.

    Have a great Tuesday!]]>

  7. melissa vigil says:

    I saw this pic leah and thought oh my gosh I know that person…it is great grandma olga…right away I knew it was her. I love old pictures!

  8. Kendrea says:

    Thanks for the laugh! Great story!

  9. Chandler says:

    Oh, my. I’ve seen you two perform together before, but I must not have been to that particular event, because I would have remembered that! Poor you, poor Jake!

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