Valentine’s Day 1965 Redux

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  Ya’ll are sweethearts  to read my blog.

Do you have one?  A Valentine’s Day gone wrong?  I did.  1965.  The Fifth Grade Valentine’s Day Square Dance.  Hampton Elementary School.  Towson, Maryland.

At the practice dance the day before, one of the cool, cute boys asked me to be his partner.  Yes!  I was set for the real shindig.  I was sure of it.   We would dance together again on February 14.

On Valentine’s morning, the boys began inviting girls to be their partners.  (No, we girls didn’t ask the boys in 1965.)  The oh so cute, cool boy asked another girl.  Devastation for this eleven-year-old.

Soon almost everyone was paired up. Poor Barbara.  No one to do-si-do with.

Finally, one of my friends did some negotiating, and Eddie Pissaro asked me to be his dance partner.  Not anywhere near my first choice.  I still remember how lumpy and sweaty his arm felt as we promenaded right and left.

Fast forward 45 years to my dad’s memorial service.

“Barbara, I’m Eddie Pissaro.”

The name shot through me like an arrow from a winged cherub.

“Eddie!  How wonderful to see you!  You knew my father?”

“I live in your old neighborhood now.   When your dad was out raking leaves, I’d stop and chat with him.”

We reminisced a bit about Hampton Elementary School and the kids we knew there.

And now, TA DA!   I would make his day.  (My girls had told me that despite my lack of eye makeup, I looked pretty good in my funeral dress.)

“I haven’t forgotten you were my partner for the Fifth Grade Square Dance.”

“I was?” said Eddie.  “I don’t remember.”

“You don’t?”

 Eddie shook his head.  “No.”

How could he forget?

That week, when I came home to Hillsborough, I did a bit of archival research in my closet.  Note the goofy-looking girl with the glasses in the bright pink velvet  jumper.  Does she look like a dream date?

“Your dad was a good guy,” Eddie said as he left the church that August day.

“Thanks, Eddie.”

I should have added, “You’re a good guy too, and on 2-14-65, you were a REALLY good guy.   What an honor to be your square dance partner.”

P.S.  I circled Eddie.  The boy who passed me over shall go uncircled.

Now tell us your worst Valentine story by clicking on “Comments” below.  Have the years mellowed or enlightened that story at all?


15 responses »

  1. Of course there’s another interpretation of Eddie’s response: Eddie may indeed remember but for a number of reasons doesn’t want to discuss it, especially at a funeral.

    But I sure do remember my dance partner from the Sixteenth Grade Broughton Formal Dance, held 02/26/76 at the Holiday Inn on 15-501 in Chapel Hill. Barb and I were falling in love and we still celebrate our first date, sometimes by having a drink at the HI bar and peeking in the ballroom where we first danced. And — haha — by 1976 the girls asked the guys out.

  2. Love the photo too. Here is a V-day story for you. Recently my most serious first boyfriend (if you know what I mean) contacted me through the internet- out of the blue. On my birthday- after almost 40 years. Still remembered my address and everything. I couldn’t believe it Brought back a TON of memories!

  3. Barbara, this is hilarious, I was just regaling some friends with a similar story regarding the Hampton Elementary Valentine’s Day Square Dance. The main thing I recall is that as excited as the girls were, most of the boys dreaded it. Then, there was the momentous occasion when we were asked to be a partner. In my case, it was Greg Mallon, who swept me off my feet by saying, “I guess you’re not the worst girl in the fifth grade!” Wow! What a charmer! I do have to say it was fun, though, and I only wish I could find somewhere to square dance today–sad, but true!

    Patti Troiano Tanczyn

    • Patti,

      Wonderful to hear from you!! (Everyone, Patti is the very cute girl on the bottom right in the navy jumper and red rights.) LOVE your story. I remember Greg! You’re right about the square dancing. It really was fun. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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