As I write this, today is Thursday, May 28th. While this Thursday has no special significance I can remember a May 28th many, many years ago still stays with me. It was when I was in dancing school.
I started taking dancing lessons when I was 6. In fact, I can still remember the very first time we drove to Miss Anne’s in Elizabeth NJ for my first dance class. It was one hour of ballet and I was so excited. My mother must have been too, because we rang the bell at the wrong house. Actually, it was the pretty white house right next door and the older, white-haired woman who answered the bell was very gracious in telling us that the dancing school was not here, but there.
And that was the beginning of that. For 15 years I took dance lessons. First it was just ballet, then I added toe and tap dancing. I went from being in just one dance to dancing in five in the last few years. Most of the girls I danced with moved right along with me; year after year there was Darlene, Joanne, George, Jackie and Jodie (Miss Anne’s son and daughter), and Barbara and her sister Phyllis, and so many others whose names escape me at the moment.
You can read about it all in my book, Candle Reflections . . . An Illuminated Life. Here’s an excerpt:
It is always late May or early June, and the windows are open. Warm air permeates the room; a room filled to overflowing with young girls in dancewear and black tap shoes — all high-heeled tap shoes. For this is the advanced class, the oldest of all her classes, the best she has to offer.
The floor beneath our feet vibrates with a violence that, in another venue, would decry a frenzy, a mayhem, an episode outside of normalcy itself. Yet, we find ourselves drawn into the midst of our very beings – nothing lunatic here – no abnormal behavior, just pure happiness wrapped around total contentment. Legs moving effortlessly, steps tapping out in perfect timing; so fifteen sets of feet sound as one.
This little woman, a few years younger that my mom, maybe five feet tall or so, has year in and year out created dance recitals with her few hundred students, second to none. Created, imagined, constructed out of nothing; pure imagination, raw talent, God’s gift. Composed around Tchaikovsky and Cole Porter, Ravel and Gershwin; stepping through jete’s and releve’s, pekay turns spinning into flap ball-changes and the double time step, landing finally into back-bends and long, slow leg-splits.
I can feel it still.
It was me, it was good, it was a passion that I’ve seen in only a very few other places in my life. I could have stayed with it, could have gone on to own my own dance studio. In fact, I always bragged to my husband, that had I not met him in 1970 I would have gone into the City (NYC) and tried out for The Rockettes. And I would have become one, too!
Passion. That is what we should surround our lives with. It’s not always easy, because of everything else that gushes in like some kind of errant flash flood, spilling through the doorway, wreaking havoc with our lives. Yet, there are times when what we are wired for shines through. That talent, that thing you’re good at, the one your mother or father has said is just “you” and nobody else, that thing. That talent. 🙂
Knitting is like that. Only quieter. Just like I always lugged my dancing shoes with me, and had different leotards and dancing skirts that were made for me over the years, my life now is filled to the brim with all things knitting. Yarn, needles, accessories, patterns, my website, my social media sites, notebooks filled with ideas, and books and magazines filled to overflowing; I’ve created ALL of it because of my love for it all. ♥
I can walk through my house and see all I’ve knitted. I can walk through my mind and see gifts that were given. I can walk through the years and think of people who once were here, and now are gone from here. Yarn, needles, tap shoes, toe shoes, costumes, programs, recitals. It’s all the same. Like one large string of yarn moving through the years, passions consume, they flame up then simmer again; and we watch as the red embers flare and shimmer, then fall back to darkness once again.
A lot like life. Ebb and flow. Tide in and tide out. Always something there to see yourself in. Once it was tap shoes and footlights, now it’s knitting and grandchildren. Something will fill the hours. Sense it. Be it. Live it. My mother could have told you that.
P.S. Please remember to think of my mom today. Her name was Estelle and she passed on this date, May 29th, 10 years ago. I miss her every day, I so WISH she could see her great-grand daughters Julia and Marisa, I love her for all time. She was the one standing in the wings watching my dances, telling me always how wonderful they were. She’s standing there still I think. Every time I think of those recital times, I see her there. Smiling out, I see her always.
Cover photo Courtesy of Wallpaperseries.com