1977. First junior high dance. School’s basketball wooden gym bleachers pushed in. The iconic ball with thousands of mirrors reflecting light twirling over center court. Decorated paper on the walls defining the theme. Teachers in the background to chaperone us quasi-scared/thrilled, building confidence novices at love. Guys acting indifferent while girls giggled, shared lip glosses and compared outfits.
Music was the one thing we all had in common. Still is. Saturday Night Fever sparked a fire. It got us moving from the inside out.
BeeGee’s forever hit, Staying Alive, makes the body move with the spirit. Seems like all their songs united forces.
Couldn’t resist. It was electrifying. Disco was not just dance music. It was an energetic refuge from the multi-layered growing pains of the era.
The emotional aftermath of Vietnam fading; women, ERA and officially in the workforce; civil rights and slow desegregation of old thinking, fluctuating choice of sexual partners/preference; cocaine -the power powder dusting noses; Jimmy Carter, human rights and the hell bent quest to catch and eat the elusive carrot stick called the American dream.
Disco got us moving forward. It was like the entire country was battling preteen hormones. Disco music was therapy. Still is if you want a break from the repetitive political jive talking. An awesome anti-depressant. No prescription required. We were desperate to move.
Anyway, while dancing with girlfriends, my eagle eyes scoped for my guy’s location. Even while laughing and singing along, my ulterior hope juiced me. Always a dreamer of love.
Had to have that sacred dance with him. Didn’t matter if he was the most popular guy in class…I had to slow dance with him. Having our arms wrapped around each other, bodies touching, moving to music full of love…specks of light touching the dark and us…it would be a tragedy if it didn’t happen. Somehow, the BeeGees sang what I felt.
Me, along with millions of others, have loved the Bee Gee’s for decades. It was like they felt our needs. Hearing Andy sing he wanted to be my everything gave hope. Barry’s unequivocally renowned voice felt like a tender hand holding my heart for safe keeping. The heaven sent trio of harmonizing brothers’ voices stirred deep waters in still places.
Halfway into the evening, I had danced with girlfriends and a guy friend or two. Yet, still couldn’t take my eyes off him. Tony, the band’s drummer, the cool guy everyone liked. Good looking with his thick, black hair and bright post-braces smile. And, a nice guy to boot. I sighed when our eyes connected for a moment.
Walking around the court, Tony’s friend came to me. “Tony wants you to do him a favor.” I saw Tony smile from across the floor. “If you dance with George, Tony will slow dance with you. No one dances with George and he has a crush on you. Tony wants to help a dream come true for him.”
I couldn’t believe it. Dance with who is crushing on me so I can dance with my crush? Without hesitation, I said yes. But, added…”just tell Tony to be sure to pick the best song.”
He ran over, whispered in Tony’s ear. He grinned and nodded his head agreeing to my request. I was beyond excited! It was going to happen! I ran to the girls bathroom to brush my hair and roll on perhaps my 20th coat of clear lip gloss. Tasted sweeter than ever.
Big inhale and exhale. I walked back tall on my quest. Found George standing by the punch bowl table and asked him to dance.
He blushed, lowered his head to hide his smile and nodded, yes. I took his hand and led him to the floor. It was a slow song. We danced and when it was over, Tony, watching, motioned his fingers the number two to get me to dance with George again. Abba started singing Dancing Queen…the perfect blend of slow and fast. Oblivious to the awkward moves George made to be in sync with me, I had my eyes on my next partner.
After the second dance, I thanked him and excused myself. I walked to my friends wondering if I had been tricked. George looked happy, so I guess it didn’t matter.
Looking up at the round diamond ball spinning, I wondered. And, as if it was scripted in a movie, the speakers rolled out the red carpet. The song, How Deep Is Your Love began and Tony appeared to take my hand.
On the dance floor, beneath the flickering ball, he put his arms around me and I laid my head on his shoulder. Our bodies hot from dancing, hormones and youth. When the Bee Gee’s blended voices touched my ears, singing how I felt, I was in bliss. The arms of the guy I was crazy about had his body next to mine! I could feel his heartbeat. And, Too Much Heaven was played next and our dance continued. I really was in heaven.
Don’t remember the rest of the night. Those two dances to The Bee Gees with the guy of my dreams had me on cloud nine for weeks. He even thanked me for making George’s night. Unbelievable. Still smile 40 years later. Strong emotions…rich memories.
It is common now; but in the 70’s, change was an edge we danced over. We needed to shake ourselves and point our fingers up. Disco music raised the fever and got us into action. Bee Gees are infamous for disco; but, if you go deeper, you discover they gave so much more. Long after disco ‘died’, they sang to remind us what it takes to grow, to love, to be who we are even when alone. No telling how many hearts with no dreams they shined a little light on with their bright evening star.
Bottom line…it’s all love. Their music immortalized itself in hearts young and old. Now, Barry Gibb at 70 years, without his beloved brothers, and singing songs long after many would fade, teaches us what staying alive really is all about.
Maybe that is the mending of a broken heart…keep loving and living. With the pieces put together, you just might get your speckles of light turning to touch others.