Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The One With Kellerman's Resort.

Dear Lover,

I used to live in a neighborhood when I was a kid.   
Street gangs, sprinkler parties, the whole shebang.   
Having a childhood friend who lived just down the street goes without saying.   
Her name was Kari.  
 Her parents were old friends of Mother Mary and Father Darling, and were decidedly more lenient than my own. 
Kari and I loved to giggle.   
We loved to copy the way Kari’s older sister, Kristi, laughed and applied lipstick. 
Each year we went trick-or-treating together and screamed in two-part harmony whenever my grandfather, wearing a monster mask, jumped out from behind his car.  
In our moms' backseats, we changed from school clothes into tights, leotards and tap shoes on our way to Earl Cobb Dance Studio.   
Mostly, we loved to have sleepovers.
One particular sleepover sticks with me.   
It was the summer between second and third grade and I was over at her house.  
It was hot and the windows were open.   
Kari’s older sister, Kristi, had been grounded for sneaking out, so was stuck at home.   
In her absolute boredom, she decided to put up with us.   
We painted our fingernails.   
We played dress-up.   
We karaoke’d to New Kids On The Block.   

We were bored.

We lay, stretched out on the living room couch and floor, sucking on ice cubes to try to stay cool. 
“Let’s watch a movie,” Kristi suggested. 
“Okay!” Kari and I chimed.
“How about this one?” Kristi held up a VHS tape.
“What’s it rated?” I asked.
Because I was a good little girl who adhered to her parents’ G/PG Policy.
“It’s PG-13,” Kristi groaned, then raised her eyebrows.   “Let’s call your mom.”
I watched, nervous with excitement, as Kristi dialed my home phone number and begged Mother Mary to allow me to watch the PG-13 movie.   
Mother Mary hesitated, then asked to speak to the other mother.   
AKA: Longtime Friend and Lenient One. 
The other mother convinced Mother Mary that her girls had seen the movie a handful of times already and there was nothing to worry about other than a couple of long kisses.   
Once convinced, Mother Mary hung up.   
The other mother left the room.   
Kristi, Kari and I gathered around the T.V. and popped the video into the VHS player.

Dirty Dancing.

You know.   
Johnny Castle.   
And nobody puts Baby in a corner.

I’m proud that it was my first PG-13 movie experience.   
My first half-second hiney shot.
Grateful that it taught me that dancing isn’t on the one and isn’t the mambo.  But, instead, a feeling.  A heartbeat.

Know this.   
Once I’ve finished this letter.
I will most certainly hop out of my warm bed and do a little dance.   
A dance heavy on the jerks, shoulder jabs and spaghetti arms.   
Because I'm a product of the 80’s and love the occasional gypsy dance.  
But, mostly, because I am a product of Dirty Dancing.  
Which means my dance will be full of feeling.


1 comment:

  1. I love this... makes me smile so early in the morning.. i am also a product of the 80's and this brings me back to a wonderful time.. thank you for sharing.