The secret skill that always surprised my classmates was…my dancing. In fact, if I may say so myself, I was a jitterbug expert in high school. And, boy, did that make the big football guys mad! “Look at little Witkovsky” they would snarl. What can I say? I loved jitterbug music and was good at dancing to it. Is it my fault that all the football players’ girlfriends wanted to dance with me?
I loved it! And, yes, I knew everyone watching and couldn’t help but show off. I would spin the girls around and then come up close. If I was feeling particularly spunky I might even kiss them on the cheek. “Why can’ you do that, you’re a big football player,” I would taunt when confronted. The girls protected me from the football players. “Leave him alone,” they would say. “Don’t pick on Jerry, He’s a great dancer!” Nevertheless, I was always sure to leave the dances early and be long gone before any angry, big guys spilled into the parking lot after the dance.
I got the bug to dance the Jitterbug the first time I heard the music. Never took formal dance lessons–I learned by watching other people and from movies where there was Jitterbugging. The freedom of movement was always amazing to me—the tension between that freedom and the control of the body to precisely hit each next move. I felt the rhythm.
Margaret, my wife of over 50 years, was also a great dancer. During WWII she entertained the troops at the USO and taught guys from all over the US how to dance. What happens when two great dancers come together? Initially I thought a little competition was good. But then I realized a problem: we both wanted to lead! “I’m the leader,” I told her boldly. She gave me a look, and that was that.
We didn’t totally stop dancing—there was always slow dancing and a simple two-step. And Margaret loved folk-dancing and square dancing. In fact she had a job once as a caller for square dancing. I would go and partake. I enjoyed the moves and the community nature of it.
Alas, Jitterbugging a thing of my past. But it sure made me popular with the girls.
Now you try it: Write Your Stories
Take today’s writing prompt, “The secret skill that always surprised my classmates was…” set your timer for 10 minutes and go! Don’t worry about spelling or grammar the first go round. Get your ideas on paper (or screen) and then you can go back and edit and embellish. Dear grandparents, you have so many stories to tell! Write them down now and begin sharing today.