Mixsonian Morrs and Barbara Larry

My First Dance

In May I went to my first and only school dance at Westwood. The year before in 7th grade I had heard about the school dance but didn’t think anything of it.  Now in 8th grade, talk of going to the dance was at first just an occasional mention but by early May was being discussed in more earnest, more so by the girls than the boys, or least the guys I hung out with. But then there was my sister Brenda, a year ahead of me in ninth grade at Westwood, who really wanted to go but didn’t have a date so she asked me if I would go with her.  I didn’t have much interest in going, there were a few girls I was interested in, but I was too shy to talk to them much less ask them out, but Brenda kept asking so I finally said I would go.  The day of the dance came, I dressed up in my Sunday best, Corky’s hand-me-down coat, my clip on tie, freshly polished shoes and I was ready to go.  Brenda on the other hand started planning a couple of weeks ahead of the dance getting a new dress, new shoes, a corsage to pin on her shoulder, white gloves, which she really needed for her hands were dripping with sweat, full makeup and she was finally ready.  She sure looked purtey as Dad would say.   Mom drove us to the school and dropped us off and told us what time she would come pick us up.  The dance was held in the cafeteria, which had a stage and served as an auditorium for school events.  The tables had been folded up and pushed to the edge, chairs set up along the sides, and table with punch and cookies. It was decorated quite colorfully with crepe paper, streamers, and balloons, popular music was playing, mostly sappy love songs which I didn’t care too much for. Once inside, Brenda quickly went to hang out with her friends, leaving me on my own so I went over I got a cup of punch and a cookie then looked for a quiet place to hang out.  Looking around at the layout I saw on one side were those that came as couples which included all the more popular boys and girls in school.  On another side were the was my sister hanging out with the single girls.  The single boys, those that didn’t come with a date, or their date dumped them, like my sister did me, hung out up toward the front along the sides of the stage.  I headed over with my cup of punch, munching on my cookie seeing a couple other boys I knew and hung out with them watching the dance. As songs were played, couples would go out onto floor and dance.  There was a brief pause between each song when some couples would leave the floor, others stayed, and new ones came on.   

There was bantering amongst the group of single boys about what girl they liked, or which girl they thought was the prettiest and challenges and dares to go ask a girl to dance.  A few boys, much braver than I, went over to the girls and would ask one to dance which they would come back and report either before or after the dance depending on how the girl answered.  The single girls that didn’t get asked to dance would often dance with the other girls, in twos or threes. I couldn’t bring myself to ask a girl to dance, the only dance I knew was the twist which I saw on the TV show American Bandstand and the few times I tried to dance I felt awkward and thought I looked foolish.  I was glad when the dance ended, and Mom picked us up. Once in the car she asked how it went and if we had a good time.  Brenda was quite excited about the dance, I just simply said “It was Okay”.   

Mowing Lawns

School as over and summer came and with my newfound interest in rockets and electronics my allowance just wasn’t enough to get the things I wanted for my projects, I needed to make some money.  I had been mowing our yard, or at least part of it for a while and so Dad said I could use the mower to cut people’s yards in the neighborhood.  There were plenty of yards that need mowing on our street so I would knock on the door of a house and ask if they wanted their yard mowed.  I charged $2 for just the front yard and $5.00 for the whole yard and would often do two or three houses per week and soon had regular customers.  My younger brother David would often help me making the mowing easier but making less as we split the money.  I soon grew to hate mowing lawns, it was hot, dirty work and running over the occasional ant nest, well it just wasn’t much fun, but did make good money. .  Dr. Cade and his wife and seven kids lived a dozen or so houses down the street from us and my brother was friends with one of his sons.

Candy StripersIn the summer of 1966, my sister Brenda was a Candy Striper at the University of Florida’s Shands Medical Center. Candy Stripers were young girls who do volunteer work in hospitals like working in the gift shop or delivering flowers and books to patients.  She looked very cute in her red and white pin striped unform.  I use to tease her and say she was a Candy “Stripper”, as in a strip dancer, and she would get mad at me.  Brenda worked at Shands when Doctor Robert Cade  was working on his sport drink GatorAid.  Brenda said that Dr. Cade would come by every week with a sample of his latest mixture to taste.  Brenda said that some were too salty, some to sweet and others just plain awful.

Updated: 05-29-2023

Boy Scout Camp